The Tarrant County Bar Foundation is the charitable arm as a 501(3)(c) organization. It is directly connected to the Tarrant County Bar Association, with the same staff assistance, and the Association is the facilitator of the community-service projects offered each year. There are three categories of community-service opportunities which are proudly sponsored by the Foundation and the Association. There are opportunities to volunteer for each program or project, with pro bono time and services to the low-income citizens and veterans of Tarrant County, or as a participator during the event. Contact the TCBA officeat 817.338.4092 to request specific information about each.
Access To Justice Programs
Tarrant County Volunteer Attorney Services (TVAS)
The Association and the Foundation have formed the Tarrant County Volunteer Attorney Services to coordinate pro-bono efforts in Tarrant County. The Co-Chairs have personally met with various members of the legal community to discuss the pro-bono services that are provided by volunteers and other bar-related organizations to see if these pro-bono services can be coordinated under TVAS. Although TVAS is still taking baby steps to set up pro-bono efforts, it has established its name and developed a brand, along with a director, to organize the program in collaboration with the TLTV program. Recent training workshops were held for non-family law attorneys to help at a future legal clinic on uncontested divorce through Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas. Local law firms are opening their doors to these workshops, and TVAS has had an overwhelming response from attorneys who are ready to be trained to assist the citizens of Tarrant County. For more information visit www.tvasdoingourpart.com.
Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans – Tarrant County Chapter (TLTV)
The Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans program that has been providing attorneys who assist low income veterans during monthly legal clinics since October 2010. The Association facilitates the program sponsored by the Tarrant County Bar Foundation, the Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, the Tarrant County Family Law Bar Association, and other organizations in providing monthly legal clinics every third Friday (except December) at the local VA Outpatient Clinic in Fort Worth and other locations. Over 480 veterans and/or spouses of deceased veterans have received assistance to date through this project. TLTV assists veterans with legal services from uncontested divorces to traffic court problems to foreclosures. The interactive database and website developed by the Association’s IT Vendor Juris Fabrilis in 2010 has proved to be an invaluable tool to the program to set up the appointments for the monthly legal clinics, to make assignments, follow up and closing of all case files generated during each clinic, and record-keeping capabilities which allows reports to be generated in compliance with grant requirements and other requests for information. For more information, see www.txltxv.org.
Bears & Friends
Bears & Friends is an annual collection of stuffed animals usually during the Holiday Party. These donations are delivered to the Tarrant County Family Law and Juvenile courts to give to children who are there for various court needs.
This annual community-service project is usually held each spring. In conjunction with the Carter BloodCare, members are asked to come to the Bar Center to donate a unit of blood. This unit can save up to 3 lives. Each year there is a “Gallon Club Challenge” issued to the law firm or government department with the most members attending. The Foundation furnishes pizza and salad over lunch time, and in the past several years, door prizes have been collected by the committee members to enhance participation.
Tarrant Area Food Bank
The Tarrant Area Food Bank is always in need of donations, either in food or in money. The Foundation sponsors, and the Association facilitates an annual Food Drive, which over the past two years has focused on monetary donations in the form of a “brown bag” delivered to each firm. For 2011, the Drive collected $6,000 to give to the TAFB which will help needy children receive “back-packs” with food to supplement their nourishment over the weekend when school programs are not available.
National Adoption Day
National Adoption Day is held each year, in November, in collaboration with the Family Law Courts of Tarrant County. The committee solicits attorneys to volunteer to take and process one adoption. In return, a training seminar is held, giving CLE credits and needed credits to practice before a juvenile court. Many families are made whole during this annual event supported by local family law judges and their court staff. The courtrooms are decorated with balloons and stuffed animals to signify the joy of the occasion.
People’s Law School
This event is sponsored by a committee from the Association and held at various locations on a Saturday, usually in the spring. A curriculum of four-classes on different topics are offered each hour for a total of a 3-hour session. These topics are based in the needs of the general public to educate the public on the general principles of that field of law. Local advertisement is done in area newspapers to prompt the event and many “students” return each year to learn something new.
Elder Law Handbook
This Handbook is a 50-page, with supplement, offered free of charge to the public. It gives valuable information to elder’s about their rights and expectations. The Handbook is mailed to the individual requesting one, or is furnished by the box to area nursing homes and other senior care programs.
LegalLine is a bi-monthly, free legal-consultation service to the public on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month, from 6 to 8 p.m. Member attorneys volunteer to answer 8 incoming-phone lines to answer questions, give legal advice, or give resource information to the public. The Foundation furnishes a light dinner to the volunteers.