Retired Chief Justice Pope donates law library to UNT Dallas College of Law

Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht joined former chief justices, state political leaders, and UNT Dallas College of Law faculty on Monday to celebrate retired Chief Justice Jack Pope’s gift of more than 300 books to the school.

Pope, who turned 100 this year, donated his personal law library to the new law school, which will seat its first class in fall 2014.

The collection includes signed copies of his personal set of South Western Reporters covering 1950 to 1985, when he served on the San Antonio Court of Civil Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court, the college announced at a luncheon in Austin.

“I was proud of my library before I started giving it away,” Pope told the assembled group, which included retired Chief Justices Wallace B. Jefferson and Thomas Phillips and UNT Dallas College of Law Founding Dean Royal Furgeson.

 

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Pro Bono Week Spotlight Day 5: Elaine McAnelly

The State Bar of Texas, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, the American Bar Association, and others proudly support the celebration of National Pro Bono Week (Oct. 20-26). Pro Bono Week is an opportunity to educate the public about the good work the legal community is doing to improve the lives of vulnerable Texans and to encourage more individuals in the legal community to get involved in pro bono support of the legal system. Today, we are featuring Elaine McAnelly for her invaluable work in the Houston legal community.

Elaine McAnelly recently retired after 23 years in the legal department of JPMorgan Chase, at the end of which she was vice president and assistant general counsel. It came as no surprise that when McAnelly retired from Chase this year, she would not be idle for long. After taking a Spanish immersion trip/class in Guanajuato, Mexico, as a longtime pro bono volunteer of Houston Volunteer Lawyers, she reached out to see how she could use her new Spanish skills to do some good for those in need of legal aid.

 

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Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange opening soon

The latest update from Member Benefits Inc. on the Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange is now available. Click here to read the update, which includes a list of things to consider as the Nov. 1 opening of the private exchange approaches.

Member Benefits Inc. is committed to providing updates to those who have requested information. You can sign up here to receive updates directly.

For general information about the exchange, click here.

Pro Bono Week Spotlight Day 4: James A. Rodriguez

The State Bar of Texas, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, the American Bar Association, and others proudly support the celebration of National Pro Bono Week (Oct. 20-26). Pro Bono Week is an opportunity to educate the public about the good work the legal community is doing to improve the lives of vulnerable Texans and to encourage more individuals in the legal community to get involved in pro bono support of the legal system. Today, we are featuring James A. Rodriguez for his invaluable work in the San Antonio legal community.

A 2008 graduate of St. Mary’s University School of Law, Rodriguez has been volunteering through the San Antonio Community Justice Program since 2009. The program is a collaborative effort by the San Antonio Bar Association and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid to provide free neighborhood-based legal services to individuals who may not otherwise have access to the legal system. Upon starting his legal career, Rodriguez made the personal commitment to ensure that a large part of his professional career would be devoted to mentoring, professional development, and community service.

 

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SBOT Legal Access Division announces Pro Bono Challenge

The State Bar of Texas Legal Access Division is excited to issue a Pro Bono Challenge to the Sections of the State Bar.

When you log in to your My Bar Page to report your pro bono hours, you may now assign all of your hours to one Section, or you may assign hours to any combination of Sections by making multiple entries through the “add hours” tab.

Winners of the Pro Bono Challenge will be selected in two categories:
(1) the highest number of hours reported by a Section; and
(2) the highest percentage of Section members reporting pro bono hours.

The winners will be recognized at a special reception at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting, in the Texas Bar Journal, and in other media. If you have any questions, please contact the Legal Access Division at 800-204-2222, ext. 1837.

 

Pro Bono Week Spotlight Day 3: Sandy Fusco

The State Bar of Texas, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, the American Bar Association, and others proudly support the celebration of National Pro Bono Week (Oct. 20-26). Pro Bono Week is an opportunity to educate the public about the good work the legal community is doing to improve the lives of vulnerable Texans and to encourage more individuals in the legal community to get involved in pro bono support of the legal system. Today, we are featuring Sandy Fusco for her invaluable work in the Dallas legal community.

Sandy Fusco is an associate in the commercial litigation section at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Earlier this year, she worked as the Weil Gotshal Lend-a-Lawyer full time at Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program for three months while her firm continued to pay her salary. She assisted with client interviews at several clinics, including South Dallas, West Dallas, the veterans clinic, and wills clinics, and worked on a variety of contested matters including probate, divorce, child custody, paternity, and consumer cases.

 

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Pro Bono Week Spotlight Day 2: Vicki Carlson

The State Bar of Texas, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, the American Bar Association, and others proudly support the celebration of National Pro Bono Week (Oct. 20-26). Pro Bono Week is an opportunity to educate the public about the good work the legal community is doing to improve the lives of vulnerable Texans and to encourage more individuals in the legal community to get involved in pro bono support of the legal system. Today, we are featuring Vicki Carlson for her invaluable work in the Waco-Killeen legal community.

