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Transformative Laws Preserving Jury Charge Error The Once and Future Law School: Houston’s Three Law Schools Meet Changing Legal Needs Generational Perspectives on Adapting to the Evolving Legal Landscape Stronger Together Highlights nch Law Day 2022




Volume 59 – Number 6

May/June 2022

Eric B. Williams II A 2022 National Jurist Law Student of the Year

Our graduates are ready. Ready to lead. Ready to win. Ready to practice law. With an advocacy program consistently recognized as the nation’s best, South Texas College of Law Houston produces exceptional attorneys who advocate for clients like champions. STCL Houston prepares students from diverse backgrounds to become successful, practice-ready attorneys in business, real estate, tax law, family law, criminal law and more. More than 16,000 STCL Houston alumni now proudly serve across the country and around the globe.

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contents May/June 2022

Volume 59 Number 6


Evolution in Procedural Law

Transformative Laws



New Texas Laws Are 10 How Transforming Our Legal Landscape

Jury Charge Error 16 Preserving By Marie Jamison Once and Future Law School: 18 The Houston’s Three Law Schools Meet Changing Legal Needs

By Michael F. Barry, Leonard M. Baynes, and Okezie Chukwumerije


Evolution Across Gen X,Y, and Z

Evolution in Legal Education

Perspectives on 20 Generational Adapting to the Evolving Legal



A Unicorn With Fine Print: A Gen X Point of View By Jennifer Davidow

Navigating the New Legal Landscape as a Millennial By Akilah F. Craig

Bridging the Remote Workplace Gap: Recommendations from Gen Z By Xperanza Uviedo

Bono Excellence Celebrated 24 Pro at 2022 HBA Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards



Day 2022 28 Law Toward a More Perfect Union: The Constitution in Times of Change

Together 32 Stronger 2021-2022 HBA Committee and

The Houston Lawyer

Section Highlights of Engagement and Collaboration

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, 10306 Olympia Dr., Houston, TX 77042, 281-955-2449 ext 1,, e-mail: leo@quantumsur. com. Views expressed in The Houston Lawyer are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the Houston Bar Association. Publishing of an advertisement does not imply endorsement of any product or service offered. ©The Houston Bar Association/QuantumSUR, Inc., 2022. All rights reserved.


May/June 2022

contents May/June 2022

Volume 59 Number 6




Message 6 President’s We Remain “Stronger Together” By Jennifer A. Hasley

the Editor 8 From No Day But Today: Bravely

Embracing the Change Around Us By Anietie Akpan

Family 36 Law• Thein theGomez Family

• The Reasoner Family • The Rosson Family • The Vick Family



SPOTLIGHT 40 VETERAN • Jonathan Havens

By Elizabeth Bruman • Randall B. “Randy” Clark By Anietie Akpan • Rick Houghton By Kristen Lee

A Profile in professionalism 43 Tom Wright

Founding Partner, Wright Close & Barger, LLP

THE RECORD 44 OFF A Voice for the Voiceless:

E. Derick Mendoza, Esq. By Anuj Shah



Spotlight 45 Section Taxation Section:

Going Hybrid and Working Together By Glynn Nance and Buddy Sanders

Spotlight 46 Committee HBA Golf Tournament Enjoys a

Beautiful Day on the Course By Kenneth Krock

trends 48 legal Concurrent Cause–the Potential

for Sweeping Change in Texas Insurance Law

By Valerie Henderson and Judson Mahan

reviews 50 Media The Inclusive Leader: Taking The Houston Lawyer

Intentional Action for Justice and Equity Reviewed by Anietie Akpan

52 Litigation MarketPlace 4

May/June 2022

May/June 2022


president’s message By Jennifer A. Hasley Hasley Scarano, L.L.P.


We Remain “Stronger Together”

The Houston Lawyer

supported many great causes and student scholarships. The he final message of my year as HBA president can HBA established a Military and Veterans Committee this be summed up in one word - gratitude. I have had year that revitalized the Veterans Legal Initiative partnerthe privilege of leading an organization that is ship and encouraged pro bono legal services, provided CLE, comprised of amazing members who commit their raised public awareness of veterans issues, and fostered coltime and talents to build respect for the bar and legiality among attorneys who served in the military or supto strengthen our community. Every year, consistent with port those who serve. its mission, the HBA plans programs and projects that benThis bar year, we followed old roads and conefit the legal profession and the public. We regularly structed new ones that led to collaboration, achieve and exceed our goals with the generous supeducation, mentorship, and community service. port of local law firms, law schools, members of the judiciary, and lawyers, and because people are willThank you LegalLine was staffed by 425 volunteers, and another 140 volunteers staffed Consejos Legales in ing to volunteer. Thank you to all of our members to all our coordination with HisBa and MABAH. We comand partners for showing up and proving that we are “Stronger Together.” This is more than a slogan. It members and pleted two Habitat for Humanity homes with is an attitude that empowers the bond of the HBA’s partners for fundraising well on its way for a third (our 25th build). Educational programs spanned across 10,000-plus members, fosters the already cordial showing up all grade levels with Constitution Day and Law bench-bar relationship, and promotes the important work of the HBA and its ancillary organizations. and proving Week readings at elementary schools, Teach Throughout the year, I have tried to say “thank that we are Texas in middle schools, a HAY Center graduation event for foster youth, and a Communities you” through my words, handwritten notes (which ‘Stronger In Schools Summer Legal Internship Program admittedly tapered off), and emails. If I did not say it loud enough for you to hear or missed an opportuTogether.’” for high schoolers with mentorship and enrichment. The DEI Committee’s outreach at the law nity, please know how much your time and dedicaschools helped 1L’s prepare for and secure summer clerktion is appreciated. My term has ended, but our work continships, and the LGBTQ+ Committee provided meaningful ues under the leadership of a new president and a dedicated networking and “Coaching Circles.” board of directors, all of whom supported me and helped “Stronger Together” is not limited to just the HBA and its carry out the focus issues of the 2021-2022 bar year. three ancillary organizations. This year, we worked closely The three core and intertwined focus issues were: (1) celwith HBAA, HYLA, our three Houston-area law schools, ebrating and serving members; (2) promoting professionlocal and affinity bars, and many community partners to alism and pro bono representation; and (3) expanding our positively promote the legal profession through education, military and veterans programs. Last summer, we kicked off access to justice, and service projects. the bar year with a record crowd in attendance at the AnThe road is not always perfect, but we triumphed over nual Dinner. Throughout this bar year, the HBA provided unprecedented challenges and made real progress toward more than 90 hours of live CLE, including two bench bar a better future. We forever remember those who we have conferences (Criminal/Appellate and Family/Probate) and lost and carry them with us in our hearts as inspiration numerous professionalism programs. HBA publications freto dream big, take on new challenges, and support noble quently spotlighted lawyers for their leadership, professioncauses. There is a special place in my heart for everyone, alism, and military service. In November, over 1,100 people past and present, who paved the way and contributed to the attended the 2021 Harvest Celebration, which exceeded all efforts that made this bar year an overwhelming success. previous fundraising efforts with 100% of the net proceeds Now, I look forward to standing by your side as a faithful donated to support HVL’s pro bono legal services. The netHBA member. Together, we will continue our work in law working and social opportunities planned by the HBA secand our service through the HBA. Thank you! tions and committees were as creative as they were fun and 6

May/June 2022



May/June 2022


from the editor By Anietie Akpan METRO

Associate Editors

Anna M. Archer U.S. District Court

Brooksie Bonvillain Boutet Shipley Snell Montgomery

Kimberly Chojnacki Baker Donelson

Elizabeth Furlow Malpass Baker Botts

The Houston Lawyer

Carly Milner Foglar Brar O’Neil & Gray

Andrew Pearce BoyarMiller


May/June 2022

No Day But Today: Bravely Embracing the Change Around Us


hange is the only constant in life” was one of the many well-known sayings of Heraclitus of Ephesus, the famous “weeping philosopher” most famous for his insistence on ever-present change as the characteristic feature of the world. The idea of constant change, or “flux,” was notably associated with the metaphor of a flowing river in his writings: “It is not possible to step into the same river twice.” Though change since the beginning of time may be constant, the fear of change is also a constant. Over the past few years, the proverbial “Heraclitan” rivers have brought stories of tragedy and sadness, but they also brought a global sense of hope and gratitude. Change can be scary, but change can also be good. In The Houston Lawyer’s final issue of the 2021-2022 bar year, our objective was to curate voices that highlight these types of transformative changes—changes to state laws, changes catalyzed by the pandemic, changes prompted by our nation’s racial reckoning, and so much more—and how they have manifested in the legal profession. It has greatly influenced our legislation, workplace integration, and even how new generations of attorneys are navigating law schools. First, we present three columns written by attorneys and state legislators offering their oppositional views on new, transformative legislation, affecting bail reform, voting regulations, and public camping. Marie Jamison contributes a scholarly article discussing how procedural law has evolved, namely by dissecting jury charge preservation as outlined in the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code and Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. Xperanza Uviedo, Akilah F. Craig and Jennifer Davidow provide generational-informed perspectives on the evolution of our workspaces, highlighting changes in workplace integration, building mentorship networks, and fostering company culture. Michael F. Barry, president and dean of South Texas College of Law Houston, Leonard M. Baynes, dean

of the University of Houston Law Center, and Okezie Chukwumerije, interim dean of Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law, reflect on the future of law schools. In celebration of HBA President Jennifer A. Haley’s cardinal of being “Stronger Together,” we have collected several vignettes from HBA section and committee leaders reflecting on highlights and accomplishments from the past year. And in the final Veteran Spotlight Series of the bar year, we are proud to feature Randall B. “Randy” Clark (GK Law, PLLC), Rick Houghton (Smyser Kaplan & Veselka, L.L.P.), and Jonny Havens (Allen & Havens), the 2021-2022 co-chairs of HBA’s Military & Veterans Committee. Thank you for honoring me with the opportunity to serve as editor in chief this year. It is an experience I will carry with me always! I must express my immense gratitude to Maggie Martin, The Houston Lawyer’s managing editor, who patiently served this editorial board with grace, wisdom, and excellence. I am also incredibly grateful to the 2021-2022 editorial board, especially our associate editors: Anna Archer, Carly Milner, Andrew Pearce, Liz Furlow Malpass, Kimberly Chojnacki, and, of course, Brooksie Bonvillain Boutet, who I am so proud to say will be serving as editor in chief in the 2022-2023 bar year! Thank you for your friendship, your leadership, and your tireless dedication to our publication. I began my first editorial with a quote from Rent (“How do you measure a year in the life?”), one of my favorite musicals of all time. In reflecting on this past year, I only find it fitting to close my final editorial from that same beloved musical (if you’ll indulge me!): How should we approach change? With courage and grace! And when do we approach it: “No day but today!” Stay safe, remember to choose kindness, and as always, thank you for reading The Houston Lawyer! With gratitude, Anietie





First Vice President

Past President

Jennifer A. Hasley

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Diana Gomez

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May/June 2022


Transformative Laws

How New Texas Laws Are Transforming Our Legal Landscape


hile there are many “constants” that guide our profession, laws can quickly change. It’s incumbent on attorneys and members of the judiciary to stay informed of these changes in order to nimbly interpret what the law says and how it affects our work. To that end, for our final issue of the bar year, The Houston Lawyer examined three measures passed into law during the state’s 87th Legislative Session last year. The new laws affect issues ranging from voting to the state’s bail system. In the following pages, you’ll find a brief summary of each measure found in the Texas Legislative Councils’ Summary of Enactments1, a synopsis of all the bills and joint resolutions from the 2021 legislative session. We also invited individuals from each side to write their arguments in favor of, or against, these measures. The editorial board made every effort to try and ensure each column was presented fairly. As with every issue of The Houston Lawyer, the views published here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the Houston Bar Association.


