Random Profile: Terry Schpok, Dallas

For Random Profiles, we randomly pick one of our 87,000-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:
Meeting people, as clients, who become long-term friends long after the conclusion of their initial legal matter.

Talents (besides law):
I can play the banjo like Steve Martin.  I played the banjo and mandolin with a bluegrass group and guitar with a jazz group.

Continue Reading...

Spotlight on pro bono volunteer Anne Shuttee

It's National Pro Bono Week again! In celebration, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, Texas Access to Justice Foundation, and the State Bar – Legal Services Support Division would like to spotlight a few star pro bono volunteers from across the state.

Frank MaldonadoLegal Aid of NorthWest Texas (LANWT) would like to highlight the amazing work that Anne Shuttee provides as a volunteer attorney. In addition to being active in the Dallas, Plano, Collin County, and the State Bar Associations, Shuttee gives her time generously to helping low-income Texans with their legal needs. As an active volunteer for nonprofit organizations since junior high, she has shown her dedication to helping people for years. She served on LANWT’s Board of Directors for 6 years and was chair for part of that time. She is a zealous volunteer who takes on numerous cases, and is currently offering her services for pro bono mediations.

Shuttee plays a key role in coordinating corporate pro bono attorneys with Legal Aid, and is active in urging the Collin County Bar Association’s pro bono involvement. As past president of the Collin County Bar Association, she was instrumental in creating the Collin County All Bar Coordinating Committee. This committee encourages attorneys from the different sections to volunteer at clinics, take cases, be mentors, and make presentations. This committee also serves to inform the various Bar Associations about what the others are doing so they can plan activities accordingly. Most recently Shuttee chaired a new committee with the Center for Non-Profit Management. They plan to hold a law forum to serve Non-Profits in Collin County. This initiative involves the efforts of Texas C-Bar and LANWT. She has done so much and keeps doing more - it is impossible to keep up with her contributions.

Spotlight on pro bono volunteer Allan DuBois

It's National Pro Bono Week again! In celebration, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, Texas Access to Justice Foundation, and the State Bar – Legal Services Support Division would like to spotlight a few star pro bono volunteers from across the state.

Allan DuBois has been an instrumental supporter of the Community Justice Program and all of their pro bono efforts, in particular the Veterans Legal Clinics. He was critical in helping to secure grant funding from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation to expand and sustain the Veterans Legal Clinics. While he has always been a volunteer and big supporter of pro bono clinics, because he is a veteran himself, Alan has taken a special interest in the veterans’ clinics. He was on the committee that helped to found these clinics and attends every one. He works tirelessly to make sure every client has been served and goes above and beyond to obtain the services for them that they need and/or are entitled to. For example, he recently assisted a veteran with an eviction/housing issue. Along with some law students, Alan went to the veteran’s house and helped him move his belongings out before they were lost forever.

He is revered and respected in the legal community and always seeks to serve others. He is a past president of the San Antonio Bar Association and actively involved in many facets of the State Bar of Texas. He was personally picked by Terry Tottenham to help launch the Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans initiative in the San Antonio area and, according to Tottenham, has helped to make the “San Antonio project the premier one in the state.” Tottenham added, “Allan has done an outstanding job and is to be commended for his efforts in serving the veterans of San Antonio.”

Spotlight on pro bono volunteer Anita Provo

It's National Pro Bono Week again! In celebration, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, Texas Access to Justice Foundation, and the State Bar – Legal Services Support Division would like to spotlight a few star pro bono volunteers from across the state.

Anita Provo is an active volunteer attorney with the Jefferson County Bar Association Pro Bono Program. Since the inception of the Jefferson County Pro Bono Program, hundreds of lawyers have donated their time and expertise to low-income individuals and nonprofit organizations. Attorneys from Jefferson, Hardin, Orange, and Liberty counties participate in the program to provide civil legal services to thousands of individuals in the Southeast Texas community who would have otherwise been unable to afford legal services. Provo has multiple cases open at a time, diligently serving the indigent in Southeast Texas. Because of her incredible dedication, she was chosen to be the 2011 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year for donating 109 hours to the program in 2010. She has been a strong supporter of the program for many years, and the Pro Bono Program is grateful to have her.     

