Betty Balli Torres, executive director of the Austin-based Texas Access to Justice Foundation (TAJF), was presented with The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA)’s 2021 Innovations in Equal Justice Award in a ceremony on May 6. The award honored Balli Torres for her decades of contributions to and support of the provision of civil legal services at the local, state and national levels.

“Betty works tirelessly on behalf of the underserved and is an invaluable voice in the national conversation to advance civil legal aid,” said Deborah Hankinson, TAJF’s board chair, in a statement. “For decades, she has advocated for equal access to the justice system and redoubled TAJF’s efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that emergency civil legal aid, which is more essential than ever, is available to those who need it. I can’t think of a more deserving recipient of this award.”