SENATE BILL 1 – VOTING enate Bill 1, also known as the Election Integrity Protection Act of 2021, amended “the Election Code and Government Code to set out provisions relating to the conduct of elections in Texas with respect to voter registration, citizenship and residence verification, conduct and security of elections, in-person early voting, poll watchers, early voting by mail, assistance of voters, election related offenses, and certain ineligible voters.”2 The measure also “provides for the prioritization, docketing, and deadlines of certain election proceedings in the Texas Supreme Court, the courts of appeals, and the trial courts.”3 Senate Bill 1 also amended “the Code of Criminal Procedure to require a court, after a defendant is adjudged guilty of a felony offense, to make an affirmative finding that the person has been found guilty, enter the finding in the judgment of the case, and instruct the defendant regarding how the felony conviction will impact the defendant’s right to vote.”4 The measure took effect December 2, 2021. In Support of SB 1 – Bryan Hughes, Texas State Senator (R-Mineola) and author of SB 1 The 87th Legislature took a number of steps to create uniformity and to improve both security and accessibility. Under Senate Bill 1, we did take steps to increase security. We prohibited policies that had never been expressly allowed to begin with, like mail ballot drop boxes and mass mailings of mail applications to voters who aren’t eligible to vote by mail. We also required a DL number or the last four digits of your SSN to vote by mail, just as you would need ID to vote in-person. We prohibited paying people to collect ballots for specific candidates. These common-sense steps respond to longstanding strategies people use to bend elections. What the bill’s opponents and the media don’t often talk about, though, is what the bill does to expand voting opportunities in Texas. We expanded early voting access, requiring counties to be open longer each day to accommodate more voters. We expanded what previously was an Election Day-only protection so that now if you are in line to vote when the polls close during the early voting window, you are guaranteed the opportunity to vote. For the first time, voters who send in a defective application for a ballot by mail will have an opportunity to correct the application and still get their ballot. Senate Bill 1 was the headline bill, but we made so many other important elections changes, as well. For instance, pregnant women who are nearing their due date can now vote by mail (HB 3920), and every voter now has the power to track his or her mail ballot online, just like they would an Amazon package (HB 1382). This year’s primary election turnout was higher than the last six midterm primaries. Contrary to what political opponents would have you believe, SB 1 is not shutting people out of the process, but is providing confidence to those who participate. It is my sincere hope that as all voters become familiar with the changes, that increased confidence will lead to more voter engagement and participation than ever before.

Senator Bryan Hughes is serving his second term in the Texas Senate, representing District 1, which encompasses sixteen counties in East Texas. He serves as chair of the Senate Committee on State Affairs and is a member of the Education, Jurisprudence, Natural Resource & Economic Development, Nominations, and Redistricting committees. Senator Hughes is running for reelection this year. Against SB 1 – Christina Beeler, Voting Rights Staff Attorney, Texas Civil Rights Project, and Jonathan Fombonne, First Assistant County Attorney for Harris County Senate Bill 1 (“SB1”) has done exactly what it was meant to do since it went into effect in December 2021—it has made voting in Texas more difficult, onerous, and confusing, and it has disproportionately impacted voters of color and voters with disabilities. Among other things, SB1 bans popular options for voting, like 24-hour voting5 and drive-thru voting6 (which were used most by voters of color and voters with disabilities), and it empowers partisan poll watchers to intimidate voters and election workers at the polls.7 Most notably (at least so far), it has created unnecessary confusion and chaos around mail-in voting, which directly impacts voters and burdens busy election officials. Only certain voters are eligible to vote by mail, including those 65 or older, sick or disabled, or out of the county during an election. Although SB1 did not change eligibility requirements, it made voting by mail more burdensome. Voters are now required to include in their applications either “the number of the applicant’s driver’s license, election identification certificate, or personal identification card issued by the Department of Public Safety”; or the last four digits of their social security number; or a statement that the applicant has not been issued any of the previous numbers.8 Even if a voter properly includes one of the previous numbers in an application to vote by mail, if the voter registered to vote without any of those numbers, the application could be rejected because the application must match the voter’s registration.9 And, when a voter submits a mail-in ballot, the voter must again include one of the previous numbers, but some voters, particularly voters who have voted by mail before, do not know to check under the flap of the carrier envelope where that information is meant to be included.10 If a voter does not include one of those numbers, the ballot is rejected.11 If the ballot does not match the voter’s registration, the ballot could also be rejected.12 Unsurprisingly, counties across the state have seen drastic increases in their

mail-in ballot rejection rates. During the 2018 primary, Harris County’s rejection rate for mail-in ballots was 0.3%.13 For the 2022 primary, that rate increased to 19%.14 Because of the eligibility requirements for mail-in ballots, it is likely that most of those ballots were cast by voters 65 and older or voters with disabilities. And this probably only scratches the surface. Over the next few elections, we will see the full spectrum of SB1’s effects, which will continue to deter people from exercising their right to vote. SB1 intentionally targets voting methods that have proven safe, secure, and popular (Texas has had some form of voting by mail since 1917), seemingly to decrease and discourage citizen participation in elections. It makes voting harder in the name of “election integrity,” although there was no evidence of election fraud during the 2020 general election. Even former Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs said that the 2020 election was “smooth and secure” and had generated the highest turnout in twenty-eight years. SB1 is a solution in search of a problem, and the Texas Legislature should repeal it and return us to the rules that made 2020 have such a successful turnout. Christina Beeler is a voting rights staff attorney at Texas Civil Rights Project. She was previously an assistant county attorney at the Harris County Attorney’s Office, a federal law clerk for the Honorable Gray H. Miller, and an Equal Justice Works Fellow. Jonathan Fombonne is the first assistant county attorney for

May/June 2022


Harris County, where he leads civil litigation, environmental, and compliance efforts. He was previously a partner at Kirkland & Ellis. Editor’s Note: Both Texas Civil Rights Project and the Harris County Attorney’s Office are involved in litigation over Senate Bill 1 in federal court. Endnotes 1. SUMMARY OF ENACTMENTS, 87TH LEGISLATURE, REGULAR SESSION, 2ND AND 3RD CALLED SESSIONS, TEX. LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL (2022), available at 2. Id.


SENATE BILL 6 – Texas Bail System lso known as the Damon Allen Act, Senate Bill 6 amended “the Code of Criminal Procedure, Government Code, and Local Government Code to revise the right to bail of criminal defendants, provide for a public safety report system, and set out procedures for bail proceedings and requirements relating to certain training courses and charitable bail organizations.”1 This new law “makes a person eligible for bail unless denial of bail is expressly permitted and prohibits the release on personal bond of a defendant who is charged with an offense involving violence or a defendant who, while released on bail or community supervision for such an offense, is charged with committing certain offenses.”2 The law took effect January 1, 2022. In Support of SB 6 – Kim Ogg, Harris County District Attorney Last year, the Texas Legislature passed much-needed reform to the states’ laws respecting bail. That measure, SB 6—named in honor of State Trooper Damon Allen, who was killed in the line of duty in Brazos County four-and-a-half years ago3 —largely left in place judges’ discretion when it comes to setting bail. Even so, SB 6’s provisions will improve judicial decision-making while also better ensuring that judges remain accountable for these important decisions—decisions that greatly affect public safety in the communities those judges serve.4 The first pillar of SB 6 requires the Office of Court Administration to develop a statewide Public Safety Report System and, with it, a public safety report that magistrates must consider before setting bail for a criminal defendant charged with a Class B misdemeanor or higher category offense.5 These reports will include (1) a summary of the defendant’s criminal history, including their previous convictions and sentences; (2) a list of the defendant’s pending charges; (3) a list of the defendant’s previous failures to appear in court while released on bail; and (4) information on the defendant’s eligibility for a personal (i.e., zero-dollar) bond.6 Because a magistrate is required to consider this report before setting bail,7 SB 6 ensures that they will have 12

May/June 2022

3. Id. 4. Id. 5. TEX. ELEC. CODE § 85.005. 6. Id. § 85.062. 7. See, e.g., Id. §§ 32.075(g), 33.015, 33.051, 33.056, 33.0605, 33.063. 8. Id. § 84.002(a)(1-a). 9. Id. § 86.001(f). 10. Id. § 86.002(g); see also Taisha Walker, 97-year-old veteran votes in-person after mail-in ballot rejected several times, KPRC 2 (Mar. 1, 2022, 7:25 PM), https:// 11. TEX. ELEC. CODE § 87.041. 12. Id. § 87.041(b)(8). 13. Alexa Ura and Mandi Cai, At least 18,000 Texas mail-in votes were rejected in the first election under new GOP voting rules, TEX. TRIB. (Mar. 11, 2022, 2:00 PM), 14. Id.

all relevant public safety information available to them before a defendant—assuming bail is set and a bond secured—will be able to return to the community while the case is pending.8 In addition to creating the Public Safety Report System, SB 6 requires that a felony defendant released on bail who is later charged with another felony in that same county may be released only by “the court before whom the case for the previous offense is pending.”9 This measure strengthens accountability for bail decision-making by compelling the judge in whose court the defendant’s case is pending—rather than, say, a magistrate or bail hearing officer—to determine whether, and to what extent, the defendant’s existing bail should be modified in light of the defendant’s subsequent offense (e.g., revoking the bond, raising the bail amount, amending the bail conditions). And in a similar vein, if instead a defendant released on bail commits a felony in a different county, SB 6 requires the second county to promptly notify the original county of the new offense so that the judge there can reevaluate the defendant’s bail.10 Third, SB 6 substantially limits a judge’s discretion to release certain felony defendants on a personal bond. Prior to SB 6’s passage, Texas law allowed even capital murder defendants to secure their release on a personal bond if the home court judge thought such a bond acceptable. Now, these defendants, and all others charged with an “offense involving violence,” must obtain a surety or cash bond.11 This same requirement—a security or cash bond—also applies to defendants released on bail for an offense involving violence who are subsequently charged with any felony offense or one of four specified misdemeanor offenses (assault, deadly conduct, terroristic threat, and disorderly conduct involving a firearm).12 Eliminating the availability of zero-dollar bonds in cases involving violent crimes is a step in the right direction. But as our experience in Harris County shows,13 making personal bonds unavailable for certain defendants still may not adequately protect the public, especially if dangerous criminals continue to pass through the revolving door that separates society from the county jail due to bail amounts that remain too low. While Houstonians and all Texans can expect some improvement to

the problem presented by this revolving door, we still need a comprehensive, common-sense approach to pre-trial detention and bail that appropriately balances crime victims’ rights and our public safety with the liberty rights of accused criminals. Kim Ogg is the district attorney for Harris County, Texas. Against SB 6 – Alex Bunin, Harris County Chief Public Defender Proponents of Texas Senate Bill 6 of the 87th Legislature (SB 6) call it “bail reform.” Literally, that is true. The nouns “reform” and “amendment” are synonyms. In that sense, the recent changes to the Texas bail laws are reforms. However, reforming the law implies improvement, not merely change. Those who first raised the legality, constitutionality, and fairness of bail practices in Texas intended a different definition of bail reform than the one in SB 6. The proponents of SB 6, as originally proposed, argued that it is wrong to treat accused persons differently because of their financial means. Texas has traditionally relied on a system of paying money, primarily to commercial bail bondsmen, as a promise to return to court. That usually results in the release of those with access to money and the detention of those without it. In order to be released, many poor persons pleaded guilty to crimes they had not committed. This was widely known and documented by many exonerations.14 In Harris County, nonprofit organizations filed a class action lawsuit in federal court on behalf of persons charged with misdemeanors. The petition alleged that requiring cash bail, without regard for a person’s ability to pay, denied due process and equal protection pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. In an exhaustive opinion, the federal district court found the plaintiffs were likely to prevail and granted a preliminary injunction.15 With modifications to the remedy, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the ruling.16 After an election, which changed the party majorities among both the misdemeanor judges and Commissioners Court, the lawsuit was settled. Local rules were adopted that released almost all misdemeanor defendants on unsecured bail. Reports by neutral monitors appointed by the federal court have since consistently found no increases in crime, nor of absconding by misdemeanor defendants. Felony bail practices were un-

affected by the settlement.17 During the pandemic, some violent crime rates increased.18 This occurred nationally, including in the majority of jurisdictions that did not change bail practices. In some high-profile cases, law enforcement officers and innocent civilians were shot and killed. However, most violent crime occurs between persons who know one another. The persons arrested in the highprofile cases had been released by paying cash bail. There was no connection to misdemeanor bail reform. That was the background to SB 6. Its proponents argued cash bail through commercial bail bondsmen assured safety and reappearance. That has been refuted by all the persons who committed crimes after paying money to be released. Instead of reducing the disparities, the new statutory changes make it harder for those without money to be released. The new laws eliminate many offenses from consideration for unsecured bail. Other provisions—judicial training, data collection, and risk assessments—do little to make sure persons are not detained merely because they are poor. If bail reform is meant to drive the system to be safer and fairer, SB 6 was the wrong vehicle. Alex Bunin established the Harris County Chief Public Defender’s Office in 2010. Previously, he started federal public defender offices in Alabama, New York, and Vermont. His most recent article is Public Defender Independence, 27 Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights 25 (Fall 2021)..

