Volunteer Legal Services’ CLEs

Upcoming CLEs & Attorney Events 

Criminalizing Poverty: Debtor’s Prison in the 21st Century
Representing Clients Facing Debtor’s Prison

“Jailing criminal defendants who cannot pay their fines and court costs, commonly called debtors’ prison, keeps them from jobs, hurts their families, makes them dependent upon society, and costs the taxpayers money.  Most importantly, it is illegal under the United States Constitution.”   —Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht

  1. Overview of Debtor’s Prison Problem in Texas
  1. Representing Low Income Clients with Class C Misdemeanor Fines/Warrants Pending in Travis County JP Courts and City of Austin Municipal Courts
  • Process When No Plea Entered—Meeting with Prosecutor
  • Process When Guilty-No Contest Plea Entered—Motion for Finding of Indigence & Waiver of Fines
  • Procedure at City of Austin – Municipal / Community Court
  • Procedure at Travis County Justice of the Peace, Precincts 1-5
  1. Representing Low Income Clients before Texas Department of Public Safety
  • Driver’s License Suspension
  • Request for Waiver of Department of Public Safety Surcharges
  1. Petitioning Courts for Occupational Licenses

When: Thursday, April 13 @ 9:00-11:30am

Where: Fish and Richardson, 111 Congress Ave, Ste. 810, Austin, TX 78701

Cost: **FREE** for licensed attorneys who take two debtor’s prison cases through VLS in 2017. We estimate these cases will take no more than 5 hours per waiver request from beginning to end. PARKING WILL NOT BE VALIDATED.

Credit2.5 hrs

SPEAKERS: Texas Fair Defense Project; Criminal Defense Attorneys Stefanie Collins and Paul Quinzi; Travis County Prosecutor Mariel Puryear; Travis County Law Library Resource Attorneys Madalyn Marabella and Daniel Smith; and VLS Staff Attorney Jonathan Buck.

To reserve a spot, RSVP to Diana Villegas at dvillegas@vlsoct.org or by calling 512-640-7739.


Overview of Divorce Process
With Emphasis on Filing and Temporary Orders

Guest Speakers: Patricia Dixon, Gray & Becker PC


When: Thursday, April 202017 @ 12:00-1:00PM


Where: Heman Marion Sweatt Travis County Courthouse

1000 Guadalupe, 4th Floor Austin, Texas

Judge Andrew Hathcock’s Courtroom


Cost: **FREE** to VLS volunteer attorneys

Credit: 1 hr, no ethics


Feel free to bring your lunch! 

Please RSVP to Martha Contreras at Mcontreras@vlsoct.org


Upcoming Brown Bag Seminars
Family Law

Date: April 20, 2017
Topic: Overview of steps in a divorce case–filing petition, obtaining temporary orders, discovery, attempt to settle, final trial with emphasis on filing petition and getting temporary orders
Speaker: Patricia Dixon

Date: June 15, 2017
Topic: Role Play/Mock Hearing on specific property issues with focus on family violence and its impact on spousal maintenance and disproportionate division of property
Speakers: Mary Evelyn McNamara & Eric Robertson

Date: August 17, 2017
Topic: Role Play/Mock Hearing on specific children’s issues with focus on family violence and its impact on supervised visitation and SMC/PC vs. JMC
Speakers: Kathleen Coble & TBA

Date: October 19, 2017
Topic: Identify exhibits/evidence routinely introduced in VLS cases including pre-trial forms, criminal records, household records, photos, texts, other social media like Facebook, etc. with comment on typical objections to this evidence
Speaker: Jodi Lazar

Registration for Brown Bag Seminars is not yet open. Please check back soon!