This month in the Texas Bar Journal

This month, the Texas Bar Journal takes a look at some of the major caselaw and legislative issues that have affected Texas lawyers and specific areas of law in the past year. While not exhaustive, this "year in review" offers an overview of recent events and invites discussion of what is in store for the legal profession in 2012. Let us know what you think of the January issue -- email comments to

This month in the Texas Bar Journal

This month, the Texas Bar Journal helps you answer some of those “friendly requests for advice” you may encounter at social gatherings in its latest installment of "Party Talk." In addition, you'll find information about the Texas Young Lawyers Association's latest project, Breaking the Silence: A Path to Finding Mental Health.
Let us know what you think of the December issue of the Texas Bar Journal — email comments to


This Month in the Texas Bar Journal

This month, the Texas Bar Journal looks at the different aspects of animal law and how it has evolved. In addition, you will find an update on the State Bar's Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans program since its launch last year.

Looking for a little friendly advice? Send us your "Party Talk" questions!

As a lawyer, you probably get more than your fair share of requests for a little “free” advice, whether from friends, family, or neighbors. This holiday season, we’re bringing back our popular feature, “Party Talk,” to help you answer some of those friendly requests for advice.

What questions are you asked in social situations? Send us your question and answer by Nov. 1 and it could appear in our December issue. Email

This month in the Texas Bar Journal

As part of State Bar President Bob Black's initiative on civics education, the State Bar Law-Related Education Department debuts a new online resource for Texas students and teachers — Oyez, Oyez, Oh Yay! Civics Resources for Texas Students and Teachers. In addition, the many aspects of school law are examined in this month's issue of the Texas Bar Journal, including the high-profile issue of school finance.

September Texas Bar Journal -- Legislative Update

The 82nd Texas Legislature passed numerous bills of interest to Texas attorneys. The articles in this month's Texas Bar Journal identify major changes to specific areas of law that will affect Texas lawyers and the clients they serve.

Texas Bar Journal - July Issue

Inspired by the Texas Forensic Science Seminar, this issue of the Texas Bar Journal investigates the state of forensic science in Texas. Also included are new performance guidelines for non-capital criminal defense developed by the Legal Services to the Poor in Criminal Matters Committee. 


New frontiers in environmental law

Can new technology help us reduce carbon dioxide emissions? Is “fracking” contributing to groundwater contamination in Texas? What is the cost of noncompliance with the EPA’s oil spill cleanup rules?

From groundbreaking initiatives to the aftermath of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the environment — and environmental law — is taking center stage. The May issue of the Texas Bar Journal focuses on new frontiers in natural resource management and the Texas attorneys who are on the front lines.

Texas Bar Journal: president-elect candidates discuss the issues

The April issue of the Texas Bar Journal asked 2011-2012 State Bar of Texas president-elect candidates Guy Choate of San Angelo and F.R. “Buck” Files, Jr. of Tyler to share their perspectives on issues facing the State Bar of Texas. 

Votes for the State Bar of Texas president-elect can be cast by paper ballot or online from April 1 to May 2, 2011. The deadline to cast ballots is May 2, 2011, at 5 p.m. CST.

This month in the Texas Bar Journal

 What does “property” mean in the 21st Century? Is property something you can touch or, in the tech age, is property an idea? Can the framework for human life be considered “property?” This month’s issue of the Texas Bar Journal looks at what “property” means today and how that is shaping the law.

Legal ArticlesCultural Property: Who Owns It and What Laws Protect It?
 by Professor Marilyn E. Phelan; Music, Lyrics, and Copyright: Intellectual Property Rights in Music by David Showalter; America's Most Mysterious Gold Coins 
by Steve Roach; One Bad App Spoils the Bunch: Brand Protection in the App Era 
by David Bell and Hope Hughes; and Avoiding a Science Fiction Soap Opera: Excluding the Pre-Embryos from Probate by Bridget M. Fuselier.

