Posted inSponsored Content

Sponsored Content: 3 Strategies to Create a Referral-Worthy Client Experience

More than half of surveyed lawyers say acquiring new clients is their biggest challenge. Retaining them can also be difficult in today’s fast-paced legal landscape. Fortunately, there are simple ways to provide an exceptional client experience, appeal to more prospects, and increase referrals.
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Posted inLaw Firms and Legal Departments

Scams continue to target Texas attorneys

Update 5/9/2024: We received a report of another scam. A Texas attorney was contacted by someone asking for help with enforcing terms of a settlement agreement with their former employer after suffering injury on the job, claiming negligence and wrongful termination, and stating that the employer refuses to pay them. The scammer included many sophisticated-looking but fabricated supporting documents. Some of the red flags that stood out about the scam are that the employment contract is signed by former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, one of the signatures on another document is of a prominent businessman that the attorney found with a reverse image search, and the plaintiff’s signature was spelled incorrectly.

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Posted inSponsored Content

Sponsored Content: How to Have a Long and Successful Career as an Attorney

In 1829 U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story stated, “the law is a jealous mistress and requires a long and constant courtship.” This sentiment has held true to this day for far too many attorneys and that’s a problem, particularly for those who are unable to say no to their jealous mistress’s demand for a never-ending sacrifice. If this is striking a chord, meaning you are one who feels that your jealous mistress will never allow you to prioritize taking care of yourself along the way, it’s time to reframe your relationship with the law. I say this because I believe the only way to sustain a long and successful legal career is to prioritize wellness. Here are seven reasons why.
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Posted inNews

Vinh Ho named Houston Bar Association’s new executive director

Houston attorney Vinh Ho was named the Houston Bar Association’s new executive director effective May 13, the HBA announced in a press release. Ho has over 16 years of experience in immigration and family law, civil matters, and nonprofit leadership. He will succeed current Executive Director Mindy G. Davidson, who will retire later this year after five years of service to the HBA in that position.

“I am thrilled to join the Houston Bar Association,” Ho said in a press release. “I have dedicated my career to public service and look forward to serving Houston lawyers in furtherance of our profession and the administration of justice.”

Ho, currently the senior director of legal services at the Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics at South Texas College of Law Houston, brings extensive experience in immigration law, family law, and nonprofit management to the HBA. He also served as executive director of the Houston chapter of Boat People SOS, Inc., a nonprofit primarily serving the Vietnamese and Asian communities, with branches across the U.S. and Southeast Asia. He has served on numerous nonprofit boards and State Bar of Texas committees, including the Legal Services to the Poor in Civil Matters Committee and the Laws Relating to Immigration and Nationality Committee. Ho earned his joint J.D. and MBA from Texas Tech University and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Houston with a BBA in management information systems and a B.S. in biology.

“We greatly appreciate Mindy Davidson’s contributions and are very excited to have Vinh Ho join us as executive director at such an important time for the organization,” HBA President Diana Gomez said in a press release. “Vinh’s background and experience will be pivotal as we continue to expand the HBA’s impact.”

For more information about the HBA, go to hba.org.

Photo courtesy of the Houston Bar Association.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted inAbout The BarNewsState Bar

Board approves budget, 10% dues increase to support bar’s financial security

The State Bar of Texas Board of Directors held its quarterly meeting on April 19 in Galveston. Highlights of the meeting appear below. Watch video of the meeting on YouTube, and read the agenda and meeting materials at texasbar.com/bodmaterials.

Proposed budget and dues increase

The board voted to submit the bar’s proposed 2024-2025 fiscal year budget to the Supreme Court of Texas for consideration. Directors also approved a 10% increase in membership dues to be effective for the 2025-2026 bar year. If approved by the Supreme Court, it would be the first increase in bar dues rates since 1991.

