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HBA Lawyers Define Leadership Lawyers Leading Houston Outstanding Pro Bono Service Honored by Bench and Bar Law Week 2017 The 14th Amendment: Transforming American Democracy




Volume 54 – Number 6

Lawyers asLeaders

May/June 2017

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contents Volume 54 Number 6

May/June 2017



FEATURES Lawyers Define Leadership 10 HBA By Zach Wolfe Leading Houston 12 Lawyers Lawyers Leading through Boards By Alex Roberts

Lawyers Leading in the Arts By Cindy Dinh

Lawyers Leading Houston’s Local Government By Al Harrison


Lawyers Leading in Sports and Countless Other Ways By Kit Frieden

Lawyers Leading in Charitable Giving By Lynne Liberato

Lawyers Leading in Education By Anna Archer

Lawyers as Executive Leaders By Hon. Josefina M. Rendón

Lawyers Leading Through Civic Involvement By Tracy N. LeRoy

Lawyers Leading in Business By Polly Fohn


Lawyers Leading through Philanthropy and Hope

By Sylvia Ngo and Jeff McPhaul

Lawyers Leading in Law and Order By Jennifer Jenkins

Lawyers Leading through the HBA By Robert Ford

Pro Bono Service 28 Outstanding Honored by Bench and Bar By TARA SHOCKLEY

Week 2017 32 Law The 14th Amendment:

The Houston Lawyer

Transforming American Democracy

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,, e-mail: 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. ©The Houston Bar Association/QuantumSUR, Inc., 2017. All rights reserved.


May/June 2017

contents Volume 54 Number 6

May/June 2017



departments Message 6 President’s What Did We Do This Year? By Neil D. Kelly the Editor 8 From So, What Is Leadership? By Jill Yaziji Lawyers Who 36 Houston Made a Difference

Hon. Malcolm R. Wilkey By The Hon. Mark Davidson

the record 37 off The Story of Mayor Andrew



S. Friedberg: A Man of Many Hats By Jason D. Goff

Spotlight 38 Committee You Want Me to Reduce My Bill?

HBA’s Fee Dispute Service Can Help By Linda Glover and Joe Perdue

Profile in professionalism 39 AJohn T. Cabaniss Retired Senior Partner, Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP

Court Continues to 40 Supreme Outline Defenses Available to


Property Owners in Claims Made by Contractors and Guests By J. Edward Johnson Legal Trends

Texas Stays Strong in Its Protection of Free Speech By Jeffrey Elkin ReviewS 42 Media Trials of the Century:

A Decade-by-Decade Look at America’s Most Sensational Crimes Reviewed by Hon. Josefina M. Rendón

Preserving Electronic Evidence for Trial Reviewed by Preston Hutson The Houston Lawyer

44 Litigation MarketPlace


May/June 2017

president’s message

By Neil D. Kelly Andrews Kurth LLP

What Did We Do This Year?

The Houston Lawyer


he Houston Bar Association has developed as an institution foundational values of professionalism, community service, and inclusion through the efforts of engaged members who contribute their time, money, and effort, and a dedicated staff who so tirelessly helps us achieve them. June is the end of the HBA’s calendar of activities, and an appropriate time for us to reflect on our achievements while we start the new bar year and continue our work. Served Our Members • The HBA provided over 660 hours of free continuing legal education in 2016-2017, including 58 hours of free CLE that members can access 24/7 through the website; 447.25 hours of live CLE programming through seminars, including 383.75 hours through the HBA’s 27 Sections and three ancillary organizations; and 160 hours of discounted programming through • Through a partnership with Apple, HBA offered 22.5 hours of programs showing attorneys how to use their mobile and desktop devices to help their practices. • Four Senior Lawyer Luncheons registered 433 people. • The Houston Lawyer Referral Service made over 26,000 referrals to attorneys and other agencies. • More than 90 attorneys, journalists and students attended the 31st Law & the Media Seminar, examining “Violence in Sports: On the Field, Off the Field and in the Media.” • The Mentoring Program has matched 150 new attorneys with experienced attorneys for professional development and career guidance. Educated the Public about the Law • The Teach Texas program reached 3,576 7th grade students in 132 classes with curriculum emphasizing judicial civics in Texas history. • Attorneys read to over 8,700 students in elementary schools on Constitution Day. • The IDEA Program reached 2,539 fifth graders through an interactive dialogue on the legal and health consequences of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. • The Speakers Bureau reached 7,111 children, 1,400 teens, 95 college students, 1,368 adults and 932 seniors on various legal topics, including law as a career. • Attorneys and judges discussed the myths and realities of jury service and encouraged lifelong participation in jury service through Importance of Jury Service presentations that reached 6,872 high school seniors and adults. • The Juvenile Consequences Partnership gave 981 youth charged with minor crimes a second chance. • The Juvenile Justice Mock Trial Program, entering its 41st year,


May/June 2017

taught 1,264 8th graders about the justice system. • Law Week programs reached 8,312 youths in Harris County through readings, contests, amd workshops. Helped our Communities • The 67th Harvest Celebration raised $725,250 in underwriting for the Houston Bar Foundation. • Houston Volunteer Lawyers provided in-person, one-on-one legal advice to over 6,100 applicants at no charge, with 1,176 cases referred to pro bono attorneys for long-term representation. Over 2,300 of those helped were U.S. veterans or spouses of deceased veterans. In addition, HVL assisted 6,561 pro se family law litigants at a courthouse information booth, and expanded the pro se clinic to the Harris County Law Library. The medical-legal partnership between the HBA’s Houston Volunteer Lawyers and Texas Children’s Hospital has provided pro bono assistance to 500 low-income patients. • The Dispute Resolution Center conducted 2,162 mediations in 2016 and provided information and referral services for 60,403 people. • The Lawyers for Literacy Fall Book Drive collected 27,480 books for shelters and literacy projects. • The AIDS Outreach Committee’s Adopt-A-Family Holiday Program celebrated its 20th year and provided gifts for 62 families and nine individuals, making the holidays brighter for 204 people. • The HBA worked with the HAY Center to provide a holiday party for 200 youth aging out of the foster care system and their families. The program also provided prom attire for 73 youths in foster care. • The Campaign for the Homeless Committee collected 16,526 coats, jackets, items of cold weather clothing, and diapers for shelters that serve the homeless, along with $2,782 in cash to purchase additional diapers and support economically disadvantaged women re-entering the workforce through Dress for Success. • Over 700 LegalLine volunteers answered 5,386 calls from the public. • HBA members raised $76,800 to build a 20th Habitat home and 200 members volunteered to build the house. • The HBA participated in the Souper Bowl of Caring, collecting funds for the Houston Food Bank that represented 2,214 meals. During a Day of Service as part of the Food from the Bar program, 150 HBA members and their families filled backpacks with food for hungry children. • The Lawyers Against Waste Committee sponsored two events to clean up and beautify local parks, involving 80 members and their families. Thank you to all who made this bar year a success as we served our members, our profession and the public.

May/June 2017


from the editor

By Jill Yaziji Yaziji Law Firm

Associate Editors

Polly Graham Fohn Haynes and Boone, LLP

Preston Hutson LeClairRyan

Farrah Martinez Attorney at Law

The Houston Lawyer

Taunya Painter Painter Law Firm PLLC

Hon. Jeff Work Work Law Firm


May/June 2017

So, What Is Leadership?


inside the MFAH in Lawyers Leading in the Arts. Al s I write my final column as Editor in Chief Harrison writes on Judge Cagle’s leadership as Comof The Houston Lawyer, I reflect on Judge missioner in Lawyers Leading Houston’s Local GovernHoyt’s remarks published in the Mentorment. Kit Frieden describes Gordon Quan’s involveing issue a few months back. There, Judge ment in the Houston Hoyt deSuper Bowl in Lawscribed “success” as yers Leading in Sports, a long journey that while Lynne Liberato sometimes starts with writes on Lawyers failure, victory achieved Leading in Charitable in a hostile environGiving through the Law ment, and perseverInitiative of United Way. ance through the teAnna Archer describes dious “middle mile.”1 Lawyers Leading in EdThis wisdom applies ucation and Judge Josenot just to the definifina Rendón discusses tion of “success,” but Mayor Turner in Lawalso to that of “leaderThe Houston Lawyer 2016-2017 Editorial Board, from left: Raymond Panship.” Is there leader- neton, Anna Archer, Zach Wolfe, Associate Editor Farrah Martinez, Hon. yers Leading the City. ship without success? Josefina Rendon, Hon. Scott Link, Sophia Lauricella, Marni Otjen, Editor in Tracy LeRoy engages Most likely not, be- Chief Jill Yaziji, Anietie Akpan, Jeff Oldham, Former Editor in Chief Angela Danny David in Lawcause the two concepts Dixon and Associate Editor Hon. Jeff Work. Not pictured: Benny Agosto, Jr., yers Leading through Erma Bonadero, Paul Bowers, Heaven Chee, Kimberly Chojnacki, Jonathan are intertwined; lead- C.C. Day, Associate Editor Polly Fohn, Jason Goff, Amy Hargis, Al Harrison, Civic Involvement and ership without success Matthew Heberlein, Associate Editor Preston Hutson, Jennifer Jenkins, Polly Fohn discusses Lawyers Leading in is defunct and success Associate Editor Taunya Painter, and Matthew D. Walker. Business through the Greater Houston Partnership. Sylwithout leadership in intellectually bankrupt. via Ngo and Jeff McPhaul highlight Scott Davidson in This last issue of the bar year examines the jourLawyers Leading through Philanthropy and Hope; and neys of Houston lawyers who have lead the city in Jennifer Jenkins discusses Chief Deputy Carl Shaw education, business, arts, music, philanthropy, poliin Lawyers Leading in Law and Order. We conclude tics, and many other ways. It explores their traits, with Robert Ford’s article on Lawyers Leading through missions, visions, ambitions, and determination. We the HBA. open with a series of quotes by leaders of the HousThe themes of The Houston Lawyer this past year ton Bar Association, reflecting on what made them have been selected by departing HBA President, Neil leaders. The quotes echo well-known leadership Kelly. Each issue was designed to engage current traits, such as being inspirational, having courage themes in the law, regardless how challenging or and charisma, and commanding respect. But they controversial, thus allowing The Houston Lawyer to also demonstrate that leadership is not any one of remain at the forefront of the legal field. We covered the above terms, but all of them combined. immigration law, emerging LGBT jurisprudence, and Then, we explore the paths of several attorneys other compelling legal themes—and we did so often and judges leading different facets of Houston with right as the law was being written or revised in those twelve articles. Alex Roberts interviews Judge Lee areas. Rosenthal in Lawyers Leading through Boards; Cindy Dinh discusses Carlotta Hall Ramirez’s leadership Continued on page 45



Neil D. Kelly

Warren W. Harris


Past President

Alistair B. Dawson

Laura Gibson

First Vice President

Benny Agosto, Jr. Second Vice President

Bill Kroger

DIRECTORS (2015-2017)

Jennifer A. Hasley Hon. Erin Lunceford

Richard Burleson Diana Gomez

Daniella Landers Chris Popov

DIRECTORS (2016-2018) David Harrell Greg Ulmer

editorial staff Editor in Chief

Jill Yaziji Associate Editors

Polly Fohn Farrah Martinez Hon. Jeff Work

Preston Hutson Taunya Painter Editorial Board

Benny Agosto, Jr. Anna Archer Paul Bowers Heaven Chee Jonathan C. C. Day Jason D. Goff Al Harrison Jennifer R. Jenkins Hon. Scott Reiter Link Marni Otjen Hon. Josefina M. Rendon David Stockel Zach Wolfe

Anietie Akpan Erma Bonadero Christiane (C.J.) Chambers Kimberly A. Chojnacki Angela L. Dixon Amy Hargis Matthew Heberlein Sophia L. Lauricella Jeff Oldham Raymond Panneton Kate Shih Matthew D. Walker

Managing Editor

Tara Shockley

HBA office staff Executive Director

Kay Sim Director of Education

Director of Projects

Continuing Legal Education Assistant

Projects Assistant

Ashley G. Steininger

Lindsey Ham

Jessica Creamer

Communications Director

Tara Shockley

Communications Assistant /Web Manager

Carly Wood

Administrative Assistant

Valerie Ramirez

Bonnie Simmons

Membership and Technology Services Director

Ron Riojas

Membership Assistant

Emelie Englehart

Receptionist/Resource Secretary

Lucia Valdez

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May/June 2017


By Zach Wolfe

HBA Lawyers Define Leadership E

ditorial board member Zach Wolfe asked members who are active in the HBA for their thoughts on what makes an effective leader, how they accomplished their goals, and what inspires them. Warren Harris, president-elect of the HBA, emphasizes vision and the ability to achieve that vision: “A good leader must have a vision and be able to achieve results. Warren Harris This requires assembling the right team and motivating them to produce results because you lead by example.” Jennifer Tomsen, councilmember, Houston Bar Association Securities Litigation & Arbitration Section, remarks 10

May/June 2017

them to continue their great work. A good leader will listen to others in the organization, but will have the strength and courage to make the changes that are necessary to move the organization forward and in the right direction.” Along the same lines, Robert H. Ford, 2015-2017 HBA Ambassador, sees leadership as transformative of others, echoing Alexander the Great’s famous quote: “I am Robert H. Ford not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.”

that “Most importantly, a leader inspires: a good leader sees a different path and inspires others to follow. If you don’t Jennifer Tomsen inspire anyone to do things better or differently, you’re managing, not leading.”

