Fifth Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards Volunteers in Red, White & Blue Veterans Legal Initiative Judging Volunteers From Santa Claus to Night Court: What Some Lawyers Will Do for Charity and Fun Law Week 2013 28th John J. Eikenburg Law Week Fun Run
Volume 50 â€“ Number 6
Law Week 2013 Realizing the Dream: Equality for All
1st Place, Law Week Poster Contest.
The Standard of Excellence
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contents Volume 50 Number 6
FEATURES Harris County Bench Bar Pro 10 Fifth Bono Awards Presented May 1 By Tara Shockley
in Red, 12 Volunteers White & Blue Legal Initiative 16 Veterans Showing Appreciation for Service through Legal Assistance By Tara Shockley
18 Judging Volunteers Santa Claus to 28 From Night Court: What Some Lawyers Will do for Charity and Fun
By Hon. Josefina M. Rend贸n
Week 2013 32 Law Realizing the Dream: Equality for All
Place: 34 First Houston Bar Association Law Day Essay Contest
Members Read to Over 35 HBA 200 Classes for Law Day John J. Eikenburg 37 28th Law Week Fun Run Benefits
The Houston Lawyer
The Houston Lawyer (ISSN 0439-660X, U.S.P.S 008-175) is published bimonTHLy by The Houston Bar Association, 1300 First City Tower, 1001 Fannin St., Houston, TX 77002-6715. Periodical postage paid at Houston, Texas. Subscription rate: $12 for members. $25.00 non-members. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: The Houston Lawyer, 1300 First City Tower, 1001 Fannin, Houston, TX 77002. Telephone: 713-759-1133. All editorial inquiries should be addressed to The Houston Lawyer at the above address. All advertising inquiries should be addressed to: Quantum/SUR, 12818 Willow Centre Dr., Ste. B, Houston, TX 77066, 281-955-2449 ext 16, www.thehoustonlawyer.com, e-mail: email@example.com Views expressed in The Houston Lawyer are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the Houston Bar Association. Publishing of an advertisement does not imply endorsement of any product or service offered. 漏The Houston Bar Association, 2013. All rights reserved.
KoonsFuller, P.C., Family Law is pleased to announce the opening of their Houston office, with Sherri Evans as Managing Attorney in the new location. Houston family lawyer and divorce attorney Sherri Evans is a 1992 graduate of Tulane Law School in New Orleans. She is uniquely qualified to analyze and litigate complex property cases in a divorce. Evans holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Texas in Austin and worked
as a financial analyst prior to entering law school. She is also Administrative Chair and faculty member of the Family Law Trial Institute, an intensive 8-day litigation seminar focusing on advanced family law issues such as business valuation. Evans is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and the Supreme Court of Texas. She has repeatedly been named to the list of “Best Lawyers in America” and is a 2013 “Super Lawyer (Thomson Reuters).” Sherri Evans is also the Chair of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. KoonsFuller has experienced attorneys with both the knowledge and the resources to serve clients in matters including complex divorce litigation; property settlements of all sizes; marital agreements; asset tracing, valuation and division; child custody, possession and access; support and paternity; and trial and appellate work, as well as offering litigation alternatives such as mediation, settlement conferences, arbitration and collaborative law, across Texas and the nation.
KoonsFuller, P.C. 109 North Post Oak Lane, Suite 425, Houston, Texas 77024 Voice: (713) 789-5112 • Fax: (713) 789-5123 firstname.lastname@example.org
contents Volume 50 Number 6
departments Message 6 President’s Members Do Well
By Doing Good
By Brent Benoit the Editor 8 From Volunteers, Awards, and a
Changing of the Guard By Keri D. Brown
Lawyers 39 Houston Who Made a Difference
James Stephen Hogg By Judge Mark Davidson
Profile in Professionalism 40 ADenise Scofield
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
SPOTLIGHT 41 COMMITTEE The Houston Lawyer
By Tamara Stiner Toomer Record 42 OffThethePresident Called –
There’s an Opening on the Supreme Court By Keri D. Brown
Trends 43 Legal Certified EMS., Inc. v. Potts: A
Plaintiff Friendly Med-Mal Opinion for the Texas Supreme Court By Chance A. McMillan
Duke Law Holds Post-Graduate Degree Program for Judges By John K. Rabiej Reviews 45 Media Disrobed: An Inside Look at the Life
and Work of a Federal Trial Judge Reviewed by Polly Graham
PARTY TALK: Answers to Everyday Legal Questions for Texas Lawyers The Houston Lawyer
Cover: Salma Delgado of Woodland Acres Middle School created the first place poster in the 6th-8th grade category of the HBA’s Law Week Poster Contest sponsored, along with the Essay Contest, by Blake A. Pratz and Jo A. Simmons of the Pratz Simmons Group at UBS. Salma’s poster on the ABA Law Day theme, “Realizing the Dream: Equality for All,” also won second place in the State Bar of Texas Law Day Poster Contest.
Reviewed by Farrah Martinez
48 Litigation MarketPlace 49 Placement Service
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By Brent Benoit Locke Lord LLP
Members Do Well By Doing Good
The Houston Lawyer
y term as president of the Houston Bar Association is now at an end. I want you all to know that serving as your president this past year has been a profound honor. When I think about the thousands of talented attorneys that are members of this Bar, I am humbled to have had the privilege to lead this great organization. This Bar has been blessed with leaders that have guided it with wisdom, dignity, and compassion, and I hope that I have not betrayed too terribly this legacy during my year as president. The HBA is first and foremost a Bar for our members, and we have worked hard this year to serve our members in a variety of ways, including providing CLE programs, mentoring programs, referral services, and a host of other memberoriented projects. But we also believe strongly that our members can do well by doing good. The public service projects of the Bar not only improve the stature of our profession, something that benefits us all, but they also allow our members an opportunity to network, become more well-rounded, and enjoy the satisfaction that comes from honoring our duty to serve the less fortunate. This last issue of The Houston Lawyer for the Bar year focuses on volunteerism and honors the outstanding commit6
Planting trees at the Houston Arboretum.
Volunteering at the Houston Food Bank.
Law & the Media program on human trafficking.
Announcing the Medical-Legal Partnership with Texas Childrenâ€™s Hospital.
ments to public service made by our members. I hope each of you will read about the great work that has been done this year and congratulate those who have done so much for others. I also hope that this issue inspires all of us to redouble our efforts to give back to a community that has richly blessed each of us. When the Bar year began, I laid out four goals for the Bar and I want to conclude the year by updating you on how we fared in each of these areas. First, we asked each of you to help us plant 1,000 trees in Houston. Thanks to the hard work of more than 200 volunteers led by Laura Gibson, we planted more than 1,200 trees at the Houston Arboretum, an area that was severely damaged by the drought. And we raised so much money that we had enough left over to also plant trees in the fire-ravaged area of Bastrop. As usual, you met the challenge and surpassed it, and we should be proud of this worthy effort. Second, we set a goal to fight hunger in Houston. Through our partnership with Souper Bowl of Caring we raised enough money and food to provide more than 50,000 meals in Houston. And about 100 volunteers participated in a Day of Service at the Houston Food Bank sorting food for those that desperately need it. Because of our efforts, thousands of individuals went to bed without being hungry, something that we can all be proud of.
Third, we wanted to start a legal clinic that would improve access to health care in Houston. You may have heard the saying that it is better to be lucky than good and this is a prime example. The Bar was approached by Texas Children’s Hospital and asked to consider partnering with them to provide legal assistance to families with sick children at the hospital. We eagerly accepted, and with a $100,000 grant from Wal-Mart, at a press conference on November 1 last year we were able to announce the creation of Houston’s very first Medical Legal Partnership. We are now helping dozens of families whose kids are facing serious medical issues. Finally, we set a goal to raise awareness regarding the problem of human trafficking in Houston. We dedicated an entire issue of The Houston Lawyer to a discussion of human trafficking, we conducted multiple CLEs on the subject that were attended by literally hundreds of attorneys, and I had the privilege of talking about the issue at the mid-year ABA conference in February. I believe that we have elevated this issue and helped to expose this profound problem to our community, and I sincerely hope that the effort continues. On top of all this, we set the audacious goal of raising $600,000 for pro bono legal services at the annual Harvest Party, a goal that was $50,000 higher than any prior goal. We not only met that goal, we surpassed it and shattered the prior records. At a time when pro bono funding is threatened and thousands upon thousands are in need, this Bar once again stepped up. I hope that you will help us shatter the record again next year. So, we have had a busy year, but it has been — I think — a year of which we can all be proud. And I want to thank each of you for the hours and hours of support that you provided to the Bar in committees, sections, and in the many HBA projects throughout the year. I will never forget this year or the great experience of having the privilege to be your president.
Defending Texans Since 1994 Former Assistant United States Attorney Former Assistant District Attorney Founding Member of the National College of DUI Defense of Counsel Williams Kherkher LLP Law Office of Ned Barnett
Gulf Freeway Office: 8441 Gulf Freeway, Suite 600 • Houston, Texas 77017
713-222-6767 • www.nedbarnettlaw.com Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization thehoustonlawyer.com
from the editor
By Keri D. Brown Baker Botts L.L.P.
Julie Barry Attorney at Law
Angela L. Dixon Attorney at Law
Robert W. Painter Painter Law Firm PLLC
The Houston Lawyer
Don Rogers Harris County District Attorney’s Office
Jill Yaziji Yaziji Law Firm
Volunteers, Awards, and a Changing of the Guard
his issue brings the 2012-2013 bar year to a assisted the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Government of close. Your magazine recently was honored Mongolia in returning the skeleton to its rightful owner. by the State Bar of Texas with three Stars of In May 2013, he was honored by the Government of Texas Bars awards. The article “Challenges in Mongolia for his efforts. Federal Sex Trafficking Prosecution,” written Now on to this issue. As is our tradition, the Mayby Sherri Zack and Ruben Perez and pubJune issue features HBA members who are outstanding lished in the September-October 2012 issue, was honored volunteers in our community. Our guest editors, Judge with the award for the best news feature. Judge Mark DaJosefina Rendon and Suzanne Chauvin, put together a vidson’s series on Houston lawyers who made a differgreat issue. “Volunteers in Red, White and Blue” highence received the lights a few award for best seof our memries. Finally, The bers who served Houston Lawyer in the military. won best publica“Judging Voluntion among large teers” turns the bar associations. spotlight onto Additionally, at the members of the Stars of Texas our judiciary. We Bars awards, the focus on lawyers Houston Bar Aswho assume sesociation won the The 2012-2013 Editorial Board of The Houston Lawyer: first row from left, Angela cret identities in Outstanding Part- Dixon, associate editor; Keri Brown, editor in chief; and Farrah Martinez. Back row: the article, “From nership Award for the Hon. Dan Hinde; Chance McMillan; Julie Barry, associate editor; Al Harrison; Don Santa Claus to Rogers, associate editor; Jeff Oldham; Robert Painter, associate editor; John Gray, its Medical-Legal former editor in chief; Jill Yaziji, associate editor; the Hon. Josefina Rendon; Sammy Night Court: Partnership with Ford IV; and Suzanne Chauvin. Not pictured: Erika Anderson, Jonathan C.C. Day, Polly What Some LawTexas Children’s Graham, Judy L. Ney, and Tamara Stiner Toomer, former editor in chief. yers Will Do for Hospital. You can read more about that partnership in Charity and Fun.” Finally (and in addition to our stanour January-February 2013 issue. dard features), we have an update on the Veterans LeOn the topic of awards, have you ever wondered what gal Initiative, the recipients of the Bench Bar Pro Bono it takes to be awarded the Order of the Polar Star (the Awards, and coverage of other recent HBA events. highest honor that can be awarded to a foreign national) As this bar year comes to a close, I have the privilege from the Government of Mongolia? Our Articles Editor of handing the Red Pen of Editing to Robert Painter, who Robert Painter can tell you. In June 2012, Robert received will serve you in 2013-2014 as your Editor in Chief. Roba phone call requesting assistance in stopping the New ert and his Editorial Board will continue to work hard to York auction of a Tyrannosaur bataar skeleton that origibring you award-winning articles from our award-winnated in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert and had been smuggled ning publication. As always, if you have any ideas about out. The alleged smuggler attempted to auction the skelhow to make The Houston Lawyer even better, we weleton, and Robert successfully had the skeleton seized and come your comments. thehoustonlawyer.com
BOARD OF DIRECTORS President
David A. Chaumette
M. Carter Crow
First Vice President
Benny Agosto, Jr.
Second Vice President
Todd M. Frankfort
Hon. David O. Fraga Neil D. Kelly
Alistair B. Dawson Brent C. Perry
Jennifer Hasley Daniella D. Landers
DIRECTORS (2012-2014) Warren W. Harris John K. Spiller
editorial staff Editor in Chief
Keri D. Brown Associate Editors
Julie Barry Robert W. Painter Jill Yaziji
Angela L. Dixon Don Rogers
Erika Anderson Suzanne Chauvin Jonathan C.C. Day Polly Graham Stephanie Harp Hon. Dan Hinde Chance McMillan Jeff Oldham Tamara Stiner Toomer
Sharon D. Cammack Melissa Davis Sammy Ford IV John S. Gray Al Harrison Farrah Martinez Judy L. Ney Hon. Josefina Rendon
HBA office staff Membership and Technology Services Director
Kay Sim Administrative Assistant
Ashley G. Steininger
Committees & Events Director
Director of Education
Lucy Fisher Cain Continuing Legal Education Assistant
Committee & Events Assistant
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By Tara Shockley
Fifth Harris County
Large Firm – Vinson & Elkins LLP Vinson & Elkins received the Large Firm award for the second consecutive year. In 2012, 188 out of 295 Houston attorneys participated in pro bono work, donating 10,656 hours, representing a dollar value of $4,921,281. The firm’s attorneys provided pro bono services in nine different categories, including assisting many local non-profits, arts organizations and government agencies with formation, bylaws, tax and
Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards Presented May 1
arris County judges and attorneys don’t always agree, but everyone is on the same side when making their case for the recipients of the annual Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards. The two groups presented the Fifth Annual Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards to law firms, corporate legal departments and an individual in a special ceremony on May 1 at the Harris County Civil Courthouse. The awards program was established to recognize outstanding pro bono service through local legal service providers and to encourage law firms, corporate legal departments and individual attorneys to volunteer direct legal services to low-income Harris County residents. A committee of seven judges and six attorneys selected the recipients in several categories. The keynote speaker was Robert G. Devlin, retired attorney-mediator and longtime volunteer for the HBA’s Veterans Legal Initiative, who gave a moving account of his volunteer service at the veterans’ clinics. This also was the inaugural year for the Bench Bar President’s 10
Keynote speaker Robert G. Devlin, longtime volunteer with the HBA’s Veterans Legal Initiative.
