Texas Appleseed recognizes legal leaders

An assortment of legal professionals and organizations were awarded during Texas Appleseed’s annual Good Apple Dinner, which took place on Nov. 20 in Austin.

The organization gave former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson the J. Chrys Dougherty Good Apple Award while George Brothers Kincaid & Horton received the Pro Bono Leadership Award. Additionally, the State Bar of Texas was recognized for training attorneys to represent children in the foster care system. Vinson & Elkins and the Vernon Law Group were both recognized for taking on truancy cases in Texas.

Texas Appleseed is a nonprofit whose mission is to promote social and economic justice for all Texans. For more information on the organization, go to texasappleseed.net.


Texas corporate counsel community raises $71,026 for civil legal aid

The Texas Access to Justice Commission, in conjunction with the General Counsel Forum, raised $71,026 for civil legal aid during the 3rd Annual Charity Golf Classic held Thursday in San Antonio.

This year’s event exceeded the amount raised during last year’s tournament and is more than double the amount raised in the inaugural tournament. The proceeds will be donated to the Texas Access to Justice Foundation.

Legal aid organizations funded by foundation help more than 100,000 low-income Texas families each year. Many need help with critical civil legal issues impacting their very existence such as securing safety for victims of domestic abuse, obtaining medical care for veterans and the elderly, and helping families maintain their housing. Due to a lack of resources, only about 20 percent of the civil legal needs of low-income and poor Texans are being met.

The commission also presented Dell with the annual Magna Stella Pro Bono Award during the General Counsel Forum Magna Stella Awards dinner. The Magna Stella Pro Bono Award recognizes corporate legal departments that promote pro bono legal services within their company and within the corporate community at large.

Dell Legal has a strong culture of helping those in need through pro bono legal services. The program was started about 10 years ago and is one of the oldest programs in Texas.

Dell attorneys provide an average of 865 pro bono hours per year. They assist many organizations, including American Gateways, Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas, Texas Access to Justice Commission, Texas Legal Services Center, BiGAUSTIN, the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program, and the Austin Bar Association Veteran’s Legal Advice Clinic.

Continuing the tradition of prior general counsel, Dell Legal’s new general counsel, Rich Rothberg, has issued a challenge to all Dell attorneys to provide pro bono legal services. 

From staffing a monthly legal aid clinic, helping parents of children with special needs, teaching a monthly class on basic business law, or assisting unrepresented veterans or their family members who have filed appeals at the U.S. Court of Appeals for veterans claims, the Dell Legal team goes above and beyond. 



Texas Bar Foundation Award Nominations

Nominations are being accepted for the 2015 Texas Bar Foundation Awards Program. All nomination packets should be submitted and received in entirety to the Texas Bar Foundation office by Jan. 15, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.txbf.org.


Past President Tatum accepts ABA award for community service

SAN ANTONIO — State Bar of Texas Immediate Past President Lisa M. Tatum, who helped launch successful pro bono and civics education projects during her presidential year, was recognized Friday for her community service.

Tatum, the owner of San Antonio-based LM Tatum, PLLC, received the 2014 Making a Difference Through Community Service Award from the American Bar Association Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division. The award, which honors an attorney—living or deceased—who has made a significant lifetime contribution to the local community, was presented during the 9th Annual National Solo & Small Firm Conference.



As State Bar president in 2013-2014, Tatum guided the launch of two major initiatives: I was the First. Vote for Me!, an award-winning interactive civics education project for Texas elementary school students, and the Care Campaign, an effort to empower attorneys to serve the millions of low-income Texans who can’t afford the legal help they need.

Other 2014 Difference Makers Awards recipients honored Friday included 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.

Read our earlier post for more information on the award winners.

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.


The awards will be presented Friday, Oct. 24 in San Antonio during the 9th Annual National Solo & Small Firm Conference, presented by the ABA Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division.

Tatum, the owner of San Antonio-based LM Tatum, PLLC, will receive the 2014 Making a Difference Through Community Service Award, which honors an attorney—living or deceased—who has made a significant lifetime contribution to the local community.