Chevazz Brown, 2016-2017 co-chair, Houston Bar Association Fun Run Committee, stresses a desire to lead, and emotional acuity as key characteristics of a good Chevazz Brown leader: “A combination of personality and character traits make a great leader—a desire to lead, an ability to adapt, high emotional IQ, technical skill, charisma, integrity, passion, determination, and courage.”

Alistair Dawson, 2017-2018 president of the Houston Bar Association, writes that “A good leader is someone who has earned and commands the respect of those Alistair Dawson with whom he or she works. A good leader will regularly acknowledge the accomplishments of others in the organization and inspire

Laura Gibson, former HBA president, emphasizes an unyielding commitment in any project and the willingness to take risk: “…look for opportunities where you can Laura Gibson take a leadership role. Start small and work your way up to something bigger. If you commit to do something, give it 100% of your

effort. Taking chances and risks is like exercise. The more often you do it, the stronger you will get.” Bill Kroger, 2017-2018 first vice-president of the Houston Bar Association, reflects on a decision he took a few years back to be a more effective leader. He Bill Kroger writes that: “I grabbed a black sharpie pen, and wrote on the middle of my Baker Botts desk the things that I was struggling with and wanted to focus on. Here are the items: never give up; don’t criticize; slow down; listen; plan each day; be positive; be inclusive; live in the present; be an example; learn something new; make time for people; be patient; don’t write dumb or angry emails; keep office orderly; make something happen every day; show up; do time every day; make time for family.” Jill Yaziji, editor in chief of The Houston Lawyer, reflects on her dream as an immigrant to realize the potential in her adopted country. She writes: “Leadership is the Jill Yaziji ability to balance one’s ambitions with the greater needs of the organization; to achieve common ground with everyone, despite where you come from, what you look like, or what your particular skill set is; it is inspiring those you work with to go the extra mile without creating resentment.” Zach Wolfe practices with Fleckman & McGlynn, PLLC. He is a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board.

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Lawyers Leading Houston Lawyers have served in leadership roles in Houston since the city’s earliest days. The Houston Bar Association was founded in 1870, less than 35 years after the Allen Brothers purchased land near the headwaters of Buffalo Bayou and began to build the city. More than 180 years later, lawyers still hold leadership roles in government, business, philanthropy, education, civic improvement and many other institutions that have shaped Houston.

Lawyers Leading through Boards “The Room Where It Happens”: In Chambers with Chief Judge Lee Rosenthal By Alex Roberts

Judge Lee Rosenthal

Chief U.S. District Court Judge Lee Rosenthal is widely regarded as “smarter than a tree full of owls.” It is fitting, then, that Judge Rosenthal recently concluded an eight-year tenure on Rice University’s Board of Trustees (Rice’s mascot is the Owls). The Houston Lawyer wanted to learn why Judge Rosenthal maintains an extensive commitment to service, both 12

May/June 2017

within the law and among the broader community. THL: What motivated you to take on a leadership position in higher education? Why Rice in particular? Judge Rosenthal: I am fascinated by the challenges of education today, across the spectrum. I’ve been active in trying to understand what is occurring in law schools, how it affects the academy and the practice, and how the best schools and approaches can be fostered and the less successful identified and replaced. I’m now on the Board of the Baylor College of Medicine, learning about a very different type of education. Like the rest of the world, all these schools are struggling with all the changes modern technology has created. All these issues and challenges are fascinating. And important. And the people who devote their lives to education and research are generally smart, interesting, and admirable. It’s a terrific combination—working with great people smarter than I am, on issues that are complex and important. Rice in particular is near and dear. As a high school student, I spent lots of time at

Rice, where my father was in the history department and my mother was at Fondren Library. I had summer jobs there before I went away to college. I came back after law school already keenly aware of how important Rice is to Houston. Its history is unusual, in that it moved from a regional institute focused on engineering and science to a nationally known university with excellence across the spectrum. It is also unusual in that it is a relatively small, excellent, private research university that has maintained its emphasis on educating undergraduates. THL: What will you take away from your service on the Rice Board of Trustees? Judge Rosenthal: My work with the fabulous board members, faculty, students, and administrators at Rice left me profoundly optimistic about Rice, yet at the same time, with some concerns for higher education in this country. Universities and colleges face demands that they become businesses, not institutions of higher learning. The decline in student interest in the humanities and social sciences, the decline in teaching jobs that deprives us of the potential contributions gifted scholars might make, are all serious concerns. Rice, and universities in general, must do a better job in explaining what they do, why it matters, how they do it, and in particular why the humanities and social sciences remain so vital to our society. I am optimistic about Rice’s future because the passion, innovation, and dedication of its leadership and faculty, and the excellence of the faculty and students, give me reassurance that it is thriving and will continue to do so. Rice has done an excellent job of moving “beyond the hedges.” Rice has forged creative and effective relationships with the Texas Medical Center that benefit both Rice students and faculty and it continues to send terrific students to great law schools. Rice also provides its students robust support for internships and externships all over the city, with government and educational institutions as well as private industry. Yes, I am opti-

mistic, while keenly aware of the pressures and challenges that lie ahead. THL: Why is it important for lawyers and judges to be involved in their communities? Judge Rosenthal: First, we owe our city and community for the opportunities we’ve had here. And second, we need this involvement to be better lawyers and judges. It’s too easy for us to become narrowly focused on our day jobs. We learn a lot from people who don’t do what we do. I learned so much from my involvement with Rice. All of us need that leavening—that ability to continue to learn from and about the other people, other work, and other lives, that make up our fascinating and diverse city. And it’s fun! Our city has great and interesting people. The chance to meet them and learn from them is just terrific. Why did I love the work at Rice? To paraphrase a line from the musical Hamilton, I was in one of the many rooms in this city where it happens. I’m grateful daily for

what I learn in each of those rooms. Alex Roberts is a trial partner at Beck Redden LLP. He served as a judicial law clerk to Judge Rosenthal from 2006 to 2007.

Lawyers Leading in the Arts Contracts, Statutes, and Gunpowder at The Museum of Fine Arts Houston By Cindy Dinh

Carlotta Hall Ramirez

Carlotta Hall Ramirez weaves around

clusters of schoolchildren on a field trip as she crosses the underground connection inside the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH)—James Turrell’s iconic “The Light Inside” with its fluorescent pink cast against an infinite black. Earlier that morning, Ramirez answered a telephone call from her supervisor, the Director of MFAH. On the day I met her, she will meet with members of the curatorial department to discuss the legal implications of acquiring objects containing ivory. Ramirez serves as MFAH’s museum counsel, a position that has evolved since she started her career with MFAH ten years ago. “The Museum has always been in the background of my life,” she said. “I had always been drawn to the non-profit sector, and we have such a rich, vibrant community in Houston.” Her path to in-house counsel to the largest museum in the South is rather unusual. Ramirez has no formal educational background or training in the fine arts, but she nonetheless developed an interest

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in creative writing and comparative literature in college. Her love for writing led her to the University of Houston Law Center. After law school, Ramirez practiced as a family lawyer and later took time off to start her family. When the timing was right, she returned to the workforce with a mission in mind: to become in-house counsel at MFAH, even though no such position existed. Equipped with a legal background and a dash of gumption, Ramirez began working part-time on special projects for the chief financial and operating officer of MFAH, such as drafting MFAH’s ethics code and updating its policies to maintain accreditation with the American Association of Museums. While most of her work was initially high-level administration and policy writing, within six months, Ramirez had earned her way to a full-time position, and eventually, the role as MFAH’s first Museum counsel. Much like an artist, Ramirez took initiative to craft her own role, collaborating with curators, facilitating discussions on acquiring new pieces, and providing her legal insight along the way. She noted, “You have to have a lot of flexibility and utilize your legal skills in unfamiliar territory.” For example, Ramirez drafts contracts for artwork on loan, examines wills with bequests to MFAH, and directs legal interns to research fair-use law on new mediums of art (i.e. digital media). Her favorite piece in the collection, Odyssey, is a floor-to-ceiling gunpowder drawing that spans an entire room in the Arts of China Gallery, a part of the Museum’s permanent collection. To create this piece, the artist, Cai Guo-Qiang, first “makes a sketch, then he makes a stencil of the sketch, sprinkles gunpowder over the entire thing, then detonates it. The resulting blast pattern is the artwork,” Ramirez said. The MFAH could not have commissioned this piece without the work of a lawyer. Ramirez considered how to transport gunpowder across state lines, drafted a lease agreement for a warehouse where the artist could detonate gunpowder within city limits, and drafted the underlying 14

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commission agreement with the artist. On occasion, Ramirez passes by patrons observing artwork that she helped acquire, the tangible fruits of her labor. However, her most rewarding experience is mentoring law students through the Museum’s first legal internship program, which Ramirez established. Former intern Bilma Canales is grateful to have had her first contract drafting experience under Ramirez’s tutelage. “I really saw the interplay between law and the art world when I worked on a contract to purchase art for the Museum,” Canales said. “Words matter. I realized the importance of how one sentence can impact a contract.” Ramirez’s work continues to have a lasting impact not only on those who have the privilege of viewing the artwork she helped acquire, but also through the students who learn how the law permeates art in an avantgarde way. Cindy Dinh is a law clerk to Judge Gray H. Miller at the United States District Court in Houston.

Lawyers Leading Houston’s Local Government Commissioner R. Jack Cagle By Al Harrison

Commissioner R. Jack Cagle

Former Judge R. Jack Cagle loves serving as Commissioner for Harris County Precinct 4 and has done so since 2011. Having a budget of $245 million and a staff consisting of 469 employees, Commissioner Cagle represents a precinct of 1.2

million residents throughout an area larger than 10 states in the United States. He and his staff are responsible for maintaining 2,200 miles of roads and 300 bridges. Each day he faces new challenges. For example, recently, he and his fellow Harris County Commissioners faced the challenge of accommodating victims, throughout Harris County precincts, suffering from two 500-year floods following a five-year drought. Obviously, water management is a major challenge. An important achievement of his strong leadership is the continuing construction of an extensive system of interconnected hiking and biking “greenways” interspersed with new recreational parks. These greenways or trails provide Precinct 4 residents the threefold benefit of (1) natural floodplain buffer zones; (2) hiking and biking trail contiguous connectivity; and (3) preserving wildlife habitat —all facilitating wholesome activities and enhancing quality of life for families and visitors. The Spring Creek Greenway consists of about 12,000 linear acres situated on the north side of Precinct 4 from the San Jacinto River proximal to the Lloyd Bentsen Highway or the Eastex Freeway (US 59 or I-69) extending westward about 40 miles along Spring Creek to Spring Creek Park in Tomball. The Cypress Creek Greenway originates at the east end from Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center, where Cypress Creek joins Spring Creek and extends westward along Cypress Creek and Little Cypress Creek to the west of Highway 290. With great pride, Commissioner Cagle notes that Precinct 4’s “Trail Blazer” team continues to develop this unique greenway system that not only provides profound outdoor recreation, but also protects homes and quality of life by mitigating flooding. Thus, along the Spring Creek Greenway there are 32 miles of hiking, biking trails and public boat landings. Commissioner Cagle envisions this astonishing connection of two greenways with the plethora of concomitant outdoor activities and entertainment attributes as

being the “Central Park of Texas.” Prior to undertaking his service as Harris County Commissioner, Commissioner Cagle says he thoroughly enjoyed serving as presiding judge of Harris County Civil Court at Law No. 1 for 11 years. Before serving as Harris County Judge, he appreciated his courtroom experience as an attorney representing clients throughout Harris County and neighboring counties. He graduated from Rice University with a triple major (Economics, History, and Managerial Studies) and from Baylor Law School. Commissioner Cagle feels blessed with his wonderful family, wife Janet and three children Richard, Victoria and Elizabeth. Al Harrison is a patent attorney practicing transactional intellectual property law with Harrison Law Office, P.C., focusing on E&P, industrial and software inventions, and attorney advertising compliance issues. He may be reached at

Lawyers Leading in Sports and Countless Other Ways Immigration Attorney Gordon Quan Adds another Super Bowl to Accomplishments By Kit Frieden

Gordon Quan

Nationally known immigration lawyer Gordon Quan recently stepped up to serve on a major Super Bowl committee. It was somewhat predictable because Quan con-

tributes to an astounding number and variety of volunteer tasks all across the city, and also because Quan is a big sports fan “I’ve been very fortunate in my life here in Houston,” Quan said. “So, I view these jobs as my way of trying to give something back.” This was Quan’s second Super Bowl planning experience. His role this year was on the Super Bowl Community Council where he helped conceive of the Game City Showcase. That was the popular fourday event filled with music, dance and food in four distinctive inner-city neighborhoods leading up to Game Day itself. The highlight for him was “introducing people to some of our wonderful neighborhoods and attractions and to see local businesses benefit from the Super Bowl,” said Quan. “I’m very proud of this city, and I wanted to help Houston show off its big heart and openness to visitors. The idea was to highlight what these neighborhoods offer.” Back when Houston hosted the 2004


