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.

Hearings continue this week on proposed amendments to the disciplinary rules

A series of public education hearings on proposed amendments to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct began this week. Those interested in the proposed changes are encouraged to attend. Attorneys who attend will receive one-half hour of ethics MCLE credit. 

The Supreme Court of Texas has asked the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors to consider proposed amendments and provide recommendations or comments to the Court by Oct. 6, 2010. Read details on the proposed changes at www.texasbar.com/ethics and provide comments here.

The public education hearings will take place:

Lubbock – Monday, Aug. 30, Noon – 2 p.m.

Texas Tech University School of Law
Lanier Auditorium, Room 153
1802 Hartford Avenue
El Paso – Tuesday, Aug. 31, Noon – 2 p.m.

Commissioners Courtroom, 3rd Floor
500 E. San Antonio
Houston – Wednesday, Sept. 1, Noon – 2 p.m.
Hyatt Regency, Dogwood Room
1200 Louisiana Street
Tyler – Thursday, Sept. 2, Noon – 2 p.m.

6205 S. Broadway Avenue
Dallas – Friday, Sept. 3, Noon – 2 p.m.
Dallas Bar Association
Belo Mansion, Winstead Ballroom
2101 Ross Avenue
Corpus Christi – Tuesday, Sept. 7, Noon – 2 p.m.
Town Club, 6th Floor
800 N. Shoreline Blvd.
McAllen – Wednesday, Sept. 8, Noon – 2 p.m.

Casa de Palmas Renaissance
101 N. Main Street
San Antonio – Thursday, Sept. 9, Noon – 2 p.m.
Bexar County Courthouse (Old Courthouse)
Presiding Courtroom, 2nd Floor
100 Dolorosa
Austin – Friday, Sept. 10, Noon – 2 p.m.
Texas Law Center
Hatton W. Sumners Conference Room
1414 Colorado Street

A Milestone for Legal Ethics in Texas

Happy Birthday to the Texas Lawyer's Creed! The Creed contains principles for civility and courtesy between lawyers and honesty in statements to judges and lawyers and was promulgated in 1989 by both the Supreme Court of Texas and Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

On Thursday, Nov. 5, two former justices of the Texas Supreme Court were on hand to help celebrate the 20th anniversaries of the Texas Lawyer’s Creed and the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism at a ceremony at the Texas Law Center in Austin. Former Chief Justice Jack Pope and former Justice Eugene Cook were instrumental in the creation of the Center and the Creed. Also on hand were Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jennifer Elrod, who served as master of ceremonies, as well as current Supreme Court Justices Nathan Hecht, Phil Johnson, Paul Green, and Don Willett.

After several speeches commemorating the anniversaries, those in attendance sang "Happy Birthday" and celebrated with cupcakes and a reception.

“Today we are honoring hundreds of people, those who had vision, raised money [for the creation of the Center], and worked day-to-day to keep that vision alive," said Chief Justice Pope. “The organization is here because of them.”

The November issue of the Texas Bar Journal (www.texasbar.com/tbj) includes a special section about how and why the Creed came into existence. A free 30-minute online ethics CLE on the Creed is available at www.texasbarcle.com. For details on the Center, visit www.txethics.org.