Free CLE course to focus on roles of lawyers, law enforcement in unaccompanied minors cases

A free continuing legal education course Thursday in Houston will focus on the rights of unaccompanied children crossing the Texas border and the duties of federal, state, and local governments in handling the cases.

The Harris County Attorney’s Office is sponsoring the course for legal and law enforcement professionals.

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State Bar of Texas launches webpage for lawyers interested in helping unaccompanied minors

The State Bar of Texas has launched a new webpage to keep attorneys informed of ways they can volunteer to help serve the legal needs of unaccompanied minors who are arriving in our courts system.

Through, the State Bar is providing up-to-date information on training and pro bono opportunities, helpful websites, and other useful information for attorneys who want to get involved or learn more. The webpage allows attorneys to submit a volunteer form, which will be reviewed by State Bar staff and directed to the appropriate legal aid provider.

Learn more by visiting the webpage


New law practice management website offers helpful resources and CLE

The Law Practice Management Committee of the State Bar of Texas has launched a website, available at, that features the popular how-to brochures used by solo and small firm practitioners. While much of this content previously was available through the TexasBarCLE website, the LPM website serves as its new home and gathers other relevant material from additional departments within the State Bar.

Attorneys looking to learn about practice management will appreciate the website’s streamlined organization and focus on material relevant to just this topic. Users can navigate the site based on which of the three categories they fall under: starting a practice, maintaining a practice, or looking to grow a practice. The site provides easy access to downloadable and printable resources produced by the committee, including the how-to brochures and the Closing a Practice collection of recently written and peer-reviewed articles. There are also links to LPM-related CLE, State Bar publications, and the Texas Young Lawyers Association’s 10-Minute Mentor video series.

The LPM Committee and TexasBarBooks have designed the new website with Texas attorneys in mind. “We field calls and emails from State Bar members facing issues about law practice management,” said Conor Jensen, web content specialist for TexasBarBooks, which serves as the State Bar’s liaison to the committee. “Usually, more than one attorney is facing a similar set of questions, so we have the advantage of knowing what issues are coming up specifically for Texas attorneys.”

For more information, go to (The LPM website also can be accessed through the TexasBarCLE website,, by clicking “Law Practice Mgmt” in the left-hand menu.)

An excerpt from 'When You Drink the Water, Remember Who Dug the Well'

Gene Cavin was hired in 1963 to develop a program for the continuing education of Texas lawyers.

 “Education is to law practice as fertilizer is to agriculture.” —Lee Turner

A lawyer’s legal education cannot end with passing the bar examination. It must continue for as long as he or she practices, and there is no exemption from the need to learn about changes in the law and to incorporate those changes into an ongoing practice.

Today we are overwhelmed by the offerings from dozens of continuing legal education providers. The State Bar of Texas, the largest provider in our state, plans and presents courses to live audiences, and video recordings of these presentations are available to those who choose to watch them in the convenience of their hotel rooms, homes, and offices. Additionally, programs are presented in vacation destinations and even on cruise ships. It wasn’t always this way.

Before we partake of the smorgasbord of CLE offerings, let’s press the rewind button to 1961. Houston Endowment Inc. and the MD Anderson Foundation had donated $10,000 to the State Bar to create a fund to support the publishing of legal books for Texas lawyers. Under the leadership and cajoling of then-State Bar President Paul Carrington Sr., 39 lawyers from both sides of the docket wrote articles for the first publication titled, Personal Injury Litigation in Texas. As indicated in the editor’s preface, the State Bar of Texas was in the forefront of providing service to its members. This undertaking is considered unique in the annals of “How To Do It” practice manuals now available in the profession.

To read the entire article by James E. Brill, go to the Texas Bar Journal.

Video coverage of 2014 Annual Meeting now on Texas Bar TV

The State Bar of Texas has captured some of the highlights from the 2014 Annual Meeting in Austin and posted videos from the event to its Texas Bar TV YouTube channel.

Watch Bench Bar Breakfast keynote speakers Lynda Johnson Robb, daughter of former President Lyndon Baines Johnson, and Austin lawyer Larry Temple, who served as special counsel to LBJ, discuss Johnson’s role in passing the Civil Rights Act, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and see Bar Leaders Recognition Luncheon keynote speaker Bobby R. Inman, former director of the National Security Agency, discuss security threats around the world. 

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An excerpt from 'Go Fish'

In 1984, on the Haffjardara River in Iceland, Ralph Duggins cast a line against 30-mile-per-hour gusts, working to catch an Atlantic salmon. “I had to forget the wind and get with it pretty quickly if I was going to be able to get my fly out there,” Duggins said. It was his first time fly-fishing—and a cold introduction—but after a couple of days with no luck, Duggins finally hauled in a beauty, marking the beginning of a beloved hobby. Even now, decades after that trip, Duggins maintains that patience is one of the most challenging aspects of fly-fishing. This doesn’t stop him from pursuing the sport—and the next great catch.

