Page 1

Lawyers in the Community The Arts Green Spaces Houston Culture Needs Outstanding Pro Bono Service Honored by Bench and Bar Law Week Fun Run Benefits The Center Law Week 2015




Volume 52 – Number 6

May/June 2015

HBA Eikenburg Law Week Fun Run Celebrates 30 Years


Karen Highfield Mark Gentry Christine Belcher Karnauch

Chicago Title Commercial’s team of motivated Escrow Officers are dedicated to meeting challenges with an outstanding level of service. Let us guide you through the most efficient closing process possible.

Visit chicagotitlecommercial.com to learn how our team of highly experienced professionals can fulfill your commercial title needs.

713.238.9191 • 712 Main Street, Suite 2000E • Houston, TX 77002 • www.chicagotitlecommercial.com













713-868-7226 5023 Washington Avenue www.UrbanLiving.com www.urban Inc, TREC Broker #476135

NMLS: 137773

contents Volume 52 Number 6

lawyers in the community

May/June 2015



FEATURES in the Community 10 Lawyers The Arts ................ 10 Green Spaces ........ 16 Houston Culture..... 20 Needs ................... 24 Pro Bono Service 30 Outstanding Honored by Bench and Bar By Tara Shockley

HBA John J. Eikenburg 32 30th Law Week Fun Run Benefits



The Center

Us 34 Join How Can You Get Involved in HBA Committees and Sections to Enhance Your Practice and Personal Growth? By Tara Shockley

Week 2015: 36 Law The Magna Carta: Symbol of Freedom

Place Houston 38 First Bar Association

Law Week Essay Contest

The Houston Lawyer

Cover photo: Former and current co-chairs of the John J. Eikenburg Law Week Fun Run came out to support the race and The Center. Front row: Danielle Maya, Nicole Voyles, Alistair Dawson, Susan Oehl. Second row: Andrew Pearce, Meredith Clark, John Spiller, Pat Beaton, John Shepperd, Mark Wege, Jeremiah Anderson, Eric Pardue, Todd Frankfort. Photos by Anthony Rathbun Photography.

The Houston Lawyer (ISSN 0439-660X, U.S.P.S 008-175) is published bimonthly by The Houston Bar Association, 1111 Bagby Street, FLB 200, Houston, TX 77002. Periodical postage paid at Houston, Texas. Subscription rate: $12 for members. $25.00 non-members. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: The Houston Lawyer, 1111 Bagby Street, FLB 200, 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: leo@quantumsur.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. ŠThe Houston Bar Association, 2015. All rights reserved.


May/June 2015


contents Volume 52 Number 6

May/June 2015



departments Message 6 President’s Professionalism Still Alive and

Well in Houston

By M. carter crow the Editor 8 From Lawyers Giving Back By Robert Painter

Managing Internet Risks & Benefits

Internet Risks & Benefits 40 Managing Teens & Social Media:

Parent Cliff Notes

By Taunya Painter



Lawyers Who 41 Houston Made a Difference

Samuel H. Brashear

By The Hon. Mark Davidson the record 42 off Malcolm Gibson: Sometimes It Takes

a Brain Surgeon to Run a Marathon By Polly Graham Fohn

in Professionalism 43 ATheProfile Hon. Gray H. Miller United States District Judge, Southern District of Texas

SPOTLIGHT 44 COMMITTEE HBA Judicial Polls Committee By the Hon. Jeff Work



Reviews 45 Media The Lawyer’s Ultimate Guide

to Online Leads

Reviewed by Farrah Martinez Trends 46 Legal Supreme Court Issues Opinion

in Deepwater Horizon

By Preston D. Hutson

Texas Supreme Court Opens the Door to Mediation in Medical Malpractice Claims By Raymond L. Panneton

The Vanishing Spoliation Instruction By Chance A. McMillan

The Houston Lawyer

48 Litigation MarketPlace


May/June 2015


THE OTHER SIDE Chinese and Mexican Immigration to America

MARCH 28 – JULY 19, 2015

AsiaSociety.org/Texas 1370 Southmore Blvd. Houston, TX 77004 713.496.9901 Zhi Lin, “Chinaman’s Chance” on Promontory Summit: Golden Spike Celebration, 12:30 PM, 10th May 1869 (detail), 2015, HD video projection on painting (charcoal/oil on canvas), Courtesy of the artist and Koplin Del Rio Gallery, Culver City, CA

president’s message

By M. carter crow Norton Rose Fulbright

Professionalism Still Alive and Well in Houston

The Houston Lawyer


country have remarked on a historic collapse of public trust in s my year as president of the Houston Bar Associathe legal profession. When you have the privilege of being prestion comes to a close, the first thing I want to do is ident of the Houston Bar Association as I have, you see that we say thank you to all of you who helped me. There have a very different situation in Houston. In our city, lawyers are too many of you to name, but I want to recogreally do care about more than themselves. They care about nize a few. people, and about using their law licenses The job of HBA president is made so much and talents to help make people’s lives better. easier by the fact that the HBA has the best This is the true essence of service and When you have bar staff in the country. Leading the way is leadership. This is true professionalism. It is the indomitable Kay Sim. Most of you know the privilege alive and well in Houston today. I saw it virKay as the remarkable person who makes tually everywhere I went as president of the everything happen right, on time, and with of being president HBA. I saw it from the people we honored at near perfect organization. What you may not our Annual Dinner in May for outstanding know is that Kay is one of the most caring, of the Houston contributions to our bar and the community, compassionate people in Houston. and from our members who were honored for I can’t express how much she helped me Bar Association reaching their 50th year of practice. I saw it and the bar this year. In particular, Kay and in all of our dedicated committee chairs and her staff helped Houston put its best foot as I have, you see committee members, who planned events forward in hosting the American Bar Association Mid-Year meeting in February. My that we have a very that educated lawyers, helped our community, and served our residents. I saw it from thanks to Kay and the HBA staff. our section leaders, who are at the forefront I also want to thank the staff and attordifferent situation of making Houston lawyers the best in the neys at my firm, Norton Rose Fulbright. nation. These people are the very backbone Cindy Hickman, my secretary for 15 years, in Houston. In of the bar. They are the ones doing the real has done an outstanding job of organizing our city, lawyers work – serving on the committees, going to our work. Special thanks also to attorneys the meetings, and taking the pro bono cases. Andrea Fair, Darren Lindamood, Lauren really do care As members of the HBA, you make a cruBrogdon, Kimberly Cheeseman and Brian Alcial difference. Your efforts and your contribrecht, and to the many other attorneys in about more than butions make a very real difference in the the firm who have helped and supported me. lives of Houstonians. I also am grateful to Stewart Gagnon, Otway themselves. It was a privilege for me to see the service Denny and Jim Sales, the deans of pro bono and professionalism of our HBA members. work in Houston. These men set the ideal for But of course, the work is not over, and it will never be over. It all of us to follow. is in good hands with our new president, Laura Gibson, who Nearly two decades ago, the American Bar Association conhas the talent and dedication to help us stay the course. I look cluded that “lawyers’ professionalism may well be in steep deforward to serving under her leadership. cline.” Subsequent surveys by state bar associations around the


May/June 2015


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

May/June 2015


from the editor

By Robert Painter Painter Law Firm PLLC

Associate Editors

Angela L. Dixon Attorney at Law

Farrah Martinez Attorney at Law

Jill Yaziji Yaziji Law Firm

The Houston Lawyer

Polly Graham Fohn Haynes and Boone, LLP

Taunya Painter Painter Law Firm PLLC


May/June 2015

Lawyers Giving Back


This issue’s arts volunteer profiles include Justice his is my last column, which I am writing Brett Busby’s work with the Houston Symphony, the as I am closing in on the end of my two passion of Shawn Stephens for the Houston Ballet and years as editor-in-chief of this magazine. Stephanie Hay’s volunteer work for a variety of arts As I reflect on this experience, I find this organizations in the area. issue’s topic, volunteerism, to be fitting. We have profiled volunteerism that promotes outI have had the pleasure of working with door public spaces some outstanding atand activities, includtorney volunteers on ing Danny David’s the editorial board of work in preserving The Houston Lawyer. Hermann Park, James Other than excelling Doyle’s commitment at the tedium of editto keeping Galveston ing duties, the attorBay environmentally neys who serve on the sound, and Amanda editorial board freely McMillan’s work for share ideas that come the Houston Arborefrom their diverse backgrounds and prac- The Houston Lawyer’s 2014-2015 Editorial Board, from left: Jill Yaziji, associate tum. Our authors have tice areas. Their spirit editor; the Hon. Jeff Work; Judy Ney; Matthew Walker; Amy Hargis; Nicole Bakare; Taunya Painter, associate editor; Jeff Oldham; Robert Painter, editor in chief; attorneys of volunteerism and Zach Wolfe; Farrah Martinez, associate editor; Preston Hutson; the Hon. Josefina profiled creativity makes this Rendon; Jason Goff; Raymond Panneton; Angela Dixon, associate editor; and who focus their volunPolly Graham Fohn, associate editor. Not pictured: Kimberly Chojnacki; Jason magazine the award- McLaurin; Aaron Reimer; Yvette Cano; Jonathan C.C. Day; Kelly Fritsch; John teer efforts on behalf of different groups or winning publication Gray; Matthew Heberlein; Chance McMillan; Angie Olalde. people with distinct needs, including Sergio Leal’s that it is. work with Houston’s youth, Susan Sanchez’s role in Then, of course, consider the Houston Bar Assohelping domestic violence survivors, Nicole Ezer’s ciation itself. Every attorney serving in a leadership fervor for ending human trafficking, Stephen Crain’s position or committee does so as a volunteer. If part volunteer leadership of the West University Little of being a professional means giving back, then the League, and Alistair and Wendy Dawson’s work with throngs of HBA attorney-volunteers are professionals special-needs children and young adults. Finally, no indeed. And I bet that they have all realized, like so issue on Houston culture would be complete without many things in life, the more one puts into volunteerprofiles of attorneys who volunteer in the Houston ing, the more one gets out of it. Be sure to read Tara Livestock Show and Rodeo, like Stewart Gagnon and Shockley’s article in this issue on the myriad volunJuan Garcia. teer opportunities within the HBA. Thank you to all Houston attorneys who choose But beyond volunteering for important bar activito give back some time to make our community a ties, Houston attorneys contribute countless hours better place. And for those who are considering voleach year to activities that make our community a unteering in some way, I think Sergio Leal’s advice better place for everyone to live and enjoy. In this volis excellent, “Pick what is most meaningful to you, unteerism issue, our authors focus on attorneys who because that is where you will be able to contribute have given their time to further the arts, outdoor spacthe most.” es and activities, and people with unique needs. thehoustonlawyer.com



M. Carter Crow

Alistair B. Dawson



Laura Gibson

Neil D. Kelly

First Vice President

Past President

Benny Agosto, Jr.

David A. Chaumette

Second Vice President

Todd M. Frankfort

DIRECTORS (2013-2015)

Hon. David O. Fraga Bill Kroger

Richard Burleson Warren W. Harris

Jennifer A. Hasley Daniella D. Landers

DIRECTORS (2014-2016) Diana Perez Gomez Greg Ulmer

editorial staff Editor in Chief

Robert Painter Associate Editors

Angela Dixon Farrah Martinez Jill Yaziji

Polly Graham Fohn Taunya Painter

Nicole Bakare Kimberly Chojnacki Sammy Ford Jason Goff Amy Hargis Matthew Heberlein Jason McLaurin Judy Ney Jeff Oldham Aaron Reimer Matthew Walker Hon. Jeff Work

Editorial Board

Yvette Cano Jonathan Day Kelly Fritsch John Gray Al Harrison Preston Hutson Chance McMillan Angie Olalde Raymond Panneton Hon. Josefina Rendon Zach Wolfe

Managing Editor

Tara Shockley

HBA office staff Executive Director

Director of Projects

Receptionist/ Resource Secretary

Project Assistants

Director of Education

Ashley G. Steininger

Membership and Technology Services Director

Continuing Legal Education Assistant

Membership Assistant

Kay Sim

Bonnie Simmons Amanda Piesche

Lucia Valdez

Ron Riojas

Dozie Oheri

Ariana Ochoa

Communications Director

Communications Assistant /Web Manager

Tara Shockley

Amy Verbout

Advertising sales Design & production QUANTUM/SUR

12818 Willow Centre, Ste. B, Houston, TX 77066 281.955.2449 • www.quantumsur.com Publisher

Leonel E. Mejía Production Manager

Marta M. Mejía Advertising

Mary Chavoustie


May/June 2015


lawyers in the community

The Arts

Supporting the Houston Symphony The Hon. Brett Busby


By Polly Graham Fohn t the age of three, Justice Brett Busby attended an afternoon symphony concert in Amarillo and discovered a lifelong passion for classical music. During a time when most children are still mastering basic language skills, he studied violin with a protégé of Shinichi Suzuki, the famed Japanese pedagogue of music education for children. Today, Justice Busby sits on the Fourteenth Court of Appeals in Houston and is a dedicated volunteer for the Houston Symphony, where he helps shape educational and artistic programming. As Vice President for Artistic Affairs, Justice Busby and his committee help shape the content of each symphony sea-

son. There is enough diversity to satisfy all tastes. During its centennial season, the Symphony created special concerts to pay homage to the pieces played during the Symphony’s 1913 inaugural season. Last season, the Symphony hosted a free “day of music” at Jones Hall, featuring jazz groups, rock bands, ethnic ensembles, an array of Houston’s finest food trucks and, of course, a free evening symphony concert. Justice Busby also supports the Symphony’s role in the community. The Symphony contributes more than 16 percent of its annual budget to educational and community programs and reaches more than 97,000 children annually in 300 schools across Greater Houston. Justice Busby stresses the importance of these programs in times when scarcity of funding often results in reducing or eliminating music programs in public schools. Among the Symphony’s many programs is an innovative children’s concert series that integrates musical concepts with current curricula in social studies, science and language arts. In recognition of his efforts, in 2012, Justice Busby was chosen to chair the Symphony’s search for a new music director. Over a two-year period, while maintaining a heavy legal docket, Justice Busby and the search committee looked around the world in search of the perfect candidate. A music director must blend the art of being a musician with the skill of inspiring a community and attracting donors. Justice Busby’s committee found the perfect candidate in Andrés Orozco-Estrada, who took the podium as the Symphony’s fifteenth music director in September 2014. Although he is only in his mid-thirties, Orozco-Estrada has already conducted famous orchestras on both sides of the Atlantic. Among his extensive volunteer efforts, Justice Busby still finds time to play his violin. While in law school at Columbia, he took advantage of the cultural riches of New York City and drew renewed inspiration from listening to opera performances by such greats as Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. Soon his legal career would soar to even greater heights, lead-

ing to a clerkship on the United States Supreme Court and an unlikely and one-ofa-kind musical opportunity. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor discovered Justice Busby’s musical talents and recruited him to play during a rehearsal for her husband’s birthday party the following day. Since his legal work at the Court left little time for making music, Justice Busby rushed home to brush up on his skills. To his surprise, a friend of Justice O’Connor gave Justice Busby the unforgettable experience of playing rare Stradivarius and Guarneri del Gesù violins at the rehearsal. Justice Busby’s volunteer efforts are not limited to the musical arena. Before being elected to the court of appeals, Justice Busby co-taught a Supreme Court clinic at the University of Texas Law School and took on numerous pro bono appellate cases, including a habeas corpus matter styled Day v. McDonough, which he argued before the United States Supreme Court. The Day case addressed whether a trial court could dismiss a habeas petition based on a limitations defense the court had raised sua sponte. Although the Supreme Court upheld the trial court’s actions in a 5-4 decision, Justice Busby’s work on the Day case inspired him to consider a judicial career and cemented his commitment to deciding only issues raised by the parties and vetted by the adversarial process. Justice Busby is also active in the bar, serving among other capacities as Chair of the State Bar Committee on Pattern Jury Charges–Business, Consumer, Insurance and Employment, and he has been active on several Houston Bar Association committees. Today, between his volunteer activities and legal career, Justice Busby plays in the first violin section of the Houston Civic Symphony, a non-profit community orchestra that offers free performances. For more information on the Houston Symphony, please visit www.houston symphony.org Polly Graham Fohn is an appellate attorney at Haynes and Boone, L.L.P. and an associate editor on The Houston Lawyer editorial board.