Award, created to recognize a firm or corporation with a long history of excellence in pro bono service. Each year, the award winners’ names are featured on permanent plaques in the lobbies of the Civil Courthouse, Criminal Justice Center, Family Law Center and Juvenile Justice Center in downtown Houston. Recipients of the Fifth Annual Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards are:
litigation. As part of V&E’s partnership with Texas Children’s Hospital, attorneys represented several families in obtaining guardianship over their incapacitated children. Attorneys also provided pro bono services to the Holocaust Project, represented 20 lowincome Houstonians with family law matters, and assisted low-income clients with immigration, intellectual property, estate planning, civil rights and criminal appeals. Vinson & Elkins attorneys also staffed several clinics for Houston Volunteer Lawyers, including “virtual clinics” and veterans’ clinics. Mid-size Firm – Seyfarth Shaw LLP Attorneys at Seyfarth Shaw donated 960 hours of pro bono service in 2012, earning the Houston office “Pro Bono Office of the Year Award” out of Seyfarth’s 11 offices. The office averaged 26 hours of pro bono work per lawyer across a spectrum of legal matters. The firm forged a special relationship with Kids in Need of Defense to represent unaccompanied immigrant children facing deportation. Firm attorneys assisted several nonprofit organizations, including Blessed Be Hope for Three for children with autism disorders, and the Journey to Dream Foundation, helping children with destructive behavior disorders. Firm attorneys also represented women
ing. ExxonMobil was the first corporate law group to volunteer to accept cases through the HVL/Texas Children’s Hospital medical-legal partnership to tackle health issues that have legal, rather than Corporation – Marathon Oil Company strictly medical solutions. ExxonMobil Attorneys with Marathon’s 30-person attorneys and staff worked with HVL law department logged 1,256 pro bono to implement hours in 2012, a Wills Clinic representing 80 to serve low-inpercent attorney come clients in part icipat ion Baytown. In Noand 58 percent vember, Exxonstaff participaMobil, Fulbright tion. Marathon & Jaworski LLP also reaches out and HVL celto its retirees as ebrated the first well as its outanniversary of side counsel to a partnership encourage their with the Housparticipation in ton Area Wompro bono. As an en’s Center to Equal Access provide monthly Champion, Marlegal advice for athon pledges to women fleeing handle six cases per year, yet the From left: The Hon. Ken Wise, Harris County Administrative Judge; Misty Blair and Steve Shardonofsky of intimate partfirm accepted Seyfarth Shaw; Sylvia Bruchman of Marathon Oil; Chastiti Horne, individual recipient; Susan Sanchez of ner abuse. Exx32 matters from ExxonMobil; Harry Reasoner, Ellyn Josef and Mark Kelly of Vinson & Elkins; and HBA President Brent Benoit. onMobil volunteers also staffed Saturday legal advice Houston Volunteer Lawyers. Attorneys they have an adult to whom they can clinics for HVL, veterans’ legal clinics staffed seven clinics for HVL, including turn for comfort, support and advocacy. at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical the Will-A-Thon for low-income seniors, Center, a tax line, the HBA Will-A-Thon, a veteran clinic at the VA Medical CenPresident’s Award – and handled individual cases. ter, Houston Stand Down and several ExxonMobil Corporation Pro bono service is an integral part Saturday legal clinics in the community. ExxonMobil’s law department has a long of the culture at ExxonMobil’s law deMarathon’s legal department also earned history of pro bono service. The corpopartment, with a Pro Bono Committee the 2012 Magna Stella Pro Bono Award rate law department was honored with a that monitors the interests of lawyer presented by the General Counsel Bench Bar Pro Bono Award for the past and non-lawyer volunteers, and a pro Forum. two consecutive years. This year, Exxbono site on the corporation’s interonMobil received the first Harris County nal web system that describes the hisIndividual – Chastiti N. Horne Bench Bar Pro Bono President’s Award for tory of management-supported pro bono Chastiti Horne logged more than 150 ongoing excellence in pro bono service. service, lists pro bono resources, anpro bono hours in 2012 as a guardian ad The company’s management has long nouncements and calendars of volunteer litem through Child Advocates, Inc., an supported pro bono work by both attorand training opportunities. In the words organization to which she has devoted neys and non-attorneys. In 2012 alone, of ExxonMobil’s Pro Bono Coordinator, hundreds of hours since 1996, beginExxonMobil volunteers donated 1,565 Susan Sanchez, “ExxonMobil’s Pro Bono ning her volunteer work there as a first hours of pro bono service, working priCommittee strives to offer a service opyear law student. A partner in the firm marily through Houston Volunteer Lawportunity for everyone.” Ebanks Horne Rota Moos, LLP, Chastiti yers. ExxonMobil’s Law Management has represented 28 children on a volCommittee sets the tone through prountary basis in cases involving parengrams such as a clinic at HVL where the Tara Shockley is the communications dital neglect, sexual and physical abuse, corporation’s management assisted 55 rector for the Houston Bar Association and abandonment, drug/alcohol abuse and Spanish-speaking clients in one mornmanaging editor of The Houston Lawyer. seeking asylum through the Tahirih Justice Center, representing them in abuse and family matters.
mental health issues, which resulted in the children being removed from their homes. In addition to direct representation, she recruits volunteers for Child Advocates and provides educational training. Chastiti says her goal is to be a constant figure in their lives, so that
Volunteers in Red, White & Blue Judge Willie E. B. Blackmon By Suzanne R. Chauvin
Judge Willie E. B. Blackmon
ouston Municipal Court Judge Willie Blackmon breaks down barriers. As a young track star, he was one of the first African American students recruited to Texas A&M University. As an international election supervisor in Bosnia, he helped a fragmented nation conduct democratic elections. And as an African American soldier stationed in Alabama, he was named an Honorary Lieutenant Colo-
nel Aide-de-Camp in the Alabama Militia by Governor George Wallace. Willie Blackmon grew up in the Fifth Ward, attending Wheatley High School, where Mickey Leland and Barbara Jordan had also attended. George Foreman was a junior high school classmate. Judge Blackmon was a state champion in track in his sophomore year of high school, and co-holds the Prairie View Interscholastic League 880-yard run record – a record that will never be broken because track meets are no longer segregated. Judge Blackmon was recruited to Texas A&M by legendary president James Earl Rudder. He majored in marketing at A&M, and his bronzed track shoes are still on display at Kyle Field. Judge Blackmon was commissioned into the Air Force in 1984 after graduating from Texas Southern University law school and working for the City of Detroit law department. His father and brother had both served in the military and had both been wounded in battle. Judge Blackmon’s father was an assistant machine gunner in the Korean war, and his brother served in Vietnam. When he entered the Air Force, Judge Blackmon did his training at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. He was then stationed at Strategic Air Command Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, an intercontinental ballistic missile base, as a court martial specialist. He was later transferred to Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, where he was the assistant staff advocate, a troop commander and bomb squad commander. He left active duty in March 1989, but continued to serve with the National Guard, traveling throughout the country prosecuting and defending court martial proceedings. In 1997, Judge Blackmon volunteered to serve with the State Department and Air National Guard as an International Election Supervisor in Bosnia. He lived with the local Serbian people in a hostile situation where land mines still surrounded the city where he was assigned. He gave one piece of advice to Serbian children: “Never
give up on your dreams.” Judge Blackmon retired from the Air Force with over 28 years of service, after being awarded the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for service to the NAACP legal assistance clinic, the Houston Police Activities League, and the Barbara Jordan Houston recovery center, among others. How fitting that the program for Judge Blackmon’s Air Force retirement ceremony contains a poem called “The Bridge Builder,” by William Allen Dromgoode. In the poem, an old man is asked why he is building a bridge over a chasm that he will never cross again. He replies that he is building the bridge–not for himself–but for a young man who will pass that way in the future.
Judge David Farr
By Suzanne R. Chauvin udge David Farr is comfortable in any courtroom, whether in Houston or Kosovo. As a 16-year officer in the Army National Guard, Judge Farr has been deployed overseas three times —to Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq. Between deployments, he has been a practicing attorney, mediator, associate judge
Judge David Farr
and, now, presiding judge of the 312th Family District Court in Harris County. Judge Farr graduated from Texas A&M
University on an ROTC scholarship, and he attended Thurgood Marshall School of Law. He was commissioned in February 1997 into the Judge Advocate General (JAG) corps. Judge Farr was first deployed overseas to the Bosnian peacekeeping mission in 2000, when his eldest daughter was just four months old. In 2006, after his second daughter was born, Judge Farr was deployed to Kosovo to the NATO staff. He jokes that his deployments seem to come right after the family welcomes a baby. In Kosovo, he gained valuable experience working with lawyers from the 38 other NATO countries, advising the U.S. Army Chief of Staff. Judge Farr chuckles as he recalls drinking cappuccino “for three hours” with his Italian counterpart just to get an “immediate” answer to a question posed by the Chief of Staff. He says the NATO experience taught him to work with all kinds of people from a variety of nationalities and cultures. While in Kosovo, he also used his litigation experience to assist attorneys from the United Nations Department of Justice who were trying war criminals. He was flown into the prison in Dubrovnik once a month and advised the attorneys on how to present evidence under the criminal code. Back in America, Judge Farr was an associate judge before being appointed to his current bench. In 2009, shortly after his son was born, he was deployed to Iraq, where he worked with the transfer of security to Iraq. He provided legal advice on a variety of issues involved in the transfer, including the handling of checkpoints and even who owns and takes care of the guard dogs. While he was in Iraq, he obtained special permission from the Secretary of the Army to run for office in the 2010 election cycle. Although the Army granted him permission to run for office, military regulations did not permit him to campaign. Nevertheless, he won the election and presides over the 312th Family Court today. Judge Farr gives his wife and children high praise for their resilience during his
deployments. He notes that there is always an adjustment period when he returns from overseas; for example, he has to relearn the right way to load the dishwasher. Judge Farr is currently the staff judge advocate for his division of the Texas Army National Guard, supervising 25 lawyers across the division. He says that he has learned from the experience he has gained in the military, that it has given him a broader perspective and patience, and helped him to understand cultural differences. He compares family court to his experiences with the Bosnians and Serbians, and with the Sunni and Shia in Iraq. He knows he cannot fix everything. But he will do what he can to make things better.
Jim Grace By Justice Jeff Brown y any reasonable measure, Jim Grace had it made. He was a partner in a prestigious law firm, regarded as one of Texas’ best government-relations lawyers and a devoted family man. Even so, something was missing. Jim had one huge regret—he had never served his country in the armed forces.
Jim Grace, left, with Austin lawyer Kevin Robnett at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.
Long after he thought he had missed his chance, Jim learned about the Direct Officer Commission Program, created by the Navy to encourage professionals to sign up for duty in the reserves. Though the Navy was not looking for lawyers, much less thehoustonlawyer.com
lobbyists, it did need intelligence officers. Jim volunteered and took the oath as an ensign on the day before his 40th birthday. At the beginning, Jim’s duties in the Navy were the same as any other officer in the reserves. He went to a shortened version of officer candidate school in Rhode Island, as well as other short specialty schools around the country. And he drilled one weekend a month, sometimes in Fort Worth, sometimes in San Antonio. But the Navy had more in mind for this part-time intelligence officer. In August 2011, Jim was deployed to Afghanistan. He was stationed at Bagram Air Force Base, where he lived in a converted storage container the military calls a “man can.” Jim describes Afghanistan this way: “Imagine the Old Testament. Now give everyone white Toyota trucks.” As for Bagram itself, Jim says it was like a busy airport with a boom town next to the runway, only the whole thing is located in a construction yard. Jim regularly worked 12 hours a day
or more, primarily managing a corps of about 1,000 interpreters spread across the Texas-sized country. It was tough duty, but Jim readily notes it was a cakewalk compared to what other military men and women withstood, and still withstand today. The hardest part for Jim was being away from his family for almost a year. Jim is grateful for his wife Michele’s patience with what he calls his “mid-life crisis.” He visited regularly via Skype with Michele and their children, Connor and Isabelle, but he missed their daily personal interaction. He also missed the kids’ birthdays—Connor turned 14 and Isabelle turned nine while he was away. Jim is also thankful for the understanding of his law firm, Baker Botts, who willingly supported his service in the Navy, even making up the difference in his income while he was deployed. Jim says his time in the Navy was an answer to a call: “Everyone’s called to serve our country in some fashion. It can be doing Little League or Girl Scouts, or
as prosaic as just paying your taxes on time. But some men and women are actually called to military service. They feel it within them.” We are all the beneficiaries of the men and women who, like Jim, answer that call.
By Suzanne R. Chauvin ervice is a tradition for Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan. His father was a soldier during World War II and his grandfather was a Lieutenant Colonel on General Pershing’s staff in World War I. Following in their footsteps and those of his other grandfather, uncles and older brother, Vince joined ROTC at the University of Houston during the height of the Vietnam War. After serving on active duty for two and a half years, Vince continued his military service for another 26 years in the Army Reserve, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan.
When Vince Ryan volunteers, he doesn’t take no for an answer. At his Army physical—which he took at the same facility where Mohammed Ali protested the draft—he was classified as “non-combat qualified” because of his severe nearsightedness. Undeterred, he entered the Army in an administrative role and, after serving in Europe, volunteered for Vietnam. He served there with a combat advisory team in the Vietnam Delta where he saw the immense destruction of war such as the death and property damage left after fire bombing. Vince says he never saw anything like it again until he saw the 14
devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Ike on Bolivar Peninsula where whole areas were completely destroyed by nature. After Vietnam, Vince returned to the United States and first earned a law degree from the University of Houston and a master’s degree in history from Rice University. His master’s thesis focused on the early development of the oil industry in Mexico, a period coinciding with the Mexican revolution. The topic was a natural fit as Vince’s grandfather, who had served on Pershing’s staff, and uncle had worked in the oil industry. Ryan’s father was born on a rail car in Mexico during that time. With his knowledge of Latin American history and his training in Spanish, the Army assigned Vince to be a foreign area officer specializing in Latin America. He then volunteered to go to Panama during Operation Just Cause when dictator Manuel Noriega was removed from office. After returning from Operation Just Cause, he led three trade missions and a humanitarian mission to Panama. Later, he was tapped by President Bill Clinton to serve as one of the last five American board members on the Panama Canal Commission, during the Canal’s historic transition to Panama on December 31, 1999. He was Co-Chair of the Transition Committee and the Canal Expansion Committee. Together with all these things, somehow he managed to find the time to serve on the Houston City Council and to write a novel and screenplay. Vince credits his military service as the greatest learning experience of his life and says it was excellent preparation for further public service. He emphasizes that “I was never once asked in the military, ‘Who do you want to work with?’” Instead, the military taught leadership skills, how to work with all types of people and how to do a good job with the resources at hand. Continuing with that tradition of service, County Attorney Vince Ryan believes his job is not only managing the day-to-day legal affairs of Harris County’s government, but also to address injustices on behalf of the people
of Harris County. Justice Jeff Brown has served on the Fourteenth Court of Appeals since December 2007. Prior to taking the appellate bench, Justice Brown was a judge of the 55th District Court in Harris County for six years. Suzanne Chauvin is a Senior Assistant City Attorney in the Labor, Employment, and Civil Rights section of the Houston City Attorney’s Office.
