Texas Legal Services Center
In its early years, during the 1980s, TLSC worked through task forces to expand clients’ rights in Texas Employment Commission appeals and to improve our state’s administration of public benefits programs. TLSC lawyers served as co-council in the Lelsz and RAJ lawsuits, which resulted in expanded services in state supported learning center schools and in state operated mental hospitals. Those lawsuits served as catalysts for policymakers to move MHMR services from institutions into community settings.
TLSC has also served as a counsel in lawsuits protecting the rights of pretrial inmates in county jails. In Williamson County, a new prison was constructed, and inmates’ rights were greatly expanded. Prison access to a law library was improved, and inmates were appointed counsel within 72 hours of detention.
Former TLSC Director, Clinton Cross, worked with Legal Aid programs and State Bar leaders to establish Texas Lawyers Care and IOLTA. TLSC’s current Director, Randal Chapman, continues that work by working with leaders of the Texas Access to Justice Commission and the Texas Access to Justice Foundation to expand access to justice funding, resources, and support.
In 1989, TLSC responded to the unmet needs of the elderly poor by establishing the Legal Hotline for Texans. With funding from AARP, the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS), and the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, the Legal Hotline has provided individualized advice and counseling by attorneys to clients in over 120,000 cases. Based on TLSC demonstrated success with the telephonic delivery of legal services model, similar hotlines have been established throughout the United States.
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