TMCP panel educates attorneys on increasingly popular public-private partnerships

Public-private partnerships are being promoted by President Obama, written about by Forbes and the New York Times, and heralded by some as “a lifeline for cities” inundated with fiscal problems and as the way to build our nation’s future (they also attract their fair share of criticism). In P3s, as they’re commonly called, government agencies team with private companies to complete a project, whether it be infrastructure-related, like a highway, or service-based, like an electric utility or parking meter system.

Texas attorneys are paying attention to these increasingly common—and sometimes complex—arrangements, as seen with the recent CLE course “Hot Topics in Public-Private Partnerships,” which was offered at the State Bar of Texas Minority Counsel Program in Austin, Texas, from September 3-5, 2014. Leading the panel was Mary Colchin Johndroe, a partner with Cantey Hanger in Fort Worth, and Mario Menendez, vice president and general counsel to construction company Ferrovial Agroman in the Woodlands. Allen Estes III, of Gordon & Rees, moderated.

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Hispanic Issues Section celebrates 35th year

Now in its 35th year, the Hispanic Issues Section of the State Bar of Texas has been active addressing statewide matters, such as helping to create a bar association coalition to address the unaccompanied minors situation. The coalition is at work providing training and CLE seminars to attorneys and other legal professionals who are interested in volunteering their time.

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Free CLE course to focus on roles of lawyers, law enforcement in unaccompanied minors cases

A free continuing legal education course Thursday in Houston will focus on the rights of unaccompanied children crossing the Texas border and the duties of federal, state, and local governments in handling the cases.

The Harris County Attorney’s Office is sponsoring the course for legal and law enforcement professionals.

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Outstanding volunteers honored by TexasBarCLE

Six Texas attorneys have been selected as winners of “A Standing Ovation” award from TexasBarCLE. The lawyers were chosen based on their exceptional volunteer contributions to CLE programing in 2013.

“All of our volunteers deserve our gratitude for contributing to the continuing education of their peers,” said Patrick Nester, director of TexasBarCLE. “Nevertheless, some stand out each year for extraordinary dedication and commitment. The staff looks forward to singling out individuals that not only gave enormously to our efforts, but also were gracious, easy to work with, and—oftentimes—helped us out in a real pinch."

The following lawyers were recognized:

Donna Brown, Austin

David E. Chamberlain, Austin

Warren Harris, Houston

Cindy V. Tisdale, Granbury

David K. Waggoner, Hillsboro

Mark D. White, Amarillo

 

Administrative law seminar set for August

Members of the judiciary, regulatory, and academic communities will join together to engage with practitioners and discuss the latest legislative and case law updates, rule changes, and other timely topics during the 9th Annual Advanced Texas Administrative Law Seminar. The event will take place Aug. 21-22 at the AT&T Conference Center in Austin and is presented by the University of Texas School of Law and the Administrative and Public Law Section of the State Bar of Texas.

Highlights of the two-day seminar include an examination of the informal reprimand practices of state agencies and the procedural issues they raise; protective orders, hearing procedures, and other ways to address protection of trade secrets in an administrative agency contested case; and a discussion of the moral tribulations of agency counsel in balancing client loyalty and the privilege of confidentiality with the bar rules of “special obligation for the quality of justice.”

Attendees will also have an opportunity to explore the origins and practical realities of Texas Government Code Chapter 2260, participate in a judicial panel round-robin discussion, learn how to e-file at SOAH and in district and appellate courts, and preview major issues of interest for the 2015 legislative session.

MCLE and ethics credit are available for the event.

To learn more and register, go to https;//utcle.org/conferences/AL14.

 

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SXSW CLE Wrap-up Part 3: Ethical pitfalls in entertainment law

Ethical dilemmas can arise in all areas of law, but the entertainment field can be fraught with them.

If they’re not careful, attorneys can run afoul of rules governing the attorney-client relationship, conflicts of interest, attorney compensation, and simultaneous representation, among others, speakers said Friday during a South by Southwest continuing legal education session.

That’s especially true if an attorney is wearing a second hat—agent, manager, even band member, said Austin entertainment and media lawyer Lawrence Waks, a partner with Jackson Walker LLP.

“I know a lot of folks in Austin, generally solos, that are both lawyers and agents, or lawyers and managers, or lawyers and musicians,” Waks said. “What hat are they wearing at any particular time? … It’s very difficult to discern that kind of thing.”