May/June 2022


Endnotes 1. SUMMARY OF ENACTMENTS, 87TH LEGISLATURE, REGULAR SESSION, 2ND AND 3RD CALLED SESSIONS, TEX. LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL (2022), available at 2. Id. 3. Press Release, Office of Tex. Governor, Governor Abbott Signs Damon Allen Act Into Law at Safer Houston Summit (Sept. 13, 2021). 4. The legislative history of SB 6 is available online at lookup/History.aspx?LegSess=86R&Bill=SB6. 5. Act of Sept. 16, 2021, 87th Leg., 2d C.S., ch. 11, § 5, 2021 Tex. Gen. Laws ___, ___ (codified at Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 17.021). SB 6 does not conflict with a defendant’s right to a timely bail determination because it requires that the report “be provided to the magistrate as soon as practicable but not later than 48 hours after the defendant’s arrest.” TEX. CODE CRIM. PROC. art. 17.022(a)(2). 6. Act of Sept. 16, 2021, 87th Leg., 2d C.S., ch. 11, § 5, 2021 Tex. Gen. Laws ___, ___ (codified at TEX. CODE CRIM. PROC. art. 17.021(b)(3), (5)–(6)). 7. Act of Sept. 16, 2021, 87th Leg., 2d C.S., ch. 11, § 5, 2021 Tex. Gen. Laws ___, ___ (codified at TEX. CODE CRIM. PROC. art. 17.022(d)). 8. SB 6 does allow a magistrate to act in misdemeanor cases even without the benefit of a public safety report if the Public Safety Report System is unavailable for more than 12 hours due to technical issues. Act of Sept. 16, 2021, 87th Leg., 2d C.S., ch. 11, § 5, 2021 Tex. Gen. Laws ___, ___ (codified at TEX. CODE CRIM. PROC. art. 17.022(f)). 9. Act of Sept. 16, 2021, 87th Leg., 2d C.S., ch. 11, § 5, 2021 Tex. Gen. Laws ___, ___ (codified at TEX. CODE CRIM. PROC. art. 17.027(a)(1)).


House BILL 1925 – public camping ouse Bill 1925 amended “the Government Code, Local Government Code, and Penal Code to prohibit a local entity from adopting or enforcing a policy under which the entity prohibits or discourages the enforcement of any public camping ban and from prohibiting or discouraging a peace officer or prosecuting attorney who is employed by or otherwise under the entity’s direction or control from enforcing a public camping ban.”1 This new law “makes it a Class C misdemeanor offense for a person to intentionally or knowingly camp in a public place without the effective consent of the officer or agency having the legal duty or authority to manage the public place, with certain exceptions.”2 The bill took effect September 1, 2021. In Support of HB 1925 – Giovanni Capriglione, Texas State Representative (R-Southlake) and author of HB 1925 Having lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for nearly twenty years, with frequent trips to Austin and Houston, I have seen firsthand the devastation homelessness causes in a community and to people who deserve more dignity than a tarp on the side of a highway. That’s why I filed and passed Texas House Bill 1925. Homelessness is a humanitarian issue, plain and simple. This is about people—someone’s brother, sister, mother, father, son, daughter—living under bridges in extreme conditions, whether hot or cold, without a roof over their head. We need local governments to do more to help the population of people experiencing homelessness. Letting them camp under highways is not the answer. Providing shelter, mental health care, career counseling, drug rehabilitation, and other services to help people integrate back into society is the answer. HB 1925 pushed local officials to provide that help. Texas does not have a statewide ban on camping in public places. Instead, local governments have enforced local bans on public camping, resulting in inconsistent standards and enforce14

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10. Act of Sept. 16, 2021, 87th Leg., 2d C.S., ch. 11, § 5, 2021 Tex. Gen. Laws ___, ___ (codified at TEX. CODE CRIM. PROC. art. 17.027(a)(2)). 11. Act of Sept. 16, 2021, 87th Leg., 2d C.S., ch. 11, § 6, 2021 Tex. Gen. Laws ___, ___ (codified at TEX. CODE CRIM. PROC. art. 17.03(b-2)). See also TEX. CODE CRIM. PROC. art. 17.03(b-3)(2) (defining offense involving violence). 12. Probationers on community supervision for offenses involving violence also cannot be released on a personal bond if, while on probation, they are charged with a felony or the abovementioned misdemeanor offenses. 13. Andrew Schneider, Harris County DA Kim Ogg on Bail Reform, HOUSTON PUB. MEDIA (Sept. 3, 2019, 2:36 PM), news/in-depth/2019/09/03/344788/harris-county-da-kim-ogg-on-bail-reform. 14. SAMUEL R. GROSS ET AL., RACE AND WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES, NAT’L REGISTRY OF EXONERATIONS 3, 22–23, 25, 30–31 (2017), available at Race_and_Wrongful_Convictions.pdf. 15. ODonnell v. Harris Cnty., 251 F.Supp.3d 1052 (S.D. Tex. 2017). 16. ODonnell v. Harris Cnty., 882 F.3d 528 (5th Cir. 2018). 17. Andrew Schneider, Harris County Democrats Block Proposal to Void Recent Bail Reforms, NPR (Jan. 24, 2022, 4:55 PM), articles/news/criminal-justice/2022/01/24/417612/harris-county-commissioners-weigh-proposal-to-void-recent-bail-reforms/. 18. See generally Dora Mekouar, Why Homicide Rates in U.S. Spiked 30% During COVID Pandemic, VOA (Feb. 20, 2022, 7:38 AM), why-homicide-rates-spiked-30-during-the-pandemic-/6420391.html.; David S. Abrams, Crime in the Time of COVID, ECONOFACT (Mar. 30, 2021), https://

ment across jurisdictions and, in some cases, a complete repeal or no enforcement at all. Without fear of interference from the police or local prosecutors, hundreds of campsites have sprung up on public streets and under highways across cities overnight, and along with the new campsites came a host of public safety hazards, such as an increase in property crimes, open drug use, and health hazards, such as public urination and defecation. There has also been damage to public infrastructure due to fires originating in campsites. HB 1925 requires political subdivisions to seek approval from the state to create designated camping areas. Those plans must include wrap-around services, such as health care, mental health care, indigent services, public transportation, and law enforcement. The bill also makes intentionally or knowingly camping outside of an approved, designated area a Class C misdemeanor. Some may argue that individuals experiencing homelessness might be “hurt” by the lack of available camping areas, but I argue that allowing people to live on the streets in filth and extreme weather is inhumane and incentivizes them to remain unhoused rather than get the support services they need and transition to permanent housing. I am elected by my constituents and serve as an elected official to ensure everyone in Texas has the basic necessities for a fair chance in life, especially vulnerable populations. I am proud to have passed this legislation which gives those experiencing homelessness added support to secure more opportunities and lift themselves up into well-paying jobs and a stable home life. Representative Giovanni Capriglione was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2012 and is serving his fifth term representing District 98, which encompasses all or part of Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake, Keller, North Fort Worth, and Haslet. He currently serves on the House Committee on Pension, Investments & Financial Services, the House Committee on Appropria-

tions, chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee on Article II, and is the chairman of the House Innovation & Technology Caucus. Representative Capriglione is running for reelection this year. Against HB 1925 – Stephanie Truong, Program Director, Beacon Law From my six years advocating for individuals who are homeless, I can attest to the importance of upholding the dignity and humanity of those I serve. I have felt the fear, hopelessness, and distrust my clients feel because of systems that continuously ignore or fail them. I have also witnessed my clients becoming empowered knowing that someone is listening to them and speaking out on their behalf. When my clients begin to believe in themselves, this gives them meaning and purpose—and sometimes even healing. HB 1925 sends the former message—that we do not have a place for people who are homeless in our society—and takes it one step further by criminalizing homelessness. My clients have suffered enough trauma in their lifetime and this law adds an additional barrier to their ability to move forward with their lives. Fortunately, Houston recently adopted a model3 addressing camp sites without criminalizing homelessness. The Coalition for the Homeless (the lead agency for our homeless response system in Harris County) and seventeen other partners, including city and county officials, local law enforcement, development districts, and social service agencies, worked together to establish standards and protocols around decommissioning camp sites. In particular, the model focuses on intensive outreach and engagement on the front end that coincides with a housing surge event to provide housing options for all encampment residents. As part of this model, the Houston Police Department is directed to “employ non-traditional and innovative forms of problem solving to engage persons experiencing unsheltered homelessness and facilitate their transition to appropriate housing placements in lieu of ticketing practices that disproportionately impact persons experiencing homelessness.4 Additionally, the City of Houston partnered with the Coalition to develop a Homeless Court program in 2007. Upon proof of engagement in homeless services, the program dismisses any outstanding Class C tickets and warrants. Some of my clients have walked out of Homeless Court in tears of joy because they felt an immense burden lifted. Notably, even with the existence of Homeless Court, I still have not seen an increase in ticketing for encampments since the legislation passed, which I think in large part is attributed to the City’s acknowledgment that ticketing does not address the root problem. In fact, Houston already has its own municipal ordinance addressing encampments that goes widely unenforced. While it is true that HB 1925 includes provisions that require peace officers to offer alternative options before issuing a ticket, such as contacting local social service agencies for assistance and allowing encampment residents to store their property without

charge, the law neither explains how that will be enforced, nor how peace officers will be supported to implement those extra steps. Instead of a law requiring that local officials wield an ineffective “stick,” I have seen far greater positive impact from our community coming together to develop a supportive “carrot.” No system is perfect, but one that understands that homelessness is a complex and nuanced issue while taking into consideration the perspective of the individual who will feel the greatest impact, but have the least say, will always have my vote. Stephanie Truong is the program director of Beacon Law, a civil legal aid program of The Beacon. The Beacon is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing essential and next-step services to individuals who are homeless or indigent in order to restore hope and help end homelessness in Houston. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own personal opinions and may not reflect those of The Beacon. Endnotes 1. SUMMARY OF ENACTMENTS, 87TH LEGISLATURE, REGULAR SESSION, 2ND AND 3RD CALLED SESSIONS, TEX. LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL (2022), available at 2. Id. 3. COALITION FOR THE HOMELESS OF HOUSTON/HARRIS COUNTY, CITY OF HOUSTON/HARRIS COUNTY HOMELESS ENCAMPMENT RESPONSE STRATEGY (2021), available at HPC-Houston-Encampment-Response-Strategy.pdf?ct=1646851456. 4. Homeless Court, COALITION FOR THE HOMELESS, (last visited June 1, 2022).

