Texas Bar Foundation provides grant to design education center

The Texas judiciary has plans to develop a Judicial Civics and Education Center and, because of a $50,000 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation, the project is now in the design phase.

Anticipated to be located in the entry-level corridor of the Tom C. Clark Building within the Capitol Complex, the education center is expected to include interactive civic displays, historic exhibits, and a conference space for lectures and forums.

“The center will be a game changer for the Texas Judiciary,” said Nathan Hecht, chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court. “It will tell the fascinating judicial history of Texas through compelling stories.”

The Texas Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals, Office of Court Administration, Texas Supreme Court Historical Society, and all 14 Courts of Appeals collaborated to create a vision for the center.

“Numerous studies have shown that a lack of civic education is a growing problem in our country,” said David Slayton, administrative director of the Office of Court Administration. “Having a proper understanding of the judicial branch and its role in government is essential to enhancing the administration of justice.”

For more information, contact Megan LaVoie at Megan.LaVoie@txcourts.gov.

 

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.

The program will also teach attorneys when and how to litigate a tax case, the use of administrative appeals, and innocent spouse/injured spouse relief.

Attorneys who attend the seminar and accept a pro bono tax controversy case from Houston Volunteer Lawyers between Dec. 1, 2013, and Feb. 7, 2013, will be eligible to win an iPad, courtesy of Stratos Legal, that will be given away at the seminar.

Read the agenda and register here.

Cameron County Commissioners Court accepts donation of restored minutes

On August 15, the Cameron County Commissioners Court accepted the donation of the restored minutes of the District Court of Cameron County from 1885 through 1891. The book was restored due to the generosity of Judge Migdalia Lopez of the 197th District Court and her husband, Nemecio Lopez. Among the cases memorialized in the books were the proceedings of King v. Cavazos, a court ruling that led to the development of the King Ranch.

From left: Judge Mark Davidson, a member of the Texas Bar Historical Foundation; Aurora de la Garza, Cameron County District Clerk, Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos, Judge Migdalia Lopez, and Nemecio Lopez.

Changing careers? Learn how these lawyers did it

An ongoing initiative of State Bar President Terry Tottenham is Practice Tips in Good Times and Bad, a series of career development webcasts premiering the last Thursday of each month on TexasBarCLE.com. Each webcast is free of charge to registered users of the site. (Site registration is also free.)

The first such webcast of 2011, Considering Your Alternatives: 3 Lawyers' Paths to Alternative Careers, will be January 27 from 12:30 to 1:30pm CST. (It is not MCLE-accredited.) Three Central Texas attorneys, Jenna Beller Donatiello of Austin, and Chris W. Kirby and Brent Golemon, both of Bastrop, will give a lively and informative look at how three very different people took vastly different journeys on the way from law school to their current careers. You won't find a "how-to" checklist here, but if you're considering a change, this is a conversation you don't want to miss. Click here to register.

To learn of upcoming Practice Tips programs, visit TexasBarCLE.com each month and click the Webcasts tab.

New note-taking feature enhances online CLE

 Through TexasBarCLE.com, the State Bar has long offered the viewing of videos online for MCLE credit, but now has added a feature that allows the viewer to take and save notes within the presentation for future reference.

At its website, TexasBarCLE maintains its Online Classroom, housing hundreds of hours of recent MCLE-accredited videos. Choose an archived presentation and begin watching. At any time, click the Highlight tab, then click the Add Highlight button to pause the presentation and take a note about the current subject. Click Save to preserve your note; the video will then automatically continue where it left off. Once saved, your note may be referred back to at any time. Simply click Go to 0:00:00 (the time within the presentation) to go to the video at the point where the note was saved.

Should you return to the video on another day to review key points, your notes will be archived. Try out this new feature for yourself. Take a free online class here: http://www.texasbarcle.com/CLE/OCFree.asp.

Practicing Law and Wellness

State Bar President-Elect Terry Tottenham is working with TexasBarCLE and the Texas Lawyers' Assistance Program for the 2010-2011 fiscal year to produce a panel of speakers to address addiction and mental health issues for attorneys. At many popular TexasBarCLE live courses, the panel will discuss signs for colleagues to look for, intervention techniques, and resources for attorneys with addiction and mental health issues. A DVD of this topic, "Practicing Law and Wellness:  Modern Strategies for Lawyers Dealing With Anxiety, Addiction and Depression," will be produced and made available for local bar associations to show to their membership.