Law School News

Texas Bar Foundation Awards $25,000 Grant To STCL Houston For Pro Bono Services

South Texas College of Law Houston (STCL Houston) recently was awarded a $25,000 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation to support the law school’s pro bono clinic that assists tenants in fighting evictions and maintaining housing stability.

The grant will provide stipends to “qualified, unlicensed law school graduates” to assist tenants in the housing stability clinics and eviction defense in the Harris County Justice Courts while inspiring these graduates to pursue public service careers or continue pro bono legal work upon licensure.

“We are grateful to the Texas Bar Foundation for this generous grant,” said Catherine Burnett, vice president, associate dean for experiential learning, professor of law, and director of the pro bono honors program. “As the world continues to struggle with the pandemic, low-income Texans need free or low-cost legal information and representation now more than ever. As the need grows, the legal profession has struggled to meet that need due to limited funding and capacity by legal aid providers and pro bono attorneys.”

This grant supports the immediate need to provide additional support to attorneys and volunteers at housing stability clinics that provide onsite education, rental assistance and legal representation, as well as full representation in Justice Courts in Harris County with the highest eviction dockets in the state. The STCL Houston pro bono clinic has already helped more than 1,400 families prevent eviction, and this grant will expand the law school’s ability to provide legal assistance and education for several hundred more people at regularly planned clinics in the Greater Houston area, with a primary focus on Harris County.

STCL Houston is dedicated to promoting the importance of pro bono legal work through the wide array of legal work carried out in The Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics and through the law school’s voluntary pro bono program that promotes the professional value of ensuring access to justice. When the law school is able to obtain funding for projects that support and encourage graduates to give back to the community, the access to justice barrier is incrementally broken down in a meaningful manner, Burnett said.

Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $23 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably-funded bar foundation.