Tatum has served in leadership positions in local, state, and national bar associations and has been active in her community as an alumnus of Leadership San Antonio, a member of local chambers of commerce and the Greater San Antonio YMCA Board of Directors, and as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, among other activities.

During her term as State Bar president in 2013-2014, Tatum guided the launch of two major initiatives: I was the First. Vote for Me!, an award-winning interactive civics education project for Texas elementary school students, and the Care Campaign, an effort to empower attorneys to serve the millions of low-income Texans who can’t afford the legal help they need.

Click the links below for more information about the recipients.


Tatum speaks at national bar meeting, accepts civics education award

BOSTON — State Bar of Texas Immediate Past President Lisa Tatum joined Missouri Bar Past President Lynn Ann Vogel on Aug. 8 to present “Creating Energy in Your Bar,” a presentation highlighting successful bar programs from across the country.

“There’s no point in reinventing the wheel if you can take what you like from these programs and make it your own,” Tatum said during the presentation, which was part of the National Conference of Bar Presidents 2014 Annual Meeting.

Tatum and Vogel used the hourlong presentation to share tips, tactics, and innovative ideas from more than two dozen bar association programs, including Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans, an initiative of 2010-2011 State Bar of Texas President Terry Tottenham.

Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans helps develop and assist pro bono legal clinics for military veterans who can’t afford or lack access to legal services. The program continues to grow, and more than 30 local bar associations are now participating. In all, approximately 4,000 attorneys have volunteered to help more than 13,000 veterans through the program.

Slides from the presentation and other National Conference of Bar Presidents sessions are available here

While in Boston, Tatum represented the State Bar of Texas in accepting a National Association of Bar Executives LexisNexis Community and Educational Outreach Award for the I was the First. Vote for Me! civics education project, one of her initiatives as president in 2013-2014. Judges unanimously selected the project in the category of state bars with more than 18,000 members and commended it for incorporating history, reading, math, and voting into a single program.

Through a book and a series of 30-second animations, I was the First. Vote for Me! teaches elementary school students about important figures in U.S. and Texas history included in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards. Both the website and the book are available in English and Spanish.

The award was presented Aug. 7 during the National Association of Bar Executives 2014 Annual Meeting

Top: State Bar of Texas Immediate Past President Lisa Tatum, right, and Missouri Bar Past President Lynn Ann Vogel after their Aug. 8 presentation at the National Conference of Bar Presidents 2014 Annual Meeting in Boston. Above, from left: State Bar of Texas Executive Director Michelle Hunter, 2014-2015 President-elect Allan DuBois, Tatum, and 2014-2015 President Trey Apffel at the National Association of Bar Executives awards ceremony, where Tatum accepted an award for the State Bar of Texas civics education program I was the First. Vote for Me!


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


Bob Black to be inducted as Texas Legal Legend

The Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas has chosen Beaumont attorney Bob Black as its newest Texas Legal Legend. Black, a former State Bar president who practices as the managing shareholder in MehaffyWeber, will be inducted at a ceremony during the bar’s 2014 Annual Meeting in Austin.

Black has tried more than 50 cases to verdict, including some before the Texas Supreme Court and Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, according to a press release from the Litigation Section. He has mediated and arbitrated more than 4,000 cases, including one involving 30,000 asbestos claims, which he handled in just one year. Recently Black was an appeals panelist for 200 appeals concerning the Deepwater Horizon case.

“His thoughtful listening and ability to develop new approaches enable him to lead others toward resolution of strong differences without rancor,” the press release stated.

In addition to his impressive trial experience, Black also has been instrumental in educating the public and legal community about the positive work that lawyers do. As State Bar president in 2011-2012, he headed the award-winning project Oyez, Oyez, Oh Yay!, a civics education website for students and teachers that details important court cases.

The Litigation Section aims for its Texas Legal Legends initiative to “memorialize the stories of many legendary lawyers who have practiced in Texas, and to use those stories to enhance the public’s understanding of the historical importance of law students and lawyers to emulate Legends like Black by serving others and making a difference—not just a living.”

