National Black Pre-Law Conference celebrates decade of inspiring black lawyers

The National Black Pre-Law Conference and Law Fair will host its 10th annual celebration in honor of empowering aspiring black lawyers.

The free event will be held Friday and Saturday in the Houston Marriott Westchase. Late registration begins today and ends Wednesday.

The conference brings together aspiring lawyers, parents, supporters, friends, law students, judges, and law school representatives to help students begin their law school career with “insider” information and encouragement on their journey to become successful attorneys.

The conference provides participants with access to over 100 law schools that participate in the law fair. Other events include workshops and panel discussions pertaining to law school, networking and mentorship opportunities, professional business image and etiquette training, town hall meetings, law school admissions test (LSAT) preparation clinics, and diagnostic LSAT administrations.

State Bar of Texas Immediate Past President Lisa Tatum will speak as a panelist during a Saturday workshop on legal careers. The panel discussion will focus on what law firm partners do, how they got to where they are, and their advice for meeting upcoming challenges.

Tatum will be joined by moderator Erica Edwards-O’Neal, director of diversity and inclusion and senior director of career services of the Touro Law Center (Central Islip, New York); Tiffany Bingham Briscoe, partner in Vorys (Houston); Jonathan Cox, partner in The Cox Pradia Law Firm P.L.L.C. (Houston); Daniella Landers, partner in Sutherland (Houston); Demetra Liggins, partner in Thompson & Knight LLP (Houston); Patricia Rosier, managing partner in the Law Office of Rosier & Associates (Upper Marlboro, Maryland); Daryl K. Washington, partner in the Law Offices of Daryl K. Washington, P.C., Attorneys and Counselors at Law (Dallas); and Marlene C. Williams, partner in Jackson Walker L.L.P. (Houston).

General admission is free and everyone is welcome. For more information on how to register or a complete schedule of events, visit blackprelawconference.org.

 

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.

What You Really Need To Do Leading Up To The Bar Exam

The following is a guest post by Roberto "R.C." Rondero de Mosier:

Hey, 3Ls! Who’s excited about the Bar Exam?...Anyone?

With finals just around the corner at every Texas law school, and July just a couple of months past that, it’s easy to hit that point in your law-school career when you just want to curl up into a ball. Let’s be honest, it’s a daunting time.

The bar exam is the final hurdle in your law student career, as it represents the big payoff from 3-5 years of continuous effort. It is no wonder that people put enormous amounts of pressure on themselves leading up to those big three days—July 29-31.

When confronted with this pressure, and for the month of April, I notice people deal with the pressure in on one of two ways:

Fight – They get on the ball, pick a review course, and get hardcore about studying for the bar.

Flight – They avoid talking about it, hang out at the bar, and put off choosing a review course.

Let’s be frank, regardless of which category you are in, until your first day of a bar review course, it’s a zero-sum game for everyone. While the bar exam is certainly overwhelming, and not easy, it can be beaten with a steady diet of consistent preparation. Give the bar exam two months of your respect and you are in a great place to succeed.

So let’s talk about what you really have coming at you. What is really worth thinking about before the exam:

1) Enjoy your friends: Law school will be over soon and the people you have bled with for the past three years will be going their separate ways. Your last semester grades won’t make or break you (don’t slack off, but be judicious with your time), but don’t forget to have that last dinner or coffee with the people you were in the trenches with. You may come across those folks again.

2) Enjoy your family: Once bar review starts, your family needs to know that they need to take a back seat to your study schedule. Prep them for it. Give them the love and attention they need now, and let them know you will have a very focused two months coming up and you won’t be able to be there as frequently. They’ll appreciate the heads up.

3) Find a bar review to suit your needs, then forget about it until after finals: Some people will not agree with me. They will want to gun it and look at materials even while in law school. Feel free if you must, but it will not make or break you. Content is equal in the bar review world (everyone uses the same set of laws), but delivery matters. What is the best delivery method for you? Find what works, pay for it, forget about it.

4) Plan a post-bar-exam trip: You will put a great deal of time into passing the bar. Reward yourself with a trip. Whether to the hill country for a weekend or Spain for a week, plan a trip, maybe with friends or family, and make up for some lost time. It will be a great event to look forward to, three days before the bar exam (believe me).

With that said, good luck. You’ll do fine. Have a plan and work hard to execute.

For more information on bar review courses, go to http://www.utexas.edu/law/sao/statebar/review.html.

Roberto "R.C." Rondero de Mosier is the managing partner at RAM Law Firm PLLC where he manages Business and Client Development. While in law school R.C. caught the eye of Thomson Reuters and became a regional director of BARBRI where he gained experience training students for bar exams. After resigning from BARBRI after they sold out to a private equity firm, R.C. entered the legal market, building a law practice through formulaic networking. He has sat for and passed bar exams in four states on the first attempt: Texas, California, New York and Illinois. He tutors law students part time and contracts with Themis Bar Review, advocating students take a critical look at what they do to prep for the bar exam.

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.

Number of takers of the Law School Admission Test continues to bottom out

James L. Rosica
The Tampa Tribune

The number of takers of the Law School Admission Test continues to bottom out, with an 11 percent drop as of the October administration of the exam. Takers fell from 37,780 a year ago to 33,673 last month, according to the Law School Admission Council, which develops the test. The latest number is a 45 percent decline from October 2009, when law school fervor started to ebb. As of August, law school applications to American Bar Association-accredited schools nationwide were down nearly 18 percent from 2012, also according to the Law School Admission Council.

You may read the full article on The Tampa Tribune's website.

TBJ Board of Editors talk social media, blogging with SMU law students

Students in the Intellectual Property Association at SMU's Dedman School of Law had the opportunity to listen to members of the Texas Bar Journal Board of Editors talk about the quickly evolving area of social media, blogging and the law on Tuesday. The board of editors met that morning on the law school campus as guests of Prof. Xuan-Thao Nguyen, who arranged the panel discussion. Board of Editors Chair Michael Smith (second from left) of Marshall blogged about the experience at EDTexweblog.com. He was joined on the panel by (from left) Mitch Smith of Beaumont, John Browning of Dallas (who teaches on the topic at SMU), and Steve Fischer of Rockport. Discussion touched on the recent Troll Tracker litigation, the dos and don'ts of lawyers as bloggers, and ethical considerations of monitoring jurors' social media presence.

10 Minute Mentor Goes to Law School

Due to its popularity among practicing members of the bar, Ten Minute Mentor has been expanded to cover topics of interest to law school students interested in learning about the ins and outs of practicing law. Visit the 10 Minute Mentor Goes to Law School website.