Profile — Texas lawyers take their passions seriously, as you'll see from a story about Larry Macon, a San Antonio lawyer who holds the world record for most marathons run in a single year.

December Texas Bar Journal covers proposed amendments to disciplinary rules

This month's Texas Bar Journal features information about proposed amendments to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, including the proposed amendments and the referendum on the proposed amendments.

To find additional information on the proposed amendments and the referendum, you may visit

The cover of the December Bar Journal features the State of Texas Christmas ornament. Fifteenth in a series of collectible ornaments, the 2010 edition combines architectural and decorative elements featured in past ornaments and reflects a rich tradition of historic preservation.

October Texas Bar Journal focuses on child welfare

Every child deserves a loving, permanent family. Yet many foster children drift for years among a variety of living arrangements.

This issue of the Texas Bar Journal explores how the Texas legal community is working to improve Texas' child welfare system and how attorneys can help the state's most vulnerable children.

September Texas Bar Journal focuses on wellness issues

This month's Texas Bar Journal focuses on strategies for lawyers dealing with anxiety, mental health, substance abuse and addiction, and depression. One important highlight is The Texas Lawyers Assistance Program (TLAP) and the help it can offer lawyers in need. TLAP provides crisis counseling and referrals for lawyers, judges, and law students coping with substance use disorders and mental health issues. Find out more in the TBJ article. To get information or to seek help, you may reach TLAP at 800-343-8527 or visit their web page at

Bar Journal artist captures Longhorn baseball

Gilbert Sauceda (pictured, right), a freelance illustrator for the Texas Bar Journal for 20 years, recently presented a large-format painting to University of Texas baseball coach Augie Garrido (pictured). The painting hangs in the media room at Disch-Falk Field. It celebrates the Horns’ 2005 national championship season and the recent renovation of the stadium.

Sauceda, who became friends with Garrido while the two were collaborating on a book project, explained that with Garrido’s input he focused the painting on the essence of the sport of baseball, which is the energy of the players and the competition. “Some people think of baseball as a serene sport,” said Sauceda, “but it’s not. Augie believes there is a major battle in every pitch: either the pitcher or the batter wins with every throw.” Sauceda said prints of the painting should be available soon through the U.T. baseball program.

Sauceda also recently presented a painting to U.T. quarterback Colt McCoy, which depicts McCoy in a running stance with the U.T. Tower in the background. “He really appreciated it,” said Sauceda. “He’s a classy dude.”

Sauceda estimates he has done around 500 illustrations for the Texas Bar Journal and State Bar over the years. Why does he work for us? “I like the challenge of coming up with new ideas to depict legal topics,” he said. “Plus I have a running bet with a cousin who can’t wait for the day I run out of ideas for the magazine." Sauceda says one of his favorite pieces for the State Bar has been the creation of Lone Star, an anthropomorphic Texas flag who stars in the “Lone Star Waves Proudly” children's books published by the State Bar Law-Related Education Department.

See more of Sauceda’s work at and

This month in the Texas Bar Journal


 most links point to PDF files

Legal Article — Controversial Uses of the 'Clawback' Remedy in the Current Financial Crisis by Spencer C. Barasch and Sara J. Chesnut.

 Texas Supreme Court Historical Society Turns 20 — Preserving and Celebrating Judicial History by William S. Pugsley.

ABA-YLD Adopts TYLA Voting Rights ProjectInspiring the Future: Texas Young Lawyers Association Takes Steps to Empower Youth by Patricia L. Garcia. 

Profile — Texas lawyers take their passions seriously, as you'll see from a story about Sally Heppie, a Dallas-based entertainment lawyer turned film producer.



The Texas Bar Journal wants your short stories!

It's that time of year again — not when we snuggle around the open fire or get a little silly at the office holiday party, no. It's time for aspiring John Grishams to dust off their typewriters (or more realistically, their computer keyboards) and get to writing their award-winning short story.