By Tara Shockley
Veterans Legal Initiative Showing Appreciation for Service through Legal Assistance
t’s the least we can do,” is the phrase heard most often when you thank someone for volunteering to help veterans. That seems particularly true for the nearly 300 attorneys who volunteered with the Veterans Legal Initiative during the past bar year. Whether giving advice and counsel at a Friday clinic at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, meeting veterans for a Saturday clinic at a small-town VFW or
American Legion post, or helping with a project to improve living conditions at a veterans’ residential facility, volunteers say they get more than they give. “Volunteering at the Friday afternoon legal clinic for veterans is one small way to thank persons who have sacrificed for the rest of us. Vets’ legal problems run the gamut from landlord-tenant disputes to harassment from creditors,” said volunteer Callie Clark. “Every time I can help a vet who has come to the clinic with a legal problem, I learn something I didn’t know before, such as veterans’ benefits are not subject to garnishment. And I realize why I wanted to become a lawyer.” Established in 2008 by then-HBA president Travis Sales, the Veterans Legal Initiative (VLI) is a coalition of bar foundations and organizations that serve those who serve us by providing legal advice and legal services to U.S. veterans. Comprising the Houston Bar Foundation (HBF), Jefferson County Bar Foundation, Fort Bend Lawyers Care, Austin Bar Foundation and Baylor Law School, the VLI is funded by grants from the Houston Bar Foundation,
Susan Sanchez of ExxonMobil and 2012-13 HBA President Brent Benoit counsel a veteran during Houston Stand Down in November.
Otway Denny of Fulbright & Jaworski advises a veteran at a Saturday clinic in Navasota.
Karla LaFitte and Nicholas Dillard provide legal advice on a recent Saturday in Conroe, where clinics are held quarterly.
A soldier signs legal documents at a clinic at Baylor Law School.
Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation and Texas Bar Foundation. A new grant from United Way allowed the HBA to hire a summer intern to perform research and outreach to determine how best to reach young veterans, including those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The VLI serves 17 counties that have a
veteran population of nearly 500,000. The lord-tenant problems, disability and vetHBF serves Brazoria, Galveston, Grimes, erans benefits, among others. In addition Harris, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Walker to attorneys, representatives from the and Waller counties. The Jefferson CounTexas Veterans Commission and County ty Bar Foundation serves Chambers, HarVeteran Service Officers are usually presdin, Jefferson, Liberty and Orange counent to assist those who attend the clinics. ties; Fort Bend Lawyers Care serves Fort Clinics at the DeBakey VA medical cenBend County; Baylor Law School serves ter are held every Friday, from 2:00-5:00 Bell and McLennan counties; and the p.m., serving an average of 36 veterans Austin Bar Foundation assists with Traeach week. Clinics are scheduled in other vis, Bell and McLennan counties. counties on Saturdays, with some occurThe program has as its cornerstone ring quarterly. Attendance at Saturday a clinic model developed by the HBA’s clinics varies, with anywhere from 10 to Houston Volunteer Lawyers that has been 40 clients. The HBA also presents speakreplicated by bar associations throughout ers and clinics quarterly at DeGeorge the state. A “Clinic at Union Station, in a Box” provides a residential facilall of the forms and ity for 100 veterans, resource materials and monthly at the needed for each proUS VETS at Midgram. Attorneys and town Terrace, which support staff volhouses 300 veterans. unteer their time to Since its inception provide advice and in 2008, the VLI Members of BSA Troop 641 lay flooring in counsel to any vethas served the lethe library at US VETS at Midtown Terrace, a eran who walks into residential facility for veterans. gal needs of nearly the clinic. Those 7,500 veterans. who need continuIn November, Aning legal represendrew Lehmann, a tation are screened combat veteran who for eligibility and served in Iraq, was assigned a volunteer hired as the attorney attorney who will in charge of VLI. His handle their legal first-hand knowlmatter pro bono. edge of the challengWhile most pro Travis Sales, founder of the VLI program, with es faced by veterans bono programs re- son James, who took on the renovation of the has been a valuable US VETS at Midtown Terrace library as an Eagle quire that appli- Scout project. tool in determining cants have income no more than 200 percent above poverty level, veterans may have income up to 300 percent above poverty level and still qualify under the Houston Bar Foundation’s guide- The library before, left, and after. lines, allowing the program to serve a how to best serve their needs. broader spectrum of veterans. Legal is“As a Sergeant, my soldiers’ problems sues faced by veterans include family law, were my problems. There is no equivalent wills and probate, consumer issues, landin civilian terms. Veterans are not accus-
tomed to anyone in the civilian world caring if they are facing an eviction or bankruptcy,” said Lehmann. “The military has an insular support structure they believe ends when their active duty service ends. If the VA does not help, they assume they are on their own.” The VLI, however, serves more than just the legal needs of veterans. The HBA board, staff and volunteers assist with holiday parties at both DeGeorge and US VETS, providing gift bags for all residents, as well as door prizes. Through its annual Book Drive, sponsored by the Lawyers for Literacy Committee, libraries at both facilities are kept well stocked with books. This spring, Boy Scout Troop 641 completely remodeled the library at US Vets at Midtown Terrace, providing a bright, well-equipped space for the veterans to read and conduct job searches, with computers, desks, comfortable chairs, and bookshelves. The young man who took on this renovation as his Eagle Scout project was James Sales, 16-year-old son of VLI founder, Travis Sales. James obtained donations for the remodeling materials, furniture and computers, and organized Scouts and others to complete the labor required for the renovation. The installation of a large framed American flag serves as a reminder that a grateful nation recognizes the sacrifices made by the veterans who live there. “One of my grandfathers was a colonel in the Air Force. My other grandfather was a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. My father started the veterans’ free legal clinic while he was president of the Houston Bar Association,” said James. “In addition to giving back to our military veterans, this project also allows me the opportunity to continue a family tradition.” Tara Shockley is the communications director for the Houston Bar Association and managing editor of The Houston Lawyer. thehoustonlawyer.com
Judging Volunteers When they are not on the bench, local judges can be found serving the community in many other ways. The judges profiled here represent a sampling of the volunteer efforts of those who serve in Harris County’s courts.
The Hon. Jeff Brown By the Hon. Tracy Christopher
Justice Jeff Brown
f there were a merit badge just for volunteering, Justice Jeff Brown would have earned that badge long ago. He is an Eagle Scout and started his service work through scouting at the age of six. He continued into high school by tutoring at a low-performing school. In college at the University of Texas, he volunteered through his church. At the University of Houston Law Center, he started doing service work through the student bar association and the Houston Bar Association (HBA). He has worked on the HBA Fun Run ever since. Before taking the bench, he handled pro bono cases through the
Houston Volunteer Lawyers. Justice Brown’s most fulfilling work is currently his scouting work. Although he has two boys in scouting, he started working with scouts before his boys were old enough to participate. While at Baker Botts, he worked with the Urban Scouting Committee, helping start new troops in areas where it was hard to get leaders. He currently is the liaison between his church and the scout troop. He still enjoys going on campouts when he has the time. Justice Brown’s volunteer work-related activities are numerous, and include officer positions related to his law school alma mater (UH Law Alumni Association and Houston Law Review Board), the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists (he is board certified in civil trial law), the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society, and many more. The work-related project that he finds the most interesting is the Harris County Drug Court. This is a specialty court that is hoping to end the cycle of drug and alcohol addiction and keep people out of jail. For the past two years, Justice Brown has spent time every Monday meeting with prosecutors, defense attorneys and probationers to make sure that the probationers are on track and completing their treatment goals. The court has a high success rate and Justice Brown is proud of its accomplishments. He has also worked with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for the past eight years. It is work for a good cause and often a lot of fun, too, Justice Brown says. This year his committee purchased animals from children who had hardships while raising them. When asked for advice on getting involved, Justice Brown says it is really just a matter of finding something you like to do and then setting aside the time. He thinks that lawyers can be great volunteers because of their people skills, problem-solving capabilities, efficiency and often their more flexible schedules. If you try a project and you do not like it, move on until you find one that you like. Volunteering is rewarding. Practice the scout principle
and “help people at all times,” he says. You will be glad that you did. Justice Tracy Christopher was appointed to the 14th Court of Appeals in December 2009, and served as judge of the 295th District Court for 15 years prior to her appointment to the Court of Appeals. Justice Christopher has volunteered with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, as well as Texas Children’s Hospital and the Houston Bar Association’s charitable programs.
The Hon. Kyle Carter By Cris Feldman
Judge Kyle Carter and students in the JAWS Program.
udge Kyle Carter, presiding judge of the 125th District Court of Harris County, brings to his office a work ethic that public officials should make time to occasionally shed the daily entrapments of office and go out in our larger community to engage in direct public service and volunteerism. While participating in traditional forms of volunteerism such as building houses with Habitat for Humanity, or working the judge’s booth during the Boy Scouts of America’s “Scout Fair,” Judge Carter has struck his own unique path in the arena of public service. Judge Carter founded Judges at Work in Schools (“JAWS”), a charitable organization providing a framework and infrastructure for judges to serve the public by directly reaching out to young students in the Harris County area. The concept be-
hind this innovative effort is that the first time a child or adolescent encounters a judge should not be when they deal with feuding parents in family court, struggle with a speeding ticket, fight a charge of criminal mischief or perhaps even much worse. JAWS seeks simultaneously to educate students about the role of the judiciary in a civil society, while at the same time to inspire students to think for themselves in a responsible, positive manner and to avoid the many potholes and dangerous detours that life’s journey will offer up. Our local judiciary has a wealth of knowledge about myriad issues here in Harris County, and they see the challenges our youth collectively face on a daily basis. In turn, Judge Carter has found a way to utilize those experiences from sitting on the bench, and marshal it to encourage our youth to make better, more informed choices. By way of example, Judge Carter, Judge Josefina Rendon and Judge Steven Kirkland recently addressed a packed auditorium of students at Holland Middle School. They discussed the judicial branch of government, as well as the role of judges in the courtroom and the critical function judges serve in our system of government. Their speeches evolved from a lesson in government to a discussion about life lessons, the importance of education, making thoughtful choices and independent thinking. Through their participation in the JAWS program these judges were able to share valuable life instruction to these students by combining a discussion of “Government 101” with real-life examples of what students may encounter, how to maximize positive possibilities and minimize potential pitfalls. Another example of JAWS at work was when Judge Carter hosted a visit with the a fifth grade class at Joe Moreno Elementary School. Judge Carter coordinated the visit with fellow colleagues and the Harris County District Clerk’s Office. The students received a rare, behind the scenes view of the courthouse. At the same time, they engaged in a plain-spoken talk about the many opportunities and obstacles they
might face and how to make the most of their personal potential. Judge Carter himself has visited 11 diverse Houston area schools, including Lee High School, Summer High School, Holland Middle School, Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, Joe Moreno Elementary School, Law Elementary School, and Port Houston Elementary School. At every presentation he emphasized that there are leaders in our community who want to see his young audience succeed and who are ready and willing to help each of them. Cris Feldman is founder of The Feldman Firm, P.C., a former partner at Rusty Hardin & Associates, and 1999 Graduate of the University of Texas School of Law.
The Hon. Jennifer Walker Elrod By Jeffrey L. Oldham
Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod with CIS students.
udge Jennifer Walker Elrod graduated from elite universities, clerked for a highly-respected federal judge, spent a successful career at a prestigious law firm and was appointed and twice elected as a state district judge in Harris County. She was then nominated and confirmed in 2007 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, where she enjoys a stellar reputation. She is also a devoted wife of 24 years and the mother of two teenage daughters. A complete resume, indeed. But for Judge Elrod, that is just the beginning. She can fill an entire resume with her volunteer work alone, giving back thehoustonlawyer.com
to her community in a number of ways. Judge Elrod’s main advice to lawyers interested in volunteering is to start when you’re young and structure volunteerism into your daily life and practice, and she has certainly done that. Judge Elrod is most passionate about mentoring and advancing educational opportunities for students of all ages, a passion that she says was born from a very personal experience. When she entered the first grade in California, she was at the
lowest reading level because she had not learned reading in kindergarten, as had the other kids in her class. She remembers that her mother, who was then in college studying to be a teacher, went above and beyond in helping her to learn to read— so much so that Judge Elrod advanced to the highest level of reading by the end of the year. She said that her mother passed away the following year, when Judge Elrod was only in second grade, but she still remembers and is driven by the efforts that
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her mother made to help her learn and advance at that early stage. The two main outlets for Judge Elrod’s work in this area are Communities In Schools of Houston (CIS), one of the nation’s largest dropout prevention organizations, and Houston Urban Debate League (HUDL), a non-profit that focuses on reintroducing academic debate to at-risk students in Houston-area high schools. Judge Elrod served on a pro bono basis as CIS’s first general counsel, and says she has been involved with CIS in some capacity since 1994. She now hosts an annual mock trial for students participating in a legal internship program coordinated by CIS. She also now sits on the HUDL board, and regularly volunteers her time to serve as a judge at HUDL competitions and help with writing workshops for HUDL participants. Judge Elrod proudly reports that this relatively new organization (now in its fifth year) has had remarkable success in improving the students’ results across all areas, avoiding drop-outs and helping students obtain college scholarships. Judge Elrod’s passion for education extends to higher levels as well. For instance, she has taught law students across the country, including teaching as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center and as a visiting professor at Texas Tech University School of Law and presenting the Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Distinguished Lecture at Washington & Lee University School of Law. Her other volunteer activities demonstrate both the diversity of her interests and the depth of her devotion to giving back to her community. She has taught a Bible study at her church for over 20 years. When her kids were younger, she led one daughter’s Girl Scout troop and served as a grade-level advisor in the National Charity League for the other daughter. She also has been a leader in the Bar, having served as a board member and chair of the board of both the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and the Gulf Coast Legal Foundation (now called Lone Star Legal Aid). In addition, she regularly volunteers with the Houston Bar Association.
Her many contributions to the community and the Bar have not gone unnoticed. In large part based on her service to the community and the profession, the Houston Young Lawyers Association named her the Woodrow Seals Outstanding Young Lawyer of Houston in 2004. It also awarded her its Outstanding Mentor Award in 2012. The HBA has twice given her the President’s Award for her service to the profession. And the list goes on. Judge Elrod’s interests and abilities do not end there, of course. Many know of her incredible singing talent, which she has shared not only at events like the HBA’s Night Court (including in such roles as Christine in “Phantom of the Law Firm”), but also at official events like swearing-in ceremonies. But one of the lesser-known ways in which Judge Elrod uses that talent highlights her passionate spirit for mentoring: she toasts each of her outgoing law clerks with a farewell song, a parody of familiar tunes with lyrics personalized for the clerk, as a way of having fun and showing how important they are to her.
For Judge Elrod, giving back to her community, including by mentoring young people, is not just a side job, but a passion that merits its own 100 percent effort. Jeffrey L. Oldham is an appellate partner at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP. He is a member of The Houston Lawyer Editorial Board.
The Hon. Mark Davidson By Deborah Selden
Judge Mark Davidson will soon will reach a blood donor milestone.
ver the years, Judge Mark Davidson, former judge of the 11th District Court of Harris County, has been recognized and commended for his volunteer work in the community. Despite being assigned by the Texas Supreme Court to oversee one of the busiest multidistrict litigation dockets in the state, Judge Davidson still finds time to give back to the people of Harris County through a variety of avenues – including his blood, sweat and perhaps a few tears. An enthusiastic blood donor who has contributed almost 50 gallons of blood, he hopes to soon acquire a new coffee mug from the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center to commemorate this landmark event. An active member of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society, he is well-known as a gifted amateur historian, a frequent author on topics related to Texas judicial history and an active proponent for the preservation of important historical documents and memorabilia, especially in Harris County. His latest volunteer projects are of special interest and closest to his heart. The
devoted father of two sons, Judge Davidson wanted his children to share the same experiences he had as a Boy Scout. The younger of the two boys, however, has been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, and the Boy Scouts offered no program specifically designed for boys with special needs. Seeing a solution to the problem, he helped found Boy Scout Pack and Troop #609 out of the Westview School, a school for children with autism spectrum disorders. Four years later, there are 18 boys in
the Cub Scout pack and seven members of the Boy Scout troop. When asked about the troop’s activities, Judge Davidson responded that these Scouts participate in the same projects as regular Boy Scout troops. “The boys receive promotions, ranks and merit badges like other Scouts. There is a greater degree of parent participation in this Troop, but the older boys actually plan and go on campouts, put up tents, and do their own cooking. Scouting helps these boys, given their abilities, maximize their potential.”
