Posted inJudiciaryNewsTexas Supreme Court

Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Hecht delivers State of the Judiciary

Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht delivered the State of the Judiciary to the 86th Legislature at the House chamber on February 6. Photo by Eric Quitugua

Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht delivered the State of the Judiciary on February 6 at a joint session of the 86th Legislature at the Texas House chamber. Hecht discussed a number of issues facing the court system, asking for support on items such as response to natural disasters, bail reform, court treatment of people with mental illnesses, bolstering technology in record keeping, and help with judicial qualifications and compensation.

“Beaten but unbowed, Texas judges, clerks, administrators, and staff carried on, throughout the storm and since, in makeshift space—many at great personal sacrifice,” Hecht said, opening his remarks with stories of Hurricane Harvey recovery. “We haven’t fully recovered but we’re getting there. In my 38 years on the bench, I have never been prouder of the Texas judiciary.”  Continue Reading

Posted inNews

DVAP, Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas raise more than $1.1 million for access to justice

The Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, or DVAP, and Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas bested themselves with a record-breaking funding of $1,169,349 for pro bono legal services to the poor. Part of the “Equal Access to Justice Campaign,” the money helps provide assistance to over 4,000 low-income families with civil legal needs.

In addition to using the campaign proceeds to expand community work, DVAP will continue to find ways to keep access to courts open in Dallas in order to serve the more than 600,000 people who meet legal aid’s financial guidelines for assistance. DVAP will look to recruit more volunteer attorneys to represent clients in complex cases and contested family law cases.

The following made donations of $10,500 or more:

  • Champion of Justice ($40,500)—Debra and E. Leon Carter
  • President’s Council ($35,500)—Jerry and Sherri Alexander; Connatser Family Law; Crain Lewis Brogdon; and Hartline Dacus Barger Dreyer
  • Chairman’s Council ($25,500)—Anonymous; Lisa Blue and Jeff Tillotson
  • Gold Patron ($20,000)—Margaret and Jaime Spellings
  • Diamond Sponsors ($15,500)—AT&T; Dallas Association of Young Lawyers; and Mike A. Myers
  • Platinum Sponsors ($10,500)—Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; Botts; the Dallas Bar Association Business Litigation Section; DBA Corporate Counsel Section; Deans & Lyons; Exxon Mobil Corporation; Fears Nachawati Law Firm; the Hartnett Law Firm; Haynes and Boone Foundation; Jackson Walker; Jones Day; KASTL LAW; Kirkland & Ellis; Latham & Watkins; Locke Lord; Mike McKool; Schiff Hardin; Sidley Austin; Thompson & Knight Foundation; Trinity Industries; Vinson & Elkins; Vistra Energy; and Winston & Strawn

For more information on DVAP or the Equal Access to Justice Campaign, contact Michelle Alden, DVAP director, at or (214) 748-1234.

Posted inNews

Sabrina N. Jiwani named to TMCP Steering Commmittee

Sabrina N. Jiwani, an attorney in Bradley Arant Boult Cummings’ Houston office, was appointed to the Texas Minority Counsel Program, or TMCP, Steering Committee.

The TMCP, which was created in 1993 by the State Bar of Texas Office of Minority Affairs, is a client development, networking, and CLE event for diverse attorneys in Texas. Its mission is to increase opportunities for minority, women, and LGBTQ attorneys who provide legal services to corporate and government clients.

“We are proud of Sabrina’s work as a champion of diversity in the legal profession and we congratulate her on her new leadership role with the Texas Minority Counsel Program,” Bradley managing partner Ian P. Faria said.

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Posted inNewsPeopleSocial MediaTexas Bar Journal

Entertainment attorney and author Mike Farris is latest guest on State Bar of Texas Podcast

In the latest episode of the State Bar of Texas Podcast, host Rocky Dhir talks with Dallas entertainment lawyer and author Mike Farris about his career.

State Bar of Texas PodcastDhir and Farris discuss the inspiration behind Farris’ books, such as A Death in the Islands, Poor Innocent Lad, and The Bequest, and take a look at his writing process. The two delve into Fifty Shades of Black & White, which was authored by Farris and Jennifer Pedroza and deals with the Fifty Shades of Grey series and ensuing lawsuit. Farris represented Pedroza, who was the plaintiff in the case.

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Posted inNews

Houston Volunteer Lawyers now pre-screening clients for ‘Will-A-Thon’

Low-income Houstonians in need of help preparing wills can receive assistance from volunteer attorneys during the 2019 Will-A-Thon, which is now pre-screening for clients.

The free two-clinic event takes place April 3 and May 1 at the Tidwell Community Center, 9720 Spaulding St., Houston 77016 and brings together the Houston Volunteer Lawyers, Houston Bar Association Elder Law Committee, and the city of Houston Department of Neighborhoods to help prepare the following documents for qualifying residents:

  • Wills
  • Medical power of attorney
  • Advance directive to physicians (living will)
  • HIPAA release
  • Statutory power of attorney
  • Declaration of guardianship
  • Appointment for disposition of remains
  • Transfer on death deed

Those eligible for assistance include low-income seniors age 60 and older, persons with disabilities, and military veterans and their spouses. Clinic times are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and clients must be able to attend both days of their scheduled appointment.

Those interested in the clinics must schedule an appointment for pre-screening by Friday, March 22. To do so, call the Houston Volunteer Lawyers at (713) 228-0735.

For more information, go to

Posted inState Bar

MCLE extensions, fee waivers available for Texas lawyers affected by government shutdown

The State Bar of Texas is offering additional MCLE compliance time and waivers of MCLE non-compliance fees to Texas attorneys furloughed during the recent government shutdown.

Attorneys with December, January, and February compliance deadlines who were furloughed during the recent government shutdown may request an extension of time of up to 90 days and a waiver of non-compliance fees toward compliance with 2018- 2019 MCLE requirements.

Please contact to request an extension or a waiver of a non-compliance fee.

Posted inNewsTexas Opportunity & Justice Incubator

TOJI launches fourth cohort

Members of the Texas Opportunity & Justice Incubator, pictured here at the Texas Capitol, met on January 28 for orientation at the Texas Law Center. Photo by Eric Quitugua

The Texas Opportunity & Justice Incubator’s fourth cohort met for orientation on January 28 at the Texas Law Center, where the program’s nine newest lawyers came ready to learn innovative ways to close the access to justice gap.

The program, known as TOJI, runs 18 months, during which attorneys with fewer than 5 years’ experience not only learn from TOJI Director Anne-Marie Rábago and her staff ways to best serve low- and modest-income Texans, but also bounce ideas off each other on points such as marketing, and payments or finding ones.
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Posted inNewsVeterans

Free legal clinic for veterans in Richmond

Veterans in need of legal advice or assistance can visit a free clinic on Saturday, February 9, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Volunteer attorneys will give any veteran or spouse of a deceased veteran one-on-one advice in any area of law, including family law, wills and probate, consumer law, real estate law, tax law, and disability and veterans benefits. Veterans in need of ongoing legal representation and who qualify for legal aid may be assigned a pro bono attorney. Continue Reading