Black will be inducted at 10:30 a.m. June 27 at the Austin Convention Center, Room 15.

He joins other litigation giants who have been named Texas Legal Legends including Joe Jamail, Joe Reynolds, Harry Reasoner, Barbara Aldave, Carolyn Dineen King, Gibson Gayle Jr., L.A. Bedford, Jerry Goldstein, Adelfa B. Callejo, Broadus Spivey, Blackie Holmes, Craig Washington, Scott Baldwin, Royal Furgeson, and Forrest Bowers.

Morton among speakers at criminal defense lawyers' seminar in San Antonio

Michael Morton, whose wrongful conviction and exoneration attracted widespread attention and led to criminal justice reforms in the last Texas Legislature, will be among the keynote speakers this week at the 27th Annual Rusty Duncan Advanced Criminal Law Course in San Antonio.

Morton will speak Saturday at the event, hosted by the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.

Morton, who served nearly 25 years in prison for his wife’s murder before DNA tests exonerated him, has been a vocal advocate for criminal justice reform since his 2011 release from prison. His case inspired the Legislature to pass the 2013 Michael Morton Act, which included new discovery rules to help ensure criminal defendants have access to evidence that could prove their innocence.


More than 800 criminal defense lawyers are expected to gather for the three-day seminar, which begins Thursday at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.
Other event highlights include:

  • David Botsford of Austin, Ronald Goranson of Dallas, and Stanley Schneider of Houston will be inducted into the TCDLA Hall of Fame.
  • Uvalde criminal defense attorney Emmett Harris will be sworn in as the 44th president of the association by current TCDLA President Bobby Mims.
  • Casie Gotro of Houston and Angela J. Moore and Mark Stevens, both of San Antonio, will be honored as the Charles Butts Pro Bono Lawyers of the Year.
  • Kameron Johnson of Austin will be installed as chairman of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Education Institute.

Visit the TCDLA website for more information, or view the seminar agenda.


Family Eldercare's Larson honored with 2014 Boots on the Ground Award

Austin attorney Christine P. “Chris” Larson is the 2014 recipient of the James B. Sales Boots on the Ground Award. 

The annual award, which recognizes exemplary pro bono or legal services program attorneys, was presented May 13 in Austin during the 2014 Champions of Justice Gala Benefiting Veterans. The Texas Access to Justice Commission hosts the event, which is cosponsored by the State Bar of Texas. 

“I’m obviously honored by this award and grateful that the commission values all that is involved in working with a population that cannot speak for itself,” said Larson, the director of guardianship estate services at Austin’s Family Eldercare, which provides essential services to seniors, adults with disabilities, and caregivers. “I love what I do and the clients I have the opportunity to advocate for. I work with an incredible group of people at Family Eldercare who are just as passionate as I am for the work we do.” 

Larson oversees the organization’s estate services program, which provides legal protections to indigent, severely disabled, ill, or cognitively impaired individuals who are not able to meet their own financial, medical, and legal affairs and do not have family or friends to take on that role. Under her leadership, the program has grown substantially, added staff, and is able to serve dozens of additional low-income clients.

Larson began her career as a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Central Texas, where she worked primarily on family law, domestic violence, and custody cases representing low-income families and senior citizens. Being in private practice for more than 20 years allowed her to specialize in estate planning, probate, guardianship, elder law, and family law, and she also served as an attorney ad litem in legal aid cases.

The Texas Access to Justice Commission and its co-sponsor, the State Bar of Texas, honored veterans throughout the state at the gala, which raised $348,450. Proceeds will be distributed by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation and dedicated to the provision of civil legal services for low-income Texas veterans. These services assist in addressing legal issues related to marital problems, difficulties in getting medical or disability benefits, wrongful foreclosures, and other situations that may arise due to a veteran’s absence during military service. 

State Bar holds Texas Citizen Bee Finals in Austin

Austin recently played host to the Texas Citizen Bee Finals, a statewide civics education competition funded by the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation.