Troop #609’s program has proven to be such a success that the parents of Westwood have started a Girl Scout troop. One of Judge Davidson’s other important volunteerism projects began two years ago, when his younger son was ready to start classes for his first communion. There was no program in place at the family’s church for special needs children. Responding with his usual enthusiasm, Judge Davison helped establish a program and accompanied his son to class every week for two years in preparation for his first communion. This year, three special needs children graduated from this course and they will be joined by three more graduates next month. When asked what motivated him, he replied, “If my presence on earth has made the life of a child better, then I feel I’ve made the future better.” Deborah Selden is a senior staff attorney with Administrative Office of the District Courts of Harris County. She is board certified in civil appellate law.
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The Hon. Tad Halbach By the Hon. Mark Davidson
Judge “Tad” Halbach works with scouting.
he best of our elected officials serve in order to make the world a better place than the one they were born into. For Judge Joseph “Tad” Halbach, this goal is clear. Beyond his service as
Judge of the 333rd District Court, his volunteer activities show his dedication to the future. Judge Halbach served for many years on the Board of Directors of Marywood Children and Family Services, an Austinbased organization that helps support thousands of young women and their children while seeking to build nurturing families for a lifetime. He served as a legal advisor, speaker and supporter. He has also served on the Advisory Board of the Aspiring Youth Foundation, a local charity that seeks to prepare at-risk youth for success in school and in life. The organization has organized mentors and after-school classes for middle school students to be able to continue their education after school has let out for the day, based on the premise that values and work habits developed in early adolescence will last a lifetime. Judge Halbach is best known for his tireless work with the Boy Scouts of America. He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in his teens, and has continued
to serve as a volunteer adult leader ever since, even before his two sons (both of whom became Eagle Scouts) joined scouting. He was a volunteer in his sons’ Cub Scout packs and Boy Scout troops, but went beyond that to work for scouting throughout the Houston area through the Sam Houston Area Council. From helping out as a merit badge counselor, to organizing area wide Camporees, to serving as a teacher and mentor to adults just starting as volunteer Scouters, he has made a real difference for thousands of boys throughout Southeast Texas. Some of his best work has been working for the religious side of Scouting through his work for Catholic Scouting. He promotes, teaches and encourages young men to seek the religious awards, and organizes the annual award dinner honoring the Scouts who have earned the awards. His work does not stop at Catholic Scouts. Honoring the tenet of the Scout oath which requires that a person be “morally straight,” he has
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been a mentor to Scouts to deepen their religious beliefs by seeking the awards given by their respective faiths. Judge Halbach’s service to the courts and the legal profession is a matter of public record. From giving dozens of CLE speeches, to writing practical articles in bar journals, he has improved our profession. His service as the Administrative Judge of the Civil Division of the District Courts and as Administrative Judge of Harris County made our courts and jury system run more efficiently. Judge Halbach has a commitment to volunteerism that shows his motivation is to make the future better. In all of his activities, he excels to our community’s betterment. Judge Mark Davidson was appointed by the Texas Supreme Court as the MultiDistrict Litigation Judge for all asbestos cases in the State of Texas. He was previously presiding judge of the 11th District Court in Harris County.
Judge Maria T. Jackson By Judge Josefina M. Rendon
Judge Maria T. Jackson reads to students.
udge Maria T. Jackson has been the presiding Judge of the 339th Criminal District Court since 2008. In 2011 she was named “Best Criminal Court Judge” by the Houston Press, making her the first African-American in Harris County to be so honored. She also is a former Municipal Court Judge for the City of Houston.
True to her upbringing as the daughter of an educator and a psychologist actively involved in their community, Judge Jackson’s favorite community involvement is helping and educating at-risk youth. She has been a mentor and a role model since 1991 when she became involved with YES (Youth for Education and Success), a program specifically formed to implement, direct and design programs to assist atrisk youth. Judge Jackson teaches job interviewing and job training skills through the program. Judge Jackson also is an active member of the Houston Chapter of Links Inc., where she served as chair of the Services to Youth program. Links is a social organization dedicated to building better communities and helping others through education, donations of time, money and clothing, and other community service. Links has also helped build homes for Habitat for Humanity and provides college scholarships for high school graduates. More recently, Judge Jackson has been a
member and co-chair of the HBA Speakers Bureau Committee. She has given many motivational speeches to Houston area students, as well as read books on the Constitution and other legal themes, and taught about the importance of jury service. She also has spoken at the University of Houston’s People’s Law School, informing citizens on how to choose an attorney. Judge Jackson’s involvement in the community also includes being a lifetime member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, where she serves on the Lamb & Goat Committee. Judge Jackson says her passion for service to youth owes a great deal to her roots. Her father, Dr. Jesse Jackson, was a former University of Houston professor who later started the YES Program in Houston. Her mother, Artie Jackson, was Director for Social Services at Texas Mental Health and Mental Retardation Administration for 25 years and later became director of the YES program. Judge Jackson has proudly followed their example.
Judge Josefina M. Rendon is an Associate Municipal Judge and former District Judge. She is a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board.
The Hon. Robert Schaffer By Ian Scharfman
Judge Robert Schaffer
udge Robert Schaffer has been committed to volunteerism from his time in private practice continuing
through his current service as Judge on the 152nd Texas Civil District Court, where he has been presiding judge since January 1, 2009. His well-rounded commitment to volunteerism extends to both his private and public life. Prior to his service as a judge, as a member and former president of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association, he was a volunteer at the John F. Kennedy Elementary School, a school adopted by the Association to provide volunteer mentors to at risk students. For many years, he mentored first and second grade students in ESL (English as a Second Language) classes. In his private life, he is a long-time board member of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Southwest Region, where he has played an important role in helping the ADL secure justice for all. As a member of the ADL’s Civil Rights Committee, Judge Schaffer continued to work to implement programs with the University of Houston Law Center and South Texas College of Law for the legal and
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general community on issues related to religious freedom, hate crimes, Internet privacy, First Amendment rights, and free speech on campus. Under his leadership, past programs have featured noted constitutional scholars including Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, U.S. District Judge John Jones, Chris Wolf, and Professor Jeffrey Rosen. Judge Schaffer also helps the ADL designate businesses and organizations as a Community of Respect® after they complete the requirements to earn the designation. The ADL’s Community of Respect® Initiative was launched to help businesses, houses of worship and organizations demonstrate their appreciation for diversity and inclusiveness and reject bigotry, prejudice and discrimination through interactive activities and learning experiences. The designations allow the ADL to recognize those organizations. While in private practice, Judge Schaffer worked closely with the ADL to plan and participate in its Texas Legislative
Day to share the ADL’s perspectives to state legislators on issues related to religious freedom, education, immigration, hate crimes and more. As a member of Congregation Emanu El, Judge Schaffer has participated in its Mitzvah Day since its beginning in 1992. On Mitzvah Day, members of the Congregation go out into the Houston community to participate in acts of kindness to help build just and caring communities. Over the last several years, he has worked with the 5th Ward Enrichment Program, whose mission is designed to empower boys to become responsible men and productive members of their families and community. Setting an example for others in the profession, Judge Schaffer believes that giving back to the community is required to promote improvement in the quality of life and to help make the community a better place than it was before. He holds true to his core belief in the value of volunteerism and its important place in the legal profession, as he makes
time to give back to the community and his profession though his volunteer efforts. Ian Scharfman is the principal in The Scharfman Law Firm, PLLC. He is board certified in labor and employment law.
The Hon. Ken Wise By the Hon. Mark Davidson
Judge Ken Wise has volunteered with the Houston Rodeo since he was 12.
o many Houstonians, the Houston Rodeo is an event we go to once or twice a year to have a lot of fun seeing athletes compete, enjoy a day at a carnival and eat a lot of food. While we are vaguely aware of the presence of volunteers, the extent of the number and extent of commitment of effort those volunteers put forward is largely unappreciated. Putting on all aspects of the rodeo is a year-round effort that takes many thousands of volunteers to make it work. Judge Ken Wise is the presiding judge of the 152nd District Court. He has been an active volunteer with the Houston Fat Stock Show and Rodeo since he was 12 years old, when his father brought him along to help on the Barbeque Committee’s work in kicking off the festivities. When he became an adult, Judge Wise became active on the committee as a full-fledged member. In 1995, he became active in the Directions and Assistance Committee, and served as its chair from 2010 through 2012. He now
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By Hon. Josefina M. Rendón
From Santa Claus to Night Court: What Some Lawyers will do for Charity and Fun
his past holiday season, the Houston Health Museum had a program in which children could bring their teddy bear or favorite doll for a “doctor’s” check-up. The “nurses” would ask the children the name of their dolls and whether the dolls were feeling ill or just needed a check-up. Through this experience, the children could learn about medical issues. “Mona,” my granddaughter’s doll, was feeling ill, so I went with my granddaughter, my daughter and my son-in-law to take Mona to the doctor at the Health Museum. To my surprise, Santa Claus greeted us first. He was sitting by a large Christmas tree and cheerfully invited my granddaughter to talk. She was delighted to see Santa in person and was happy to show him her doll. Equally delighted, my daughter and I took pictures while my son-in-law stood by Santa and my granddaughter. Then came another surprise when Santa 28
said, “Hi, Josefina, you don’t recognize me? It’s Frank.” Only then did I happily realize that Santa was former District Judge Frank Rynd. But my son-in-law was not amused. Santa had just blown his cover in front of my five-year-old granddaughter. Apologetic, but without losing a beat, Santa quickly explained. “You know,” he told her, “the rest of the year, when it’s not Christmas, there’s not much for Santa to do, so I use a fake name... Frank.” When asked to think of attorneys who offer their valuable time for a good cause, I immediately thought of Frank Rynd. He also made me think of what he and other lawyers are willing to do not just for charity, but for fun. These are some of their stories...
SANTA CLAUS, ESQ.
he Hon. Frank Rynd was a family district judge for nine years, and an associate judge for three years, until he
The Hon. Frank Rynd with 5-year-old Kaylee Brito at the Health Museum.
resigned in 2010 to become General Counsel for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. He has played Santa Claus for two years for such organizations and charities as the Houston Health Museum and the Arthritis Foundation’s “Kids Get Arthritis Too” holiday party. Judge Rynd has enjoyed serving as Santa Claus and says the reaction of the kids is magical. On a sad note, one child told Judge Rynd that all she wanted for Christmas was for the school bully to stop bullying her. Similarly, a little boy once asked Judge Rynd if he could get his parents to stop arguing and yelling at each other while he was out of school for the holidays. But to Judge Rynd these moments—as well as those showing the kids’ enthusiasm and excitement— make the whole undertaking worthwhile. Plus, Judge Rynd says with a smirk, “It’s a great excuse not to diet. I have to keep my weight up to be an effective Santa.” So watch out, because this Santa will eat the cookies you leave out!
eorge Parnham is probably best known for his representation of high-profile clients such as Andrea Yates and Clara Harris. Less known is the fact that he has worn a Santa Claus costume for over 25 years for various charities. One of those charities is Arbor School, which provides intensive education intervention for children of all ages (from birth to 18) who experience developmental delays or disabilities. He has also been Santa for Children’s Court Services, a program
within the Houston Area Women’s Center that has assisted child victims of crime and/or witnesses to crime and their families for the last 28 years. The parties, which are open to victims and their families, have had as many as 1,000 children at a time.
George Parnham and a helper.
Of all the charity work he does, when it comes to George Parnham, our thoughts— and we suspect his—never go far from his most famous client, Andrea Yates. “It is our sincere desire that the lives of these [Yates] children will be forever memorialized,” Parnham writes on his website. True to this goal, in 2002, Parnham initiated the Yates Children Memorial Fund (YCMF), named in memory of the Yates children, Noah, John, Paul, Luke and Mary. The fund is sponsored by the Mental Health Association of Greater Houston (MHA Houston) to fund women’s mental health education.
ormer District Judge Doug Warne and Judge Judy Warne, husband and wife, have played Santa and Mrs. Claus for the SAFE visitation program of the Victim’s
The Hon. Doug Warne and the Hon. Judy Warne with volunteers at a SAFE holiday party.
Assistance Center in Harris County for several years. This program was created for children whose visitation with one or more parents must be supervised. Each year, the SAFE program has a Christmas party and the children come to celebrate with their families. At the Christmas party, each child gets a gift. Some gifts are provided by their family, but Santa and Mrs. Claus personally provide something for those children whose families did not bring a gift. The program also provides the classic candy cane and photo op with Santa. The Honorable Judges Warne have been married 20 years. Judge Judy has been a family district judge for eight years, and Judge Doug was a judge for 24 years (12 as an associate judge and 12 as an elected family district judge) until he retired in 2010. They have recently had to slow down on their Santa Claus duties so that they can perform and enjoy the duties of grandparenthood.
eing Santa or Mrs. Claus is not the only way Houston lawyers volunteer for charity and fun. Some lawyers love to clown around instead. Brother and sister attorneys Arturo Ramirez and Annette Ramirez are only two of 10 clowns in the Ramirez family. Arturo’s alter ego is Chi Flas (a purposely misspelled reference to a Spanish word meaning “crazy” or “silly”) and Annette’s is Chispa (or “spark”). They are usually joined by their two brothers Armando (Ju Ju Bean) and Arnulfo (Guito). They are also joined by second-generation Ramirez clowns such as Arturo’s son, Randy (Sketch); Annette’s daughter, Jessica (Chiclets); and their nephew, Rafael (Fito), a U.S. Marine who returned from a tour in Afghanistan last December and is currently in San Diego. The third generation now includes Arturo’s granddaughter, Shelby (Little Chi Flas), who stands out as the youngest clown in the family. Arturo and Annette are members of the Cheerful Clown Alley #166, where Annette has served on the board of directors
as vice-president and as membership director. They are graduates of the Alley’s Clown School and have assisted the organization in many ways.
[Top] Arturo Ramirez, “Chi Flas,” at the St. Adolphus Church Bazaar. [Bottom] The Ramirez Clowns: Sketch (Randy Ramirez), Chispa (Annette Ramirez), Chi Flas (Arturo Ramirez), Little Chi Flas (Shelby Marroquin), and Ju Ju Bean (Armando Ramirez).
Their primary charities during the year are Navidad en el Barrio (meaning “Christmas in the Neighborhood”) and St. Alphonsus Church Bazaar. Navidad en el Barrio is a non-profit organization that provides gifts, lunch and entertainment to disadvantaged school children selected from throughout the Houston Independent School District. It also provides additional gifts, such as bicycles, through an essay competition.
