Random Profile: Alberto Mesta, El Paso

For Random Profiles, we randomly pick one of our 86,000-plus attorneys and do a Q&A. We've found that every Texas lawyer has an interesting story. Will yours be next?

Alberto is seen here doing outreach with farmworkers who are harvesting green chile.

Culinary talent: Green Chile poppers.

Bet you didn’t know: I tore down the goal posts when UTEP defeated BYU (14-3) in 1997.

Another little known fact: If loving musicals is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Bad habit: Continuing loving the Oakland Raiders despite their continual losing seasons.

Favorite album: Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

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New note-taking feature enhances online CLE

 Through TexasBarCLE.com, the State Bar has long offered the viewing of videos online for MCLE credit, but now has added a feature that allows the viewer to take and save notes within the presentation for future reference.

At its website, TexasBarCLE maintains its Online Classroom, housing hundreds of hours of recent MCLE-accredited videos. Choose an archived presentation and begin watching. At any time, click the Highlight tab, then click the Add Highlight button to pause the presentation and take a note about the current subject. Click Save to preserve your note; the video will then automatically continue where it left off. Once saved, your note may be referred back to at any time. Simply click Go to 0:00:00 (the time within the presentation) to go to the video at the point where the note was saved.

Should you return to the video on another day to review key points, your notes will be archived. Try out this new feature for yourself. Take a free online class here: http://www.texasbarcle.com/CLE/OCFree.asp.

Pro Bono College application deadline is Dec. 31

The deadline to submit applications to the Pro Bono College for this year is December 31. Created in 1992 by the State Bar of Texas, the Pro Bono College recognizes attorneys who have far exceeded the State Bar's aspirational pro bono goal in their efforts to address the vast unmet legal needs of the poor.

To apply, attorneys may complete this application. The application period for the Pro Bono College begins January 1 and ends December 31. Membership must be renewed annually to remain an active member of the Pro Bono College. There is also an associate membership in the College recognizing the achievements of Texas paralegals in pro bono service.

For guidelines, the paralegal application, and more information, you may visit http://www.texasbar.com/probonocollege.

Court orders referendum on disciplinary rules

The Supreme Court of Texas has ordered a referendum of Texas lawyers on proposed amendments to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. The referendum will take place between January 18 and February 17, 2011. State Bar members will have the option of voting online or by paper ballot. 

The proposed Rules and interpretive comments will be published in the December issue of the Texas Bar Journal. Lawyers will vote only on the proposed Rules, not the interpretive comments.  

Click here for the Court's order.

Click here for the referendum ballot.

Click here for Exhibit A (the proposed Rules and interpretive comments) [large file].

Click here for Exhibit B (a redlined version of the proposed changes) [large file].

For more information on the process leading to the referendum, visit texasbar.com/rulesupdate or email rcantu@texasbar.com.


Paralegal Division conducts salary survey

The Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Texas asks that all Texas paralegals participate in its 2010 Compensation Survey between now and December 15.

Information collected will result in a report that allows Texas paralegals to compare compensation packages by geographic region. All responses are anonymous. The results will be published in March 2011. 

Random Profile: Jason Katz, Dallas

For Random Profiles, we randomly pick one of our 86,000-plus attorneys and do a Q&A. We've found that every Texas lawyer has an interesting story. Will yours be next?

Bet you didn’t know: I dislike ice tea even though I grew up in Macon, Georgia.

Culinary talent: Grilled cheese.

Most important career lesson: Never underestimate your opponent. 

What most people don’t know about me: I have a twin brother. 

The best piece of advice ever given to you and by whom: My grandfather required that I hit the golf ball out of the bushes. He wouldn’t let me move the ball – I was eleven. He told me that I needed to follow the rules. I live my life that way. My wife calls me the rules patrol. It has served me well.  

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Texas lawyers commemorate Veterans Day

Above, leaders of the Texas Young Lawyers Association prepare for a Veterans Day parade in Dallas on Nov. 11, 2010, as part of the Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans project. Click here for a list of free legal clinics around the state this weekend in conjunction with Veterans Day.

Supreme Court to hear arguments in Amarillo

The Supreme Court of Texas will hear two oral arguments in Amarillo on Nov. 10, 2010, as part of the Amarillo Area Bar Association's 100th anniversary.

The arguments will begin at 9:00 am at the Globe-News Center, and are viewable by live webcast.