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Super Bowl, Quan was on the Houston City Council. At that time, he was part of a city government that was aggressively pushing to finish several projects before the big game, including light rail linking downtown to what was then Reliant Stadium. During his six years on the council, Quan had the satisfaction of seeing Houston open the stadium now known as NRG, as well as Minute Maid Park and Toyota Center. Twice, he got to throw out the first pitch at Minute Maid. But one of his favorite sports anecdotes was meeting Yao Ming and sitting in the owner’s box with Yao’s parents during the Basketball Hall of Famer’s first home game with the Rockets. As the first Asian-American elected to a citywide council position, Quan, who was born in China, has a special understanding of the challenges of foreign newcomers. He spearheaded the establishment of a user-friendly Office for Immigration and Refugee Affairs at City Hall and now works with Mayor Sylvester Turner on the Welcoming Houston Initiative supporting immigrants and refugees. He believes immigrants “replenish the vitality of a city.” For nine years, he has hosted a weekly radio program on KPFT-FM, “Coming to America,” which discusses immigration problems and offers advice to callers. Quan was granted U.S. citizenship because his father served in the U.S. military. But it still took him 18 months of confusing paperwork to prove his citizenship. He thought about how difficult this process must be for less educated people who don’t speak English, and that propelled him toward immigration law. After graduating from the University of Texas, his first job was teaching history to Houston seventh-graders. That wasn’t a good fit. Quan tried guidance counseling, but ultimately decided the law would help him make the most difference in people’s lives. He took night classes at South Texas College of Law to earn his law degree in 1977. Last year, Quan was awarded the law school’s Distinguished Alumni Award, recognizing his civic contributions and 16

May/June 2017

significant leadership at the school. He has taught immigration law classes at the school and serves on its board of directors. He also serves on the advisory board of the University of Houston Immigration Law Clinic and is a founding member of the Asian American Bar Association of Houston. Quan has co-founded three different immigration law firms over his career, most recently the Quan Law Group. The firm assists businesses, individual clients and families with a variety of immigration needs. Languages spoken by lawyers at Quan Law include Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish and Vietnamese. Quan is certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Immigration and Nationality Law. He has earned numerous accolades over the years, including the title of Nationwide Senior Statesman in immigration from Chambers USA list of business lawyers. Quan is currently helping Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez with outreach to Harris County’s many diverse communities. He says he is most proud of inspiring others to give back to the community. Firms he has led have twice been recognized as Pro Bono Firm of the Year by the Houston Bar Association/Houston Bar Foundation. Kit Frieden is a longtime journalist and a consultant with Androvett Legal Media & Marketing.

Lawyers Leading in Charitable Giving Legal Community Supports United Way Through Law Initiative By Lynne Liberato

Houston lawyers have donated more than

$37 million to the United Way of Greater Houston since the Law Initiative began in 2002. The Law Initiative is a collaboration of in-house and law firm lawyers who are passionate about the United Way and together encourage other lawyers to support its mission. “I support United Way for the same reasons I use an investment advisor,” explained Janet Carrig, General Counsel for ConocoPhillips. “Just as my advisor has the time and expertise to invest wisely for me, United Way has the focus and expertise to invest wisely our charitable dollars.” Carrig, who earlier this year held a reception for lawyer donors in her home, is one of the many senior lawyers in corporations who support the campaign. Another is Anadarko Executive Vice President Bobby Reeves, who is serving as this year’s co-chair of the Law Initiative. “As a lawyer, the mission and methods of the United Way fit my way of doing things,” said Reeves. “The United Way performs due diligence before investing in any program. As a board member, I see its good stewardship in action. The United Way invests our gifts wisely.” Most of Houston’s large and mediumsized firms conduct employee campaigns annually, with some corporations providing a corporate gift as well. Workplace campaigns educate and engage lawyers and staff members on the mission of the United Way. For leadership-level donors – those who donate $1,000 and above – the United Way provides networking opportunities with clients at events specific to lawyers. The United Way also hosts multiple business-related and fun events for young professionals, women and donors at almost any donation level. One recent example of a Law Initiative event was an associate general counsel program organized by Ron Oran, a partner at Strasburger & Price and leader of the young lawyers with the Law Initiative. Oran moderated a panel of Pooja Amin (CenterPoint Energy), Stephanie KinzelTapper (BHP Billiton), and Jami Meador (Zions Bancorporation). The panel offered advice on how to get business, tips on how

to get bills paid, and observations on their experiences that lead to their in-house positions. And, of course, they talked about why they are passionate about the United Way. The United Way is grateful for its lawyer members, too. “We are so proud of our lawyers,” noted United Way president Anna Babin. “Lawyers ‘get it’ when we explain how we strategically invest their gifts to where the need is greatest.” Babin further explained that while the mission of the United Way is to provide a social safety net, the first call people can make for help is to 2-1-1, the United Way’s HELPLINE. The United Way also creates lasting change in the lives of families and children. Examples include United Way THRIVE, which helps people obtain financial security, and United Way Bright Beginnings, which provides quality early childhood education. “We support the United Way for many reasons,” said Beck Redden named partner, David Beck. “But one of those reasons is that so many of our clients are strong

supporters of the United Way, and we want to support things that are important to our clients.” Beck’s point is demonstrated by the number of in-house leaders who co-sponsor the United Way Law Initiative. These in-house lawyer sponsors include: John Ale (Southwestern Energy), Skip Allen (Helis Oil & Gas), Janet Carrig (ConocoPhillips), Mick Cantu (Houston Methodist), Rachel Clingman (BHP Billiton), Michael Donaldson (EOG); Jon-Al Duplantier (Parker Drilling), Reggie Hedgebeth (Spectra Energy), Arne Johnson (Noble Energy), Paula Johnson (Phillips 66), Chris Kaitson (Enbridge), Sylvia Kerrigan (Marathon), Lance Lightfoot (Texas Children’s Hospital), Bruce Lundstrom (Tidewater Marine), Elizabeth Matthews (Total), Dana O’Brien (CenterPoint Energy), Dianne Ralston (TechnipFMC), Bobby Reeves (Anadarko), Mark Stout (Weingarten Realty), Suzie Thomas (Houston Texans/McNair Group), Greg Sangalis (Service Corporation International), Wayne Wiesen (Citation Oil & Gas), and Richard

Zansitis (Rice University). Supporting United Way comes down to lawyers helping others. “Despite all the benefits to donors, the greatest benefit is knowing that we are helping some of the neediest of our neighbors,” explained Haynes and Boone partner John Eldridge, who is also a major-level donor. “It makes me especially proud to be a Houston lawyer.” Lynne Liberato, a partner at Haynes and Boone, is the co-chair of the Law Initiative and was the first practicing lawyer to be the community campaign chair for United Way.

Lawyers Leading in Education Three Lawyers Giving Back in the Classroom By Anna Archer One way through which lawyers can effectively lead is by taking the initiative

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to teach tomorrow’s legal leaders. With three local law schools, there is ample opportunity for Houston lawyers to become adjunct professors and help shape the legal minds of the future. This article discusses how three local lawyers have demonstrated leadership by accepting the challenge to teach classes in the evenings even though they all have demanding schedules at local law firms.

Professor Roger Greenberg

Professor Roger Greenberg, an adjunct professor at South Texas College of Law Houston, graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 1970.

Greenberg is a member of Sponsel Miller Greenberg PLLC, and, as an arbitrator and litigator, his practice focuses on complex litigation and business trials. He started teaching as an adjunct professor at South Texas College of Law Houston in 2015. He had given a presentation about arbitration law practice to the Houston Bar Association Alternative Dispute Resolution Section, and two professors from South Texas College of Law Houston approached him after the presentation and asked if he was interested in teaching arbitration law. Greenberg had always wanted to teach and liked the idea of giving back to the community, so he said yes. He teaches arbitration law at South Texas once a year. Greenberg gives back to the community in a variety of ways, such as serving as the Executive Director of the Garland Walker Inn—American Inns of Court, and serving on the Board of Trustees of Chinquapin Prep School. He likes teaching because it gives him an opportunity to mentor students and give back by

“bringing [his] expertise and abilities to the classroom.”

Professor Jaqueline Miller

Professor Jaqueline Miller, an adjunct professor at Thurgood Marshall School of Law, graduated from Thurgood Marshall School of Law in 1984. She is the managing partner of The Miller Law Firm, a general civil law firm that focuses on family law, mediation, personal injury, and tax issues. Professor Miller began teaching at Thurgood Marshall after her youngest child graduated from high school in 2014. She wanted to give back to her law school and community, so she completed an application to be a professor and interviewed for the position. She teaches or has taught professional responsibility, mediation, and trial simulation. Miller enjoys showing her students what it is like to be a lawyer and to have your own firm. Miller says she tries to incorporate what she does every day as a practicing attorney into her lessons and to give her students a sense of what responsibilities they will have as a lawyer.

Professor Charles Irvine

Professor Charles Irvine, an adjunct professor at the University of Houston 18

May/June 2017

Law Center, graduated from the University of Houston Law Center in 2006. He is a named partner at Irvine & Conner PLLC, an environmental law firm that is dedicated to the responsible and sustainable protection of the environment. Before going to law school, Irvine worked for five years in Greece on projects that protected sea turtles and other marine mammals. He went to law school specifically to study environmental law. Irvine became an adjunct professor at University of Houston Law Center in 2008, and he teaches Texas Coastal and Ocean Law, Environmental Law, Endangered Species and Biodiversity Law, and Practice of Environmental Law. While in law school Irvine developed relationships with his environmental law professors, who invited him to start teaching after graduation. Irvine loves teaching because it helps him stay up to date on current issues and frequently helps him when he advises his clients. Irvine says, “It has made me a better lawyer.”

He particularly enjoys it when he meets former students who are now practicing lawyers, noting, “I smile when they still call me ‘Professor.’” All three professors decided that a good way to give back to their communities was by imparting some of the lessons that they have learned to tomorrow’s legal leaders. As Henry Adams said, “A good teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” These three professors who have taken the time to give back to the three local law schools by teaching will likewise have a lasting impact on the Houston legal community for years to come. Anna Archer works at the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. She is a career law clerk for Judge Gray H. Miller. She also worked at University of Houston Law Center as an adjunct professor from 2008 through 2016. She is a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board.

Lawyers as Executive Leaders Mayor Turner Commits to Leading the City to a “Better Tomorrow” By Hon. Josefina M. Rendón

Mayor Sylvester Turner

An issue of The Houston Lawyer about leadership in our legal profession would not be complete without including our own City’s executive leader, Sylvester Turner, who became Houston’s mayor in January, 2016. As he took his oath, he expressed his commitment to lead


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May/June 2017


our city “to a better tomorrow.”1 Sylvester Turner has been a leader in our city long before he became our mayor. Born sixth out of nine children in Houston’s predominantly African-American neighborhood of Acres Homes, Turner lost his father at the age of thirteen. His mother worked as a maid at the Rice Hotel for many years and always encouraged her children to continue their education. First attending segregated schools, Turner was later able to attend the predominantly-white Klein High School when integration was becoming a reality in Houston. His leadership skills came to the fore in high school by not only becoming senior class president, but also graduating as its valedictorian. Turner then attended the University of Houston, where he became speaker of the student senate and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He then attended and graduated from Harvard Law School, where he devel-

oped his trial skills and excelled in Moot Court competitions. Upon graduation, Turner returned to his hometown and joined the firm of Fulbright & Jaworski. In 1983, he founded Turner & Barnes with his friend, attorney Barry Barnes. He remained a partner until his election as mayor in 2015. A successful attorney for the last 37 years, it has been as a lawmaker that Turner’s leadership has made history and impacted our city. In 1988, he was elected to the Texas Legislature for District 139, representing, among others, his former Acres Homes neighborhood. He remained a member of the Texas House of Representatives until shortly before becoming Houston’s mayor in 2016. As a state representative for 27 years, he served in the House Appropriations Committee for many years and became the committee’s vice-chairman. He was also chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, the Texas Legislative Black Caucus and the Greater

Houston Area Legislative Delegation. As a legislator, Turner authored or supported numerous bills affecting consumer rights. One such bill prevented gas companies from cutting services during freezing temperatures; another prevented electric companies from overcharging customers. He was also involved in legislation to expand Medicaid, children’s insurance coverage, and mental health services to those in need. Turner also helped pass legislation that increased funding for medical trauma care centers in Texas, thus greatly benefitting Houston’s Ben Taub and Memorial Hermann Hospitals. In his inaugural speech as mayor, Turner spoke of his commitment to lead us towards his goal of a better Houston. “Houston can be the global, international city we are destined to become ... a city that embraces diversity, culture and differences ... a city of hope, opportunity and inspiration,” he stated. A year later, he enumerated his

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May/June 2017

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

Irelan | McDaniel PLLC

Stuart PC

Haynes and Boone LLP

Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels,

Jackson Lewis P.C.

Sutton McAughan Deaver

Jackson Walker L.L.P.

Agosto & Aziz

Jenkins & Kamin LLP

Taunton, Snyder & Slade, P.C.

