State Bar's Law-Related Education Department hosts Texas Citizen Bee state finals

High school senior Ayesha Rahman of Brighter Horizons Academy in Garland took home first place at the Texas Citizen Bee State Finals, held at the Texas Law Center and State Capitol on April 25. The State Bar of Texas Law-Related Education Department sponsors the program, which is made possible by a grant from the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation. Rahman, who placed second at last year’s event, took home a scholarship prize of $1,000.

Above, from left: Ayesha Rahman, Daniel Reed, Joshua Goodwin, Morgan Frisby. Photograph courtesy of Barbara Schlief.

This civic education program and competition focuses on essential American heritage, including the Constitution, important documents like the Fugitive Slave Act, a range of influential people from John Locke to Sandra Day O’Connor, landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases, civic values and skills like respect and paying taxes, and significant current events.

Participating students prepare with a study guide provided by the Bill of Rights Institute and then take part in regional competitions to earn their spot at the state finals in Austin. They begin with a timed, multiple choice written exam (65 percent of final score), followed by an oral round in which they answer one question from each category (35 percent of final score).

Other 2015 state finalists included:

  • 2nd Place ($750): Daniel Reed, 12th-grader at John Jay High School in Northside ISD
  • 3rd Place ($500): Morgan Frisby, 12th-grader at Bowie Hight School in Austin ISD
  • 4th Place and Civic Conversation Award ($750): Joshua Goodwin, 10th-grader, Cypress Woods High School in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD

For more information on the Texas Citizen Bee, go to LRE’s website.

 

Houston firm's social media contest encourages teens to not text and drive

The Houston law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend is bringing attention to Distracted Driving Awareness Month by sponsoring its third annual Text Free Texas Scholarship Contest. The team of personal injury attorneys said it aims to encourage teens to not text while driving because they “have seen all too often the consequences of distracted driving,” referring to serious and fatal accidents frequently caused by using cellphones in the car.

Sophomore, junior, and senior students at Westside High School, Carnegie Vanguard High School, and Hope Academy Charter in the Houston area are eligible to enter the contest by submitting a 250-word (or less) pledge to resist texting while behind the wheel. Students can submit these by posting them on the law firm’s Facebook page or Google+ page and including their name, high school, grade, and #TxtFreeTX. In May, Abraham Watkins will select the three top entries (one from each school), and the winners will each receive $350.

For more information, go to abrahamwatkins.com.

ACU pre-law adviser recognized as best in the country

With more than 20 years spent providing guidance to undergraduate students considering a career in the law, Mel Hailey of Abilene Christian University has been recognized as the top pre-law adviser in the nation. On March 23, 2015, the Pre-Law Advisors National Council announced that Hailey would be the recipient of its 2015 Dean Gerald Wilson Award for Excellence in Pre-Law Advising, which he will accept at the council’s southwestern regional association meeting in October. He was selected for the recognition among pre-law advisers at all U.S. colleges and universities.

Since 1994, Hailey has been advising hundreds of ACU students as a professor in the Department of Political Science. University statistics show that its students gain admission into law school at a rate of more than 90 percent—and political science students are admitted at a 99 percent rate.

“Dr. Hailey is known for his outstanding knowledge of law schools and the superb advice he gives,” said Neal Coates, chair of the ACU Department of Political Science. “He is also quite keen in helping students match their qualifications with a law school that will result in successful completion of their degree. Dr. Hailey even maintains relationships with many of our ACU graduates through their careers in law. This is a testimony to Dr. Hailey as an adviser but more importantly as a person.”

For more information on Hailey and his award, go to ACU’s press release. The Pre-Law Advisors National Council website is available at planc.org/.

Texas Access to Justice Commission announces law student summit

Across the Lone Star State, there are nearly 6 million low-income citizens who need and seek help for legal problems. Due to limited resources, assistance is available for less than 20 percent of them.

This October, through a grant from the Texas Bar Foundation, the Texas Access to Justice Commission will host the Law Student Leaders Access to Justice Summit, where movers and shakers from each of the state’s law schools will learn about the unique and pressing challenges that low-income Texans face in accessing legal services. The aim is to create a statewide culture of pro bono, as well as leaders in the field.

During the two-day event in Austin, participants will experience a hands-on poverty simulation, in which they will be challenged to budget a limited income under set circumstances. Students will partake in roundtable discussions and receive information on pro bono placements and related internships. They will also pledge to take the information gleaned during the summit back to their respective law schools and to educate their peers.

“The summit with generate greater attention to access to justice issues and eventually lead to more resource for civil legal services,” said Trish McAllister, executive director of the Texas Access to Justice Commission.

For more information on the Law Student Leaders Access to Justice Summit, contact Liza Levine at liza.levine@texasbar.com or (512) 427-1892.

 

Houston firm sponsors scholarship to encourage text-free driving among teens

The Houston law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend is bringing attention to Distracted Driving Awareness Month by sponsoring its second annual Text Free Texas Scholarship Contest. The team of personal injury attorneys has noted their firsthand experience of how devastating one text can be.

Sophomore, junior, and senior students at El Campo High School, Lee High School, Waltrip High School, or Eastwood Academy in the Houston area are eligible to enter the contest by submitting a 150-word (or less) pledge to not text while behind the wheel. Pledges can be submitted by posting them on the law firm’s Facebook or Google+ pages. In May, Abraham Watkins will select the four top entries (one from each school), and the winners will each receive $250.

For more information, go to abrahamwatkins.com.