A Lawyer for the Arts Stephanie Hay


By the Hon. Josefina M. Rendón usician, filmmaker, photographer, painter…these are some of the pro bono clients that Stephanie Hay, of the Hay Law Group, P.L.L.C., has represented as a volunteer for Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts (TALA). Through TALA, Stephanie has helped artists with copyright issues, nonprofit formations and business dissolutions and a variety of other matters. TALA offers pro bono services to “artists from all creative disciplines” who join TALA and meet TALA’s financial qualifications. Headquartered in Austin, TALA was founded in 1979, “to support the cultural community in Texas by providing volunteer legal and accounting services, educational programs and publications to artists, nonprofit arts organizations and other art constituents.” TALA also provides dispute resolution services. Stephanie began volunteering with TALA within months of becoming an attorney in 2012. She is now one of over 500 TALA volunteer professionals throughout Texas. Asked if she has any artistic inclinations of her own, she responded “Unfortunately not.” But she has had a strong interest in the arts since childhood: “My father was a part-time photographer who took pride in his work and would often enter his photos in contests. I learned from him that photography was an art form,

and I gained a true appreciation for it.” She added that as a child she also danced and played the clarinet. “I have always carried the joy and excitement I gained from participating in those activities and, through my work now, I still feel connected to an artistic form of expression.” Working with TALA has been rewarding for Stephanie. It has provided her a “network of like-minded attorneys” with the same interests and practice areas. It has also given her a mentor, former TALA director Sharesa Alexander. “From day one she was supportive and encouraged me to take on more challenging cases,” says Hay. “Not only did she assist me with the cases I volunteered for with TALA, she never hesitated to provide guidance when I needed help with an entertainment case in my private practice. One of the biggest things she did was to mentor me through my first lawsuit, which happened to be for breach of contract and copyright infringement.” In addition to volunteering with TALA, Stephanie also is a member of the Entertainment and Sports Law sections of both the State Bar of Texas and the Houston Bar Association. She says she has always had an interest in working with artistic individuals. “I am intrigued with where the law intersects creativity,” she says. Stephanie’s work with TALA also inspired her to create “Stroke of Genius Law,” a business she operates apart from her law practice and is geared toward providing basic legal advice to the art community and entrepreneurs. In her private practice, she also services clients in entertainment, entrepreneurial start-ups, and nonprofits. For information on TALA, www.talarts.org City of Houston Associate Municipal Judge Josefina Rendón is a former district judge and a former member of the Museum of Fine Arts (MFAH) Education Committee, as well as a mediator and teacher of mediation. She has worked with TALA members teaching classes entitled “Teaching Conflict Resolution Through Art” based on the MFAH’s “Learning Through Art” Curriculum. She is a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board. thehoustonlawyer.com

May/June 2015


Raising the Barre Shawn Stephens

W By Amy Hargis

inston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Houston attorney Shawn Stephens has mastered the art of making a life through her continuous


May/June 2015


support of those whom she holds most dear, whether her career, her family or the Houston Ballet. Widely recognized as a top appellate advocate, Shawn is no stranger to the spotlight. Arguing in front of the Fifth Circuit within one year of graduating, Shawn’s sharp legal acumen and refined poise have propelled her career to impressive heights. Formerly head of the appellate division at BakerHostetler, she recently joined King & Spalding, where she continues to handle appeals throughout the country. Equally impressive, though, is Shawn’s selfless commitment to the Houston arts community, especially the Houston Ballet. Currently in her 20th year of service on the Board for the Houston Ballet Guild, and also a former president of the Guild, Stephens’s dedication to the Ballet is unwavering. In 2010, she chaired the Ballet’s 30th Annual Nutcracker Market. In addition to coordinating special events, vendors, and over 700 volunteers, Shawn recruited former First Lady Bar-

bara Bush, who had cut the ribbon for the first Nutcracker Market, to return and cut the ribbon on the 30th Anniversary. Her planning paid off: that year’s market netted the Ballet almost three million dollars and remains one of their most successful markets to date. Shawn also chaired the 2014 Houston Ballet Ball, one of the Ballet’s largest fundraising events, and is already gearing up to celebrate the Ballet’s 50th Anniversary, in 2017. “We are so fortunate to have Shawn as one of our strongest advocates. She is a tireless, passionate and a one-of-a-kind volunteer who is always up for a new challenge in helping us fulfill our mission. We look forward to her creative ideas and her enthusiasm to help commemorate Houston Ballet’s upcoming 50th anniversary,” says James Nelson, Executive Director of the Houston Ballet. Shawn’s affinity for dance began at a young age. Growing up in Amarillo, Shawn passed her summers performing and dancing in musical theatre productions. When she arrived in Houston to

attend South Texas College of Law, she enrolled in classes at the Houston Ballet. Out of those classes developed a passion for the organization and its role in the Houston community. Shawn has dedicated countless hours in support of the Ballet ever since. In addition to the Ballet, Shawn volunteers her time and efforts with several other Houston institutions in support of the arts. She has chaired numerous events and served on boards for Theatre Under the Stars, Stages, the Moores School of Music, and the Houston Symphony League. She is also currently serving a six-year term with the Texas Commission on the Arts, the entity responsible for awarding state grants to qualifying performers and organizations. Shawn’s volunteer efforts reach well beyond the arts community, as she has served on boards for the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Houston Zoo, and the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society, and she is the past president of Girls, Inc.–Houston Chapter.

VERDICT The jury is back. TLIE was voted best in Texas. Texas Lawyers’ Insurance Exchange has been voted best professional liability insurance company in Texas four years in a row by Texas Lawyer magazine. TLIE is also a Preferred Provider of the State Bar of Texas and has returned $36,550,000 to its policyholders. With all of these accolades as well as being in the business for over 35 years, doesn’t TLIE make the BEST all around choice for you?


512.480.9074 / 1.800.252.9332


No judge, no jury, no apel late court Y O U determine t he value of your case. thehoustonlawyer.com

May/June 2015


THE POWER OF AN LL.M. DEGREE The University of Houston Law Center is home to renowned LL.M. specialty programs with two (Health Law and Intellectual Property) ranked in the Top Ten according to U.S. News & World Report. • Energy, Environment and Natural Resources- There is no better place to study the interrelated areas of energy, environment and natural resources law than UH Law Center located in the energy capital of the world. • Health Law- The Health Law & Policy Institute emphasizes interdisciplinary studies in all areas of health law and policy, and benefits from UH’s association with the Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest medical complex. • Intellectual Property & Information Law- The Law Center’s top-rated IPIL program is on the cutting edge as these disciplines rapidly evolve in the global economy. • International Law- Growing interdependence places a premium on lawyers who understand the intricacies of public and private international law. Houston holds a commanding presence in the global marketplace, and our LL.M. program capitalizes on the city’s substantial connections. • Tax Law- The LL.M. tax program provides the enhanced knowledge and practical skills needed to meet the challenge of successfully dealing with ever-changing tax laws. Fall 2015 application deadline extended to July 1. Spring 2016 application deadline: November 1, 2015 For more information contact llm@uh.edu or visit law.uh.edu/llm UH is an EEO/AA institution

Shawn reflects, “When I was a young lawyer, men like Harry Reasoner, Bill Barnett and Jonathan Day were leading their firms and spearheading great events and projects in their volunteer capacities. I was inspired by them and learned from their examples. I truly think that people have a duty to use their gifts to help make the community stronger, better and more vibrant.” Married to Jim Jordan, who is Executive Director of Legal at Macquarie Bank Limited, and mom to a beautiful teenage daughter, Shawn also has an active home life. When she is not arguing high-stakes appeals, chairing multi-million dollar fundraising events, or cheering on her daughter at tennis matches, Shawn can often be found fly-fishing on the Bitterroot River, in Montana, with her family. For more information on the Houston Ballet, visit www.houstonballet.org Amy Hargis is an attorney at Raizner Slania LLP and a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board.


May/June 2015


Join the HBA 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, government agencies, law schools and corporate legal departments 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 and Friend Adair & Myers PLLC 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 | Chambers, PLLC Berg & Androphy Bingham, Mann, & House Blank Rome LLP Brewer & Pritchard PC Buck Keenan LLP Bush & Ramirez PC Caddell & Chapman Cage Hill & Niehaus LLP Campbell & Riggs, P.C. Chernosky Smith Ressling & Smith PLLC Christian Smith & Jewell LLP Connelly • Baker • Wotring LLP Cozen O’Connor Crinion Davis & Richardson LLP De Lange Hudspeth McConnell & Tibbets LLP Dinkins Kelly Lenox Lamb & Walker LLP Dobrowski, Larkin & Johnson LLP Dow Golub Remels & Beverly LLP Doyle Restrepo Harvin & Robbins LLP Ebanks Horne Rota Moos LLP Edison, McDowell & Hetherington LLP Ellis Carstarphen Dougherty & Griggs PC Ewing & Jones, PLLC Faubus Keller & Burford LLP Fernelius Alvarez PLLC Fibich Leebron Briggs Josephson, LLP Fisher, Boyd & Huguenard, LLP Fisher & Phillips LLP Fizer Beck Webster Bentley & Scroggins PC 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 PC Germer PLLC Givens & Johnston PLLC Godwin Lewis, P.C. Goldstein Law PLLC Gordon & Rees LLP Greer, Herz & Adams, L.L.P. Hagans Burdine Montgomery & Rustay PC Harris, Hilburn & Sherer Hartline Dacus Barger Dreyer LLP Henke Law Firm, LLP

Hicks Thomas LLP Hirsch & Westheimer PC Holm I Bambace LLP Hunton & Williams LLP Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs PC Jackson Lewis LLP Jenkins Kamin PC Johnson DeLuca Kurisky & Gould, P.C. Johnson Trent West & Taylor LLP Jones Walker LLP Joyce + McFarland LLP Kane Russell Coleman & Logan PC Kelly, Sutter & Kendrick, P.C. KoonsFuller, PC Kroger I Burrus Lapidus Knudsen PC LeBlanc Bland P.L.L.C. LeClairRyan Legge Farrow Kimmitt McGrath & Brown, L.L.P. Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson LLP Liskow & Lewis Lorance & Thompson PC MacIntyre, McCulloch, Stanfield & Young, LLP McGinnis Lochridge McGuireWoods LLP McLeod Alexander Powel & Apffel PC MehaffyWeber PC Miller Scamardi & Carrabba Mills Shirley LLP Morris Lendais Hollrah & Snowden Murray I Lobb PLLC Nathan Sommers Jacobs PC 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 L.L.P. Phelps Dunbar LLP Phillips , Akers & Womac, PC Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP Radcliffe Bobbitt Adams Polley PLLC Ramey, Chandler, Quinn & Zito, P.C. Reynolds Frizzell LLP Roach & Newton, L.L.P. Ross Banks May Cron & Cavin PC 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 Page & Harding LLP Shannon Martin Finkelstein & Alvarado, P.C. Shepherd, Scott, Clawater & Houston, L.L.P. Shipley Snell Montgomery LLP

Short Carter Morris Singleton Cooksey LLP Smith Adams Law Feehan LLP Smith Murdaugh Little & Bonham LLP Smyser Kaplan & Veselka LLP Sprott Newsom Lunceford Quattlebaum Messenger, P.C. Stevenson & Murray Strong Pipkin Bissell & Ledyard LLP Stuart & Associates P.C. Sutton McAughan Deaver, PLLC Tekell Book Matthews & Limmer LLP Thompson & Horton LLP Thompson Coe Cousins & Irons LLP Taunton, Snyder & Slade, P.C. The Ward Law Firm Ware Jackson Lee & Chambers LLP Watt Beckworth Thompson & Henneman LLP Weinstein Tippetts & Little LLP Weycer Kaplan Pulaski & Zuber PC Williams Birnberg & Andersen LLP Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas, LLP Williams Morgan, P.C. Willingham, Fultz & Cougill, LLP Wilson Cribbs & Goren PC Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker Wright Abshire, Attorneys, PC Wright & Close LLP Yetter Coleman LLP Ytterberg Deery Knull LLP Zimmerman Axelrad Meyer Stern & Wise PC Zimmerman, Lavine & Zimmerman, PC Zukowski Bresenhan, Sinex & Petry LLP Firms of 25-49 Attorneys Adams and Reese LLP Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP Beck Redden LLP Beirne Maynard & Parsons, L.L.P. BoyarMiller Chamberlain Hrdlicka White Williams & Aughtry Coats, Rose, Yale, Ryman & Lee, P.C. Cokinos Bosien & Young Gibbs & Bruns LLP Greenberg Traurig Jones Day Littler Mendelson PC Roberts Markel Weinberg Butler Hailey PC Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Firms of 50-100 Attorneys Baker Hostetler LLP Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP Jackson Walker LLP Martin Disiere Jefferson & Wisdom LLP Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP Porter Hedges LLP Thompson & Knight LLP Winstead PC Firms of 100+ Attorneys Andrews Kurth LLP Baker Botts LLP Bracewell & Giuliani LLP Norton Rose Fulbright US 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 All American Pipeline L.P. 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


May/June 2015


lawyers in the community

Green Spaces Preserving Hermann Park as Houston’s Urban Oasis Danny David


By Kelly L. Fritsch f you have not been to Hermann Park in the last year, plan a trip without delay. Danny David, partner at Baker Botts LLP, says the desire to create a backyard environment in the middle of downtown is the drive behind the continued revitalization of the park. Danny is one of many volunteers who dedicates time to improving and maintaining the 15-acre park environment. In 1914, George Hermann left the property that is now known as Hermann Park to the City of Houston. Since that time, the park has changed dramatically. In 1992, a group of citizens formed an organization to address concerns regarding the park’s less than rundown condition.

This group, which began as “Friends of Hermann Park” and eventually became known as the “Hermann Park Conservancy,” saw the park as a jewel in the rough and recognized its potential, given the proximity to downtown and the medical center. Today the Conservancy oversees and coordinates multi-million dollar maintenance, renovation, and reforestation initiatives at the park which are achieved in part through thousands of volunteer hours. Although he maintains a busy legal practice, Danny has consistently found time to support Hermann Park over the years. In 2005, Danny joined the Hermann Park Conservancy, and he currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Conservancy. Directors dedicate their time to board meetings, planting, park maintenance and collecting donations. At the time Danny began volunteering, the board was looking for young volunteers to offer ideas about how to make the park friendlier to the next generation of Houstonians. Today, with Danny’s help, that vision has been realized. The park truly has become a green space and oasis for the entire city. Danny marvels at how the park serves as a refuge to young families who use the park as if it were their own back yard. Danny, his wife, and family frequently enjoy the diversity the park offers including the zoo, lake, gardens and picnic areas. He enjoys being able to experience the fruits of his labor by spending time in the park, meeting other people who come to the park, and watching the success of the park’s revitalization. For Danny, the park has become part of his community. Danny credits his mentors at Baker Botts for supporting his efforts. Not only did his mentors encourage and support the time he has dedicated to Hermann Park over the years, but Baker Botts has also assisted financially in supporting the park. Danny insists that without that type of support his endeavor would not have been as successful. For more information, visit the Her-

mann Park Conservacy website, www. hermannpark.org Kelly L. Fritsch is the owner of Kelly L. Fritsch, P.C. located in Houston. She is board certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board.

Helping Revitalize Galveston Bay James Doyle


By Elliott Taliaferro ifteen years ago, James Doyle, a partner at the boutique litigation firm Doyle Restrepo Harvin & Robbins LLP, was sitting in his office discussing his affinity for kayaking in the Galveston Bay (if you are ever presented with the opportunity to discuss kayaking with Doyle, take advantage of it, as he has navigated nearly the entire Galveston Bay in his kayak). A colleague who overheard Doyle’s conversation and obvious appreciation for the Bay invited him to join the Galveston Bay Foundation (GBF), an organization that promotes the preservation and protection of the Galveston Bay. James enthusiastically accepted this offer. For James, an attorney with more than 30 years of experience in complex commercial litigation, volunteering his time with an organization such as the GBF

was and continues to be an easy decision. Originally of Beaumont, James maintains a lifelong appreciation of the Galveston Bay. Throughout his childhood, he traveled with his family from Beaumont to Port Bolivar to enjoy the coast. James recalls one visit with his grandfather in the 1950s after Hurricane Carla hit the coast–he and his grandfather arrived in Port Bolivar to assist in the restoration process. James now travels to Port Bolivar with his children and grandchildren, and hopes to instill the same sense of appreciation that he has for the Bay in them. Before his current role as a member of the Executive Committee of the GBF, Doyle served as the GBF’s Chair from 2010 to 2012. As a member of the GBF, Doyle has assisted in the development of several programs that are integral to the organization’s continued growth. In 1987, the GBF was founded with 40 volunteer members. It currently has 24 fulltime employees, nearly 7,000 members and is looking to build a new office space on the Bay within the next few years. GBF programs that James helped steward and develop include: (1) an advocacy program that monitors and reviews local, statewide, and federal legislation and policies that affect Galveston Bay; (2) a conservation program that assists in the rebuilding of wetlands through the acquisition and maintenance of conservation easements; (3) an education program that provides environmental education to individuals of all ages; and (4) a research program that actively engages in discussions and plans to improve coastal resiliency. When I initially sat down with James, he quickly espoused the ideals of the GBF mission statement–“[t]o preserve, protect and enhance the natural resources of the Galveston Bay estuarine system and its tributaries for present users and for posterity.” He told me that this article (which is supposed to be about him and his philanthropic efforts) is an excellent way to promote the GBF and its efforts to preserve and restore the Bay.

