Texas Bar College will honor members with three major awards to be presented at 2 p.m. on July 15 at the 18th Annual Texas Bar College Summer School Course at the Moody Gardens Hotel in Galveston.


The Jim Bowmer Professionalism Award given annually to an outstanding Bar College member based on achievement or contribution to professionalism will be presented to Richard Spencer with Dow Golub Remels & Beverly LLP of Houston. The honor comes with a cash award of $1,000, which can be given to the law school of the recipient’s choice — in this case the University of Houston Law Center.

Spencer is a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar College and the American College of Real Estate Lawyers. He is board certified in real estate law and is a past chair of the State Bar of Texas Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section. He is a member of the Texas Board of Legal Specialization Real Estate Advisory Commission and a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation.

The Franklin Jones Best CLE Article published in 2015 will be presented to Laura Prather, a partner in the Litigation Practice Group in the Austin office of Haynes and Boone, LLP and Justice Jane Bland of the First Court of Appeals in Houston for “Bullies beware: Safeguarding constitutional rights through anti-SLAPP in Texas.”


Prather focuses her practice on First Amendment, intellectual property and media and entertainment litigation and appeals. Prather was the lead author of three significant pieces of First Amendment legislation in Texas: the reporters’ privilege statute, the anti-SLAPP statute, and the Defamation Mitigation Act.



Bland was appointed to the First Court of Appeals in 2003 and was elected in 2004, 2006, and 2012. She serves on the Texas Supreme Court’s Rules Advisory Committee and its Commission to Expand Civil Legal Services. She is the chair of the State Bar of Texas Oversight Committee on the Texas Pattern Jury Charges. The Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists named her appellate judge of the year in 2007 and 2015.

The Steve Condos Award for the most CLE hours earned by a new member to the College will be presented to Russell Blair Ross of Houston for 700-plus hours of CLE reported in 2015.

Russell Ross secured his law degree from Emory University and his MBA from Rice University. Ross’s non-legal work experience includes marketing and community development roles with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans. He spent his 2L summer with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and MBA summer with Pantheon of Women Producers. He is currently available “for the perfect employment opportunity.”

For more information on the awards and to see the 2014 winners, go here.