Each Wednesday in August, the free LegalLine E-Clinic will be offered by the Dallas Bar Association from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Continue Reading
Investigations that examined intellectual disability and the death penalty in Texas and why so many sexual assault cases in one of the state’s largest counties went unpunished are among the winners of the 2020 Texas Gavel Awards.
Journalists representing The Texas Tribune, Austin American-Statesman, and Austin’s NPR station—KUT 90.5, were selected as winners of the 2020 awards. The Texas Gavel Awards, hosted by the State Bar of Texas Public Affairs Committee, honor journalism that deepens public understanding of the legal system. An independent panel of out-of-state journalists, editors, and journalism professors judged the entries. Continue Reading
Editor’s Note: In this blog series, we are getting to know the members of the Texas Young Lawyers Association Board of Directors. TYLA, commonly called the “public service arm” of the State Bar of Texas, works to facilitate the administration of justice, foster respect for the law, and advance the role of the legal profession in serving the public. All TYLA programs are accomplished through the volunteer efforts of its board and committee members, with the cooperation of local affiliate young lawyers associations. Learn more at tyla.org.
Name: Nick Guinn
Firm: Gunn, Lee & Cave, P.C.
Area of Law You Practice: Intellectual Property; Intellectual Property Litigation
Position Held in TYLA: ABA YLD District 25 Representative
Editor’s note: The following message was sent to State Bar of Texas members on July 31.
We are writing to share updated information related to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as recent State Bar news. We hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy.
Supreme Court of Texas Emergency Orders
The Supreme Court of Texas issued the following emergency orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Emergency Order 19: Cancels the July bar exam, leaves in place the in-person September 9-10 bar exam subject to guidance from public health authorities, and approves an online bar exam on October 5-6.
- Emergency Order 20: Renews and amends portions of the 15th Emergency Order covering residential evictions.
The Texas Center for Legal Ethics has announced that Reagan W. Simpson, of Houston, will receive the 2020 Chief Justice Jack Pope Professionalism Award.
Simpson will be presented with the award by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht at the annual Texas Supreme Court Historical Society Dinner to be held virtually on September 11.
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan urged the public to remain vigilant for COVID-19 scams that are targeted through emails, texts, phone calls, and in one case, in person.
In the recent in-person scam, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said men claiming to be Houston Public Works employees gained access to a couple’s home by alleging water lines had been poisoned by COVID-19. Turner said COVID-19 is not present in city water and that public works employees will never ask to enter a home.
In a world where COVID-19 has forced people to rethink how they’ll thrive, bar associations are probably not on the minds of attorneys who are currently navigating a new arena built on a bedrock of plexiglass benches, Zoom, and social distancing. But in this pandemic, it’s OK to put some things on the backburner, said Vicki Clark, a consultant who trains organizations on how to foster community and support membership. Clark, who has given keynote speeches at the State Bar of Texas Bar Leaders Conference in the past, was the first speaker in the bar’s new Bar Leaders Conference Speaker Series. More than 200 bar leaders watched her webcast presentation titled “The Power of Associations: Leading in Times of Change,” gaining insight on how change can move an organization and people forward. “We have to be on the transition team,” she said. “We all have to think of different ways to lead.” Clark focused on bar associations prioritizing people over procedure. Reevaluate where you stand on the latter point, check in with members, let go of any programs or projects that may not be realistic at this time, and involve new people who may have previously been excluded, Clark said. “This is where you say I understand your skepticism and need your help.”
Editor’s note: TLAP offers confidential assistance for lawyers, law students, and judges with substance use or mental health issues. Call TLAP at 1-800-343-8527 (TLAP), text TLAP to 555888, or find more information at tlaphelps.org.
As I write this on July 28, 2020, at 7:30 a.m., I am at the courthouse square in a small central Texas town waiting for my name to be called outside the barbershop. I cannot go inside because of the coronavirus. I look back at my past that consisted of multiple DWIs, Texas Board of Law Examiner hearings, and rehabs in every time zone of the United States and have slowly learned to appreciate the path of recovery. As a recovering alcoholic, I am blessed to be a Texas lawyer and I am grateful for the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program. For any lawyer that is struggling with addiction and mental health, there is help—I and multiple other lawyers have been there. There is help. Addiction is the toughest disease to overcome because it is the only disease that ultimately has to be self-diagnosed (I was taught that in rehab multiple times.) I tried multiple times not to be an alcoholic—I was embarrassed and ashamed of being an alcoholic. I lost many friends, relationships, and opportunities because I refused to acknowledge that I was an alcoholic. Once I acknowledged I was an alcoholic, my life turned around. One Texas lawyer told me it will be a slow turn around because I was a slow learner—but I was still a learner. I am proud to be a recovering alcoholic, and my past has made me a better criminal defense attorney. Because of TLAP, I learned that other attorneys have experienced what I was going through. There is no shame in being a recovering alcoholic. Please reach out to TLAP. As for me, personally, any morning, I would rather wait on the barber to get a haircut than wait on a judge to get magistrated at the county jail after my multiple arrests.
Update 7/29/2020: We received a report of another scam. A law firm received an email phishing attempt via a contact form on their website from a person who said they were referred to their firm by “the attorney bar association.” They said that they were requesting legal assistance and asked if the firm handled “sales/purchase agreement.” The person called himself “DON Jim Harrison.” He provided his email address and phone number, and his IP address is in Nigeria. The firm filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and per its guidance also emailed a screen shot of the contact form to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at apwg.org.
The Texas Young Lawyers Association will be recognized with three top honors by the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division during the American Bar Association meeting at 11 a.m. July 30.
TYLA received the three awards in State Division A: the Overall Comprehensive Award, Diversity Award, and Service to the Bar Award. State Division A includes young lawyer associations with more than 8,001 young lawyer members.