Random Profile: Stacey Valdez, Webster

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? 

Best thing about being a lawyer: Making a difference in the lives of my clients.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing attorneys today? Staying current on quickly evolving Supreme Court opinions. 

Most important career lesson: Invest in educating yourself. Board certification has changed the landscape of my practice.  

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Justice Wainwright to leave Court at end of the month

Texas Supreme Court advisory

Contact: Osler McCarthy, staff attorney/public information
512.463.1441 or click for email

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Texas Supreme Court Justice Dale Wainwright announced his resignation from the Court Wednesday, effective September 30. He will join Bracewell & Giuliani LLP’s Austin office.

Justice Wainwright joined the Court in January 2003. He is the third longest-serving justice on the Court.

“We are losing a great friend,” Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson said. “Dale’s scholarship, his attention to the administration of justice and his dedication to the Court are all part of a legacy that will long outlive his years of service.”

Before his election to the Court in November 2002, Wainwright served almost four years as a Harris County district court judge. He came to the bench after private practice with the Haynes and Boone and Andrews Kurth law firms in their Houston offices. He also practiced law in Nashville before moving to Houston.

“My service on the Court has been profoundly satisfying,” Wainwright said. “Over the last decade, I have worked with outstanding jurists at the Court in the development of the law and have made and solidified life-long friendships. I greatly enjoyed private practice, and it is time to return to it.”

Justice Wainwright is a graduate of the University of Chicago School of Law and earned his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in economics from Howard University. While at Howard he studied for a semester at the London School of Economics.

He serves as trustee of the Center for American and International Law board and as an elected member of the American Law Institute.

Justice Wainwright and his wife, Debbie, live in Austin with their 15-year-old son. Their adult sons live in California and Austin.

Wainwright’s term on the Court ends in 2014. An appointment to replace him will be subject to Senate confirmation.

Be aware of revisions to credit card transactions reporting law

There have been important revisions to the credit card transactions reporting law that could negatively impact Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA). Credit card processing companies are required to verify an EXACT match of merchants’ federal tax identification number and their legal name with those on file with the IRS. Lawyers who accept credit cards are considered merchants. If there is not an exact match, beginning January 2013, the IRS will impose a 28% withholding penalty on credit card transactions, including those that lawyers direct to their IOLTA account. Ethical issues could be raised if client funds in the IOLTA are withheld due to the lawyer’s failure to act. Get more information here.

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ABA seeks comment on new drafts of ethics rules on conflicts, choice of law

The ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 today released two new drafts of proposed changes to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The commission seeks comment on the drafts by Oct. 19, 2012.

The first draft proposal addresses consistencies among jurisdictions regarding conflict of interest rules. The second concerns the division of fees between lawyers in two firms where the firms are in jurisdictions with differing rules on nonlawyer ownership of law firms.

To read the drafts and to comment, see the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 website.


ATJ Commission Co-hosts Inaugural Charity Golf Classic

The Texas General Counsel Forum and the Texas Access to Justice Commission are hosting an Inaugural Charity Golf Classic benefitting the Texas Access to Justice Commission. The tournament will be held on Thursday, Nov, 8, 2012 at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort.

The tournament is limited to just 144 players, and there are multiple sponsorship opportunities — at least 67 to be specific, ranging from as low as $200 to be a Hole-Sign Sponsor and as high as $7,500 to be a Presenting Sponsor.

For more information, visit http://www.tgcf.org/attachments/files/3473/2012%20Charity%20Golf%20Tounament-AW_revised.pdf.

State Bar of Texas selects 20 attorneys for Leadership Academy

Congratulations to this year's LeadershipSBOT class! 

Michelle Alden, Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, Dallas
Raymond Baeza, Farmers Insurance, El Paso
Emma Cano, Haynes & Boone, LLP, San Antonio
Chalon Clark-Thomas, Brown McCarroll, L.L.P., Dallas
Tobias Cole, Midani, Hinkle & Cole, LLP, Houston
David Collins, Law Office of Derek R. Van Gilder, Bastrop
C. Michael Davis, The Law Offices of Jim Parsons, Palestine
Carina Garza, Griffith & Garza, L.L.P., Pharr
Aurora Martinez Jones, The Martinez Jones Law Firm, PLLC, Austin
Rudolph Karl Metayer, Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, Austin
Barbara Nicholas, White & Wiggins, LLP, Addison
Ashley Pate, Potter Minton, PC, Tyler
LiLan Ren, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Austin
Jessica Rivera, Haynes & Boone, LLP, Houston
Eduardo Romero, Villarreal & Romero, PLLC, Laredo
Justin Smith, Norton & Wood, LLP, Texarkana
Rabeea Sultan, The Sultan Law Firm, Houston
Karla Vargas, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, El Paso
Gregory Wilson, L.M. Tatum, PLLC, San Antonio
Alex Yarbrough, Sprouse Shrader Smith, P.C., Amarillo

Read the full press release on www.texasbar.com.