Vicki Carlson of Killeen is an attorney at the Carlson Law Firm. In addition to running the firm’s growing bankruptcy department, she is a former Waco Bankruptcy Bar president and current member. Carlson was presented the 2013 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year award by Nicolas Serna, managing attorney of the Belton branch office of Lone Star Legal Aid, at the annual Bell County Bar Association’s Law Day Banquet on May 9. The award plaque reads, “For outstanding contributions toward making legal services possible for low-income families and individuals.”

Upon receiving the award, Carlson said that out of all the clients she has served, the ones referred by Legal Aid’s pro bono program have been her most enjoyable.

 

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Proclamations help kick off National Pro Bono Celebration in Texas

Proclamations from Gov. Rick Perry and the Supreme Court of Texas helped the State Bar of Texas kick off its weeklong observance of the National Pro Bono Celebration on Monday.

Perry and the state Supreme Court signed proclamations encouraging Texans to observe the celebration, which is designed to focus attention on the need for pro bono legal services and commend attorneys who perform the work. The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service started the celebration in 2009, after the recession intensified the need for pro bono legal services.

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Pro Bono Week Spotlight Day 1: Richard Horstman

The State Bar of Texas, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, the American Bar Association, and others proudly support the celebration of National Pro Bono Week (Oct. 20-26). Pro Bono week is an opportunity to educate the public about the good work the legal community is doing to improve the lives of vulnerable Texans and to encourage more individuals in the legal community to get involved in pro bono support of the legal system. Today, we are featuring Richard Horstman for his invaluable work in the Houston legal community.

“I regret that I didn’t start doing pro bono earlier,” Horstman says.

In 2007, Horstman and Marathon Oil’s corporate legal department instituted a formal pro bono program for the company’s lawyers. As part of the effort, Catholic Charities made a presentation highlighting the legal needs of immigrant children in the United States. On Oct. 1, 2012, Horstman retired from Marathon Oil, where he was assistant general counsel for almost 35 years.

Horstman agreed to tackle a single case, and now performs nearly 230 pro bono hours a year. “I realized that I am one of the few who can do this because of my expertise as a lawyer,” he says. Horstman’s cases are complicated and time-consuming immigration. He has represented children as young as 3 spanning from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico who have been horribly abused and neglected. Horstman has helped Catholic Charities Cabrini Center to recruit pro bono counsel for clients who move out of the jurisdiction to New York, the Washington, D.C., area and Michigan. He frequently participates in Houston Volunteer Lawyers clinics.

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State Bar of Texas Minority Director Sought

Nominations are now being accepted for minority director for the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors. Self nominations will not be accepted. Four appointed positions were created on the board in order to increase minority participation as well as to provide representation from varying professional, geographic, and social environments. One position will become vacant in 2014.

Nominees will be selected by an ad hoc committee comprised of members from the State Bar Board, Women in the Profession Committee, and the Racial Diversity in the Profession Committee. Nominees will be responsible for their own expenses related to the interview process. The ad hoc committee will submit two nominations for each vacant position to the president of the State Bar, and the president will appoint one of those nominees. The board of directors will consider the appointee for approval at its meeting on April 25, 2014. Minority directors serve threeyear terms, and the terms begin on June 25, 2014.

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Justice Scalia to administer oaths at Texas Supreme Court ceremony

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will administer the ceremonial oaths of office to Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht and Justice Jeff Brown during a public investiture at 11 a.m. Nov. 11.

The ceremony will take place in the Texas Capitol House Chamber, and parking will be available at the Capitol visitors lot at 1201 San Jacinto Blvd. in Austin.

Hecht, a longtime Texas Supreme Court justice, was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to fulfill the term of former Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson, who recently left the court to return to private practice. Perry then appointed Brown, formerly a justice of the 14th Court of Appeals, to fill the seat Hecht vacated.

The Texas Lawyer's Creed

The goal of the Texas Lawyer’s Creed, promulgated in November 1989, was to eliminate abusive tactics within the practice of law in Texas and promote respect and confidence in the legal profession. In 2013, then State Bar of Texas President Buck Files worked with both the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to reaffirm the Creed and what it stands for.

To celebrate the reaffirmation, the State Bar of Texas created a poster-sized (24 x 36) version of the Texas Lawyers’ Creed. Perfect for display in your law office or chambers, contact Blair McBride at bmcbride@texasbar.com or 512-427-1726 to receive your free copy or to request copies of the Texas Lawyer’s Creed brochure.

Update: Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange

The latest update from Member Benefits Inc. on the Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange is now available. Click here to read the update, which includes information on how to register for the private exchange starting Nov. 1.

