Texas Monthly finalist for ABA Silver Gavel Award

A serialized magazine story detailing a 1982 Waco triple homicide is among the finalists for the American Bar Association’s 2015 Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts.

Texas Monthly’s “The Murders at the Lake,” by executive editor Michael Hall, was among 14 Silver Gavel finalists announced Wednesday and the only finalist named in the magazine category. 

The awards recognize outstanding work that fosters the American public’s understanding of law and the legal system. Winners will be announced May 13.

The finalists are listed below along with a link to their work.

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Several 'keys' to saving time in Word

By Ivan Hemmans, ABA TECHSHOW Board 2015

For those select few who spend a significant portion of their days drafting, revising, or reviewing documents in Microsoft Word, even the smallest productivity improvement can have a huge impact on how much work gets done. Here are a few simple keyboard combos that can help raise the productivity bar.

Shift+F3 to cHANGE cASE

Shift+F3 is the Change Case command. When invoked, it changes the case of selected text. If all lowercase text is selected, it capitalizes the first letter of each selected word. If each of the selected words begins with a capital letter, it changes all the text to uppercase. And, if all the words are already uppercase, it then changes the selected text to all lowercase letters. It is worth noting that the Change Case command toggles between sentence case — the first letter of the selected range as capital followed by the rest in lowercase — and uppercase if the last character of the selected text is some form of punctuation.


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Texans prominent at ABA Midyear Meeting in Houston









The American Bar Association’s 2015 Midyear Meeting came to Houston this month, and it wasn’t hard to find Texans in prominent roles.

Texans were speakers and award recipients during the concurrent meetings of the ABA and several related groups, including the National Association of Bar Executives, the National Conference of Bar Presidents, and the National Conference of Bar Foundations.

State Bar of Texas President Trey Apffel helped open the bar presidents’ conference by welcoming the leaders to Houston and explaining the city’s nicknames, including Space City, Bayou City, and H-Town.

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Conference challenges bar associations to R.I.S.E.

The National Association of Bar Executives held its 2015 Midyear Meeting in Houston this month, as did several related groups, including the American Bar Association, the National Conference of Bar Presidents, and the National Conference of Bar Foundations.

The NABE conference focused on the bar as a business, a theme that was first presented at the group’s annual meeting in Boston. Attendees were challenged to “R.I.S.E., which stands for Reach, Improve, Serve, and Engage.”

Takeaways from some of the sessions are listed below.

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State Bar of Texas offers members discounted registration to ABA TECHSHOW

The State Bar of Texas is offering its members the opportunity to register for ABA TECHSHOW 2015 at a significant discount.

State Bar of Texas members can save up to $355 off the registration price for the conference, scheduled for April 16-18 at the Chicago Hilton. Early bird registration ends March 6.

Receive your discount by using the State Bar of Texas event promoter code TECHSHOWEP15. Register now at techshow.com.

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Free CLE on immigration law scheduled for Saturday

The American Bar Association, along with its Commission on Immigration and Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities, will host a free CLE on Executive Action in Immigration Law on Saturday, Feb. 7 in Houston.

Panelists, including Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Michael A. Olivas, director of the Institute for Higher Education Law & Governance at the University of Houston Law Center, and Leticia Saucedo, professor of law and director of clinical legal education at UC Davis School of Law, will discuss topics including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, enforcement issues, litigation updates, congressional action, and how to advise clients impacted by the executive acts.

The conversation will take place in conjunction with the ABA’s midyear meeting from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in Room 332 C/F of the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. To register and learn more, go to http://www.americanbar.org/calendar/midyear.html.


ABA to introduce new video during reception

On Thursday, Feb. 5, the ABA Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities, along with the ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law, will debut the public service video Las Llaves de Mi Casa, which translates to “The Keys to My House.” The film targets Hispanic homebuyers and discusses the legal elements and implications of purchasing a house. In addition to the screening, speakers will explore housing issues specific to the Latino community and address future initiatives to promote understanding of real estate.

The ABA encourages lawyers, real estate professionals, and housing development organizations to attend. Hosted in conjunction with the ABA’s midyear meeting at the Hilton of the Americas in Houston, the gathering will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Lanier Grand Ballroom G, 4th Fl., 1600 Lamar St. Those interested in attending should RSVP to Nancy.Andrade@americanbar.org.

Dallas lawyer selected for ABA award

Kim J. Askew, partner in K&L Gates in Dallas, was recently named as the recipient of a 2015 Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity. Askew, one of four winners, will receive the award during a Feb. 7, 2015, ceremony at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Houston.

The Spirit of Excellence Award is presented to lawyers who excel in their professional settings; personify excellence on the national, state, or local level; and demonstrate a commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession.

Askew, the 2003-2004 chair of the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors, specializes in complex commercial and employment litigation. She is a longtime leader in the State Bar, ABA, and Dallas Bar Association.

Texas lawyers, legal organization to receive ABA Difference Makers Awards in San Antonio

Three Texas attorneys and a San Antonio legal services organization will receive national awards for breaking down barriers through community service, pro bono work, and service to the legal profession, the American Bar Association announced today

The list of 2014 Difference Makers Awards recipients includes State Bar of Texas Immediate Past President Lisa M. Tatum, former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson, Houston immigration lawyer Harry Gee Jr., and RAICES, a San Antonio-based legal services and education organization for refugees and immigrants.


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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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Former TYLA leader hopes book serves as leadership guide for women in law

A former Texas Young Lawyers Association leader has written a book to help women apply corporate leadership research and wisdom to the field of law.

Gindi Eckel Vincent, a Houston attorney who was chair of TYLA in 2006-2007, said she wrote “Learning to Lead: What Really Works for Women in the Law” as a practical guide to leadership for women practicing law today.

The idea grew out of discussions with Mary B. Cranston, a mentor of Vincent’s who leads the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession, about a lack of toolkits and research for women seeking promotions and leadership opportunities in the legal field, Vincent said. Cranston is listed as an advisor on the book, which the ABA commission is publishing. 

“The book is essentially broken into three parts,” Vincent, who works as counsel for ExxonMobil, said by email. “The first part highlights background information and statistics, identifies myths and stereotypes that exist, and features the key corporate leadership findings. The second part takes apart the nine essential techniques to lead effectively and tailors them to women practicing law. The third part, and my favorite, features interviews with women leaders that have a law degree as well as preeminent judges in America and closes with Total Leadership Makeover, which applies the techniques to real women practicing law to help them achieve the next step in their career.”

The book will premiere at the ABA Annual Meeting on Aug. 9 in San Francisco and will be available for purchase on the ABA website and, eventually, on Amazon, Vincent said.

ABA Commission on Disability Rights sponsors two free CLE programs

The American Bar Association Commission on Disability Rights is sponsoring two CLE programs:

Please note that in order to receive CLE credit you MUST register for the 2013 ABA Midyear Meeting (registration is free).

For more information go to http://www.americanbar.org/calendar/midyear.html