Speakers sounded notes of caution throughout the hourlong session, which focused on ethical issues in entertainment law. Along with Waks, the panel featured former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson and Austin trial lawyer Steve McConnico.

 

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SXSW CLE Wrap-up: Panelists say it's time to revise Copyright Act

The major law governing copyright in the U.S. will turn 38 this year. An update meant to modernize the law for the digital age took effect during the Clinton administration.

Technology hasn’t stopped evolving since then, of course, and many—including officials at the U.S. Copyright Office—say a comprehensive revision is due.

“The Copyright Office thinks it’s time to engage in a broader review of the copyright laws as opposed to little piecemeal changes,” said Jacqueline Charlesworth, general counsel and associate register of copyrights, during a South by Southwest panel discussion Friday at the Austin Convention Center.

The panel, which also featured entertainment attorneys Rachel Stilwell and Peter Strand, was part of this year’s continuing legal education sessions.

 

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SXSW CLE Wrap-up

Part I: Cool Things v. Consumer Privacy, Filming Unsuspecting Subjects, and Streaming Pay Scales

By the end of South by Southwest 2014—held in Austin from March 7 to March 16—attorneys were referring to the festival’s official legal program as “Camp CLE.” Like the much larger SXSW spectacle, the CLE room was full of lawyers from around the country, as well as a mix of artists, publishers, and other entertainment industry professionals. Put on by the Midwest-based Lommen Abdo Law Firm, a total of 12 sessions were held, led by 30 law experts. The Texas Bar Journal reports on several of these events below. Stay tuned to the State Bar Blog for additional SXSW CLE articles.

 

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Native American Law Section Holds CLE Conference

On Jan. 17, the Native American Law Section of the State Bar of Texas held its annual CLE conference at the Texas Law Center in Austin. A highlight of this annual event, treasurer and section council member Jay Hurst presented State Bar President Lisa M. Tatum with a Martial Eagle feather as a sign of honor. Tatum, who has some Chickasaw and Cherokee heritage, said she was surprised and truly honored to receive the special gift. (The feather was from a non-native eagle species and had been certified as not falling under the jurisdiction of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act or Bald Eagle Act.)

Tatum then led a CLE session on her presidential initiatives, such as the educational program I was the first! Vote for me and the Care Kit, which provides resources for attorneys hosting pro bono clinics. Another highlight of the conference was the session on sovereignty led by Gregory A. Smith, partner in Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker in Washington, D.C., as well as a ceremony of traditional Native American singing, drumming, and dancing by the Eagle Point Singers. One song honored Tatum and two award winners, Shannon Speed, who received the section’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and Jo Ann Battise, who received the Tom Diamond Award of Excellence. 

A variety of additional CLE sessions were offered, including “Adoption of Native American Children,” “An Overview of Important Federal Indian Law Cases in 2013 and a Look Toward 2014,” “Legal Issues Specific to Native American and Indigenous Women,” and “Gaming.”

UT historian to speak on Civil Rights Act at SBOT Annual Meeting

University of Texas historian Jeremi Suri will discuss the worldwide effects of the Civil Rights Act at the 2014 State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting in Austin.

Suri will present “How the Civil Rights Act Has Impacted the World” from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. June 27 as part of the meeting’s continuing legal education programming.

The meeting, set for June 26-27 at the Hilton Austin and Austin Convention Center, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act with a variety of activities, including a keynote speech by Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, daughter of former President Lyndon B. Johnson, who signed the act, and LBJ Presidential Library director Mark Updegrove.

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Program to help attorneys handle pro bono tax cases

Attorneys can learn how to handle a tax controversy case, audit techniques and procedures, and other helpful information at a free CLE program Feb. 7 in Houston.

Houston Volunteer Lawyers, together with the Houston Bar Association Tax Law Section and the Texas Young Lawyers Association, will present “How to Handle a Pro Bono Tax Case” from 8 a.m. to noon Feb. 7 at South Texas College of Law.

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SBOT, legal aid groups to offer free family law CLE event

Attorneys can take advantage of a free family law CLE event in five Texas cities in September and October.

The State Bar of Texas and legal aid organizations are partnering to offer Family Law Essentials: Giving Back to Your Community, starting Thursday in El Paso. The event will also take place in Amarillo, San Marcos, Longview, and Abilene.

A full schedule appears below.

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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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