Member Benefits Inc. is committed to providing updates to those who have requested information. You can sign up here to receive updates directly.

Random Profile: Heath Novosad, Houston

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?

Best thing about being a lawyer: Helping people navigate the legal system

Most important career lesson: Be an effective communicator.  Whether you are advising your client about the strengths or weaknesses of his/her case, negotiating with opposing counsel, arguing before a court, or presenting your client’s case in the most effective manner to a jury, as a trial lawyer, your job requires effective communication.

Bet you didn’t know: I was the left tackle for the 1994 Sealy Tigers Class AAA Texas State Champion football team.

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Dallas Bar Association to host Affordable Care Act forum

The Dallas Bar Association will host a free public forum at noon Tuesday, Oct. 22 on the Affordable Care Act in an effort to improve understanding of the health care law.

The hourlong discussion, “Understanding the Affordable Care Act,” will feature perspectives from Den Bishop, president of Holmes, Murphy & Associates, Insurance Brokerage Firm; Stephen Love, president and CEO of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council; John McWhorter, president of Baylor University Medical Center; and Cheryl Camin Murray, shareholder at Winstead P.C., moderator.

The forum will take place at the Belo Mansion, 2101 Ross Ave., in downtown Dallas (garage parking available; enter from Olive Street). Lunch will be available for $12.76.

To ensure adequate seating is available, those interested in attending are asked to RSVP to sevans@dallasbar.org or 214-220-7440.

Texas Bar Foundation Call for Award Nominations

The Texas Bar Foundation is calling for entries for their 2014 Award Program. The Texas Bar Foundation award categories include the following:

  • Dan Rugeley Price Award recognizes an attorney who is an accomplished legal writer and researcher.
  • Lola Wright Foundation Award is given to an attorney who exemplifies the highest standards of legal ethics.
  • Outstanding 50 Year Lawyer Award recognizes an attorney whose practice spans 50 years or more and adheres to the highest principles and traditions of the legal profession and service to the public.
  • Ronald D. Secrest Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award is awarded to an attorney who has demonstrated high ethical and moral standards and has demonstrated exceptional professional conduct, thus enhancing the image of the trial lawyer.
  • Samuel Pessarra Outstanding Jurist Award is given to an active current Federal or State judge who has served on the bench for a minimum of 10 years and exhibits an exceptionally outstanding reputation for competency, efficiency, and integrity.
  • Outstanding Law Review Article Award which honors a law review article published by one of the Texas law schools.
  • Gregory S. Coleman Outstanding Appellate Lawyer Award recognizes an attorney who exhibits an outstanding appellate practice and strong moral compass while maintaining a strong commitment to providing legal services for the underserved and mentoring of young lawyers.

For more information and to view the nomination form, please visit the Texas Bar Foundation website and click on the "2014 Awards Submissions" ribbon.

The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. in the Texas Bar Foundation office.

The Texas Bar Foundation is located at 515 Congress Ave., Ste. 1755, Austin, 78701. You may contact them at 512-480-8000, Fax: 512-480-8005, or info@txbf.org.

New IOLTA Scam Targeting Attorneys

Texas attorneys should be extra-vigilant regarding potential scams involving IOLTA accounts. We recently received reports of numerous email messages addressed to employees of National Bankruptcy Services bearing forged service@citibank.com return addresses and from Gil_Norris@NBSDefaultServices.com, claiming to represent the National Bankruptcy Services, LLC. Messages allege that the recipient’s IOLTA account has insufficient funds to pay an outstanding check and includes a .zip file attachment purportedly containing additional information and presumed to contain malware. 

There is a strong possibility that these messages are part of a broader phishing attack targeted to legal professionals. Email headers indicate that these messages were sent from several different email servers scattered across the globe.

The representative messages are as follows:

"Please see the attached Iolta report for 7448-1996.
We received a check request in the amount of $19,521.42 for the above referenced
file. However, the attached report reflects a $0 balance. At your earliest
convenience, please advise how this request is to be funded.
Thanks."

"Please see the attached Iolta report for 2794-3646. We received a check request in the amount of $19,480.81 for the above referenced file. However, the attached report reflects a $0 balance. At your earliest convenience, please advise how this request is to be funded."

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The TBJ October 2013 issue

Inside: A look at how mental illness and addiction to a controlled substance can lead an attorney down the road to ruin—and how TLAP can provide hope and help to those in need. Plus: Apps to download now to make your life easier, an innovative teaching guide that brings the Supreme Court of Texas to the classroom, and the new Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange that offers health care choices to members. Go to the Texas Bar Journal to read the entire issue.  