May/June 2022


Evolution in Procedural Law

By Marie Jamison

Preserving Jury Charge Error


ecent developments and changes in Texas law warrant a brief refresher on jury charge preservation. Lawyers should monitor Texas case law in their respective area of law, as well as the enactment, amendment, and abrogation of statutes that implicate or affect their specialty. For instance, the enactment of Chapter 72 to the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code have changed how some commercial transportation cases are submitted to a jury. Importantly, the charge should accurately reflect Texas law, and lawyers must properly preserve appellate error when it does not. This column provides practical tips on preserving charge error. The Charge is More Important Than You May Think The jury charge should not be viewed as one of the many pretrial filings to think about two weeks before trial. It is a crucial tool that should be drafted, revised, and used throughout a case. The jury charge is important for several reasons. First, the charge is essential to understand and shape the parties’ claims and defenses. In the early stages of litigation, the charge can be helpful in identifying the claims and defenses, developing evidence to prove or disprove claims and defenses, and shaping the story counsel intends to tell the jury at trial. The charge is instrumental in crafting discovery requests and deposition questions, responding to discovery, and analyzing fact and legal issues. Second, the charge is important for trial preparation. The charge can be effective in identifying relevant evidence that is admissible at trial and evidence counsel needs to be successful at trial. Use the jury charge

to prepare witnesses for trial and to draft pretrial motions. Third, the charge should be used throughout trial. The charge is a useful checklist at trial to make sure you develop evidence of each element and defense and evidence you need to support submission of requested questions, instructions, and definitions. Use the charge in closing argument to inform the jury how the evidence squares with the questions they must answer in the charge. Lastly, the charge is particularly important for a successful appeal. Preservation is necessary to present charge error to the court of appeals. Objecting to the Charge at Trial Errors in the charge primarily consist of (1) defective questions, instructions, and definitions submitted and (2) questions, instructions, and definitions that are omitted entirely. Objections are required to preserve error as to any defect in the charge. Objections to defective questions, instructions, and definitions Each objection must be in writing or dictated to the court reporter in the presence of the court and opposing counsel before the charge is read to the jury.1 All objections not so presented are waived.2 Make sure to get a ruling on each objection from the court. Additionally, the objection to a defective question, instruction, or definition must be specific.3 Stock objections are not sufficient. Voluminous objections will not suffice. The party objecting to a charge must point out distinctly the objectionable matter and the grounds for the objection.4 Lodge Casteel objections to a broad-form submission if there is a commingling of valid and invalid theories of liability.5 In determining whether broad-form submission is feasible, examine the pleadings and evidence presented at trial for distinct theories of liability. A single theory of liability may warrant broad-form submission. Multiple theories of liability may necessitate granulated questions. Remember to review recent changes in Texas substantive law that may require specific wording for a theory of liability or damages. In fact, eggshell plaintiff instructions were recently added to the Texas Pattern Jury Charges to advise practitioners and jurists on how to present the

unique circumstances to the jury. Objections to questions, instructions, and definitions that are omitted entirely Rule 273 allows a party to present and request written questions, definitions, and instructions to be given to the jury.6 Such requests must be in writing,7 and the request “shall be made separate and apart from such party’s objections to the court’s charge.”8 Accordingly, make a specific objection as to the defect and then submit a substantially correct written question, instruction, or definition. Each rejected request should be marked “refused,” signed by the court, and filed with the clerk.9 Use the comments in the Texas Pattern Jury Charges as a guide to perfecting charge error. The PJC 32.1 edition of Texas Pattern Jury Charges, in particular, outlines when an objection, request, or both are required to preserve error and the party who has the burden to make such objection and request.

Compression, LLC, 336 S.W.3d 764, 785 n.23 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2011, no pet.) (general objection that instruction was “not raised by the evidence” was not specific enough complaint). 5. Crown Life Ins. Co. v. Casteel, 22 S.W.3d 378, 389–90 (Tex. 2000); Harris Cty. v. Smith, 96 S.W.3d 230, 234 (Tex. 2002); see also STATE BAR OF TEXAS, TEXAS PATTERN JURY CHARGES—GENERAL NEGLIGENCE, INTENTIONAL PERSONAL TORTS & WORKERS’ COMPENSATION, PJC 32.2 (2020). 6. TEX. R. CIV. P. § 273. 7. Id. § 278; see also In re F.L.R., 293 S.W.3d 278, 281 (Tex. App.—Waco 2009, no pet.) (an oral request for a jury instruction, even when dictated on the record, does not satisfy Rule 278); Yzaguirre v. Univ. of Texas Health Sci. Ctr., NO. 04-09-00550-CV, 2010 WL 1404620, at *1 (Tex. App.—San Antonio April

7, 2010, no pet.) (dictating a requested instruction will not support an appeal); but see In re M.P., 126 S.W.3d 228, 230–31 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2003, no pet.) (allowing attorney’s oral request on record). 8. TEX. R. CIV. P. § 273. 9. Id. § 276. 10. See Cleveland Reg’l Med. Ctr., LP v. Celtic Props., LC, 323 S.W.3d 322, 342 (Tex. App.—Beaumont 2010, pet. denied) (“Generally, a request for a different instruction is not a substitute for an objection and does not preserve error.”). 11. State Dep’t. of Highways & Public Transp. v. Payne, 838 S.W.2d 235, 240 (Tex. 1992). 12. See Cruz v. Andrews Restoration, Inc., 364 S.W.3d 817, 829–30 (Tex. 2012). 13. See TEX. R. CIV. P. § 272.

Additional Advice A request for an instruction does not equate to an objection.10 When in doubt as to whether both an objection and a request are required to preserve error, “cautious counsel might choose to do both.”11 A common mistake to avoid is relying on the proposed charge filed at pretrial for appellate preservation.12 Objections must be made to the final charge. If the court gives you no or very little time to review the final charge and lodge objections to the final charge, ask for more time.13 Conclusion The purpose of this column is to briefly address common mistakes I have recently observed that resulted in waiver. This article is by no means all-inclusive and is meant to provide some guidance for objecting to the jury charge and preserving appellate error. Marie Jamison is a partner at Wright Close & Barger in Houston, a former staff attorney for the Fourteenth Court of Appeals, and board certified in civil appellate law. Endnotes 1. See TEX. R. CIV. P. § 272. 2. Id. 3. See TEX. R. CIV. P. § 274. 4. See Reliant Energy Servs., Inc. v. Cotton Valley

May/June 2022


Evolution in Legal Education

By Michael F. Barry, Leonard M. Baynes, and Okezie Chukwumerije

The Once and Future Law School:

Houston’s Three Law Schools Meet Changing Legal Needs


ell, that happened fast. Law schools, like the legal profession, tend to be steeped in tradition. Changes happen slowly—more evolution than revolution. Breaking from old norms and practices can be difficult. But COVID-19 and the racial reckoning of the summer of 2020 forced all of us—law schools included—to confront those inherited traditions, to challenge long-lived assumptions, and to explore new approaches as we educate the next generation of attorneys. And the three Houston-area law schools have risen to that challenge. First, our three law schools have discovered that online education—when

done correctly—can be a potent and effective educational tool. At first, our schools were forced to conduct classes on Zoom due to social distancing requirements – and the technology was new to everyone. But over the past two years, members of our faculties have studied online pedagogy and identified ways to bring this robust capability, which is routinely used in other disciplines and other fields of education, into the legal academy. In fact, remote legal education has become such a part of the law school experience that the American Bar Association is in the process of revisiting the strict limits it historically has placed on online courses. Just as attorneys are learning to master depositions by Zoom, negotiations via Teams, and remote hearings, law schools are successfully and strategically incorporating these remote technologies into their curriculum. Second, our three law schools increasingly recognize our responsibility to help address the racial and gender gaps inherent in legal practice. Houston is the most diverse city in the country, and the future attorneys we educate must reflect that population. Each of our schools has made concerted efforts in support of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Three examples: The University of Houston Law Center’s co-sponsorship of the “Black Lawyers Matter” conference and continued support with the transition of the awardwinning Pre-Law Pipeline Program into online delivery during the pandemic; the launch of STCL Houston’s new multimillion dollar Benny Agosto, Jr. Diversity Center; and Thurgood Marshall’s continued focus on educating its students in service to the community through the provision of free expunction services and free legal service programs, such as the Opal Mitchell Lee Property Preservation Project, the Earl Carl Institute Juvenile Justice Project, and the Thurgood Marshall School of Law Innocence Project. In our collective experience, the past two years have served as a watershed moment in addressing age-old issues.

Third, our three law schools have been particularly innovative, finding new ways to support our communities in the face of a pandemic. Thurgood Marshall leveraged technology and increased the number of externships available to students. Given the social distancing requirements, the University of Houston Law Center celebrated a truncated commencement ceremony, supplemented with the creation of an award-winning video wall that houses the graduation speeches of faculty, students, and the UHLC alumni president. And STCL Houston pivoted one of its experiential education programs toward addressing housing instability resulting from COVID-19, helping some 1,000 families maintain a residence in the first five months of this year alone. Each of our schools values our traditions—the ringing of the bell after the last final at STCL Houston, the 2L Pinning and 3L Hooding ceremonies at Thurgood Marshall, and the University of Houston Law Center’s hooding of graduates dur-

ing the commencement ceremony. These traditions define us and uniquely tie our alumni, faculty, and staff together. But the practice of law has changed during the pandemic, with the increased use of technology, new mindsets regarding work from home and flexibility, and different economic pressures. And our law schools must continue to adapt. And to innovate. Each of our law schools recognizes our abiding responsibility to ensure the next generation of attorneys is prepared for an ever-changing legal landscape. The last two years have been a remarkable catalyst to help us do just that.


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May/June 2022


Evolution Across Gen X,Y, and Z

Generational Perspectives on Adapting to the Evolving Legal Landscape


hile the legal landscape is always evolving, the bench and bar have been confronted with a new type of reality for over two years: working remotely. In arguably one of the most people-driven professions, those in law have adapted to how they collaborate and connect with clients, colleagues, and mentors. We invited three attorneys who represent different generations to share some insight into workplace integration, building mentorship networks, and fostering company culture in a post-pandemic world.

A Unicorn With Fine Print: A Gen X Point of View By Jennifer Davidow “Are you looking to get back into private practice?” my friend and former colleague Carly Milner messaged me in March 2021. “Because we’re looking for someone like you.” “Someone like me” meant an experienced writer to handle appeals and a complex motion practice. I was heading into my seventh year as a central staff attorney at the Fourteenth Court of Appeals at the time, and no, I wasn’t looking to get back into private practice. That’s what I’d done for the first fifteen years of my career, and I was happy at the court. But I was looking to continue working from home full time, and that option appeared to Jennifer Davidow be coming to an end for my position at the court. And Carly said they were looking for someone like me. If that isn’t an ego boost, what is? “They” were the boutique litigators at Fogler, Brar, O’Neil & Gray. Their work impressed me when I was at the court. Plus, I’d have a friend at the firm on day one. But there was a “but.” Isn’t there always? “I’d love to talk with them,” I told Carly. “But I want to work from home exclusively. If they’re willing to entertain that idea, let’s set up a time to meet. If not, no hard feelings, but I’ll stay where I am.” Well, we Zoomed a time or two, hammered out some details, and yada yada yada, I’m still pinching myself at landing this unicorn job I wasn’t looking for. The devil’s in the “yadas,” though. Given my long career and Carly’s seal of approval, I was in the luxurious position of not needing to convince Fogler, Brar, O’Neil, and Gray of my abilities as my employers. Instead, I needed to convince each of them—Murray, Jas, Robin, and Michelle—as fellow colleagues that I’d be a team player from my clubhouse ten miles west of theirs. Would I be willing to come to the office when they needed me? Of course. Could I handle the logistics of working on my own? Yeah, because if there’s one thing government work teaches you, it’s how to do everything yourself. It helped that this was a new position. They’d never had someone devoted solely to writing. We could experiment as the contours of the job drew themselves. What helped most of all, though, was the timing. The legal world had been working from home for a year because of COVID-19. Everyone knew it could be done. In the end, it felt serendipitous. We took a leap together, and I couldn’t be happier. Still reading? That was the glossy part of the brochure. Let me show you the fine print. Every relationship takes work. At least half the work requires being in the same room together, and that’s what we don’t have. I don’t run into them in the breakroom. We don’t eat lunch together. I know their kids’ names, but I don’t know their kids. We’re working on it, but it takes effort and commitment. It’s tough professionally, too. For two decades, I wandered the halls when I was stymied on a tricky argument, plopping myself onto my colleagues’ guest chairs to get their take. Lunches with coworkers often morphed into brainstorming sessions about our dockets. I can’t tell you how many cases I’ve talked through with friends over Doozo dumplings. I can still do that, but it’s harder. And that’s the only reservation I would have for a younger lawyer deciding whether to work from home. If most of her colleagues will work in the brick-and-mortar office, I would encourage her to join them in their

clubhouse. Starting out as a lawyer is hard enough. I wouldn’t add the challenges distance creates. Where I have it easy, though, is the support I get from my firm—the lawyers, our paralegals, and our administrative staff. They set me up with a home office, complete with three monitors and a webcam and a fancy hole puncher. (Thank you, Michelle.) They send me anything I need, from reference books to printer ink. When I decided to work at the office for a couple of weeks for a change of scenery, everyone welcomed me and cleared out a conference room for me. We ate lunch together. Working from home isn’t for everyone. A hybrid arrangement may be better for many lawyers, especially those new to the profession. For me, though, working from home exclusively is what I’ve always wanted. I’m proud to be part of a firm that was willing to give it a shot. Jennifer Davidow is senior counsel at Fogler, Brar, O’Neil & Gray LLP.

