TexasBarCLE, TYLA provide young lawyers insight into profession










“I don’t know what motivated you to join the legal profession. But what I do know is that a lot of my peers got into this profession to help people. I hope that the same calling will drive you to help others as well.” – C. Barrett Thomas, TYLA president-elect

More than 100 young lawyers learned useful information regarding networking, client development, and the importance of pro bono work, and heard advice from judges and experienced courtroom advocates, during a CLE program Friday in Austin.

TexasBarCLE and the Texas Young Lawyers Association hosted “Building Your Career: A Guide for New Lawyers” at the Texas Law Center and also offered the event as a live webcast. Legal professionals devoted their time to share key skills and advice they learned to propel their careers.

“The best advice that I have received from a mentor was to 1.) be excellent in all that you do, 2.) meet as many people as you can, and 3.) give thanks,” Adán D. Briones of Boardwalk Pipeline Partners in Houston said.

Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht discussed “the noble profession” of law and the importance of civility, the jury, and professionalism.

“The general public does not see the sacrifice of lawyers, but sacrifice is an important element of this noble profession,” Hecht said.

Other topics included State Bar resources, tips for successful legal writing, negotiation techniques, and practical considerations for starting and building a law practice. According to State Bar statistics, 28 percent of active Texas attorneys are age 36 or younger or in their first five years of practice.

“I don’t know what motivated you to join the legal profession,” C. Barrett Thomas, president-elect of TYLA, said. “But what I do know is that a lot of my peers got into this profession to help people. I hope that the same calling will drive you to help others as well.”

The class will be made available in the TexasBarCLE Online Classroom in May. For more information on upcoming TexasBarCLE events, visit texasbarcle.com.

Pictured: Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht speaks during “Building Your Career: A Guide for New Lawyers” in Austin. 

EEOC active as 50th anniversary approaches, Texas lawyers told

Nearly 50 years after its creation as part of the historic Civil Rights Act, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is taking stock of its objectives and the challenges that remain, Chair Jenny R. Yang told Texas attorneys Jan. 22 in Dallas.

Yang, speaking to about 300 attendees at the TexasBarCLE Advanced Employment Law Course, said the commission has made much progress since opening in July 1965 with the duty to enforce federal laws barring discrimination in hiring and employment. Still, some workers remain vulnerable to discrimination, including pregnant women, immigrants, and temporary workers, she said.

“We’re thinking about where we are today on some of these persistent issues that we’ve been addressing throughout the history of the agency,” said Yang, who was named chair by President Obama in September. She has served on the commission since 2013.

Current EEOC initiatives include a new task force to study the problem of workplace harassment and a push to educate the public about the laws that protect workers. The latter effort included a public meeting in Houston, where federal agencies provided educational materials in various languages.

“We heard so much appreciation from the community,” Yang said. “Many had never seen these materials in their language before. Many know nothing about our agency and the protections that exist. We’re trying to spread the word.”

Pictured: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chair Jenny R. Yang, right, offered an overview of EEOC operations Jan. 22 during a keynote address at the TexasBarCLE Advanced Employment Law Course in Dallas. Also pictured is course director Kathy D. Boutchee, senior trial attorney for the EEOC in Houston.

New law practice management website offers helpful resources and CLE

The Law Practice Management Committee of the State Bar of Texas has launched a website, available at texaslawpracticemanagment.com, that features the popular how-to brochures used by solo and small firm practitioners. While much of this content previously was available through the TexasBarCLE website, the LPM website serves as its new home and gathers other relevant material from additional departments within the State Bar.

Attorneys looking to learn about practice management will appreciate the website’s streamlined organization and focus on material relevant to just this topic. Users can navigate the site based on which of the three categories they fall under: starting a practice, maintaining a practice, or looking to grow a practice. The site provides easy access to downloadable and printable resources produced by the committee, including the how-to brochures and the Closing a Practice collection of recently written and peer-reviewed articles. There are also links to LPM-related CLE, State Bar publications, and the Texas Young Lawyers Association’s 10-Minute Mentor video series.

The LPM Committee and TexasBarBooks have designed the new website with Texas attorneys in mind. “We field calls and emails from State Bar members facing issues about law practice management,” said Conor Jensen, web content specialist for TexasBarBooks, which serves as the State Bar’s liaison to the committee. “Usually, more than one attorney is facing a similar set of questions, so we have the advantage of knowing what issues are coming up specifically for Texas attorneys.”