The event, organized by the State Bar of Texas, offers teachers and high school students an exciting way to study America’s heritage. Students use an online study guide program created by the Bill of Rights Institute that covers the U.S. Constitution and other important documents, people, issues, civic values, and skills. The study guide can be found here.

The winning student from each regional competition competes in the state competition, which was held April 26 at the Texas Law Center and Texas State Capitol. News anchor John McCaa of WFAA-TV in Dallas served as moderator. 


All contestants take a timed, multiple choice written examination, which counts as 65 percent of the final score. Students then compete in an oral round, making up 35 percent of the score, in which they answer one question from each of the categories.

The top four students are listed below.

1st Place
Thomas Cobb, Beaumont
Prize: $1,000 scholarship

2nd Place & Civic Conversation
Ayesha Rahman, Richardson
Prize: $1,250 scholarship

3rd Place
Angelo Ganno, McAllen
Prize: $500 Scholarship

4th Place
DaVonté Wilson, Tyler
Prize: $250 Scholarship

Dallas attorney to receive professionalism award

Dallas attorney John G. Browning has been named the winner of the 2013 Jim Bowmer Professionalism Award, presented by the College of the State Bar of Texas, his firm announced.

The announcement came just days after Browning, a member of the Texas Bar Journal Board of Editors, learned he would receive a 2014 Burton Award for Distinguished Achievement in Legal Writing

Browning will receive the Bowmer award this summer, and the College will make a $1,000 contribution in his name to the Texas Access to Justice Foundation.


Given each year since 1994, the Bowmer award recognizes a Texas lawyer and College member whose contributions to professionalism have furthered the College’s goals, elevated the prestige of the legal profession, promoted legal ethics, furthered lawyers’ continuing education, and served as an example to others. The award bears the name of Jim D. Bowmer of Temple, a co-founder of the College.

Browning was a unanimous selection by the College’s Awards Committee on the basis of his extensive writing, speaking, and work as a bar leader and volunteer in the areas of professionalism and legal ethics, according to a news release from his firm.

In addition to writing on ethics topics in scholarly law reviews, Browning frequently writes for practitioner-oriented publications and is a frequent speaker and author for continuing legal education courses. He is the current co-chair of the Dallas Bar Association Legal Ethics Committee and will be a featured speaker at the American Bar Association National Conference on Professional Responsibility as well as the International Legal Ethics Conference in London.


Houston Bar to celebrate Law Day with extended LegalLine hours, community service programs

The Houston Bar Association announced Wednesday it will offer extended hours for its free legal advice program, LegalLine, and sponsor public education programs in honor of Law Day, a national holiday recognizing the rule of law. 

The extended LegalLine program will be held from noon to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 7. The public can call the Houston Bar Association at 713-759-1133, where volunteer attorneys will answer simple legal questions, give brief legal advice, or refer the caller to the appropriate social service or legal aid agency for further assistance.

This year’s Law Day theme is American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters. The association’s other Law Day-related programs are listed below.

  • From late April through early May, attorneys and judges will read the book Amelia Bedelia’s First Vote to elementary students in 100 classrooms throughout school districts and private schools in Harris County. For participating schools, contact Tara Shockley at 713-759-1133 or taras@hba.org.
  • On May 1, HBA President David Chaumette, Harris County Administrative Judge Robert Schaffer, and District Clerk Chris Daniel will pass out pocket-size copies of the Constitution to all citizens who report for jury duty at the Harris County Jury Assembly Room.
  • Also on May 1, the HBA and the Harris County judges will present the annual Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards for outstanding pro bono legal services to law firms, a corporation, and an individual in a noon ceremony at the Civil Courthouse.
  • Attorney/judge teams will hold interactive “Dialogues” on the importance of voting in a number of high school classes in late April through mid-May.
  • Law Day posters created by elementary and middle school students will be on display in several office buildings and courthouses in downtown Houston from April 28 to May 9.


Dallas lawyer, TBJ board member wins legal writing award

Dallas attorney John G. Browning has received a 2014 Burton Award for Distinguished Achievement in Legal Writing, his law firm announced. 