Martin, Disiere, Jefferson & Wisdom LLP

Adair Myers Graves Stevenson PLLC

Johnson DeLuca Kurisky Gould

Tekell Book Allen & Morris, L.L.P.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Ajamie LLP

Johnson, Trent & Taylor, L.L.P.

Tindall England, P.C.

Thompson & Knight LLP

Bair Hilty

Jones Walker LLP

Ware, Jackson, Lee, O’Neill, Smith

Winstead PC

Baker Williams Matthiesen LLP

Jordan, Lynch & Cancienne

& Barrow, LLP

Baker • Wotring LLP

Kane Russell Coleman Logan

Watt Thompson Frank & Carver LLP

Firms of 100+ Attorneys

The Bale Law Firm, PLLC

Kelly, Sutter & Kendrick, P.C.

Weinstein Tippetts & Little LLP

Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP

Barrett Daffin Frappier Turner & Engel, LLP

KoonsFuller, PC

West Mermis, PLLC

Baker Botts L.L.P.

Berg & Androphy

Kroger | Burrus

Weycer, Kaplan, Pulaski & Zuber, P.C.

Bracewell LLP

Bingham, Mann & House

Law Feehan Adams, LLP

Williams, Birnberg & Andersen, L.L.P.

Locke Lord LLP

Buck Keenan LLP


Willingham, Fultz & Cougill, LLP

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

Bush + Ramirez

Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP

Wilson Cribbs and Goren, PC

Porter Hedges LLP

Cage Hill & Niehaus LLP

Lorance & Thompson, P.C.

Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman

Vinson & Elkins LLP

Campbell & Riggs

MacIntyre, McCulloch, Stanfield

& Dicker LLP

Chernosky Smith Ressling & Smith PLLC

& Young, L.L.P.

Wright Abshire, Attorneys, PC

Corporate Legal Departments

Christian Smith & Jewell LLP

McGinnis Lochridge & Kilgore LLP

Ytterberg Deery Knull LLP

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation

Conner & Winters

McGuireWoods LLP

Zimmerman, Axelrad, Meyer, Stern

AT&T Texas

Cooper Jackson & Boanerges PC

MehaffyWeber, P.C.

& Wise P.C.


Cozen O’Connor

Morris Lendais Hollrah and Snowden, PLLC

Zukowski, Bresenhan & Piazza LLP

CenterPoint Energy

Crady, Jewett & McCulley, LLP

Nathan Sommers Jacobs

De Lange, Hudspeth, McConnell & Tibbets, LLP

Ogden Broocks & Hall, LLP

Firms of 25-49 Attorneys

Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc.

Dentons US LLP

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak

Adams and Reese LLP

LyondellBasell Industries

Dobrowski, Larkin & Johnson, LLP

& Stewart, P.C.

Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos,


Dow Golub Remels & Gilbreath, PLLC

Pagel, Davis & Hill, P.C.

Alavi & Mensing P.C.

Newfield Exploration Company

Doyle Restrepo Harvin & Robbins L.L.P.

Parrott Sims & McInnis, PLLC

Andrews Myers, P.C.

Plains All American Pipeline, L.P.

Ewing & Jones, PLLC

Perdue & Kidd

Beck Redden LLP

Rice University

Fernelius Simon PLLC

Perdue Brandon Fielder Collins and Mott, LLP

Blank Rome LLP

S & B Engineers and Constructors, Ltd.

Fisher, Boyd, Johnson & Huguenard, LLP

Phelps Dunbar LLP


Sysco Corporation

Fisher & Phillips LLP

Ramey, Chandler, Quinn & Zito, P.C.

Edison, McDowell & Hetherington LLP

Texas Children’s Hospital

Fizer Beck Webster Bentley & Scroggins PC

Reynolds Frizzell

Gibbs & Bruns LLP

Total E&P USA, Inc.

Fleming | Nolen | Jez, L.L.P.

Roach & Newton, L.L.P.

Greer, Herz & Adams, L.L.P.

University of Houston System

Frank, Elmore, Lievens, Chesney & Turet, L.L.P.

Ross, Banks, May, Cron and Cavin, P.C.

Liskow & Lewis

Fullenweider Wilhite

Royston Rayzor

Littler Mendelson PC

Law School Faculty

Funderburk Funderburk Courtois, LLP

Rusty Hardin & Associates, LLP

Roberts Markel Weinberg Butler Hailey PC

South Texas College of Law Houston

Galloway, Johnson, Tompkins,

Rymer, Moore, Jackson & Echols, P.C.

Thompson & Horton LLP

Thurgood Marshall School of Law

Burr & Smith, A PLC

Schiffer Odom Hicks & Johnson PLLC

Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons LLP

University of Houston Law Center

Germer PLLC

Schirrmeister Diaz-Arrastia Brem, LLP

Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas, LLP

Givens & Johnston, PLLC

Schwartz, Page & Harding L.L.P.

Yetter Coleman LLP

Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, LLP

Scott, Clawater & Houston, L.L.P.

Hagans Montgomery & Rustay PC

Shannon, Martin, Finkelstein,

Firms of 50-100 Attorneys

Harris County Attorney’s Office

Hartline Dacus Barger Dreyer LLP

Alvarado & Dunne, P.C.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Harris County District Attorney’s Office

Hawash Meade Gaston Neese & Cicack LLP

Shipley Snell Montgomery LLP

Baker & Hostetler LLP

Harris County Domestic Relations Office

Henke, Williams & Boll, LLP

Short Carter Morris, LLP

Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White,

Metropolitan Transit Authority of

Hicks Thomas LLP

Singleton ♦ Cooksey PLLC

Williams & Aughtry

Harris County Texas

Hirsch and Westheimer P.C.

Smith, Murdaugh, Little & Bonham, L.L.P.

Coats | Rose

Port of Houston Authority of

Holm | Bambace L.L.P.

Smyser Kaplan & Veselka, L.L.P.

Cokinos | Young

Harris County, Texas

Horne Rota Moos L.L.P.

Sprott Newsom Quattlebaum Messenger

Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP

1st Court of Appeals

Hunton & Williams LLP

Strong Pipkin Bissell & Ledyard, L.L.P.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP

14th Court of Appeals

El Paso Corporation

Government Agencies City of Houston Legal Department

successes such as “a more responsive, streamlined and efficient City government. We are filling potholes faster, implementing pension reform, shoring up City finances and working to improve police relations.” “We are all Houstonians and we deserve the right to improve and move forward together,” Turner said in his inaugural speech. With these ambitious goals Turner expressed his commitment to leading our city toward a “better tomorrow.” The Hon. Josefina Rendón has been a Houston Municipal Judge for 29 of the last 33 years. A graduate of the University of Houston Law Center, she is a former Civil District Judge, a mediator and a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board. Endnotes 1. This article is based on information provided to the author by Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Office and/ or found in the City of Houston Websites: http:// and http:// www.


May/June 2017

Lawyers Leading Through Civic Involvement Protecting Hermann Park for Future Generations By Tracy N. LeRoy

Danny David

Houston lawyer Danny David gives back to the local community in a number of ways, but none more so than through his work for the Hermann Park Conservancy. Involved with the

Conservancy for over two decades, Danny has been a leader in keeping Houston’s treasured Hermann Park a home for the city’s natural resources and a destination for countless visitors. The Hermann Park Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the stewardship and improvement of Hermann Park, for today’s Houstonians and for generations to come. The Conservancy raises millions of dollars each year to enhance and maintain the park through a publicprivate partnership with the Houston Parks and Recreation Department. This money supports renovation projects designed to increase accessibility to park amenities, restoration of the Park’s historic features, and maintenance of the park through stewardship programs. Danny David first became involved in the Conservancy in 1995, and now serves on the Conservancy Executive Committee. Danny, who is a litigation partner at Baker Botts focusing

on securities and shareholder litigation, says he was first drawn to the Conservancy’s mission of bringing people together from all parts of the city without putting a price tag on the experience. That mission is evident in the work that the Conservancy does, such as hosting several events throughout the year to benefit the park. Every Friday, the Conservancy sponsors a Children’s Story Hour from 10:00-11:00 a.m. in the McGovern Centennial Garden’s Family Garden. Last March, the Conservancy hosted the Fourth Annual Hermann Park Kite Festival, where thousands of Houstonians converged on Miller Hall to fly kites of all types and to enjoy educational booths, entertainment, and student performances. The Conservancy also regularly provides space for student performances from a variety of local school choirs, bands, symphonies, dance teams, and theater groups. The Conservancy recently complet-

ed the McGovern Centennial Gardens and the Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion. It is currently working on restoring the Japanese Garden, which turns 25 this year, and renovating the park’s historic 1933 clubhouse, which will soon be renamed Lott Hall at Hermann Park. Having effectively completed its 20-year-old master plan, the Conservancy has now embarked on creating a new plan for the park’s future—a blueprint for the next 20 years. The new plan will focus on the underused parts of the park, traffic and parking, and the park’s edges— especially the vast area across MacGregor Way, known as Bayou Parkland, and the corner of Fannin and Cambridge Streets, by the Buddy Carruth Playground for All Children and the Carruth Pavilion. Danny is active in other aspects of the Houston community, serving as chair of the Corporate Committee and Member of the Menil Council at the Menil Collection, as director

of Neighborhood Centers Inc., and as term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. When asked why, with all of these other commitments, Danny chooses to give his time to the Conservancy, Danny said that Hermann Park is where Houston lives. “Hermann Park serves its visitors in the way that only a destination park can: be it as a vacation spot, a place to get married or celebrate an anniversary, an outdoor fitness center, or a school for those interested in nature, animals, science or the arts.” “It’s not something that’s just nice to have,” he adds. “It is a must-have for our city to prosper.” To find out more about the Hermann Park Conservancy or its upcoming events, go to www.hermann Tracy N. LeRoy is a partner at Sidley Austin LLP who focuses on litigation and dispute resolution for energy industry participants.


May/June 2017


Lawyers Leading in Business Attorneys Integral Part of Greater Houston Partnership Board By Polly Fohn

The Greater Houston Partnership has been at the helm in fostering Houston’s vibrant business community. So it is no surprise that lawyers help lead the Partnership, which acts as Houston’s chamber of commerce with more than 1,200 member companies who support a diverse range of initiatives from new job creation to early childhood education. The Partnership’s board of directors counts 11 active practitioners as members. “Contributing to making Houston a world-class city with heart is inherent in the culture of our legal community,” explains board member Lynne Liberato of Haynes and Boone, LLP. “Lawyers lead and are actively involved in the Partnership’s government affairs efforts, including pension reform, environmental issues, education, quality of life and much more.” The Partnership’s incoming chairman, Marc Watts, president of The Friedkin Group, is also a lawyer by trade. “Houston has a history of lawyers deeply involved in community leadership,” explains Watts. “The level of lawyer leadership in the Partnership shows that tradition continues.” In 2017, Watts will help oversee the Partnership’s current initiatives. The Partnership’s “UpSkill Houston” program, in collaboration with United Way THRIVE, focuses on training individuals in technical careers working 24

May/June 2017

in industries that are key drivers of Houston’s regional economy. The Partnership has also rolled out an image campaign called “Houston: The City with No Limits,” to attract top talent from across the nation. Finally, coming full circle, the Partnership is part of a coalition raising awareness of the importance of early childhood education. The result is a city that is a better place to live, work, and do business. Lawyers also chair some of the Partnership’s standing committees. Charles Foster, of Foster, LLP, heads the Partnership’s task force on immigration. The task force focuses on the practical impact immigration policy has on business and has long been committed to advancing a pro-business immigration policy. Harry Gee, Jr., of Harry Gee & Associates, heads the committee on foreign direct investment, a busy position given that more than 730 Houston firms report foreign ownership.1 The remaining practitioners on the Partnership’s board include: Andy Baker (Baker Botts), Greg Bopp (Bracewell), Carter Crow (Norton Rose Fulbright), Roland Garcia (Greenberg Traurig), Mark Kelly (Vinson & Elkins), Lynne Liberato (Haynes and Boone), Pat Oxford (Bracewell), Tom Perich (Andrews Kurth Kenyon), and David Taylor (Locke Lord). Lynne Liberato finds lawyer leadership in organizations like the Partnership typical. “As Houston and State Bar president, one of the great joys I had was to see firsthand just how Houston lawyers, in particular, can be found everywhere in community leadership and involvement.” That commitment is evident in the work of the lawyers behind the scenes at the Greater Houston Partnership. Polly Fohn is an appellate partner at Haynes and Boone, LLP and a member of the editorial board of The Houston Lawyer magazine. Endnotes 1. Greater Houston Partnership, Talking Points Q1/17, available at

Lawyers Leading through Philanthropy and Hope Scott Davidson Rocks the Night By Sylvia Ngo and Jeff McPhaul

