Upcoming Law Student Professionalism Program in Dallas

On May 29, 2014, the Dallas Bar Association will host its annual Law Student Professionalism Program to educate future attorneys on embodying the ideals of the Texas Lawyer’s Creed and the Guidelines of Professional Courtesy.

“Both future and practicing lawyers face the same issue,” said Kathryne Morris, an associate at Strasburger and Price and co-vice chair of the DBA’s Morris Harrell Professionalism Committee that sponsors the program. “The public’s confidence in lawyers is diminishing as the result of the perception that unprofessional conduct and ‘Rambo’ tactics often win out over what’s right. As a result, the lack of professionalism is compromising the public’s esteem of the justice system itself.”

While Morris noted that law schools have been “a bit slower than the rest of the profession to make professionalism a priority,” she noted that more are placing an increasing focus on professionalism education in orientations, classes, clinics, lectures, and mentoring programs. Resources like these, as well as DBA’s event, play an important role in preparing young lawyers for a career marked by integrity and respect.

“Students and young lawyers generally know the golden rule, and that rule provides a good baseline,” said Morris. “But the practice of law includes a number of other rules that can complicate young lawyers’ abilities to intuit how to act professionally. For example, it may not be immediately apparent to a new lawyer that he or she should always agree to reasonable requests for extensions of time and for waiver of procedural formalities, provided legitimate objectives of the client will not be adversely affected. In other words, there are aspects of professionalism that need to be taught.”

To address common professionalism-related issues that law students and young lawyers frequently encounter, the DBA’s Law Student Professionalism Program will feature a keynote presentation by the Honorable Tonya Parker, judge of the 116th District Court in Dallas; a panel discussion on helping young lawyers succeed; a peer-to-peer discussion on the Texas Lawyer’s Creed; small group discussions of real-world professionalism issues led by local judges and lawyers; and a business etiquette presentation by past DBA President Frank E. Stevenson.

The program, held from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Belo Mansion in Dallas, is free and open to all law students, young lawyers, and recent law graduates.

Dallas Bar to honor local judiciary at Law Day Luncheon

Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will speak to nearly 250 Dallas-area judges and lawyers as the Dallas Bar Association celebrates Law Day, the association announced Tuesday. 

The keynote address will be part of the association’s annual Law Day Luncheon at noon May 2 at the Pavilion at the Belo Mansion, 2101 Ross Ave., in downtown Dallas. Also during the luncheon, students from the Dallas Independent School District who won Law Day essay and art contests will receive their awards.

The luncheon is open to the public, but RSVPs and advance payment are required. Tickets are $40 per person, or $400 per table, and can be purchased online at www.dallasbar.org or by contacting Mary Ellen Johnson at mjohnson@dallasbar.org or 214-220-7474.

 

Garage parking is available (enter from Olive Street). Open seating begins at 11:45 a.m.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower established Law Day in 1958 to challenge Americans to understand how the rule of law impacts their lives, and to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to participate in a democracy. The national Law Day 2014 theme is American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters.

Dallas Bar Association to host mock voir dire for high school students

Dallas trial lawyers and judges will demonstrate how a jury is selected for nearly 400 area high school students April 11 as part of a Dallas Bar Association event.

The event, sponsored by the DBA Law Day Committee, shows the importance of selecting a fair and impartial jury using a panel of Dallas Independent School District high school students for a hypothetical civil or criminal trial. The students can ask questions of the lawyers and judges after the demonstration.

The event will also include a moderated panel discussion with Dallas County Commissioner Theresa Daniel, Dallas County Republican Party Chair Wade Emmert, Texas Sen. Royce West, Dallas ISD trustee Miguel Solis, and 68th Civil District Court Judge Martin Hoffman, who will moderate.

The DBA is holding the event as part of the annual Law Day celebration. The theme for 2014 is “American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters.”

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to noon at the George L. Allen Sr. Courts Building at 600 Commerce St. in Dallas. For more information, visit www.dallasbar.org/LRE.

 

High school students prepare for state mock trial championship in March

On March 7 and 8, teams from 24 Texas high schools will compete at the 35th Annual Texas High School Mock Trial Competition in Dallas. These teams have made it to the final championship after winning regional contests among approximately 60 high schools during January and February, and are vying for the opportunity to represent the state at the national tournament in Madison, Wis. in May.

