Posted inTLAP

Stories of Recovery: Alcohol was not my friend

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 (800) 343-8527 and find more information at

I was raised by hardworking and loving parents in a large Mexican-American family. My parents provided for eight children the best they could, including sending us to private Catholic elementary and high schools. I took advantage of the educational opportunities, studied hard, and exceled academically. By age 25 I had undergraduate and law degrees from prestigious universities, and I was working as an associate at a major national law firm. At age 25, I was also drinking alcoholically. Continue Reading

Posted inIntellectual Property LawNews

Workshops held for Rio Grande Valley inventors, entrepreneurs

state_bar_of_texas_129794Inventors and entrepreneurs will learn from attorneys about pertinent patent and trademark topics at free intellectual property workshops in the Rio Grande Valley.

The full-day workshops, one in Brownsville on March 23 and one in McAllen on March 24, are geared toward underserved inventors and entrepreneurs who may just be getting ideas off the ground and starting up businesses. Volunteer lawyers and examiners will be available for one-on-one private consultations about those ideas.

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Posted inUncategorized

SXSW panel tackles entertainment law ethics

Top legal experts offered guidance and perspective on ethics in the constantly evolving and fairly unconventional field of entertainment law at a South By Southwest panel titled “Ethics Matter.”

Peter Strand, a partner at the Chicago-based Leavens Strand & Glover LLC; Lawrence Waks of Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP; and retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas Wallace B. Jefferson walked attendees through the 4 Cs of ethics:

  • Competence
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Confidentiality
  • Compensation

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Posted inAccess to JusticeNews

AG’s office warns public about IRS scams

Attorney General Ken Paxton is warning Texans to beware of a tax-related scam preying on individuals as the April 18th income tax deadline approaches.

The scam involves unsolicited phone calls from individuals who claim to be Internal Revenue Service agents, according to a press release issued by the Office of the Attorney General. The scammers claim the person owes back taxes and will be arrested if he or she doesn’t provide immediate payment.

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Posted inNewsSXSWTechnology

SXSW law-related panels roundup

Attorneys had the opportunity to learn about new trends and topics in the law at many sessions at South by Southwest March 10-19. Here we provide a recap of some of the panels.

Read some of our past coverage about others involving crowdsourcing for access to justice, privacy and the Fourth Amendment in an evolving digital age, copyright infringement and music policy, and the possibility of law on Mars.

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Posted inEntertainment LawNewsSXSW

Copyright infringement, music policy explored at SXSW panels

From recounting infamous music copyright cases to predicting what the future of policy in Washington, D.C., holds, several sessions at South by Southwest tackled hot-button issues in the industry.

Copyright infringement

“This is about deep-pocket defendants,” entertainment attorney Stan Soocher said as he opened the March 17 panel “Copyright Infringement: Get a Hit, Get a Writ.”

Soocher, a tenured associate professor of music and entertainment industry studies at the University of Colorado’s Denver campus, took attendees through a musical history of copyright infringement lawsuits starting with litigation over George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord,” which, he said, was the most famous musical copyright infringement case of all time before the most recent “Blurred Lines” case involving Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke.

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Posted inNewsSXSWTechnology

SXSW panel: How attorneys are crowdsourcing to increase access to justice

With wide interest in closing the access to justice gap, lawyers at South by Southwest’s “Crowdsourcing Justice” panel on March 13 discussed creative ways to use technology to meet the rising demand for legal assistance.

The panel focused on how lawyers have used several new crowdsourcing projects—which consist of gathering information from a large number of people remotely using the internet—in an effort to meet the needs of a mounting number of immigration clients and cases.

“This is a work in progress,” said Texas patent attorney and panelist Rafael Baca, “but ultimately it’s all about using the multiplier effect to use technology to bring access to justice.”

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Posted inGovernmentSXSWTechnology

SXSW panel tackles electronic privacy in an evolving digital age

In simple terms, laws addressing electronic privacy are moving at a speed far slower than the Pony Express while businesses and law enforcement agencies grapple with who should have access to people’s data, according to experts on the South By Southwest panel “When Should My Data Become the Government’s Data?”

Panelists clearly laid out the conundrums that they said have weighed down action on legislation that would advance electronic privacy concerns.

U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas) said that the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, established in 1986, made several assumptions about how individuals use email which don’t hold up today. Continue Reading

Posted inLocal BarsPro BonoSpecial Event

Dallas volunteer attorneys host free small business clinic

The Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program (DVAP) will hold a free small business legal clinic this month for Dallas County residents who meet certain financial guidelines.

The clinic, which will be held at 5 p.m. March 16 at Grace United Methodist Church, 4105 Junius St. in Dallas, will assist residents with legal counsel on starting and organizing a new business; drafting contracts and leases; legal advice regarding business permits, licenses and regulations; and referrals to lenders and other assistance programs.

If residents need assistance before or after the small business clinic, they can attend one of the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program’s other legal clinics. DVAP is a joint initiative of the Dallas Bar Association and Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas. For a list of other clinics click here.

Posted inNews

New helpline educates on CPS issues

Waiting for messageThe Texas Legal Services Center launched in January the Family Helpline for Strong Families and Safe Children, a resource for people with legal questions about Texas Child Protective Services.

Through the new statewide project, lawyers with CPS experience take anonymous calls and offer legal information and education in areas including the investigation process, kinship care, what to expect in court, family based services, and whether an attorney is needed.

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