Bar Associations Honored with Hankinson Awards

The Texas Access to Justice Commission's Pro Bono Service Awards and Deborah G. Hankinson Access to Justice Awards were presented at the Bar Leaders Conference in Houston on July 14, 2012. These awards honor the local bar associations and Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) affiliates whose attorneys contributed at the highest rates through annual State Bar dues to the Access to Justice (ATJ) Campaign.

Each year, Texas attorneys choose to contribute to the Access to Justice (ATJ) Campaign through their annual State Bar dues statements. All funds generated by the campaign are earmarked for civil legal aid. The donations of Texas lawyers play a vital role in the effort to meet the critical legal needs of poor and low-income Texans in civil matters.

This year's Hankinson awards were presented to:
• Austin Bar Association — Large City Bar Association (This is the ninth year in a row the Austin Bar has received this award.)
• Austin Young Lawyers Association — Large City TYLA affiliate
• Midland County Bar Association — Small City Bar Association
• Midland County Young Lawyers Association — Small City TYLA affiliate

Named for former Supreme Court of Texas Justice Deborah G. Hankinson, an outstanding advocate of access to justice, the awards are meant to encourage competition between local bar associations and TYLA affiliates in the ATJ Campaign.

The Pro Bono Service Award are designed to recognize organizations that have created self-sustaining pro bono projects that motivate lawyers to provide pro bono legal assistance to poor Texans.

This year's Pro Bono Service Awards were presented to:
• State Bar Family Law Section — Large Category recipient
• Houston Bar Foundation — Large Category recipient
• El Paso Bar Association — Medium Category recipient

More than 6.1 million Texans currently qualify for civil legal aid. However, due to a lack of resources, only about 20 to 25 percent of the civil legal needs of low-income and poor Texans are being met. To be eligible for civil legal aid, an individual must earn no more than $13,963 a year. For a family of four, the household income cannot exceed $28,813. The Texas Access to Justice Commission works to increase resources for legal aid and encourages the pro bono involvement of Texas lawyers in its efforts to expand access to justice.

Random Profile: Wade Barrow, Fort Worth

For Random Profiles, we randomly pick one of our 93,000-plus attorneys and do a Q&A. We've found that every Texas lawyer has an interesting story. Will yours be next? 

Areas of practice: Plaintiffs Personal Injury  

If you could be anyone else for a day, who would it be? Steve Nash in his prime. 

Continue Reading...

Texas Gavel Awards recipients announced

The State Bar of Texas today announced recipients of the 2012 Texas Gavel Awards to honor journalistic excellence in legal reporting. The following reporters will be presented with an award on August 10 at the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas annual conference in Austin:

  • Jordan Smith, The Austin Chronicle, “The Science of Injustice”
  • Kevin Krause and Ed Timms, The Dallas Morning News, “Bail Bondsmen: Working the Numbers”
  • Jeff Prince, Fort Worth Weekly, “The Power of Alienation”
  • Mandy Oaklander, Houston Press, “Life Without Parole”
  • Andrew Horansky, KVUE-TV, “Criminalizing Kids”
  • Cindy V. Culp, Waco Tribune-Herald, “Perils and Pitfalls in the Pursuit of Innocence”

The Texas Gavel Awards are sponsored by the State Bar of Texas Public Affairs Committee and judged by an independent panel that includes out-of-state editors and legal reporting experts.

Journalists play an important role in educating the public about the legal system and the Texas Gavel Awards honor those efforts.

Gregory-Portland educator selected for Teachers' Law School

Debbie Armentor, a teacher at Gregory-Portland High School, has been selected to attend the Fourth Annual Teachers’ Law School in Austin on July 12-14.

Armentor is one of 34 teachers statewide whose applications were accepted to attend the three-day legal education program at the Texas Law Center near the State Capitol.

Social studies and government teachers from around Texas sought entry into the Teachers’ Law School. The school brings together more than a dozen of the State’s leading judges and lawyers who give presentations on civil and criminal legal systems at the state and federal level.

The Teachers’ Law School is done in collaboration with the State Bar of Texas and its Law-Related Education Department. “The Teachers’ Law School provides experienced educators a chance to interact with the legal community one-on-one and then translate that experience into effective practices in the classroom,” said Jan Miller, director of the Bar’s Law-Related Education Department.

The Teachers’ Law School was piloted in Austin in 2009 and has become a national model for similar programs across the United States. Faculty includes U.S. Appeals Court Judge Edward Prado, Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht, and nationally recognized defense attorney Gerald Goldstein. Past presenters include Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks and criminal defense attorney Richard “Racehorse” Haynes.

The program is free for the teachers with food, lodging and travel funded through scholarship donations from the American Board of Trial Advocates-Texas and its Texas affiliates.

“Texas is blessed to have talented teachers all across the state,” said Jim Parsons, president of TEX-ABOTA and past president of the State Bar of Texas. “We’re very pleased to be able to show some of them our appreciation for all that they do to help us educate our kids on our judicial system, why it’s the best system around and how they can help make it better.” 

El Paso Lawyers for Patriots honored with outreach award

In August, El Paso Lawyers for Patriots will be honored as a recipient of the 2012 NABE/LexisNexis Community & Educational Outreach Award at the ABA/NABE Annual Meeting in Chicago for the third time. The award honors state and local bar associations and bar foundations for outstanding projects that made a substantial commitment of time and effort to public service and law-related education programs. Read full story

Watch a video of the El Paso Lawyers for Patriots Free Legal Clinic Spring 2012, held at the Ambrosio Guillen Texas State Veterans Home.

Random Profile: Sheila Garcia Bence, Harlingen

For Random Profiles, we randomly pick one of our 92,000-plus attorneys and do a Q&A. We've found that every Texas lawyer has an interesting story. Will yours be next? 

Sheila Garcia BenceFamily: Husband, child and two furry children (our dogs).

Areas of practice: Criminal, family and some probate matters; also a part-time Juvenile Referee.

Best thing about being a lawyer: It is a constant challenge, because there is always more to learn.

If you could be anyone else for a day, who would it be? My daughter, would love to see the world again from a child's perspective.

Culinary talent: Albondigas Soup or a Homemade Pizza.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing attorneys today? Keeping up with the effects of technology and social media in regards to your clients and practice methods.

Continue Reading...

This month in the Texas Bar Journal

From the economy to technology to cultural practices, international integration is quickly becoming the norm, even in Texas. This issue of the Texas Bar Journal provides several tools to help Texas attorneys practice in an increasingly global atmosphere.


 Globalization and International Law:
• Transnational Disputes in a Global Economy. Page 512.
• How to Avoid the Broad Nature of Export Control Violations. Page 520.
• Joint Ventures in Texas: A Primer for International Partners. Page 524.
• Managing U.S. Immigration Risks: Key Concepts for a Global Workforce. Page 530.
• Hiring Foreign Nationals on an H-1B Visa. Page 535.
• Business Entertainment "Texas Style" Here and Abroad: What You Need to Know. Page 536.

Profiles of 2012 Pro Bono and Legal Services Award Winners. Page 540.

February 2012 Bar Exam High Scorer Remarks. Page 544.

State Bar Section Reports (2011-2012). Page 546.

State Bar Committee Reports (2011-2012). Page 556.

Solo/Small Firm: Going Global — Delving into the International Legal Arena. Page 566.

To advertise with us or to submit a Memorial, Lawyer on the Move, letter to the Editor, legal article, and more, visit our Submissions & Subscriptions page.