Posted inNewsPro Bono

Pro Bono Spotlight Day 5: Jacqueline B. Williams

The State Bar of Texas, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, the American Bar Association, and others proudly support National Pro Bono Celebration Week (October 21-27). Pro Bono week is an opportunity to educate the public about the good work the legal community does to improve the lives of vulnerable Texans and to encourage more individuals to get involved in pro bono support of the legal system. During the week we will feature stories of pro bono volunteers.

Jacqueline B. Williams is the owner and lead attorney at J.B. Williams in Allen. She practices in the areas of family law, juvenile justice, personal injury, and contract law.

What kind of pro bono work do you do and how long have you been doing it?
I’ve been taking pro bono cases through Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas since 2000. Prior to that, I volunteered only at clinics in Dallas. I’ve tried to continue attending clinics to help out since that time and to try to attend one clinic each month. I’ve generally handled family law matters, everything from divorces and custody modifications to child support and wills. Over the years I have felt more confident in handling matters involving family violence.

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Posted inNewsPeoplePro Bono

Pro Bono Spotlight Day 4: Pilar Martinez

The State Bar of Texas, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, the American Bar Association, and others proudly support National Pro Bono Celebration Week (October 21-27). Pro Bono week is an opportunity to educate the public about the good work the legal community does to improve the lives of vulnerable Texans and to encourage more individuals to get involved in pro bono support of the legal system. During the week we will feature stories of pro bono volunteers.

Pilar Martinez is from Seattle and is a 3L at St. Mary’s University School of Law. She is active in St. Mary’s pro bono program, acting as the student site coordinator for the monthly veterans legal advice clinic and the Community Justice Program. Martinez is also president of the Immigration Law Association and the vice president of the Public Interest Law Foundation. She serves on the editorial board of The Scholar. Martinez plans to practice immigration law at a nonprofit after graduation.

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Posted inNewsPeoplePro Bono

Pro Bono Spotlight Day 4: John C. VanBuskirk

The State Bar of Texas, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, the American Bar Association, and others proudly support National Pro Bono Celebration Week (October 21-27). Pro Bono week is an opportunity to educate the public about the good work the legal community does to improve the lives of vulnerable Texans and to encourage more individuals to get involved in pro bono support of the legal system. During the week we will feature stories of pro bono volunteers.

John C. VanBuskirk is a solo practitioner and a retired U.S. Army major. He is a graduate of UNT Dallas College of Law.

What kind of pro bono do you do and how long have you been doing it?
Ten days after I entered the inaugural class of UNT Dallas College of Law in August 2014, I assisted at my first Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, or DVAP, clinic, and I was hooked. I did 31 DVAP clinics in my 1L year and a total of 800 pro bono hours during law school. Since becoming a licensed attorney in May 2018, I have helped at 23 DVAP legal clinics and performed 158 pro bono hours. My cases, so far, have been estate planning (wills, POAs, etc.), petitions for non-disclosure, affidavits of heirship, and deed work.

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Posted inCLELocal BarsNews

DBA hosts annual Education Symposium

The Dallas Bar Association will host its annual Education Symposium from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. October 29 at the Belo Mansion. The symposium aims to bring together community leaders in the hopes of improving public education in the Metroplex.

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Posted inGuest Blog

Claiming privilege for proprietary information: properly applying Tex. R. Evid. 507

If a lawyer litigates long enough he or she will inevitably face written or oral objections to requests for production or interrogatories. While objections may be straightforward and easy to navigate, they become more complex and potentially fatal to a litigator’s case when opposing counsel raises an objection based on proprietary information privilege. While it is often, albeit incorrectly, believed that proprietary information is relegated strictly to commercial litigation, the truth is that proprietary information reaches much further into other areas of litigation than many may suspect. But, what exactly is proprietary information? How does a claimed privilege affect discovery? And how much depth is there to Tex. R. Evid. 507?

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Posted inGuest BlogState BarTexas Lawyers' Assistance ProgramTLAP

Stories of Recovery: After alcohol abuse, TLAP gave me my life back

Editor’s note: This post is part of the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program’s Stories of Recovery blog 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 started drinking alcohol at about age 6.

