Posted inTexas Young Lawyers Association

TYLA Director Spotlight: Smaranda Draghia

Editor’s Note: In this blog series, we are getting to know the members of the Texas Young Lawyers Association Board of Directors. TYLA, commonly called the “public service arm” of the State Bar of Texas, works to facilitate the administration of justice, foster respect for the law, and advance the role of the legal profession in serving the public. All TYLA programs are accomplished through the volunteer efforts of its board and committee members, with the cooperation of local affiliate young lawyers associations. Learn more at tyla.org.

Name: Smaranda Draghia

Firm: Justice for Our Neighbors

Area of Law You Practice: Immigration (pro/low bono)

Position Held in TYLA: Access to Justice Liaison
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Posted inGuest BlogTexas Young Lawyers Association

Vote America: Court the Vote

In 2018, Texas made great strides in increasing voter turnout, increasing voter participation by 18 percentage points since the previous midterm election in 2014. However, even with that increase, Texas still ranked in the bottom half of states in terms of voter turnout by state. In fact, fewer than 50% of Texans exercised their right to vote.

As Texas Young Lawyers Association board members, we are excited to share one of our newest projects to help boost voter turnout! In advance of the November 2020 election, TYLA has created the resource Vote America: Court the Vote to encourage voter registration and to educate the public on the right to vote.

As part of Vote America: Court the Vote, TYLA board members shared voter information push cards with governmental and nonpartisan voting rights organizations throughout Texas. Currently, the League of Women Voters of Texas is providing electronic copies of the cards to its volunteers. Additionally, Houston Justice and the Texas Jail Project are providing physical copies to eligible voters in custody throughout Texas.
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Posted inNewsState BarTexas Supreme Court

Supreme Court orders 2021 rules vote for Texas Bar members

2021 Rules VoteThe State Bar of Texas Board of Directors voted September 25 to petition the Supreme Court to order a vote of bar members on proposed amendments to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct and Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, as provided by Tex. Govt. Code 81.0877. On September 29, the court issued calling a referendum on the proposed rule changes.

Under the order, voting will take place by paper and online ballot from February 2 to March 4, 2021. The proposals involve the following subjects: Continue Reading

Posted inLaw Firms and Legal Departments

Scams continue to target Texas attorneys

Update 9/30/2020: We received a report of another scam. A Texas attorney received a scam email they have seen several times before. In the scam, someone claims that they have a settlement and are looking for an attorney to take over the case. The attorney takes it over and then gets scammed out of money through a bogus wire transfer.

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Posted inCLENewsPeopleUncategorized

The Hon. Meca Walker begins service as Texas Bar College board chair

Meca Walker

The Hon. Meca Walker is the 39th chair of the Texas Bar College Board of Directors. She is the 2nd African American to serve as chair. Her term began on July 15 and will end on the same day in 2021.

The Texas Bar College is an honorary society of lawyers, judges, and paralegals who are leaders in the Texas legal community and champions of legal education.

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Posted inGuest Blog

Does buying a house affect my estate plan?

The simple answer is a definite “yes.” For many people, a house is their most valuable asset, so adding one to your estate will affect many aspects of how your estate plan should be structured.

As with any major alteration to your property holdings, or to any life-altering events—such as a birth, marriage, death, or divorce—the purchase of a house is something to discuss with an estate planning attorney. If you don’t already have one at the time you buy the house, this is definitely a good time to consult with someone well respected in the field.

Depending on the price and location of your new house, you will have many questions to ask your estate planning attorney. Moreover, an attorney with extensive knowledge of protection of assets, wills and trusts, tax avoidance, and probate will probably bring up subjects you didn’t even think to ask about. This is why when you purchase a house, it is strongly advisable to have an experienced estate planning attorney.

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Posted inGuest BlogState BarTexas Lawyers' Assistance ProgramTLAP

Stories of Recovery: My Recovery Story

Editor’s note: TLAP offers confidential assistance for lawyers, law students, and judges with substance use or mental health issues. Call or text TLAP at 1-800-343-8527 (TLAP) or find more information at tlaphelps.org.

I attended my first recovery group meeting on January 27, 1968. I was 10 days past my 27th birthday. I had been an attorney and member of the State Bar of Texas since June 1964. That 12-step recovery meeting was to be the most significant event of my life, right up there with being sworn in as a member of the State Bar of Texas. I have not had a drink of alcohol since that date.

For approximately 10 years prior to January 27, 1968, I suffered most of the ills and misfortunes that tend to happen in active alcoholism, including but not limited to the destruction of cars, marriages, friendships, and an inability to stay current in my bills. Even more significant than this were the feelings of despair, fear, loneliness, paranoia, and insecurity that I felt daily, especially during the last few years of my drinking.
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Posted inTexas Young Lawyers Association

TYLA Director Spotlight: Taylor S. Joeckel

Editor’s Note: In this blog series, we are getting to know the members of the Texas Young Lawyers Association Board of Directors. TYLA, commonly called the “public service arm” of the State Bar of Texas, works to facilitate the administration of justice, foster respect for the law, and advance the role of the legal profession in serving the public. All TYLA programs are accomplished through the volunteer efforts of its board and committee members, with the cooperation of local affiliate young lawyers associations. Learn more at tyla.org.

Name: Taylor S. Joeckel

Firm: KoonsFuller, P.C.

Area of Law You Practice: Family Law

Position Held in TYLA: District 5, Place 1 Director
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Posted inCLEDiversityEthicsNewsState Bar

State Bar of Texas Board Update: September 25, 2020

Editor’s note: The State Bar of Texas sent the following message to members on September 25.

The State Bar of Texas Board of Directors held its quarterly meeting today by videoconference. Highlights of the meeting appear below. You can watch video of the meeting at and read the agenda and meeting materials .

Referendum Requested

The board voted to petition the Texas Supreme Court to order a referendum of bar members on proposed amendments to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct and Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, as provided by Tex. Govt. Code 81.0878. Under the board’s approved plan, subject to Supreme Court approval, voting would take place from February 2 to March 4, 2021, by paper and online ballot. Continue Reading

Posted inPro Bono

Pro bono lawyer Brian Singleterry on helping others

“Helping people helps you.” That’s one of the reasons why Cantey Hanger associate Brian Singleterry helped a low-income Fort Worth woman—who had lost her job due to a disability—facing eviction during the COVID-19 pandemic. Singleterry had previously taken pro bono cases through the Tarrant Volunteer Attorney Services, or TVAS, and Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans, or TLTV, programs of the Tarrant County Bar Association, but he had never handled an eviction case. Singleterry had, however, read the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond, which chronicled the struggles of eight families in Milwaukee as they faced eviction in the aftermath of the economic downturn of 2008. His client could well have been included in Evicted because she had lost her job and had been served with a notice of eviction during the coronavirus pandemic. Singleterry was aware of the serious nationwide eviction crisis, the value of a lawyer, and the tremendous unmet need for lawyers by low-income individuals and families facing eviction.
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