Dallas attorney to receive CLE award from State Bar

Dallas attorney Peter S. Vogel has been named the recipient of a State Bar of Texas award that honors people who make substantial contributions to continuing legal education.

Vogel, a partner in the firm of Gardere Wynne Sewell, L.L.P., will receive the 2013 Gene Cavin Award for Excellence in Continuing Legal Education at an upcoming TexasBarCLE course.


Vogel served on the board of directors of the State Bar of Texas, where he was the founding chair of the Computer and Technology Section. He teaches courses on eDiscovery and the Law of eCommerce as an adjunct professor at the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law and is on the founding board of advisors of the SMU Computer Law Review and Technology Journal. He is also known as a frequent and well-regarded CLE speaker.


The bar established the Gene Cavin Award in 1989 to honor long-term participation in State Bar CLE seminars and publications. The award carries the name of the professional development program’s founder who, during his service from 1964 to 1987, brought the program to international prominence.

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Documentary focuses on race, university admissions

A documentary on the debate over how universities select their students premiered Thursday night on KLRU-TV in Austin and will be shown again at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

“Admissions on Trial: Seven Decades of Race and Higher Education,” directed by Lynn Boswell, examines the history of race and university admissions. It airs as universities await a U.S. Supreme Court decision on Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, which deals with whether the university can consider race in admissions decisions.

Boswell, a broadcast journalist who also has a law degree, said people who live outside Austin will be able to watch the documentary online in coming days. She also plans to update the film after the Fisher decision is announced.

Read more at klru.org.

Legal clinics to aid Dallas County residents

Dallas County residents who meet certain financial guidelines can get free legal advice and consultation at one of nine clinics the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program will host in June.

The schedule appears below:

—East Dallas: 6 p.m. Thursdays, June 6 and 20, at Grace United Methodist Church, 4105 Junius St. at Haskell

—South Dallas: 6 p.m. Tuesdays, June 4, 11, and 25, at Martin Luther King Jr. Center, 2922 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

—West Dallas: 6 p.m. Thursdays, June 13 and 27, at Marillac Social Services Center, 2843 Lapsley St.

—Garland: 6 p.m. Thursday, June 20, at the Salvation Army, 451 W. Avenue D, Garland

—For veterans only: 2 p.m. Friday, June 7, at Dallas VA Medical Center, 4500 S. Lancaster Road

The Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program is a joint effort of the Dallas Bar Association and Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas. Read the news release here.


State Bar to honor Dallas nonprofit for legal work assisting immigrant women

The State Bar of Texas Women and the Law Section has chosen the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas as the 2013 winner of the newly named Louise B. Raggio Award.

The Dallas-based nonprofit organization is receiving the award after its all-female team of attorneys helped nearly 200 immigrant women in the Dallas-Fort Worth area last year through its William O. Holston Volunteer Attorney Program. The bar will present the award June 20 during its annual meeting in Dallas.

“We are privileged here at HRI to have three women attorneys who are fierce advocates for women,” Bill Holston, the organization’s executive director, said in a statement. “Chris Mansour, Melissa Weaver and Martha Gonzalez are the consummate professionals. They are compassionate and fearless advocates for our clients. Whether it is a young woman escaping the bonds of domestic violence or a woman from Africa seeking refuge from female genital mutilation, our lawyers are passionate advocates for our clients’ fight to begin a new life in America.”

The bar’s Women and the Law Section established the Raggio award, formerly called the Ma’at Justice Award, in 1995 to recognize attorneys or groups of attorneys who advance justice and address the needs and issues affecting women in the legal profession and in society.

New scam email targeting attorneys

On May 20, the State Bar received a call and an email from an attorney in McKinney about a scam email that he received on May 18. He also reported that there are posts from lawyers in California and Florida stating they have received identical inquiries and attachments.

