Texas educators selected for Teachers' Law School

Nearly 30 Texas educators have been selected to attend the Fifth Annual Teachers’ Law School, a three-day legal education program July 18-20 at the Texas Law Center in Austin.

Social studies and government teachers from across Texas applied to the program, which brings together more than a dozen of the state’s leading judges and lawyers who give presentations on aspects of civil and criminal legal systems at the state and federal levels.

 Participating educators are: 

Carol Anderson of El Paso, a 17-year teacher at Silva Health Magnet High School
Roger Azevedo of Plano, an 11-year teacher at Prestonwood Christian Academy
Andre Berry of Houston, a 12-year teacher at Alief Elsik High School
Randy Bilyeu of McKinney, a 14-year teacher at McKinney Boyd High School
Michael Buck of Arlington, a 17-year teacher at North Crowley High School in Fort Worth
Angela Buentello of Cedar Park, a 10-year teacher at Canyon Vista Middle School in Austin
Britine Burton of Arlington, a 15-year teacher at South Grand Prairie High School
Pepper Cruson of Hickory Creek, a 27-year teacher at Hebron High School in Carrollton 
Michael J. Gortz of Lewisville, an 18-year teacher at Shadow Ridge Middle School in Flower Mound
Luana Hanley of Corinth, a 15-year teacher at Marcus High School in Flower Mound
Jenny Hutchinson-Gonzalez of San Antonio, a 26-year teacher at Burbank High School
Margaret Irwin of San Antonio, a 23-year teacher at John Paul Stevens High School
Christina Johnson of San Antonio, a six-year teacher at Tom C. Clark High School
Lisa Lopez of Houston, a 17-year teacher at Alief Elsik High School 
Beverly Mathis of Helotes, a 29-year teacher at William H. Taft High School 
Kevin McCune of Richmond, a 23-year teacher at Lamar CISD
Kristin Pershey of Garland, a seven-year teacher at Austin Academy for Excellence
Andrea Pirtle of Conroe, a 14-year teacher at Oak Ridge High School
Craig Rabalais of Mansfield, a 16-year teacher at Mansfield Legacy High School
Jessica Rader of North Richland Hills, a first-year teacher at Trinity High School in Euless
Roger Rodgers of Coppell, a 13-year teacher at Trinity High School in Euless
Rebecca Rowland of Claude, a 13-year teacher at Claude High School
Cissy Smith of Corpus Christi, a 12-year teacher at Baker Middle School
Mary Stimson of Friendswood, a 23-year teacher at Alvin High School
Kristin Tamayo of Cedar Park, a 12-year teacher at Hendrickson High School in Pflugerville
Samantha Trimble of Arlington, an eight-year teacher at Lake Ridge High School in Mansfield
Pamela Tutt of Denton, a 10-year teacher at Lowery Freshman Center in Allen
Margaret Watson of Colleyville, a 32-year teacher at Trinity High School in Euless 
Demetria Westmoreland of Houston, a seven-year teacher at Shotwell Academy

Also known as TLS-Y5, the Teachers’ Law School-Year Five was piloted in Austin in 2009 and has become a national model for similar programs across the United States. TLS-Y5 faculty includes U.S. Appeals Court Judge Edward Prado, Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, and nationally recognized defense attorney Gerald Goldstein. Past presenters include Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, and legendary criminal defense attorney Richard “Racehorse” Haynes.

The program comes at no cost to the teachers. Food, lodging and travel are funded through scholarship donations from the American Board of Trial Advocates-Texas (TEX-ABOTA) and its Texas affiliates and the ABOTA Foundation.

“Texas is proud to be the birthplace for the Teachers’ Law School,” said Mary Dietz, president of TEX-ABOTA. “TLS has become one of ABOTA’s leading civics education programs and is now a model for our chapters around the country.”

The program is presented in collaboration with the State Bar of Texas and the State Bar’s Law Related Education Department.

