Projects and Publications

Community Assistance Project

The Community Assistance Project, funded by a grant from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, provides community redevelopment assistance to legal aid attorneys and communities in Texas. Activities include training legal aid attorneys and communities, providing case support, coordinating information, and developing high-impact legal tools and analysis.

INCLUDE

INCLUDE is an initiative to advance the rights of persons with disabilities and the involvement of law students in the disability rights movement. The project includes supported decision making (SDM) pro bono clinics for students with disabilities in transition to adulthood. Additional work includes a study of the implementation of SDM in Texas, which was enacted by the Texas Legislature in 2015 and is the first statute of its kind in the United States. INCLUDE is supported, in part, with generous funding from the Texas Center for Disability Studies at The University of Texas in Austin.

Educational Equity Project

The Educational Equity Project addresses educational barriers for low-income and minority students. It includes the Texas Law Youth Court at Webb Middle School and Paredes Middle School; the Mithoff Pro Bono Program’s Expunction Project, a clinic model that engages volunteer law students and lawyers to help individuals expunge their criminal records; and representation of individual students in school disciplinary, misdemeanor ticketing and truancy hearings.

UT Opportunity Forum

The Justice Center is a co-founder of the UT Opportunity Forum, an interdisciplinary collaboration of University of Texas at Austin faculty working to foster the expansion of equitable opportunities for low-income Texans. Its mission is to foster relationships and strategies to promote more vibrant and equitable cities in Texas, with a focus on affordable housing, community planning, economic development, education, and transportation.

Texas Law Youth Court

Youth Court is an alternative discipline program designed to challenge the school-to-prison-pipeline, a national trend whereby children are funneled out of schools and into the juvenile justice system. Law students involved in Youth Court work in local middle schools to train and supervise students to hold peer-run trials and also serve as mentors to at-risk students, engaging them in a positive disciplinary program.

Criminal Debt Collection Project

In May 2016, the Justice Center convened stakeholder conversations on Class C fines and fees, bringing together municipal and justice of the peace judges, state officials, and advocates. The first convening discussed existing practices for the assessment and collection of court fines and fees in Class C proceedings and considered potential statutory and regulatory changes that could promote access to justice and fair outcomes for all Class C defendants regardless of their income. In the second convening, speakers shared their insights on current court practices around the state that serve as potential models for reform.

Parent’s Guide

A guide for parents involved with Texas Child Protective Services co-authored by Justice Center, in partnership with the Texas Supreme Court Children’s Commission and practitioners from around the state.

Emerging Trends in Adult Guardianship: Review of State Practices and Summary of Findings for Texas

A report on adult guardianship in Texas, which contrasts Texas’ current adult guardianship requirements with reforms and changes made in a number of states that have recently modified their guardianship procedures. The report identifies a series of best practices that have emerged in recent years across the U.S., and concludes by highlighting opportunities to further strengthen Texas’ adult guardianship system.

Texas Title Project

An innovative two-year title-clearing project designed to provide low-income disaster survivors with the chance to move to higher opportunity neighborhoods, funded with a grant from the Texas General Land Office to assist survivors of Hurricanes Dolly and Ike. The project was part of a larger coordinated hurricane recovery program that included the participation of communities affected by the disasters, advocates for low-income survivors, and local, state, and federal agencies.

Travis County Model Court Education Advocacy Pilot Study

The Justice Center and the Texas Law Children’s Rights Clinic helped develop a multi-stakeholder pilot education reform project focused on youth entering the child welfare system in Travis County. The Education Advocacy Pilot Project was an initiative of the Travis County Model Court for Children and Families for the 2012–2013 school year.