Private Attorney Involvement (PAI)
The PAI program, which is instrumental to TRLA's provision of free legal services to low-income individuals and communities, recruits and deploys private attorneys for a range of programs that operate throughout our 68-county service area. The PAI's activities and project include:
- Direct pro bono case referrals (Corpus Christi, Edinburg, and El Paso);
- Reduced fee contracts to private attorneys in multiple counties;
- Free legal clinics staffed by volunteer private attorneys (Hidalgo, Nueces, and Travis counties);
- Night courts or legal clinics, also known as community justice programs, which are staffed by volunteer judges, attorneys, and court staff (Hidalgo and Webb counties);
- Specialized clinics that handle specific legal issues, such as wills and expunctions (Hidalgo and Webb counties and the Rio Grande Valley);
- Case referrals to private attorneys through TRLA's C-Bar and micro-enterprises teams (program-wide);
- Partnering with law schools in the TRLA service area to sponsor wills, immigration, or expunction clinics, which are staffed by law students under an attorney’s supervision (Hidalgo, Nueces, Webb counties).
Free Legal Clinics
TRLA hosts free legal clinics in many counties, including Bexar, Cameron, El Paso, Gonzales, Hidalgo, Nueces, Starr, Travis, Val Verde, and Victoria. The clinics are staffed by TRLA attorneys and paralegals, who meet with clients to determine if they're eligible for free legal services; draft documents or pleadings as needed; and provide guidance for pro se "prove up" of uncontested cases in court. The clinics address specific legal issues and tasks: divorce, driver's license restoration, psychiatric advance directives, supported decision-making agreements, and legal services for U.S. military veterans.