NIGHT COURT When asked for ideas for this article, both Fourteenth Court of Appeals Justice Tracy Christopher and Municipal Judge Leigh St. Germain suggested Night Court. They are, in fact, two of many judges and lawyers who have faithfully played a part in this yearly musical. The musical is an irreverent, self-mocking satire of the legal profession as well as a parody of well-known movies, songs and pop-culture. It has been consistently hilarious for over two decades. “The whole thing smacks of Mel Brooks—in the best thehoustonlawyer.com
way possible,” stated a February 11, 2011 review by the Houston Business Journal.
“Draculaw” with Jr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Howard Speight), Columbia (Elaine McAnelly), Dr. Frankenfurter (Paul Shanklin) and Frankenstein (John Raley).
Night Court is one of the best-known pro bono activities involving HBA members. It has raised money for law-related charities for over 20 years. Each year, lawyers, judges and public officials gather to perform the all-lawyer musical comedy—lawyers entertaining for charity. Over the years, Night Court has raised over $600,000. In 2012 alone, Night Court raised over $60,000 for local charities such as the Houston Volunteer Lawyers, the Star Drug Court, the Houston Area Women’s
Center Children’s Court Services Program and many more. Environmental lawyer and founding partner at Connelly Baker Wotring LLP, Debra Baker has worked with Night Court since its beginnings, mostly as head producer and writer. Besides an already impressive resume of professional accomplishments and publications, she has an equally impressive record of awardwinning pro bono work. But Night Court is probably where “Laws in Space” featuring Princess Leia (Adina Owen) she gets to have and C3PO (Kathleen Weir) the most fun, as well as to be the most creative. Others who have served with Night Court over the years include Baker’s co-writer Tim Weltin, Marty Thompson, Howard Speight, new executive producer Scott Davenport and many other respected lawyers.
breathtaking 360⁰ views memorable meetings & events the43rd.com
IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN HOUSTON ATOP WEDGE INTERNATIONAL TOWER 1415 LOUISIANA – 43RD FLOOR, HOUSTON, TX 77002
“Law of the West” finale.
This year, the 23rd annual production of Night Court took place on June 12-15 at the Wortham Theatre. Entitled “Law of Ages: Feel the Energy,” it traced the origin of oil and gas law from the prehistoric times in “Houstone” through the dinosaurs’ journey into fossil fuels, fracking and other energyrelated topics. Josefina M. Rendón is an Associate Municipal Judge and mediator in Houston. She is the former judge of the 165th District Court. A 1976 graduate of the University of Houston Law Center, she has done volunteer work since her teenage years when she would regularly go to an impoverished community in Puerto Rico to teach Sunday school to disadvantaged children.
mon – fri lunch 11 a – 2 p tue – fri bar 4p–8p
Pro Bono in Houston...
Rebuilds Families…Helps Veterans . . .Provides Peace of Mind for Seniors
Equal Access Champions
The firms and corporations listed below have agreed to assume a leadership role in providing equal access to justice for all Harris County citizens. Each has signed a five-year commitment to provide representation in a certain number of cases through the Houston Volunteer Lawyers. For more information contact Kay Sim at (713) 759-1133.
Large Firm Champions Andrews Kurth LLP Baker Botts L.L.P. Bracewell & Giuliani LLP Fulbright & Jaworski LLP Locke Lord LLP Vinson & Elkins LLP
Baker Hughes Incorporated BP America Inc. CenterPoint Energy, Inc. ConocoPhillips Exxon Mobil Corporation Halliburton LyondellBasell Marathon Oil Company Shell Oil Company
Intermediate Firm Champions Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP Haynes and Boone, L.L.P. King & Spalding LLP
Mid-Size Firm Champions
Adams & Reese LLP Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP Baker & Hostetler LLP Beirne, Maynard & Parsons, L.L.P. Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Aughtry Greenberg Traurig, LLP Jackson Walker L.L.P. Jones Day Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Porter Hedges LLP Strasburger & Price, L.L.P. Susman Godfrey LLP Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP Winstead PC
Small Firm Champions
Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend Beck | Redden LLP Gibbs & Bruns LLP Hays, McConn, Rice & Pickering, P.C. Hughes Watters Askanase LLP Johnson DeLuca Kurisky & Gould, P.C. Kroger | Burrus McGuireWoods LLP Schwartz, Junell, Greenberg & Oathout, L.L.P Sidley Austin LLP Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP Weycer, Kaplan, Pulaski & Zuber, P.C. Yetter Coleman LLP
Boutique Firm Champions
Blank Rome LLP Coane & Associates Connelly • Baker • Wotring LLP Edison, McDowell & Hetherington LLP Fullenweider Wilhite PC Funderburk & Funderburk, L.L.P. Hicks Thomas LLP Jenkins & Kamin, L.L.P. Ogden, Gibson, Broocks, Longoria & Hall, L.L.P. Squire Sanders LLP
Sutton McAughan Deaver LLP Strong Pipkin Bissell & Ledyard, L.L.P. Wilson, Cribbs & Goren, P.C.
Peter J. Bennett Law Office of J. Thomas Black, P.C. Law Office of Robbie Gail Charette Chaumette, PLLC Law Office of Papa M. Dieye The Ericksen Law Firm Flowers & Frankfort Frye, Steidley, Oaks & Benavidez, PLLC Fuqua & Associates, P.C. Terry L. Hart Hunton & Williams LLP Law Office of James and Stagg, PLLC Katine & Nechman L.L.P. The Keaton Law Firm, PLLC Gregory S. Lindley Law Office of Maria S. Lowry Martin R.G. Marasigan Law Offices The Law Office of Evangeline Mitchell, PLLC Bertrand C. Moser Law Office of Brent C. Perry, P.C. Pilgrim Law Office Robert E. Price Cindi L. Robison Scardino & Fazel Shortt & Nguyen, P.C. Jeff Skarda Tindall & England, P.C. Diane C. Treich Norma Levine Trusch
Law Week 2013
Realizing the Dream: Equality for All
he Houston Bar Association celebrated Law Week 2013 by planning programs that emphasized the American Bar Association theme, “Realizing the Dream: Equality for All.” The theme provided an opportunity to explore the movement for civil and human rights in American and its impact in promoting the ideal of equality under the law with programs that educated the public about how the law ensures our freedoms and access to justice for all. The HBA and the Law Week Committee continued a number of successful projects while adding new programs to reach a broader spectrum of citizens. Among new programs was a “Special Needs Day at the Courthouse,” inviting special needs students and their teachers from area high schools and middle
schools to tour the historic 1910 courthouse, learn about important cases, and hear Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, as well as a team of lawyers and judges re-enacting oral arguments in Brown v. Board of Education. Students also had the opportunity to take photos for a new Special Needs Photography category added to the Law Week Poster, Essay and Photography contests that are open to all students in Harris County school districts. In conjunction with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, HBA board member and committee member Benny Agosto, Jr. organized the first Law Week Soccer Clinic. It included a Law Day presentation to older youth; young author Victoria Agosto reading her book “Victoria Goes to Court” to younger children; distribution of copies
of the U.S. Constitution and other gifts; and autographs from a Houston Dynamo player. The Law Week Soccer Clinic was held at Houston Baptist University, where Agosto played as a student. The HBA Law Week Committee was chaired by Alistair Dawson of Beck Redden LLP. Committee members were Agosto, Josh Bowlin, David Hsu Brogden, Shannon Cavers, Donald W. Crump, Sam Cruse III, Fermeen Fazal, Sammy Ford IV, Jessica Freedson, the Hon. Kem Frost, Angela Garcia, Luke Gilman, Angelica Hernandez, Hillary Holmes, Melissa Hotze, Marie Jamison, Julia Maldonado, George Murr, Tracy Penn, Rebecca Phillips, Lara Price, Ankita Puri, Ama Raval, Bryon Rice, Eunice Song, Deshonda Tackett, Lowri Thomas, Angela Webster and Staci Wilson.
More than 1,500 new citizens were naturalized at a Law Day ceremony on May 15 at M.O. Campbell Center, with U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt presiding. HBA President Brent Benoit, pictured here, welcomed the new citizens and stopped by to talk with members of the Armed Forces who became naturalized citizens during the ceremony.
HYLA Law Day Luncheon The HBA recognized the winners of its Law Week Poster, Essay and Photography Contests at the Houston Young Lawyers Association Law Day Luncheon on April 29. Pictured here are the winners, their parents and teachers, along with Law Day Chair Alistair Dawson and contest underwriters Drew James of Stratos Legal (Photograhy Contest), Blake Pratz and Jo Simmons of the Pratz Simmons Group at UBS (Poster and Essay Contests) and Wendy Dawson of Social Motion Skills (Special Needs Photography Contest). Also pictured are the winners of the HYLA Liberty Bell Award, Serena Monjeau Ross, left, and the Woodrow B. Seals Outstanding Young Lawyer of Houston Award, Connie Pfeiffer, with HYLA President David Walton. 32
To commemorate Law Day on May 1, HBA President Brent Benoit, from left, Administrative Judge Ken Wise, HBA Board Member Benny Agosto, Jr. and District Clerk Chris Daniels distributed copies of the Constitution to everyone who reported for morning jury duty. Among jurors who received Constitutions that morning was South Texas College of Law Professor David Crump.
Poster Workshops The Law Week Committee this year sponsored three Law Day Poster Workshops in February for urban children. Volunteers from the legal community provided materials and helped children create posters for the HBA’s Law Day Poster Contest, while talking to them about Law Day and law as a career. Photos here are from the Third Ward Workshop, the East End Workshop and the Chinese Community Center Workshop.
Big Brothers, Big Sisters Special Needs Day at the Courthouse Soccer Clinic The Law Week Committee sponsored the first ever Special Needs Day at the Courthouse, organized by the Hon. Kem Thompson Frost of the 14th Court of Appeals. More than 30 students from several Houston area high schools and middle schools visited the historic 1910 Courthouse with cameras to capture images for the HBA Law Day Photography Contest. Students also heard Justice Eva Guzman of the Texas Supreme Court and a group of attorneys and judges who re-enacted oral arguments in Brown v. Board of Education, emphasizing the Law Day theme of equality for all. Pictured here behind the bench are students from Summerhouse School, along with Summerhouse Director Donna Fruge (in black sweater).
Benny Agosto, Jr., left, with Dynamo player and HBU soccer coach, organized a Law Week Soccer Clinic for children participating in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program.
Law Week 2013
The HBA sponsored “Dialogues on Freedom” in 10 high schools in the Houston area. Teams of attorneys and judges gave interactive presentations on the Law Day theme of equal justice under the law. Top, the Hon. Brett Busby and Chris Dove with students from Vista High School in Klein ISD; below, Carter Crow and the Hon. Harvey Brown at Memorial High School. thehoustonlawyer.com
First Place: Houston Bar Association Law Day Essay Contest
Fighting Against Discrimination By Sarah Rossi, Kingwood High School
hen I was younger I never had a chance to interact with children that had special needs because there were no students with disabilities at my school. I spent every day playing with my friends and the thought of any other kids my age not being able to participate in similar activities due to mental or physical disabilities never crossed my mind. Now looking back on my elementary and middle school years, I wish I would have had the opportunity earlier on to connect with and to become friends with special needs students because I feel it is a critical learning experience all young children should have. Interacting with children with disabilities can teach you the importance of acceptance, equality, and respect in our lives. As a freshman in high school, I was getting used to a new school and new people. Some of the new people that I shared my school with were special needs students who had their own section on the first floor. One of my upper classman friends told me that she was in a course called “Peer Tutoring.” In that class period you worked with special education students, helping them with their assignments. She loved the class and always told us stories about funny moments during the class. I can remember I wanted to take it the next semester but she soon informed me that only juniors and seniors were accepted into the program. Senior year arrived and I had finished most of my core classes but I lacked elective credits. I knew I did not want to take a “blow-off” class or a class that would just fill my schedule. I wanted to take a class that would be interesting and challenging, something that I could learn from, but I could not decide. Then I remembered what my friend had said a couple of years earlier about the Peer Tutoring class being interesting and that she loved working with the students in the class. After careful consideration (as I had never worked with any special needs children), I opted for the class. Within the
first month of being enrolled in the class, I knew it was one of the best decisions I had ever made. Working with the students was so rewarding for a number of reasons. One fundamental reason was when they did not understand the class assignment I would have the opportunity to reteach it to them. Using my own teaching and communication skills I was able to connect with them, and when they understood the assignments or how to accomplish the task, it would be the greatest feeling of satisfaction because I knew I had done something right. Undoubtedly, the greatest reason why being in the class was rewarding was because I had become their friend and they saw me as their equal, something that is very important to everyone today but especially to these kids. Each student knew they could talk to me, trust me and that I would be there to help, without prejudice or discrimination. I had accepted them and I think they knew that. Since I had become so close with them, I had learned what they liked or disliked and what the best method was to help them understand things, so when a former peer tutor (now a college freshman) came into class for a visit, it was evident that she had not really learned to treat my friends as equals. When she attempted to connect with one of the female students it became obvious that she was actually talking down to the student, not addressing her with respect and it upset me beyond disbelief. As the former peer tutor was trying to explain something to the student, it was apparent the student was terribly confused and just could not wrap her mind around the subject. I am not sure if she could not understand because she had trouble picturing it in her mind, or if she just refused to work with the rude and arrogant former tutor. This college freshman used such a degrading, overly slow tone of voice that I couldn’t stand listening anymore, so I spoke up. I advised the tutor to back off and approach with a calm and considerate tone, not demeaning but with sincerity. I then explained the subject matter to the student
basically in the way that I would to one of my “average” friends, and it clicked for her within seconds. Bridging that gap so quickly brought enormous satisfaction for both me and my student, and we enlightened one of the former tutors as well! I still have a lot to learn in this life, and I used to imagine that only the smartest people teach us lessons in life, but I have learned that is not true. I have learned from a group of mentally challenged seventeen year olds, kids with an IQ less than 70, about having patience, trust, and hope greater than any IQ test can measure. These students have taught me to look beyond what you see on the outside, how just one genetic chromosome may change a life, but to still treat that life with the same amount of respect as I would offer and expect from my peers. I have learned that equality is important to everyone, no matter what age, race, or level of intelligence they fall into. Simone Weil once said, “Equality is the public recognition, effectively expressed in institutions and manners, of the principle that an equal degree of attention is due to the needs of all human beings.” Weil was right in saying this, especially when one considers the fact that no matter what the race, mental condition, or even conviction of a person, we were all created equal and deserve to be treated so. I strongly believe that Law Day 2013 should be focused on confronting the discrimination and social prejudice that around 14.3 million people, or 6.4 percent of our population, according to the 2002 Census, are battling. Every day, from the time they wake up to the time they go to sleep, these people are hearing the laughter of young children and they are watching as people stare at them whenever they leave their homes just because they are “different.” For this reason alone I would love to have Law Day 2013 be aimed towards raising awareness and taking action against this human rights violation, because just as Mark Twain said, “We are all alike, on the inside.”
