Posted inMember BenefitsMember Benefits and ServicesMember Discount Program

Educational tools, resources, and tuition discounts

Nelson Mandela called education “the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” and John Dewey claimed that education “is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” Whether you’re continuing your education, supporting a child or looking to keep your brain active, check out Beneplace for great educational tools, resources, and tuition discounts.

It’s never too early to start learning. ABCmouse.com offers online learning programs designed for children ages 2-7. Sign up today to save more than 15%, plus get your first month free. Or sign up for Kiwi Crate for a monthly delivery of high quality, award winning products for young innovators age 3 to 16.

Get a head start on test prep! You have access to free SAT and ACT PowerPrep Programs through eKnowledge. These programs cater to your unique learning style and schedule—they are semester-length, interactive, multimedia online courses that work on any device or computer. Additionally, you are eligible to receive a discount of $100 off any Veritas Prep SAT Full Course for your child. These are classroom courses around the country and live online courses.

When it comes to tuition savings, every bit helps. All Campus offers significant tuition discounts on a variety of programs at top-notch universities, including the University of Southern California, The George Washington University, the University of Arizona, the University of Florida, and many more. You and your family members are eligible for this discount.

Learning should be a lifelong endeavor. Even if you aren’t enrolled in school or going to classes, you can engage your mind. Use the Fit Brains app to enhance your memory, focus and brain speed in just a few minutes a day. Save 35% on a 12-month subscription to this the award-winning brain training program.

Current offers provided by Beneplace.

For more information on other discounts you’re eligible for as a member of the State Bar of Texas, visit texasbar.com/benefits.

Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange
The Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange is a multi-carrier private exchange designed for State Bar of Texas members and their staff and dependents. Available to both individuals and employer groups, the exchange offers a wide range of health insurance choices and more.

State Bar of Texas – Benefits & Services

Posted inGuest BlogNews

Tips for new Texas lawyers in real estate law

A new batch of Texas lawyers was sworn in this past November, and I realized that now would be a good time to share some pointers and direct my fellow colleagues to three key websites in the real estate law field.

First, the Texas Real Estate Commission, or TREC, website at trec.texas.gov is your home base. TREC is a consumer protection agency based in Austin whose mission is “protecting consumers through programs of education, licensing and industry regulation.

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Posted inFifth Circuit Court of AppealsJudiciaryNews

Fifth Circuit seeks input on proposed rule change

The United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit is accepting comments about a proposed amendment to Circuit Rule 32.4 concerning extra-length briefs.

After receiving public comments following recent amendments to the Federal Rules for Appellate Procedure involving word-count limits, the court decided not to opt out but to propose an amendment to Rule 32.4:

32.4 Motion for Extra-Length Briefs.

A motion to file a brief in excess of the page length or word-volume limitations must be filed at least 10 days in advance of the brief’s due date. The court looks upon such motions with great disfavor and will grant them only for extraordinary and compelling reasons. If a motion to file an extra-length brief is submitted, a draft copy of the brief must be submitted with the motion.

The court will accept written comments for consideration through March 6, mailed to Clerk of Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, ATTN: Rule Changes, 600 South Maestri Pl., New Orleans, LA 70130 or emailed to Changes@ca5.uscourts.gov.

Read the full notice here.

 

Posted inNewsPro Bono

State Bar asks members to participate in pro bono survey

The State Bar of Texas and its Pro Bono Workgroup is asking members to participate in a statewide survey on pro bono service.

The results will help leaders better understand the legal services provided to low-income Texans and the factors that encourage or discourage pro bono service.

The anonymous survey will take between 10 and 30 minutes depending on an attorney’s level of pro bono work. Lawyers who are licensed in more than one state may be invited to take the survey in each state in which he or she is licensed but should only participate once.

All State Bar members who participate by March 3 will be eligible to enter a drawing to receive one of 10 $500 Visa gift cards.

Take the survey online here.

Posted inConferenceEducationSpecial Event

Registration opens for 35th Annual Texas Forum

The 35th Annual Texas Forum: Today’s Legal Practice for Attorneys and Paralegals – Faster, Better, Stronger will focus on fine-tuning the attorney/paralegal partnership.

The event runs from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. March 8 at the Texas Law Center, 1414 Colorado Ave., Austin.  Registration for both the live event and the webcast is underway.

The Forum will include a luncheon presentation on Civility and Professionalism by State Bar of Texas President-elect Tom Vick. Other panel topics include Public Access to Court Records, the Risky Business of HIPAA, The Justice Gap, and How to Make a Better Mental Widget: Process Improvement in the Legal Profession.

See the full brochure here. The forum offers 5.5 hours of MCLE credit (2.5 ethics).

Posted inAccess to JusticeLocal BarsSpecial EventVeterans

Free legal clinic for Richmond-area veterans upcoming

Veterans or spouses of veterans in need of legal guidance can visit a free clinic from 9 a.m. to noon January 21 at the Richmond VA Outpatient Clinic, 22001 Southwest Freeway, Suite 200.

No appointment is necessary. At the clinic, veterans and/or their spouses can receive one-on-one advice from a volunteer attorney in any area of law, including family, wills and probate, consumer, real estate, tax law, disability and veterans benefits. Veterans who qualify for legal aid may be assigned a pro bono attorney to handle their case if they need ongoing representation.

The clinic is hosted by Fort Bend Lawyers Care, the Fort Bend County Bar Association and the Houston Bar Foundation’s Veterans Legal Initiative.

For more information, contact the Veterans Legal Initiative at 713-759-1133 or visit www.hba.org.

Posted inAccess to JusticeLocal Bars

Dallas volunteer attorneys host free small business legal clinic

The Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program (DVAP) will hold a free small business legal clinic this month for Dallas County residents who meet certain financial guidelines.