Browning, a partner in Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, received the award for “Keep Your ‘Friends’ Close and Your Enemies Closer: Walking the Ethical Tightrope in the Use of Social Media,” published in the St. Mary’s Journal of Legal Malpractice & Ethics in 2013. The article was one of five law review pieces Browning published last year.

This is the fourth Burton Award for Browning, who is a member of the Texas Bar Journal Board of Editors.

“I’m pleased that the judging panel chose to recognize a cutting-edge topic like the ethical concerns lawyers must be mindful of when using newer technologies like social media,” he said. “And I’m just amazed and humbled at the thought of receiving this wonderful accolade for the fourth time.”


The Burton Awards, often called the “Pulitzer of the legal profession,” were created in 1999 to recognize excellence in legal writing. The award will be presented June 9 during a gala at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Browning is the author of The Lawyer’s Guide to Social Networking and the syndicated newspaper column “Legally Speaking.” In his law practice, he handles commercial litigation, employment, health care, and personal injury defense matters in state and federal courts.

Travis County Women Lawyers' Association, Foundation to hold Grants and Awards Luncheon

The Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association and Foundation will host their annual Grants and Awards Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. April 22 at the Four Seasons Hotel.

The annual event is held to honor leading women lawyers in Travis County through the attorney awards and to distribute grants to local nonprofits that help solve legal issues affecting women, children, and families.

This year’s keynote speaker is Maj. Mary Jennings Hegar, a Purple Heart honoree and a plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the military’s policy of excluding women from many combat positions.

Tickets are $75. Attendees are asked to RSVP by April 15 online at www.tcwla.org or by mailing a check to TCWLF, P.O. Box 1386, Austin, Texas 78767.

2014 Attorney Award Recipients are:

• Outstanding Achievement – Brenda Strama
• Outstanding Firm – Hutcheson Bowers LLLP
• Advancement of Women’s Interests – Amie Rodnick
• Contribution to Minority Community – Elise Harriger and Sarah Woelk
• Criminal Justice – Kelsey McKay
• Government Service – Pamela Legate
• Litigation/Appellate – Sabrina Streusand
• Pro Bono – Barbara Ellis
• Public Interest – Andrea Marsh
• Corporate/Transactional – M’Lou Patton Bell

2014 Grant Recipients are:

• AIDS Services of Austin
• American Gateways
• The ARC of the Capital Area
• Asian Family Support Services of Austin
• CASA of Travis County
• Casa Marianella
• Center for Child Protection
• Disability Rights of Texas
• Family Eldercare
• Texas Fair Defense Project
• Texas RioGrande Legal Aid
• TRLA Foster Youth Justice Program


Houston Bar Foundation honors attorneys for pro bono, volunteer service, legal writing

The Houston Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Houston Bar Association, recently announced its annual awards for pro bono service, volunteerism, and legal writing.

S. Jack Balagia Jr., the vice president and general counsel of Exxon Mobil Corp., was named the fifth recipient of the James B. Sales Pro Bono Leadership Award.

The foundation also named the recipients of awards for outstanding contributions to Houston Volunteer Lawyers, which provides pro bono legal services to low-income residents; for volunteer service to the Dispute Resolution Center, providing free alternatives to formal litigation; and for legal writing in the HBA’s professional journal.

The winners appear below, as provided by the HBA.

