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UNT Dallas College of Law receives $500,000 in new federal funding for community lawyering centers

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March 14, 2024


The UNT Dallas College of Law Community Lawyering Centers have received $500,000 in new funding, as part of a spending package signed by President Joe Biden over the weekend. The legislation totaled $460 billion, including $10,476,031 for various projects in Texas's 30th Congressional District, represented by Rep. Jasmine Crockett.

“The Community Project Funding will pay for 11 transformational projects for the people of TX-30,” said Rep. Crockett. 

The Community Lawyering Centers provide free legal services to eligible residents. Students from UNT Dallas College of Law handle cases, which are supervised by faculty from UNT Dallas College of Law and experienced attorneys from Legal Aid of Northwest Texas, Dallas Public Defender’s Office, and other qualified attorneys.

“This funding will support a critical part of the UNT Dallas College of Law curriculum. The Community Lawyering Centers allow us to provide valuable practical experience to our students and much-needed legal services to our community while meeting ABA standards that require experiential education. I am grateful to Rep. Crockett for her advocacy,” said UNT Dallas College of Law Dean Felicia Epps.  

Legal matters handled by the CLC include:

  • Housing/evictions
  • Family law
  • Child support 
  • Child custody 
  • Immigration
  • Wills and probate

“We are very grateful to Congresswoman Crockett for her work to secure this funding for our Community Lawyering Centers. The crown jewels of the law school, the centers reflect the intentional integration of innovative education and community service that are foundational pillars of the school. With these funds, we will be able to expand our outreach as we begin a new phase of delivering legal assistance while continuing our neighborhood-based program,” said UNT Dallas College of Law Professor Cheryl B. Wattley.

Through the CLCs, UNT Dallas law students:

  • Serve as Guardian Ad Litems or Amicus attorneys for children who were in the care of Childrens Protective Services (CPS)
  • Represent individuals in family, eviction, juvenile, and probate cases
  • Mediate cases through the Dallas County Dispute Mediation Services, Tarrant County Homeless Coalition, and Justice of the Peach Judge Mike Jones
  • Represent juveniles charged in City of Dallas Municipal Court, seeking resolution that focuses on rehabilitation and education rather than criminalization.

The Community Lawyering Centers were founded in 2016 and offer day and evening appointments during the week, and Saturday appointments.

4716 Elsie Faye Heggins Street
Dallas, Texas 75210

511 North Akard St., Suite 102
Dallas, Texas 75201

The Community Lawyering Centers have strong relationships with other local organizations. These partnerships allow the CLC to broaden the resources it offers to residents and businesses. Legal services are provided by:

  1. UNT Dallas College of Law
  2. Legal Aid of Northwest Texas 
  3. Dallas County Public Defender’s Office Legal Action Works (L.A.W.)

Others offering services to the centers or to residents of the community through the centers include:

  • El Centro College Paralegal Program Dallas County Juvenile Justice
  • Frazier House
  • Children at Risk
  • YMCA

UNT Dallas Urban SERCH Institute DISD

In addition to the federal funding just announced, UNT Dallas College of Law gratefully acknowledges generous donations to the Community Lawyering Centers program from:

The combined funding from donations, the federal government, and other sources ensures the continuous operation of the Community Lawyering Centers and the important services they provide to Dallas area residents in need of legal assistance.

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