Laurie Hallmark is the Special Project Director for Mental Health Programs at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid which serves sixty-eight counties in the state of Texas, from Austin to El Paso and the entire border region. She has exclusively represented clients with serious mental illness for the past four years as well as survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. She also works with the Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy & Ethics at USC Gould School of Law and as an advisor to the state of California on Psychiatric Advance Directives. She is a member of the Disability Issues Committee of the State Bar of Texas and was featured as a 2020 TEDMED speaker. Laurie is committed to providing representation for people with serious mental illness to ensure that they can access critically important support and services to live integrated lives within their communities. Through psychiatric advance directives (PADs), people with serious mental illness inform the system of their preferences, their needs. PADs are the foundation for truly self-determination based supports and services. They are a tool to hold the system accountable to the human beings the system exists to serve. They are a mechanism to address the cycle of criminal justice, homelessness, and hospitalization recidivism.