Duggins, a partner in Cantey Hanger in Fort Worth, has a love for nature that dates back to his childhood in Missouri, where he grew up visiting his grandparents’ Ozark lodge on the Gasconade River. Using a cane pole and live bait, he would fish with his grandfather, Dru Pippins, who, for many years, served as chair of the Missouri Conservation Commission. Today, Duggins is vice chair of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, and his passion for outdoor recreation remains strong—especially when it comes to fly-fishing.

Duggins returned to Iceland several times following his initial excursion, and the prospect of more Atlantic salmon has taken him to the Ponoi River in Russia. In Colorado, Montana, and Alaska, he fishes for trout. And he fondly recalls visits to the Florida Keys, where he has used a fly rod to land tarpon—boney fish that can weigh more than 100 pounds. Closer to home, in Rockport, Duggins pursues redfish. “It’s gotten crowded because so many people enjoy it, but it can be darn good,” Duggins said of the local hotspot.

When it comes to selecting gear and prepping for a fishing trip, Duggins says he considers . . .

To read the entire article by Hannah Kiddoo, go to the Texas Bar Journal.

Big Give Back free legal clinic to have three Dallas locations

On August 9, 2014, dozens of Dallas attorneys will be available at three different locations around the city to provide free one-on-one legal advice and to lead legal seminars for members of the public. Titled the “Big Give Back,” this event is jointly sponsored by the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, the Dallas Asian-American Bar Association, the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association, and the J.L. Turner Legal Association.

“This is a great opportunity for the Dallas legal community to work together and give back to the Dallas community in a meaningful way,” said DAYL President Meyling Ly. “Lawyer jokes and stereotypes aside, here are lawyers of diverse backgrounds and practice areas all coming together to directly assist our community.”

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., people from the Metroplex are welcome to arrive at one of the three locations with legal questions on a variety of areas of the law, including family law, wills and estate planning, landlord/tenant disputes, and small claims. In addition, seminars focusing on certain areas of law—such as bankruptcy, immigration, criminal, and employment law—will be held at each location. To see times for each seminar, view this two-page Big Give Back flyer.

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An excerpt from 'A 'Friend' at Court?'

In the increasingly wired world in which we live, it comes as no shock that 72 percent of all adult Americans have a presence on at least one social networking site. But would you—and should you—be surprised if you received a Facebook friend request from a judge or if you learned that an opposing counsel was Facebook friends with the judge? Should judges enjoy the benefits of social media, or is it more important to avoid any relationship that might compromise the appearance of impartiality or erode public confidence in the courts? Judges, lawyers, and judicial ethics authorities throughout the country have wrestled with these questions. This article will provide not only an overview of how Texas and other states have addressed these issues but also an examination of the fleeting nature of “friendship” in the digital age and the type of online miscues that judges have made.

First, let’s remember that judges are human, too.

To read the entire article by John G. Browning, go to the Texas Bar Journal.

Houston Bar Association publishes updated Elder Law Handbook

The Houston Bar Association has completed the annual update of its 40-page Elder Law Handbook, which is now available at no charge to individuals and organizations.

The revised handbook features helpful information on numerous legal topics relevant to senior citizens and their families, including social security, Medicare and Medicaid, wills and probate, guardianship, burial provisions, banking, taxes, and homesteads. It also provides referrals to additional resources and phone numbers.

Electronic copies of the handbook—available in English, Spanish, and Chinese versions—can be downloaded for free via the HBA website at The HBA’s Family Law and Consumer Law handbooks also are available at the website.

Printed copies of the updated Elder Law Handbook are available at the Houston Bar Association’s office at 1111 Bagby Street, FLB Suite 200. Parties interested in receiving the handbook through the mail should call (713) 759-1133. Organizations seeking multiple copies can fax their request to the HBA at (713) 759-1710 or call (713) 759-1133.

Veterans legal clinic to take place in Conroe

The Montgomery County Bar Association, the Woodlands Bar Association, and the Houston Bar Foundation’s Veterans Legal Initiative are teaming up to host a free legal clinic for veterans in Conroe on July 19.

No appointment is necessary for the clinic, which runs from 9 a.m. to noon at the Conroe VA Outpatient Clinic, 800 Riverwood Court, Ste. 100.

Any veteran, or spouse of a deceased veteran, can receive advice and counsel from a volunteer attorney in any area of law during the session. Veterans who need ongoing legal representation and who qualify for legal aid may be assigned a pro bono attorney to handle their case.

For more information, call the Veterans Legal Initiative at (713) 759-1133 or go to