Register online for this year's State Bar Annual Meeting in Houston

Online registration is now open for the State Bar's 2012 Annual Meeting. This is your once-a-year opportunity to receive a year’s worth of CLE at the best price in town! Choose the courses best suited to your practice, hear dynamic keynote speakers, and meet exhibitors and sponsors all in one place.

Annual Meeting will be held June 14-15, at the Hilton Americas Houston and George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.

Please visit www.texasbar.com/annualmeeting for more information and to register online!

Individuals and organizations honored by State Bar of Texas

Presentation of awards honoring exceptional service to the public and the legal profession will be a highlight of the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting, to be held June 23-24 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Read the press releases for more details.

 

Registration is open for 2011 Annual Meeting

Online registration is open for the 2011 State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting. Annual Meeting is your once-a-year opportunity to learn, connect, and grow. Whether you are looking to earn CLE credits, hear dynamic speakers, or meet exhibitors and sponsors who can help grow your business, Annual Meeting is where you can find it all.

This year's featured keynote presentations are Mike Thornton, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and former Navy SEAL, who will speak at the Bar Leaders Recognition Luncheon and H.W. Brands, bestselling historian and biographer who has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, who will speak at the General Session Luncheon.

This year's Annual Meeting will be in San Antonio on June 23 and 24 at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio and Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. For more information and to register, please visit www.texasbar.com/annualmeeting.

Twitter novel contest: And the winners are ...

Thanks to all who entered our first-ever Twitter novel contest. We asked attorneys to write a novel in 140 characters or less, and received 189 valid entries. We even received coverage on the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

The winning entrant was Casey Burgess of Dallas, with this tweet:

"Swirling death, the dark cloud descends. As he runs for his cellar, the farmer learns that sometimes pigs can fly."

Casey won our grand prize, an Apple iPad.

In second place was Mark I. Unger of San Antonio (@miunger), with: 

"SheWalkedIn iFell @Love #WeDid RT@PookieBorn Birthdays MortgAge WorkLate GirlsTrip BikerDude FaceBookPics iFiled SheWalkedOut"

And our third-place winner was Ron Uselton of Sherman, with: 

"Wanted: wife's killer. Apply in person."

We were happy to have all three finalists at our awards ceremony during the Adaptable Lawyer track at the 2010 State Bar Annual Meeting.

Big thanks to Michael P. Maslanka for giving us the idea and for serving as a judge, and to our other judges, Chad Baruch, Michelle Cheng, Amanda Ellis, Thane Rosenbaum, Dom Sagolla, and Christine Son.

Deans Debate Future of Law Schools

Four distinguished law school deans held a lively discussion about the future of law school education before a capacity crowd Thursday at the State Bar Annual Meeting. Roger Cossack - who is participating in his eighth consecutive Annual Meeting! - moderated the debate, which was part of the Future of the Profession CLE. The panel included Ken Starr (pictured, left) of Pepperdine Law School, Larry Sager of the University of Texas Law School, John Attanasio (pictured, right) of Southern Methodist University, and Brad Toben of Baylor Law School. The hot topic was the rising cost of law school education. All agreed that tuition is too high but that there are no easy solutions. Increasing scholarship budgets and providing loan forgiveness programs help, but "most law schools are vitally tuition dependent," said Starr, adding that alumni associations need to get "radically interested" in this issue. Toben raised the issue of law schools' dependence on the U.S. News & World Report rankings, perceived as all important by many prospective students and law firm recruiters. "Too much money is being spent to get better rankings," he said. Sager added that the system makes it difficult for schools to view students holistically rather than as a number because the ranking focuses on how much schools spend per student. "That's a huge variable," said Sager.

Author Popular at Annual Meeting

Professor Richard Beeman, author of Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution, spoke on his book before a packed audience Thursday afternoon at the State Bar Annual Meeting that included several current and former State Bar leaders, such as 2007-08 President Gib Walton, as well as Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson and Justice Harriet O'Neill. After a lively Q&A session, Beeman signed copies of his book, which was very well received, judging by the long line.

Roger Cossack on Being a Legal Analyst

During his presentation this morning at the State Bar Annual Meeting in Dallas, Roger Cossack, the legal analyst for ESPN and an Annual Meeting regular, said he learned how to be quick with a quip while working for CNN and ESPN. That skill came in handy this morning when a DVD -- the A/V portion of the presentation -- was a little late in arriving. Joking that he would lock everyone in the room until they had seen the video, Roger then proceeded to entertain a SRO audience with the story of his transition from criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles to fledgling legal analyst for CNN. The O.J. Simpson trial proved the catalyst as he found himself giving quotes about the trial to the media. He then ended up in an interview with Ted Koppel. "I didn't know anything about the case!" Roger admitted. "But all they wanted to know about was California defense law. That I did know!"

At that point, with the missing DVD in place, Roger used it to show images of how lawyers are portrayed in the movies and on television: "Lawyers are viewed as entertainers." A lawyer doing legal analysis is no different, said Roger. "When I became a legal analyst for CNN during the O.J. Simpson trial, I was unclear on what they wanted me to do because no one had ever done it before." Because he was comfortable talking to juries, he knew he could do the same for a broader audience and convey the legal terminology and concepts in a way viewers would understand. But at first he was admittedly a little "bland" and tried to stay strictly neutral. "I have been on network TV for 15 years now and I've learned legal analysis has to be entertaining -- and I'm not as neutral as I used to be. I will take a stand, get outraged about cases." In his work for ESPN, Roger said the Duke lacrosse team case stands out for the important lesson it taught him. "I came down hard on the team. I believed these students were outta control, but within a week, it was clear there were problems with the case. ... I should have gotten wary at that point. I should have started asking questions earlier. That's at the heart of what a legal analyst does. People believe what I say as an analyst. That's a heady responsibility."