HBA Members Read to Over 200 Classes for Law Day
eart on Fire” tells the courageous story of Susan B. Anthony and her battle to win the vote for women in America. More than 8,760 elementary school students in 203 first and second grade classes throughout Houston heard Anthony cast her ballot and fight against a law she thought unjust through the voices of HBA volunteers during the three weeks surrounding Law Day. Since 2003, HBA Law Week activities have included a reading program in local elementary schools, where attorneys and judges read an age appropriate book that illustrates tenets of the Law Day theme, then donate the book to the school libraries. Attorneys do more than just read the book—they ask questions, discuss issues brought up in the story, explain principles like freedom, equality and justice, and engage students in other activities to stimulate their interest. Educators consistently praise the HBA volunteers who visit their classes and inspire their students. “We always love when you give us insight into the legal system. [Judge Bill] Boyce explained a lot of terms and history before and during reading to the children,” said a teacher at Kaufman Elementary. “He made it seem relevant to all of us.” “Mr. [Alistair] Dawson connected with the students beautifully. It’s a wonderful program,” said a teacher at Hunters Creek Elementary. “The donation of the book read to the students to the library makes it available for all students’ future reading and enjoyment.” As for Crystal Axelrod, Aaron Christian, Ankita Puri, Clay Morton and Christina M. Vitale of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, who dressed in costume for their reading, a teacher at Liestman Elementary said, “They brought the book to life with their props and costumes. They grabbed their students’ attention during the whole reading... Students always enjoy and learn from these programs.”
A first for the program, every member of the law firm of Faubus & Scarborough participated in the Law Day Readings this year, with each reading at a different elementary school. From left: Mitchell A. Greene, Brian M. Keller, Dax O. Faubus, John Thomas Oldham, and Harry L. Scarborough.
Alistair Dawson at Hunters Creek Elementary School in Spring Branch ISD.
The Hon. Bill Boyce at Kaufman Elementary School in Conroe ISD.
Brent Benoit at Atherton Elementary School in HISD.
Daniella Landers at Marek Elementary School in Alvin ISD.
Crystal Axelrod, Clay Morton, Ankita Puri, Aaron Christian and Christina Vitale (not pictured) dressed in costume to read at Liestman Elementary School in Alief ISD.
Danny Long at Yorkshire Academy.
Sammy Ford at Piney Point Elementary School in HISD.
Harry Scarborough at St. Theresa Catholic School.
The Hon. Kem Frost at West Memorial Elementary School in Katy ISD.
Joe Villarreal at Galena Park Elementary School in Galena Park ISD.
Julia Bancroft at Horn Elementary School in Alief ISD.
Travis Torrence at Kashmere Gardens Elementary School in HISD. thehoustonlawyer.com
Join the Houston Bar Association’s 100 Club The Houston Bar Association 100 Club is a special category of membership that indicates a commitment to the advancement of the legal profession and the betterment of the community. The following law firms, corporate legal departments, law schools and government agencies with five or more attorneys have become members of the 100 Club by enrolling 100 percent of their attorneys as members of the HBA. Firms of 5-24 Attorneys Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend Adair & Myers PLLC Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C. Ajamie LLP Andrews Myers, P.C. Bair Hilty, P.C. Baker Williams Matthiesen LLP The Bale Law Firm, PLLC Barrett Daffin Frappier Turner & Engel, LLP Bateman/Pugh, PLLC Bell, Ryniker & Letourneau, P.C. Berg & Androphy Bingham, Mann & House Blank Rome LLP Brewer & Pritchard PC Buck Keenan LLP Burck, Lapidus, Jackson & Chase, P.C. Bush & Ramirez, L.L.C. Butler | Hailey Caddell & Chapman Cage Hill & Niehaus, L.L.P. Campbell Harrison & Dagley LLP Campbell & Riggs, P.C. Chernosky Smith Ressling & Smith PLLC Christian Smith & Jewell, L.L.P. Connelly • Baker • Wotring LLP Cozen O’Connor Crady, Jewett & McCulley, LLP David Black & Associates De Lange Hudspeth McConnell & Tibbets LLP Devlin Naylor & Turbyfill PLLC Dinkins Kelly Lenox Lamb & Walker, L.L.P. Dobrowski, Larkin & Johnson LLP Dow Golub Remels & Beverly, LLP Doyle Restrepo Harvin & Robbins, L.L.P. Ebanks Horne Rota Moos LLP Edison, McDowell & Hetherington LLP Ellis, Carstarphen, Dougherty & Griggs P.C. Ewing & Jones, PLLC Faubus & Scarborough LLP Fernelius Alvarez PLLC Fibich Hampton Leebron Briggs Josephson, LLP Fisher, Boyd, Brown & Huguenard, LLP Fisher & Phillips LLP Fizer Beck Webster Bentley & Scroggins, P.C. Fleming, Nolen & Jez, L.L.P. Frank, Elmore, Lievens, Chesney & Turet, L.L.P. Fullenweider Wilhite PC Funderburk Funderburk Courtois, LLP Galloway Johnson Tompkins Burr & Smith Germer Gertz, L.L.P. Givens & Johnston PLLC Godwin Lewis, P.C. Goldstein Law PLLC Gordon & Rees LLP Greer, Herz & Adams, L.L.P. Hagans Burdine Montgomery & Rustay, P.C. Harberg Huvard Jacobs Wadler Melamed, LLP Harris, Hilburn & Sherer
Harrison, Bettis, Staff, McFarland & Weems, L.L.P. Hartline Dacus Barger Dreyer LLP Hays McConn Rice & Pickering, P.C. Henke Law Firm, LLP Hicks Thomas LLP Hirsch & Westheimer, P.C. Holm | Bambace LLP Hunton & Williams LLP Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC Jackson Lewis LLP Jenkins Kamin, L.L.P. Johnson DeLuca Kurisky & Gould, P.C. Johnson Radcliffe Petrov & Bobbitt PLLC Johnson, Trent, West & Taylor, L.L.P. Jones Walker LLP Joyce, McFarland + McFarland LLP Kane Russell Coleman & Logan PC Kelly, Sutter & Kendrick, P.C. Kroger | Burrus LeBlanc Bland P.L.L.C. Legge Farrow Kimmitt McGrath & Brown, L.L.P. Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson LLP Liskow & Lewis Lorance & Thompson, PC MacIntyre & McCulloch, LLP McGinnis Lochridge & Kilgore LLP McGuireWoods LLP McLeod Alexander Powel & Apffel PC MehaffyWeber PC Miller Scamardi & Carraba Mills Shirley L.L.P. Morris Lendais Hollrah & Snowden Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, P.C. Murray | Lobb PLLC Nathan Sommers Jacobs Ogden, Gibson, Broocks, Longoria & Hall, LLP Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. Pagel Davis & Hill PC Parrott Sims & McInnis, PLLC Perdue Brandon Fielder Collins & Mott Perdue Kidd & Vickery Phelps Dunbar LLP Phillips, Akers & Womac, PC Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP Ramey, Chandler, McKinley & Zito Ramsey & Murray PC Reynolds, Frizzell, Black, Doyle, Allen & Oldham L.L.P. Roach & Newton, L.L.P. Roberts Markel Weinberg PC Ross, Banks, May, Cron & Cavin, P.C. Royston, Rayzor, Vickery & Williams, L.L.P. Rusty Hardin & Associates, P.C. Rymer, Moore, Jackson & Echols, P.C. Schiffer Odom Hicks & Johnson PLLC Schirrmeister Diaz-Arrastia Brem LLP Schwartz, Junell, Greenberg & Oathout, LLP Schwartz, Page & Harding L.L.P. Shannon Martin Finkelstein & Alvarado, P.C.
Shepherd, Scott, Clawater & Houston, L.L.P. Shipley Snell Montgomery LLP Short Carter Morris, LLP Singleton Cooksey PLLC Smith Murdaugh Little & Bonham, L.L.P. Smyser Kaplan & Veselka, L.L.P. Sprott, Rigby, Newsom, Robbins & Lunceford, P.C. Stevenson & Murray Strong Pipkin Bissell & Ledyard, L.L.P. Stuart & Associates P.C. Sutton McAughan Deaver, PLLC Tekell, Book, Allen & Morris, L.L.P. Thompson & Horton LLP Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons, LLP Tucker, Taunton, Snyder & Slade, P.C. Tucker Vaughan Gardner & Barnes, P.C. The Ward Law Firm Ware, Jackson, Lee & Chambers, L.L.P. Watt Beckworth Thompson Henneman & Sullivan LLP Weycer Kaplan Pulaski & Zuber, P.C. White Mackillop & Gallant P.C. Williams, Birnberg & Andersen, L.L.P. Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas LLP Williams Morgan & Amerson, P.C. Willingham, Fultz & Cougill, LLP Wilson, Cribbs & Goren, P.C. Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker Wright Abshire, Attorneys, PC Wright & Close, L.L.P. Yetter Coleman LLP Ytterberg Deery Knull LLP Zimmerman, Axelrad, Meyer, Stern & Wise, P.C. Zimmermann, Lavine, Zimmermann, & Sampson, P.C. Zukowski, Bresenhan, Sinex & Petry LLP Firms of 25-49 Attorneys Adams & Reese LLP Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP Baker & McKenzie LLP Beck I Redden LLP Beirne, Maynard & Parsons, L.L.P. Chamberlain Hrdlicka White Williams & Aughtry Coats I Rose Cokinos Bosien & Young Gibbs & Bruns LLP Greenberg Traurig, LLP Hoover Slovacek LLP Jones Day Littler Mendelson, PC Olson & Olson LLP Seyfarth Shaw LLP Firms of 50-100 Attorneys Baker Hostetler LLP Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP Jackson Walker L.L.P. Martin, Disiere, Jefferson & Wisdom, L.L.P.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP Porter Hedges LLP Thompson & Knight LLP Winstead PC Firms of 100+ Attorneys Andrews Kurth LLP Baker Botts L.L.P. Bracewell & Giuliani LLP Fulbright & Jaworski LLP Haynes and Boone LLP Locke Lord LLP Vinson & Elkins LLP Corporate Legal Departments Anadarko Petroleum Corporation AT&T Texas BP CenterPoint Energy El Paso Corporation Kellogg Brown & Root Inc LyondellBasell Industries MAXXAM Inc Newfield Exploration Company Petrobras America Inc. Plains Exploration & Production Co. Pride International Inc. Rice University S & B Engineers and Constructors, Ltd Sysco Corporation Texas Children’s Hospital Total E&P USA Inc. University of Houston System Law School Faculty South Texas College of Law Thurgood Marshall School of Law University of Houston Law Center Government Agencies City of Houston Legal Department Harris County Attorney’s Office Harris County District Attorney’s Office Harris County Domestic Relations Office Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County Texas Port of Houston Authority of Harris County Texas
28th John J. Eikenburg Law Week Fun Run Benefits The Center T he 28th John J. Eikenburg Law Week Fun Run on March 23rd raised $59,902 for The Center, a nonprofit agency that provides opportunities that promote individual choice, personal growth and community involvement for persons with developmental disabilities and those needing similar services, so they may reach their maximum potential. This brings the total to $1,072,420 in contributions to The Center over the life of the race. Over 800 walkers and runners participated in the event, based this year at the Houston Public Library Plaza. Named after the late former HBA president who founded the race in 1985, the John J. Eikenburg Law Week Fun Run is truly a team effort that involves many months of planning
and coordination. Race directors were Patrick Beaton of Locke Lord LLP, Andrew Pearce of BoyarMiller P.C. and Nicole Voyles of Jenkins & Kamin, L.L.P. The 2012-2013 Fun Run Committee included Jeremiah Anderson, Sherry Bankhead, Peter Blomquist, Meredith Clark, Kate Cross, Tonja De Sloover, Joe DiRago, Barry Hammond, the Hon. George Hanks, Jr., Ann Johnson, Mary Markantonis, Daniel Mathis, Simon Mayer, Sunny McCarty, Chance McMillan, Susan Oehl, Kara Philbin, the Hon. Wesley Ward, Marke Wege, Katherine A. Willyard and Zach Wolfe. Photos by Anthony Rathbun Photography. To see race results and Fun Run photos, see the link on the HBA website, www.hba.org.
Members of the Eikenburg family come out each year to support the race, named after the late John J. Eikenburg, who started the event as president of the Houston Residents of The Center participate in the one-mile family walk Bar Association in 1985-86.
Runners of all ages prepare for the race, based this year at the Houston Public Library Plaza. thehoustonlawyer.com
Runners of all ages can enjoy the Eikenburg Law Week Fun Run.
Runners take off in the 8K event.
Grand Old Grizzly provided live music to pump up the crowd.
The Strasburger & Price team of Kelsey Sproull, John Spiller and Trent Stephens took home the President’s Trophy for the fastest law firm team.
Post-race festivities were emceed by Lee Jolly with help from HBA President Brent Benoit, above.
Law Week Fun Run Sponsors Platinum Sponsor HBA Litigation Section South Texas College of Law Gold Sponsor Exxon Mobil Corporation Shook, Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P. Vinson & Elkins LLP
Vaughn Gibbs, #527, had the fastest time in the race, but runners of all ages competed for unique awards created by residents of The Center. 38
Silver Sponsor Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend Amicus Search Group LLC ATA Associates, Inc. BoyarMiller Burgower & Rainwater, LLP Judge Kyle Carter Ellison Keller, P.C. Judge Mike Engelhart Feder, Lucero & Wollam, L.L.P. Fernelius Alvarez PLLC Fizer Beck Webster Bentley & Scroggins Houston Bar Association Auxiliary Charitable Fund, Inc. Hughes Watters Askanase LLP Justice Jane and Doug Bland Jenkins & Kamin, LLP Johnson, Trent, West & Taylor, L.L.P. King & Spalding LLP Legal Directories Publishing Company, Inc. Locke Lord LLP Looper Reed & McGraw P.C. Lubel Voyles LLP Luby’s, Inc. Nathan Sommers Jacobs
Nell McCallum & Associates, Inc. Paul Hastings LLP Pappas Restaurants, Inc. Schwartz, Junell, Greenberg & Oathout, LLP Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff & Miller, LLP Strasburger & Price, LLP Sunbelt Reporting & Litigation Services UHY Advisors, Inc. U. S. Legal Support Winstead PC Other Important Supporters CBS Radio – Hot 95.7 FM Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. Grand Old Grizzly Luke’s Locker Refreshments Faust Distributing Company Freshii Juice Girl Porch Swing Desserts The Coca-Cola Company The Kroger Co. Todd Lonergan Security Secured by Constable Alan Rosen and his staff from Precinct 1. Master of Ceremonies Services donated by long-time emcee Lee Jolly
Houston Lawyers Who Made a Difference
James Stephen Hogg
By Hon. Mark Davidson
n the quarter century from 1880 to 1905, Texas went from becoming an agricultural and ranching area to a major part of the industrialization of our Nation. The person that had the most to do with this transition was the man who served as Attorney General from 1887 to 1891 and as Governor from 1891 to 1895 – James Stephen Hogg. To every resident of our state – then and now – he made a difference that will endure as long as we are known as “Texas.” As Attorney General, he filed suits to protect the lands set aside for our schools and universities, and was successful. Over a million and a half acres were turned over to the state, and the sale of the surface rights and mineral interests of those lands is today the basis of the endowments known as the Permanent School Fund and the Permanent University Fund. At a time in which railroads were the primary form of transport for both people and agricultural products, he stopped price fixing and monopolistic
practices. Becoming Governor, he used his popularity to create the Texas Railroad Commission, cracking down even more on the most powerful special interest in late-Nineteenth Century America. Discovering that outof-state corporations were taking advantage of Texans, he James Stephen Hogg persuaded the legislature to pass the State’s first securities laws. He prohibited grants of land to large corporations and encouraged the state to sell them at low cost to the families who would settle West Texas. Leaving government, he moved to Houston and started the firm of Hogg, Watkins and Jones. The firm was involved in shaping the law of mineral exploration in the years following the dis-
covery of oil at Spindletop in 1901. Although Hogg died at the young age of 54, he accomplished much in those years, and left children who advanced his legacy for our city in many ways during the balance of the Twentieth Century. Governor John B. Connally was once asked to name the best governor in the history of Texas. He listed Jim Hogg in a list of two. Coming from Gov. Connally, that is high praise and the best recognition of the difference Hogg made for our state.