  • Fulbright & Jaworski LLP earned the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Houston Volunteer Lawyers by a large firm for the 14th consecutive year.
  • Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP received the award for Outstanding Contribution to the HVL by an intermediate firm for the second consecutive year.
  • Baker Hostetler received the award for Outstanding Contribution to the HVL by a midsize firm.
  • Beck | Redden LLP and Yetter Coleman LLP shared the award for Outstanding Contribution to the HVL by a small firm.
  • Coane and Associates, PLLC, and Jenkins & Kamin, LLP, shared the award for Outstanding Contribution to the HVL by a boutique firm.
  • Peter J. Bennett was honored for Outstanding Contribution to HVL by a solo practitioner for the second consecutive year.
  • Exxon Mobil Corp. was honored for Outstanding Contribution to HVL by a corporate law department.
  • Susan B. Sanchez of Exxon Mobil Corp. earned her second consecutive award as Outstanding Pro Bono Coordinator.
  • Jack Edwards and his firm, Ajamie LLP, along with John Spiller of Strasburger & Price, LLP, received special recognition from HVL for exceptional pro bono representation on a complex, time-consuming case that took more than five years to complete.
  • Attorney Robert G. Devlin was recognized for Outstanding Volunteer Service to the Dispute Resolution Center.
  • The Hon. Alvin L. Zimmerman was honored for Longevity of Exemplary Service to the Dispute Resolution Center.
  • The Hon. Dan Hinde, judge of the 269th District Court, was honored as the author of the outstanding legal article published in The Houston Lawyer, the HBA’s professional journal.

AWA Houston announces award and scholarship recipients to honor trailblazing women attorneys, judges, and law students

On March 11, the Association of Women Attorneys – Houston will hold its third annual Premier Women in Law Luncheon to honor modern legal trailblazers. AWA Houston has announced the recipients of its Premier Women in Law Awards: Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman; 14th Court of Appeals Chief Justice Kem Frost; Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson; Ruthie White, managing partner in Jackson Lewis; Lauren Waddell, founder of Waddell Law Firm; and Susan Sanchez, corporate counsel and pro bono coordinator to Exxon Mobil Corporation.

At the luncheon, the AWA Houston Foundation also will give six scholarships to second- and third-year women law students attending one of the city’s three law schools, the University of Houston Law Center, South Texas College of Law, and the Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Second-year students will receive $2,500 while third-year students will receive $3,500 to help pay for expenses related to bar exam review courses.

The AWA Houston was founded in 1976 when a small group of women lawyers organized to increase opportunities for women attorneys and improve awareness of their capabilities throughout the legal community. Almost four decades later, the group has grown to 275 women who network, perform judicial candidate screening and provide judicial recommendations, mentor law students, and host CLE events. The AWA Houston luncheon will take place at the Downtown Hyatt at 11:30 in the morning. More information is available at awahouston.org.

Nominations Open for 2013 Super Lawyers Pro Bono Awards

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters Business, is accepting nominations for the 2013 Super Lawyers Pro Bono Awards through Oct. 30, the company announced.

The annual awards honor individual lawyers, law firms, law students, law schools, and other institutions in the legal profession that exemplify excellence in practice through delivery of volunteer legal services to the poor, underrepresented, or exploited.

Recipients are researched and chosen by a review committee, which evaluates each application based on several factors including legal effort, personal contribution, impact to the law, and innovation. Law students and law programs are evaluated on additional factors such as community outreach and leadership.

Each recipient will receive a monetary award as well as editorial coverage in a special pro bono Super Lawyers Digital Magazine, the Super Lawyers blog, and on SuperLawyers.com.

To nominate for the award or for more information, visit SuperLawyers.com/ProBono.


State Bar to honor Dallas nonprofit for legal work assisting immigrant women

The State Bar of Texas Women and the Law Section has chosen the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas as the 2013 winner of the newly named Louise B. Raggio Award.

The Dallas-based nonprofit organization is receiving the award after its all-female team of attorneys helped nearly 200 immigrant women in the Dallas-Fort Worth area last year through its William O. Holston Volunteer Attorney Program. The bar will present the award June 20 during its annual meeting in Dallas.

“We are privileged here at HRI to have three women attorneys who are fierce advocates for women,” Bill Holston, the organization’s executive director, said in a statement. “Chris Mansour, Melissa Weaver and Martha Gonzalez are the consummate professionals. They are compassionate and fearless advocates for our clients. Whether it is a young woman escaping the bonds of domestic violence or a woman from Africa seeking refuge from female genital mutilation, our lawyers are passionate advocates for our clients’ fight to begin a new life in America.”