Resources available to help prevent lawyer suicides

Not another suicide. That’s a phrase I have found myself uttering too often. I’ve experienced the anguish and profound sense of loss on two separate occasions following the suicides of friends, both of whom were highly respected and accomplished lawyers. 

Since beginning work at the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program (TLAP), I’ve learned all too well that those suicides were not anomalies. Rarely a month goes by that we don’t hear of a lawyer somewhere in our state who has taken their own life.

Sunday, Sept. 9, marked the start of Suicide Prevention Week in Texas and nationally, an effort to draw attention to this growing problem and reduce the number of suicides.

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State Bar iPad cases now available for purchase

Just added to the State Bar of Texas merchandise store: Leather iPad cases! The cases, which come in black and brown, are embossed with the State Bar seal and include a notepad for easy note taking. These soft leather cases look great and will give your iPad the protection it needs.

Purchase your new State Bar of Texas iPad case today for just $75 – They make great presents too! Download an order form by visiting our Merchandise page or click on the ‘Shop with Us’ link on www.texasbar.com.

Constitution Day Op-Ed, Sept. 2012 - by State Bar President Buck Files

We hear a lot of talk these days about the U.S. Constitution and how important it is to protecting our liberties. But surveys continue to show a disturbing trend of many Americans not understanding the Constitution and its relevance to our lives today. After all, with all the technology we have now, why should we care about a document that was written 225 years ago on parchment and with a feather quill pen?

For starters, just imagine life without the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The Bill of Rights guarantees some of our most precious liberties, including freedom of religion, speech, and press, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and private property rights. The Constitution created the framework for a strong but limited national government and established the fundamental rights of all U.S. citizens.

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Random Profile: Debora Alsup, Austin

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?

Best thing about being a lawyer: I am always learning something new.

Most important career lesson: Success in a law practice is as much about relationships as it is giving excellent service to your clients.

Favorite saying/quote: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.”  - Mark Twain

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Lighting the Path to the Legal Profession

We invite you to join the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association (DHBA) on Wednesday, October 10, 2012, at the Belo Mansion located at 2101 Ross Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75201.

The Annual Event - “Lighting the Path to the Legal Profession” has become a signature event for the DHBA that joins attorneys, judges, and students in an annual celebration that highlights our collective efforts to support educational and diversity initiatives within the legal community. Through this event, DHBA gives all members of the community an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to supporting students and increasing diversity within the Dallas legal community. 

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Comments sought on revised drafts relating to inbound foreign lawyers

The ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 is pleased to release for comment, along with a Cover Memo from Co-Chairs Jamie S. Gorelick and Michael Traynor, revised drafts relating to inbound foreign lawyers.

The first two revised drafts describe possible amendments to ABA Model Rule 5.5 and to the ABA Model Rule for Registration of In-House Counsel. The third relates to the ABA Model Rule on Pro Hac Vice Admission.  

Your comments will assist the Commission in its consideration of these issues.

We look forward to hearing from you. Please e-mail your responses by October 12, 2012, to Senior Research Paralegal Natalia Vera at Natalia.Vera@americanbar.org. Comments and submissions may be posted to the Commission’s website. 

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This Month in the Texas Bar Journal

How is the criminal justice system in Texas responding to the issues of incarceration, recidivism, and rehabilitation? This issue of the Texas Bar Journal examines the Texas criminal justice system and several ways the state is working to reduce recidivism.


Incarceration, Recidivism, and Rehabilitation
• Punishment and Rehabilitation: A Brief History of the Texas Prison System. Page 604.
• Prison Is Prison: A Conversation with Michael Morton. Page 608.
• Reducing Risk and Recidivism: The Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Page 612.
• Veterans Courts in Texas. Page 616.

Other Features
• 2012 State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting Coverage. Page 620.
• Ethics Opinions 617, 618, and 619. Page 636.
• Solo/Small Firm: Preparing for a Disaster. Page 642.

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