Scott Davidson

Under pink and blue lights on whiskeysticky stages, the lead singer of Southern Slang belts, “I can feel a good one comin’ on!” And no matter how early it is into their sets, there is guaranteed a two-steppin’ pair ready to swing to the upbeat southern rock tunes sung by Scott Davidson. When the night closes, Scott’s next gig is not another stage. On weekdays, Scott hangs up his guitar and microphone and exhibits his talents as inhouse counsel for The Friedkin Group. But the passion Scott displays at each show is not limited to his few hours on stage; rather, it runs through all aspects of his life–as a father, as a philanthropist, and as an attorney. The Dalai Lama said, “When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways–either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.” Scott and his wife Andrea were faced with this choice in 2013 after the loss of their beloved thirteenyear old son, Chance, to brain cancer. But fortunately for the countless others whose lives Scott, Andrea, and Chance would eventually touch, the Davidsons chose to find their inner strength. “We just wanted to have his spirit live on,”

says Scott. “We realized that there were so many families that needed support, a support system, outside of the medical treatment.” In 2014, the Davidsons founded the Chance for Hope Foundation with the mission of providing support services to children with cancer and their families, funding for pediatric cancer research and treatment, and educational resources to the public about pediatric cancer.1 Just like his dad, Chance was an avid musician, with the guitar and bagpipes as his instruments of choice. In keeping with Chance’s love for music and fun-loving spirit, the Chance for Hope Foundation’s annual “anti-gala, gala” is a blowout concert held at the Redneck Country Club. Since its inception, the Chance for Hope Foundation has raised over $1,000,000.00 towards its mission. In addition to his work with the Chance for Hope Foundation, Scott is a longtime board member for Healthcare for the Homeless–Houston, an organization providing direct patient care and promoting systemic changes to improve and increase access to care for the homeless.2 Not surprisingly, Scott’s artistic flair also helps to shape HHH’s direction. Each year, HHH hosts the HeART & Harmony event, which features live musical performances and auctions of sculptures, paintings, photography, and other media from a variety of donor artists. “We thought that having art and music engage the community was a good way to accomplish getting the word out about our mission and what we do in a way that feels true to HHH,” says Davidson. Scott says his favorite thing about being a lawyer is “being a problem solver.” Whatever his next project may be, we know it’ll be great–we can feel a good one comin’ on. Sylvia Ngo and Jeff McPhaul are labor and employment attorneys with Martin, Disiere, Jefferson & Wisdom, LLP and Locke Lord, LLP, respectively. They are

both proud to be friends to the Davidsons and supporters of the Chance for Hope Foundation. Endnotes 1. 2.

Lawyers Leading in Law and Order Assistant Chief Deputy Carl Shaw is Uncommon Nexus of Both

Carl Shaw

By Jennifer Jenkins Miriam-Webster defines unconventional as, “not based on or conforming to what is generally done or believed.” An unconventional life is, “out of the ordinary.” Carl Shaw is the current Assistant Chief Deputy for the Harris County Constable, Precinct One Office. His career of law and order started in the courtroom, in a trial as grand and as great as the State of Texas itself that would subsequently bankrupt America’s eighth largest corporation, baptize formidable legal titans by fire, and cement the foundation of Shaw’s out-of-the ordinary calling. The trial was Texaco v. Pennzoil, and although Shaw worked in the courtroom, he was neither a constable, an attorney, nor a sheriff--yet. At that time, Shaw was a courtroom deputy, known simply as “the Kid.” Presiding Judge Anthony J.P. Farris obviously saw the makings of a man who was out of the ordinary. He believed in the Kid. Shaw says Judge Farris encouraged him to become an attorney.

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. Apply now for fall 2017 semester. For more information contact or visit The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One research institution and an EEO/AA Institution.

May/June 2017


Judge Farris knew that the Kid belonged in the courtroom, and in more ways than he could have ever known. He was right. The next time Shaw returned to the courtroom, it was as both a Sheriff’s Deputy for the Harris County Sheriff’s Department and as an intern at then Fulbright & Jaworski. Shaw, who holds an unshakable belief that building value and relationships creates solutions, was now implementing both principles as a civil servant, and a law student. Within a few years, the man who says his most celebrated and important fiduciary role in life is as a parent, would soon add the title of attorney and counselor at law to his robust resume. Another ring in a career that began at the courthouse, and has continuously orbited it. Chief Deputy Shaw not only became an attorney; he also mastered his professional calling. Beginning as an intern for Fulbright & Jaworski and later at the Texas Court of Appeals, First District, Shaw was cementing the foundation of an uncommon leader. He was a lead attorney at the O’Quinn Law Firm for nearly two decades, working on serious negligence cases and mass torts. Shaw simultaneously taught civil law for over ten years at his alma mater, South Texas College of Law Houston. He has also served on its Board of Advocates, held the title of South Texas Law Officer, was initiated into the Order of the Barristers, and won the Career Division Alum of the Month Award, among many other accolades. During this time, Shaw was not only deepening his ability to litigate, he was also gaining understanding, growing compassion, and broadening the foundation that all effective leaders must possess. He never ended his association as a peace officer with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education, and would later join the Harris County Constable’s Precinct One office. Demonstrating his belief in “fundamental fairness,” Shaw continued to support the causes most important to him, such as the House of Tiny Treasures, which nurtures and educates children—where Shaw believes leadership starts. He is a 30-year member of the 26

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League of Women Voters, and also served as past chair for the League’s debates in major elections throughout the City of Houston. He supports the Young Professionals for Children, and has held nearly every leadership title within the Harris County Constable’s Office. Shaw’s current role reflects his ability to listen and understand. He has been integral in creating a new and active partnership with the Harris County Sheriff’s Department by providing security for the downtown courthouses. He is at the helm of an active partnership with the Houston Bar Association, on full display in March when Precinct One donated security for the HBA’s Eikenburg Law Week Fun Run, benefiting The Center Houston. After meeting Chief Deputy Shaw, it becomes clear that his accomplishments across so many professional boundaries would not have been possible without keen leadership and attentiveness. Shaw listens to his adversaries and learns from them. He believes partnership is essential to leadership. He strives to create value wherever the Constable places him. He succeeds because he is the uncommon nexus of both law and order. Before concluding our interview, I asked what an attorney would want to know – does he miss the practice of law and litigation? Shaw thoughtfully replied, “No.” Taking a reflective pause as we sat in his Preston Office overlooking the area he is charged with protecting, Shaw recalled the recent footage of a man filmed by an environmental camera, a camera system meant to capture polluters and illegal dumping. But, on that Thursday just a few short weeks ago, the camera captured a 27-yearold Houston man, striking and beating a seven-year-old boy, 62 times. Here, from his Precinct One Office, Chief Deputy Shaw knows that every day he is going to get the bad guys. That belief is enough for the man who believes he is doing the best he can in a fallible city; and he is exactly where he should be. Jennifer Jenkins is owner and principal of the Law Office of Jennifer R. Jenkins, where

she practices criminal, family, and civil law. She also serves on both The Houston Lawyer editorial board and the HBA Elder Law Committee where she frequently speaks publicly to senior communities.

Lawyers Leading through the HBA Making Our Community Better, One Young Mind at A Time By Robert Ford

Among its many philanthropic and service-based activities, the Houston Bar Association spearheads and subsidizes educational initiatives in what is currently one of the largest and most diverse cities in the country. In that regard, the HBA sponsors and co-sponsors a host of educational programs to spark interest among students in learning about the law and its role in our society, and more generally, to enhance the educational opportunities for students throughout Greater Houston—particularly students from neighborhoods and backgrounds with limited access to such opportunities. The HBA’s roster of educational programs includes: • the Interprofessional Drug Education Alliance, or “IDEA,” a partnership with local medical professionals in which the HBA provides biannual drug-education programs to Harris County fifth graders; • Teach Texas, which is based on a recent publication from the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society and offers students the opportunity

to study the state court system from a historical perspective; • Breakthrough Houston Program, which operates out of Houston’s St. John’s School, provides tuition-free academic-enrichment and collegeprep, as well as a mentorship component, to high-performing students who come from underserved communities and backgrounds; • Juvenile Justice Mock Trial Program, founded in 1975, which offers eighth graders the opportunity to develop and prepare a criminal case over an intensive fiveweek program, culminating in a final mock trial in an actual Harris County courtroom with all of the roles—even those of the judge and jury—being performed by one of the students; • Constitution Day Reading, an annual program, where HBA members commemorate Constitution Day (September 17th) by visiting elementary schools throughout Harris County to read a selected book to the students and then donate books to the schools’ libraries; • Law Day Reading, another annual program, jointly put on by the HBA’s Law Week, Lawyer’s for Literacy, and Speakers Bureau committees, where practicing attorneys visit elementary schools throughout Harris County to read a book about citizenship and/or the law to a class of students and then donate the book to the school’s library on the day of the readings; • Importance of Jury Service Program, which was conceived in response to low juror turnout in Harris County, invites volunteer lawyers and judges to visit area high schools and talk with seniors, who would soon be eligible for jury duty, about the importance of jury service; and • Communities in Schools Committee, which, in partnership with the nonprofit, Communities In Schools

Houston, places high-performing, minority 11th and 12th graders into paid and unpaid summer internships with private employers, public agencies, and nonprofit organizations. As this impressive array of programming reflects, the HBA continues, year after year, to demonstrate its commitment to playing a meaningful role in enhancing the educational opportuni-

ties in the vibrant community that it serves. As we near the end of this bar year and prepare to begin another, the HBA will continue to reach for higher heights—and bring others along for the journey. Robert Ford is a partner at Fogler, Brar, Ford, O’Neil and Gray. He represents both plaintiffs and defendants in highstakes civil matters. He is a 2105-2017 Houston Bar Association Ambassador.

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By tara shockley

Outstanding H Pro Bono Service Honored by Bench and Bar

arris County judges and attorneys came together to recognize outstanding pro bono service by presenting the annual Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards on May 3. 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. Nathan Hecht, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, who talked about the importance of pro bono legal services. In addition to the Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards, for the first time the HBA president, Neil Kelly, recognized three individuals for their dedication to pro bono through special programs and projects.

Large Firm – Baker Botts L.L.P. In 2016, Baker Botts billed its secondhighest number of volunteer hours since 1999, logging a total of 15,765 hours. Seventy-eight percent of the firm’s lawyers worked on 197 pro bono matters, with 99 attorneys completing more than 30 hours of pro bono service throughout the year. Some notable examples of the firm’s service include representation of UK national and Texas death row inmate Linda Carty; providing help to Neighborhood Centers, Inc. and Combined Arms; and creating toolkits for financial caregivers on behalf of Texas Appleseed and AARP Texas. Texas Appleseed presented the firm with its 2016 Pro Bono Leadership Award. Baker Botts also provided

pro bono legal services for immigrants, domestic violence survivors, chronically ill patients, and those in need of wills and probate. The firm maintains pro bono partnerships with more than 14 different organizations, as well as partners with clients on various cases and clinics. Mid-size Firm – Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP During 2016, all 56 attorneys at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius performed pro bono legal work, donating 2,186.40 hours. The firm has a goal for each attorney to provide at least 20 hours of pro bono service annually, and 100% of the attorneys achieved that goal, with many exceeding it. The firm was recognized by the Tahirih Justice Center as the Law Firm of the Year for their assistance with U-Visas and T-Visas for individuals assisting the prosecution of a crime and those who have been trafficked into the U.S. The firm was also recognized by FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) for its pro bono assistance with transactional, employment and ERISA issues, as well as volunteer work for the FARE Walk for Food Allergy. Morgan Lewis handled 32 juvenile sealing cases through the HBA/HVL Juvenile Records Sealing Program, giving youth charged with minor crimes a second chance to turn their lives around. The law firm was recognized by the Houston Bar Foundation for the second consecutive year for Outstanding Contribution to Houston Volunteer Lawyers by a Mid-size Firm. Small Firm – Trahan Dinn Kornegay Payne LLP This firm of five attorneys was founded in late 2015, and in 2016 it surpassed its case commitment with Houston Volunteer Lawyers, logging 157.5 total hours of pro bono work. Volunteers accepted many pro bono cases that required specific expertise in family law, guardianship and estate planning. These volunteers also handle the legal needs of several local nonprofit organizations. Two of the founding members serve on boards and

From left, Georgia Jolink of Baker & McKenzie; 2016-2017 HBA President Neil Kelly; Latosha Lewis Payne of Trahan Dinn Kornegay Payne; Rob Johnson of Exxon Mobil Corp.; Hannah Sibiski of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer; Keri Brown of Baker Botts; Lewis Smith of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; Samantha Trahan of Trahan, Dinn, Kornegay Payne; Will Denham of Shortt & Nguyen, representing Lan Nguyen; Amy Dinn of Trahan, Dinn, Kornegay Payne, Joe Villarreal, attorney at law; and the Hon. Robert Schaffer, Administrative Judge, Harris County District Courts.

advise nonprofits dedicated to community service, including Texas Executive Women, Houston Lawyers Foundation, and Bayou Preservation Association. Individual – Hannah Sibiski Hannah Sibiski is a senior attorney with Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP. In 2016, she provided 126.8 hours of pro bono legal service to the SAFE Court Expunction Program. SAFE Court is a diversion court that helps combat human trafficking by giving those aged 17 to 25 who are charged with prostitution the opportunity to clear the charge from their criminal records by completing a year-long program of monitoring and social services. In addition to Hannah’s work, firm paralegal Catherine Hodges also provided 53.3 hours of work on behalf of SAFE Court through Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 7 and multiple Harris County civil courts. Through their dedication, 20 individuals graduated from the program. Large Corporation – Exxon Mobil Corporation Law Department ExxonMobil had 165 volunteers who devoted more than 4,300 hours serving vet-

erans, seniors, children, domestic violence survivors and other unserved, low-income residents through case representation, nonprofit assistance and legal clinics. The corporation’s involvement with Houston Volunteer Lawyers, Bay Area Homeless Shelter, Catholic Charities, Houston Area Women’s Center, Human Rights First, Kids in Need of Defense, and Tahirih Justice Center show its devotion to improving access to justice. At the Houston Area Women’s Shelter, ExxonMobil celebrated its fifth year of partnership with Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP in legal clinics that have served more than 700 clients and accepted more than 30 cases. In addition to longstanding involvement with many community organizations, ExxonMobil attorneys launched an in-house forum to serve clients through the Texas Law Help Live Chat Clinics. ExxonMobil Law Managers, in collaboration with Houston Volunteer Lawyers and Catholic Charities, sponsored a DACA Clinic where volunteers provided assistance to over 100 child immigrants, helping them apply for renewable two-year work permits and exemption from deportation. ExxonMobil strives to provide pro bono opportunities for each member of its base. Law management sponsors a Houston

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Pro Bono Committee which in 2016 applied for company team grants of $21,000 to benefit the corporation’s pro bono work and nonprofit partners.