The clinic, which will be held at 5 p.m. Jan. 19 at Grace United Methodist Church, 4105 Junius St. in Dallas, will assist residents with legal counsel on starting and organizing a new business; drafting contracts and leases; legal advice regarding business permits, licenses and regulations; and referrals to lenders and other assistance programs.

If residents need assistance before or after the small business clinic, they can attend one of the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program’s other legal clinics. DVAP is a joint initiative of the Dallas Bar Association and Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas. For a list of other clinics click here.

Posted inSponsored Content

Sponsored Content: 11 Online Security Tips for 2017

11SecurityTipsfor20172017 is just underway, and with it a multitude of new online threats. From viruses and spyware to hacking and identity theft, these online threats can pose a serious problem to you, your law firm, and your clients. For this reason, it’s important to take steps to keep your data safe and your clients’ personal information protected online.

The 2016 statistics are yet to be completed, but in 2015, Symantec Corporation – a company that sells and operates online security software, most notably Norton Antivirus – claims they saw a record number of company security breaches, with 429 million identities being stolen or lost. In 2017, a whole new set of risks will appear, making it more important than ever for law firms to take security into their own hands.

Today, we’re taking a quick look at 11 online security tips that will keep you and your law firm safe in the coming year.

  1. Use Two-Step Authentication

Let’s be honest. Most people can figure out your birthday or even one of your typical security questions. To prevent this, you just need to use two-step authentication. This means you’ll need to pass at least two levels of security to access your accounts. For example, when you login regularly with your email and password, you will receive a verification code sent to your phone. This ensures that despite having your password, an intruder will still not be able to access your account information and do any damage to your personal information.

  1. Update Your Browsers

Updating your browser may seem a waste of time, but it’s really important. Not only do you update your browser with the latest features, but you’ll also be patching known security flaws to help protect you against viruses and online threats. Chrome, Edge, Safari, FireFox, Opera and all other major browser operators patch flaws on a regular basis.

  1. Use Encryption

Using encryption protocols on your emails and text messages can ensure that only the people intended to receive your messages will receive them. It also means that personal data can be sent efficiently without security worries.

  1. Use Firewalls

Firewalls are an amazing tool to keep your data safe. It’s a way to block unauthorized access to your Wi-Fi network while also being able to communicate outwardly. Using a firewall in your office can hide your network name from other Wi-Fi users, and can help prevent your connection from being hacked.

  1. Don’t Disable User Account Control

Windows users may sometimes disable UAC. This means that your computer will not prompt you to agree to give software access to different parts of your PC. Make sure it’s switched on so you see exactly what different applications you are using.

  1. Delete Unsolicited Emails

Unless you recognize where an email comes from or why they are sending you a message, it would be a good idea to delete any unsolicited messages. This helps avoid clicking on links that contain viruses and prevents malware from being installed on your work equipment.

  1. Avoid Ransomware

An increasingly common form of malicious software is ransomware. Users may find pop-up links that inform them they have a virus installed on their computer and they must call a phone number to have it removed. Educate your colleagues on how these tricks work, and contact IT professionals right away to ensure none of your data has ben compromised.

  1. Use Folder Passwords

Windows and Mac users can apply passwords to folders, adding an extra layer of authentication to your sensitive data.

  1. Perform Regular Updates

Mac OS and Windows users both have access to regular updates, which are essential. Taking ten minutes to update your computer in the morning can protect your entire network from problems that Microsoft and Apple are already aware of.

  1. Secure your files

If you manage your files online, you need to ensure your data is safe. Make sure to use HIPAA compliant software, such as box.com, to ensure that all of your files are encrypted with the highest level of security.

In fact, that’s why PracticePanther, a legal case management software integrates with Box, as it allows law firms to share personal information without concern.

Top-level security features include 256-bit military grade encryption, two-step authentication, geo-redundant servers, and automated off-site backups.

  1. Teach Your Colleagues

Not only do you have to take precautions regarding your own security, but you need to also ensure that everyone in your office takes the same precautions. Make sure that everyone in your office knows the warnings signs for suspicious websites. Avoiding malicious links and activities can help keep your network safe and your data protected for the coming year.

Julian Gutierrez is Online Marketing Director at PracticePanther.


PracticePantherlogo_Square-Blue-BackgroundAbout PracticePanther:

PracticePanther is a cloud based legal case management software based company in Miami, Florida. Thousands of solo practitioners, virtual, small, and mid-sized firms worldwide use PracticePanther to help them boost productivity, work faster, and grow their firms. Schedule a demo today and get your law firm on the right path this coming year.

Posted inNews

Free webcast explores dementia’s impact on legal professionals

Attorneys can register for a free webcast in February exploring the effects of dementia on lawyers and judges in the legal profession.

“Hidden in Plain Sight: Dementia and its Impact on Lawyers and Judges,” will provide information about the signs of dementia, how to navigate available resources, and the related responsibilities and opportunities for lawyers and judges.

The webcast, which is hosted by the State Bar of Arizona and Arizona Supreme Court, is February 15 at 11 a.m. Central Standard Time. For more information and to register for the free program, go to the State Bar of Arizona’s website.

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Posted inMember BenefitsMember Benefits and ServicesMember Discount Program

Resources and discounts for New Year’s resolutions

Are you resolved to get in shape, eat better and generally live a healthier lifestyle? Maybe you’d like to run a 5k or a try a marathon this year? To ensure success with your New Year’s resolutions, it’s important to set specific goals, get enough sleep, and develop a strategy that works for you. Beneplace is here to help—as a State Bar member, you have access to great health and wellness resources and discounts.
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