AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A collaboration between The Amarillo Area Bar Association and The Amarillo Office of Legal Aid hopes to expand free legal help services to more low-income families in the Texas Panhandle.
The ability to access free and high quality legal help can have an impact on the lives of low-income Texas families but Legal Aid said the need outweighs the supply.
“The need for legal aid is large,” said Attorney and President-Elect for Texas Young Lawyers Association Alex Yarbrough. “If you just took Potter and Randall County, they have one attorney for about 4,000 people that qualify for legal aid. If you take the rest of the 20 counties, they have one attorney for every 8,000 people that qualify for legal aid. There’s 8,000 people that qualify and only one attorney to handle all of it.”
Legal Aid employs seven attorneys to represent Texas Panhandle clients for situations such as keeping their home and avoiding wrongful eviction, among other civil law issues.
Those who can’t afford legal resources are said to often represent themselves or give up.
“They kind of get lost in the mix and the services that they needed, could have saved them money,” said President-Elect of the Amarillo Area Bar Association Joby Mills. “Maybe they can’t already afford an attorney, so they don’t do anything and they end up having more expenses.”
On Valentine’s Day, the Area Bar Association will host a luncheon to recruit more attorneys to volunteer their legal services and help more families than before.
“We have just above 400 attorneys as part of the bar association,” said Mills. “So, if we can get even a hundred of those attorneys to volunteer, to take on one case, to attend a clinic, then I think we can make a good dent here. We want to make the focus in February about the need for pro bono legal services.”
If you would like information to see if you qualify for free Legal Aid services, you can apply here.