Annual dues rates would be adjusted as follows, effective June 1, 2025:

  • Licensed 0-3 years: $68 to $74 ($6 increase)
  • Licensed 4-5 years: $148 to $162 ($14 increase)
  • Licensed 5+ years: $235 to $258 ($23 increase)
  • Inactive: $50 to $55 ($5 increase)
  • Emeritus (age 70 or older): $0 (no change)

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Sponsored Content: What You Need to Know About IOLTA Accounts in Texas

If you’re a lawyer in Texas who handles client money, you need to know and understand Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account (IOLTA) rules. While IOLTA accounts aren’t applicable to all lawyers, it’s important to know whether you must use such accounts and how to manage them.
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Posted inNewsState Bar

State Bar of Texas members elect Santos Vargas of San Antonio president-elect, approve rule amendments

In a combined election and referendum, Texas attorneys elected Santos Vargas of San Antonio to be president-elect of the State Bar of Texas and approved all 12 proposed disciplinary rule amendments.

Vargas received 52.06%—10,925—of the 20,986 votes cast during the monthlong voting period that closed at 5 p.m. CDT today. His opponent, Denise Scofield of Houston, received 47.94%, or 10,061 votes.

Vargas will be sworn in as president-elect during a State Bar of Texas Board of Directors meeting on June 20, 2024, and will serve as president of the State Bar of Texas from June 2025 to June 2026.

In the Texas Young Lawyers Association election, Alyson A. Martinez of Laredo was elected president-elect and will serve as TYLA president from June 2025 to June 2026. Martinez received 57.45% of the 4,675 votes cast, while her opponent, Michael Hanson of Richmond, received 42.55%.

Voters also elected new directors to the State Bar and TYLA boards. View complete election results.

Posted inAccess to JusticeNews

Champions of Justice Gala Benefiting Veterans raises $565,850

The Texas Access to Justice Commission, along with its co-sponsor, the State Bar of Texas, raised $565,850 to help provide civil legal services to low-income Texas veterans during the Champions of Justice Gala Benefiting Veterans on April 25 at the AT&T Hotel & Conference Center in Austin. Proceeds from the gala will be distributed by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation.

Supreme Court of Texas Justice Brett Busby, who serves as liaison to the TAJC, acted as master of ceremonies for the evening. He emphasized the importance of providing access to justice to veterans and presented the 2024 James B. Sales Boots on the Ground Award to John McDaniel Torti, the 2024 Harry M. Reasoner Justice for All Award to Elizabeth S. Pagel, the 2024 Emily C. Jones Lifetime Achievement Award to Harry M. Reasoner, and the 2024 Star of Justice Award to Sen. Judith Zaffirini.

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Posted inLaw SchoolsNews

SMU Law team wins American Bar Association’s 2024 National Appellate Advocacy Competition

The SMU Dedman School of Law team of Matthew Mussalli (3L), Jordon B.V. Smith (3L), and Johanna Pang (2L) won the American Bar Association’s 2024 National Appellate Advocacy Competition held April 7 in Philadelphia.

The team, coached by SMU Adjunct Professors Lance Caughfield and Haleigh Jones, a 2015 graduate of SMU Law and former student of Caughfield’s, captured the regional title out of a field of 31 teams in February in Brooklyn, New York, to advance to the championship round. SMU’s second team of Bronwyn Tuff, Alan Cuff, and Rachael Briner also progressed to the final round of the regional competition.

The NAAC is the largest moot court competition in the country, and over 178 teams competed in this year’s event, according to an SMU press release. The competition emphasizes the development of oral advocacy skills and techniques through the experience of realistic appellate advocacy. Teams from each law school take part in a hypothetical appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and write a mock brief as either a respondent or a petitioner before arguing their case before the mock court.

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Posted inNews

Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program hosts free legal clinics in May

The Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, an initiative of the Dallas Bar Association, Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, and local lawyers, is hosting free virtual and in-person legal clinics for eligible Dallas County residents throughout May. Continue Reading

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