Surrounded by military fighter pilots, alcohol was simply a part of my life. It was 1967, and the Vietnam War was at its height. Our friends and neighbors were all getting deployed to Vietnam, along with my father and my uncle. This was a scary time for everyone, as our pilots were getting shot down and captured and tortured with some regularity. Automatic, ghastly, immediate torture awaited any shoot-down. Continue Reading

Posted inLaw Practice ManagementNewsTechnologyUncategorizedVideos

Chicago Bar Association offers technology, practice management videos

The Chicago Bar Association is adding to its collection of Law Practice Management and Technology How To videos and making them accessible to everyone.

Currently more than 100 on-demand videos can be watched and or accessed through the CBA’s video library. Each video is one hour or less in length and hosted on Vimeo, which is mobile friendly and offers rewind and fast forward capabilities. Topics include cloud computing, communication, eFiling, firm management, and more.

For more information and to be added to the email list to be notified about the release of new videos, contact Catherine Sanders Reach.

Posted inNewsPeoplePro Bono

Pro Bono Spotlight Day 3: Hannah Cramer

The State Bar of Texas, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, the American Bar Association, and others proudly support National Pro Bono Celebration Week (October 21-27). Pro Bono week is an opportunity to educate the public about the good work the legal community does to improve the lives of vulnerable Texans and to encourage more individuals to get involved in pro bono support of the legal system. During the week we will feature stories of pro bono volunteers.

Hannah Cramer is a Plano native and is currently a 3L at St. Mary’s University School of Law. She is the student coordinator for the pro bono program, site coordinator for the ID Recovery program, vice chair of the board of advocates, president of the Public Interest Law Foundation, and a staff writer for the Scholar: St. Mary’s Law Review for Race and Social Justice.

What kind of pro bono do you do and how long have you been doing it?
I participate in most of the law school’s pro bono workshops and am frequently at the ID Recovery program. I have been volunteering with ID Recovery since the fall of my 1L year. Law students, under the supervision of our pro bono director, go to Haven for Hope every Friday and conduct intakes with clients who are experiencing homelessness.

Why is pro bono important to you?
It’s important for me to use my knowledge and resources to help individuals who do not have the same resources and pro bono work allows me to do this. Also, selfishly, I feel really good when I’ve helped someone who wouldn’t otherwise receive services.

What have you learned from doing pro bono?
By doing pro bono, I have learned a lot about interacting with clients and how to be a professional advocate. Many of the clients at ID Recovery are going through a very tough part of their life, and serving them has taught me how to be a compassionate advocate while maintaining professionalism.

What would you say to a fellow student who is thinking about doing pro bono for the first time?
If a fellow law student asked me about doing pro bono for the first time, I would tell them it is the best choice I made at law school. You will receive real-world experience, network with local attorneys, and learn more than you could ever learn by sitting in the classroom. Pro bono is the perfect way to see what you’ve read about in casebooks in real life.

Share one of your favorite pro bono success stories.
My favorite pro bono success story is about one of my clients at ID Recovery. This client had an intellectual disability and I was nervous that he wouldn’t be able to follow-up the following week to receive his documents. I conducted his intake and then worried about him all week and whether he would remember to come back. He came back next week and was able to get his ID! For most people this doesn’t mean much, but for this client that meant he could access his food stamps, and hopefully find permanent housing.

Posted inNewsPeoplePro Bono

Pro Bono Spotlight Day 3: Brooke Hendricks-Green

The State Bar of Texas, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, the American Bar Association, and others proudly support National Pro Bono Celebration Week (October 21-27). Pro Bono week is an opportunity to educate the public about the good work the legal community does to improve the lives of vulnerable Texans and to encourage more individuals to get involved in pro bono support of the legal system. During the week we will feature stories of pro bono volunteers.

Brooke Hendricks-Green is from Odessa and works in the Ector County Attorney’s Office. She is a member of the Pro Bono Advisory Board for Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas.

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Posted inSponsored Content

Sponsored Content: Smokeball’s “Season of Giving”: Practice Management Software Company Continues Dedicated Efforts for Charity

On Wednesday, October 17, 2018, Smokeball kicked off a new charity initiative for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children.  Smokeball is a practice management software company based in Chicago and Sydney dedicated to building software solutions for small law firms that result in less stress and more success.  Smokeball is also dedicated to working in the community and raising money for great legal causes.  In fact, one of the company’s core values states, “Caring is Not Optional.”
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