Navigating the New Legal Landscape as a Millennial By Akilah F. Craig As a first-generation American who left home and moved to the United States for college years ago, I’d long become familiar with connecting with friends and family abroad through various video conferencing platforms. So when my firm, like almost every other one, announced in Akilah F. Craig March 2020 that we would be working from home for the foreseeable future and my calendar became filled with Teams meetings and Zoom happy hours, CLEs and networking events went virtual, and court appearances and depositions began to be conducted remotely, I felt uniquely qualified to handle this new way of practicing law. In fact, I welcomed the benefits and efficiencies I knew would arise. For example, I immediately noticed the flexibility remote work provided. I could calmly begin my workday without worrying about running late due to a stopped train or traffic delays. If I needed to clear my head or mull over a complicated legal question, I could do a home workout or take a walk around my neighborhood, rather than staring aimlessly at my screen or ambling around the office distracting others. At the same time, the Black Lives Matter movement had erupted onto the world stage in a way I’d never seen before. For the first time in my career, I found myself engaging with my colleagues about the “Black experience” in the workplace. Yet a culture of treating discussions about race as too political for professional settings often made these interactions uncomfortable for both me and my coworkers, many of whom were just now becoming aware of the systemic issues that continue to contribute to the underrepresentation of Black women, and racial minorities

in general, in the legal profession. Working remotely meant that I did not need to pretend to be okay or hide in my office with each report of police brutality or targeted mass shootings on the news, and I could instead process these events from the privacy of home. I also began to organically develop deep connections with my Black colleagues who were also navigating these issues from their homes across the country. People whom I would not have otherwise interacted with, except at the annual firm holiday party, became a video call away to check in and provide support. However, I also noticed the disappearing barriers between my home and work life. I’ve never had a nine-to-five type legal job, but there was a noticeable uptick in non-emergency emails, calls, and meetings with partners and clients well into the night and on weekends. And regardless of how well-intentioned the desire to keep firm and office culture going without in-person interactions, situations that pre-pandemic would have been handled via email or a request for availability to schedule a call now were handled though unplanned video conferences. It seemed that some of the flexibility remote work provided became eroded by external expectations of constant availability, along with my own drive to prove my value to the firm, given that only a few years prior I had witnessed the devastating effect the 2008 recession had on my friends’ legal careers. Like most millennials, I have had to adapt to rapid technological advances in the means and methods by which we communicate, unprecedented economic uncertainty, and ever-increasing social awareness for most of my adult life. As such, I believe all of that has prepared me for being plunged into a remote work environment, and now adapting to a hybrid in-office/remote workplace. Choosing to work remotely gives me the flexibility to work from anywhere as needed, while going to the office allows me to keep my home work-free (deadlines permitting). My experiences during the pandemic made me more adept at knowing when it’s best for me to be in the office on a particular day, and when working from home is more advantageous. It also helped me develop a skillset to cultivate meaningful relationships with clients whom I’ve never met in person. My preference between remote and inoffice work is situationally dependent; however, having the flexibility to choose what works best for me and my internal and external clients is more important to me, and I presume most millennials, than the return to any one-size-fits-all model. Akilah F. Craig is an employment attorney with Locke Lord LLP who defends employers in, and before, federal and state courts and administrative agencies. She also counsels clients on a wide range of employment matters, regularly authors articles, and presents at CLEs on employment-related topics.

Bridging the Remote Workplace Gap: Recommendations from Gen Z By Xperanza Uviedo When I began my first-year associate position, workplaces were transitioning out of fully remote work and deciding how their

May/June 2022


ployees could safely return to the office. Although Texas had eased its COVID-19 restrictions and vaccines were available to those who wanted them, spreading COVID-19 in the workplace was still a significant concern. Like most law firms, mine allowed employees to work remotely when the pandemic began. However, Xperanza Uviedo during this transition period, the firm had to determine whether to allow employees to work from home permanently. Ultimately, my firm adopted a hybrid policy that required all employees to work in the office on Wednesdays and at least one additional day of their choice. Starting as a new attorney remotely and transitioning into a hybrid workplace has given me insight on how a law firm can support a new attorney’s integration into the remote workplace by intentionally creating social opportunities during the onboarding process and providing a structured virtual mentorship program. Onboarding Onboarding a new attorney in a hybrid or remote workplace can be difficult. As a new attorney, I was unfamiliar with most other attorneys in the firm. Although I had opportunities to engage with my colleagues through collaborative work, I had few opportunities to interact with my remote colleagues who were not


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assigned to my cases. Even through virtual communication, it was difficult for me to understand the personality types of the other attorneys without designated social opportunities. I imagine these difficulties are amplified in firms that have a mixture of hybrid and fully remote employees because chance interactions are even less likely. To facilitate the new attorney’s integration into the firm, the firm should create social opportunities in the initial weeks of onboarding. The social opportunities can include in-person social activities that all employees are required to attend or one-on-one virtual meetings with other members of the firm. The activities should provide the new attorney with a strong foundation to develop continued professional relationships. Virtual Mentorships Virtual mentorships can be a great tool to promote an attorney’s integration into the remote workplace. Although remote work has benefits, I sometimes felt disengaged from the workplace and my colleagues if I worked remotely for an entire week. Luckily, I had colleagues who made efforts to have casual conversations before discussing our tasks. Although they were not officially mentors, they helped me stay connected and engaged in the workplace. Without the casual conversations common to in-person workplaces, mentors can provide a sense of belonging and inclusion to new attorneys in the remote workplace. Achieving effective

virtual mentorship requires intentionality, one-on-one interactions, and a consistent, structured mentoring program.1 Mentors and mentees should communicate their goals for the mentorship, their availability, and consistently honor their mentorship commitments. A strong mentorship can make the difference for a new attorney to successfully integrate into the remote workplace. Hybrid and remote workplaces are trending upward2 and law firms should learn how to adapt the traditional nine-to-five work structure to meet the demand. Workplace integration is possible in remote and hybrid workplaces if law firms are intentional about creating opportunities for employees to cultivate relationships with one another. Law firms who thoughtfully implement these policies will be better positioned to attract and retain new talent in the legal field. Xperanza Uviedo is a first-year associate at Shipley Snell Montgomery LLP, where she practices civil litigation. Endnotes 1. Ellen A. Ensher, et al., How to Mentor in a Remote Workplace, HARV. BUS. REV. (Mar. 22, 2022),; Marianna Tu & Michael Li, What Great Mentorship Looks Like In a Hybrid Workplace, HARV. BUS. REV. (May 12, 2021), 2. Lydia Saad & Ben Wigert, Remote Work Persisting and Trending Permanent, GALLUP (Oct. 13, 2021),




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Pro Bono Excellence Celebrated at 2022 HBA Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards


ore than 80 members of Houston’s bench and bar came together to honor the recipients of this year’s HBA Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards. The ceremony was hosted by Baker Botts L.L.P. on May 3. Judge Latosha Lewis Payne, presiding judge of the 55th District Court, and 2021-2022 HBA President Jennifer A. Hasley opened the ceremony with welcome remarks from the bench and the bar, respectively. Keri D. Brown, pro bono coordinator at Baker Botts and then-chair of Houston Volunteer Lawyers, also gave remarks, speaking about the importance of pro bono efforts and calling on attorneys to rise to the need of access to justice in the Houston community. In addition to the seven individuals and organizations recognized at this year’s event, the HBA also presented a special award to posthumously recognize Zenobia Harris Bivens, an outstanding member of the Houston community who passed away in January. Justice J. Dale Wainwright (former Texas Supreme Court Justice, Greenberg Traurig, LLP) and Kenneth Wayne Bullock II (member-in-charge, Frost Brown Todd LLC) presented the Harris County Heart of Pro Bono Award to Ms. Bivens’ family. Since 2009, the Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards have recognized outstanding pro bono service through local le-

From left, 2021-2022 HBA President Jennifer A. Hasley, Brandy Mire and Shannon Terry of CenterPoint Energy; Collin Cox of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP; Keri Brown of Baker Botts L.L.P.; Monica Karuturi of CenterPoint Energy; Hillary Holmes of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP; Hilary Tyson of BoyarMiller; Professor Mark E. Steiner with South Texas College of Law Houston; Brooksie Bonvillain Boutet of Shipley Snell Montgomery LLP; Phillip Goodwin of the City of Houston; Stephanie Bundage of CenterPoint Energy; and the Hon. Latosha Lewis Payne of the 55th District Court. 24

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gal service providers and encouraged law firms, corporate legal departments, and individual attorneys to volunteer direct legal services to low-income Harris County residents. Corporate Law Department CENTERPOINT ENERGY CenterPoint Energy provided critical leadership during the HVL’s Peer-to-Peer Campaign last fall, motivating legal departments across Houston to follow suit. CenterPoint partnered with various firms, Houston Volunteer Lawyers, and the Juvenile and Children’s Advocacy Project of Texas to build an innovative Pro Bono Juvenile Record Sealing project. This program is helping fifteen young adults get a fresh start by sealing their juvenile records and removing barriers that may be in the way when they apply for housing, jobs, and college admission, just to name a few. Large Law Firm BAKER BOTTS L.L.P. Under the leadership of Keri Brown, Baker Botts represented over 55 HVL pro bono clients, doubling their Equal Access to Justice Champions commitment for this bar year. In addition, Baker Botts led the way in HVL’s inaugural “Wipe Out the Waitlist Campaign,” which set a goal to identify timely representation for every qualified client who needs pro bono support, culminating in a final celebration during National Pro Bono Week at the end of October 2021. Baker Botts took on more than two dozen cases from the “Wipe Out the Waitlist” project. Baker Botts also stepped up to be a critical partner in the Eviction Defense Attorney Program, a pilot program providing pro bono representation to eligible clients appealing their evictions in the four Harris County Civil Courts at Law. Midsize Law Firm GIBSON, DUNN & CRUTCHER LLP Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher has already provided nine times more pro bono representation than their Equal Access to Justice Champions commitment for this bar year. Among the dozens of pro bono clients represented this year, the attorneys

from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher have helped many individuals, including survivors of domestic violence, obtain divorces. The firm also stepped up to participate in the Eviction Defense Attorney Program, negotiating agreements with landlords on behalf of tenants, as well as representing tenants appealing their evictions. Midsize Law Firm BOYARMILLER BoyarMiller’s pro bono contributions to the Houston community include supporting a community initiative to create deed restrictions and providing legal education to community groups. Leading the effort, shareholder Hilary Tyson has partnered with Lone Star Legal Aid to serve the Houston/Trinity Gardens community through a community-driven initiative, providing free legal services related to the implementation, drafting, and enforcement of deed restrictions.

Bono Juvenile Record Sealing program. Outstanding Individual MARK E. STEINER Professor Mark Steiner has volunteered more than 100 hours this bar year to provide legal advice and counsel through HVL’s Friday Legal Advice Line. He also serves on the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Board of Directors as the law school liaison

Small Law Firm SHIPLEY SNELL MONTGOMERY LLP Shipley Snell Montgomery consistently demonstrates that dedication to pro bono efforts is not restricted by a law firm’s size. Shipley Snell Montgomery has already doubled their Equal Access to Justice Champions’ commitment this bar year. As outside counsel to CenterPoint Energy, Shipley Snell Montgomery is providing legal services to young adults through the Pro

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for South Texas College of Law Houston. Professor Steiner empowers his students to tenaciously fight for access to justice, mentoring law students as they pitch in at Houston Volunteer Lawyers legal clinics, thereby instilling his tremendous pro bono spirit in these future attorneys. Outstanding Individual PHILLIP GOODWIN In 2021, Phillip Goodwin, regulatory compliance director for the City of Houston’s Public Works department, devoted more than 179 hours to help eligible homeless and low-income residents of Houston obtain a fresh start in their lives by donating his time and effort to assist them with having criminal records expunged and/or sealed. His work - done in conjunction with Beacon Law on behalf of the homeless community - is an important component in providing options for people whose prior records may be a hindrance to obtaining or participating in job opportunities, educational programs, financial aid, and housing.

ens as an incredibly effective advocate and empathetic counselor for clients. Former coworkers call Ms. Bivens the archetype of the ideal firm citizen who took the time to demystify the case and law for her clients in ways that made legal advice more accessible and understandable for clients, from corporate executives to in-house lawyers and pro bono clients. Ms. Bivens is remembered as a brilliant, hardworking, magnetic individual who showed up for people – her friends, her colleagues, and her clients. Ms. Bivens is highly regarded as an outstanding individual and leader, and as someone who was very conscientious about the effect of the law on ordinary citizens. The HBA presented Ms. Bivens’ family with the Harris County Heart of Pro Bono Award to honor Ms. Bivens’ phenomenal contributions, not only to those who were fortunate to call her a friend, but to the law and to her clients.

