Posted inLaw Firms and Legal DepartmentsMember BenefitsMember Benefits and ServicesTechnology

State Bar of Texas and Smokeball grant Texas lawyers free access to trust and billing software

Smokeball, the industry-leading legal practice management software platform, today announced an exclusive partnership with the State Bar of Texas to provide all of its members with free access to Smokeball Bill, Smokeball’s trust accounting and billing software solution for law firms. This tool will help solo and small firm practitioners effectively, efficiently and compliantly manage their client trust accounts for improved client service.

“Equipping all Texas attorneys with this innovative software will empower them to efficiently manage their trust accounting compliantly and spend more time practicing law,” said State Bar Executive Director Trey Apffel.  “This offering supports all Texans, allowing them to benefit from the power of technology.”

Read the news release.

Posted inEthicsNews

Professional Ethics Committee seeks public comments on proposed ethics opinions

The Professional Ethics Committee for the State Bar of Texas is accepting public comments on the following proposed ethics opinions:

Proposed Opinion 2024-2 (comment deadline 8/12/2024):

(1) May a lawyer accept payment from a private company for providing pre-recorded educational presentations or livestreamed Q&A sessions on general legal topics, which the private company markets to the public?

(2) During a livestreamed Q&A session, may the lawyer answer an audience member’s questions about specific fact situations?

(3) May the lawyer agree to represent an audience member who contacts the lawyer after viewing a pre-recorded or livestreamed Q&A presentation?

Proposed Opinion 2024-3 (comment deadline 8/13/2024): May in-house counsel for a company owned by non-lawyers provide legal services to customers of the company if the company only charges the customers the actual costs associated with the in-house counsel’s legal services?

Go here to read the proposed opinions and provide comments.

Posted inState Bar

State Bar of Texas Board of Directors to meet June 19-20 in Dallas

The State Bar of Texas Board of Directors will meet on June 19-20 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. The meetings are open to the public and will be broadcast live on the State Bar of Texas YouTube channel.

June 19 Board Meeting

The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. View the agenda here and the consent agenda here.

Those who wish to address the board in person during the meetings should fill out a speaker card at the beginning of the meetings and submit it to a staff member onsite. To sign up to speak remotely during the meetings, email boardofdirectors@texasbar.com or call 512-427-1713 or 800-204-2222 (toll free) before 5 p.m. CDT on June 18. Please provide the agenda item number you wish to speak on.

Written comments regarding agenda items must be received by 5 p.m. CDT on June 14 for timely distribution to the board before the meeting. Please submit written comments by email to boardofdirectors@texasbar.com and indicate the agenda item you are referring to.

June 20 Board Meeting

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. View the agenda here.

Those who wish to address the board in person during the meetings should fill out a speaker card at the beginning of the meetings and submit it to a staff member onsite. To sign up to speak remotely during the meetings, email boardofdirectors@texasbar.com or call 512-427-1713 or 800-204-2222 (toll free) before 5 p.m. CDT on June 19. Please provide the agenda item number you wish to speak on.

Written comments regarding agenda items must be received by 5 p.m. CDT on June 14 for timely distribution to the board before the meeting. Please submit written comments by email to boardofdirectors@texasbar.com and indicate the agenda item you are referring to.

Posted inSponsored Content

Sponsored Content: A Simple Way to Explain Escrow Accounts to Clients

Advising clients involves myriad legal, financial, and personal considerations to ensure client assets are managed and transferred according to their wishes. Often, clients seek advice and wise counsel before a liquidity event. Whether it is the sale of a closely-held business, real estate parcel, minerals or some other asset, attorneys can leverage the use of escrow accounts for the safety and benefit of their clients.

Providing significant benefits in terms of security, efficiency, and clarity, escrow accounts are used to manage and distribute assets, pay taxes, and settle debts.

Of course, attorneys are well-versed in the concept of escrows, but what about your clients? At Argent, we’ve found that clients often struggle with understanding the types, benefits and nuances of escrow accounts.