For more information, go to texaslawpracticemanagement.com. (The LPM website also can be accessed through the TexasBarCLE website, texasbarcle.com, by clicking “Law Practice Mgmt” in the left-hand menu.)

Learning About the Lege

Want a refresher on how the Texas Legislature works? TexasBarCLE is rebroadcasting its webcast, “The Texas Legislative Process: What Every Lawyer Should Know,” on Tuesday, March 8, from 2 to 4 p.m. Topics include a review of the legislative process, ethics rules regarding interactions with legislators and staff, and a look at the major issues for the 82nd Legislature. Participants can earn two hours of MCLE credit (including one hour of ethics). To register, visit www.texasbarcle.com. And to stay informed on what is happening at the Capitol, be sure and sign up for the Friday Update, a free weekly e-newsletter on proposed legislation that may affect the legal profession.

TexasBarCLE to present a webcast today on the proposed amendments to the disciplinary rules

Today from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., TexasBarCLE will present a webcast on the proposed amendments to the disciplinary rules featuring Linda Eads, Tom Watkins, and Kennon Peterson. Registrants can earn 2 hours of ethics MCLE. For more information and to register, click here.

For more information on the proposed rules and on the referendum, please visit www.texasbar.com/rulesupdate.

State Bar to offer "Success Strategies and Key Lessons for Young Lawyers" program

On Friday, November 12, The State Bar of Texas and TexasBarCLE will host "Success Strategies and Key Lessons for Young Lawyers." The seminar is a one-day program to provide young lawyers with tips for a successful career. The seminar will be at Cityplace Conference Center, 2711 North Haskell, Dallas, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, with a networking breakfast at 7:45 a.m. and a luncheon at 12 p.m.

This non-mandatory course is designed to complement the mandatory four-hour "Guide to the Basics of Law Practice" course offered by the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism. The course will review free legal resources lawyers never knew they had, negotiation techniques, information for lawyers starting their own practice, avoiding disciplinary action, and information about what lawyers' paralegals can do.

Kim J. Askew, K&L Gates LLP, will present "How to Succeed in Your First Trial or Transaction," and Lisa S. Richardson, Richardson & Cechura, PLLC and Gindi E. Vincent, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, will present "Striking a Balance: How to Salvage Your Life and Sanity as You Strive to Get Ahead at Work." Robert Dubose, Alexander Dubose & Townsend LLP, will present "Legal Writing for the Rewired Brain" at the luncheon.

The course is worth 6.75 hours of MCLE credit including 1.75 hours of ethics credit. Get more information about the course or register for the course today.

TexasBarCLE to offer free webcast on proposed changes to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct

TexasBarCLE will be offering a free webcast on the proposed changes to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. The webcast will include a group of panelists and will focus mainly on discussing the proposed amendments, the process by which the proposed amendments were developed, and reasons the changes are needed.

Immediate past president of the State Bar of Texas, Roland Johnson, will serve as moderator for the webcast. Panelists will include Patricia Chamblin, chairwoman of the State Bar Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct Committee; Linda Eads, a past chairwoman of the State Bar’s disciplinary rules committee; Tom Watkins, chairman of the Texas Supreme Court task force on the disciplinary rules; and Kennon Peterson, the Texas Supreme Court’s rules attorney.

The live webcast is free and will be on Wednesday, August 18, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The webcast is worth two hours of MCLE credit, including two hours of ethics credit. Register for the webcast for free on TexasBarCLE.com. To find out more about the proposed amendments, visit www.texasbar.com/rulesupdate.

CLE staff gives volunteers a standing O

TexasBarCLE, the State Bar's professional development program, is lucky to have hundreds of volunteer speakers and authors who help back up its slogan, "Education by the Bar, for the Bar." Staff members of TexasBarCLE recently honored four volunteers who they felt made outstanding contributions during 2008. J. Cary Barton of San Antonio, Chad Baruch of Plano, Rhonda H. Brink of Austin, and David A. Weatherbie of Dallas each received 2008 Standing Ovation Awards in the form of handsome blue obelisks engraved with their names (pictured).

"All of our volunteers deserve our gratitude for contributing to the continuing education of their peers," said Pat Nester, director of TexasBarCLE. "Nevertheless, some stand out each year for extraordinary dedication and commitment. The staff looks forward to singling out individuals that not only gave enormously to our efforts, but also were gracious, easy to work with, and -- oftentimes -- helped us out in a real pinch."