A justice gap still exists even after strenuous pro bono efforts

No matter the efforts to provide access to justice, the reality is that many legal needs are left unmet. There’s a gap that we must close if we are to achieve access to justice for all.

Op-Ed (Texas)

Rudy Apodaca
San Antonio Express-News
May 25, 2019

Tags: Access to Justice


There are more than 100,000 licensed lawyers in Texas. Pro-bono surveys show that on average, 50 percent of practicing attorneys provide pro bono services. But there are 5.6 million poor people in the state, many of whom require legal services. Legal aid lawyers work hard to help as many of them as limited resources will permit, and private attorneys continue to donate their services. Yet only 10 percent of the need is being met.

The mission of the Texas Commission to Expand Civil Legal Services is to gather and evaluate information on expanding legal services to low- and middle-income Texans and to recommend to the Supreme Court of Texas how to accomplish that expansion.

According to the commission, a study showed that Texas lawyers provide more than 2 million hours of pro bono legal services annually. Despite these efforts, the justice gap remains. Texas legal aid providers estimate that 3 out of 4 qualified applicants are turned away for lack of resources and funding.