To clear it up for our clients, we crafted some simple language and we’re happy to share what’s working for us with our colleagues.
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Posted inCLENews

Hedy Bower named recipient of 2024 Gene Cavin Award for Excellence in CLE

Hedy Bower, director of TexasBarCLE, has been named the recipient of the 2024 Gene Cavin Award for Excellence in CLE.

Nominations for the Gene Cavin Award are solicited from the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors, CLE Committee members, and past award recipients. The award was established by the CLE Committee in 1989 and recognizes long-term participation in State Bar CLE activities.

Bower succeeded Pat Nester as the program director of TexasBarCLE in 2016. In particular, State Bar of Texas directors praised Bower for her efforts in guiding and strengthening TexasBarCLE’s position and services during the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced a radical shift in the types and format of CLE programs that could be offered at the time.

The award is named in honor of Gene Cavin, the founder of the Professional Development Program, who during his service from 1964 to 1987, lifted the level of practice in Texas while bringing the program to international prominence.

For more information about TexasBarCLE, go to texasbarcle.com.

Posted inSponsored Content

Sponsored Content: Optimize Your Google Business Profile Listing to Increase Leads

Your law firm’s website is a powerful tool for reaching potential clients. In order to get those leads, you need your site to appear at the top of the search results on Google.

Google Business Profile (GBP) is one of the best free tools available to help increase leads to your law firm. Optimizing your GBP profile will help you rank higher on Google, drive traffic to your firm’s website and can increase the number of leads you receive.
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Posted inEthicsNews

Professional Ethics Committee seeks public comments on proposed ethics opinion

The Professional Ethics Committee for the State Bar of Texas is accepting public comments on the following proposed ethics opinion:

Proposed Opinion 2024-1 (comment deadline 7/20/2024): If a lawyer for a governmental entity attends a meeting between a representative of the governmental entity and an individual known to be represented by a lawyer regarding the subject of the meeting, and the individual’s lawyer does not attend the meeting, may the lawyer for the governmental entity communicate with the individual without the absent lawyer’s consent?

Go here to read the proposed opinion and provide comments.

Posted inNews

Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program hosts free legal clinics in June

The Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, an initiative of the Dallas Bar Association, Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, and local lawyers, is hosting free virtual and in-person legal clinics for eligible Dallas County residents throughout June. Continue Reading

Posted inSponsored Content

Sponsored Content: Optimize Your Google Business Profile Listing to Increase Leads

Your law firm’s website is a powerful tool for reaching potential clients. In order to get those leads, you need your site to appear at the top of the search results on Google.

Google Business Profile (GBP) is one of the best free tools available to help increase leads to your law firm. Optimizing your GBP profile will help you rank higher on Google, drive traffic to your firm’s website and can increase the number of leads you receive.
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Posted inNews

David Harrell named 2024-2025 Houston Bar Association president

David Harrell, partner in Locke Lord in Houston, was named the 2024-2025 Houston Bar Association president during the association’s annual dinner on May 14, the HBA announced in a press release. Harrell succeeds Diana Gomez, who was recently elected to the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors representing District 4, Place 3.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as president of the Houston Bar Association,” Harrell said in a press release. “I look forward to working with the HBA’s board, staff, and members to accomplish our major initiatives for the coming year, and I look forward to seeing our community reap the benefit of those efforts. I am grateful for the support that my family and firm have provided over the years, and I appreciate the friendship of my colleagues and clients.”

Harrell has extensive first- and second-chair trial and arbitration experience in the areas of energy litigation, commercial litigation, and construction litigation. His energy litigation experience includes representations of domestic and international clients in traditional oil and gas operations, as well as increasing representation of participants in the growing renewable energy industry. Harrell has been an active HBA member since 2007 and has sat on its board of directors for eight years. He has served as chair of the Houston Volunteer Lawyers, the service arm of the HBA, is a life fellow of the Houston Bar Foundation, and a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation.

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