President’s Pro Bono Star Awards Georgia Jolink Georgia Jolink is an associate at Baker & McKenzie LLP. In 2016, Georgia spearheaded the firm’s Texas Homeless Youth Handbook project, a joint pro bono effort with Weatherford and Texas Appleseed. The handbook provides crucial information for Harris County’s more than 18,000 homeless youth, helping them and their advocates better understand their legal rights, responsibilities and resources. Lan T. Nguyen Long-time pro bono advocate Lan Nguyen and her three-attorney firm, Shortt & Nguyen, devoted over 300 hours in 2016 to serving Spanish-speaking litigants through Houston Volunteer Lawyers and to the Vietnamese speaking popula-


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tion of Houston through the translation and publication of the HBA’s Family Law Handbook into Vietnamese. All staff members of this small firm devoted time to making sure the Vietnamese community understands its rights and available resources. Joe Villarreal Joe Villarreal has served as a City of Houston Associate Municipal Judge, as well as in several other leadership positions in the City and in Harris County. As a leader in the Mexican-American Bar Association of Houston, he has been the backbone of a program that provides “Consejos Legales,” LegalLine for Spanish-speaking people, on the first Thursday of the month for more than 15 years, organizing volunteers, providing refreshments and serving the community. Tara Shockley is the communications director for the Houston Bar Association and managing editor of The Houston Lawyer.

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Large Firm Champions

Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP Baker Botts L.L.P. Bracewell LLP Locke Lord LLP Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP Vinson & Elkins LLP

Corporate Champions BP America Inc. CenterPoint Energy, Inc. ConocoPhillips, Inc. Exxon Mobil Corporation Halliburton LyondellBasell Industries Marathon Oil Company Shell Oil Company

Mid-Size Firm Champions

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP BakerHostetler LLP Beck Redden LLP Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Aughtry Eversheds Sutherland LLP Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP Gibbs & Bruns LLP Gray Reed & McGraw LLP Greenberg Traurig, LLP Haynes & Boone, L.L.P. Jackson Walker L.L.P. Jones Day King & Spalding LLP Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP Porter Hedges LLP ReedSmith LLP

Sidley Austin LLP Strasburger & Price, L.L.P. Susman Godfrey LLP Winstead PC Winston & Strawn LLP

Boutique Firm Champions

Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz Blank Rome LLP Dentons US LLP Edison, McDowell & Hetherington LLP Fullenweider Wilhite PC Hogan Lovells US LLP Jenkins & Kamin, L.L.P. LeClairRyan McGuireWoods LLP Ogden, Broocks & Hall, LLP Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart P.C. Sutton McAughan Deaver LLP Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP Weycer, Kaplan, Pulaski & Zuber, P.C. Wilson, Cribbs, & Goren, P.C. Yetter Coleman LLP

Small Firm Champions

Coane & Associates Frye, Steidley, Benavidez and O’Neil, PLLC Fuqua & Associates, PC Givens & Johnston Hunton & Williams LLP Katine & Nechman L.L.P. Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP KimLy Law Firm PLLC

KoonsFuller, P.C. Kroger | Burrus MehaffyWeber, P.C. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP The Law Office of Scardino & Fazel Shortt & Nguyen, P.C. Trahan Kornegay Payne, LLP

Individual Champions

Amalfi Law, PLLC Law Office of Peter J. Bennett Law Office of J. Thomas Black, P.C. Burford Perry, LLP The Dieye Firm The Ericksen Law Firm Law Office of Todd M. Frankfort Hasley Scarano L.L.P. David Hsu and Associates The Jurek Law Group, PLLC The LaFitte Law Group, PLLC C.Y. Lee Legal Group, PLLC Law Office of Gregory S. Lindley Law Office of Maria S. Lowry Martin R.G. Marasigan Law Offices Law Office of Evangeline Mitchell, PLLC Law Office of Bertrand C. Moser Law Office of Rita Pattni Pilgrim Law Office Robert E. Price Reece Law Firm, PLLC Law Office of Jeff Skarda Diane C. Treich, Attorney at Law The Law Office of Norma Levine Trusch Law Office of Cindi L. Wiggins

Law Week 2017

The 14th Amendment: Transforming American Democracy


he Houston Bar Association celebrated Law Week with programs that educated the public on the 2017 Law Day focus, “The 14th Amendment: Transforming American Democracy.” The theme provided an opportunity to explore the many ways that the Fourteenth Amendment has reshaped American law and society. Through its Citizenship, Due Process and Equal Protection clauses, this amendment advanced the rights of all Americans. It also played an important role in extending the reach of the Bill of Rights to the states. Hon. Erin Lunceford, Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP; Cole Conkling, Edison, McDowell & Hetherington LLP; and Bryon Rice, Beck Redden LLP, planned a full range of activities surrounding Law Day, May 1. • Law Week activities kicked off with a Special Day at the Courthouse, where almost 400 special needs students and their teachers from Houston-area schools were invited to the historic 1910 Courthouse for presentations by local judges and HBA Law Week Committee members, as well as assistance with ideas for creating posters and photos for the HBA’s Law Day contests. • The HBA Law Week Committee sponsored a Poster Contest in area elementary and middle schools and Essay and Photography Contests in high schools on the Law Day theme. There were also Team and Individual Poster Contests, as well as Photography 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


May/June 2017

three Law Week Poster Workshops in the Third Ward, the East End and the Chinese Community Center. The winning posters, essay and photos were displayed at the HYLA Law Day Luncheon on April 27 and in 11 professional buildings and courthouses downtown. Cash prizes for students and their teachers are generously underwritten by ICON Wealth Partners, LLC, Stratos Legal Services, 3b Studio, and Daniella Landers. • From April 17-May 12, volunteers from the Law Week Committee, the Lawyers for Literacy Committee, the Speakers Bureau Committee, and other volunteers read the book Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box, by Michael S. Bandy & Eric Stein, to elementary students in 100 schools throughout Harris County and donated the book to each school’s library, reaching 8,255 students in 100 schools. • On the morning of May 4, HBA President Neil Kelly, Administrative Judge Robert Schaffer, and Harris County District Clerk Chris Daniel passed out pocket-sized copies of the Constitution to all citizens who report for jury duty at the Harris County Jury Assembly Room. • An extended LegalLine program was held from noon until 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 3, giving the public the opportunity to call the HBA at (713) 759-1133 and get brief legal advice, answers to legal questions, and additional resources. • HBA President Neil Kelly participated in the Naturalization Ceremony presided over by Hon. David Hittner on May 17.

Special Day at the Courthouse

Justice Kem Frost of the 14th Court of Appeals speaks to special needs students and educators at a Law Day program held at the 1910 Courthouse.

Jury Service

To commemorate Law Day, District Court Administrative Judge Robert Schaffer, 2016-2017 HBA President Neil Kelly, and District Clerk Chris Daniel distributed copies of the Constitution to citizens who reported for morning jury duty on May 4.

Poster Workshops

A volunteer helps a young artist during the poster workshop held at the Chinese Community Center.

Law Week LegalLine

The HBA extended the hours for LegalLine on Wednesday, May 3, giving callers the opportunity to talk to attorneys from noon until 9:00 p.m.

Law Week Readings Attorneys and judges read the book, Granddaddy’s Turn, to 8,255 K-2nd graders. Pictured here are just a few of the volunteers with students.

Mala Sharma at The Banff School.

Hon. Harvey Brown at Frostwood Elementary School in Spring Branch ISD.

Karen Lukin at Atherton Elementary School in Houston ISD.

Benny Agosto, Jr. at Francone Elementary School in CyFair ISD.

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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 April 27. Pictured here are the winners along with contest underwriters Blake A. Pratz, Mark McAdams and Steve Schwarzbach, all of ICON Wealth Partners.

1st Place Poster, 6th-8th Grade, Raza Mishref, O’Donnell Middle School.

1st Place Poster, 3rd-5th Grade, Yaeisshya Ciudad, Meador Elementary School.

1st Place Photo, Dakota Barnett, Carver High School. 34

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1st Place Poster, K-2nd Grade, Danielle Harris, River Oaks Elementary School.

1st Place Poster, Special Needs Team Contest, Consuelo Gaona and Zechariah Cochran, Bellaire High School.

First Place: Houston Bar Association Law Day Essay Contest

Equal Protection, Equal Citizenship By Bolatito Adeyeri, DeBakey High School for Health Professions


qual protection is a guarantee under the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution that a state must treat an individual or class of individuals the same as it treats other individuals or classes in like circumstances. All men and women are to have equal protection of the laws. This is a right they enjoy as American citizens, but underlying the notion of equal rights is that of equal citizenship, a notion that epitomizes not only rights but obligations as well. Equal protection under law is of central importance to our constitution, to our way of life, and to our basic human dignity. All men may be “created equal,” but from the moment of conception inequalities develop. Some are blessed with awesome insight, athletic capacity, or excellence; others reviled by inherent debilitations, inabilities, and maladies. Some are naturally introduced to cherishing and stable families; others into broken homes filled with drugs and abuse. Some parents have the money required to prompt the broader society to furnish their children with comprehensive resources and support; others have little money, and must raise their children in unsupportive situations. Every one of these favorable circumstances and disservices are available even before a man starts to settle on his or her own particular decisions and missteps. The phrase “all men are created equal” does not mean economic or social equality. Society by its temperament will never be socially or economically homogeneous in light of the fact that men contrast in their capacities and

excellences. The equal protections clause does not seek to level society, but instead provides for every individual the chance to benefit as much as possible from his capacities. All people receiving equal protection of the laws are permitted to stand before the law on an equal footing. In other words, equal protection of the laws means equal citizenship. Equal protection is a root idea of citizenship, similar to the First Amendment’s protection of the freedom of speech. Similarly as a man cannot satisfy the obligations of a citizen without the capacity to talk unreservedly and hear distinctive perspectives, so one cannot be a full member of the community if subject to discriminatory classification. A fundamental segment of equal citizenship is respect, the acknowledgment by one individual of another’s equality in the social contract. Any nonsensical type of derision, be it in light of race, sexual orientation, or religion, consequently assigns people who have that characteristic to a substandard classification. Tied in with this is the value to the polity of participation. It would be very hard for the majority to take seriously the important endeavors by the minority to partake in civic life if that minority has been marked as invariably inferior. In fact, the minority should not be relied upon to carry on mindfully if its individuals are committed to a classification that suggests they cannot do as such. The respect, participation, and duty that comprise equal citizenship are what equal protections provide for all people in our democratic society.

May/June 2017


Houston L aw yers Who Made a Dif ference

Hon. Malcolm R. Wilkey By The Hon. Mark Davidson


here are many different • After the war paths by which those he attended Harwho wish to leave a legvard Law School, acy can accomplish that moved to Housgoal. Most find one or ton and practiced (if they are lucky) two life paths with the firm of that make the lives of their deButler & Binion. scendants better than their own. In 1954, six years There may be no one who left after graduation, more of a legacy impacting as he became United many different areas of our naStates Attorney tion’s history as Judge Malcolm for the Southern Wilkey. Consider this (partial) list District of Texas. Hon. Malcolm R. Wilkey of his accomplishments: In that position, he • During World War II, his military was successful in convicting George service included service as a miliParr, the “Duke of Duval.” He also tary intelligence officer in Patton’s bested the legendary defense attorThird Army. In December of 1944, ney Percy Foreman in several trials. he was stationed in Bastogne. The • In 1958, he was named a Deputy day before the German attack in the United States Attorney in WashingBattle of the Bulge, he predicted an ton, D.C. and led the ultimately sucimminent offensive by the enemy. cessful legal efforts to desegregate His warnings were ignored. He was the schools in Little Rock, Arkansas. one of the soldiers stationed at Bas• He drafted the 25th Amendment to togne who were surrounded and the United States Constitution, claribombarded by the Wehrmacht for fying Presidential succession after six days. death. • He consulted for the Territorial Government of Alaska and designed their judicial system prior to statehood. • As a Judge on the District of Columbia Circuit Court, he wrote many significant opinions, including one declaring unconstitutional the right of the Congress to invalidate executive


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branch orders, as well as filing a dissenting opinion in U. S. v. Nixon, the Watergate Tapes case. • He was U. S. Ambassador to Uruguay. He was also a member of a three member international arbitration panel which resulted in Chile paying compensation for the killing of former Chilean politician and diplomat Orlando Letelier and his assistant by a car bomb in Washington D. C. • In 1993, he was appointed to investigate possible check-writing abuses by lawmakers. Three members of the U. S. House of Representatives and its sergeant-at-arms were convicted of felonies, and one member pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. Members of both parties who had written thousands of hot checks to a Congressional “Bank” were voted out of office. Judge Wilkey did not seek notoriety, but performed these tasks, and many others, with a high level of dedication to public service and a low level of desire to get public credit for his accomplishments. During times of world or national upheaval throughout the last half of the Twentieth Century, he often was present and able to help. In each, he was an exemplar of a public servant who was a patriot and a scholar. To every American who lived in those times, and to all of us that live in this new century, Malcolm Wilkey made a difference for the better.