Spotlight on pro bono volunteer Frank Maldonado

It’s National Pro Bono Week again! In celebration, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, Texas Access to Justice Foundation, and the State Bar – Legal Services Support Division would like to spotlight a few star pro bono volunteers from across the state.

Frank MaldonadoFrank Maldonado (pictured in the back row and far left) with a group of low-wage construction worker-clients after Frank had helped them recover over $63,000 in wages that their employer had failed to pay over a period of several months.

Maldonado, a volunteer paralegal with the Equal Justice Center, is a retired career army officer, school teacher, and Austin City departmental manager whose illustrious career includes more specifically:

  • Retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Army, where he served in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot and later commanded various units, including an airfield in Germany;
  • Taught middle school and high school in Austin; and
  • Served as Manager of Operation and Maintenance for the City of Austin Aviation Department, helping to manage construction of Austin Bergstrom International Airport.

In his retirement, Maldonado became interested in civil legal services for the poor, so he completed the Paralegal Studies Program at Austin Community College. During this time, he volunteered extensively with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children) and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, where he continues to volunteer weekly in addition to his work at the Equal Justice Center. 

In June 2010, Maldonado joined the Equal Justice Center as a volunteer paralegal intake coordinator. He now works 20 to 30 hours per week as a volunteer paralegal directing EJC’s intake process, and interviews new clients every day, in Spanish and English, before meeting with EJC attorneys in a weekly intake review to analyze and determine how EJC can best handle their claims. He supervises interns and volunteers who assist him in the intake process. He assists EJC attorneys in direct legal representation in active cases. Maldonado comments regularly to the staff at EJC that he “just loves talking to people,” and realizes that it is helpful and satisfying simply to orient people to the legal system and explain their rights and options. However, his work often accomplishes so much more because it is the first step in recovering unpaid wages for the working men and women that EJC serves. Not only does he fulfill a vital professional role at EJC, but he also motivates the rest of the staff with his unwavering enthusiasm, cheerful disposition, and grandfatherly poise and wisdom.

2011 TYLA Minority Scholarship Program application deadline is October 14

The deadline to receive 2011 TYLA Minority Scholarship Program applications is tomorrow, Friday, October 14.

The TYLA Minority Scholarship Program is an annual scholarship awarded to one minority student at each Texas law school. The scholarship promotes diversity in the legal profession by assisting members of minority populations within the bar to enter the legal profession and to participate more fully in the programs and activities of TYLA and the State Bar of Texas. Scholarship awards are distributed prior to the Spring semester.

For more information and to download the application, you may visit http://www.tyla.org/tyla/index.cfm/resources/law-students/scholarships/.

Attorney volunteers needed for central Texas wildfire response

The Austin Bar Association in partnership with the Bastrop County Bar Association is scheduling attorney volunteers for the free legal clinic in the FEMA Disaster Relief Center, 1602 Hill St., Bastrop High School 9th Grade Center. If you wish to help, email your full name, cell phone number, and when you can volunteer to Michelle Fox at Michelle@austinbar.org.

Available attorney volunteers slots:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 12., 9 a.m to 1 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 12., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 13., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 14., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 15., 9 a.m to 1 p.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 17., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 18., 9 a.m to 1 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 18., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 19., 9 a.m to 1 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 19., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 20., 9 a.m to 1 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 20., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 21., 9 a.m to 1 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 21., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Texas wildfire disaster relief

The Houston Bar Association and the Houston Young Lawyers Association are responding to the needs of our neighbors, and we are offering our members several ways to get involved in disaster relief.

