Improve your practice with free career development webcasts

An ongoing initiative of State Bar President Terry Tottenham is Practice Tips in Good Times and Bad, a series of career development webcasts premiering the last Thursday of each month on Each webcast is free of charge to registered users of the site. (Site registration is also free.)

The last such webcast of 2010, Strategies to Weather a Challenging Economy, will be December 30 from 12:30 to 1:30 CST. (It is not MCLE-accredited.) Two experts from Houston, Lawyer-Coach Debra Bruce and Greenberg Traurig Business Director John Meredith, will give their perspectives on diversifying your client base, retooling your practice, providing services at a reasonable rate, cutting costs, and much more. Click here to register.

To learn of upcoming Practice Tips webcasts, visit each month and click on the Webcasts tab.

Random Profile: Rob Ranco, Austin

Rob RancoBest thing about being a lawyer: Helping people who desperately need help.

The part of my job I do best is: Adapt to the situation in front of me. There is no script for what I do.

Bet you didn’t know: I was a music major in college and I came to Austin for a master’s program at UT in ethnomusicology.

Another little known fact: My parents were not excited about my choice of major.

What's the turning point that made you decide to become an attorney? When my wife pointed out there were no listings in the classifieds for ethnomusicologists.

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Nominations are open for the 2011 Pro Bono Excellence Awards

Nominations are open for the 2011 Pro Bono Excellence Awards. Each year, the State Bar's Legal Services to the Poor in Civil Matters Committee gives Pro Bono Excellence Awards, which recognize dedicated members of our legal profession who are committed to providing legal services to the poor in Texas. 

The awards include the W. Frank Newton Award, J. Chrys Dougherty Legal Services Award, Frank J. Scurlock Award, Pro Bono Award, and Pro Bono Coordinator Award. Nominations for the 2011 awards are due on February 25, 2011.

To download the nomination forms, please visit

Red Flags Rule does not apply to lawyers

UPDATE 2: On Dec. 20, 2010, President Obama signed this provision into law.

UPDATE: On Dec. 7, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives also approved this legislation.

On Nov. 30, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Red Flag Program Clarification Act of 2010, which clarifies that the Federal Trade Commission's Red Flags Rule does not apply to lawyers, doctors, accountants, and certain other service providers. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.

The Red Flags Rule requires financial organizations and "creditors" to develop programs to prevent identity theft.

The Senate action comes after efforts by bar associations and other organizations to exempt professionals who maintain accounts for clients that generally do not carry risks of identity theft.

For background on this issue, see the American Bar Association website.

December Texas Bar Journal covers proposed amendments to disciplinary rules

This month's Texas Bar Journal features information about proposed amendments to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, including the proposed amendments and the referendum on the proposed amendments.

To find additional information on the proposed amendments and the referendum, you may visit

The cover of the December Bar Journal features the State of Texas Christmas ornament. Fifteenth in a series of collectible ornaments, the 2010 edition combines architectural and decorative elements featured in past ornaments and reflects a rich tradition of historic preservation.