The Court will hear arguments on whether a tax-lien must be pleaded as an affirmative defense (Genesis Tax Loan Services Inc. et al. v. Kody and Janet Kothmann - No. 09-0828) and whether wrongful-conviction compensation should be calculated for prison time spent because of parole revocation spurred by wrongful conviction (In re Billy James Smith - No. 10-0048).

State Bar petitions Supreme Court for referendum on disciplinary rules

On Friday, Nov. 5, 2010, the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors approved final recommendations to the Supreme Court of Texas regarding proposed amendments to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct (TDRPC). The Board voted 35 to 1 to approve the recommendations of its Discipline and Client-Attorney Assistance Program Committee regarding proposed Rules 1.06–1.09, which concern conflicts of interest. By a separate 35 to 1 vote, the Board requested that the Court authorize the State Bar to conduct a referendum of Texas lawyers on all of the proposed TDRPC amendments.

See the links below for details (files are in PDF format): 

Petition for referendum (filed Nov. 8)

Final proposed TDRPC amendments, including comments

Proposed referendum ballot

Proposed referendum timeline

The Board is committed to ensuring that all members are educated about the proposed Rules and the effect they would have on lawyers and the clients they serve. For more information on the process leading to the recommendations, visit texasbar.com/rulesupdate or email rcantu@texasbar.com.

State Bar to offer "Success Strategies and Key Lessons for Young Lawyers" program

On Friday, November 12, The State Bar of Texas and TexasBarCLE will host "Success Strategies and Key Lessons for Young Lawyers." The seminar is a one-day program to provide young lawyers with tips for a successful career. The seminar will be at Cityplace Conference Center, 2711 North Haskell, Dallas, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, with a networking breakfast at 7:45 a.m. and a luncheon at 12 p.m.

This non-mandatory course is designed to complement the mandatory four-hour "Guide to the Basics of Law Practice" course offered by the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism. The course will review free legal resources lawyers never knew they had, negotiation techniques, information for lawyers starting their own practice, avoiding disciplinary action, and information about what lawyers' paralegals can do.

Kim J. Askew, K&L Gates LLP, will present "How to Succeed in Your First Trial or Transaction," and Lisa S. Richardson, Richardson & Cechura, PLLC and Gindi E. Vincent, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, will present "Striking a Balance: How to Salvage Your Life and Sanity as You Strive to Get Ahead at Work." Robert Dubose, Alexander Dubose & Townsend LLP, will present "Legal Writing for the Rewired Brain" at the luncheon.

The course is worth 6.75 hours of MCLE credit including 1.75 hours of ethics credit. Get more information about the course or register for the course today.

Talking with the Texas Veterans Commission

We caught up with Tina Carnes, general counsel to the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC), and spoke with her about the Commission’s work with veterans, her own commitment to servicemembers, and what’s next for TVC.

What kind of work does TVC do?

Texas Veterans Commission is an advocacy agency with more than 340 employees in over 75 cities around the state that help Texas veterans receive the benefits they so richly deserve.

The Texas Veterans Commission is nationally recognized for its expertise in helping veterans get the most benefits they are entitled to and the State of Texas leads the nation in monetary recovery of veterans’ compensation. Last year, approximately 2.1 billion was paid in compensation and pension benefits to Texas veterans and eligible surviving family members represented by the Texas Veterans Commission. 

Texas also leads the nation in putting veterans to work. According to recent data provided by the Department of Labor, the Texas Veterans Commission assisted 47,556 veterans enter the workforce in a 12-month period, helping more veterans get jobs than any other state in the country.

The Texas Veterans Commission assists veterans in securing their educational benefits, such as the GI Bill and Hazelwood Exemption, by working with over 1,100 Texas schools and employers.

The Texas Veterans Commission Fund for Veterans’ Assistance awards grants to veteran service organizations, charities, and local government agencies that provide direct assistant to veterans and their families. Since February 2010, the Fund has awarded over $6.7 million in grants.


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November Texas Bar Journal focuses on Terry Tottenham initiative

Despite the best intentions and tireless efforts of veterans groups and social services providers, too many of our service members cannot find or afford the help that they need and that they deserve. Lawyers’ expertise in the law can be a lifeline. This issue of the Texas Bar Journal focuses on State Bar President Terry Tottenham’s initiative to help our veterans, Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans.

Random Profile: Aric Garza, San Antonio

For Random Profiles, we randomly pick one of our 80,000-plus attorneys 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:
Being able to help people when things are looking bleak

Bet you didn’t know:
I’m a master of obscure and useless information.

Another little known fact:
Dave Matthews and I are exactly the same age, and that means I must be cool.


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