Throughout our conversation, James expressed great pride in how the GBF’s numerous ongoing projects assist the preservation and protection of the Bay. One of the projects that he endorsed is the GBF’s efforts to redevelop the oyster beds. James says the restoration of the once vibrant oyster beds in the Galveston Bay will provide much-needed assistance to the cleanup and revitalization of the bay, as well as be a treat to all Texans. James also mentioned the GBF’s ongoing efforts to acquire conservation easements over wetlands and marshlands of the Bay to assist in their redevelopment. Doyle continuously promotes the GBF’s efforts to redevelop the wetlands, as wetlands naturally filter water, which improves the water quality for all who use the bay. One effort of the GBF is the Seafood Consumption Advisory Education program. This program is intended to educate subsistence and recreational fishermen (primarily those living in low-income areas in the Houston Ship Channel, San Jacinto River, and Upper Galveston Bay areas of Harris County Precinct 1) about the risks of fishing near industrial areas. Through James’s and the GBF’s efforts, several new signs are posted near fishing areas to warn about the risks of consumption of seafood contaminated with toxic substances. The protection and preservation efforts of the GBF and the organization’s ability to influence policy that affects the Galveston Bay and its residents are due, at least in part, to the efforts of James Doyle. His continued dedication to the organization is a constant reminder to all of us that putting your heart and soul into a cause that truly means something to you can result in a major difference to you and your community. For more information on the organization and opportunities for involvement, visit www.galvbay.org Elliott Taliaferro is an associate attorney at Strong Pipkin Bissell & Ledyard, LLP, where he practices commercial litigation. thehoustonlawyer.com

May/June 2015


Houston Arboretum & Nature Center Amanda McMillian


By Taunya Painter ook. Shhhh. Right there,” Debbie said, as she pulled us toward her. “See that snake?” Amanda spotted it. “Yes, he’s staring right at us. Come closer. You’re okay, he’s brown and yellow. You know the saying: ‘Red and yellow kill a fellow.’” I’m not sure I saw the snake, but seeing the ripples in the water was close enough for me. Spending the morning at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center with Debbie Markey, Executive Director, and Aman-


May/June 2015


da McMillian, President of the Board, was exciting and educational, and just the right amount of nature for a weekday morning. Amanda has been volunteering at the Arboretum for almost 10 years. She is smart about her career, as a vice president at Anadarko, but also smart about her volunteering and work-life balance. “Anadarko strongly encourages us to volunteer in our communities, but I am already balancing a demanding career in the energy industry and a family with two young girls. So when a friend of mine suggested volunteering at the Houston Arboretum, I knew it was something that would be as meaningful for my family as it is for me,” Amanda recalls. “I think I agreed before I even showed up. I love it here, and so do my girls. That’s important to me. I’m helping build something significant for our city, our kids, and our future.” Debbie was quick to add, “We have such diverse talents and backgrounds on our Board, but Amanda has brought a particularly critical skill: organizational communication and infrastructure. This has generated so much efficiency in work and time as we tackle our daily tasks and comply with city regulations. Where we see a big pay-off though is the process of restoring and protecting our habitats after devastating hurricanes and a drought, and also developing and implementing a master plan to expand and transform our identity into a leading nature center.”

As we kept winding through the Arboretum’s five miles of nature trails, I felt thoroughly lost, but Amanda took charge. “Come this way,” she instructed as she led the way to the future site of the Arboretum’s new visitor center. We had been through pond, wetland, and meadow habitats, but suddenly, we were in a forest. “This is my favorite trail. Look! Over here is where the new visitor center will be. It will be as if the forest grew up around it!” Her enthusiasm was infectious. The Arboretum is a delightfully surprising dichotomy. While it is located inside the loop of populous, urban Houston, it sits on 155 acres of pristine natural habitat used to conserve and to educate. And while the tranquil sounds and feel of nature dominate, the squeals of bus-loads of kids can quickly be mixed in. “The education aspect of the Arboretum’s mission is critical,” Debbie explained, citing two examples. “We started an adopt-aschool program where we supplement the curriculum with hands-on learning. And we see results. Science test scores are going up.” She adds, “But we also focus on adult education, and some enjoyment. We have wildflower sketching, nature walks, and build your own rain barrel. And we’ve found that if we serve wine, adults will really come, especially if it’s paired with gourmet food.” “The Arboretum celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017,” Amanda adds. “There

will be so many exciting developments and events. I encourage all my friends to become members, to volunteer, and to visit more. We’re thrilled about expanding the reach of our education programs, preserving the natural beauty of the Arboretum, and creating a world-class destination. I want to say to everyone I can what I said to you: just come take a walk with us at the Arboretum.� It started to rain, and while we were under a canopy of trees that kept us dry, it was a reminder that we should head back. After all, it is a work day, and the city awaits just a short distance away. Visit the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center at 4501 Woodway Dr., Houston, Texas 77024, http://houstonarboretum. org, or call 713-681-8433 for more information. Taunya Painter is a member of Painter Law Firm PLLC, where she focuses on business and international matters. She is an associate editor of The Houston Lawyer editorial board.


May/June 2015


lawyers in the community

Houston Culture Volunteering MVP Stephen Crain


By Nicole Bakare ouston is a large metropolis that is the fourth largest city in America. But to Stephen Crain, who spent much of his childhood in a small town in northern Louisiana, what Houston kids need is a “sense of small town America.” Stephen, a partner at Bracewell Giuliani LLP practicing in the trial section and energy litigation group, has devoted much of his free time to volunteering. He was initially inspired to volunteer simply because he wanted to. He says that he has been “extraordinarily fortunate” in life and likes “the idea of being involved.” So he has tutored kids, served as chair of the Houston Bar Association’s Litigation Section and done pro bono legal work. All were worthy

pursuits, Stephen says, but his passion for volunteering ultimately landed him with the West University Little League. The West University Little League, started in the 1950s, is one of the largest little leagues in the country. With a vast geographical expanse, well beyond the City of West University, the league serves approximately 1,300 players, both boys and girls, ranging in age from 5 to 16, with the mission of assisting these children in “developing the qualities of citizenship, discipline, teamwork and physical wellbeing.” Stephen honed in on this area of volunteerism because he believes in the “positive effect of team sports.” Stephen also cited the league as an opportunity for those living in one of the largest cities in the country to experience a “slice of Mayberry.” Games bring kids and their parents together with their neighbors and, even if just for this moment, Stephen says, they are “all together and have become friends across school boundaries and neighborhood boundaries.” As a result, he explains, the West University Little League was at the intersection of a need and his own personal interests in both “being a leader and being involved in my community.” Stephen’s involvement also provides him an opportunity to spend more time with his children. His son, now a senior in high school, started playing in the league when he was five years old. Several years later, Stephen volunteered to coach his son’s team. First he was an assistant coach and then, a year later, he became the team’s manager. After managing teams, Stephen was eventually asked to become a “Greenhat”— one of the volunteer members of the board of directors that organizes and administers the league and all its facets, including numerous baseball fields, the concession stands and the twice-yearly draft to select the players for each team. Stephen’s board position eventually led to him becoming president of the league for a two-year term starting in September 2012. This is no simple task, he explains. Although the time commitment was less in the summer, the needs of the position

required him to devote between 25 and 30 hours per week to carrying out his duties — all on top of his full time job as a law firm partner. Suddenly he had become “the go to person for everyone” about all West University Little League matters, big or small. During his term as president, Stephen was not able to manage a team. But subsequently, he got back in the dugout as an assistant coach for his youngest son’s team. Stephen says that his kids may not admit it, but they “loved seeing me in the dugout.” He also thinks that they recognized his sacrifice: “They see me leaving work early and then working again later that night; that I made a sacrifice to be with them.” For more information, visit www. westull.org. Nicole Bakare is an associate in the Global Insurance Department at Cozen O’Connor and a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board.

Going Tejano to Benefit Youth Juan C. Garcia


By the Hon. Josefina M. Rendón n many ways, attorney Juan C. Garcia grew up with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and its Go Tejano day. His father worked for the legendary Louis M. Pearce, Jr., a Houston Rodeo executive committee member, for over 40

years. Consequently, for years, Juan’s father got Pearce’s suite on Go Tejano Day, and Juan, his family and friends would attend. Now a lawyer, Juan volunteers for the Rodeo as a member of its Legal Advisory Committee and the Go Tejano Committee. The Go Tejano Committee targets Houston’s Hispanic community, trying to increase this community’s Rodeo awareness and participation. The committee also helps to provide funds for college scholarships and to find Hispanic entertainers for the Rodeo grounds on Go Tejano Day. When asked what attracted him to the Go Tejano Committee, Juan quickly answered, “Because I truly believed in its mission, to promote the Hispanic heritage and to raise funds in order to assist Hispanic students in and around the Houston area reach their dream of a higher education.” Juan’s pride in the Go Tejano Committee’s scholarship program is not surprising considering that, as a result of its efforts, the Houston Rodeo awards about $18,000 in scholarships to Hispanic high school students. Previous scholarship recipients include two highly-regarded Harris County civil district judges, the Hon. Michael Gomez and the Hon. Debra Ibarra Mayfield. For three years, Juan served as Go Tejano Committee’s Senior Vice Chairman over operations, where he oversaw several fundraising events, such as the Fashion Show, the Scholarship Gala, the Mariachi Invitational, the Diner and the Golf Tournament. In 2015, Juan became the Senior Vice Chairman of Support and Administration, overseeing and assisting several vicechairs for all Go Tejano Committee events. Juan recalled his most memorable experience at the Rodeo: “As a spectator, the best experience has been watching my son participate in the Mutton Bustin’ in the big arena. However, as a volunteer there is nothing that compares with the feeling in attending the Scholarship Banquet in May of every year.” At this annual banquet, Go Tejano board members sit with scholarship recipients and their families as these deserving young people receive their scholarships. Juan’s commitment to volunteerism

does not end with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. He is also president of the Hispanic Bar Association of Houston (HisBa). Since 1988, HisBa has worked for the advancement of Hispanics in the legal profession and advocated on issues concerning the Hispanic community. HisBA is also involved in student-oriented programs in Houston-area high schools and Houston’s three law schools, as well as in community programs such as Consejos Legales (the Spanish-language version of HBA’s LegalLine). However, Juan is proudest of the scholarships. In 2014, HisBA awarded almost $40,000 in scholarships to law students in the Houston area. When not volunteering, Juan is a partner with the law firm of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP. For more information, visit www. rodeohouston.com/Events/SpecialDays/ GoTejanoDay.aspx. Hon. Josefina M. Rendón is a City of Houston Associate Municipal Judge and former Civil District Judge. She is a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board.

BBQ and Pro Bono Stewart Gagnon


By Al Harrison he Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo enjoys the dedication and commitment of 31,000 volunteers who are involved in more than 100 thehoustonlawyer.com

May/June 2015


various committees. During the 2015 Rodeo season, worthy participating youths benefitted from a total educational commitment of about $24 million, including more than half being awarded as scholarships for attending Texas colleges and universities. Stewart Gagnon, who is Of Counsel at Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP, takes great pride in being an HLSR volunteer for more than 30 years. He serves as a member of the Commercial Exhibits Committee and the Legal Advisory Committee, and he has the honor of serving as Head Cook of the elite Sharks-R-Us BBQ Cookoff team composed primarily of attorneys. As a longstanding member of the Commercial Exhibits Committee, Stewart has established strong relationships with various vendors who regularly occupy booths either at NRG Center or NRG Arena. Stewart helps coordinate unloading of trucks and trailers to prepare vendors’ and exhibitors’ booths before the Rodeo starts, and then load-


May/June 2015


ing of trucks and trailers after booth tear-down. Besides confirming that such vendors are comfortably selling their merchandise and services during the Rodeo, he and his fellow committee members strive to avoid inadvertent competition between vendors due to unanticipated conflicts in advertising or sale of merchandise and services. Stewart seeks to expeditiously troubleshoot problems between Rodeo personnel and vendors, or between vendors and customers, to keep vendors happy and assure longevity. The Commercial Exhibits Committee also assigns sponsors prime booth locations and sustains rigorous observance of safety and other procedures. On the Legal Advisory Committee, Stewart works side-by-side with colleagues to provide pro bono legal advice to Rodeo general counsel, officers and board members. For instance, committee members have occasionally been called upon to review and analyze vendor agreements, which vary from

vendor to vendor. The committee has also provided legal opinions regarding recommended insurance protocols and liability thresholds when requested by Rodeo management. The Rodeo is not Stewart’s only pro bono endeavor. For many years, he served as the Pro Bono Coordinator for Norton Rose Fulbright, leading the firm’s efforts that resulted in 15 awards for Outstanding Large Firm Contributions to the Houston Bar Association’s Houston Volunteer Lawyers, as well as numerous firm and personal awards. The firm has been recognized at the local, state and national level for its model pro bono program, and Stewart has personally handled hundreds of pro bono cases, particularly those involving complex family law issues. He has also been instrumental in legislation to help low-income Texans gain access to justice through legal service providers like HVL and through pro se representation. As much as Stewart enjoys his vol-

unteer Rodeo committee activities and his pro bono service, he also loves the totally different style associated with his leadership responsibilities on the Sharks-R-Us BBQ team. This team was an offshoot of the Legal Advisory Committee about 30 years ago. Over the years, the team has grown from 10 dedicated lawyers to 50. Stewart has been the team’s cook for the past 15 years and uses his past experience operating a restaurant at Astroworld and related food management skills to handle the daunting tasks implicated in directing and coordinating the team’s participation. The team purchases meats and other perishables immediately prior to the start of the BBQ Cookoff and delivers them to NRG Park. Stewart then leads the Sharks-R-Us cooking crew as the BBQ ribs, links, chicken and pork are prepared for guests’ delight and for entry into the Cookoff competition. Incredibly, the team serves about 750 plates on each of the three nights of the BBQ Cookoff in the Sharks-R-Us tent.

Notwithstanding there being more than 400 Cookoff teams entered in this competition each year, Sharks-R-Us has finished at or near the top on a few occasions in the past. This is quite a tribute to the lawyers’ cooking skills and to Stewart Gagnon’s inspiration as Head Cook! While about five days of food management and preparation—and, of course, food service—are required to assure Sharks-R-Us’ smooth operation, Stewart relishes the camaraderie and satisfaction associated with bringing BBQ merriment to friends, family, colleagues, and clientele. He is very proud to be a lifetime member. For more information, visit www. rodeohouston.com/. Al Harrison is is a patent attorney practicing intellectual property law with Harrison Law Office, P.C. He is a member of The Houston Lawyer Editorial Board, a board member of the Texas Bar College and serves on the Advertising Review & Web Services Committees.