2013 Law Day contests

The State Bar of Texas and the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) invite local bar associations and young lawyer affiliates to participate in the statewide Law Day contests. Local bar associations, courts, schools, youth groups, and community organizations are encouraged to hold Law Day programs to help people understand how law keeps us free and how our legal system strives to achieve justice. The deadline for all submissions is Monday, April 1, 2013. Get the full details.

Gregory-Portland educator selected for Teachers' Law School

Debbie Armentor, a teacher at Gregory-Portland High School, has been selected to attend the Fourth Annual Teachers’ Law School in Austin on July 12-14.

Armentor is one of 34 teachers statewide whose applications were accepted to attend the three-day legal education program at the Texas Law Center near the State Capitol.

Social studies and government teachers from around Texas sought entry into the Teachers’ Law School. The school brings together more than a dozen of the State’s leading judges and lawyers who give presentations on civil and criminal legal systems at the state and federal level.

The Teachers’ Law School is done in collaboration with the State Bar of Texas and its Law-Related Education Department. “The Teachers’ Law School provides experienced educators a chance to interact with the legal community one-on-one and then translate that experience into effective practices in the classroom,” said Jan Miller, director of the Bar’s Law-Related Education Department.

The Teachers’ Law School was piloted in Austin in 2009 and has become a national model for similar programs across the United States. Faculty includes U.S. Appeals Court Judge Edward Prado, Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht, and nationally recognized defense attorney Gerald Goldstein. Past presenters include Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks and criminal defense attorney Richard “Racehorse” Haynes.

The program is free for the teachers with food, lodging and travel funded through scholarship donations from the American Board of Trial Advocates-Texas and its Texas affiliates.

“Texas is blessed to have talented teachers all across the state,” said Jim Parsons, president of TEX-ABOTA and past president of the State Bar of Texas. “We’re very pleased to be able to show some of them our appreciation for all that they do to help us educate our kids on our judicial system, why it’s the best system around and how they can help make it better.” 

Get a Headstart on Starting Your Own Practice

An ongoing initiative of State Bar President Terry Tottenham has been 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.)

This month's offering, So You Are Starting Your Own Practice?, will be May 26 from 12:30 to 1:30 pm CDT. (It is not MCLE-accredited.) Seasoned practitioners Claude Ducloux and Xavier Medina, both of Austin, will give their perspectives on a range of issues, from finding suitable office space and storage to managing your finances and new technology. If you're considering hanging out your own shingle, you'll appreciate the insights and advice offered in this FREE overview. Click here to register.

Improve your practice with free career development webcasts

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 last such webcast of 2010, Strategies to Weather a Challenging Economy, will be December 30 from 12:30 to 1:30 CST. (It is not MCLE-accredited.) Two experts from Houston, Lawyer-Coach Debra Bruce and Greenberg Traurig Business Director John Meredith, will give their perspectives on diversifying your client base, retooling your practice, providing services at a reasonable rate, cutting costs, and much more. Click here to register.

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

Preventing and Resolving Law Firm Disputes

A new State Bar of Texas CLE course premieres this week to focus on an area of growing concern to the legal profession. "Lawyer and Law Firm Disputes: Problems and Prevention" will be held Friday, September 17, in Dallas at the Belo Mansion. The brainchild of Interim Dean Susan Saab Fortney of the Texas Tech University School of Law, the course brings together top experts to discuss intra-firm litigation, loss prevention, risk management, lawyer mobility, de-equitization, and more. The keynote speaker is Professor Robert W. Hillman, author of Hilman on Lawyer Mobility: The Law and Ethics of Partner Withdrawals and Law Firm Breakups. The luncheon speaker will be W. Mark Lanier, recognized by the National Law Journal as one of the nation's Top Ten Trial Lawyers and one of the Most Influential Lawyers in America.

Accredited for 7.25 MCLE hours, including 3.25 hours ethics, the course will be recorded and archived for future viewings at TexasBarCLE.com.