 

 

While the participating teenagers love the excitement of portraying prosecutors, defense attorneys, and witnesses during a hypothetical civil case before a jury and judge, the competition’s organizers hope the event also will teach students about the inner workings of our justice system and provide them with an arena to think on their feet while presenting their arguments and/or testimonies.

The Dallas Bar Association has sponsored the statewide competition for more than three decades and awarded approximately $300,000 in scholarships. Dallas area attorneys and judges help with the program by serving as “jurors,” judges, mock trial clinic instructors, and advisers. They also write the mock case that is presented at the state competition each year. More information is available at dallasbar.org/mocktrial.

Dallas Bar Association to host Affordable Care Act forum

The Dallas Bar Association will host a free public forum at noon Tuesday, Oct. 22 on the Affordable Care Act in an effort to improve understanding of the health care law.

The hourlong discussion, “Understanding the Affordable Care Act,” will feature perspectives from Den Bishop, president of Holmes, Murphy & Associates, Insurance Brokerage Firm; Stephen Love, president and CEO of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council; John McWhorter, president of Baylor University Medical Center; and Cheryl Camin Murray, shareholder at Winstead P.C., moderator.

The forum will take place at the Belo Mansion, 2101 Ross Ave., in downtown Dallas (garage parking available; enter from Olive Street). Lunch will be available for $12.76.

To ensure adequate seating is available, those interested in attending are asked to RSVP to sevans@dallasbar.org or 214-220-7440.

We Salute You

Rocking lawyer musicians are getting amped up about Law Jam 4, a benefit concert for pro bono legal aid at the Granada Theater in Dallas on August 17. Six bands whose members are comprised of Dallas-area lawyers and judges will be rocking the house to raise money--and awareness--for the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, a joint initiative of the Dallas Bar Association and Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas that provides free legal services to the poor. 

Musical genres range from roots sounds (Black Dirt Tango's singer Steve Henry lived down the street from Robert Earl Keen back in the day) to eighties tunes (Big Wheel often performs its version of the Modern English hit "I Melt With You") to indie rock (Noah Snark covers the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Tom Petty, to name a few). 

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the lineup includes Black Dirt Tango (6 p.m.), Blue Collar Crime (6:55 p.m.), Big Wheel (7:50 p.m.), the Catdaddies (9 p.m.), Noah Snark (9:55 p.m.), and Random Blue (10:50 p.m.). Tickets are $25 (advance) or $35 (at the door). For more information or to purchase tickets, go to dbalawjam.org

Legal clinics to aid Dallas County residents

Dallas County residents who meet certain financial guidelines can get free legal advice and consultation at one of nine clinics the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program will host in June.

The schedule appears below:

—East Dallas: 6 p.m. Thursdays, June 6 and 20, at Grace United Methodist Church, 4105 Junius St. at Haskell

—South Dallas: 6 p.m. Tuesdays, June 4, 11, and 25, at Martin Luther King Jr. Center, 2922 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

—West Dallas: 6 p.m. Thursdays, June 13 and 27, at Marillac Social Services Center, 2843 Lapsley St.

—Garland: 6 p.m. Thursday, June 20, at the Salvation Army, 451 W. Avenue D, Garland

—For veterans only: 2 p.m. Friday, June 7, at Dallas VA Medical Center, 4500 S. Lancaster Road

The Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program is a joint effort of the Dallas Bar Association and Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas. Read the news release here.

 

Lawyers rockin' for pro bono!

Law Jam 3 is a benefit concert for pro bono legal aid. The concernt is a joint program of the Dallas Bar Association and Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas that benefits the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program (DVAP).

This event will be held on August 20, 2011 at the Granada Theater in Dallas. Doors will open at 5:30pm with the event beginning at 6pm. Seven bands will be performing: Big Wheel, The Usuals, Black Dirt Tango, The Catdaddies, Blue Collar Crime, The Wrecking Crew, and Texas Rock Association. All of the bands are comprised of Dallas-area lawyers and judges Click here for ticket information.

The mission of DVAP is to increase and enhance pro bono legal services to the poor in Dallas through the recruitment, training, and support of volunteer attorneys.