Board makes recommendation to Supreme Court on professional liability insurance disclosure

(San Antonio) — After hours of debate and months of gathering information from Texas lawyers and the public, the State Bar Board of Directors, by a vote of 39 to 1, recommended to the Supreme Court of Texas that lawyers not be required to disclose whether or not they carry professional liability insurance unless a client or prospective client asks for that information. (In a June 2009 letter, the Court had asked the Board to make a recommendation on the issue by February 2010.)

In addition, the Board unanimously recommended that if disclosure were to be required, that it be done so through an administrative rule rather than a disciplinary rule.

The State Bar has compiled hundreds of pages of comments, reports, and background information to forward to the Court. In a transmittal letter to accompany those resources, the Board will respectfully ask the Court to seek the Board’s recommendation regarding the details of implementing any future disclosure requirement.  

For more information on the professional liability insurance disclosure issue, including an executive summary and the results of public hearings, surveys, and focus groups, click here.



San Antonio lawyer, law student honored at luncheon

State Bar of Texas President Roland Johnson and President-elect Terry Tottenham visited the San Antonio Bar Association (SABA) luncheon today. SABA lawyers are actively involved in mentoring young lawyers, providing legal services to the poor, and helping local military personnel.

In addition to a CLE presentation by United States Circuit Judge Edward C. Prado, two special awards were given during today's luncheon.

Every year, the San Antonio Bar President recognizes one bar member who has gone above and beyond in service to the bar with the President's Award. This year's recipient is Carl Werner. Werner used his expertise on probate, wills, and estates to incorporate a wills clinic into the bar's Community Justice Program. His energy extended to recruiting and mentoring volunteers to the extent that in 2011, a wills clinic will be offered monthly.

For the first time, AT&T presented the First Annual AT&T Excellence in Pro Bono Award. AT&T has played an instrumental role in supporting the pro bono efforts in San Antonio. As the Community Justice Program continues to grow and the number of volunteers increases, the administrative workload becomes mountainous. The new award established AT&T will offer a St. Mary's law student a scholarship in return for working five hours a week for the Community Justice Program.

The first recipient of the AT&T Excellence in Pro Bono Award is Kimbell Ward. Ward, a 2L law student, was chosen because of her high class ranking, a highly complimentary letter from a mentor, and her passionate essay about the importance of pro bono efforts. In addition to her volunteer efforts at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid and Catholic Charities Call-a-Lawyer, Ward has served as president of the St. Mary's Criminal Defense Law Bar. It would be remiss not to mention that Ward is also a mother of two. Texas lawyers can expect great work from future lawyer Kimbell Ward.

Random Profile - Daryl Sinkule, Houston

For Random Profiles, we randomly pick one of our 80,000-plus attorneys, call them, and do a Q&A. We've found that every Texas lawyer has an interesting story. Will yours be next?

Best thing about being a lawyer: Recovering money on behalf of clients wronged by their employers

Latest pursuit: Attempting to survive the renovation of my historic (1926) Houston Heights home

Bet you didn’t know: I know my way around the kitchen.

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Texas Legal Legends

In an effort to preserve their stories in an entertaining and historically significant way, Harper Estes, Immediate Past President of the State Bar, has interviewed a number of notable and distinguished Texas lawyers. Three new videos in the “Texas Legal Legends” series are now on the State Bar’s website: interviews with former State Bar Chair of the Board Kleber Miller, former President of the State Bar Charles L. Smith, and the late Houston litigator Joe Reynolds.

170 Candles for the Supreme Court of Texas

On January 13th, the Supreme Court of Texas celebrated its 170th anniversary. A special open session of the Court, where the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society observed its 20th anniversary, was followed by a reception at the Texas Law Center. Roland K. Johnson, president of the State Bar of Texas, and Larry McNeill, president of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society, spoke. Each emphasized how much history the Court has seen—and made— in the 170 years it has served the people of Texas. Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson and Senior Justice Nathan Hecht responded on behalf of the court.

The inaugural term of the Texas Supreme Court began on January 13, 1840, and lasted two weeks. The Texas Supreme Court Historical Society was established on January 13, 1990 to preserve the legacy of the state’s highest court.


Guzman sworn in as Supreme Court Justice

Justice Eva Guzman, the first Latina to serve on the Texas Supreme Court, celebrated her formal investiture on Monday, January 11. The ceremony took place in the Texas House of Representatives Chamber, in front of an audience filled with Guzman’s colleagues, friends, and family. Governor Rick Perry administered the oath of office, praising Guzman’s “consistent fairness and wisdom” and “strict constructionist view of the Constitution.” After Senior Justice Nathan Hecht paid tribute to departing justice Scott Brister, U.S. Senator John Cornyn and Justice Kem Thompson Frost spoke about Guzman’s dedication to the law and the historic nature of the occasion. Guzman, formerly a justice on the 14th District Court of Appeals in Houston, thanked the governor for this opportunity, saying “For this day, I have prayed, I have dreamed, and I have worked.” 

Random Profile - Alia Derrick, Dallas

Alia DerrickFor Random Profiles, we randomly pick one of our 80,000-plus attorneys, call them, and do a Q&A. We've found that every Texas lawyer has an interesting story. Will yours be next?

Family: Single, 5 nieces and 2 nephews.

Areas of practice: Civil Litigation & Labor and Employment.

Education: B.A., Rice University (2003); J.D., University of Texas School of Law (2007).

Secret for staying young: Worrying less, laughing often, and walking in faith.

Best thing about being a lawyer: Volunteering your services to those who cannot afford it. To borrow from DVAP’s tagline: “It [truly is] like billable hours for the soul.”

Latest pursuit: Funding a child whose parents have succumbed to Aids/HIV.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing attorneys today? Time: An uncertain economic time and its effect on the practice.

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Supreme Court of Texas Celebrates 170 Years - An Invitation

All Texas lawyers are invited to join the Supreme Court of Texas for its 170th anniversary on Wednesday, January 13. The celebration will begin with an open session of the Court in the Supreme Court of Texas Courtroom at 4:00 p.m.  Special remarks will be made by Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson, State Bar of Texas President Roland K. Johnson, Justice Nathan L. Hecht and Texas Supreme Court Historical Society President Larry McNeill. Following the open session, there will be a reception at the Texas Law Center in the Hatton Sumners Conference Room.  The celebration also marks the 20th anniversary of the Supreme Court of Texas Historical Society.

Call for Entries -- 2010 YouTube Video Contest

Grab your video cameras! It's time for the 2010 State Bar YouTube Video Contest, "The Importance of the Legal System." President Roland Johnson is encouraging all Texans, and especially Texas attorneys and their families, to participate. The deadline for entries is April 1, 2010. Read the complete contest rules and get ready to enter!