The Hon. Mark Davidson is an MDL judge and judge (retired) of the 11th District Court. His column for The Houston Lawyer focuses on Houston attorneys who have had significant impact on the law, the legal profession and those served by the law.
in pro f e s s io n a l i s m
Denise Scofield Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
The Houston Lawyer
rue professionalism does not come easy. True professionalism is marked by working late nights to meet a clientâ€™s needs, demonstrating complete candor with the court even when the other side has not, extending courtesies to your opponent when doing so really will not hinder your clientâ€™s interests, only your own, and dressing up for court to show respect for the judge, jury, client, and process despite the fact that you really would rather be in something more comfortable. True professionalism means returning every phone call and responding to the countless emails you receive every day, mentoring younger lawyers who want to know everything you know about the practice of
law, accepting that the most gratifying engagements sometimes come without remuneration, acknowledging that the best paying clients sometimes are not suitable for your representation because of the strings attached, and never going to sleep at night wondering if you broke the rules. True professionalism is taking a pro bono case because you know that your hard-earned skill set makes you uniquely qualified to address unmet legal needs. True professionalism means serving on boards of non-profits and lending a helping hand to a neighbor. True professionalism is meeting the hard issues we face on a daily basis with integrity and compassion. It is what makes us trusted advisors to our clients and stewards of our communities.
The Houston Lawyer Editorial Board By Tamara Stiner Toomer
their legal practice. n November 6, 1963, The who volunteer their time and resources Since the mid-1990s, the editorial Houston Lawyer was first to give back to others. Thus, it seems distributed to only fitting that The Housmembers of the ton Lawyer editorial board Houston Bar Asis spotlighted in this annual sociation as they entered the volunteerism issue. The fall Harvest Party. Almost 50 hard work and efforts of the years later, The Houston Lawcurrent and past editorial yer is still going strong by conboard members make The tinuing to apprise the nearly Houston Lawyer one of the 11,500 members of the Housleading bar journals. The ton Bar Association and the magazine has won numerbroader Houston community ous awards from the State of legal developments on the Bar of Texas, including best local and national levels. local bar publication, best The Houston Lawyer, which news feature and best series began as the brain child of of articles, and a Lone Star Editor Quinnan Hodges and Award from the Houston Business Manager Harold Press Club for a special isLloyd, now has nearly 30 sue on legal problems faced volunteers that comprise its by veterans. The current ededitorial board. The Housitorial board members carry ton Lawyerâ€™s editorial board on this tradition and are brings together a vast array proud to continue what beof resources from a diverse gan nearly five decades ago. group of dedicated volunteers To learn more about The that cover various practice arHouston Lawyer and other eas and specialties. Attorneys, Houston Bar Association judges and others serving the committees, visit www.hba. Houston legal community volorg. unteer to write, review and edit articles on the latest leTamara Stiner Toomer is gal issues and trends. Editoan associate in the Business rial board members offer The The first issue of The Houston Lawyer was distributed at the Harvest and Securities Litigation Party in November 1963. Houston Lawyer readers a full Group with McGuireWoods suite of services by reviewing movies, board has dedicated one issue of The LLP. She is a former editor in chief of The books, and software that may be of inHouston Lawyer annually to recognize Houston Lawyer and a member of the terest to practitioners and assist them in those in the Houston Bar community editorial board. thehoustonlawyer.com
OFF THE RECORD
The President Called –
There’s an Opening on the Supreme Court By Keri D. Brown
The Houston Lawyer
dents would find it interesting, he thought—but the website went viral. Within 24 hours of its launch, the website had 1,000 registered users. Soon, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and law blogs throughout the nation wrote about FantasySCOTUS.net. Today, the site has 16,000 users who make thousands of predictions every term.
insburglars.” “Marbury v. Madison Square Garden.” “I Know It When I See It.” Such is the world of fantasy Supreme Court opinion prediction leagues. Fantasy what? You read it right—fantasy leagues for predicting the opinions of the United States Supreme Court. So How Does it Work? Giving lawyers, law students, and anyFor each case before the Supreme Court, a one else with an interest in the workings of user predicts how each of the nine justices the nation’s highest court yet another way to will rule on the issue (i.e., affirm, reverse, or compete for bragging rights among their colrecuse). Once the opinion is published, the leagues, South Texas College of Law Assistant user is awarded ten points for each correct Professor Josh Blackman has created a way prediction, with a point bonus for correctly for all of us to put our prediction skills to the predicting all of the justices’ rulings for that test in a quest to win the title of Chief Justice. Josh Blackman put his background in case. Blackman is founder of FantasySCOTUS.net, computer science to work and launched Those striving for complete and utter domiFantasy.SCOTUS.net. and awaits the announcement of Supreme nance join “The Elect League.” Members of Court opinions with bated breath, The Elect League must make a predicready to analyze the opinion and the tion for every case the Supreme Court votes of the justices and award points is going to hear in the current term. accordingly. No guts, no glory, after all. The winBlackman first dreamt up the idea ner of this league is awarded bragging for the league in September 2009, rights, the coveted title of Chief Juswhen the Supreme Court was set to tice of FantasySCOTUS.net, and the hear and decide Citizens United v. Fedenvy and admiration of fantasy leagueral Election Commission (558 U.S. 310 ers sitewide. (2010)). He first thought it would be Those lacking the intestinal fortifunny if the Vegas bookies took bets tude to join The Elect League instead on the outcome of the Supreme Court’s are in one of the “Least Dangerous cases. Then, the flash of genius: What Leagues.” Even here, bragging rights, if there was a fantasy league for these Answers on page 51 in the form of badges, can be earned. cases like there is for fantasy football or fantasy baseball? The Court’s opinions are divided into four categories: constituBlackman put his background in computer science to work, and tional law, business law, criminal law, and “other,” and the top in November 2009, he launched FantasySCOTUS.net. He did not predictor in each category is awarded a badge for their effort. expect many people to join—maybe law professors and law stuContinued on page 49
Certified EMS., Inc. v. Potts: A Plaintiff Friendly MedMal Opinion for the Texas Supreme Court By Chance A. McMillan
edical-malpractice opinions from the Texas Supreme Court are rarely enjoyable reads for plaintiff’s attorneys.1 Certified EMS, Inc., D/B/A CPNS Staffing v. Potts is an exception.2 On February 15, 2013, the court held that plaintiffs do not have to address all liability theories when filing their Chapter 74 expert reports.3 Instead, plaintiffs only have to adequately address one theory of liability to survive a defendant’s motion to dismiss.4 Cherie Potts was admitted to Christus St. Catherine (“hospital”) for treatment of a kidney infection.5 The nurse assigned to her was referred to the hospital via a staffing agency owned by Certified EMS (“Certified”).6 Ms. Potts claimed that during her stay at the hospital, the nurse assaulted her verbally and sexually.7 Ms. Potts brought a health care liability suit against the hospital, the nurse, and Certified alleging the assaults caused her physical pain and anxiety.8 Ms. Potts alleged multiple theories of liability against Certified, including direct and vicarious liability for the actions of
Pursuant to TEX. the nurse.9 CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE §74.351, Ms. Potts served Certified with an expert report, which Certified challenged.10 After Ms. Potts cured the alleged defects, Certified again objected and moved to dismiss on numerous grounds.11 For the purpose of the opinion, the relevant objection was that Ms. Potts’s expert report did not specifically address Certified’s direct liability for the nurse’s inappropriate conduct.12 The trial court denied Certified’s motion to dismiss, and the court of appeals affirmed.13 The lone issue was whether a claimant in a health care liability suit must provide an expert report for each pleaded liability theory.14 Certified argued that the liability theories unsupported by an expert report should be dismissed; therefore, Ms. Potts’s theory on Certified’s direct liability should be dismissed.15 Conversely, Ms. Potts claimed that one liability theory adequately covered in the expert report was sufficient to allow her case to proceed to trial.16 In affirming the court of appeals, the court focused on the actual language of the Texas Medical Liability Act (“Act”) stating, “[n]o provision of the Act requires an expert report to address each alleged liability theory.”17 The court also focused on the legislative intent behind the 2003 Amendment to the Act which was to “dispose of frivolous claims, not to dispose of claims regardless of their merit.”18 The court found that if a plaintiff can show, by way of an expert report, that it has one legitimate liability theory against a defendant, its claim is not frivolous or baseless.19 People are noting the rarity of the situation: a medical malpractice opinion from the Texas Supreme Court favoring plaintiffs.20 Might this be a sign of things to come? We will see. One thing is clear following the Certified EMS, Inc. v. Potts opinion, and that is once a plaintiff establishes its claim against the
defendant, it does not have to produce expert reports covering every element of the case. Chance A. McMillan is an associate with Thomas N. Thurlow & Associates. His practice is dedicated to personal injury and civil litigation. He is a member of The Houston Lawyer Editorial Board. Endnotes See John Council, Med-Mal Expert Reports Need Not Address All Liability Theories, TEXAS LAWYER, March 4, 2013, at 1. 2. Id. 3. Certified EMS, Inc., D/B/A CPNS Staffing v. Potts, 2013 WL 561471, at *6 (Tex. February 15, 2013). 4. Id. at *1. 5. Id. 6. Id. 7. Id. 8. Id. 9. Id. 10. Id. 11. Id. 12. Id. 13. Id. 14. Id. 15. Id. 16. Id. 17. Id. at 3*. 18. Id. at 4*. 19. Id. 20. John Council, Med-Mal Expert Reports Need Not Address All Liability Theories, TEXAS LAWYER, March 4, 2013, at 1. 1.
Duke Law Holds Post-Graduate Degree Program for Judges By John K. Rabiej
ighteen judges from federal, state, and foreign courts are returning to Duke Law School in May for another four weeks of intensive postgraduate courses in judicial studies. The State of Texas is well represented with thehoustonlawyer.com
The Houston Lawyer
three judges attending, including Supreme Court Justice Eva M. Guzman, Justice Kem T. Frost of the Court of Appeals — 14th District, and Magistrate Judge George C. Hanks Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The new LLM program examines the history and processes that have shaped the institution of the judiciary and continue to affect judicial decision-making. No other law school offers judges a post-graduate educational degree program. Each judge has been given a full or nearly full scholarship to cover tuition, as well as a stipend to cover travel and living expenses in Durham. Last year the inaugural class of the Master of Laws in Judicial Studies (LLM) program took courses on analytical methods, international law in U.S. courts, federalism, forensic finance, and the study of the judiciary. The classes were taught by members of the Duke Law faculty and visiting jurists and scholars, including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who taught a seminar on Constitutional Courts. A comparable course schedule, with faculty including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, will be held this May. After the second four-week session (May 20-June 14), the judges return to their home chambers and work on a thesis for the next nine months. Each thesis will be a substantial, independent research paper, addressing subject matter covered in the curriculum, including assessments of factors that influence judicial decision-making. In this way, lessons learned during the LLM program will be more broadly disseminated and applied, leading to greater impact on the administration of justice. The judges-students had to keep up with their official judicial business during their time at Duke, often staying up late at night doing double duty. “But the effort is well worth the reward,” said 44
Justice Kem Frost. “In addition to providing access to an exemplary faculty, the Judicial Studies program affords impressive access to other leading scholars, researchers, and academicians in the relevant fields of study. The opportunity to interface and dialogue directly with these experts adds a valuable dimension to the program.” Participation by judges at every level, from throughout the U.S. and other countries, allows comparative study and increases information-sharing among judges who often face the same issues and problems, yet generally operate independently of each other and lack opportunities to learn from each other’s experiences. With its interdisciplinary approach, emphasizing both the theoretical and the practical, the rigorous curriculum challenges judges to maintain the highest standards of professional competency. At the same time, judges have the chance to reflect on the judicial system and gain deeper insights and analytical tools to improve their own courtrooms. Judge Andre Davis of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit remarked that: “It’s a major commitment. It’s hard, hard for all of us, hard to arrange your schedule, and hard to take four weeks away. But it’s very meaningful to have this opportunity. And the benefits far outweigh the sacrifices.” The curriculum is distinctive in focusing on the judiciary as an institution, said Jack Knight, the Frederic Cleaveland Professor of Law and Political Science, who serves as co-academic director of the Center for Judicial Studies with Professor Mitu Gulati. “There are some traditional law school courses, focusing on jurisprudence and recent issues in law, and there are some social science courses, focusing on the administration of courts and how the courts are organized,” he added. “It is an interesting blend of approaches, and we
are thinking it will facilitate productive discussions and perhaps new ideas for further scholarly study.” “I wanted to enhance my skill set,” Magistrate Judge George Hanks Jr. added. “I wanted to be in an atmosphere where I would have the luxury of time to think more deeply about the law and to be around others doing the same. To excel at your job, you need to take time to reflect and review.” The judges also had a chance to bond in class and over home-cooked dinners and to learn from one another. “We have judges here from all levels,” said Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman. “We’re learning how we have handled similar situations. We’re getting a broader view, and we’re able to explore issues that can only enhance the work we do.” Recently retired Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson of the Supreme Court of North Carolina strongly endorsed the program saying: “The challenging curriculum was intensive and rewarding. Not only did I expand my knowledge of judicial institutions and judicial decision-making, but I also learned much from my fellow classroom colleagues about different procedures and processes that could be adopted in my own court to handle effectively our judicial duties. . . . Every judge who is interested in enhancing their judicial decisionmaking or improving the justice system that we all serve should seriously consider submitting an application.” Information on Duke’s Master in Judicial Studies LLM program is posted at http://law.duke.edu/judicialstudies/ degree/. John K. Rabiej is the director of the Duke Law Center for Judicial Studies. He was the Executive Director of the Sedona Conference and for nearly 20 years head of the office staffing the United States Judicial Conference Rules Committees..
