Houston Bar Association's Law Day program earns national honor

The Houston Bar Association announced Tuesday it is one of three organizations the American Bar Association will honor for its 2013 Law Day activities.

The HBA will join the Connecticut Judicial Branch and the Law Day 2013 Dream Team, a partnership of 12 Georgia organizations, in receiving the Law Day 2013 Outstanding Activity Award, according to the ABA.

The ABA will present the awards Feb. 7 at its 2014 Midyear Meeting in Chicago.


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Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange: An update on key deadlines

The January Texas Bar Journal features an update on important deadlines for the Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange, and we’ve released the story early here.

Health insurance companies are accepting enrollments through the private exchange for a six-month period, ending March 31, 2014, for coverage effective dates starting in 2014. For a desired coverage effective date of Jan. 1, the application completion deadline is Dec. 19.

The Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange is a multi-carrier private exchange designed exclusively for State Bar of Texas members and their staff and dependents. Read the TBJ story and visit the Member Benefits website for more information.  

Random Profile: Jaimes Sher, Irving

For Random Profiles, we randomly pick one of our 94,000-plus attorneys and do a Q&A. We've found that every Texas lawyer has an interesting story. Will yours be next?

Most important career lesson: Never let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve your goal. Always treat people the way you would want to be treated. Before acting, a little empathy goes a long way.

Bet you didn’t know: I have a dozen patents in which I am a named inventor. I am particularly proud of the patent on which I am the sole inventor for making wine through chemistry.

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Texas Supreme Court approves final e-filing rules

The Supreme Court of Texas announced Friday that it has issued final rules for electronically filed civil court documents, effective Jan. 1.

A Texas Court of Criminal Appeals order also includes changes to appellate rules governing criminal cases. The rules supersede all other local civil rules governing electronic document filing in Texas courts, according to the court. Under the rules, court filings by attorneys in Texas civil cases will be mandatory.

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Santa Claus on trial, again

For the 20th-straight year, Santa Claus is facing “trial” as part of a community service project of the San Antonio Bar Association.

San Antonio police arrested Santa on Thursday as he was handing out gifts at James Bonham Academy. He is accused of violating a fictitious statute concerning the separation of church and state, said Ted Lee, a San Antonio attorney who helps organize the annual mock trial through the San Antonio Bar Association U.S. District Courts Committee.

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The Texas Bar Journal Short Story Contest 2014 is underway

Lawyers know how to craft motions, briefs, and summary judgments, but do they have the “write” stuff to pen a short story? The Texas Bar Journal Short Story Contest is back. Interested applicants should submit a previously unpublished short story dealing with the law or lawyers. The June 2014 issue of the Texas Bar Journal will feature the top three stories, as selected by an independent panel of judges. Manuscripts should not exceed 2,000 words and submissions are due by 5 p.m. CST Monday, March 3, 2014. For more information and an entry form, go to texasbar.com/tbj.


Houston attorney Benny Agosto Jr. to address South Texas College of Law graduates

On Dec. 14, personal injury attorney Benny Agosto Jr. will deliver the keynote address at the commencement ceremony of his alma mater, the South Texas College of Law in Houston.

STCL graduates can learn from Agosto’s personal story, particularly as they prepare to take the Texas bar exam and enter a less-than-prime job market. Although Agosto’s parents had no more than a sixth grade education, they instilled in him the value of hard work and a good education. He was recruited by Houston Baptist University for his soccer skills and went on to graduate from college, obtain his law degree, and have a successful law career.

Additionally, Agosto established the Mexican-American Bar Association of Texas Foundation in 2006 and in 2011 served as the president of the Hispanic National Bar Association. Earlier this year he received the Peter Torres Jr. Community Service Award from the State Bar Hispanic Issues Section and the Litigation Counsel of America’s Peter Perlman Service Award.

Number of takers of the Law School Admission Test continues to bottom out

James L. Rosica
The Tampa Tribune

The number of takers of the Law School Admission Test continues to bottom out, with an 11 percent drop as of the October administration of the exam. Takers fell from 37,780 a year ago to 33,673 last month, according to the Law School Admission Council, which develops the test. The latest number is a 45 percent decline from October 2009, when law school fervor started to ebb. As of August, law school applications to American Bar Association-accredited schools nationwide were down nearly 18 percent from 2012, also according to the Law School Admission Council.

You may read the full article on The Tampa Tribune's website.

Three law firms in Harlingen receive the Texas Treasure Business Award

Adams & Graham associates gather around a historic photo of the firm’s founders, John Quincy Adams and Marshall W. Graham. From left, Jim Denison, William L. Pope, Scott Clark, Leslie Lockhart Moody, Roger Hughes, Will Hughes, Gene Graham (Marshall Graham’s widow), and Ferriel C. “Kent” Hamby Jr.

Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. (D-Brownsville) recently presented three Harlingen law firms with the Texas Historical Commission’s Texas Treasure Business Award, which recognizes businesses that have contributed to the state’s economic growth for 50 years or more.

