According to the Commission, “the award recognizes the law school that has most distinguished itself by actively educating its students about access to justice issues, thereby carrying forward one of the finest traditions of the legal profession in Texas.”
In a letter announcing the award, Executive Director Patricia E. McAllister said, “The commitment to the provision of legal services to the poor by Texas A&M University School of Law is truly exceptional.”
Regarding the award, Dean & Anthony G. Buzbee Endowed Dean’s Chair Robert B. Ahdieh said, “Texas A&M Law provides many poor and underserved Texas residents with access to justice, has a significant impact on our local and statewide communities, and is instilling a commitment to pro bono service in future lawyers.”
The award reflects Texas A&M Law’s efforts to serve the community in several areas.
Pro Bono Requirement
Texas A&M Law requires its JD students, as a prerequisite for graduation, to perform a minimum of 30 hours of law-related pro bono work. As a point of reference, the graduating class of 2021 performed 13,936.63 hours of pro bono legal service.
Texas A&M Law serves the community through more than ten clinics. Focusing on students in the Class of 2021 alone, 79% participated in a clinic where they provided free legal services to clients. On average, Texas A&M Law has 85 students in clinics each semester.
Texas A&M Law’s faculty play a pivotal role in introducing students to the importance of providing timely and professional pro bono service to the poor and underserved. One example is Professor Paul George, who is leading Texas A&M Law students this year in a pro bono effort to represent women in the Federal Medical Center Carswell. That litigation seeks to address the inadequacy of the facility’s conditions, in response to the spread and seriousness of COVID.
Texas A&M Law has a rich array of student organizations focused on access to justice. The student organization that is most active in this area is the Public Interest Law Fellowship, a student-run organization devoted to raising awareness of the need for dedicated legal professionals in the public sector. The fellowship program funds internships for deserving students to perform public interest work, particularly focused on providing crucial legal services to those in need.
The Law School Commitment to Service Award will be presented by Justice Busby, the Supreme Court of Texas liaison to the Commission at the New Lawyer Induction Ceremony, which will be held virtually on Monday, November 15, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.