Disrobed: An Inside Look at the Life and Work of a Federal Trial Judge By Frederic Block West, 405 pages Reviewed by Polly Graham
udge Frederic Block started out as a solo practitioner with a oneroom office next to the railroad tracks in Suffolk County. Within six years, he was arguing a “one-man, one-vote” case before the United States Supreme Court, challenging the constitutionality of his local government. Over the next three decades, he built a successful private practice, developed one of the best local bar organizations in the county, and spearheaded a groundbreaking investigation into complaints of police brutality. Meanwhile, he found time to write lyrics for a satirical off-Broadway musical along his way to a judicial appointment to the Eastern District of New York. The story behind these accomplishments—and many more—are told in Judge Block’s witty memoir of his work on and off the bench, entitled Disrobed:
An Inside Look at the Life and Work of a Federal Trial Judge. The book has the comfortable and intimate tone of an experienced judge recounting important lessons gathered over the course of an expansive and successful career. Judge Block recalls the anxiety of sitting in a new law office, with a wife and baby at home, waiting for business. He describes the struggles later of maintaining a practice with partners who do not always share similar goals and wades candidly into his experience with the disillusioning world of local politics. When the book transitions to Judge Block’s career on the bench, the candor and tone of his stories remain unchanged. Judge Block delves into the theory of criminal sentencing and the downside of harsh mandatory minimums. He takes on controversial issues such as capital punishment and drug laws, giving the reader a legal and historical lesson while weaving in personal stories from the bench. Judge Block lightens up the heavy subjects above with skillful humor. For example, he recalls the man who for years stashed $2 million dollars in a safe deposit box away from the IRS, only to have his wife disappear with the money and then face the choice of forgiving his wife or reporting the theft and facing jail himself. The man decided forgiveness was the better path. Then, there are the cases that made media headlines, such as his sentencing in 2004 of the Gambino crime family boss, Peter Gotti, to nine years, four months in prison for money laundering and racketeering charges. Judge Block gives an inside-the-courtroom perspective on the trials of key members in the
Gambino crime family, which dominated mafia activities in New York City. He describes what it was like to preside over trials following the Crown Heights riots when racial tensions were at a breaking point in New York City, and over hearings on a habeas petition filed by the man who committed the brutal murder of Kitty Genovese while apathetic urban dwellers did nothing. He also explores the federal courts’ capacity to handle cases involving terrorist suspects and suggests that they are equipped to face the challenge. For litigators, Disrobed: An Inside Look at the Life and Work of a Federal Trial Judge will provide an insightful view behind the bench. For all other readers, it will provide an intriguing and often humorous account of a remarkable career. Polly Graham is an associate in the appellate practice group at Haynes and Boone, LLP and a member of The Houston Lawyer Editorial Board.
PARTY TALK: Answers to Everyday Legal Questions for Texas Lawyers Published by the State Bar of Texas Reviewed by Farrah Martinez
ou are casually dressed and completely relaxed as you watch with the other parents, thoroughly enjoying your kid’s first soccer game of the season. Another parent starts an introductory conversation full of who, what, thehoustonlawyer.com
The Houston Lawyer
currently have a law banning all drivwhen, where and how questions. Then ers from texting, drivers under the age he or she pops the question: “What do of 18 are prohibited from using wireyou do for a living?” You quickly reless communication devices (which spond, “I am a lawyer,” as you swiftly atwould include texting devices), except tempt to move on to the next topic. Howin cases of emergency. Tex. Transp. ever, your efforts are thwarted by his Code § 545.424(a)(2). With limited exor her intrigue with the legal profession ceptions drivers may not use a wireless and, without a doubt, you anticipate the communication devise within school next question to come. You have been zones. Tex. Tranps. Code § 545.424(b). here before, over and over again: “I have There are also various city ordinances a legal question, and maybe you can throughout Texas relating to “distracted help.” driving”—so be careful!! LOL.1 Unfortunately, most of the “casual” leParty Talk also gives guidance to lawgal questions presented range so greatly yers on how to avoid liability if he or in their variety that they often fall outshe gives legal advice at a party. Simply side of the scope of one’s legal practice stated, Texas courts understand the lawor specialty. No lawyer commands a yer’s plight in these situations and are complete knowledge of all aspects of the generally very reluctant to allow lawsuits law. Nevertheless, lawyers are expected against lawyers for any tort other than to answer these tricky legal questions on malpractice or breach of fiduciary duty. demand and with precision. However, lawsuits could still be filed and Party Talk, a recently published book the best preby the State Bar ventive meaof Texas, lays sure to them out answers to is to gracefully what are often decline to give thorny quesadvice. Sometions, including times, howevthe social meer, that is easier dia craze which said than done. has inserted itSo, the State self into almost Bar of Texas every facet of has published law and every this book full facet of social of questions to conver s at ion. ANSWERS TO EVERYDAY LEGAL QUESTIONS FOR TEXAS LAWYERS prepare you for While still covyour next party. ering the traditional topics such as noisy I recommend it. neighbors, late child support, and aggressive debt collectors, Party Talk still Farrah Martinez is the Director of Legismanages to offer a quick, easy read that lative Affairs at the Harris County District provides an intelligent way of dealing Clerk’s Office. She is also a member of with how to respond to these legal quesThe Houston Lawyer Editorial Board. tions and expectations. My favorite question is below: Endnotes Question: Is it legal to text while driv1. This answer was provided by Grant Scheiner of ing? Houston. More than fifty questions are answered in Answer: OMG, I can’t believe u would Party Talk by various lawyers throughout the State ask me that!!! While Texas does not of Texas. 46
10 Ways the HBA serves you. • Meet your MCLE requirements through 80+ hours of FREE CLE and 120+ hours of discounted online CLE programming each year • Support your profession and community • Professional networking opportunities. • Get to know the local judiciary • Pro Bono opportunities • Stay current on legal issues, educational programs and events through HBA publications • Learn to lead through committee participation • Gain the right tools for your practice through Section membership • Opportunities to participate in over 35 community programs • Partnership discounts at local venues and vendors
Enhance your practice Try the HBA advantage.
Sowing Seeds of Hope through Pro Bono Service
The 64Th AnnuAl hArvesT CelebrATion Monday, November 18, 2013 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. River Oaks Country Club 1600 River Oaks Blvd. Benefiting the Houston Bar Foundation.
100% of net proceeds raised for the Harvest Celebration directly benefit pro bono efforts in our community through the Houston Bar Foundation. underwrite the harvest Celebration. Pledge form available at www.hba.org.
Office Space MIDTOWN – 3000 SMITH Sublease with established law firm, partner office (20 X 12). Use of amenities, reception area, kitchen, conference room, free covered parking. Call: 713-524-2400.
The Houston Lawyer
Great office space at 1601 Westheimer at Mandell, minutes from downtown Houston. Rent includes shared access to two conference rooms, kitchens, internet, cable, phones with VM, all utilities, parttime receptionist. Window offices ranging from $400-$1,000 per month with no long-term commitment. Please call Mark Kidd at 713-968-4601 for information.
unfurnished exterior or ninth floor offices ranging from 193 SF to 116 SF that are available for sublease to individual tenants on a similar basis with monthly rentals ranging from $500.00/month to $1,400.00/ month with a one year lease. We offer reception service and a waiting room for your clients and visitors. We have our own monitored security system in addition to the building 24 hr security patrol system that will protect your office. We offer scheduled use of a 447 SF conference room for depositions and meetings for 10 – 16 individuals, and a 175 small conference room for meetings with up to 8 individuals that is normally available, and also available for scheduled use with payment of a nominal reservation/ use charge. Covered parking spaces are included in the basic rental. These offices are available for oneyear lease at rental rates that vary between $450.00 and $1800.00 per month. We have two spare 126 SF paralegal workstations that are available for lease at $350.00 per month. File cabinets may be located in our central file storage room for an additional charge of $10.00 per month for each 5-drawer file cabinet located outside of your leased office space. Coffee for you and your guests that you may serve yourself from the break rooms is included. Call 713-961-7770 for information.
and long distance telephone, private voicemail, high speed internet T2 Speed, printer, copier, fax, Lexis Nexis, ProDoc, filing and pick up for Court documents, and full kitchen. Accounting Services are available at an extra charge. Great working and collaborative environment. Call Philip: 713-208-2222.
Mid-size firm in Uptown/Galleria near Post Oak. Seven offices and four Secretarial / Paralegal stations available. Amenities include filing space, fax, copier, kitchen, conference rooms, internet, receptionist, and covered parking. Call Nikki Peoples at 713-752-8318 for more information.
Sublease Houston Downtown/Prestigious Building. One unfurnished attorney window office and one furnished secretarial window office. Access to furnished reception area and kitchen. Spacious conference rooms available through building at no additional cost. Tunnel access. Call Barnet 713-659-8761.
1914 N. MEMORIAL WAY – 3,600 sq. ft. law office for lease, with or without furniture. 2 minutes to downtown. Gerber Realty, 713-7749124 or David@GerberRealty.com.
HOUSTON–GREENWAY PLAZA AREA Large window office for sublease in fully furnished suite. Includes lobby area, three conference rooms, kitchen, private bathroom, phone system, internet access, copier, fax, scanner and free parking. $850.00 per month. Secretarial office also available for additional cost. Contact Stephanie or Marlene at 713337-6449. email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
2 offices available (14X12 and 9X12) with 3 secretarial stations WEST LOOP - MEMORIAL PARK in Frost Bank Building at Bellaire Large window office available with and West Loop. Conference room, view of arboretum. Minutes from library, kitchen, high-speed copier downtown via Memorial Drive. Heights/I-10 - Beautifully remod- / scanner / fax machine. Please call Amenities include telephone, fax, eled 2-story building just minutes 713-665-7000. Rent negotiable. copier, internet, coffee bar, law li- from Downtown Houston now brary, use of conference rooms and offering executive legal offices Midtown Attorney Office reception services. Secretarial ser- with access to conference rooms, Space-3006 Brazos: Beautiful three vices also available. Free parking. a full-time receptionist, Wi-Fi/ story century-old building. Fully Additional space available for sec- phone/internet included, starting modernized. Two kitchens, three retarial/paralegal use. Please call as low as $700/month with short conference rooms, free gated park713-622-6223. term leases available. Please call ing and street parking. Scenic view 713-861-3595. of downtown. Up to four offices EXECUTIVE PLAZA/GALLERIA available, plus areas for support perAREA — EXECUTIVE ATTOR- Attorney office for sublease- AV sonnel. Rates based on office size. NEY OFFICE SUITES in an exist- rated firm, class A build out, Gal- Email: email@example.com ing law firm are available for SOLE leria area. Possibility for referor call 713-403-7400. PRACTIONER LAWYERS AND rals. Please send inquiries to OTHER LAWYERS WITH LIM- firstname.lastname@example.org. GLEANNLOCH FARMS Pre-leasITED STAFF. Two furnished 242 ing 1,000-3,000 SF small office SF exterior ninth floor offices that RIVER OAKS TOWER Kirby & buildings in an office village. Ocare available for sublease to individ- Richmond 5 - Family Law Attorneys cupancy Fall 2013 Golf Course ual tenants on an executive office sharing offices has 1 office space 10’ area. Office near your home. suite basis for $1,800.00/mo with X 11’ available for sublease. Ameni- PIN OAK OFFICE VILLAGE. a one- year lease. Eight additional ties include conference room, local Phil 281-732-3086. 48
Positions Available Experienced litigation attorney sought by firm with a focus on multi-family, landlord representation. Competitive pay. Great environment. Stable and repeat client base. Send confidential resume email@example.com. Litigation firm with a focus on landlord representation is seeking experienced litigation paralegal/ legal secretary. Competitive pay with great working environment. Send confidential resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Professional Services Ticket and DWI defense, traffic warrant removal, DPS license hearings, occupational driver’s licenses, and driver’s license issues. Robert W. Eutsler. www.TheTicketAttorney.com Tel. 713-464-6461. Positions Wanted Oklahoma City law firm seeks oil and gas title attorney licensed to practice in Texas. The successful candidate will have an excellent academic background and a minimum of five years of experience. Pay is commensurate with experience. Relocation is required. Please send cover letters and resumes to email@example.com.
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From page 42
Users also can earn badges for correctly predicting the votes of the individual justices. Take the quiz on page 42 — see if you can match the badges with the justice. Above all, don’t get Borked! The Harlan Institute After he launched FantasySCOTUS.net, Blackman started hearing from high school teachers nationwide. They were using his website to teach their students about constitutional law and the Supreme Court, but having to make predictions for each individual justice was too difficult for the students, given the limited time they could dedicate to the subject. Blackman and a friend, Yaakov Roth, founded the Harlan Institute, a nonprofit with the goal of creating easy-to-teach lessons dealing with cases the Supreme Court was set to hear. The Harlan Institute creates a scaled-down version of FantasySCOTUS.net— instead of predicting 80 cases, students predict five. Blackman and the team at the Harlan Institute also created lesson plans, a blog, and a virtual Supreme Court competition, where the students can take one side of the issue before the Court and debate other students around the country. The champion debaters win a trip to Washington DC. What Else Does This Guy Do? Blackman, finishing his first year at the South Texas College of Law, teaches property law and will add constitutional law to his STCL repertoire next year. He has written several books on constitutional law and law and technology. He recently finished a book titled Unprecedented: The Constitutional Challenge to Obamacare, which is set to be published in September (and is available for preorder on amazon.com!). He also runs another website, joshblackman.com, where he blogs about the Supreme Court, constitutional law, and the intersection of law and technology. Answers: 1. b, 2. h, 3. e, 4. a, 5. f, 6. i, 7. c, 8. d, 9. g. Keri D. Brown is a senior associate at Baker Botts L.L.P. and editor in chief of The Houston Lawyer.
PLACEMENT POLICY The Placement Service will assist HBA members by coordinating placement between attorneys and law firms. The service is available to HBA members and provides a convenient process for locating or filling positions.
5080 SEEKING ASSOCIATE LEGAL COUNSEL for Houston public pension fund. Approx. 4 years’ experience with retirement plans, employee benefits, administrative law, institutional investing or Texas local government law required. Background checks and drug testing. EOE.
1. To place an ad, attorneys and law firms must complete a registration record. Once registration is complete, your position wanted or available will be registered with the placement service for six months. If at the end of the six-month period you have 5094 ESTATE PLANNING not found or filled your position, it will be – PROBATE ATTORNEY. your responsibility to re-register with the SUGAR LAND. Board certified service in writing. 2. If you are registered, resumes will be sent out under their assigned code numbers. Once a firm has reviewed the resumes, they are to contact the placement office with the numbers they are interested in pursuing. The placement coordinator will then contact the attorney, give him/ her some background information on the inquiring firm, and the attorney will then let the coordinator know if he/she wishes personal information to be released to the firm. This process will insure maximum confidentiality and get the information to the firms and attorneys in the most expedient manner. 3. In order to promote the efficiency. PLEASE NOTIFY THE PLACEMENT COORDINATOR OF ANY POSITION FOUND OR FILLED. 4. To reply for a position available, send a letter to Pplacement Coordinator at the Houston Bar Association, 1300 First City Tower, 1001 Fannin St., Houston, TX 77002 or e-mail Brooke Benefield at BrookeE@hba.org. Include the code number and a resume for each position. The resume will be forwarded to the firm or company. Your resume will not be sent to your previous or current employers. PLACEMENT DEADLINES Jan. 1 Jan./Feb. Issue Mar. 1 March/April Issue May 1 May/June Issue July 1 July/August Issue Sept. 1 Sept./Oct. Issue Nov. 1 Nov./Dec. Issue If you need information about the Lawyer Placement Service, please contact HBA, placement coordinator, at the HBA office, 713-759-1133.
attorney, 33 year Houston area practice serving Harris/Fort Bend counties, seeking associate attorney with advanced estate planning and probate experience. Positions Wanted
2062 Very Experienced Trial Attorney intimately familiar with the mechanics and operation of the Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities (CMBS) industry, including the securitization process of commercial loans and the duties and responsibilities of Mortgage Loan Originators/Depositors, Underwriters of REMIC Trusts, Rating Agencies, Trustees, Servicers and Special Servicers. Looking for in-house position. 2066 2008 graduate of University of Texas Law, licensed in Texas with interest in civil litigation, and especially labor and employment. Summa cum laude B.A. in political science from Middlebury College. Worked for Texas Supreme Court during law school. Strongest assets are analytical, research, and writing skills. Looking for permanent position or temp-to-perm opportunity. If you need information about the Lawyer Placement Service, please contact HBA, placement coordinator, at the HBA office:
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