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A lawyer struggles to find professional happiness. A juror uses his influence to his advantage. A big-firm partner combats guilt. These are the compelling premises of the well-written and creative first, second, and third place winners of the 2016 Texas Bar Journal Short Story Contest.

Thank you to the 40 writers who submitted entries this year. To keep the contest fair and impartial, author names were removed from each entry. Two panels of judges faced the challenging task of selecting the winners, and for each round, the same evaluation form was used for consistency. Ten entries advanced to the final round, which was judged by Mike Farris of Dallas, Amanda Moore of Austin, and Lane D. Thibodeaux of Bryan.

The winner, “Good News, Sunshine,” by Logan Simmons, earned the highest number of points.

Please congratulate these attorney-authors for making it through the competitive first round of judging to the finals.

  • “Good News, Sunshine,” by Logan Simmons (First Place)
  • “Juror No. 13,” by Marvin Sprouse (Second Place)
  • “The Unavoidable Conclusion,” by Blair Dancy (Third Place)
  • “Born Again,” by Russell Fusco
  • “Kid Meals and Jump Ropes,” by Rosanne Gordon
  • “That Light in Silver Windows,” by Marcus Benavides
  • “Fear of Flying,” by Kevin M. Faulkner
  • “Repeat After Me,” by Jessica Leigh James
  • “The Spector and Mr. Sizzle,” by Thomas Scott Petty
  • “Making a Difference on Indifference,” by Oscar G. Gabaldón Jr.


Here’s an excerpt from “Good News, Sunshine”:

She wondered what kind of flowers it would be this time. It had been sunflowers when he got into law school. What was that, eight years ago? She could still recall the proud look on his face as he marched into their tiny living room, arms so full of sunflowers that he nearly knocked over their television, and announced, “Good news, sunshine! I’m going to law school.”

She had thought he was joking. He had never mentioned wanting to be a lawyer before, and she had no idea that he had taken the LSAT the previous fall. So she had sat there dumbly, expectantly, with the same agreeable smile on her face that people have when they are waiting to be explained a joke they don’t understand. Only he wasn’t joking. The truth came pouring out of him in a passion she had yet to see from her normally demure husband of two years—that he hated his sales job, that he wanted to do something important with his life, that he was unhappy.

The entire story, along with the second and third place winning entries, will be published in the June issue of the Texas Bar Journal.