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.


The story of Mayor Andrew S. Friedberg:

A man of many hats

By Jason D. Goff


the “establishment candidate” without knowing it, until some of here’s an old Army joke that is funny to anyone who his colleagues urged him on. Andrew – not being the type to sit experienced life in the military that goes: How many around waiting for paint to dry – trekked out into the wilderness soldiers can you get into the back of an Army truck? of Bellaire suburbia to win the citizens over. He knocked on doors The answer is, “one more.” You could say that the same and talked to families, he made speeches, and he appeared at cofapplies to Andrew Friedberg. If you were to ask him: fee shop meet and greet events. He “Andrew, how many more things did what he had to do to win, and can you put on your plate?” the anwin he did. swer would surely be “one more.” And now as mayor, he has no Andrew’s ability to multi-task, staff and no office at the Bellaire however, is no joke. City Hall. But he does have a plan So, how does a senior counsel for and goal, and that is to energize a Fortune 500 company, Apache the citizens of Bellaire to become Corporation; husband and father more involved and more informed of two children; and Mayor of Belas to what goes on in the adminislaire make it work? Very carefully. Many of us attorneys in the Hous- Bellaire Mayor Andrew Friedberg, center, speaks at the opening tration of the city. Andrew has accomplished this through a variety ton area are familiar with the rig- of Evelyn’s Park, a five-acre green space in Bellaire. of means such as his Mayor’s Blog, a more regular use of the town ors of litigation, compounded with the attention requirements of hall meeting format, and the City’s introduction of a “six-week family. The thought of running a city on top of that is dizzying. Citizens Academy that provides participants a behind-the-scenes But Andrew takes it all in stride, and it hardly seems to faze him. look at how their city operates.” Andrew grew up a stone’s throw from Bellaire, graduating with When asked about the most controversial Bellaire issues, Anhonors from Bellaire High School, where he played baseball. He drew says that one of them would have to be the sidewalks: to then went on to obtain a triple-major in economics, finance, and have or not to have? That is the question! The feelings are pasgovernment at the University of Texas in Austin. After college, sionate on both sides, and Andrew has had to be creative and law school seemed to be the natural course. Andrew is a trailpragmatic in resolving sidewalk controversy. Furthermore, Anblazer attorney in his family, having had neither the blessing nor drew has had to look further into the horizon to make sure that the curse—depending on your point of view—of a method or future issues are being addressed today. One such issue involved philosophy for his career in law. Andrew obtained his law degree the urgent need to raise water and sewer rates or suffer a budgetwith honors from Harvard Law School and went on to clerk for ary shortfall in the utilities fund. Other issues that also weigh Judge Jacques Wiener on the United States Court of Appeals for on Andrew’s mind are the city’s infrastructure, such as drainage, the Fifth Circuit. And somehow, Andrew managed to serve his water and wastewater lines. Andrew’s goal is to change the city’s country for six years in the United States Army National Guard… paradigm from reactive to proactive when it comes to infrastrucall while attending college and law school. ture, but at the same time he recognizes and respects budgetary The truly interesting part about Andrew, however, is how he constraints. Andrew has continued the City’s triage approach to views his role as Mayor of Bellaire. In Andrew’s eyes, he is merely infrastructure issues, sorting them by urgency and addressing a “citizen volunteer.” It’s not a title for him but rather the opportuthem systematically, with the hope of eventually being in a posinity to serve his neighbors. And to hear him tell the story, it was tion of already having money set aside to address issues as they not even on his bucket list to run for mayor. Andrew had served come up. as a councilman for several years before he was encouraged to Andrew will smile while talking about his mayoral duties and run for mayor when his predecessor opted not to seek reelection. tell you essentially that he is only a cog in the wheel, and that it In Andrew’s words, having not even given a thought to running for mayor during his years on Council, he found he’d become Continued on page 45

May/June 2017



You Want Me to Reduce My Bill?

HBA’s Fee Dispute Service Can Help

By Linda Glover and Joe Perdue

The Houston Lawyer


fee disputes. Initiating the process is ou just finished the phone call • a dispute in which the fees were deeasy and either the lawyer or the client with that one client you can termined by a Court order, rule or can do it: Call the HBA at 713-759-1133. never make happy. He wants decision; The HBA will send out the committee’s you to return the retainer and • a dispute in which the attorney is adconsent form to the parties. Upon rereduce your bill or he “will take mitted to practice in another jurisdicceiving the signed consents from both additional steps.” Now you find yourself tion and maintains no office in Texas, in a fee dispute with a client. and no portion of the legal servicIf you are in private praces were performed in Texas; tice, there is a good chance • a dispute arising from work or that eventually you will have at services performed more than four least one such client. The cliyears before invoking the commitent may be contesting your fees tee’s resolution process; for a myriad of reasons—he or • a dispute in which the client has she is disappointed with the rea pending grievance with any State sults obtained, the time it took or local Grievance Committee; or to obtain those results, or a per• a dispute in which the client has ceived lack of communication. Linda Glover discusses the Fee Dispute Committee at the 2017-2018 a pending lawsuit or claim based While many fee disputes can be HBA Committee Chairs Breakfast Meeting. upon negligence or misconduct parties, the committee assigns a panel resolved amicably between the attorney against the attorney. comprised of two attorneys and one lay and client through good communication, member to hear and arbitrate the fee there are occasions where the dispute fesIf, as an attorney, you believe it better dispute according to the committee’s ters and grows. The parties simply canto resolve fee disputes under the auspices rules and regulations. A party who has not resolve it on their own. At that point, of the Committee, then consider adding agreed to participate may withdraw his both the attorney and client face potenthe following language to your engageor her consent to arbitration, but only if tial litigation and the client is threatenment letters: the other party agrees to the withdrawal ing to file a grievance with State Bar; two and the panel’s decision has not yet been things all attorneys want to avoid. There NOTICE TO CLIENTS: rendered. This allows the parties to disis, however, an excellent alternative to The Houston Bar Association (HBA) cuss the dispute and attempt to reach an publicly hashing out fee disputes in court encourages the informal settlement of agreement prior to the hearing, if they or grievances at the State Bar. That alterdisputes between lawyers and clients. so desire. If the dispute is heard by the native is provided free by your Houston In an effort to promote this policy the panel, its ruling is final and binding on Bar Association through its Fee Dispute HBA provides free binding arbitraboth parties. Committee. tion services for fee disputes between While the committee’s resolution proThe Houston Bar Association Fee Dislawyers and clients. Although not cess is widely available, the Committee pute Committee provides both attorneys every fee dispute is appropriate for may not arbitrate the following fee disand clients a confidential, efficient and arbitration, this law firm recognizes putes: inexpensive means by which to resolve Continued on page 45 38

May/June 2017

A Profile

in pro f e s s io n ali s m


John T. Cabaniss Retired Senior Partner, Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP

n 1967 I joined the Houston law firm now known as Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP. Back then, young attorneys in Harris County were expected to represent indigent criminal defendants. Though my practice was to serve buyers and sellers in business transactions, I had several such pro bono appointments, most for relatively minor infractions. One case stands out. In 1971, Fifth Circuit Chief Judge John R. Brown, for whom I had clerked, appointed me to represent Otis Loper in a habeas corpus proceeding. In 1947, Mr. Loper had been convicted and sentenced to 50 years for the statutory rape of his eight-year-old stepdaughter. At trial, he testified in his own defense. To impeach his testimony, prosecutors introduced prior felony convictions in which Mr. Loper was not represented by counsel. The U.S. Supreme Court had previously held that such convictions, void under Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 US 335 (1963), could not be used to enhance punishment for another offense. I argued that the doctrine should be ex-

tended: that Mr. Loper’s prior convictions should not have been used to impeach his testimony. The Fifth Circuit did not agree. At the urging of Judge Brown, I filed a writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court. Thus in January 1972, this 30-year-old business lawyer found himself arguing con law before the nation’s highest court. Two months later the court vacated and remanded the case, Loper v. Beto, 405 US 473 (1972). Justices Stewart, Douglas, Brennan, and Marshall (with Justice White concurring) said Mr. Loper had been deprived of due process. Chief Justice Burger and Justices Blackmun, Powell and Rehnquist dissented in three separate opinions. The result was gratifying and my appearance before that esteemed court, unforgettable – not least for the consummate professionalism of the justices and their clerks. Besides a sense of satisfaction, this experience still reminds me—after a 40-year career in business law—that a law license carries a responsibility to help the less fortunate, even in matters far outside a lawyer’s comfort zone.

May/June 2017



Supreme Court Continues to Outline Defenses Available to Property Owners in Claims Made by Contractors and Guests By J. Edward Johnson

The Houston Lawyer


he Texas Supreme Court has issued two fairly recent opinions providing guidance to property owners concerning potential liability for injuries occurring on their property. In both cases, the Court expanded the protections available to owners in claims rooted in negligence, premises liability, and the actions of third-party criminals. In the first case, 4Front Engineered Solutions v. Rosales, et al., the Supreme Court overturned a multi-million dollar jury verdict against a warehouse owner after a subcontractor fell off a stand-up forklift. The co-defendant contractor hired the subcontractor to assist in repairing a lighted sign that hung about twenty feet above the warehouse. The owner provid40

May/June 2017

ed the forklift to assist in the repair, and the contractor was operating the forklift at the time of the incident. At trial, the jury found for the plaintiff/subcontractor, and placed 75% of the liability on the warehouse owner. A final judgment was entered against the owner for more than $10 million, which included almost $3 million in exemplary damages. The Thirteenth Court of Appeals later reversed the award of exemplary damages, but upheld the remainder of the verdict. However, in finding no evidence to support causes of action for negligent entrustment or premises liability against the owner, the Supreme Court reversed the liability finding and entered a take-nothing judgment in favor of the property owner. Both on appeal and at the Supreme Court, the warehouse owner argued that Chapter 95 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code was applicable and should operate to bar Plaintiff’s claims. Although the Supreme Court has recently applied the protections of Chapter 95 in similar cases against property owners, the Court declined to address this issue and instead found that the negligent entrustment claim failed because the Plaintiff could not show that (1) the codefendant contractor was an unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless forklift operator and (2) the owner knew or should have known the same. Although the Court acknowledged there was evidence that the co-defendant contractor was negligent (including evidence that the owner failed to ask the contractor if he was OSHA certified or had been trained on operating the forklift), the Court found no evidence showing that the owner’s failures to screen the contractor would have revealed the risk that establishes liability for negligent entrustment. In sum, a lack of formal training, certification, or legal license did not establish that the contractor was incompetent or reckless. Likewise, the Court again sidestepped the Chapter 95 argument and quickly

rejected the Plaintiff’s premises liability claim noting that there was no evidence of any condition of the premises of which the owner was required to warn or make safe. The accident happened outside on a sidewalk, and the Supreme Court again confirmed that no duty can be imposed for premises conditions that are open and obvious. In the second case, UDR Texas Properties, L.P. v. Petrie, the Supreme Court considered a case where an apartment complex guest was assaulted and robbed in the parking lot. The guest/plaintiff filed suit against the apartment complex, and alleged that the complex failed to use ordinary care to make the complex safe. In signing a take-nothing judgment, the trial court held that the complex owed no duty to Plaintiff. On appeal, although the Plaintiff failed to offer any evidence of an unreasonable risk of harm, the Fourteenth Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and noted “there is evidence of foreseeability of an unreasonable risk of harm that a person at the complex would be the victim of violent criminal conduct.” More specifically, the Court of Appeals found that “the potential unreasonableness and foreseeability of harm is considered as a whole, not as separate elements requiring independent proof.” The Supreme Court disagreed, and noted that even if foreseeability was established under the factors laid out in Timberwalk Apartments, Partners, Inc. v. Cain, the Plaintiff must still independently show that the risk was “unreasonable” in order to recover. Specifically, the Court noted that a risk would be unreasonable when “the risk of a foreseeable crime outweighs the burden placed on property owners – and society at large – to prevent the risk.” Thus, the Supreme Court found that the Court of Appeals erred by not considering whether the foreseeable risk to Plaintiff was unreasonable (largely because the Plaintiff presented no such evidence). The takeaway from these two recent decisions is fairly simple – the Supreme


Court appears to be continuing its efforts to expand protections for property owners from ancillary negligence based claims better asserted against other parties. J. Edward Johnson is a litigator in the Dallas office of Kane Russell Coleman Logan PC. His practice is focused on defending individuals and businesses in a wide range of civil and commercial disputes in state and federal court throughout Texas.