Harris County Heart of Pro Bono Award ZENOBIA HARRIS BIVENS This year, the HBA presented a special award to posthumously recognize Zenobia Harris Bivens, an outstanding member of the Houston community. Friends and colleagues fondly remember Zenobia Harris Biv-

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From left, Kenneth Wayne Bullock II of Frost Brown Todd LLC; family of the late Zenobia Harris Bivens (sister LaGina R. Harris; husband Darvell Bivens; son Dean Bivens; cousin Kendra Harris; and mother Regina V. Harris); the Hon. J. Dale Wainwright, former justice of the Texas Supreme Court, Greenberg Traurig, LLP; and 2021-2022 HBA President Jennifer A. Hasley.

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Law Day 2022

Toward a More Perfect Union: The Constitution in Times of Change


aw Day, recognized each year on May 1 in celebration of the rule of law in our society, was designated by President Dwight Eisenhower as a national holiday in 1958. The Houston Bar Association, along with the American Bar Association, has sponsored and promoted the event in the over sixty years since its designation. This year’s theme was “Toward a More Perfect Union: The Constitution in Times of Change.” The HBA and its members engaged with Houston-area schools to host contests and activities featuring this theme. Here are some of the highlights. Thank you to our volunteers and partners who helped make our programming possible. Learn more about the HBA’s Law Day activities at Special Day at the Courthouse

Dialogue on Freedom Presentations Teams of judges, lawyers, and law students visited high school government classes for interactive presentations on the rule of law and public health. Educator Janet Collins with Kingwood High School of Humble ISD pictured here (far left) with the Hon. Christine Weems with the 281st District Court of Harris County; Megan Anson with Serpe Andrews, PLLC; and South Texas College of Law Houston student Linda Walton, who presented to the high school students.

Law Week Readings Volunteers read Justice Is...: A Guide for Young Truth Seekers by Preet Bharara to Houston-area elementary school students. Pictured here are just a few of our volunteers.

Special Day at the Courthouse is a program of the HBA Law Week Committee that plans a live guardianship play by lawyers and judges targeted to special needs high school students. It’s a unique civics education learning experience designed to give high school students with intellectual disabilities a basic understanding of what lawyers and judges do. This year’s topic was “All About Guardianships.” Volunteers also took attendees on a tour of the 1910 Harris County Courthouse. 28

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2021-2022 HBA President Jennifer A. Hasley read to students at Mark Twain Elementary of Houston ISD.

Wonderland Hudson from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office read to St. Anne Catholic School students.

Cindy M. Dinh of Mayer Brown LLP visited Clark Intermediate School in Spring ISD.

Law Day Contest Winners The HBA recognized the first place winners of its Law Day poster, essay, and photography contests at the Houston Young Lawyers Association/Houston Young Lawyers Foundation Law Day Luncheon on May 6.

Jordan Latham with Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP read to students at Young Elementary School in Houston ISD.

Jayleen Lopez, who participated in a poster workshop by MABAH and HisBA at the Wesley Community Center, poses next to her poster, which took first place in the local contest, as well as second place in the statewide contest.

Myles Tran, a student with Wide School, took first place in both the local and statewide photography contest. Myles’ teacher was Katy Garza.

Daniella Landers, HBA board member and partner at Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP, read to students at Mary Burks Marek Elementary in Alvin ISD.

Fran Shuman with Quantlab Financial LLC read to students at Chancellor Elementary in Alief ISD.

Trearm Woodward, a student at Anderson Academy in Aldine ISD, won first place in the 3rd5th grade poster contest. Trearm also took second place in the statewide contest. She’s pictured here with her mom and dad. Trearm’s teacher was Tony McMillian.

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First Place:

Houston Bar Association Law Day Essay Contest

Immortality Through Text By Pranav Chemudupaty, DeBakey High School, Houston ISD

Pranav Chemudupaty, a student with DeBakey High School in Houston ISD, took first place in the essay contest. His teacher was Qian Zhang. Read his essay below.


he Constitution of the United States is known as a “living, breathing document” that sways with the ebb and flow of public opinion. Although it can be altered by ratifying amendments when deemed necessary by Congressional representatives or a constitutional convention, the Constitution’s true power lies in its ability to stay firm and dictate the supreme law of the land. The strength of the Constitution to stand the test of time makes it the balanced arbiter of truth that is neither intimidated by mobs nor capable of being corrupted by the tyrannical rule of the elite. The Constitution is the constant that prevents radical change from destroying the Republic of the United States. While pushing for change through assembly and petition is a protected right for all citizens under the first amendment of the Bill of Rights, the Constitution sets limits for the implementation of calls for change. Much like the electoral college enables representation of the wishes of the people while preventing the country from being steered in the wrong direction, the Constitution does not bow down to any unjust demands made by the volatile wishes of mobs. If a bill has not been through the political process or is deemed unconstitutional by the judicial branch of the government, it cannot be implemented as law, regardless of how popular it is in the eyes of the majority. In doing so, the Constitution keeps the Republic of the United States intact. Similarly, the Constitution does not bend under the weight of a few powerful elites. Government officials and


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the rich wield tremendous power. Lobbying in Washington is dominated by interest groups representing wealthy businesses and people, who have the connections and resources to push for change in policy. In addition, the wealthy are more capable of spending a large amount of time involving themselves in the political process. With campaign donations from political action committees and other rich bodies, politicians are more likely to win and the desires of the wealthy are overrepresented when compared to those of the average American. Despite this advantage, the wealthy are no more capable of backing unjust laws. The Constitution places clear checks and balances on what government officials and entire governmental branches can do. No matter how well represented the interests of the wealthy are in Congress, the Supreme Court can strike down unconstitutional legislation. The Constitution keeps the powerful elite from exerting undue influence in the political process, which allows for change to not result in injustice or a threat to the nation. Since the time of the first Constitutional Convention in 1787, the U.S. Constitution has provided an effective government system that is open to change, but strictly opposed to any injustice that may result from it. The Constitution has provisions that protect against what is wrong, whether it is supported by a majority of people or a few powerful elites. The spirit of the United States will weather any storm and live on through the words of the Constitution.

Stronger Together 2021-2022 HBA Committee and Section Highlights of Engagement and Collaboration The Houston Bar Association began the 2021-2022 bar year with a new theme: “Stronger Together,” empowering the relationships between the HBA’s 10,000-plus members, promoting the partnership with the HBA’s vibrant ancillary organizations, and fostering the already cordial bench-bar relationship. Over the past year, our thirty-plus committees, twenty-six sections, and three ancillary organizations have embodied this sentiment by bringing together our members for programming, volunteerism, and networking events. These are just a few examples. Committees

Volunteering at Houston Food Bank


he Campaign to End Homelessness and Hunger Committee continued Veteran gift bag distribution the HBA’s long-standing tradition of bringing holiday cheer to veterans living at De George at Union Station and U.S. Vets at Midtown by donating funds and delivering 600 backpacks stuffed with snacks, toiletries, clothing, books, and other accessories. The committee also strengthened its partnership with the Houston Food Bank, volunteering at the Share Your Holidays Phone Bank, Veterans Pantry Day, Teacher’s Aid Event, and Food from the Bar, helping to ensure meal distribution to the Houston community.


he Criminal/Appellate Bench Bar Conference Committee hosted its conference on April 8, bringing together the criminal and appellate bench and bar to discuss current issues and criminal matters. Speakers and panels addressed a wide range of issues and criminal topics, including the state of the courthouse and jury trials in light of the pandemic; legislative updates; bond re-


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form; attorney wellness and resources; the managed assigned counsel program; and diversion programs. There was also a heads of state panel and the conference ended with a networking happy hour.


he Family/Probate Bench Bar Conference Committee held its first conference in 19 years, providing a rich agenda of content from across perspectives on legislative updates; guardianship and conservatorship; technology in the courtroom; competency and mental capacity assessment; marital property law; and a judges’ panel. It even had a wellness portion that discussed secondary trauma attorneys may experience through the services they provide; the care attorneys need to provide for themselves; and the best ways in which to handle some difficult situations attorneys find themselves in. This conference ended with a networking happy hour.


he Fun Run Committee hosted the 37th Annual John J. Eikenburg 8K Law Week Fun Run. The committee offered both in-person and virtual race options to participants and hosted the

in-person race event on February 19 at Sam Houston Park in downtown Houston. There were nearly 500 participants in this year’s Fun Run which, combined with sponsorships, enabled the committee to contribute more than $73,000 to The Center for Pursuit. Since 1986, the Houston Bar Association has raised over $1.6 million for The Center for Pursuit. (See the highlights from this year’s event with more photos in the March/April 2022 issue of The Houston Lawyer)


he Gender Fairness Committee hosted several programs, including a panel discussion about employee considerations in advocating for remote and flexible work arrangements in September, a presentation on ways to prioritize self-care techniques in November, and a conversation about the parallels between women in law and women in academia when it comes to career challenges in February. The committee also co-hosted an evening of networking and a tour of the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg exhibit at the Holocaust Museum Houston in May.


he Golf Tournament Committee held its 74th Annual Golf Tournament at Wildcat Golf Club on April 7. With 144 players, as well as numerous sponsors and volunteers, the Golf Tournament raised over $32,000 net for the Houston Bar Foundation, the second-highest in the recorded history of the tournament. (Learn more about this year’s event on page 46.)


he HAY Center Committee works closely with the HAY Center, a program of Harris County Resources for Children and Adults, which assists youth in the foster care system and young adults who are aging out. The committee has helped host several special events over the year, including a holiday party for foster youth and their families in December, a prom readiness event in March that helped over 50 teenagers prepare for their proms, and a graduation party in June.


he LGBTQ+ Committee spearheaded several fundraising events for local LGBTQ+ organizations, including its inaugural Halloween MASK-erade party to raise funds for HATCH youth at the Montrose Center and a sold-out Mardi Gras event in February, with funds going directly to Out for Education, which provides educational scholarships to LGBTQ+ Mardi Gras Party Houston LGBTQ+ youth. The committee also hosted “Coaching Circles” to provide a safe space where law students and lawyers could discuss issues that affect LGBTQ+ attorneys and allies, to seek and give career advice, and to provide an opportunity to meet other members of the community and forge new relationships. The committee also hosted its annual “Pride Mixer” in June so law students could interact with other students, lawyers, and judges and celebrate Pride.


he Habitat for Humanity Committee finished building the 23rd HBA Habitat house and completed the fundraising for the 24th HBA Habitat house in the fall of 2021. The committee just completed the build for the 24th house and is currently in the process of fundraising for the 25th.


Veterans clinic at the Lone Star Flight Museum

n its inaugural year, the Military and Veterans Committee participated in several efforts, including co-sponsoring a virtual CLE presentation about representing veterans in disability benefit proceedings in November 2021, co-sponsoring a legal services clinic at the Lone Star Flight Museum in February 2022, and volunteering at several events, including the Veterans Pantry Day with the Campaign to End Homelessness and

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Hunger Committee. The committee partnered with the Houston Young Lawyers Association, Combined Arms, Houston Volunteer Lawyers, and other organizations throughout the year.


he Professionalism Committee hosted its Winter Ethics CLE Conference in December, featuring HBA President Jennifer A. Hasley as a panelist and moderated by committee co-chair Seepan Parseghian. The hybrid event was attended by approximately 200 Texas Day of Civility in the Law Program people. The committee also organized its Mentorship KickOff Breakfast in February and presented the HBA’s Texas Day of Civility in the Law in April, which offered two hours of CLE ethics credit. Through its Mentor Program, which matches Mentorship Kick-Off Breakfast experienced attorneys with new lawyers to provide guidance as they begin their careers, the committee facilitated the pairing of 64 mentors and mentees.


he Senior Lawyers Committee presented four forums during the bar year, including an event with Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, who spoke about the state of Houston’s criminal justice system in February, as well as a forum featuring thenTexas Bar President Sylvia Borunda Firth and then- Senior Lawyers Forum featuring State Bar of Texas President-elect (and former HBA president) Laura Gibson, who shared updates from the State Bar of Texas. Each forum offered attendees CLE credit.


