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

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 … Continue Reading

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 tlaphelps.org. I am a lawyer celebrating my first year as a solo. I am a horse … Continue Reading

Disaster-Response Lessons for Lawyers and Law Firms

By Teresa Schiller Hurricane Harvey made landfall after days of weather reports and news updates in August 2017. Some of the preparation was last-minute as residents scrambled for safety. Other preparation had begun years earlier, based on lessons learned in responding to other disasters. When the rain subsided, we learned that families and businesses had … Continue Reading

Stories of Recovery: ‘Half the man I used to be and twice the man I ever was’

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 tlaphelps.org. I am supposed to be dead! I weighed over 350 pounds, had high blood pressure, borderline … Continue Reading

Guest blog: Directing a dispute resolution center

By Tammie S. Haynes On a beautiful autumn day, I walked into the redbrick Montgomery County Courthouse annex to a nondescript back hallway. Halfway down a line of chairs along the wall, a lone man sat with his hands clasped, elbows resting on his knees, his head bowed. On a door, a plaque read “Dispute Resolution … Continue Reading

Stories of Recovery: An attorney with bipolar disorder gets back on track

Editor’s note: This is the second of four special posts in the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program’s Stories of Recovery series for National Suicide Prevention Week (September 10-16). 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 tlaphelps.org. … Continue Reading

Stories of Recovery: BPD and me

Editor’s note: This is the first of four special posts in the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program’s Stories of Recovery series for National Suicide Prevention Week (September 10-16). 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 tlaphelps.org. … Continue Reading

Hurricane Harvey: Employer considerations in office closures and reopenings

Whenever emergency situations such as Hurricane Harvey cause office closures and such offices are subsequently reopened, Texas employers must remember several points to stay compliant with employment laws. •     In general, employees who are classified as exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions must be paid a salary … Continue Reading

Vick calls Texas lawyers to action in wake of Harvey

Editor’s Note: State Bar of Texas President Tom Vick sent the following message to members today.  As I write these words, many Texans are suffering the ravages of Hurricane Harvey and many are still in harm’s way. This is a trying time for our state and our country. This is a time when mere words … Continue Reading

Vick: State Bar has legal resources to help during Harvey

By G. Thomas Vick Jr. When disasters like Hurricane Harvey strike Texas, the State Bar of Texas serves as a hub of legal and recovery-related resources for Texans and Texas lawyers (visit texasbar.com/disasters). First, the State Bar operates a legal hotline—(800) 504-7030—that helps people find answers to basic legal questions and locate recovery resources in … Continue Reading

Stories of Recovery: The Problem Was Me

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 tlaphelps.org. We lawyers are all pretty clever. We spend our careers trying to distinguish our facts … Continue Reading

Guest blog: The life of a small-town attorney

I have lived in Houston almost my entire life and have always considered myself an urbanite. My wife and I love the trappings of the city—musicals, museums, and dim sum, to name a few. But in June I moved to San Angelo, with a population of about 100,700, and you cannot convince me to go … Continue Reading

Stories of Recovery: Like a Freight Train

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 tlaphelps.org. I feel like alcoholism just appeared in my life overnight. Logically, however, … Continue Reading

Early thoughts for family law practitioners on the modernized military retirement system

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 defined a modernized retirement system, or MRS, for individuals entering military service on or after January 1, 2018. Service members with less than 12 years of service on December 31, 2017, have the option of remaining with the current military retirement system or switching to the … Continue Reading

Texas courts of appeals differ on email signature issue

Recent court of appeals rulings in Texas have been split on issues involving email signatures. The 1st Court of Appeals in Houston issued an opinion March 30 on Khoury v. Prentis B. Tomlinson Jr., No. 01-16-00006-CV, a case that arose from an agreement where John Khoury invested in PetroGulf, a company that Prentis Tomlinson ran … Continue Reading

Guest blog: Legal issues surrounding homeless students

The Every Student Succeeds Act, enacted by the federal government in late 2015, recently amended the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act to address the educational effects of homelessness. The legislation alters the definition of homeless, commissions new methods of identifying homeless students, attempts to keep students in their original school district as long as possible, and … Continue Reading

Guest blog: Three tax tips for every lawyer

1. Constructive Receipt and Lawyer Trust Accounts Lawyers often face constructive receipt tax issues, whether they know it or not. Constructive receipt—a tax term used to determine when a taxpayer has received gross income—is one of those subjects that many people think they understand in part because it comes up frequently. Around year-end, chances are, … Continue Reading

Tips for new Texas lawyers in real estate law

A new batch of Texas lawyers was sworn in this past November, and I realized that now would be a good time to share some pointers and direct my fellow colleagues to three key websites in the real estate law field. First, the Texas Real Estate Commission, or TREC, website at trec.texas.gov is your home … Continue Reading

What is the goal of legal writing?

When I teach legal writing to first-year law students, I surprise them with an in-class exercise around halfway through the first semester. I have the students break into groups, tell them to take out pen and paper, and pose this question: “What is the goal of legal writing?” Puzzled, they just stare back. I ask … Continue Reading

How to help your clients navigate divorce and holiday visitation schedules

For a divorce, it has been as amicable as possible. But the inevitable disputes over property and finances have left everyone drained. With the primary custody questions—such as conservatorship—finally settled, the only thing left to discuss is the holiday visitation schedule. Texas has an established standard possession order, spelling out how school breaks and holidays … Continue Reading
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