May/June 2015


lawyers in the community

Needs Bar Leaders Serving Those with Special Needs Alistair & Wendy Dawson


By Jeffrey L. Oldham he passion to serve others is often born from very personal experiences. Alistair Dawson grew up empathizing with special-needs individuals because his brother suffered from brain damage and an uncle suffered from Downs Syndrome. His empathy swelled further when his son, Cameron, was diagnosed on the autism spectrum at age two. Alistair married Wendy when Cameron was five years old, and they experienced first-hand that after the early elementary-school years, there was a void of programs to teach and train autistic people about life and social skills. These experiences, among others, have made Alistair and Wendy deeply committed to helping kids and young adults with special needs, with the results of their work profoundly advancing the opportunities for special-needs indi-

viduals in Houston. In 2010, Wendy founded Social Motion Skills, a non-profit organization aimed at teaching life and social skills to autistic kids and adults. Wendy’s background was as a commodity trader in New York—worlds away from running a nonprofit for special-needs people. But she felt a real need for a program like this, and saw a parallel between the structure and stability in commodity markets and those same features needed in specialneeds education. Social Motion Skills, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary, has grown to serving more than 300 kids throughout Houston in after-school programs and other events, teaching kids and adults how to cook, what good sportsmanship is, what to do at children’s dances and much more. In 2012, Social Motion Skills started operating as a program of Easter Seals in Greater Houston, and Wendy now serves on the board of Easter Seals. Last fall, their son Cameron—who graduated in 2014 from Memorial High School and is considering options for college—received a standing ovation as the keynote speaker at the program’s annual fundraiser. Alistair has strongly supported Social Motion Skills from its inception, with his time and resources, and has also contributed substantially to the special-needs community in other ways. From the late 1990s through early 2000s, Alistair was active on the board of The Parish School, a non-profit school dedicated to children with language and learning differences, and he led a capital campaign of more than $7 million for the school to build its existing campus. Alistair also is chairman of (and for years has served on) the board of the H.E.A.R.T. program, which provides education, training, and jobs to developmentally challenged young adults. Similar to the role Wendy envisioned for Social Motion Skills, the H.E.A.R.T. program seeks to fill a void of post-high school programs to teach mentally disabled individuals life and social skills

(and more). H.E.A.R.T. trains individuals on how to operate vending machines or work concession stands and then places them with wage-earning jobs operating vending machines in the Houston area or working concessions at Houston professional sporting events, such as Dynamo, Rockets and Texans games. The sense of pride and self-confidence that H.E.A.R.T. participants get from working a job and earning a paycheck is, to Alistair, the most incredible aspect of the program. His main goals are to expand the program exponentially, through raising capital and attracting more volunteers, because there are many more who qualify for help than currently can be accommodated. This just scratches the surface of the volunteer work that Alistair and Wendy do, as many know them for their extensive service to the Houston legal profession and HBA causes. Alistair has served on the Houston Bar Association’s Board of Directors, since 2008, and has led or participated in countless programs through the HBA, from serving on and chairing the board of the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program to reinvigorating the HBA golf tournament. Wendy, in addition to contributing her time at HBA events alongside Alistair, has served the HBA for a decade with her work on the HBA Auxiliary board. She will be president of the HBAA in 2015-16 and will focus on expanding its membership, especially among younger spouses, and increasing the use of social media and other new ways of communicating with members. Alistair and Wendy perfectly exemplify the advice that Alistair gives to young lawyers: make time to give back to the community, because there are so many in need. For information on Social Motion Skills, visit http://socialmotionskills.org/. For information on H.E.A.R.T, visit www.heartprogram.org. Jeffrey L. Oldham is an appellate partner at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, and a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board.

Combatting Human Trafficking Nicole Ezer


By Zach Wolfe ahirih is a non-profit organization that works to protect immigrant women and girls from gender-based violence through advocacy, public education programs and legal services. Tahirih’s clients come from all over the world, escaping lives of forced prostitution and human slavery. Tahirih provides a bridge between lawyers and these clients, making it possible for Houston lawyers to use their skills to do something about human trafficking. Houston lawyer Nicole Ezer was a founding member of Tahirih’s Houston advisory committee. Originally established in Washington, DC, Tahirih was looking to expand to a new city. Houston—a major trafficking hub—was a logical choice. Nicole is dogmatic on this topic, stating that in her mind when it comes to human trafficking, people in Houston have just two choices: “Either you are ignoring trafficking, or you are working on trafficking,” she says. She decided to be part of the solution. Getting involved with Tahirih was a natural fit for Nicole, the principal of Ezer Law Group. Her firm primarily handles business immigration matters for corporate clients of all sizes. Nicole regularly volunteers with Tahirih to provide pro bono representation to women

and girls who have summoned the courage to flee the worst kind of situations. She has successfully helped women obtain visas that help them start new lives in the Houston area. The stakes in these cases are high, but you do not have to be an expert in immigration law to help. While Nicole is board certified in immigration law, Tahirih’s volunteers come from a wide variety of practice areas. Moreover, Tahirih provides support and training for lawyers who volunteer their time, so any lawyer has the capability to make a real difference. Plus, the Houston immigration bar is “crazy generous” with helping other lawyers out with pro bono cases, Nicole says. The Tahirih Justice Center has impressed Nicole with its focus on action and efficiency. Tahirih is a lean operation that spends less than six percent of contributions on overhead. And according to Nicole, Tahirih is not interested in just talking about the problem and theorizing about solutions—Tahirih takes real action to provide practical assistance to trafficking victims. While immigration is an important piece of the puzzle, Nicole says that Tahirih takes a “holistic approach” that includes addressing healthcare, housing, safety and education. But what has impressed Nicole the most is the bravery of the women and girls who make the difficult decisions to escape violence and enslavement. She hopes to match that courage when she asks others to help. The enormity of the human trafficking problem can be depressing. According to Tahirih, from 2010 to 2013, the number of calls to the national human trafficking hotline increased by 300 percent. But Nicole is undaunted. “We are a force to be reckoned with against trafficking,” she says, “if we mobilize.” Talk to Nicole for just a few minutes and you get a strong sense of two guiding principles: never underestimate the power of a determined group of women to change the world and always rememthehoustonlawyer.com

May/June 2015


ber to give something back to the community. For more information on Tahirih Justice Center, please visit www.tahirih.org or contact Tahirih’s director, Ann Chandler, at 713-496-0100. Zach Wolfe is the founder of Zach Wolfe Law Firm, PLLC. He represents clients in business and litigation matters and provides litigation support to other firms. He is a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board.

Volunteering for Houston’s Youth Sergio Leal


Vanguard program, which he believes By Lindsey C. Moorhead profoundly changed his life. At Lanier, ergio is the Chief Compliance Sergio was a member of the school’s Officer for Layne Christensen chess team that won first place in Texas Company, a global water and tenth in the U.S. Through Lanier’s management, construction, chess team, Sergio had the opportunity and drilling company. He is to travel away from home, meeting a dialso a husband and father, and a friend to verse array of people and enjoying expemany. Despite his busy schedule, Sergio riences that broadened his worldview at enjoys making time for nonprofit organian early age. zations that focus on giving children opAdditionally, Sergio met one of his lifeportunities to advance in life–organizalong mentors at Lanier–Jim Henley. Hentions such as DiscoverU and DePelchin ley was Sergio’s sixth grade world history Children’s Center. teacher, as well as the sponsor of Lanier’s Sergio puts the missions of DiscoverU Ecology Club. Henley emphasized comand DePelchin before his own accolades. munity service, organizing beach cleanFor example, when Sergio learned he ups and state park visits for his students. would be featured in this article highHenley actively encouraged his young lighting his community service, he wantstudents to give back to the community, ed to use the opportunity not to promote a lesson that has stayed with Sergio ever himself, but rather to “draw more attensince. tion to these organizations and the great Sergio recognizes that there are many work they do.” great organizations in Houston with exSergio’s upbringing shaped his selftremely noble causes, but he was drawn less attitude. The son of Mexican immigrants, Sergio believes he owes most of his success to his parents’ support and hard work. His Salutes our Family Law Attorneys parents’ diligence Susan Oehl - ASsociate helped him gain and access to Lanier K. Nicole Voyles - Partner Middle School’s for being recognized as making a difference in our community!

Susan Oehl 2014-2015 HBA President’s Award

K. Nicole Voyles 2013-2015 HBA Ambassador

Practicing in all areas of family law Two Greenway Plaza Suite 600 Houston, Texas 77046


May/June 2015


P: 713.600.5500 F: 713.600.5501 www.jenkinskamin.com

to DiscoverU and DePelchin primarily because they focus on helping the youth of our city. DiscoverU provides students with an opportunity to partake in novel learning experiences beyond the traditional classroom in an effort to expand students’ aspirations and help them develop the personal, social and emotional skills essential for college success. The program has generated higher collegiate attendance rates among its participants, and also increased attendance at elite colleges. Sergio says that DiscoverU provides to children what the game of chess provided to him: an opportunity to expand a student’s worldview. He has seen firsthand how DiscoverU’s “Fantastic Learning Opportunities” allow students to gain new experiences and participate in learning opportunities they would not otherwise have access to. Sergio currently serves on DiscoverU’s board and he encourages anyone that would like to contribute or become involved to visit DiscoverU’s website at www. discoverus.org. Sergio has also served as Chair of the Friends of Depelchin, a young professionals group that supports DePelchin Children’s Center. DePelchin Children’s Center is the leading organization in Texas for children’s well-being, with a focus on mental health, foster care and adoption services. Sergio has worked to revamp young professionals’ participation in the program. On top of being a worthy cause, Friends of DePelchin allows young professionals to network with other members of the community. For more information, visit http://www. depelchin.org/friends. When asked to provide advice to young lawyers interested in giving back to the community, Sergio says to “pick what is most meaningful to you, because that is where you will be able to contribute the most.” DiscoverU and DePelchin are Houston-based organizations worthy of the community’s contributions, and Sergio is a young professional whose


HBAserves you

Enhance your practice Try the HBA advantage.






From left standing: Judy Bozeman, Donnie Roberts, Allen Lewis and Michael Ringger From left seated: Bill Cunningham, Maureen Phillips, Rick Morales and Tom Williams

Generating Success for Generations of Texas Families • Investment Management • Financial Planning • Trust and Estate Services More Than 30 Years of Building Successful Financial Futures

Learn more at www.woodwayfinancial.com or call 713-683-7070. 10000 Memorial Drive, Suite 650 • Houston, Texas 77024 inquire@woodwayfinancial.com thehoustonlawyer.com

May/June 2015


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 agreed to handle one pro bono case through the HBA’s Houston Volunteer Lawyers for every five attorneys in the firm, for a commitment period of five years. For more information contact Kay Sim at (713) 759-1133.

LargeChampions Firm Champions Large Firm Andrews KurthAndrews LLP Kurth LLP Baker Baker Botts L.L.P. Botts L.L.P. & Giuliani LLP Bracewell &Bracewell Giuliani LLP Locke Lord LLP Locke Lord LLP Norton Rose Norton Rose Fulbright Fulbright Vinson Vinson & Elkins LLP & Elkins LLP

CorporateCorporate Champions Champions

BakerIncorporated Hughes Incorporated Baker Hughes BP America Inc.BP America Inc. CenterPointCenterPoint Energy, Inc.Energy, Inc. ConocoPhillips ConocoPhillips, Inc. Mobil Corporation ExxonMobilExxon Corporation Halliburton Halliburton LyondellBasell LyondellBasell Marathon OilMarathon CompanyOil Company Shell Oil Company Shell Oil Company

Mid-Size Firm Champions Mid-Size Firm Champions

Baker &Hauer Hostetler LLPLLP Akin Gump Strauss & Feld Haynes BakerHostetler LLPand Boone, L.L.P. King Beck | Redden LLP& Spalding LLP Porter Hedges L.L.P. LLP Beirne, Maynard & Parsons, Susman Godfrey LLP Burleson LLP Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, WilliamsSmall & Aughtry Firm Champions Gardere Sewell LLP AkinWynne Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP Gibbs & BrunsBeck LLP | Redden LLP Beirne, Maynard P.C. & Parsons, L.L.P. Gray Reed & McGraw, Burleson Greenberg Traurig, LLP LLP Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, Haynes and Boone, L.L.P. White, Williams & Jackson Walker L.L.P.Aughtry Jones DayGardere Wynne Sewell LLP Gibbs King & Spalding LLP& Bruns LLP Gray Reed & McGraw, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP P.C. Greenberg Porter Hedges LLP Traurig, LLP Sidley AustinJackson LLP Walker L.L.P. Jones Day Strasburger & Price, L.L.P. Susman Godfrey LLP 28

May/June 2015


Morgan, Lewis & Bockius Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLPLLP Winstead PCSidley Austin LLP & Price, L.L.P. WinstonStrasburger & Strawn LLP

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP Winstead PC Boutique Firm Champions

Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, AgostoFirm & Friend Boutique Champions Blank Rome LLP Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto Abraham, Watkins, Edison, McDowell&&Friend Hetherington LLP Fullenweider Blank WilhiteRome PC LLP • Baker • Wotring LLP Hicks Connelly Thomas LLP Edison, McDowell & Hetherington LLP Hogan Lovells US LLP Fullenweider Wilhite Hughes Watters Askanase LLPPC Hicks L.L.P. Thomas LLP Jenkins & Kamin, Hogan Lovells LLP P.C. Johnson DeLuca KuriskyUS & Gould, Hughes Watters Askanase LLP LeClairRyan JenkinsLLP & Kamin, L.L.P. McGuireWoods Johnson DeLuca KuriskyLongoria & Gould, P.C. Ogden, Gibson, Broocks, McGuireWoods LLP & Hall, L.L.P. Ogden, Gibson, Broocks, Longoria Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak, & Hall, & Stewart P.C. L.L.P. Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart P.C. ReedSmith LLP ReedSmith LLP Sutton McAughan Deaver LLP Schwartz, Junell, Greenberg & Oathout, L.L.P Vorys,Sutton Sater, McAughan Seymour and Pease LLP Deaver LLP Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP Weycer, Kaplan, Pulaski & Zuber, P.C. Weycer, Kaplan, Pulaski & Zuber, P.C. Wilson,Wilson, Cribbs Cribbs & Goren & Goren, P.C. Yetter Coleman YetterLLP Coleman LLP

Small Firm Champions Individual Champions

Coane & Associates Brian Albrecht Flowers & Frankfort Peter J. Bennett Frye, Steidley, Oaks & Benavidez, PLLC Law Office of J. Thomas Black, P.C. Funderburk Funderburk Courtois, PLLC Law Office of Robbie&Gail Charette Fuqua & Associates, P.C. Chaumette, PLLC Hunton & Williams Coane &LLP Associates Katine & Nechman DamaniL.L.P. Law Firm Katten Muchin Helene Rosenman DangLLP KimLy Law Firm PLLC Law Office of Papa M. Dieye KoonsFuller, P.C.

Ericksen Law Firm Kroger |The Burrus & Frankfort Law OfficeFlowers of James and Frye, Steidley, Stagg, PLLCOaks & Benavidez, PLLC Funderburk Funderburk Patel Ervin Dinn PLLC & Courtois LLP Fuqua & Associates, The Law Office of Scardino P.C. & Fazel David Hsu Shortt & Nguyen, P.C. HuntonBissell & Williams LLP L.L.P. Strong Pipkin & Ledyard, Law Office of James and Stagg, PLLC Tindall & England, P.C.

The Jurek Law Group, PLLC Katine & Nechman L.L.P. Solo Champions Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP Alejandro Macias KimLy Law Firm PLLC Angela Solice KoonsFuller, P.C. Brian Albrecht Kroger | Burrus Chaumette, PLLC Gregory S. Lindley Clinton Yu Law Office of Maria S. Lowry Damani Law Firm Macias Alejandro Danielle H. Maya Martin R.G. Marasigan Law Offices Davis Hsu Danielle H. Maya C. Treich TheDiane Law Office of Evangeline Mitchell, PLLC Helene Dang Bertrand C. Moser Karla J. Patel LaFitteErvin Dinn PLLC Law Office of of Bertrand C.Perry, MoserP.C. Law Office Brent C. Law OfficePilgrim of Brent C. Office Perry, P.C. Law Law Office of CindiE. L. Price Robison Robert Law Office Cindi of Gregory S. Lindley L. Robison & Fazel Law OfficeScardino of J. Thomas Black, P.C. Shortt & Nguyen, Law Office of Jeff Skarda P.C. Skarda Law Office of Jeff Maria S. Lowry Strong Pipkin Bissell Ledyard, L.L.P. Law Office of Papa M.& Dieye Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons, L.L.P. Law Office of Peter J. Bennett Tindall & England, P.C. Law Office of Robbie Gail Charette Travis Torrence Martin R.G. Marasigan Law Offices Pilgrim LawDiane OfficeC. Treich Norma Robert E. Price Levine Trusch Clinton The Ericksen Law FirmYu

The Jurek Law Group, PLLC The Law Office of Evangeline Mitchell, PLLC The Law Office of Norma Levine Trusch Travis Torrence

contributions to those organizations is worthy of recognition. Lindsey C. Moorhead is an associate in the environmental law and litigation sections at Jackson Walker L.L.P. where she commonly advises clients involved in site cleanup and remediation projects.

Fighting for Survivors of Domestic Violence Susan B. Sanchez


By Raymond L. Panneton racing its roots to 1977, the Houston Area Women’s Center (HAWC) provides survivors of domestic and sexual violence the tools and resources necessary to effectively re-build their lives. Today, the HAWC has over 115 paid staff members, counseling and administrative buildings, a residential building that can house 120 women and children, a stateof-the-art call center and thousands of volunteers. The HAWC’s legal assistance program has grown into a mainstay of HAWC services, as licensed attorneys meet with shelter clients the first Friday of every month, volunteering their time to provide pro bono intake services across a variety of specialties.