Sections he Appellate Practice Section’s monthly luncheons featured entertaining and informative CLE presentations from numerous state and federal judges and experienced appellate practitioners on a wide variety of topics, including superseding of judgments and previews of the upcoming terms of the United States Supreme Court and Texas Supreme Court. After a two-year absence, the section returned in-person to Brennan’s for the Judicial Reception, where they honored former


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justices from the First and Fourteenth Courts of Appeals, including Justice Harvey Brown (First), Justice Martha Hill Jamison (Fourteenth), and Justice Brett Busby (Fourteenth). The attendance at this year’s Judicial Reception was among the highest the section had ever seen for this event. The section awarded scholarships to Houston law students for excellence in brief writing and continued to refer deserving pro bono applicants for appellate representation through its Pro Bono Program with the State Bar of Texas Appellate Section Pro Bono Committee. Judicial Reception


he Entertainment and Sports Law Section’s programming included a webinar in March exploring the connections between the world of sports and legal cannabis – one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S. The program featured a panel of attorneys and industry experts on how the sports and cannabis industries intersect, the evolution of cannabis law, emerging opportunities for the sports and cannabis industries to collaborate, and how such ventures can be monetized.


he Litigation Section held in-person CLE lunches at the Coronado Club on topics such as the TCPA, key updates in employment laws, COVID-19 and the new workplace, and Robert Moses and the Taking of New York City. The section also hosted a presentation by Chief Judge Rosenthal of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. To close out the bar year, an in-house panel presented tips and tricks for outside counsel. In May, the section hosted a Spring Happy Hour with free admission to Litigation Section members and Litigation Section presentations members of the judiciary.


he Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Section, which recently changed its name to the Energy Law Section, continued its focus on attracting and sustaining a diverse membership this year with a steady increase in attendance at in-person programs. The section added two new events to increase net-

working opportunities for their membership. Their informal happy hours gave their members a chance to make up for lost time from the last two years.


he Probate, Trusts & Estates Section met for monthly CLE programming, followed by networking for members. The section also provides an annual scholarship to one student from each of the three local law schools who has demonstrated an interest in practicing in the probate, trust, and estate area. The section also gives a Lifetime Service Award to a lawyer who has contributed to improving the practice of this area, including service to the Houston and state bar, pro bono activities, and providing continuing education for fellow attorneys.

Lawyers. The DRC works closely with all Harris County courts to provide volunteer mediators, many of whom are HBA members and serve on numerous HBA committees. Working with HBA sections and ancillary organizations, all sharing a value that we are Stronger Together, the DRC was able to provide over 1,200 mediation sessions for residents of Harris County. Learn more at


Ancillary Organizations his bar year brought a special emphasis to inspire HBA members to volunteer through the Houston Volunteer Lawyers. A Peer-to-Peer Campaign was launched in conjunction with the 2021 Harvest Celebration to encourage members of the Houston legal community to donate “time or treasure” to support HVL. One of the elements of the Peer-toPeer Campaign was the “Wipe Out the Waitlist (WOW) Campaign,” which set a goal to identify timely representation for every qualified client who needs pro bono support. At the end of the campaign, HVL had placed hundreds of clients with pro bono counsel and brought HVL’s list of those cases waiting to be placed with pro bono volunteers to an unprecedented singledigit level. More information at


HLRS/HYLA Happy Hour

he Houston Lawyer Referral Service was pleased to have returned to in-person programming. This bar year, HLRS hosted a joint networking happy hour with Houston Young Lawyers Association (HYLA), participated in the HBA New Licensee Happy Hour, and sponsored the Houston Young Professionals Small Business Expo. HLRS also provided legal informational videos developed for potential clients in response to COVID, and online CLE videos for attorneys at no charge. If you are interested in joining HLRS to expand your practice and referral network, more information is available at

Members of the 2021-2022 Houston Lawyer editorial board. Back row from left, Avi Moshenberg; Andrew Pearce, off the record editor; Kristen Lee; Jennifer Smith; Carly Milner, media reviews editor; Tim McInturf; Kyle Steingreaber; and Hon. Joe Villarreal. Front row from left, Anna Archer, podcast editor and host of Behind the Lines: The Houston Lawyer Podcast; Anietie Akpan, editor in chief; and Brooksie Bonvillain Boutet, articles editor. Not pictured: Natasha Breaux, Elizabeth M. Bruman, Kimberly A. Chojnacki, Heath DeJean, Dasha K. Hodge, Trey Holm, Jennifer R. Jenkins, Ryan Kent, Emilio Longoria, David T. Lopez, Kylie Loya, Elizabeth Furlow Malpass, Nikki Morris, Katya Nikitina, George Oggero, Ruby Powers, Timothy B. Riley, Benjamin K. Sanchez, Juliana Serrano, Anuj A. Shah, Tara Taheri, Mahsa Tajipour, Emma P. Tennant, Michael J. Wynne, and Nicolette J. Zulli.

The Houston Lawyer editorial board is proud to present these “Stronger Together” vignettes in our final issue of the 2021-2022 bar year. The editorial board celebrated several achievements, including a “Veteran Spotlight” column to honor HBA members who have served in the military as part of HBA President Jennifer A. Hasley’s broader efforts to highlight our veteran members, and a series of “Law in the Family” profiles highlighting some exemplary HBA members and their families who are heavily involved in Houston’s legal community. The Houston Lawyer also successfully launched Season 2 of Behind the Lines: The Houston Lawyer Podcast, whose episodes complement each issue of the printed publication and includes CLE credit for HBA members. We look forward to continue bringing you stories about the issues and people you care about in the coming year. Thank you to our members for your service to the Houston Bar Association. Your dedication demonstrates that we are, and remain, Stronger Together.


he Dispute Resolution Center continues to work closely with the HBA’s ancillary organizations, referring parties needing legal services and also providing mediations for appropriate cases administered through Houston Volunteer

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A Profile in Professionalism:

Law in the Family

The Gomez Family

Judge Michael Gomez is currently in his fourth term as presiding well for our clients without making opposing counsel miserable. judge of the 129th Civil District Court. In 2019, his colleagues on the The practice of law is already stressful enough. bench elected Judge Gomez to serve as administrative judge for the Civil Trial Division of the Harris County District Courts. In that role, Judge Gomez: Both of my parents grew up as migrant farmworkJudge Gomez oversaw the civil district courts through Winter Storm ers. Because of the long picking seasons, they would enroll in Uri and during the COVID pandemic. Judge Gomez is a lifelong resischool late and leave before the end of the school year to travel dent of Houston and a graduate of Reagan around the country picking crops. As High School in the Heights. Judge Gomez a result, my mother did not finish high is a past president of the Hispanic Bar school and my father was the only one Association of Houston and a fellow of in his family to graduate. Due to my the Houston Bar Foundation, Texas Bar parents’ experiences, they always emFoundation, and American Bar Foundaphasized the importance of education, tion. In 2016, Judge Gomez received the and from an early age I learned how inaugural Judge of the Year Award from to advocate for my family and myself. the Hispanic Bar Association of Houston. The decision to become a lawyer was Diana Gomez is president-elect of the a natural extension of the advocacy I Houston Bar Association. She is a trial had been doing all my life. As judge, and employment law shareholder in it is a great privilege to ensure that Chamberlain Hrdlicka’s Houston office, everyone is treated with fairness and where she also serves on the firm’s board respect, no matter their personal cirof directors, as the national co-chair for cumstances. the labor and employment practice, and as the national chair for the Pro Bono Diana: Non-lawyers frequently ask me Committee. The recipient of many accohow I like practicing in Mike’s court. lades, Diana is currently recognized by After I let them know I cannot pracThe Best Lawyers in America. Additiontice in his court, they almost inevitaally, she has been named to the Texas Subly say something along the lines of, Judge Gomez and Diana Gomez with their children. per Lawyers list by Super Lawyers con“Don’t you secutively every year since 2013, and to the Texas Super Lawyers wish you could?” I usually respond in 2020 Top Women list. Most recently, Diana was named one of Housan unbiased manner that because Mike ton’s 50 Most Influential Women of 2020-2021 by Houston Woman is incredibly smart and fair, any lawI believe we Magazine. yer would be lucky to be in his court. can advocate However, knowing that I can be comDiana Gomez: As a young attorney, I was fortunate to work for petitive, imagine how dinner at home well for our some amazing trial attorneys who are also genuinely good peowould go if there were times when he clients without ple, the most influential being Michele Quattlebaum, Matthew had to rule against me? making opposing Oprendek, and Jack Wisdom. They showed me how to be a strong counsel advocate for my clients while treating everyone, from the attorJudge Gomez & Diana: As the parents of miserable. neys on the opposing side to the people I work with, with respect two young children with hectic and unThe practice and courtesy. When I think of them, I am reminded of a scene predictable schedules, we are fortunate of law is from A Christmas Carol. The Ghost of Christmas Past asks Scrooge to have the support of both of our famialready stressful why his employer, Mr. Fezziwig, was deserving of praise. Scrooge lies, as well as a great group of friends enough.” responds: “He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to and colleagues. The most important asmake our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil…The pect of our life in the law is being there happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.” That is for each other and listening to how each other’s day went. It is the capacity we all have in our roles. I am not saying it is my goal special when the person closest to you also understands what you to make opposing counsel “happy,” but I believe we can advocate do every day.

The Houston Lawyer



May/June 2022

The Reasoner Family

as, federal, and civic boards ranging from chairing the Harris County The Reasoner family’s history in the legal profession goes back a long way and Flood Control Task Force, the City of Houston Manpower Advisory is continuing to be written. Gus Hodges, father of Macey Hodges Reasoner Planning Council, and the executive committee of the Museum of Fine and father-in-law of Harry Reasoner, was a much-admired and distinguished Arts. And devoting herself to raising our children, of whom we are law professor at the University of Texas School of Law for many years. He proud of as great human beings and brilliant lawyers. was an authority on the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and jury charges. Harry Reasoner has been one of the nation’s top Barrett Reasoner: One of the things that I have trial lawyers for decades and served as Vinson & enjoyed most about practicing law in Houston Elkins LLP’s managing partner during a career for over 30 years is that it offers the best of a big spanning almost 60 years. Barrett Reasoner is city practice with a small-town mentality. The also a preeminent trial lawyer and a partner with practice is as sophisticated and complicated as the firm of Gibbs & Bruns LLP, where he has been your desire and skill can make it, but everyone for almost 30 years following a stint at the Harknows that you will see the same people beris County District Attorney’s Office. Macey Reaside you and across the table over your career soner Stokes is a partner and head of Baker Botts many times. There is a strong, shared interest L.L.P.’s appellate section and recently received the in collegiality and supporting our community. Texas Bar Foundation’s Gregory S. Coleman OutThis atmosphere dovetails very well with our standing Appellate Lawyer Award. Barrett and family’s approach, and I saw that before I even Susan Reasoner’s son, Matthew, is a first-year asHarry, Macey, and Barrett. became a lawyer. I remember my grandfather, Professor Gus Hodges, sociate with Bracewell LLP in the trial section. having great reverence for the practice as he taught law students how Equally as important as professional success to this family has been serto do the job well and with utmost professionalism. I also remember vice to the profession and the community. Each family member shared some watching my father argue for prisoners’ rights on a pro bono basis, and thoughts on this history of service and professionalism. his work for others has been unwavering over the decades. Those are things that I’ve tried to model in both my practice and in my work parHarry Reasoner: I have been greatly blessed in the practice of law. I ticipating in, and leading, the HBA, HVL, HBF, and other organizations clerked for a great judge on the Second Circuit, Charles Clark, who in our community. Our family has always taken the view that this job had been dean of Yale Law School. I had the privilege of being his only can provide so much in terms of a good living and interesting people to student. I started work at Vinson & Elkins working with David Searls, work with. Giving back to the community, working with those interestwho was one the greatest trial lawyers I have ever seen. In my first four ing people to help others, and maintaining professionalism, even when years, we went to trial in Albuquerque, Washington, New York City, the going gets rough, are all essential to making this job everything it and Houston in antitrust cases. He taught me to treat everyone in the can be. I am grateful that my family’s ethos made all of that seem like courthouse with respect, from elevator operators to sitting judges, and the way things naturally ought to be. to always tell him when I disagreed with him. And to never make assertions that would lead a judge to question the good faith of my factual Macey Reasoner Stokes: I was fortunate to grow up in a family that has assertions or interpretations of a case. I was fortunate to work on approvided several role models for how to practice law with integrity and peals with Charles Alan Wright, whom Justice Ginsburg spoke of as a professionalism. Chief among them are my mother’s father, Gus Hodges, colossus in the law. He taught me a great deal about appeals (although and my father, both of whom held themselves to the highest professional he finally despaired of teaching me the “that/ which” distinction). standards and taught me that the privilege of practicing law carries with And I was fortunate to be with a law firm which believed in pro it the duty of public service. I’ve tried (though often failed) to emulate bono work. Vinson & Elkins supported me and my colleagues in that ideal in my career, reminding myself to find time for pro bono and representing the inmates of the Texas prison system as a class for thirty bar service despite the pressing demands of a big firm law practice. I years through three trials and appeals and serving as an ombudsman served as chair of the State Bar of Texas Appellate Section and president for enforcement of prisoners’ First Amendment rights to write confiof both the Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit and the Texas Sudential letters to their attorneys, receive books, and write to the press. preme Court Historical Society. I supervise younger lawyers at my firm We represented the University of Texas School of Law pro bono in the in their various appellate pro bono representations, which I recommend Hopwood case defending its use of affirmative action in its admission to anyone just starting out in their careers for the unique opportunities policies in spite of it being controversial. And they have supported my for “first-chair” courtroom advocacy that it can provide. And I represent serving on the Texas Access to Justice Commission for over 15 years. the Texas Access to Justice Commission and Foundation, organizations Pro bono work has been one the most rewarding parts of practicing that play a vital role in ensuring access to our justice system for lowlaw for me. (I did do a fair amount of profitable litigation on the side). income Texans. My time with the appellate bar and these pro bono matFinally, I have been blessed with my brilliant wife, Macey, who has ters has provided some of the most rewarding experiences of my career patiently read my draft briefs in spite of the demands of her own career and introduced me to some of the best lawyers (and people) I know. as an employment and training expert and service on innumerable