Texas Stays Strong in Its Protection of Free Speech By Jeffrey Elkin


he Texas Supreme Court’s recent opinion in ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. v. Coleman, decided on February 24, 2017, affirms that the protection to free speech and other rights afforded by the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) are extensive. The TCPA, also known as the “antiSLAPP” law, was enacted in 2011. Its stated purpose is to “encourage and safeguard the constitutional rights of persons to petition, speak freely, associate freely, and otherwise participate in government to the maximum extent permitted by law and, at the same time, protect the rights of a person to file meritorious lawsuits for demonstrable injury.” To accomplish these goals, the TCPA allows a defendant, who believes he has been sued in an effort to silence him or shut down his ex-

ercise of First Amendment rights, to seek early dismissal of the suit by showing that the claims unlawfully infringe upon its constitutionally protected rights. Specifically, the TCPA sets up a process to dismiss any suit that is “based on, relates to, or is in response to the party’s exercise of: (1) the right of free speech; (2) the right to petition; or (3) the right of association. The TCPA defines “exercise of the right of free speech” as “a communication made in connection with a matter of public concern.” A “communication” includes the “making or submitting of a statement or document in any form or medium, including oral, visual, written, audiovisual, or electronic.” Finally, a “matter of public concern” includes “an issue related to: (A) health or safety; (B) environmental, economic, or community well-being; (C) the government; (D) a public official or public figure; or (E) a good, product, or service in the marketplace.” The TCPA provides a two-step procedure. First, the defendant must file a motion to dismiss the claim within 60-days of service and show that the plaintiff’s claim is based on, relates to, or is in response to the party’s exercise of: (1) the right of free speech; (2) the right to petition; or (3) the right of association; i.e., that the claim falls within the purview of the TCPA. Second, if the defendant is successful, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to establish “by clear and specific evidence a prima facie case for each essential element of the claim in question.” Even if the plaintiff is able to do this, however, dismissal is still warranted if the defendant “establishes by a preponderance of the evidence each essential element of a valid defense.” Most battles under the TCPA are fought in two areas—(1) whether the plaintiff’s claim is based on their exercise of a First Amendment right, and (2) if so, can the plaintiff, who purportedly wants to limit

those rights, show, using clear and specific evidence, a prima facie case for each element of its cause of action. In ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. v. Coleman, the Court was faced with the issue of whether the private communications between a company’s employees concerning job performance were, nonetheless, communications “in connection with a matter of public concern.” The Court ruled that they were. The case arose out of the firing by ExxonMobil of Coleman for allegedly failing to perform certain job responsibilities. Before he was fired, Coleman’s supervisors conducted an investigation during which they made oral, written, and electronic statements regarding Coleman’s job performance that Coleman alleged were false and defamatory. ExxonMobil moved to dismiss the lawsuit under the TCPA. The trial court and the Dallas Court of Appeals ruled that the TCPA did not apply to these purely private communications. The Supreme Court disagreed. The Court initially noted that it had decided a similar issue in Lippincott v. Whisenhunt, a 2015 decision. Lippincott involved allegedly defamatory statements made by hospital administrators concerning the job performance of a nursecontractor. The Court in Lippincott held that the statements, although privately made, fell within the TCPA because “the plain language of the Act merely limits its scope to communications involving a public subject—not communications in [a] public forum.” Noting that the Legislature failed to expressly limit the Act’s scope to publicly made speech, the Court ruled that “we must presume that the Legislature broadly included both public and private communications.” Accordingly, the TCPA applies to purely private communications. In Coleman, the issue was whether the private statements by the ExxonMobil employees were “a communication made

May/June 2017



The Houston Lawyer

in connection with a matter of public concern.” Using the statutory analysis it followed in Lippincott as a jumping off point, the Court in Coleman defined the “in connection with” requirement by what it is not — holding that it does not require that the statements at issue “specifically mention” the public concern; it does not require more than a “tangential relationship” to the public concern; it does not require something more than a “tenuous or remote relationship” with the public concern. Instead, the “in connection with” requirement under the TCPA can be satisfied by a defendant that can show essentially any relationship between the communication and a matter of public concern. As stated by the Court in Coleman, “We do not substitute the words of a statute in order to give effect to what we believe a statute should say; instead, ...we look to the statute’s plain language to give effect to the Legislature’s intent as expressed through the statutory text.” Essentially, the Legislature chose the phrase “in connection with,” and that is what the Court will give effect to. Following the Court’s decision in Coleman, Texas State Representative J.M. Lozano filed a bill to amend the TCPA so that it would only apply to statements made in a public forum (HB 3811). That bill does not appear to be getting much traction at the moment. As a result, the TCPA currently sits as an expansive statute that must be considered when prosecuting or defending any defamation claim. Jeffrey Elkin leads the Litigation Practice Group at Porter Hedges LLP. He practices in the area of commercial litigation and partnership disputes, and has been the lead attorney in several reported appellate decisions involving dismissals under the TCPA. 42

May/June 2017

Media Reviews

Trials of the Century: A Decadeby-Decade Look at America’s Most Sensational Crimes By Mark Phillips and Aryn Phillips Prometheus Books, 2016 Reviewed by Hon. Josefina M. Rendón


mericans love to talk about crime, to read about it, relive it, and revel in it.” This is the premise of this fascinating book written by a father-daughter team; an attorney and a sociologist, respectively. They state that America has had a “trial of the century” every decade. Accordingly, they cover ten trials, one from each decade, “each different in character and context, but alike in telling ways.” The book concludes with a trial of the 21st century’s first decade. America’s fascination for violent crime is “greatly slaked by the media,” it adds. Accordingly, it covers not only the crimes but the courtroom battles and the tremendous effect of the media on public opinion about these cases. The book’s ten chapters, are as follows:

1. 1900-1910: He Deserved It: The case of Harry Kendall Thaw- Thaw, a millionaire, killed architect Stanford White in front of thousands of people. His mental state, not whether he “did it,” was the issue at trial. 2. 1910-1920: The Death of Mary Phagan: The Trial of Leo Max Frank- A factory superintendent was accused of murdering thirteenyear-old worker Mary Phagan in Atlanta. That he was Jewish and from New York negatively affected Southern media and public opinion. Though innocent, says the book, many wanted him convicted. After conviction, he was kidnapped and lynched. This case directly led to the formation of the B’nai B’rith and the reviving of the Ku Klux Klan. 3. 1920-1930: “Fatty” Arbuckle and the Dead Actress- Arbuckle was a popular movie star accused of murdering a young actress. Acquitted after three trials, he was nevertheless blacklisted and financially ruined for life. 4. 1930-1940: Bruno Hauptman and the Lindbergh Baby- American hero Charles Lindbergh’s baby son was kidnapped and murdered. Hauptmann, a German immigrant, was found guilty and executed. Some still question Hauptman’s guilt. 5. 1940- 1950: Wayne Lonergan and the Bludgeoned Heiress- Lonergan was convicted of murdering his wife. The book tells that more reporters covered this 1944 trial than the allies’ invasion of Italy. 6. 1950-1960: Who Killed Marilyn? The Sam Sheppard Case- Marilyn Sheppard was brutally murdered in her bedroom. Her husband Sam was initially convicted but, after

Media Reviews

ten years of prison, was retried and acquitted. 7. 1960-1970: Eight Dead Nurses and the Texas Drifter- Richard Speck was convicted of killing eight nurses at their boarding home in Chicago. This was America’s first mass murder committed without reason, the book states. 8. 1970-1980: The Tate-LaBianca Murders and a Man Named MansonCharles Manson and his followers broke into two houses, killing actress Sharon Tate and four friends, as well as Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. According to the authors, it was “… a remarkable tale of murder, sex, drugs, revolution and politics.” 9. 1980–1990: Jean Harris and the Diet Doctor- Dr. Herman Tarnower, creator of the then popular “Scarsdale Diet.” was shot in his bedroom by Jean Harris, head of an elite school. 10. 1990-2000: O.J. Simpson and the Bloody Glove- Athlete O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murdering his wife Nicole and friend Ronald Goldman. The day the verdict was read, 91% of all televisions in America were “tuned in.” The book ends with the epilogue: “Casey Anthony and the Trials for a New Century.” Anthony was acquitted of killing her daughter Caylee. In summary, this is an excellent book that covers twentieth century American history through the prism of crime, court trials and the media’s influence. A great read. The Hon. Josefina Rendón has been a Houston Municipal Judge for 29 of the last 33 years. A graduate of the University of Houston Law Center, she is a former Civil District Judge, a mediator and a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board.

Preserving Electronic Evidence for Trial By Ann D. Zeigler and Ernesto F. Rojas Elsevier Science & Technology Books, 2016 Reviewed by Preston Hutson


t is a point of pride between the editors and board members of The Houston Lawyer that our membership and the magazine reflect a true microcosm of the larger Houston Bar Association we are privileged to represent every two months as we churn out another issue. But on rare occasions, like this one, we take pleasure as we toot the horn of a predecessor, Ann D. Zeigler, former Editor in Chief of the Magazine for 2009-2010. In 2016, Ann and her coauthor, Ernesto F. Rojas, published Preserving Electronic Evidence for Trial: A Team Approach to the Litigation Hold, Data Collection, and Evidence Preservation intended as a basic illustrative handbook allowing lawyers and business clients alike to navigate the complex array of data issues incumbent to modern litigation. Rest assured that Ann and Ernesto have not authored a dry, academic tomb more befitting a doorstop. Instead, they have capably provided a necessary road map, outlining a practical path to their singular goal—“to keep businesses from inadvertently destroying evidence.” Upon reading this book the enlightened

practitioner should walk away with a solid grasp of the issues of data preservation in today’s modern, data driven society and the requirements of the rules of procedure. Further, this grasp will be made salient, as Ann and Ernesto provide testimony of previous mistakes and miscalculations made by the unaware. A note about the authors should illustrate the strengths of this book. In addition to being a former editor of this magazine, Ann D. Zeigler is an experienced federal litigator handling complex Chapter 7 bankruptcy matters involving asset concealment and evidence destruction. Conversely, prior to his untimely death, Ernesto Rojas spent 25 years working in information security and digital investigations. In other words, Zeigler and Rojas have combined to offer a dual prospective of electronic evidence, both from the legal prospective and the IT prospective. In the end, we the computer and data illiterate are the beneficiaries. Preston Hutson is Of Counsel with MehaffyWeber. His practice is dedicated to personal injury and civil litigation. He is an associate editor of The Houston Lawyer.

May/June 2017



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from the editor From page 8

If leadership is realizing goals through inspiring others, it is vital to acknowledge our volunteer board members, all of whom served despite demanding work schedules. Each issue of the magazine was spearheaded by our Guest Editors, to whom we owe much recognition. Angela Dixon and Judge Josefina Rendón were guest editors of the Mentoring issue. Benny Agosto, Anietie Akpan, and Jeff Work were guest editors of the Immigration Law issue. Polly Graham and Erma Bonadero were guest editors of the LGBT Jurisprudence issue, and Marni Otjen and Matthew Walker were guest editors of the Juvenile Law issue. Anna Archer, Sophia Lauricella, Jeff Oldham and Zach Wolfe are guest editors of the current issue on Lawyers’ Leadership. Further, our 30-lawyer editorial board solicited, reviewed, revised, and, in some cases wrote, the content of The Houston Lawyer. Our Managing Editor, Tara Shockley, is at the helm of this organization effort. I am greatly thankful for all their good work!


the HBA commitment to informal fee dispute resolutions. If a fee dispute should arise between the law firm and the client and the parties cannot reach a resolution, it is recommended that both parties participate in the HBA’s Fee Dispute process. In the unlikely event that an irresolvable fee dispute should arise, HBA’s office will provide you with information about how to move forward with the Fee Dispute process. For more information, please call 713-759-1133 or visit the HBA’s website at

Of course, no attorney can force his or her clients to consent to participate in the committee’s dispute resolution process, but by explaining to clients the availability of a confidential, inexpensive and efficient way to resolve fee disputes, the attorney has taken a giant step toward potentially avoiding public litigation or a grievance proceeding. Linda Glover is a shareholder at Winstead PC. Joe Perdue practices with The Perdue Law Firm, PLLC. They are the 2016-2017 co-chairs of the HBA Fee Dispute Committee. Glover will serve as a co-chair in 2017-2018.


1. See, Jill Yaziji, “The Value of A Mentor,” in the September-October issue of The Houston Lawyer.

OFF THE RECORD From page 37

takes many hands to make things work. You can see that he enjoys the service to his fellow Bellaire citizens while simultaneously enjoying his roles as a family man and an attorney – the priority of all three being the family. While Andrew does indeed wear a lot of hats, he wears them all well. Jason D. Goff is a litigation and trial attorney with the law firm of Donato, Minx, Brown & Pool. His work consists of premises, product, and personal injury defense, as well as property loss subrogation and prosecution of contract liability and damages. He is a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board.

May/June 2017


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The Houston Lawyer magazine, May/June, 2017 issue