The full scam email and attachments are below:

Thank you for your prompt response. Am living in Japan and Tomio Walton (ex-husband) lives in McKinney, Texas. Due to the time difference (+13hrs EST) it is a little bit difficult to determine the best time to call you. Following our divorce, we agreed under a negotiated settlement agreement which is incorporated, merged into and made part of the court decree for a onetime cash settlement of $557,000.00 USD for Family support (this includes child support, alimony and medical support). To his credit, he has paid me $208,000.00 USD from a total of $557,000.00 but still owing $349.000.00 USD and the due time for completion of payment is over. Thus, I request your legal counsel and representation to enforce the final judgment thereby compelling him to remit the balance owed to me. He is aware of my intention to seek legal actions. Attached is a copy of the separation agreement, and Final Judgment and I will be pleased to provide further information on this case on request. I desire to retain your law firm, please forward your firm's retainer fee agreement so that we can proceed. Thank you and have a pleasant day.


Rina Walton

Address: Fukuoka Sanwa Bldg. 3F, 3-19-21 Tenjin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka 810-0001

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Attorneys should be extra-vigilant for scams of this type. For detailed information on scams targeting attorneys, see this article by State Bar ethics attorney Ellen Pitluk, which previously ran in shorter form in the Texas Bar Journal

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Panel highlights problem of human trafficking

The audience at the Texas Young Lawyers Association’s “Slavery Out of the Shadows” event applauds as panelists are introduced. Pictured on the front row, from left, are panelists David Boatright of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Dr. Lawrence Feldman of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, anti-human-trafficking attorney Beth Klein, Texas Assistant Attorney General Geoff Barr, and Terry Lord of WebSafety Inc.

Human trafficking is a major problem in Texas and throughout the United States, and fighting it requires people working together to identify victims and get them the help they need, panelists said Friday during an event at the Texas Supreme Court.

The recent case in Cleveland where three women were rescued after years of captivity is a dramatic reminder of the problem—and an example of how people can help, said Beth Klein, a Colorado-based, anti-human-trafficking attorney who appeared on the panel. An Ohio man helped save the women by breaking down a door to the house where they had been held.

“Because he took an action that was a little uncomfortable, we have three women (rescued) now who hadn’t seen the light of day in 10 years,” Klein said. “And that’s what I’m talking about. Every one of you has the opportunity to be a real hero.”

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Fresh off reform vote, Mongolian bar president visits North Texas legal mentors

The president of Mongolia’s top lawyers’ association was in Dallas-Fort Worth on Friday for meetings on how to improve the country’s bar and implement its newly adopted Bar Act.

Batsukh Dorjsuren, president of the Association of Mongolian Advocates, held private meetings with legal mentors including Judge Joe Spurlock II, a Texas Wesleyan University law professor who founded and directs the law school’s Asian Judicial Institute, which focuses on educating former communist nations about the rule of law and judicial independence.

Just weeks ago, Mongolia’s national legislature passed a Bar Act based largely on the 1939 act that created an integrated Texas bar, Spurlock said. The Mongolian bar now must write its bylaws and establish committees to carry out the reforms, and Batsukh came to Texas to see how the institute could help.

“This is a big step,” said Spurlock, who has been working with the country to develop an integrated bar system since the mid-1990s. “Now that they’ve got it, they don’t want to lose their momentum.”

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Texas Center for Legal Ethics announces 2013 Pope Award honorees

Judge Patrick Higginbotham of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit and Dallas attorney Nina Cortell of Haynes and Boone are being honored as the 2013 recipients of the Chief Justice Jack Pope Professionalism Awards.

The Texas Center for Legal Ethics (TCLE) presents the awards annually to one judge and one attorney who personify the highest standards of professionalism and integrity in the field of law. The award is named after former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Jack Pope, who was first to receive the honor in 2009.

The Pope Awards will be presented at the annual Texas Supreme Court Historical Society Dinner on June 14 in Austin. For more information, contact Bill Pugsley with the Supreme Court Historical Society at tschs@sbcglobal.net.

Read the full press release.

State Bar of Texas president-elect race headed for run-off; Brooker named president-elect of TYLA

There will be a run-off election for State Bar of Texas President-elect between Trey Apffel and Steve Fischer. Because a majority of votes was not received by any of the three candidates for president-elect, a run-off election will be held from May 9 through May 23. Rebekah Steely Brooker of Dallas is 2013-2014 president-elect of the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA). Read more about the election results.