May 3, 2018 — Texas Lawyer recently featured two newly-minted attorneys from the University of Houston Law Center who saw a great need for low-cost legal services and set about to fill the gap with a no-frills, non-profit law firm.
MacKenzie Dunham and Doug Evans, graduates in the Class of '17, founded Access Justice Houston using donated office space, free phone service and legal management tools, and a $3,000 grant from the Law Center. Their start-up is the fourth non-profit firm based in Texas, and the only one to be founded by recent law school graduates.
The two classmates were driven to help people and focused on an important problem in the Texas court system — most people can't afford a lawyer. Their rates run on a sliding scale based on a person's income.
"We used the entrepreneurship clinic at UHLC to form the non-profit this past summer while we were studying for the bar exam," Dunham said. "The business plan for the organization was developed through the entrepreneurship class taught by Professor (Tony) Chase.
"We're also working closely with the clinics to do community outreach and events. Overall, we probably couldn't have started our organization if it wasn't for the amazing people and programs at UHLC."
Dunham and Evans help clients with immigration law, criminal defense law and consumer protection issues.