Posted inNews

Wafa Abdin named executive director of Houston Volunteer Lawyers

Wafa Abdin has been named the new executive director of the Houston Volunteer Lawyers. “I am very excited about the opportunity to work with pro bono volunteers and the HVL team to provide to low-income individuals free civil legal aid that helps stabilize families, maintain housing, and even improve children’s health,” said Abdin, who served as vice president for Immigration and Refugee Services at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and led the Cabrini Center for Immigrant Legal Assistance.

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Posted inAccess to JusticeNewsTexas Supreme CourtTexas Young Lawyers Association

Texas’ newest lawyers are sworn in at induction ceremony

The newest group of Texas attorneys took the Lawyer’s Oath Monday morning at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin. Members of the Texas Supreme Court and Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, deans from Texas law schools, and representatives from the State Bar of Texas and the Texas Board of Law Examiners welcomed hundreds of law school graduates to the Texas Bar.

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Posted inAmerican Bar AssociationDiversityGuest BlogLocal BarsState BarTexas Minority Counsel Program

Update from State Bar President Tom Vick—Nov. 17, 2017

State Bar President Tom Vick

Editor’s note: State Bar of Texas President Tom Vick sent the following message to members Friday. 

If you haven’t already, you should soon receive a letter in the mail from your State Bar district director(s) on some of the bar’s latest projects and member benefits. The letter is part of a board initiative to better communicate with our members and provide ways for you to contact us with feedback. You’ll receive a similar message—this time by email—from your State Bar director(s) in the spring.

In the meantime, please read below for some other State Bar updates.

Transparency Task Force
President-elect Joe K. Longley has appointed a Transparency Task Force to explore what recommendations, if any, should be made to the State Bar Act, State Bar Rules, and/or the State Bar Board of Directors Policy Manual to improve transparency and openness within the State Bar. Upon completion of its work, the task force will make recommendations, if any, to the board in accordance with Section 1.14.07 of the State Bar Policy Manual.  Click here for a list of task force members.The State Bar is committed to transparency, and I look forward to receiving the task force’s recommendations. Continue Reading

Posted inConferenceNewsTexas Minority Counsel Program

TMCP names award winners during 2017 conference

More than 480 registrants attended the 25th Texas Minority Counsel Program conference November 8-10 in Austin.

Abel Martinez, group vice-president of partner relations, risk solutions, and government affairs with H-E-B Grocery Company, won the 2017 TMCP Lifetime Achievement Award. Harris County Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis, also a senior adviser at Dentons US and a retired Texas senator, won the 2017 TMCP Trailblazer Outside Counsel of the Year Award. Lawrence Clifton Morgan, senior corporate counsel with Republic Services, won the 2017 TMCP Corporate Counsel of the Year Award.

TMCP was created in 1993 to increase opportunities for minority and women lawyers who provide legal services to corporate and government clients. More than 235 firms, corporations, schools, and government agencies participated in this year’s event.

Posted inHurricaneNewsTexas Lawyers' Assistance ProgramTLAP

New TLAP video focuses on PTSD after Hurricane Harvey

A new video from the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program, featuring TLAP Director Bree Buchanan and Austin psychiatrist Robert Cantu, focuses on identifying post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, after Hurricane Harvey.

In The Trauma of Harvey: Identifying PTSD in Yourself and Others, Buchanan and Cantu discuss the symptoms of and treatment for PTSD after a natural disaster. Cantu said some of the symptoms of PTSD include manifestations of anxiety through hyper-arousal, or the feeling of constantly being on edge, and hyper-vigilance, or being keenly aware of what’s going on and perceiving threats and/or danger. Events can be a trigger, or a reminder of a natural disaster. For example, a thunderstorm could trigger thoughts of Hurricane Harvey. Survivors can also relive the events through “daymares” or nightmares. Another symptom is depression or despair— specifically in the case of Harvey having one’s world turned upside down, such as losing a spouse at an early age or losing a home.

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Posted inLaw Firms and Legal Departments

Scams Continue to Target Texas Attorneys

Update 11/15/2017: We have received a report of another scam. A person in Australia was contacted by a scammer using a Texas attorney’s information. The person who was contacted was scammed previously and lost money, and he believes it is the same scammers who are contacting him again. In the emails, the scammers say they can recover the person’s money for him from a company, Norton Pearce Associates, that has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
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Posted inGuest BlogState BarTexas Lawyers' Assistance ProgramTLAP

Stories of Recovery: No More Drinking Games

Editor’s note: This post is part of the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program’s Stories of Recovery series. TLAP offers confidential assistance for lawyers, law students, and judges with substance abuse or mental health issues. Call TLAP at 1-800-343-8527 (TLAP) and find more information at

I am a lawyer celebrating my first year as a solo. I am a horse trainer, a wife, a sister, and a Pinterest queen. I am also an alcoholic.

I didn’t drink until I was almost 21. Alcohol didn’t interest me. I was busy with school and my horses. None of my friends drank much, and I didn’t understand the appeal. My last year of college, I started working a service industry job and drank socially with my co-workers. Weekly. Twice a week. After a tough shift. After every other shift. Before shifts. At home. On my way home. Within months, I went from a non-drinker to a daily drinker. I genuinely believed I didn’t have a problem. Other people did it, and they were fine. The ones that overdid it, well, I wasn’t one of those people. I had a degree. I was smart. I wasn’t going to ruin my life with alcohol. I wasn’t one of those losers.

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Posted inAccess to JusticeLocal BarsSpecial Event

San Antonio Bar Association rallies pro bono volunteers to assist Sutherland Springs victims

In a message to members, San Antonio Bar Association President Beth Watkins said the need for legal services for those affected by the recent mass shooting at the Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church will likely exceed what the legal community in that area can provide.

The San Antonio Bar Association predicts there will be a need for pro bono legal services in the areas of family, probate, guardianship, employment, and real estate law as a result of the tragedy. SABA and its pro bono project, the Community Justice Program, will perform legal intake services at the Sutherland Springs Disaster Resource Center, which serves as a hub of assistance for those affected by the tragedy.

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