One such volunteer is Susan Sanchez of ExxonMobil’s Legal Department. Susan has taken an active role in ensuring that pro bono legal services are also a part of what HAWC offers their shelter survivors. In conjunction with Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP and the Houston Bar Association’s Houston Volunteer Lawyers, Sanchez and other volunteers have been able to serve hundreds of survivors who are seeking assistance from HAWC. Sanchez is not new to the world of pro bono work. In fact, Sanchez was one of the first ExxonMobil lawyers to engage in pro bono work. Susan currently serves as the chair of the ExxonMobil Houston Area Pro Bono Committee, as ExxonMobil’s pro bono coordinator, and on the Board of Directors of the HBA’s Houston Volunteer Lawyers. But, for all of the years of providing pro bono services, the start of Sanchez’s pro bono work was helping domestic violence survivors—a mission she continues. Sanchez makes one important distinction about the HAWC program. “On this project, clinic volunteers take on the majority of case representations.” Generally, volunteers will service anywhere from eight to 10 clients a month. Volunteer attorneys mostly handle family law matters like custody or divorce; however, landlord-tenant law and immigration law are also hot topic areas. The HAWC legal services program provides practitioners who do not typically practice in these areas with the necessary resources to help their clients. “We always have a family lawyer on site,” assures Sanchez. Although the HAWC legal services program is able to maintain an adequate number of volunteers, there is always a need for more. “We are in desperate need for foreign language lawyers. With so many languages spoken in Houston, we want to be able to fill the need for all survivors,” reminds Sanchez. Attorneys who are interested in providing pro bono services to survivors at the HAWC are encouraged to contact the Houston Volunteer Lawyers, a service

of the Houston Bar Association, at 713228-0735, visit www.makejusticehappen.org or email info@hvlp.org. Raymond L. Panneton practices medical malpractice, pharmaceutical and medical device litigation with the Talaska Law Firm, PLLC. He is a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board.

10 Ways the HBA serves you. • Earn all of your CLE and Ethics Hours for free through online CLE videos on the HBA website, and live seminars.

• Attend live institutes and special CLE programs, and watch programs through CLEOnline.com, at substantial discounts to members. • Enjoy many opportunities for professional networking with your colleagues. • Find mentors through both one-on-one and group opportunities. • Get to know the local judiciary. • Stay current on legal issues, educational programs and events through HBA publications. • Learn to lead through Committee participation. • Get the right tools for practice through Section membership. • Take advantage of pro bono opportunities that allow you to help veterans, families, the elderly and others who do not have access to legal services, while receiving mentoring and other benefits. • Participate in more than 35 community programs that range from educating children about the law, cleaning up Houston parks and green spaces, building a Habitat home, collecting clothing and books for the needy, and many other activities that make our communities better.

www.hba.org thehoustonlawyer.com

Enhance your practice Try the HBA advantage. May/June 2015


four HBA Veterans Clinics and four HVL Saturday Clinics.

By Tara Shockley

Outstanding Pro Bono Service Honored by Bench and Bar


or the seventh year, Harris County judges and attorneys came together to recognize outstanding pro bono service by presenting the annual Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards on April 30. 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, including representatives from the Houston Bar Association, the Houston Lawyers Association, the Asian American Bar Association and the Mexican American Bar Association of Houston, reviewed nominations and selected the recipients in several categories. The keynote speaker was the Hon. Eva Guzman of the Supreme Court of Texas, who spoke of the importance of pro bono work to the community and the justice system. The award recipients were honored with a ceremony and luncheon at the Civil Courthouse. In addition to receiving a


May/June 2015


custom-designed crystal and wood award, their 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. Large Firm—Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP In 2014, 79 percent of the attorneys at Norton Rose Fulbright provided direct legal representation for clients with limited financial means, as well as legal assistance for non-profit organizations that provide legal assistance for such clients. These attorneys devoted 32,055 hours to pro bono legal work, averaging 151.20 hours per attorney in the Houston office. Norton Rose Fulbright accepted 96 cases from Houston Volunteer Lawyers in 2014, but clients also came from Catholic Charities, the Texas Children’s HospitalHVL Medical Legal Partnership, Lone Star Legal Aid, Tahirih Justice Center, ProBar, Kids In Need of Defense, Austin Volunteer Lawyers Services, DAYA and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund. In addition, firm attorneys volunteered for 12 Houston Area Women’s Center Domestic Violence Clinics,

Mid-size Firm —Winston & Strawn LLP Winston & Strawn attorneys logged 2,078 pro bono hours in 2014. Eighty-six percent of the firm’s attorneys participated in pro bono efforts, with 65 percent donating 20 hours or more. The firm accepted referrals from Houston Volunteer Lawyers, Tahirih Justice Center, Human Rights First, Catholic Charities, Disability Rights Texas, the Texas Civil Rights Project and Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts. Impact cases handled by the firm included a settlement for a gay high school student coercively “outed” by her coaches and a settlement for a veteran with PTSD who was denied housing because of his service dog. Firm attorneys also collaborated with Catholic Charities in both their Citizenship and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals workshops. Small Firm—Patel Ervin Dinn PLLC The three attorneys who comprise Patel Ervin Dinn contributed 223.1 hours of pro bono legal service in 2014, accepting cases from Houston Volunteer Lawyers, the Texas Bar Appellate Section Pro Bono Program, and the Texas Civil Rights Project. The firm handled two pending Texas Public Information Act appeals to holdings that could allow governmental bodies and public officials/employees to significantly delay response time to public information requests or to hide certain information altogether. The firm also filed an amicus brief on behalf of the union representing Texas correctional employees in a case regarding excessive heat in Texas prisons. The firm also handled pro bono tax, probate and bankruptcy matters. Individual—Jack Carnegie Jack Carnegie is a partner at Strasburger & Price, LLP, who handles litigation and arbitration involving the energy and chemical sector. He represented, pro bono, Cameron Moon, an indigent juvenile who was wrongly certified to stand trial as an adult and later convicted of murder. Carn-

egie took on the case after he learned that that day. Over the next seven years, Raley President’s Award for Pro Bono— 95 percent of juveniles were certified battled two district attorneys and the state John W. Raley at the State’s request, many without indicourt system’s delays before he finally won From 2004 through 2014, John Raley devidualized findings supporting certificahis appeal for DNA testing of the banvoted over 2,000 hours of pro bono legal tion. He won the dana. It revealed the case in the First DNA of Mark Alan Court of Appeals Norwood, a habitual and in a landmark criminal who would Court of Criminal go on to murder once Appeals opinion isagain, while Morton sued in 2014, the first remained in prison. time a juvenile cerIn October of 2011, tification had been Michael Morton was overturned in Texas released and in Dein 25 years. The rulcember 2011 he was ing dramatically declared “actually inreforms the procenocent” by the State of dures for juvenile Texas. In March 2013, certification and will Norwood was conaffect the lives of victed of the murder The 2015 Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards Ceremony, from left: Harris County Administrative Judge countless children. of Christine Morton Robert Schaffer of the 152nd District Court; Susan Sanchez, representing Exxon Mobil CorporaHe devoted approxi- tion’s Legal Department, corporate winner; Amy Dinn and Hiren Patel, representing Patel Ervin and has been indicted mately 1,000 hours Dinn PLLC, small firm winner; Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, the keynote speaker for the second murder. to the case, includ- at the ceremony; John W. Raley of Raley & Bowick, President’s Award Winner; Jack Carnegie of The original DisStrasburger & Price LLP, individual winner; John Strasburger, representing Winston & Strawn ing more than 185 LLP; mid-size firm winner; Richard Wilson, representing Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP, large trict Attorney, Ken hours in 2014 alone. firm winner; and 2014-15 HBA President Carter Crow. Anderson, by then an elected judge, was removed from the services to free Michael Morton, who spent Large Corporation— bench, disbarred and served time in jail. 25 years in prison for the brutal murder Exxon Mobil Corporation Law Department The second District Attorney, John Bradof his wife, a crime he did not commit. In In 2014, 175 Exxon Mobil volunteers, inley, lost his next primary election and 1987 Morton, a loving husband and father cluding 135 attorneys and 35 support staff, now serves as an assistant prosecutor on a who had never been accused of any type devoted 3,212 hours to pro bono legal serSouth Pacific island. of crime, was charged with murder in vice. Both attorneys and non-attorneys are Morton has dedicated the rest of his life Williamson County, tried and given a life encouraged to participate in pro bono opto making sure that what happened to him sentence. The sole evidence the state relied portunities though the HBA and Houston will not happen to others. The Michael on was a “junk science” opinion, based on Volunteer Lawyers. In addition to staffing Morton Act, named for his efforts, codifies stomach contents alone, that his wife died HVL neighborhood and specialty clinics, the Constitutional right of a criminal debefore Morton left the house for work that and accepting pro bono cases from HVL, fendant to see a prosecutor’s evidence. He morning. volunteers participated in ongoing efforts was reunited with his son, thanks to the In 2004, the New York based Innocence to assist the Texas Children’s Hospitalefforts of Raley and his wife Kelly. Project, convinced that Morton did not HVL Medical Legal Partnership, Catholic “This case changed everyone involved commit the crime, contacted Raley, who Charities, Kids In Need of Defense, Texas irrevocably,” Raley said. “I am deeply is not a criminal lawyer but had recently C-Bar, Tahirih Justice Center, Houston thankful that I was given an opportuhandled a case involving DNA testing and Area Women’s Center and United Way’s nity to be part of it. I have decided to medical evidence. When Raley read the Nonprofit Connection. ExxonMobil’s law work on one such case at a time for the trial transcript, he saw there was no real managers support pro bono and lead by rest of my career—make sure they are evidence against Morton and vowed to get example, staffing the third Annual Law innocent, and then do whatever is rehim freed. The Williamson County DisManagment Pro Bono Clinic in 2014 that quired under the law to free them.” trict Attorney concealed several key pieces included 20 supervisory attorneys who asof evidence, including a bloody bandana Tara Shockley is the communications disisted 20 HAWC/HVL/Tahirih clients, all found behind the Morton home and his rector for the Houston Bar Association and survivors of domestic abuse, with protecthree and a half year old son’s description managing editor of The Houston Lawyer. tions under U.S. immigration laws. of a “monster” who came into the house thehoustonlawyer.com

May/June 2015


30th HBA John J. Eikenburg Law Week Fun Run Raises Over $76,000 for The Center


he HBA’s 30th John J. Eikenburg Law Week Fun Run on March 21 raised over $76,000 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 $1,212,552 in contributions to The Center over the life of the race. Nearly 800 walkers and runners participated in the event in downtown’s Sam Houston Park. Named for the 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 Alistair Dawson of Beck Redden LLP; Susan Oehl of Jenkins & Kamin, L.L.P.; and Eric Pardue of Vinson & Elkins LLP. Fun Run Committee Members were Jeremiah Anderson, Crystal Axelrod, Robert Ayers, Anna Bureiko, Marie Brown, Jen Cafferty, Erin Christopher, Meredith Clark, Pia Das, Amanda Ferguson, Michelle Gallo, Jacob Godard, Stacy Grace, Lauren Hudson, Sarah Lee, Jessica Levy, Latosha Lewis Payne, Simon Mayer, Cassandra McGarvey, Andrew Pearce, Kara Philbin, Claire Rogers, Paul Roslyn, Heather Sherrod, John Strohmeyer, Bridget Vick, Nicole Voyles, Hon. Wesley Ward, Mark Wege, Meredith Welch and Zach Wolfe. Photos by Anthony Rathbun Photography

Former and current co-chairs of the John J. Eikenburg Law Week Fun Run came out to support the race and The Center. Front row: Danielle Maya, Nicole Voyles, Alistair Dawson, Susan Oehl. Second row: Andrew Pearce, Meredith Clark, John Spiller, Pat Beaton, John Shepperd, Mark Wege, Jeremiah Anderson, Eric Pardue, Todd Frankfort.

2015 Fun Run Chairs Alistair Dawson, Susan Oehl and Eric Pardue with Elizabeth Eikenburg, whose late husband, John Eikenburg, started the Law Week Fun Run in 1985 as president of the HBA.

The Fun Run brings together families, law offices and other groups to run or walk for a great cause. 32

May/June 2015


Runners take off in the 8K race.

Residents of The Center joined the 1-mile walk and post-race celebration.

Law Week Fun Run Sponsors Platinum Sponsor South Texas College of Law

Rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of those dedicated to helping The Center.

Gold Sponsor Anne and Don Fizer Foundation ExxonMobil Corporation KoonsFuller, P.C. Mayer, Isabelle & Eric Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP Serpe, Jones, Andrews, Callender & Bell, PLLC Vinson & Elkins LLP

Silver Sponsor Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend Amicus Search Group LLC Andrews Kurth LLP Baker Botts L.L.P. Beck Redden LLP Hon. Jane & Doug Bland BoyarMiller Bracewell & Giuliani LLP Brown Wharton & Brothers Christina & Trey Peacock Bryan Burleson LLP Long-time emcee Lee Jolly has donated his time and talent to the Fun Run for many years. BWA Video, Inc. Johnny and Tia Carter The HBA and the Fun Run Committee Hon. Kyle Carter would like to thank all of the teams who Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, supported and competed in the race. Williams & Aughtry The top 4 law firm teams were: Christian Smith & Jewell, L.L.P. Coats | Rose Third: First: DepoTexas/Sunbelt Reporting Weycer Strasburger & Litigation Services Kaplan & Price 2:09:00.0 1:38:25.0 Hon. Mike Engelhart Sherry Bankhead John Spiller Fernelius Alvarez PLLC Carter Stern Kelsey Sproull Gray Reed & McGraw, P.C. Chris Trent Trent Stephens Greenberg Traurig, LLP Joe and Amy Grinstein Fourth: Second: HBA Auxiliary Charitable Fund, Inc. Harris County District Locke Lord HBA Family Law Section LLP Attorney’s Office Jenkins & Kamin, LLP 2:09:28.8 1:56:47.9 Johnson, Trent, West & Taylor, L.L.P. Patrick Beaton John Boone King & Spalding LLP Alexander Fader Eric Kugler Legal Directories Publishing Company, Inc. Andrea Park Jennifer Meriweather

Locke Lord LLP Lubel Voyles LLP Hon. Debra Ibarra Mayfield Neal & Nancy Manne McGuireWoods LLP Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP Nathan Sommers Jacobs, A Professional Corporation Nell McCallum & Associates, Inc. Paul Hastings LLP Porter Hedges LLP Reed Smith LLP Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff & Miller, LLP Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. Sidley Austin LLP Itze Soliz Strasburger & Price, LLP Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP US Legal Support Waddell Law Firm, P.C. Hon. Wesley Ward Wong, Cabello, Lutsch, Rutherford & Brucculeri L.L.P. Other Important Supporters Grand Old Grizzly Gainsborough Waste Texas Outhouse Inc. Houston Bar Association Luke’s Locker Night Owls Print Shop Refreshments Watermill Express Todd Lonergan Faust Distributing Company –(Bob Stokes) The Coca-Cola Company Security Event secured by Constable Alan Rosen and his staff from Precinct 1 Master of Ceremonies Services donated by long-time emcee, Lee Jolly thehoustonlawyer.com

May/June 2015


By Tara Shockley

Join Us How Can You Get Involved in HBA Committees and Sections to Enhance Your Practice and Personal Growth?


he Houston Bar Association (HBA) sponsors a number of events each month, from small networking opportunities to community-wide programs that benefit thousands. You may have participated in those events, but never stopped to think how the event came together. Although some HBA programs and events are staff-driven, others are planned, coordinated and implemented by attorneys who serve on HBA committees or sections. Joining a committee or section can provide extra value to your HBA membership. Committees Over 550 HBA members serve on one


May/June 2015


or more committees. It is easy to get involved. The HBA has 34 standing committees for the 2015-2016 bar year, as listed page 35. The HBA website, hba. org, lists brief information on each committee, along with the current chair or co-chairs and their contact information. The incoming HBA president appoints all committee chairs and members before he or she takes office. In February, each HBA member receives a Committee Volunteer Form, which provides the opportunity to volunteer for up to three committees of your choice, in order of preference. Committee volunteer forms are due back in April. After the deadline, the HBA staff puts together lists of all attorneys who wish to serve on each committee. The president then reviews the lists and appoints members to each committee. It is likely that you will receive an appointment to all committees in which you listed an interest. The order of preference is important for some committees, such as the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Committee and The Houston Lawyer Editorial Board, because there are many members who want to serve on them but only a limited number of positions. Bear in mind that all HBA committees require time spent at meetings, planning activities and attending the activities. If you have time for only one committee, it is best to volunteer for only one. Many members think that if you serve on a committee of the HBA, you will be reappointed automatically to that committee until you decide you no longer wish to participate. In most cases, you must be reappointed to a committee each year by returning a completed Committee Volunteer Form. In addition to the mailing done each February, this form is on the HBA website and is promoted in weekly e-Bulletins. Many programs and projects recruit volunteers from outside the committees that coordinate them. Examples include the Elder Law Committee’s annual Will-A-Thon, which recruits volunteers to provide wills and medical directives

for low-income seniors; the Habitat for Humanity Committee, which recruits volunteers to build houses; and the Law Week Committee, which recruits volunteer attorneys to read at elementary schools. Some committees work in conjunction with other professions, such as the IDEA Program, which sends teams of lawyers and doctors to talk to fifth grade students about substance abuse, and the Law & the Media Committee, which plans an annual seminar for both lawyers and journalists. Each committee has a chair or cochairs, and some have additional leadership positions responsible for specific elements of a program or project. For instance, the CLE Committee has an overall chair, but there are subcommittee chairs in charge of planning seminars and institutes. The incoming HBA president appoints the committee chairs after considering factors such as dedication, longevity of service, leadership skills and diversity. Three committees serve as boards for the HBA’s ancillary organizations: the Houston Lawyer Referral Service, the Houston Volunteer Lawyers and the Harris County Dispute Resolution Center. The terms of membership for these programs may span more than one year, and more information is available on these committees by calling the HBA office. A staff member from the HBA serves as liaison to each committee. That staff member assists with setting up meetings, as well as some aspects of coordination and planning for committees and programs. If you would like to know more about a committee, call the HBA office and speak to the staff person who serves as liaison to that committee. Sections Sections are groups of attorneys who have the same practice area or interest. They operate much like small bar associations within the larger association. In order to join a section, you must be a member of the HBA and you must pay section dues in addition to your HBA dues.

