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V&E Honored for Contributions to Homeless Youth Policy Report

Published: 11-16-2017

Texas Appleseed has honored Vinson & Elkins with a 2017 Pro Bono Leadership Award, in recognition of the firm’s help researching and developing policy recommendations to the Texas Legislature designed to address challenges faced by the state’s homeless youth population. 

V&E received the award on November 16, 2017 at Texas Appleseed’s Good Apple Dinner, which honors leaders in the legal profession for their community contributions.

According to the National Center for Homeless Education, Texas has approximately 10 percent of the country’s homeless youth and children. During the 2014-2015 school year, Texas school districts identified 113,294 students as homeless -- a 12 percent increase from the 2013-14 school year.

In 2016, Texas Appleseed staff, volunteers, and a team of more than 30 pro bono attorneys and summer associates from V&E, led by partner Doug Bland and the firm’s pro bono counsel Ellyn Josef, interviewed hundreds of individuals, including youth experiencing homelessness, to identify gaps where critical Texas educational, criminal justice, foster care, and health care systems are failing to serve these youth. The report highlights their stories and includes policy recommendations to the Texas Legislature aimed at addressing current shortfalls.

Texas Appleseed is a nonprofit public interest justice center that promotes social and economic justice for all Texans by leveraging the skills and resources of volunteer lawyers and other professionals to identify practical solutions to difficult, systemic problems. Texas Appleseed also conducts data-driven research that uncovers inequity in laws and policies and identifies solutions for lasting, concrete change.

V&E is a longtime supporter of Texas Appleseed, which previously recognized the firm in 2014 for its pro bono representation of several North Texas students facing criminal truancy charges. Firm partner Tom Leatherbury is a Texas Appleseed board member and partner Harry Reasoner is a past recipient of the Texas Appleseed Good Apple Award.

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