The bar’s Women and the Law Section established the Raggio award, formerly called the Ma’at Justice Award, in 1995 to recognize attorneys or groups of attorneys who advance justice and address the needs and issues affecting women in the legal profession and in society.

TMCP counsel of the year award nominations deadline is June 15

The TMCP Corporate Counsel of the Year and Trailblazer Outside Counsel of the Year awards nomination deadline is June 15, 2011. Visit www.texasbar.com/tmcp for more details and nomination forms.

The Corporate Counsel of the Year Award is presented to the corporate counsel that has done the most to open doors for Texas minority and women attorneys by promoting diversity within their department and/or company, and by consistently hiring minority and/or women attorneys in private practice to perform legal work on behalf of their company.

The Trailblazer Outside Counsel of the Year Award is presented to the nominee judged by the Selection Committee to have done the most to effectuate the promotion of diversity within the legal profession through hiring, retention and mentoring of minority and women attorneys, partnering with minority and women owned law firms, and involvement with Bar and/or community activities designed to promote diversity within the legal profession.

Lawyers volunteer and earn a "Standing Ovation"

Eight Texas attorneys were honored this month by the State Bar of Texas for their exceptional contributions in 2010 to the Bar's continuing legal education efforts. Justice Harvey G. Brown, Jr., of Houston, David A. Chaumette of Houston, Tina R. Green of Texarkana, Randall Coyt Johnston of Dallas, Christopher Kirby of Bastrop, Michael C. Smith of Marshall, Peter S. Vogel of Dallas, and Charles M. Wilson III of Addison each received an award from the staff of TexasBarCLE, the Bar's division for providing continuing legal education and one of the premier providers in the nation.

The award, a handsome cobalt blue obelisk, is inscribed with "A Standing Ovation — Staff Appreciation for an Outstanding Volunteer of 2010." It also bears the name of the recipient, the logo for TexasBarCLE, and the seal of the State Bar of Texas.

Pat Nester, Director of TexasBarCLE, explained the significance of the award. "It is a recognition by the staff of individuals who have stood out this last year for their extraordinary commitment — of time, of leadership — and for the inspiration and insights they provided."

The attorneys’ contributions included chairing and serving on committees to plan and present continuing legal education courses, speaking and writing for courses, and generating ideas for new programs.     

"Volunteers are the lifeblood of what we do," Nester continued. "Hundreds graciously give of their time and expertise to help us each year. Without them, continuing legal education from the State Bar wouldn't be nearly as high quality, as abundant, or as affordable. It's one of the great manifestations of lawyers giving back to the legal profession."

Asian Pacific Interest Section seeks nominations for 2010 Justice David Wellington Chew Award

The Asian Pacific Interest Section of the State Bar of Texas (APIS) is seeking nominations for the 2010 Justice David Wellington Chew Award, which honors individuals whose contributions benefit the Asian-Pacific American legal community in Texas. The award was named after Justice Chew, one of the first Asian-Pacific Americans in the Texas judiciary, who currently presides as Chief Justice of the Eighth Court of Appeals.

The deadline for receipt of nominations is Friday, March 26, 2010, at 5:00 p.m. The award will be presented on Saturday, April 17, 2010 at the Fourteenth Annual APIS Conference and Retreat to be held in Austin, Texas . More details can be found at http://texasapis.org/award.php.

Law Day at the Texas Law Center

Harper Estes and Law Day essay winnerThe State Bar of Texas celebrated Law Day today at the Texas Law Center in Austin with a ceremony to recognize Texas students and their award-winning projects on this year's Law Day theme, "A Legacy of Liberty: Celebrating Lincoln's Bicentennial." Students from across the state showed their creativity and thoughtfulness on the Law Day theme through poster, photography, and essay contests. State Bar of President Harper Estes and President-elect Roland Johnson were on hand to present awards to the statewide winners. Prizes ranged from $50 to $1,000 with each winner also receiving a medal and a framed certificate. The essay contest winner, Veronika Johannsen (pictured with President Estes), of Memorial High School in Victoria, read her winning paper on "A Legacy of Liberty." (Go here for a complete list of winners.) The event concluded with a tour of the Court of Criminal Appeals and the 3rd Court of Appeals for the students and their families, and several students seemed very intrigued by the idea of sitting on the bench. 

