Posted inUncategorized

Chief Justice Jack Pope, 1913-2017

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Photo courtesy of Texas Supreme Court

Former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Jack Pope, the longest living state chief justice in U.S. history, died Saturday, the Supreme Court announced. He was 103.

Pope served as an associate justice on the Texas Supreme Court from 1964 to 1982 and as chief justice from 1982 to 1985. He was known for accomplishments including the establishment of formal judicial education for Texas judges and a judicial ethics code.

The Texas Supreme Court has a news release and video tribute here.

Posted inMember BenefitsMember Benefits and ServicesMember Discount Program

Discounts for savings goals

Now’s the time to tend to your finances and grow your savings. All you need to do is plant the seeds—draft a budget and stick to it, refinance your loans, set financial goals, and get your taxes done early. Beneplace is here to help! As a State Bar member, you have access to products and services to help you get on the road to financial success.
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Posted inLaw Firms and Legal Departments

Scams Continue to Target Texas Attorneys

Update: 2/23/17: We have received reports of another scam email targeting Texas attorneys. Some attorneys have received emails that appear to be coming from another attorney. It appears that the scammer was able to access attorneys’ email address books for the purpose of forwarding the e-mail from one attorney to another giving the appearance that it is a referral. It is apparently a scam enlisting attorneys to prepare legal documents upon receiving a cashier’s check deposited in trust accounts with an overpayment of legal fees being returned to the scammer from the attorney’s trust account. The initial payment is fraudulent.

Law firms in Canada and the UK have received similar e-mails.

The scam emails are coming from the following accounts with the name Tijmen Smit: systemspecified@yahoo.com and jamescrosbyhalifax@yahoo.co.uk.
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Posted inLaw SchoolsLocal BarsNews

Free legal issues workshops in San Antonio on Feb. 25

Screen Shot 2017-02-21 at 4.54.52 PMMembers of the public will be able to learn about common legal issues from local attorneys at free workshops in San Antonio on February 25.

During the 23rd Annual People’s Law School, hosted by the San Antonio Bar Foundation and St. Mary’s University School of Law’s Pro Bono Program, local attorneys will share their expertise on topics including wills, divorce, immigration, landlord-tenant issues, identity theft, and the risks and consequences of driving while intoxicated.

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Posted inAbout The Bar

Opinion: A Message From the State Bar of Texas President

Editor’s Note: This communication to State Bar members went out earlier today via email from President Frank Stevenson and other State Bar officers.

We’ve heard from many fellow Texas lawyers with questions regarding the Sunset Process and other State Bar matters. We would like to set the record straight on the issues for which we’ve received the most questions.

State Bar Review by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission
The Sunset Commission’s report indicates that your State Bar has been doing the right things at the right times for the right reasons.

State Bar’s Board and its Members Control Dues-Setting
The Sunset Commission recommended that “membership fee changes” be separated from the referendum process and instead be part of the State Bar budget process. Does this mean the members might lose control over dues? No. An extensive approval process, initiated by the State Bar Board of Directors that invites ample input from the members, would be required for any dues increase to occur.

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Posted inNewsTexas Bar Journal

Enter the 2017 Texas Bar Journal Short Story Contest

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 2.45.54 PMWe want you to take your storytelling skills to paper and pen your passion. You’ve got 2,000 words to state your case. Dream big. There can be only one winner. Will it be you?

Submit your manuscript to the Texas Bar Journal Short Story Contest by 5 p.m. March 1, 2017.

To be eligible, you must be a lawyer admitted to practice and a member of the State Bar of Texas in good standing. Members of the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors and the Texas Bar Journal Board of Editors are not eligible. All stories should be unpublished and must deal with or be related to the law or lawyers in some fashion. One entry per person is accepted and manuscripts should not exceed 2,000 words.

The top three winning entries as selected by an independent panel of judges will be featured in the June 2017 issue of the Texas Bar Journal. For more information, go to texasbar.com/shortstory.