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Share your blog on Texas Bar Today

Texas Bar Today is an online media network featuring curated news and commentary from Texas legal professionals. It is provided as a service of the State Bar of Texas. If you are a Texas legal professional/blogger and are not yet listed on the Texas Law Blogs section of Texas Bar Today, please email webmaster@texasbar.com to request inclusion on the site.

Please also contact us if you do not have a blog but would like to contribute a guest post.

Austin Firm to Argue Before U.S. Supreme Court

William R. Allensworth, senior partner with the Austin-based construction firm Allensworth & Porter, is scheduled to argue before the United States Supreme Court in the case of In re Atl. Marine Const. Co., Inc., 701 F.3d 736 (5th Cir. 2012) cert. granted, 12-929, 2013 WL 1285318 (U.S. Apr. 1, 2013). The hearing takes place on Oct. 9.

The case, which Allensworth believes could have a profound impact on the use and effect of forum-selection clauses throughout the construction industry, stems from a dispute between J-Crew Management Inc. and a subcontractor working on a project at Fort Hood in Killeen. 

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Member Benefits - Insurance Coverage

Year’s end is nearly here, and it’s a great time to take stock of your insurance coverage to make sure your health, home, car and family are taken care of. Save money without skimping on coverage by using your State Bar of Texas Member Discount Program!

Individual health insurance can be more affordable with eHealthInsurance. Get an instant online quote and compare rates and coverage from leading health care companies – plus get advice about coverage from licensed professionals. And don’t forget your pets! Veterinary Pet Insurance is available in a variety of plans – major medical, economical, even species-specific – to keep your furry friends (and your budget) healthy.

Protect your car with GMAC Insurance. Customers who switch to GMAC save an average of $442 a year, and your State Bar of Texas membership could save you even more. Kemper Select offers competitive rates, even if you’ve had a ticket or accident – and they also offer home insurance. Call today to see how much you can save with multi-car and multi-policy discounts. Geico offers State Bar of Texas members discounts on car, motorcycle, home and renters policies. Visit the website for more information.

For more information on other discounts you’re eligible for as a member of the State Bar of Texas, visit texasbar.com, click “For Lawyers” then select “Review Member Benefits and Discounts” from the Benefits section.

Hecht takes oath as Texas Supreme Court chief justice

Nathan L. Hecht of Austin took the oath of office as the 27th chief justice of the Supreme Court of Texas on Tuesday, replacing Wallace B. Jefferson, who retired.

“This is a great day,” Jefferson told a crowd of justices, clerks, family members, and other spectators inside the Supreme Court before administering the oath to Hecht. “This is a wonderful day because the governor has made an inspired choice.”

Gov. Rick Perry appointed Hecht to serve the remainder of Jefferson’s term, which expires in 2014. A formal investiture ceremony will be schedule later this fall, Hecht said.

“We wanted to have this [swearing in] for the court family this afternoon,” he said.

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Texas Tech School of Law to Host Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

On Wednesday morning, Texas Tech University School of Law will welcome the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to campus. The presiding judge, along with eight judges, will hear oral arguments in two cases in front of students and the public.

"This visit from the Court of Criminal Appeals is an excellent opportunity for our law students to witness consequential deliberation firsthand," said Kari Abitbol, assistant director of communications for Texas Tech Law. "We're grateful to the court for paying a visit and showcasing the caliber of Texas Tech Law to the greater community."

The hearings will take place in the Donald M. Hunt Courtroom, School of Law, 1802 Harford Ave., beginning at 9 a.m.

State Bar of Texas Member Discount Program

Fall is here, and as the leaves turn, your thoughts turn to holiday entertaining. Save on the products you need to make it all happen with your State Bar of Texas Member Discount Program.

A great gathering starts great food, and great food starts with the right appliances. With your Sears Commercial discount, save on trusted Kenmore appliances – 5% and more off. You’re also eligible for discounts on the Whirlpool family of appliances – including KitchenAid, Amana and Maytag – with the VIPLink program. You and your immediate family members can purchase up to 12 products per year through VIPLink; check the website for more details and restrictions. The right appliances can make post-party cleanup a breeze, too!

What else do you need for holiday entertaining? How about pots and pans and gadgets? Potsandpans.com has you covered. Save 20% on cookware, bakeware, cutlery and more from brands like Farberware, Circulon, Anolon and more. Save on serving dishes, too. World Kitchen offers 20% off the purchase of kitchen products from Chicago Cutlery, EKCO, Pyrex, Revere and more. Find dishes and everything you need to make your table shine!

Is the thought of entertaining making you tired? Treat yourself to a new mattress from Comfortaire. Get up to 50% off select mattresses, plus get two free memory foam pillows and free shipping! See website for details and restrictions.

For more information on other discounts you’re eligible for as a member of the State Bar of Texas, visit texasbar.com, click “For Lawyers” then select “Review Member Benefits and Discounts” from the Benefits section.