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Stories of Recovery: Like a Freight Train

Editor’s note: This post is part of the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program’s Stories of Recovery series. TLAP offers confidential assistance for lawyers, law students, and judges with substance abuse or mental health issues. Call TLAP at 1-800-343-8527 (TLAP) and find more information at tlaphelps.org. I feel like alcoholism just appeared in my life overnight. Logically, however, … Continue Reading

Early thoughts for family law practitioners on the modernized military retirement system

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 defined a modernized retirement system, or MRS, for individuals entering military service on or after January 1, 2018. Service members with less than 12 years of service on December 31, 2017, have the option of remaining with the current military retirement system or switching to the … Continue Reading

Texas courts of appeals differ on email signature issue

Recent court of appeals rulings in Texas have been split on issues involving email signatures. The 1st Court of Appeals in Houston issued an opinion March 30 on Khoury v. Prentis B. Tomlinson Jr., No. 01-16-00006-CV, a case that arose from an agreement where John Khoury invested in PetroGulf, a company that Prentis Tomlinson ran … Continue Reading

Guest blog: Legal issues surrounding homeless students

The Every Student Succeeds Act, enacted by the federal government in late 2015, recently amended the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act to address the educational effects of homelessness. The legislation alters the definition of homeless, commissions new methods of identifying homeless students, attempts to keep students in their original school district as long as possible, and … Continue Reading

Guest blog: Three tax tips for every lawyer

1. Constructive Receipt and Lawyer Trust Accounts Lawyers often face constructive receipt tax issues, whether they know it or not. Constructive receipt—a tax term used to determine when a taxpayer has received gross income—is one of those subjects that many people think they understand in part because it comes up frequently. Around year-end, chances are, … Continue Reading

Tips for new Texas lawyers in real estate law

A new batch of Texas lawyers was sworn in this past November, and I realized that now would be a good time to share some pointers and direct my fellow colleagues to three key websites in the real estate law field. First, the Texas Real Estate Commission, or TREC, website at trec.texas.gov is your home … Continue Reading

What is the goal of legal writing?

When I teach legal writing to first-year law students, I surprise them with an in-class exercise around halfway through the first semester. I have the students break into groups, tell them to take out pen and paper, and pose this question: “What is the goal of legal writing?” Puzzled, they just stare back. I ask … Continue Reading

How to help your clients navigate divorce and holiday visitation schedules

For a divorce, it has been as amicable as possible. But the inevitable disputes over property and finances have left everyone drained. With the primary custody questions—such as conservatorship—finally settled, the only thing left to discuss is the holiday visitation schedule. Texas has an established standard possession order, spelling out how school breaks and holidays … Continue Reading

Build your family practice without spending a penny

During the initial consultation between an attorney and a person or couple considering divorce, matrimonial lawyers frequently encounter issues like alcohol abuse, drug abuse, mental illness, child abuse, infidelity, emotional abuse, psychiatric illnesses, and personality disorders. In addition, clients who are considering divorce often have to talk about difficult issues, such as loss of assets; … Continue Reading

Why collaborative law works for divorce clients

For peace is a process—a way of solving problems.” —John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Peace Speech 1963  We lawyers have heard about collaborative law and its array of protections for managing conflict and developing trust … etcetera. Yet we remain hesitant, even after giving bonus points for its 90 percent success rate. At the end of the … Continue Reading

Texas attorneys graduate as presidential scholars

Two Texas attorneys, Grant Sparks and B.J. Goergen, just wrapped up their year as members of the Presidential Leadership Scholars Class of 2016. This six-month educational program is jointly sponsored by the U.S. presidential centers of Lyndon B. Johnson, George H.W. Bush, William J. Clinton, and George W. Bush. Of hundreds of applicants, only 61 … Continue Reading

To serve or not to serve?

Medical malpractice claims and the ever-evolving Chapter 74 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code are not for the faint of heart. In Passmore v. Baylor Health Care Systems, a recent 5th Circuit opinion, the court stepped into an area most medical malpractice attorneys thought was clear: whether Texas’s “threshold expert report” requirement in … Continue Reading

INA waivers for non-immigrant business travelers with criminal pasts

As a young corporate immigration lawyer, I was consistently surprised by how many of my clients, including high-ranking international managers and successful entrepreneurs, had a criminal record. And I’m not referring to white-collar crime. Petty thefts were most common, followed by assaults. One man, while in college, stole the wallet of a drunk at a … Continue Reading

Big news about ADA Internet accessibility (maybe)

On February 9, 2016, Magistrate Judge Katherine Robertson issued a 45-page decision denying a motion to dismiss in National Association of the Deaf v. Harvard University, Case No. 3:15-cv-30023-MGM in the District of Massachusetts. She held that the Americans with Disabilities Act governed accessibility for materials presented by Harvard on the Internet. On March 21, Judge Bryan … Continue Reading

What the Defend Trade Secrets Act Means for Trade Secret Defendants

This post was originally published on Patently-O. The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA)—arguably the most sweeping change to the nation’s intellectual property laws in a generation or more—is about to become law. The bill recently passed both houses of Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support. President Obama is certain to sign the bill into … Continue Reading

Stories of Recovery: My Moment of Clarity

Editor’s note: This is the 19th story in the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program (TLAP) “Stories of Recovery” series. TLAP offers confidential assistance for lawyers, law students, and judges with substance abuse or mental health issues. Call TLAP at (800) 343-8527 and find more information at texasbar.com/TLAP. I knew for some time that I might have … Continue Reading

Opinion: To celebrate Sunshine Week, cherish our Texas transparency

By Kelley Shannon We Texans have a history of straight talk and openness, and our state’s public information laws reflect it. Shining light on our government allows democracy to flourish. As we celebrate that light during national Sunshine Week from March 13-19, let’s be thankful that Texas laws value the public’s right to know through … Continue Reading

The Justice Scalia I knew

On February 13, 2016, this nation lost one of the greatest legal giants ever to sit on its highest court with the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Regardless of whether one agreed with the opinions he issued over the span of nearly 30 years on the court, one could not deny the … Continue Reading
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