Posted inPeopleTexas Board of Legal Specialization

Being Board Certified

The Texas Board of Legal Specialization inducted 267 attorneys and 22 paralegals at a ceremony in Austin on February 10, 2017. TBLS recognizes 22 specialty areas for attorneys and seven specialty areas for paralegals. Construction law, which was added last year, had one of the largest attorney groups of an inaugural specialty in TBLS history. There are more than 100,000 attorneys licensed to practice law in Texas but only roughly 7,400 are board certified. The Texas Bar Journal spoke with three certified attorneys—one who has held the distinction for a while and two who recently passed their exams—about their practice areas, decisions to become certified, and why certification is so important to them. The 2017 applications for board certification are now available at the TBLS website Get Certified page.

 

Christopher S. Ayres  Christopher Ayres Headshot

Christopher S. Ayres is president and a shareholder in Ayres Law Offices in Addison, where he focuses on civil litigation and personal injury law. A graduate of Baylor Law School, Ayres, at age 31, became the youngest Texas lawyer to be double certified in civil trial law and personal injury law. He is also certified in civil pretrial and civil trial law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

What prompted you to become board certified? And why did you feel the need to get double certified?

I’m in a somewhat unique position in that I practice law with my dad, and my dad is the only lawyer in Texas with his level of board certification. Ever since I began my law practice, my dad instilled in me a belief and opinion that board certification matters. And the reason why I believe it is so important, and why I chose to vigorously pursue it, is because it is something that you are able to disclose to clients and the public about your competency that very few lawyers have. By being able to say “I’m a board certified lawyer,” you are able to express to clients and the public that you have a requisite amount of experience that the average lawyer doesn’t and you have abilities and expertise and knowledge that the average lawyer doesn’t. So, to me, from the outset of my career, I believed it was important to pursue so that I could obtain board certification as promptly as possible.

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Posted inMember BenefitsMember Benefits and ServicesMember Discount Program

Discounts for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is almost here—check out Beneplace for sweet savings on flowers, gourmet treats, gifts and more. As a member of the State Bar of Texas, you have access to hundreds of exclusive discounts. Don’t pay full price, take advantage of these offers—shop, compare, and save every day.
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Posted inAccess to JusticeLocal BarsSpecial Event

Dallas volunteer attorneys hold free February expunction clinic

The Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program will hold a free expunction and non-disclosure clinic for Dallas County residents who meet certain financial guidelines at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at the West Dallas Multi-Purpose Community Center, 2828 Fish Trap Road.

Volunteer attorneys will answer questions on expunction and non-disclosure orders and provide free legal assistance to low-income Dallas County residents. Texas law allows individuals to permanently remove or expunge information about an arrest, charge, or conviction from their permanent records in certain circumstances. If a person does not qualify for an expunction, he or she may qualify for a non-disclosure order. The order does not destroy all record of the offense, but limits the accessibility of the records.

Expunction clinics are held monthly on every third Tuesday. If residents need assistance before or after a clinic, they can attend one of the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program’s other legal clinics.

Posted inAccess to JusticeLocal BarsSpecial EventVeterans

Free legal clinic for veterans in Texas City on Feb. 18

The Galveston County Bar Association and Houston Bar Foundation’s Veterans Legal Initiative will host a free legal clinic for veterans from 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 18 in suite 206 of the Texas City VA Outpatient Clinic, 9300 Emmett F. Lowry Expressway.

Any veteran or spouse of a deceased veteran can receive one-on-one assistance and advice from a volunteer attorney in any area of law. No appointment is necessary. Veterans who need ongoing representation and who qualify for legal aid may be assigned a pro bono attorney to handle their case.

The Veterans Legal Initiative is a coalition of local bar associations that provides pro bono legal services to U.S. veterans in 18 Texas counties.

For more information, call 713-759-1133 or visit hba.org.

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