During a ceremony at the historic Reese Plaza, Harlingen mayor Chris Boswell was also on hand to honor the recipients, which included Kent Hamby and Jim Denison of Adams & Graham, Curtis Bonner on behalf of Bonner & Bonner, and Graham and Gene McCullough of McCullough & McCullough.

“It is important that we celebrate the staying power of our longstanding businesses and honor the legacy of those whose skills as entrepreneurs and leaders long have provided jobs and economic prosperity for our community,” said Boswell.

McCullough & McCullough was founded by Gene F. McCullough in 1946. His son Graham joined the firm in 1960, and four years later, State Representative Menton Joseph Murray Sr. joined as well. Over the years, the name changed as partners passed away and new ones took over the reigns. The partners have always been civic minded and have supported the community through various organizations. In July 1999, Graham’s son Arthur “Gene” E. McCullough joined the firm.

In 1957 attorneys Eddie Verneal “Neal” Bonner and Gene Goodenough hung out a shingle as Goodenough and Bonner in a rented downtown office space in Harlingen, at the time a booming town because of the local Air Force base. People have come and gone, but the law firm has always been business-oriented. The Bonners have been involved with the Harlingen community for years.

Adams & Graham was founded in 1958 by John Quincy Adams and Marshall W. Graham. Marshall’s brother James S. Graham Jr. was an associate. As new partners joined the firm, the name changed. And over the years, the firm moved locations and grew. Today Adams & Graham is a full-service law firm that represents clients in business litigation, commercial defense, employment law, and more. The firm’s attorneys have always been committed to service and have acted as school board trustees, city commissioners, and university regents.


Get started on your Christmas shopping! Visit the State Bar of Texas Member Discount Program

What do you get for the stylish person who has everything? And how do you do it without blowing your budget? Check out these offers from your State Bar of Texas Member Discount Program to find attractive offers on attractive clothing and accessories.

Brooks Brothers has set the standard for American style since 1818, and now you can save 15% off regularly priced merchandise with your corporate membership. Find stylish gifts for men, women and children. Your corporate membership offers you discounts that are valid on purchases made in retail stores, online and by phone. See website for details and restrictions, and to sign up for the corporate discount program.

Looking for something sparkly to give that special someone? Save an additional 20% off purchases from Corporate Jewelers' already low prices. As a wholesaler, manufacturer and importer, Corporate Jewelers passes the savings on to you. Save on engagement rings and wedding sets, diamond earrings, pendants and more. As an added bonus, your holiday purchases are eligible for free shipping in the U.S.

OGIO is a leader in bag, accessory and apparel design, with a range of products known for intelligent design and unique styling. You can save 25% off the entire collection – complete with a limited lifetime warranty. Find the perfect clothes and bags for work, travel, golf, athletic use and more.

For more information on other hot holiday deals 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.

Public Notice of the Changes to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure (FRAP) and Fifth Circuit Rules Effective December 1, 2013

Effective December 1, 2013, the following rules have been amended:

  • Appellate Rules 13, 14, 24, 28 and 28.1 and Form 4 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure
  • Fifth Circuit Rules 28.2.2 and 28.3 (g) (h) (i) (j) (k) (l) and (m) and Fifth Circuit Form 7

View the full set of changes here.

State Bar of Texas Member Discount Program

Feeling stressed out about finding the right holiday gifts for your loved ones? Worry no more! Your State Bar of Texas Member Discount Program has great deals on hundreds of great gadget gifts – and you won’t have to fight the other shoppers on Black Friday to find them!

Fresh, hot coffee – made with no fuss or mess – can only mean one thing. Keurig. This holiday season, save an additional 25% off select machine packages. You can also get free shipping (and discounts) on a large variety of K-cups. You can also save on gifts for clients and packages for your office that include K-cups, chocolates, snacks and more!

Got a music lover (or gamer) on your list? Monster Audio has you covered. Check out stylish headphones and earbuds for mobile devices, plus speakers and cables for home theater and gaming systems and automobiles. Get Monsterized this holiday and save 50% off all your purchases.

Just in time for the holidays, Lenovo and Dell have great deals on the latest computer systems and tablets. Save up to 30% on Lenovo® products like ThinkPad® and IdeaPad™ notebooks. Get free shipping on all Web orders, too. In the spotlight from Dell are handy portable tablets – get the new Dell Venue 7 for only $146.99 with a promotional 32GB SD card.

For more information on other hot holiday deals 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.

Random Profile: Mary Elizabeth Fuentes Valdez, San Antonio

For Random Profiles, we randomly pick one of our 94,000-plus attorneys and do a Q&A. We've found that every Texas lawyer has an interesting story. Will yours be next?

The part of my job I do best is: Relating to the youths with whom I am privileged to work; some can be challenging but most are really fun and inquisitive and intelligent (and very street savvy), and they keep me on my toes.

Bet you didn’t know: that I’m a Bexar County Master Gardener and that I volunteer regularly with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

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