The HBA has 27 sections listed on this page. It is easy to join one or more sections when paying your annual HBA dues by simply checking off the sections you want to join on your annual statement and submitting the dues along with your HBA dues. It also is possible to join a section at any time during the year by contacting the HBA membership director. Most sections meet monthly on a regularly scheduled day for a luncheon and speaker, usually providing CLE credit. In addition to CLE that is targeted to practice areas, sections are a great way to network with attorneys who share your same professional interests. Some sections sponsor community service projects, such as the Family Law Section, which provides a family law specialist for each LegalLine program. Many sections contribute financially to other HBA programs, such as Habitat for Humanity and the Harvest Celebration. Some even provide scholarships for law students with an interest in specific areas of the law. Each section has a chair and a council elected by section members on a yearly basis. The HBA staff handles the financial and administrative duties for each section. In order to form a new section, an attorney or group of attorneys must petition the HBA board and show why they believe there is enough interest among members to sustain the section. Sections also have their own bylaws, based on a model form. Other Volunteer Opportunities In addition to committees and sections, the HBA offers other volunteer opportunities, including pro bono legal service. The Houston Volunteer Lawyers (HVL) always needs attorneys to handle civil cases for low-income Houstonians in areas of the law including family, wills and probate, consumer and many others. Volunteer opportunities are available through a portal on the HVL website, http://www.makejusticehappen.org. If you would like to serve those who have served us, consider becoming a

volunteer for the HBA’s Veterans Legal Initiative. You can volunteer for a legal advice clinic or to handle a pro bono case for a veteran. More information on this rewarding program is available at http:// www.hba.org/services/veterans-legalinitiative/. HBA members have myriad interests and talents, and the HBA provides opportunities for members to utilize those talents in serving both the community and the profession. The Houston Bar Bulletin each year publishes a committee and section directory with more information. Take a closer look at HBA committees and sections, and find the programs that meet your volunteer and professional needs. Tara Shockley is the communications director for the Houston Bar Association. Houston Bar Association (HBA) Committees • Administration of Justice • AIDS Outreach • Alternative Dispute Resolution • Campaign for the Homeless • Communities in Schools • Continuing Legal Education • County Law Library • Elder Law • Fee Dispute • Gender Fairness • Golf Tournament • Habitat for Humanity • Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards • Historical • The Houston Lawyer • Houston Lawyer Referral Service • Houston Volunteer Lawyers • Interprofessional Drug Education Alliance (IDEA) • John J. Eikenburg Law Week Fun Run • Judicial Polls • Juvenile Consequences Partnership

• Law & the Media • Law Internship Approval • Law Week • Lawyers Against Waste • Lawyers for Literacy • LegalLine • Membership, Member Benefits and Pictorial Roster • Minority Opportunities in the Legal Profession • Professionalism • Senior Lawyers Forum • Speakers Bureau • Special Olympics • Teach Texas hba sections • Alternative Dispute Resolution • Animal Law • Antitrust & Trade Regulation • Appellate Practice • Bankruptcy • Collaborative Law • Commercial & Consumer Law • Construction • Corporate Counsel • Criminal Law & Procedure • Entertainment & Sports Law • Environmental Law • Family Law • Federal Practice • Health Law • International Law • Juvenile Law • Labor & Employment Law • Law Practice Management • Litigation • Mergers & Acquisitions • Oil, Gas & Mineral Law • Probate, Trusts & Estate • Real Estate Law • Securities Litigation & Arbitration • Social Security • Taxation thehoustonlawyer.com

May/June 2015


Law Week 2015:


The Magna Carta: Symbol of Freedom

he Houston Bar Association celebrated Law Week with programs that educated the public on the 2015 Law Day theme: “Magna Carta: Symbol of Freedom Under Law,” highlighting the simple but enduring truth embodied by this 800 year old document: No one, no matter how powerful, is above the law. While the HBA calls its celebration “Law Week,” it encompasses much more. The HBA Law Week Committee, co-chaired by Bill Kroger of Baker Botts LLP and Diana Gomez of Martin, Disiere, Jefferson & Wisdom, L.L.P., planned a full range of activities surrounding Law Day, May 1. Law Week activities kicked off in February with a Special Day at the Courthouse, where special needs students and their teachers were invited to the historic 1910 Courthouse for presentations by local and state judges, as well as assistance with ideas for creating posters and photos for the HBA’s Law Day contests. Justice Jeff Brown of the Supreme Court of Texas was the guest speaker. In March, the HBA Law Week Committee sponsored a Poster Contest in area elementary and middle schools and an Essay Contest and Photography Contest in high schools on the Law Day theme. There also were team and individual poster contests for special needs students. The HBA, the Asian American Bar Association, the Houston Lawyers Association, the Hispanic Bar Association and the Mexican-American Bar Association hosted three Law Week Poster Workshops in the Third Ward, the East End and the Chinese Community Center. Judge Alexandra Smoots-Hogan, Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt and Judge Michael Gomez spoke at the workshops. The winning posters, essay and photos were displayed at the HYLA Law Day Luncheon on May 4 and in 11 professional 36

May/June 2015


Naturalization Ceremony

HBA President Carter Crow welcomed nearly 2,000 new citizens at a Law Week naturalization ceremony held on April 22 at M.O. Campbell Center, with U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore and U.S. District Judge Al Bennett presiding. The HBA staff and members of the Law Week Committee, including Jason Muriby above right, distributed copies of the HBA’s Public Information Brochure to all new citizens.

buildings downtown including the Civil Courthouse, 1910 Courthouse, Jury Assembly Plaza and the Law Library. Cash prizes for students and their teachers

were generously underwritten by the Pratz Simmons Group at UBS, Stratos Legal Services, Core Legal, Kiersted, EdoxUSA, Brent Perry, and Bill & Elizabeth Kroger. In honor of Law Day, HBA President Carter Crow participated in a Naturalization Ceremony presided over by United States District Judge Vanessa Gilmore and United States District Judge Al Bennett on April 22. Members of the Law Week Committee and HBA staff assisted with congratulating naturalized citizens and passing out public information brochures. From April 20-May 15, volunteers from the Law Week Committee, the Lawyers for Literacy Committee, the Speakers Bureau Committee, and other volunteers read the book, All Different Now by Angela Johnson to elementary students in 101 schools throughout Harris County and donated the book to each school’s library, reaching 8,424 students. On April 30, HBA President Carter Crow, Administrative Judge Robert Schaffer, and staff from Harris County District Clerk Chris Daniel’s office passed out pocket-sized copies of the Constitution to all citizens who reported for jury duty at the Harris County Jury Assembly Room. The annual Law Day Luncheon, sponsored by the Houston Young Lawyers Association/ Houston Young Lawyers Foundation, was held May 4 at the Four Seasons. The keynote speaker was Texas Supreme Court Justice Jeff Brown. HYLA presented the Woodrow Seals Outstanding Young Lawyer of Houston Award, the Outstanding Mentor Award, and the Liberty Bell Award to a non-attorney for outstanding community service. An extended LegalLine program was held from noon until 9:00 p.m. on May 6, giving the public the opportunity to call the HBA for brief legal advice, answers to legal questions, and additional resources.

HBA Law Day Contest winNers

The HBA recognized the winners of its Law Week Poster, Essay and Photography Contests at the Houston Young Lawyers Association Law Day Luncheon on May 4. Pictured here are the winners, their parents and teachers, along with contest underwriters Blake Pratz and Jo Simmons of the Pratz Simmons Group at UBS (far left).

HYLA Law Day Luncheon

The HYLA Woodrow B. Seals Outstanding Young Lawyer Award winner was Kristin E. Kruse of Winstead PC, pictured with her father Layne Kruse, mother Gayle Kruse, and fiancée Wes Lotz.

HYLA Law Day Luncheon

HYLA Outstanding Mentor Award winner was the Hon. Brett Busby of the Fourteenth Court of Appeals, pictured with his wife, Erin Busby, and HYLA President, Jessica Hart.

Jury Service

To commemorate Law Day, HBA President Carter Crow and Administrative Judge Robert Schaffer distributed copies of the Constitution to citizens who reported for morning jury duty.

HYLA Law Day Luncheon

The HYLA presented the Liberty Bell Award for outstanding community service by a non-attorney to HPD Executive Assistant Chief George T. Buenik, Jr., pictured with his daughters, Jennifer Buenik Altman & Leah Buenik (HYLA Outstanding Committee Chair Award winner), and his wife, Donna Buenik.

Poster Workshops

Special Needs Day at the Courthouse

The Law Week Committee sponsored Special Needs Day at the Courthouse, organized by the Hon. Kem Thompson Frost of the 14th Court of Appeals. Students and teachers visited the historic 1910 Courthouse to hear presentations by local and state judges, as well as get ideas for the HBA Law Week Poster Contest. They got to tour the courthouse and even try out the judges’ robes and seats on the bench.

The Law Week Committee sponsored three Law Day Poster Workshops for urban children, working in partnership with the HLA, MABAH, HISBA and AABA. 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. Pictured here is Judge Alexandra Smoots-Hogan, who spoke to children at the Chinese Community Center. thehoustonlawyer.com

May/June 2015


First Place: Houston Bar Association Law Day Essay Contest

The Magna Carta: An Icon of Democracy A

By Rachel Shenoi, DeBakey High School for the Health Professions s Americans, many of us take the John of England, but later annulled by the right to vote for granted. The right Pope. It was again reissued by King John’s to vote is one of the basic prinson, Henry III, in order to obtain political ciples of democracy, and one we support. see every day. Whether it is the election for This attempt to limit a ruler’s tyranny has the next President of the United States, or been a symbol of freedom under the law in a vote on the new municipal bill, demoBritain since its creation. Through the 15th cratic elections are present everywhere in Century, parliaments had the charter remodern America. Yet, this basic premise, confirmed by monarchs numerous times. that we, regardless of race, gender or creed, The Magna Carta was again resurrected in can vote or not vote as we please, was not the 17th Century by Lord Coke, who was always present in our society. There was a dissatisfied with the Stuart kings’ oppressive time when “We the People” did not mean rule, and argued for Magna Carta to be reall of the people; a time when individuals confirmed to reestablish the essential rights were elected to represent people who did of habeas corpus, trial by jury, and many not have the ability to vote for a representaothers to the people of England. Coke also tive. As history has repeatedly demonstratargued that even kings were answerable to ed, every vote is important and should not, common law, and his views were translated cannot, be ignored. to other countries in the next century. The Magna Carta, drafted by the ArchThe Magna Carta’s ideals of freedom and bishop of Canterbury in the 13th Century, democracy spread throughout Europe to was created in order for the king and rebel France in the 18th Century, and were also barons to reach peace. Providing for church used as the basis for the creation of a new rights, access to the courts, protection from country in 1776. As the American colonists illegal imprisonment, and limits on paydeveloped legal codes for the colonies, they ments to the king, the charter essentially were influenced by the guiding principles aimed to stop the king from exercising tyof the Magna Carta. Founding fathers like rannical power. It was agreed upon by King John Adams, James Madison, and Thomas

Jefferson looked to Lord Coke’s interpretations of common law for guidance, later using them as the basis for preparation for war and independence. The Constitution of the U.S. itself was heavily influenced by the Magna Carta, and was also seen as the “supreme law of the land,” similar to the Magna Carta’s overall power in relation to other statutes. Today, the Magna Carta is seen as an icon of democracy, and is used to defend basic freedoms from tyrannical governments. Its basic outline of individual rights has influenced numerous political works, perhaps most notably, the Constitution. It has stood as a protection of citizens’ individual freedoms, and has limited tyrannical rule while asserting the legacy of individual rights and the power of the people. It has set the precedent for reinterpretations, and has been a model for the Constitution, which has also acted as a standard for other nations. What started out as a way for rebel barons to obtain individual rights against their authoritarian king has launched a legacy that endures throughout time and across the world, setting an example for all future democracies.

HBA Members Reach 8,424 Students with Law Day Readings


ll Different Now by Angela Johnson, is the story of a young girl hearing about the Emancipation Proclamation and what it would mean to her and her family. HBA members read to students in 101 elementary classrooms in the weeks surrounding Law Day, reaching 8,424 young students. 38

May/June 2015


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. “It is a great program. Thank you for

doing it and including our school. It is vital that students see how important reading is and having guest readers helps with their perception of how important it is to read,” said a teacher from Glen Loch Elementary School. “I tell them how the guest reader took off time from work to

do this, and it really makes an impact.” “Every year the kids enjoy this program and it is time well spent,” said a teacher from Brill Elementary School. “[The speaker] was excellent. He was very knowledgeable about the subject of the freedom of the slaves. He explained it

in a way that the children could understand,” said a teacher from Galena Park Elementary School. And a comment found in the majority of the evaluations: “Thank you so much for providing this service to our community!”

Bill Kroger at Rummel Creek Elementary School. Carter Crow at Meadow Wood Elementary School. Courtney Rose at R.P. Harris Elementary School.

Tracy Penn at J.G. Osborne Elementary School.

Clay Morton, Christina Vitale, Lewis Smith, Veronica Yew and Mary Susan Formby of Morgan Lewis & Bockius dressed up for students at Leistman Elementary School. Knox Nunnally at Oates Elementary School.

Mary Isensee at Peck Elementary School.

Jennifer Hasley at Roberts Elementary School.

Travis Torrence at Southmayd Elementary School. thehoustonlawyer.com

May/June 2015


By Taunya Painter

Managing Internet Risks & Benefits

Teens & Social Media: Parent Cliff Notes

#kyliejennerchallenge. It’s the trending hashtag today. You may not know what a hashtag really is or what the actual trend is for today, but your teen knows both. The day I’m writing this article, Kylie’s pic was snapped by the paparazzi. She had that “stepped out of a salon” picture perfect look, but that’s not what the teens around the world saw. They saw her ridiculous lip pout, which was a recent surgically-enhanced change. So they took to every type of social media to share pics of their own artificially pumped lips, mostly swollen and bruised from cramming their lips in coke bottles. The way they link all of their pics, parody and fun is through the hashtag. We all know teens are on their smart phones non-stop, so where are they? And what are they up to? One of my teen relatives told me some time back that I basically lived under a rock because I didn’t know that teens measure popularity by likes on various apps. So if you are under the same rock of raising a family and working, and you haven’t had time or desire to go chasing your kid’s latest app download, this article is for you. Based on teens and their parents, and some attempted personal app use, this article hopefully answers the question: where are the teens at this moment in time (because it will change if us parents “show up”). The first in my list (Facebook) is most familiar to us, and therefore, less relevant to teens. The second (Tumblr and other microblogging), seems to be trending away from teens. The next three (Instagram, Twitter and YouTube) are teen staples, but I wonder whether there will be a trend away from them as there was for Facebook, as they become increasingly attractive to businesses, politicians and teens’ families. While they are still hot because of celebrity usage and while they do have a more bohemian feel than Facebook, they do lack key elements that the apps in the 40

May/June 2015


rest of the list (snapchat, kik, YouNow, etc.) seem to be drifting toward—spontaneity, live, interactive and less permanent. 1. FACEBOOK: Text, pictures, video Statistics suggest teens are on Facebook. But many teens say that while they still have their registered accounts, it’s not where they hang out. It’s dead to us. It’s like an awkward family dinner party that we’re not really allowed to leave. My parents tag me to try to make me look like a good Samaritan, but no way am I posting there... My friends all call it “MomBook.” Kids still may post an obligatory pic with family or family friends, but they seem to have moved on. 2. TUMBLR: Microblogging Teens can set up their own blog site, but the number that have the patience and commitment to it is dwindling. Sites like Tumblr let people, with little effort or skill, customize their own site and share anything–text, pics, links, music, videos. And a Tumblr account is easy to post on from any type of device. When I asked a young teen about Tumblr: Blogging? I don’t really have that much to say. I think it’s more for older teens and college kids. Sometimes when I’m researching a topic for school, I’ll come across some pages. But mostly, it seems to be older kids. Big ideas that are off the hook. I’m not there yet. This young teen seemed to nail it. Only about 15 percent of teens use microblogging sites, and most of those are older and usually girls wanting to make a name for themselves or change the world. 3. INSTAGRAM: Picture sharing To many of us, it’s a picture-sharing app. But to many teens, it’s a popularity app.