The 2010 Texas Bar Journal Short Story Fiction Writing Contest is officially on. The June 2010 issue of the Texas Bar Journal will feature the top three stories, as judged by our independent panel (it's a blind judging, too, to make it more fair). Deadline for entries is March 1, 2010.

"How long does my story have to be?" you ask. Well, we know you like telling stories, but, it's a short story contest, so keep it to 2,000 words or less.

You are pondering what you can write about, too, right? We're pretty open to the topic, as long as your short story is previously unpublished and deals with or is related to the law or lawyers in some fashion.

"What if I have entered or won a previous year?" you wonder. That's okay — go for win No. 2 or polish up last year's story. We welcome all entries, as long as it's from any lawyer licensed to practice in Texas who is in good standing. (We fibbed a little in that last sentence — directors of the State Bar or the Texas Bar Journal board of editors are ineligible.)

"How much time do I have?" you worry. No worries — the deadline is months away, next year in fact. Send those stories in by March 1, 2010, and you'll be good.

For more information, download an entry form.

Oh yeah, in case you missed it, the deadline for entries is March 1, 2010.

This month in the Texas Bar Journal

most links below point to PDF files

Transition to Practice — Read about the State Bar's new mentoring initiative for local bar associations. Also included is best practice advice from Texas lawyers for changing times.

Transition from Transitive — Robert Fugate advises translating Latin phrases as part of an article on defining terms of art in legal writing.

Seizing Life — Plano lawyer Jeff Bray recounts his battle with cancer and the life lessons he's learned in "Don't Assume You Have Tomorrow to Get the Big Things Done."

Profiles — Texas lawyers take their passions seriously, as you'll see from stories about Hans Heppe, who has helped create a German-immersion school in Dallas, and Roberta Shaffer, who has been appointed Law Librarian of Congress.

Archive of the Covenant

Among the treasures in Google's ambitious digital book repository are the 1882 Proceedings of the Texas Bar Association. That year, hundreds of Texas lawyers convened in Galveston to establish the volunteer organization that would serve as the precursor to the State Bar of Texas.

Also available through Google Book Search are the 1919 Proceedings of the Texas Bar Association and a 1907 Monograph on Legal Ethics by Houston lawyer John Charles Harris.

The Texas Legislature created the unified State Bar of Texas in 1939, one year after the Texas Bar Journal started publication. Now, thanks to a partnership with William S. Hein & Co., a complete, searchable archive of the magazine is available here

A reprieve for aspiring Grishams

Submissions for the 2009 Texas Bar Journal Short Story Fiction Writing Contest were supposed to be postmarked no later than than March 1, 2009. Apparently, the crack team of editors at the magazine failed to notice that March 1 is a Sunday, so you can have an extra day. That gives you a full weekend to search frantically for that long-lost manuscript or start writing a new tale. Postmark your entry by Monday, March 2, and your story may appear in the June 2009 issue of the Texas Bar Journal. Click here for the entry form.

Still not inspired? Read the winning entries from 2008 or listen to audio versions of those stories. Then, slam a couple of cappuccinos and start typing!

Austin lawyer an elite Yelper

Michelle Cheng is one of Austin's most prolific Yelpers. describes its free service as "real reviews by real people." Michelle has written 501 reviews of restaurants and other businesses, leading her cohorts on Yelp to call her "legendary" and earning her an elusive "Yelp Elite" status for three years running.

" gives me an easy, no-pressure outlet to do some writing on one of my favorite topics – food," says Cheng. "I’ve discovered many great restaurants and other businesses through Yelp, and have met lots of terrific people, too (there are frequent social gatherings for Yelpers)."

There's no telling where she finds the time, considering she's a busy plaintiff's lawyer (recently promoted to name partner in Whitehurst, Harkness, Brees, Cheng & Imhoff, PC) and serves on the State Bar Board of Directors and Texas Bar Journal Board of Editors, among other community activities.

And it's not all fun and games. "I’ve even had some potential clients who discovered me through my Yelp activity," Cheng related.