Houston, TX – Lone Star Legal Aid is honored to recognize two women that have received prestigious awards during Women’s History Month. Both of these women are making changes within the civil justice system to restore human dignity, heal broken lives, and enhance safety, civility, justice, and equity through their work.

Sonia Lopez, Director of Innovative Planning at LSLA, was named a 2021 Veteran Trailblazer by the US Department of Veteran Affairs. The 2021 Trailblazers: Women Veterans Leading the Way campaign features 27 women veterans and showcases the impact these trailblazers have made on a single event or action or demonstrated over time in the areas of education, employment, entrepreneurship, homelessness, law, mental health, and wellness.

Lopez graduated from South Texas College of Law in 2001 and immediately began her legal career as a staff attorney with Lone Star Legal Aid. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its work on helping low‐income clients face civil legal issues, including helping clients maintain their homes, fight foreclosures and evictions, and obtain governmental benefits. She furthered her direct impact in serving veterans and their families when she promoted to supervising Lone Star Legal Aid’s Military & Veterans Unit. This unit serves low‐income veteran families across 72 counties in southeast Texas, protecting and advancing their civil legal rights by providing advocacy, legal representation, and community education that safeguard equal access to justice. In her leadership role, she has grown the unit from two staff serving the Houston area to twenty staff serving the firm’s entire 72 county area, including Fort Hood. Many Veterans experience a shock when resuming civilian life, but Ms. Lopez now serves as Director of Innovative Programming for Lone Star Legal Aid, overseeing not only the Military and Veterans Unit but also the Crime Victims Unit, Conroe Branch office, and the Grants Management department. She remains active in supporting Veterans’ initiatives in the region.

Women Veterans are one of the fastest growing demographics within VA, expecting to reach nearly 20% of the Veteran population by 2045. “Few better exemplify the courage of American women in the fight for equality than those who have served this country in uniform even as they fought our nation’s wars. Women have been defending our freedom in every conflict since the Revolutionary War.

Susan Soto, a Staff Attorney in Lone Star Legal Aid’s Conroe branch office, has been named a Super Lawyers Rising Star for 2021. Super Lawyers, a division of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The objective of Super Lawyers’ patented multiphase selection process is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel.

This prestigious recognition is not a “pay to play” program; Super Lawyers maintains strict separation between research and advertising. Each Super Lawyers candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis. The selection process for the Rising Stars list is the same as the Super Lawyers selection process, with one exception: to be eligible for inclusion in Rising Stars, a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less. All attorneys first go through the Super Lawyers selection process. Those who are not selected to the Super Lawyers list, but who meet either one of the Rising Stars eligibility requirements, go through the Rising Stars selection process. While up to five percent of the lawyers in the state are named to Super Lawyers, no more than 2.5 percent are named to the Rising Stars list.

Soto, a former teacher and principal in Texas public schools, was licensed to practice law in Texas in 2011. She founded Susan Soto Law, PLLC, a school law boutique firm that represented parents, teachers and students against schools and school districts, pre-K to post-graduate. In 2020, Soto closed the firm and joined Lone Star Legal Aid.

The Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists boast a readership of over 2.5 million with publication in Texas Monthly, Texas Super Lawyers Magazine, Texas Super Lawyers Magazine – Rising Stars, and various online sources.

Soto lives in Missouri City and is active in her community, serving as president of her homeowners’ association and the Stafford-Missouri City Lions Club. Soto said, “I am honored to be included as a Rising Star for 2021 and to join the ranks of attorneys across the country who are recognized by their peers for their professional achievements. I am fortunate to have two careers that have allowed me to serve others: education and law. My thirty years of work experience have allowed me to extend a helping hand to many, and I am humbled by and grateful for this recognition of my efforts.”

Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing; improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, like those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at http://www.lonestarlegal.org.

Media contact: Clarissa Ayala, cayala@lonestarlegal.org