Posted inAccess to JusticeCoronavirusNewsState Bar

Free legal assistance available during the COVID-19 pandemic

A toll-free legal assistance hotline is available to low-income individuals and families across Texas who are confronted with civil legal problems as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. People may call 800-504-7030 toll-free to be connected with legal service providers in their area. Continue Reading

Posted inCoronavirusNews

Coronavirus Legal News Briefing — April 1, 2020

Editor’s Note: The State Bar of Texas is providing this collection of important links, blog posts, and media stories to keep its members and the public informed of the latest news and resources related to the novel coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the legal community.

Important links

State Bar of Texas Coronavirus Legal Resources Page — Texasbar.com/coronavirus

Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program Well-being Resources page — Texasbar.com/remote-well-being

Gov. Greg Abbott tells Texans to stay home except for essential activity in April — He also said that schools would remain closed until at least May 4 as the state increases its efforts to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. — The Texas Tribune

The not-so-new world of remote depositions — What is new is the temporary suspension of the requirement that the deposition officer, aka certified shorthand reporter, be in the physical presence of the witness. — Texas Bar Blog Continue Reading

Posted inCoronavirusFamily LawNews

COVID-19 and family law: What every attorney needs to know

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended nearly every facet of daily life in the U.S. When Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster in Texas due to COVID-19, he invoked emergency powers for his administration to control the spread of the virus. In a time of sudden school closures, social distancing, travel restrictions, working from home, and more, family law judges and practitioners have worked swiftly to respond to these changes affecting family law clients and their children.

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Posted inCoronavirusNews

Texas State Law Library provides update on resources available during COVID-19 pandemic

The Texas State Law Library may be closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic but many resources may be accessed online.

The law library has established an online portal for asking questions of the librarians, who remain on hand to answer any questions by phone or email. The “Ask a Librarian” page has instructions on how reference librarians can assist you (including how they are unable) as well as FAQs and self-help resources.

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Posted inGuest BlogState BarTexas Lawyers' Assistance ProgramTLAP

Stories of Recovery: The Wake-up Call

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.

I am a trial lawyer. When I started practice 46 years ago, trial lawyers “were required” to work hard, play hard, and drink hard. I took great pride in not drinking until 5:01 p.m. (Well, except for a few beers with barbecue at lunch on Friday.) As a young lawyer, Johnny Walker, Jack Daniels, and I tried a lot of cases. We won some, lost some, but won our share. Trouble started when Jack Daniels became first chair. A symptom of alcoholism is denial. Say what you will, but you can’t drink until 2 a.m. and bring your A game to court at 9 a.m. I really lost control when Johnny Walker became my senior partner. My life at the office and at home started spinning out of control. But I kept drinking.
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Posted inCoronavirusCourtsGuest BlogNews

The Not-So-New World of Remote Depositions

Contrary to popular belief, remote depositions are not a new thing. What is new is the temporary suspension of the requirement that the deposition officer, aka certified shorthand reporter, be in the physical presence of the witness. As COVID-19 keeps us all at home, here are some important tips to remember when conducting a remote deposition.

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Posted inCoronavirusNews

Coronavirus Legal News Briefing — March 31, 2020

Editor’s Note: The State Bar of Texas is providing this collection of important links, blog posts, and media stories to keep its members and the public informed of the latest news and resources related to the novel coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the legal community.

Important links

State Bar of Texas Coronavirus Legal Resources Page — Texasbar.com/coronavirus

Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program Well-being Resources page — Texasbar.com/remote-well-being

Plaintiffs, defense lawyers ask Texas Supreme Court to tweak COVID-19 limitations order — They want the high court to make one statute of limitations rule for the entire state. The coalition in the letter includes presidents of the State Bar of Texas, the bar’s litigation section, and bar associations in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. — (Subscription required) — Texas Lawyer

How to practice law remotely and efficiently during the COVID-19 crisis (podcast) — The ABA Journal’s Asked and Answered podcast is sharing information with lawyers about how they can adjust to the world’s current situation—such as having to work from home, whether they want to or not. — ABA Journal Continue Reading

Posted inGuest Blog

The Series LLC: Debunking the Nightmare

Brief Background and Introduction
As a Texas commercial litigation and business lawyer, and clinical professor of business law, I am consistently advising clients and educating students as to the vast depth and complexities of the Texas Business Organizations Code and Texas Business and Commerce Code. However, business laws, both statutory and common law in nature, have far-reaching effects into many other areas of law such as family law, banking and securities law, and estate planning to name but a few. Likewise, while my cases primarily involve federal and state litigation between business entities, both as plaintiff and defense, I have learned well that the truly illuminated counselor understands the polymathic nature of theoretical business law and how it impacts not only the business-entity clients but their individual equity holders as well.

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Posted inCoronavirus

Opinion: Defending the indigent during COVID-19 and beyond

At first glance, it looks like the criminal defense-focused solo practitioner has a tough row to plow for the foreseeable future, but in reality this is a valuable opportunity to revamp our practices. I have spent close to a decade focused on practicing in the criminal defense world representing thousands of indigent clients, with a majority of that time being spent in solo and small firm practice. I give this background to convey my experience in indigent defense, how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted my practice, and how we are preparing for our journey into uncharted territory.

I make my living primarily as a criminal defense trial attorney. This means if I’m not going to court and litigating cases, I’m not providing income for my practice. While I make a living off my hired cases I, like most defense attorneys, keep the lights on with appointed cases. Nearly all defense attorneys will feel the sting of the effects of COVID-19. However, this may be the time that we analyze the current state of indigent defense in Texas.
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Posted inCoronavirusEducationLaw SchoolsMember BenefitsPeopleTLAP

TLAP to present Remote Well-Being Wednesdays in April

The Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program’s “Remote Well-Being Wednesdays: A Coronavirus Series” will take place weekly through April 15, offering attorneys a resource for tending to their well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The programs will take place from noon to 1 p.m. CDT via Zoom on the following dates.

April 1

“Being at Home Boot Camp”—TLAP professionals Erica Grigg, Shawna Storey-Lovin, LPC, and Chris Ritter will discuss remote living and well-being tips.

April 8

“Recovery During Crisis”—Best-selling author and recovery advocate Brian Cuban will share his story and insight about recovery during this crisis.

April 15

“Staying Healthy, Serene, and Sober During COVID-19”—Laurie Besden, executive director of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers of Pennsylvania, Inc., and TLAP Director Chris Ritter will take a deeper dive into staying healthy and sober during COVID-19.

To meet for Well-Being Wednesdays at noon, please go here. Go here for TLAP’s collection of well-being resources for remote living.

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