• Donations may be made to wildfire relief efforts of the American Red Cross through the Houston Bar Foundation. Make checks payable to the Houston Bar Foundation and write Texas Wildfire Relief on the information line. Send your check to the Foundation at 1001 Fannin Street, Suite 1300, Houston, TX 77002.

• The HBA's Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program has set up a disaster hotline and an email where those affected by the fires can email questions to disaster.assistance@hvlp.org or call 713-225-9455 and leave a message, which will then be answered by a staff attorney or volunteer. The HBA is evaluating other legal needs that displaced persons may have in the future to determine services.

• The Austin Bar Association is recruiting volunteer attorneys to staff legal clinics in two locations in Bastrop and is providing additional services for those affected by the fires in Central Texas. For more information, visit www.austinbar.org.
 

Austin Bar Association's wildfire response seminar

The Austin Bar Association's wildfire response seminar for volunteer lawyers is now featured on http://www.tenminutementor.com. Video segments are free to view or download.

Seminar segments include:

An Introduction to the Central Texas Wildfire Response Team 
Background Information on the Austin Bar’s Response to the Wildfire Disaster 
Ethics & Pro Bono Service 
FEMA & Public Benefits 
Home Ownership Issues (title/mortgage, tax & fencing, barn, pens) 
Insurance and Consumer Law Issues 
Landlord/Tenant Concerns  
Pet and Animal Welfare Law 

State Bar of Texas selects 19 for leadership academy

The State Bar of Texas announced the members of its fourth annual leadership academy, LeadershipSBOT. The program is a diversity initiative to identify promising leaders in their communities and in the profession. This year's class includes: 

Sharesa Alexander, Hutto
Alex Bell, McLennan County DA’s Office, Waco
Dennis Carter, Law Office of Dennis Carter, Houston
Karen Denney, Haynes and Boone, LLP, Fort Worth
Capt. Deshun Eubanks, Fort Worth
Katherine "Katie" Fillmore, Austin
Jo Anne Garcia, Pharr
Aric Garza, Law Offices of Aric Garza, San Antonio
Gilbert Gonzalez, Bexar County Courts at Law, San Antonio
Zachary Hall, Third Court of Appeals, Austin
Amber James, Atkins, Hollmann, Jones, Peacock, Lewis & Lyon, Odessa
Shakeeb "Shak" Mir, Jackson Walker L.L.P., Dallas
Courtney Barksdale Perez, The Stafford Law Firm, Dallas
Anna Sankaran, Greenberg Traurig LLP, Houston
Andrew Sefzik, Sprouse Shrader Smith P.C., Amarillo
Manesh Shah, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, Dallas
Christie Villarreal, Austin
Jennifer Wang, Carrington Coleman, Dallas
Tania Ward, Cedar Park

The long range goal of the program is to develop leaders in the legal profession that more closely reflect the demographics of the state.

Looking for a little friendly advice? Send us your "Party Talk" questions!

As a lawyer, you probably get more than your fair share of requests for a little “free” advice, whether from friends, family, or neighbors. This holiday season, we’re bringing back our popular feature, “Party Talk,” to help you answer some of those friendly requests for advice.

What questions are you asked in social situations? Send us your question and answer by Nov. 1 and it could appear in our December issue. Email tbj@texasbar.com

Random Profile: Joe Boyle, Houston

For Random Profiles, we randomly pick one of our 87,000-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: Working with my law partners Chad Hagan and David Noll has been the best thing about being a lawyer. David and Chad are dedicated to their families, loyal to our clients, they work hard, and have the highest character. My favorite thing about being a lawyer has been building a law practice with them and sharing the same values that allow us to do the right things for our clients and the law. For me, this is what being a lawyer is all about.

Continue Reading...

This month in the Texas Bar Journal

As part of State Bar President Bob Black's initiative on civics education, the State Bar Law-Related Education Department debuts a new online resource for Texas students and teachers — Oyez, Oyez, Oh Yay! Civics Resources for Texas Students and Teachers. In addition, the many aspects of school law are examined in this month's issue of the Texas Bar Journal, including the high-profile issue of school finance.