Teens can share pics, add tags (which allows people with similar interests to find their pics and connect with them), and interact with all kinds of people. If you follow a teen, their pics will show up on your feed. The big thing for many teens is the number of “likes” per minute. There is a science to how to get more likes, and kids will push all the buttons. Instagram is huge in school. The pressure to have over 100 likes per pic is insane. But if you fail to like a popular friend’s pic, you could be quietly banished by all your friends being pressured not to like your pics anymore. You have to stay “in” with the Instagram queens. In my school, how many followers you have and who follows you will dictate your status and relationships. Instagram is your school passport.1 Some teens will actually post interesting pics and use friendliness, networking and reciprocity to earn those likes. But to get a lot of likes, a teen must have a lot of followers, and most won’t easily reach the 1k+ club. It is completely counterproductive for teens that are seeking followers and likes to make their Instagram account “private” as some parents suggest. In fact, having lots of followers is so important to some that they will try to game the app by buying followers and likes, and by using any number of tricks, some considered okay and others not so much. Celebrities, teens and bloggers who resorted to not-so-honest tactics and who thrive on number of followers and likes were deflated recently by the December 2014 Instagram purge of sham followers. One thing many teens have to face is seeing their friends getting together, posting pics of a party or activity and knowing that they were not invited. It’s really hurtful. Especially if it’s my friends from school, and we set up our own Instagram group. I feel left out, and the next day at school is really hard. 4. TWITTER: Short text with the option of picture or video links A lot of the same issues with Instagram we see for Twitter. The teens will want open accounts because they want followers, and they want people to like and repost their content. However, teen usage of Twitter appears to be falling off similar to, but not as dramatic as, Facebook.

My grandma’s not tweeting yet, and I don’t think my mom is hovering. It moves too fast for them, and I’m not sure they care about trending hashtags. It still has a cool factor. Some teens are setting up Twitter accounts for their pets or stuffed animals. It’s mostly a creative way to have fun. Also, teens are increasingly coordinating with teachers and coaches about after-school events and scheduling through Twitter. It’s a must to have an account. 5. YOUTUBE and VINE: Videos that vary in length and subject matters We all know basically what it is, how it’s used and how videos can go viral. Teens seem to view watching TV about like listening to CDs. Instead, they are entertained by YouTube–some just to kill boredom and others to post their own material and start their own channels. There are other video apps that rise and fall in popularity. One now that is getting some traction is Vine, owned by Twitter. It is less overrun with commercial interests, and it lacks the serious subject matters because the videos are limited to six seconds. Some teens think it is entertaining, but it is also less filtered than YouTube for inappropriate content.

6. SNAPCHAT: Disappearing picture, video and text This is an app that seems to allow teens to be themselves without all the pressure of public scrutiny of their number of followers or likes. The content–pics, a series of pics (called a story) or short video clips– disappears after a short period of time once the message is opened by the recipient. Depending on the sender, a pic can disappear in a matter of seconds, or video snippets called Stories can disappear in a matter of hours. While recipients can save screen shots, the app notifies the snap sender who saved a pic and what was saved. Teens are flocking to snapchat. Hundreds of millions of “snaps” (pics or short videos) are being sent on the app each day. They can be sent to individuals, a group of friends, a custom list, or the public. The fleeting element adds to the fun. Because the content has less permanence, it is a license to be silly and spontaneous. The fun element now is for kids to create a “My Story” using pics and short videos. They stay up a little longer, but still have the fleeting element. There are other free messaging apps that are being used by teens extensively. Some teens will use multiple messaging apps. For inContinued on page 49

Houston Lawyers Who Made a Difference

Samuel H. Brashear


By The Hon. Mark Davidson

city works with its roads and buildings. It lives and breathes in its parks. Houstonians use our wonderful park system to picnic, to stay in shape, to play a round of golf, and to watch concerts, fireworks and each other. Parks have not always been a focus of city government. The early history of the city was built around survival and growth. Roads were mostly mud, and yellow fever epidemics were frequent. Enter a 32-year-old mayor named Samuel Brashear. Elected Mayor of Houston in 1898 after four years’ service as Judge of the Eleventh District Court, he decided that the growing city would need a place for its people to be able to see, and enjoy, grass and trees. He appointed Houston’s first Park Commission, with instruction to design and create a comprehensive system of parks. Within the year, the tract of Downtown land that we now know as

Sam Houston Park had been purchased and designed as a recreational facility. A second parcel of land, which would be known as Brashear Park, would be purchased, although it would later be renamed and sold. The parks system that Brashear envisioned would be designed and the board he appointed would, in time, create dozens of green space areas that we have Samuel H. Brashear now enjoyed for more than a century. His crusade for parks would lead to the donation of two tracts of land to the city – one by George Hermann on the city’s south side and one by the Hogg family on the west side. We now know those two areas

as Hermann Park and Memorial Park. It is impossible to think about what life in our city would be like without those two, and all the rest, of our parks. The man that got it started has largely been forgotten, but deserves our eternal thanks. Sam Brashear made a difference for joggers, cyclists, golfers and all Houstonians who like to breathe clean air.

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. thehoustonlawyer.com

May/June 2015



Malcolm Gibson:

Sometimes It Takes a Brain Surgeon to Run a Marathon

By Polly Graham Fohn

The Houston Lawyer


him, Gibson says running keeps him young. alcolm Gibson was in his mid-thirties when docGibson is humble, but he’s also competitive and highly detertors delivered the news that he had dangerously mined. Between managing his successful law firm, serving clihigh blood pressure, a diagnosis all too common ents, and putting in his daily training runs, Gibson still finds among legal practitioners. But what happened next time to enjoy writing. He recently was anything but discovered a journal kept by his facommon. Gibson decided to start ther during WWII, about six years running, and running, and runbefore Gibson was born. This disning. Today, in addition to managcovery has fired up Gibson’s imagiing his own successful law firm, nation and inspired him to write M.D. Gibson & Associates, P.C., he a novel, Banana Man, based on his has finished 59 marathons and is father’s journal. Banana Man is the training for number 60. story of his father’s best friend, a Last year, Gibson encountered young man who was the son of the another challenge that almost country’s largest banana importer stopped him in his tracks. Gibson and who was killed only one month took a hard fall at home that started after landing in Europe. a massive hemorrhage in his brain During any spare time he is able stem. The location of the bleed was to scrap together, Gibson enjoys so sensitive that many patients writing columns for local newsin similar straits do not survive. papers and running groups, often Those that do are often significantfocusing on lessons he has learned ly impaired. But even as doctors while covering 26.2 miles. He also were wheeling him into surgery, coaches marathoners at Memorial Gibson was not just thinking about Park for USA Fit Houston, which survival, he was already thinking helps both novices and seasoned ahead to his next marathon. runners prepare for a marathon Dr. Gavin Britz, chairman of neurosurgery at Methodist Hospi- Malcolm Gibson [right] next to Dr. Gavin Britz, chairman of neuro- and change their lives. The trainees could not find a better role model tal, promised Gibson that when he surgery at Methodist Hospital. than Gibson, who is a true testament to the fact that running recovered they would run the next marathon together. The road a marathon is a challenge not only for the body but also for the to recovery was not easy. After nine hours of surgery, it took mind. Gibson longer than expected to awake. But just a month after surgery, determined to overcome his setbacks, Gibson resumed training, and in January 2015 he finished the Houston Marathon Polly Graham Fohn is an appellate attorney at Haynes and Boone, one second ahead of his neurosurgeon. When asked what drives LLP and a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board. 42

May/June 2015


A Profile

in pro f e s s io n ali s m


The Hon. Gray H. Miller United States District Judge, Southern District of Texas

our reputation as a lawyer is the most precious asset you have. Fortunately, your reputation is largely in your hands. How you treat other lawyers, judges, clients, and witnesses will determine your reputation. Treating everyone with courtesy and respect is the hallmark of the true professional. We should not have to “mandate� professionalism, but we have. We should not have to pass legislation that requires new lawyers to swear to behave with integrity and civility, but we did. Civility is important in our profession. I learned the importance of civility and professionalism as a young lawyer by watching titans of the bar like Gibson Gayle, Ewing Werlein, Wayne Fisher, Jim Sales, Gus Schill, Ronnie Krist, and countless others, not from mandates or oaths. Today, I try to stress the importance of profession-

alism and civility. As judges, we must set an example by acting with integrity and civility ourselves if we expect it from others. In 1980 Leon Jaworski said this about our profession: Dedicated lawyers, devoted to the profession of law, of high moral and ethical standards always will occupy an important and admired place in our society. This is inescapably true because this type of lawyer in the practice of the profession will be serving the public interest. They will be playing a prominent part in fashioning the rules of conduct for the welfare of our society. What other profession is privileged to make a greater contribution? When we make those contributions with civility and respect, we enhance and honor our profession.


May/June 2015



By the Hon. Jeff Work

HBA Judicial Polls Committee

The Houston Lawyer


hen the word “poll” is used concerning government office-holders or political candidates, the first question raised concerns whether the poll is slanted or biased. For some, the mere mention of the words “bar poll” conjures up images of a back-room filled with smoke from a Jimmy Stewart movie. Contrary to both these statements, the HBA Judicial Polls Committee ensures integrity for the three different polls for which it is responsible. The specific polls are: (1) the Judicial Candidate Qualification Questionnaire, held in January of evennumbered years before the March Primary; (2) the Judicial Preference Poll, conducted in even-numbered years before the November election; and (3) the Judicial Evaluation Questionnaire, conducted in the fall of odd-numbered years. Last year, the HBA went to online voting for all of the judicial polls. Although the Committee itself has specific tasks concerning each of the polls, the tabulation of the respective polls is handled by an outside, and completely independent, company. The Committee itself handles editing of the wording used in the proposed different polls; when necessary, schedules target dates for distribution and data collection of each poll; disseminates the results; and addresses any concerns about the respective polls’ integrity or handling. The Committee is large, approximately 20 members, covering all sections of the local bar and all diversity ranges and demographics, which further promises faithfulness to the Committee’s purposes. In years past, a small percentage of the bar voiced concerns as to whether the polls were unfair, served any purpose or should be conducted at all. Approximately 15 years ago, a large canvass


May/June 2015


of individual bar members was conducted and the overwhelming majority of opinion was that, although they were not perfect, the respective polls were necessary and did serve several purposes. Over the years, through the guidance of the HBA board and staff members, the polls have continued to provide valuable information to our bar and the public. Frankly, the true issue of integrity lies with each of the individual respondents. The 2014-2015 HBA Judicial Polls Committee was led by CoChairs Brian Albrecht and Jacqueline Smith. The 2015-2016 Judicial Polls Committee will be led by Marie Jamison and Ashish Mahendru. This coming fall, the Committee will conduct the Judicial Evaluation Questionnaire. To obtain the best poll results, each bar member should take the opportunity to voice their frank opinions. First, on this specific questionnaire, the lawyer who answers the questions about a particular judge should respond ONLY if that lawyer has had actual experience with the individual serving in their judicial capacity. Secondly, each lawyer should keep in mind that in any given case, at least 50 percent of the people involved in the case are going to dislike some part of the judge’s rulings. Each lawyer is asked to give opinions but not to criticize a judge simply because you disliked a ruling that was contrary to your respective client’s position. If the reader would like further information concerning this committee, visit www.hba.org/committees/judicial-polls/ and for poll results visit www.hba.org/judicial-poll-results/. The Hon. Jeff Work is a former judge of Harris County State District courts. He practices with the Law Offices of Susan Cartwright/Zurich Insurance Group Staff Counsel, litigating for the Major Claims Unit.

Media Reviews

The Lawyer’s Ultimate Guide to Online Leads By Ken Matejka Carthwright Publishing, February 24, 2015


Reviewed by Farrah Martinez f a firm is just starting out or if it has been around for a while but is still struggling to get clients through online leads, then this book is a valuable resource. At the center of every firm’s online lead base is the law firm’s website. It is the online foundation. Matejka dedicates a chapter to the creation of a firm’s website with do-it-yourself options through websites such as Wix. com or Foursquare. He also provides pointers for selecting web developers for inexpensive custom built websites. For the firm that already has a website, Matejka says to evaluate the effectiveness of its website by how many visitors have traveled to the site over a certain period of time. Specifically, he details how to navigate the world of Google and how searchers find your website online through numerous venues. Matejka also focuses a great deal

of the book on the importance of “organic” searches, whether a firm should pay to have its website optimized for the search engines, and explains why and how to create a Google Analytics account to monitor traffic to the firm’s website. Aside from users finding a firm’s website through online searches, Matejka directs readers to pursue supporting elements to drive traffic to its website, such as a blog, social media outlets, videos, content and pictures. He mentions social media outlets such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter as popular choices. Matejka cautions readers not to place too much stock into these outlets, since they only play a supporting role in driving traffic to a firm’s website and should not be considered as the sole source of lead generation. Once a firm has begun to generate viable leads, Matejka dedicates an entire chapter on closing the deal. Online shoppers are presumed impatient and seek an immediate response to their inquiries. He also provides some convincing pointers on how to get online consumers into the office and how to convert those leads into clients. Matejka also provides insight and suggestions on how to connect traditional methods with online tools. For instance, referrals are still a good source of business, and there are many opportunities to network with colleagues online. Last, Matejka provides a step-bystep action plan to start your law firm’s online lead generation project. He includes a general marketing plan that a law firm can tailor to meet its specific practice areas and budget. This is a great book for any firm interested in generating leads on-

line and turning leads into valued clients. Farrah Martinez is the owner of Farrah Martinez, PLLC, where she focuses on personal injury, workers’ compensation and insurance law. She is an associate editor for The Houston Lawyer.

At the center of every firm’s online lead base is the law firm’s website. It is the online foundation. Matejka dedicates a chapter to the creation of a firm’s website with do-it-yourself options through websites such as Wix.com or Foursquare.


May/June 2015



Supreme Court Issues Opinion in Deepwater Horizon By Preston D. Hutson

The Houston Lawyer


he Texas Supreme Court recently issued its long-awaited opinion in the case styled, In re Deepwater Horizon, (NO. 13-0670, slip op. (Tex. 2015), arising out the April 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon. The issue centered on BP America’s status as an “additional insured” under the $50 million CGL insurance policy and $700 million excess policies issued to Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling. BP and Transocean operated under a 1998 Drilling Contract that included indemnity provisions allocating the myriad financial risks inherent to deepwater drilling. One such risk is pollution and, in that regard, the contracting parties agreed that Transocean would indemnify BP for above-surface pollution, while BP would indemnify Transocean for subsurface pollution. Also consistent with industry standard, the Drilling Contract required both parties to carry insurance. Specifically, the Contract required that Transocean purchase CGL insurance naming BP “as additional insureds in each of [Transocean’s] policies... for liabilities assumed by [Transocean] under the terms of [the Drilling] Contract.” Significantly, the Contract did not require that Transocean name BP as an “additional insured,” but rather relied upon the operation of the insurance policies to confer that status as an “additional insured.” Accordingly, those policies obligated Transocean’s insurers to cover liabilities assumed by [Transocean] in an “Insured Contract,” defined as “any written or oral contract or agreement entered into by the ‘Insured’... and pertaining to business under which the ‘Insured’ assumes the tort liability of another party.” In 46

May/June 2015


short, BP’s additional-insured status hinged upon: 1. the existence of an oral or written contract (i.e. the Drilling Contract), 2. pertaining to the business of an “Insured” (i.e. deepwater drilling), and 3. under which an “Insured” assumes the tort-liability of another party and is “obliged” to provide insurance to such other party (i.e. the indemnity provisions). Obviously, BP was an “additional insured,” for some purposes, but for what purposes? Was BP entitled to full coverage or was that coverage limited by the contract? BP argued that as “additional insured,” it was entitled to full coverage. BP relied upon traditional rules of contractual interpretation limiting the Court to the four corners of the policy to resolve coverage disputes. Under this principal, the Court could not consider the Drilling Contract—which required Transocean to indemnify for above surface pollution only, rather than all pollution. In essence, under BP’s interpretation, the limited indemnity obligations within Drilling Contract became irrelevant; as an insured, it was entitled to all available insurance coverage. Transocean countered that BP only attained status as an “additional insured” by virtue of the Drilling Contract. Thus, according to Transocean, the Drilling Contract must be incorporated within the insurance policies and therefore limit the insurance coverage to that above-surface pollution. In agreeing with Transocean, the Supreme Court differentiated “additional insured” status conferred via certificate of insurance from that conferred through operation of an insured contract: The existence of a certificate of insurance naming... an additional insured meant that... there was no need to look to the underlying service contract to ascertain... status as [an additional insured]. Here, at a minimum, the Transocean insurance policies require reference to the underlying Drilling Contract to determine BP’s

status as an additional insured. Careful readers of The Houston Lawyer will recall an earlier article on the drafting and interpretation of indemnity agreements. Therein, the author cautioned that the nature of the CGL Policy and the language within the “additional insured” endorsement was of paramount importance. This opinion only heightens that importance. Consider, had the Drilling Contract mandated Transocean’s policies contain an “additional insured” endorsement, and thus require those insurers issue a “certificate of insurance” naming BP as an “additional insured.” Under this scenario, BP’s status as an additional insured would be established by the endorsement, thus rendering the Drilling Contract irrelevant. Presumably, absent other policy language to the contrary, BP would have been entitled to the full coverage. Preston D. Hutson is an officer with LeClairRyan in their Houston Office who specializes in the drafting and interpretation of indemnity agreements. He is a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board.