Texas A&M honors transgendered lawyer Phyllis Frye

As Houston lawyer Phyllis R. Frye (pictured) describes it, she’s “had more than [her] 15 minutes of fame, enjoyed it, and handled it well.” Still, she says she is honored and surprised that Texas A&M University has named  the Phyllis Frye Advocacy Award after her. Its first recipient is Dr. James Rosenheim, who will be recognized April 29 during a ceremony presented by A&M’s Department of Multicultural Services. A promo for the awards ceremony says Rosenheim exemplifies "Phyllis Frye's philosophy of not just walking through doors of intolerance, but tearing them down," and that Rosenheim is being recognized for nurturing relationships among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) staff, students, and community members over two decades.

Frye, a partner in Frye and Cantu, PLLC, is nationally known for her activism and advocacy on LGBT issues.

As a man, Frye received engineering degrees from Texas A&M in 1970 and 1971. She transitioned her gender in 1976, and says that over the years her involvement as an A&M alumnus went from being shunned by members of a Houston alumni group early on, to gradual acceptance at reunions of the Singing Cadets and her graduating class. Frye has received numerous awards for her work in  the legal community and the LGBT movement, but seems bowled over by this A&M recognition. “It’s very humbling,” she said. “To have a university name an award after you is a neat thing. I'm thrilled.”

CLE staff gives volunteers a standing O

TexasBarCLE, the State Bar's professional development program, is lucky to have hundreds of volunteer speakers and authors who help back up its slogan, "Education by the Bar, for the Bar." Staff members of TexasBarCLE recently honored four volunteers who they felt made outstanding contributions during 2008. J. Cary Barton of San Antonio, Chad Baruch of Plano, Rhonda H. Brink of Austin, and David A. Weatherbie of Dallas each received 2008 Standing Ovation Awards in the form of handsome blue obelisks engraved with their names (pictured).

"All of our volunteers deserve our gratitude for contributing to the continuing education of their peers," said Pat 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."

2008-2009 YouTube Contest winners announced

Here are the official winners of the 2008-2009 State Bar YouTube Contest, "Ideals That Unite Us," in which State Bar President Harper Estes invited all Texans to contemplate the ideals that unite us as citizens of this country.

In the Over 18 category, the winner is Gabriel Evans' video, "Memories Unite Us:"

In the Under 18 category, winners for the second year in a row, the Chaumette brothers, Raphael and Alexandre, won with their video "Ideals: Every Citizen Counts!"

And the winner of the People's Choice Award is Manuel Hernandez's "Ideals That Unite Us - Raising the Bar for Justice:"

All entries were evaluated by a panel of judges to determine the winners of the Over 18 and Under 18 categories. The People's Choice winner was determined by the video that received the most views on YouTube.

Evans and Hernandez will receive $2,500 cash prizes for winning in the Over 18 and People's Choice categories.  And the Chaumette brothers will receive a $2,500 scholarship for winning in the Under 18 category.

All winners have been invited to attend a red carpet awards ceremony to be held in conjunction with next week's State Bar board meeting in Fort Worth.

Many thanks to everyone who participated in this year's contest. We will announce the theme of the 2009-2010 State Bar YouTube Contest later this year, so stay tuned!

Linda Addison a 2009 Margaret Brent winner

Linda Addison, a partner in the Houston and New York offices of Fulbright & Jaworksi L.L.P., is one of five recipients of the 2009 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award. This ABA award was established in 1991 to honor outstanding women lawyers who have achieved professional excellence and paved the way to success for others. Addison's honors and professional achievements are too numerous to list here, but she's a longtime contributor to the State Bar of Texas, in many roles. Other Margaret Brent honorees this year include Helaine M. Barnett, Judge Arnette R. Hubbard, Judge Vanessa Ruiz, and Loretta A. Tuell. Read more in the ABA's press release.

Tags: , ,