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The Future of Legal Advice is Here: Baylor Law Students and Texas Attorneys Deliver Pro Bono Legal Aid Through E-Portal

September 25, 2017
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The Future of Legal Advice is Here: Baylor Law Students and Texas Attorneys Deliver Pro Bono Legal Aid Through E-Portal


WACO, Texas -

Baylor Law has partnered with Naman, Howell, Smith & Lee, PLLC to offer an innovative new kind of pro bono clinic–an "Answer-a-Thon"–using the State Bar of Texas’ Texas Legal Answers website.


The purpose of the clinic is threefold: to increase access to justice for low-income Texans; to provide law students with an opportunity to gain practical, real-life experience helping clients and working with experienced attorneys; and to remove barriers to attorneys providing pro bono services.

Texas Legal Answers is the result of a partnership between the State Bar of Texas and the American Bar Association to create a website where Texans can post their legal questions and Texas lawyers can respond. The Texas Legal Answers Clinic pro bono clinic distinguishes itself from other pro bono clinics in that participants do not need to make a journey to a physical clinic site. Instead, the clinic operates virtually, connecting participants, law students, and attorneys, through a website portal.

"Servant leadership is a major theme at Baylor Law," said Brad Toben, dean of Baylor Law. "These future lawyers are getting great hands-on experience working along skilled attorneys helping their fellow Texans solve real legal problems. We believe this innovative program shows great promise as a model to leverage technology to address the growing access to justice gap."

Before the event, those seeking answers to their legal questions from around the state registered at www.texas.freelegalanswers.org. The portal presented users with an easy-to-use and convenient interface for entering their legal questions. On Thursday, September 21, fifteen Baylor Law student volunteers and five volunteer attorneys from Naman Howell converged at the firm’s headquarters in Waco, Texas. The students and attorneys worked collaboratively together to answer questions from the Texas Legal Answers website.

"Our firm has been answering the legal questions of Texas citizens since 1917," said Hayes Fuller, the managing partner of Naman Howell. "Although many of these questions have changed over the years, as law and society have changed, the fundamental need of those in our community to know and understand the law and how it impacts their daily lives has not changed. If anything, this need has grown greater as our world and the law have grown more complex, leaving many with the feeling that they are no longer a part of the whole. It is Naman Howell’s hope that programs like Texas Legal Answers will help close this access to justice gap. No matter what the question, our firm is committed to counseling all families and businesses looking for solutions to their legal problems. We can think of no better way to celebrate our 100th anniversary!"

Special thanks to Naman, Howell, Smith & Lee, PLLC for co-sponsoring the Texas Legal Answers "Answer-a-Thon." For more information about the firm, please visit: www.namanhowell.com or call 254-755-4100.

For more information about Baylor Law’s pro bono programs, please visit baylor.edu/law/public or email Stephen Rispoli at: stephen_rispoli@baylor.edu.




WRITTEN BY: Joshua Weaver, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist, Baylor Law School
CONTACT: josh_weaver@baylor.edu or 254.710.6681


ABOUT BAYLOR LAW SCHOOL
Established in 1857, Baylor Law School was one of the first law schools in Texas and one of the first west of the Mississippi River. Today, the school has more than 7,400 living alumni. It is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Baylor Law School has a record of producing outstanding lawyers, many of whom decide upon a career in public service. The Law School boasts two governors, members or former members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, two former directors of the FBI, U.S. ambassadors, federal judges, justices of the Texas Supreme Court and members of the Texas Legislature, among its notable alumni. In its law specialties rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked Baylor Law's trial advocacy program as #3 in the nation. Baylor Law School is also ranked #51 in the magazine's 2018 edition of "America's Best Graduate Schools." The National Jurist ranks Baylor Law as one of the "Best School for Practical Training," and #4 in the nation in its most recent "Best Law School Facilities" listing. The Business Insider places Baylor Law among the top 50 law schools in the nation. Baylor Law School received the 2015 American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award, making it only the third law school in the nation to be honored with the award since the award's inception in 1984.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 D1 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big XII Conference. Learn more at baylor.edu

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