Texas Supreme Court Opens the Door to Mediation in Medical Malpractice Claims By Raymond L. Panneton


n March, the Texas Supreme Court opened the door to allow health care providers to require arbitration agreements for their patients. The Supreme Court in Fredericksburg Care Co. LP v. Perez held that a nursing home was wrongly denied arbitration in a wrong-


ful death action. Under the Texas Medical Liability Act (TMLA), arbitration agreements must be in bold, 10-point font, with a clear warning to patients, and also must include a provision that the agreement is invalid unless signed by the patient’s attorney. The Supreme Court, disagreed with the lower courts, held that the requirements under the Texas Medical Liability Act were preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). In the preceding case, the Plaintiffs brought a medical malpractice-wrongful death claim against a nursing home. In response, the Defendants filed a motion to compel arbitration enforcing an arbitration agreement entered into by the Plaintiffs and the Defendants although it did not comply with the TMLA. The two lower courts held that the Texas Medical Liability Act arbitration clause was enacted in an effort to regulate the business of insurance companies within the state; therefore, the federal McCarran-Ferguson Act (MFA) shielded the TMLA’s provision from preemption by the FAA. The MFA provides a state exemption to federal preemption if the state statute was created for the purpose of regulating the business of insurance within the state. The Supreme Court disagreed with this reasoning and held that the TMLA’s arbitration agreement does not seek to regulate insurance companies or their insured. Therefore, the FMA is not applicable. This reasoning, potentially opens the TMLA up for preemption under the FAA. The FAA’s regulations are much less stringent than the TMLA’s arbitration requirements, which is why there has not been a huge number of medical malpractice claims mediated. The FAA, however, will open the proverbial floodgates of claims. The Plaintiffs filed a motion for rehearing on this issue. At the time this article was published, the Supreme Court has not issued a ruling. Raymond L. Panneton practices medical malpractice, pharmaceutical, and medi-

cal device litigation with The Talaska Law Firm, PLLC. He is a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board.

The Vanishing Spoliation Instruction By Chance A. McMillan


n Brookshire Brothers, Ltd. v. Jerry Aldridge, the Texas Supreme Court set new precedent concerning the spoliation instruction in Texas. Now, to justify its inclusion in the court’s charge, a party must show that the offending party had specific intent to conceal discoverable evidence or that the spoliating party acted negligently and caused the nonspoliating party to be “irreparably deprived of any meaningful ability to present their claim or defense.” On February 6, 2015, the Court delivered its opinion in Wackenhut Corporation v. Jesse James Gutierrez. On April 23, 2007, Jesse Gutierrez (“Gutierrez”) was involved in an automobile crash with a charter bus owned and operated by Wackenhut Corporation (“Wackenhut”). At the time of the crash, the bus had at least four video cameras that may have provided insight into the facts of the case. Despite requests from Gutierrez’s attorney, the videos were destroyed and never produced by Wackenhut.1 Gutierrez filed a lawsuit against Wackenhut and the bus driver for negligence seeking personal injury damages related to the crash. Prior to trial, Gutierrez filed a Motion for Spoliation of Evidence requesting Wackenhut be sanctioned because it destroyed the video. Wackenhut argued sanctions were not appropriate and that all evidence of the alleged spoliation should be excluded from trial. At trial, after Gutierrez rested, the trial judge orally ruled that Wackenhut had negligently spoliated evidence. Following the completion of trial testi-

mony, each party submitted a proposed jury charge to the court and attended a formal charge conference.2 At the charge conference, Wackenhut failed to object to the spoliation instruction in the court’s charge. After the judge read the charge to the jury, Wackenhut approached the bench and objected to the spoliation instruction. The judge acknowledged the objection but left the instruction in the charge to go back to the jury. The jury found in favor of Gutierrez and the trial court rendered judgment on the verdict for $1,201,050.80 in damages. Wackenhut appealed to the Texas Supreme Court claiming the trial court erred in submitting the spoliation instruction to the jury. The Court found that while Wackenhut may have negligently spoliated evidence, Gutierrez was still able to put on a meaningful case at trial and the spoliation instruction was improper. The Court remanded the case back to the trial court for a new trial stating, “…the trial court’s error probably caused the rendition of an improper judgment.” There should be an enforceable rule to prevent and deter the destruction of discoverable evidence in civil suits. Yet, recent cases, including Wackenhut, illustrate the Texas Supreme Court’s dedication to doing away with the spoliation instruction in Texas jurisprudence. Wackenhut illustrates the current dangers parties may face in the event they successfully get the spoliation issue in front of the jury. It also shows the Texas Supreme Court’s dedication to doing away with, or at the very least severely limiting, the use of the spoliation instruction in Texas courtrooms in the future. Chance A. McMillan is an associate with Thomas N. Thurlow & Associates located in Houston, Texas. His practice is dedicated to civil and personal injury litigation. He is a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board. Endnotes 1. Id. 2. Id.


May/June 2015



Document Examiner

Legal Document Retrieval, Inc

www.legaldocusa.com CV., CR., BK. Documents All Courts & Archives. UCC, Corporate, Patent & Trademark Assets & Property Reports Service of Process Mass Mail Outs legaldocusa@aol.com

713.222.2244 Office Space

The Houston Lawyer

Available July 1, 2015 Two attorney offices (one 17x16 and one 16x12) in office-sharing suite with other lawyers. Amenities include spacious conference room with impressive views of Downtown, receptionist, phones, high-speed internet, copier, fax, postage, kitchen, parking, etc. Great location in Bank Building on Norfolk and Greenbriar near US 59 in Houston. Contact Dan at 713-523-1200

Heights Area Office Sharing 15 minutes from courthouse. Newly built out space on North Loop near Shepherd with downtown views. Color copier/fax/scanner available on network, internet, full featured phone system, attached covered parking, large offices and room for your files. Kitchen in suite with microwave/pizza oven, coffee, soft drinks & water; deli in building. Business litigator looking for compatible lawyers to share space. Call Teri 713-529-2020 Office Space at 3 Riverway. Class “A” building located off Woodway Drive and 610 West Loop. Law firm is primary tenant. Several offices available. On-site management and security guard, attached parking garage for tenants and visitors, conference rooms, receptionist services, kitchen, wired for broadband internet access. Contact Lisa DeWild 713-209-2934. Now leasing in The Woodlands two furnished offices, one interior in newly built out suite. Perfect for one or two professionals needing a beautifully decorated suite including a reception area, kitchenette, conference room, copier, phones, HS internet. New office building has ample parking, close to I-45. 936-273-2773. Office Space/Office Sharing available immediately. Attorney office and secretarial office available. Monthly rate dependent on arrangement needed. Location is near Rice University/Texas Medical Center. Phone/internet access and shared conference room provided. Free on-site parking. Contact 713-229-9696.

Upper Kirby/Greenway Plaza Area. Two offices available (16 x 14). Furnished or unfurnished; easy access/free parking; share conference rooms, reception and kitchen areas. Cathy 713-522-0066. MFAH /HOTEL ZAZA/RICE U 1200 Binz Suite 650, 14 story Frost Bank Building in Bel- bldg. Sub-Lease the suite: 3 laire. First Floor. One of- large window offices, 1 smallfice with adjacent secretarial er interior office, receptionist space. Conference room, and waiting room, conferkitchen, fax/scanner/copier, ence room, bathroom, 1568 sf, $24 per square foot, 3 to internet. 713-665-7000. 48

May/June 2015


HOUSTON/GALLERIA. Two medium outside offices are available in an office suite shared with nine experienced and established attorneys. Included in monthly rent are three conference rooms, receptionist, internet access, telephone system. Toshiba color copier scanner, postage machine, fax and a fully stocked kitchen. Covered parking, file storage facilities and secretary/paralegal space are available. Office furniture not included. Call Carolyn at Galleria Area 713-237-0222. Available for sublease to a sole practitioner, a furnished 240 sq.ft. exterior office (wall of Position Available windows). Includes use of a conference room, wifi, phone Oklahoma City law firm has w/vm, receptionist and lim- opening for a Texas oil and ited secretarial assistance. In- gas title attorney with minicentives for a commitment of mum of five years experitwelve months or more. Call ence examining title to land in Permian Basin, Eagleford, 713-993-9363. and/or East Texas. CompetiDowntown. Beautiful offices tive salary and profit sharing in Bank of America build- opportunities commensurate ing. 700 Louisiana, 48th with experience. Excellent floor. Amazing views. Office- health, dental, and retirement sharing with established benefits. Must be willing to lawyers. Associate 10’x15’ of- relocate to Oklahoma City. fices available with secretarial Please respond to Boxholder space. Includes reception- Ad 0216 c/o Quantum Sur, ist, phone, internet, copiers, 12818 Willow Centre Dr., postage meter, coffee, etc. Ste. B, Houston, TX 77066. Shared reception, conference rooms, kitchen. Visit www. Established Houston law firm fb4800.com for photos, etc. has an immediate opening for an experienced real estate atCall Tyler 713-255-3225. torney minimum 3-5 years exGreat office space at 1601 perience working with lendWestheimer at Mandell, min- ers and loan documentation. utes from downtown Hous- Please respond with resume ton. Rent includes shared to mbillings@csrslaw.com. access to two conference rooms, kitchens, internet, Professional Services cable, phones with VM, all utilities, part-time reception- All things driving and sealist. Window offices rang- ing/expunging criminal hising from $400-$1,000 per tories. We defend traffic and month with no long-term ordinance violations, remove commitment. For informa- arrest warrants, solve DPS tion, please call Mark Kidd license issues, obtain occupational licenses, and handle at 713-968-4601 DWI, racing, reckless drivGALLERIA AREA ST. JAMES ing, evading, and hit and run cases. 4 1/2 YELP stars. PLACE Attorney-size office Robert W. Eutsler with secretarial work station 713-464-6461 for sublease - AV rated firm, Class A build out. Possibil- www.TheTicketAttorney.com ity for referrals. Please send For classifieds ads: inquiries to houstongalleria lawfirm@gmail.com mary@quantumsur.com 5 years. Office share with all of the above except for one window office, plus common space furniture, two frigis, small office furniture, fine art; ins. coverage; materials on tax, business, litigation, real estate. $2750/mo. Amenities: 5 restaurants to walk to; Ethernet and Wi-Fi; parking garage, MetroRail beside building; on site management; view of downtown. Call Sterling Minor 713-884-5779.

Teens and Social Media... from page 37 stance, WHATSAPP and KIK are popular messaging apps that allow for free chatting and sharing of pictures and videos. Whatsapp appears to be good for international messaging. But they don’t appear to have the fun, fleeting element of Snapchat. Also, some of the free messaging apps have received negative reviews regarding sex and porn spammers and in-app purchases that give out more personal information and push kids toward stranger interaction. One thing to watch out for is your teen’s use of red-flag language. This is different than texting language, which is generally words with half of the letters gone. Abbreviation language looks more like this: Friend: GNOC? Teen: POS Friend: KPC and TDTM Teen: k or whn 99, LMIRL Friend: Y! SPST Allow me to translate: The friend wants your teen to get naked on camera or webcam. But your teen informs him that you are in the room (parents over shoulder). The friend wants your teen to keep her parents clueless, so he will settle for just talking dirty instead of snapping pics or streaming video. Your teen then suggests maybe they should just meet up in real life and the friend agrees to the same place and same time. 7. MEERKAT, YOUNOW and PERISCOPE: Live streaming videos with interaction options These apps are a bit like YouTube, but they are live. Therefore, much like Snapchat, which disappears, the live element makes them in essence, never exist. When the streaming stops, the performance or interaction is done. While we know there are always ways to make something permanent, the popularity among teens is the fleeting element, much like Snapchat. Teens are broadcasting their lives. Your teens can run into inappropriate content much like on other apps, but also if they are the ones broadcasting, they can be asked or told inappropriate things, and they can share too much personal information about themselves or your family. There have been recent examples of teens in the news that are using these apps in a responsible way, but I would suspect their parents are close by, off camera, or are monitoring the usage. 8. SKYPE, FACETIME, OMEGLE, OOVOO, etc.: Live multi-participant video For the most part, live video chatting by teens using a computer webcam or their smartphone should be done in a closed group. Some teens will use it to do homework, talk with friends around the world and just pass time. Apps like Skype and Facetime make it easy to be seen only by friends; like an actual phone call or conference call, a person has to be allowed in. However, some apps are being live streamed to the public, which is where strangers will insert themselves. Subject matter chatrooms can also be problematic because while everyone claims to have a common interest, the teens are still talking to and being seen by strangers. 9. ASK.FM, FESS, YIKYAK, SECRET, STREETCHAT, WHISPER, etc.: Anonymous questions, confessions and gossip These are apps that allow teens to post anonymously. Some bored

teens think it’s amusing. But it is integrated into other sites, so the anonymity is often a farce. They are ripe for many wasted hours, self-loathing, bullying and abuse. Ask.fm has been linked to multiple teen suicides and violent deaths. With all social media access, as parents we will ideally make the effort to talk with our teen before major problems arise. If you have a teen, she will access social media apps. If you cut her off, she will likely get access through a friend’s device. If your teens have smartphones, they are most likely active users on Instagram and Snapchat, and they are most likely checking in frequently to what’s trending on YouTube and Twitter, and periodically posting in Facebook. If they use Snapchat, you might get an account and interact with them oneon-one. It’s fun and easy. Snapchat allows them to send things just to you and your family circle without all their friends seeing it. Also, you may wish to set up accounts and become a follower of theirs on Instagram and Twitter, especially if they have open accounts. Although, it may not be best to comment on their posts online. If you do that, they will just open a new account, and the one you are watching will go silent. All of these apps have privacy settings that can be custom designed to your teen. Just presume, though, that many teens will want the whole world to see and like them. Therefore, instead of wasting your time trying to convince them to hide themselves and their pictures, your time may be better spent discussing what is shared (not tagging or sharing exact locations) and who they chat with (not doing one-on-one chats with strangers). Most parents have some ground rules. Some options include: • All devices charged in a common area at night; • No closed bedroom doors when a device is in the room; • Social media black-out times; • Sharing passwords with parents; • Have an extra backup phone, and periodically download your kids phone to it to see what’s on it; • Shared iTunes accounts to see what apps are being downloaded on kid devices; a framework for raising questions (one mom said that she and her daughter agreed in advance that the mom has the right to ask any question, and the daughter cannot accuse her of not trusting or loving her); • A judgment-free way to ask for help (one teen said that if she ever felt threatened or weird about something, she can tell her parents, and they agreed not to judge her on how she got to that point, but to discuss a way to fix the problem); • indirect encouragement to do something positive with social media, whether it’s starting a blog, or looking at sites that are interest driven (like Pinterest or Wanelo), subject matter or gaming. Finally, when you run across (and you should be looking for them) stories about how teens hurt their reputation or how they are bullied or stalked, consider sharing these stories with your kids privately. As we all know from our jury persuasion CLEs, a story is more effective at persuasion than a random lecture or a numbered point list. Taunya Painter is a member of Painter Law Firm PLLC, where she focuses on business and international business. For this article, her sole credential, though, is that she and her husband, Robert Painter, are raising four kids and are daily surrounded by many more. Endnotes

1. The quotes in italics are attributed to “teens.” The quotes are a compilation of statements or an overwhelming theme that I picked up from teen in-person interviews, web interviews and teen blogs.


May/June 2015


Profile for QuantumSUR


The Houston Lawyer magazine, May/June 2015 issue


The Houston Lawyer magazine, May/June 2015 issue

Profile for leosur