2012 Recipient

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Where presented : 
NLADA Annual Conference
Recipient(s) name: 
Richard Tate
Recipient organization: 
Partner, Tate Moerer & King, LLP
Recipient organization city: 
Recipient organization state: 
Reason for selection of recipient(s): 

Nearly two decades ago, Tate responded to a simple request for volunteers in the Texas Bar Journal. He signed up to help with the Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation (now known as the Texas Access to Justice Foundation)
based largely on his experience growing up in a small town in North Caroline that instilled in him an aspiration of ensuring the courthouse door is open to all who need it. He has served as Chair of the Foundation Board of Directors since 1999. On becoming the Chair, he immediately began working closely with the team of lawyers defending the constitutionality of Texas’ IOLTA program. Other significant accomplishments during his tenure include: assisting in preserving LSC funding through his meetings with the TX Congressional delegation in the US Congress; securing state funding to replace cuts in LSC funding, resulting in no lay-offs or office closings in 2011-12 in TX, one of the few states in the country that were saved from that fate; the establishment of a fellows program in partnership with Equal Justice Works that has brought 29 fellow to TX during the last decade; leading several initiatives to combat falling interest rates that led the TX Supreme Court to pass an IOLTA account Comparability Rule; nearly tripling the amount of grants distribution from the Foundation, despite dramatic reductions in IOLTA funds due to falling interest rates.

A courageous and compassionate leader, he has established strong working relationships with legal aid providers, local bar leaders, partners in the banking industry, and collaborations with the State Bar of TX and TX Access to Justice Commission. Annually, Tate participates in championing the needs of TX legal aid providers in Washington, DC with the TX Congressional delegation and he regularly testifies before the TX Supreme Court and legislature on the legal funding needs of poor Texans. In addition to his generous donation of time and talent to the Foundation, he significantly contributes financially as well to supporting civil legal aid and routinely handles pro bono matters.

Tate is a private practitioner for 32 years and the founding partner of his firm. He earned his law degree from the University of Houston and his undergraduate degree from Pan American University, and a master’s degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.