May/June 2022


The Rosson Family transplants in both of their immediate families. First, Margot’s Margot Treviño Rosson is a trial lawyer with Williams Hart father, Michael, received a liver transplant in November 2014 Boundas Easterby LLP. Her practice centers around mass tort, following a liver cancer diagnosis. The Friday before Thanksproducts liability, and personal injury litigation. Over the last giving 2014, Charles had decade, Margot has repreasked Margot’s parents, Ilsented children and adults eana and Michael, to lunch who have been injured by to tell them he intended to pharmaceutical drugs and propose. That same night, other products, or in cataMichael received the call strophic incidents. Margot that he had a donor match. recently joined the Houston Charles proposed to MarBar Foundation Board of Digot on Thanksgiving 2014 rectors. She was previously in the historic part of Meco-chair of the Houston Bar morial Hermann Hospital Association’s Habitat for Hutwo days after Michael remanity Committee and has ceived his new liver. Next, also volunteered with the Leimmediately following galLine. Margot also serves their October 2015 wedas a member of the board of ding, Charles’ father, Larry, the Will Erwin Headache Rereceived a kidney transsearch Foundation, which is Margot and Charles with Lucia and Sebastian. plant after his life-long batdedicated to funding research tle with kidney disease. Larry’s new kidney came from a beto cure headache pain disorders. nevolent donor – someone who chooses to anonymously give Charles Rosson is a partner with Gibbs & Bruns LLP. He bea kidney to someone in need. Followgan his career at Vinson & Elkins LLP, and his practice focuses ing Larry’s transplant, Charles’ mother, on complex commercial litigation of energy and financial transBeverly, became a benevolent (and treactions. For the past five years, Charles has been on the board mendously grateful) donor for another of directors of Vecino Health Centers, an organization dedicated Both Margot person in need. (Readers, if you aren’t to providing quality health care accessible and sustainable to the medically underserved. and Charles already, please consider becoming an come from organ donor.) Margot and Charles are eternally Margot and Charles: Margot and Charles first met in Spanish families grateful to those donors for giving the class in high school—she attended St. Agnes Academy, and he Strake Jesuit. The two remained friends while attending colof advocates, gift of life to their parents. They witleges thousands of miles apart. both inside and nessed the impact of chronic illness on their families and how much advocacy The law brought them back to Houston by the fall of 2010. outside of the and compassion by caregivers and famCharles had recently passed the bar and started his legal calegal field.” ily members on behalf of their fathers reer at Vinson & Elkins. Margot was a second-year law student made a difference in the process. Their at South Texas College of Law Houston. The two reconnected parents and extended family continue to serve as an inspiration when Charles was asked to judge a round of a moot court tourin their commitment to helping other transplant recipients and nament at the law school. (Margot and her teammate ended up those in need of a transplant. Margot and Charles have made semifinalists, but Charles did not judge any of their rounds!) a lifetime commitment to not only advocating for their clients, Both Margot and Charles come from families of advocates, but also those who need help or access to health care. both inside and outside of the legal field. From an early age, The biggest blessings and source of joy in Margot and both were taught that words matter and the importance of Charles’ lives are their children, Lucia (3) and Sebastian (1), standing up for truth and fairness. Margot’s family was known and dogs, Teddy (known to his friends as “Pancake”) and Elsa. for having a dictionary near the dinner table. If a word was When they are not working, you’ll find them learning about used that no one could provide a definition for, someone was animals at the Houston Zoo or chasing their kids at a local tasked with looking it up. park. They look forward to teaching their children about the Advocacy has been particularly important to their families importance of advocating for others and giving back to their as it relates to health care and living with chronic disease. community. Their engagement and marriage were book-ended by organ



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The Vick Family hard to eat dinner together as a family every night we can. We Bridget Vick is a partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, where both have very full schedules and demands on our time, and she practices complex commercial litigation with an emphasis on this often means we make up time after the kids go to bed, representing insurers, employers, and administrators in the manor extra early the next day. But we aged care industry before state and make it a priority to spend daily unfederal courts, and arbitration associinterrupted time with our boys. ations. Bridget is the 2021-2022 chair of the HBA Litigation Section, and the Bridget: The kids hear a lot about former chair of the State Bar of Texas practicing law at home, especially Women in the Profession Committee. when we were all home together in Gabe Vick is a partner at Gray 2020! They know much more than I Reed, where he practices complex did at that age. They will often ask, business litigation advising clients “Did you talk to the judge today?” or across various industries, including “Did you file the motion to dismiss?” energy, construction, manufacturWe also answer a lot of questions ing, and financial services. Gabe is like “What is mediation?” or “What a former chair of the HBA Litigation is a summer associate?” Section, former member of a Texas Law and community service is a Pattern Jury Charges committee, and family affair for the Vicks. Gabe’s recently finished his term on the South grandfather, Gabe T. Vick Sr., was Texas College of Law Houston Alumni a lawyer in Weatherford, Texas and Association Board. served as the county judge in Parker Gabe and Bridget met while in law County. Following those footsteps, school at South Texas College of Law Gabe’s father, Tom Vick, is a lawyer Houston, where they both served on in Weatherford, where he served as the school’s Law Review and Board the mayor at 27. Tom served on the of Advocates. Both competed for the Weatherford ISD School Board and law school’s nationally-ranked Advowent on to serve in various Texas Bar cacy Program and won mock trial and organizations, including as the chair moot court national championships. Bridget and Gabe Vick with their children. of the Texas Bar Foundation Board of Trustees and the 137th After graduation, they remained involved in the law school’s adpresident of the State Bar of Texas. vocacy program and coached several advocacy teams together. Gabe and Bridget were married in Gabe: My father taught me at a young age that being a lawyer 2011 and have two boys, Thomas (8) is a noble profession, the purpose of which is to serve othin second grade and Harrison (5) in ers. When I was about 8 years old, I remember going with my pre-kindergarten. When Gabe and dad to the courthouse, watching him, and asking him what Bridget are not practicing law, you I view our will most likely find them on Houston’s lawyers do. His response was that lawyers help other people. profession That sense of service was evident in the way he handled his hike and bike trails or at the baseball as a practice, and still is today. As a result, the desire to be involved fields, where Gabe coaches their boys’ means and give back has always been second nature to me. Generally, baseball teams. I view our profession as a means by which we may positively by which impact the lives of others. Bridget: Our life requires us to be we may flexible. We regularly have long days, positively late nights, and travel, which means we both pick up the laboring oar at impact the Enhance Your Practice home when necessary. Lucky for me, lives of Gabe is my biggest cheerleader and a others.” great partner.


Gabe: Bridget makes our household run seamlessly. Fortunately for me and the boys, Bridget loves to cook and we try

Try the HBAadvantage

May/June 2022



Jonathan Havens

“Being a veteran means that I served my country, and I would gladly do it over again.” –Jonathan Havens


By Elizabeth Bruman

present, positive, and prepared regardless of rank. • Disciplined action trumps uncertainty. Uncertainty is everpresent in combat and often present in legal cases. A natural reaction to uncertainty is inaction. Disciplined action, however, allows you to keep working toward a goal through the haze of uncertainty.

rom the time he was a young child, Jonathan Havens, better known as “Jonny,” was drawn to serving in the United States Army. Jonny grew up in a patriotic home and was raised to believe deeply in the importance of The veteran community remains near and dear to Jonny’s service. He grew up appreciating the life that he had and heart. He tries to honor the actions and sacrifices of veterans he the fact that many had given served with through his service to the veteran community. After their all to secure this life for his service, Jonny has remained involved in military and veteranhim. This knowledge and apbased initiatives, causes, and community concerns. He currently preciation helped pave the way serves on the board of directors for Combined Arms, a nonprofit for his decision to serve and that leverages technology and relationships to connect veterfulfill his childhood dream ans and their families to resources of being an infantry platoon across the nation. Jonny also serves leader. as co-chair of the Houston Bar AsJonny served in the U.S. sociation’s Military & Veterans Army from 2005-2010. During Committee, which brings military, his time in the service, he was veterans, and supporters together to able to work with extraordinary men and women share camaraderie and to serve the who also valued serving others and protecting community. their country. He earned two Bronze Star medals, The transition from military to one for each of his deployments to Iraq. He earned veteran can be fraught with uncera Ranger tab, a Combat Infantryman Badge, and an tainty and risk. While most veterans Iraq Campaign Medal, among other honors, badgmake the transition successfully, a es, and awards. Jonny chose the Army because it few veterans get lost. These lost vetoffered the best opportunities to develop leadererans leave a military life that has ship and to serve our country. He also served an structure and purpose and arrive to additional three years in the National Guard while a world without structure or purhe was in law school. pose. Jonny worries about these lost Jonny Havens with his daughter, Katie. Jonny says that his military service transformed veterans that have given so much to him from a child to an adult. There are too many lessons and their country, which is why he is so passionate about continuing skills that he gained from his service to list, but he provided exto serve for them. amples of some of the most important lessons: Recently, Jonny was accepted into the U.S. Army Reserves as • Preparation is key. Your preparation and your team’s prepaa judge advocate general. He is still in-processing, but looks forration are about the only things you can control in combat ward to continuing his military service on a part-time basis. or when practicing law. The unexpected often happens in Jonny has been a licensed attorney since 2013 and is a partcombat and in litigation, which makes preparation more ner with Allen & Havens, LLP. His practice is personal injury/ important, not less important. By ensuring you and your wrongful death, bad-faith insurance, and business contingency team are prepared, you maximize the chances of a favorable fee litigation. outcome in combat or in the courtroom. • Lead wherever you are. Whether you are the highest-rankElizabeth Bruman is the managing attorney for The Law Office ing person in the room or the lowest ranking, you can posiof Elizabeth Bruman, P.C., which focuses on civil appeals and tively influence an outcome through leadership. A leader is commercial and consumer litigation. 40

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Randall B. “Randy” Clark

ing his time in the Reserve, Randy authored numerous legal advisory opinions for the Air Force Board for the Correction of Military Records, served as legal advocate for the Air Force Physical Evaluation Board, served as principal legal advisor for multiple matters By Anietie Akpan related to personnel issues in the Air Force, prosecuted in front highly decorated U.S. Air Force veteran whose name in of courts-martial and administrative discharge boards, and was a the Houston community has become synonymous with defense advocate regarding EEO complaints. He retired in 2003, veteran volunteerism, Randall B. “Randy” Clark exempliearning the rank of colonel (and was also selected for promotion to fies true servant leadership – he is selfless, empathetic, brigadier general). and resolute. During Randy’s distinguished decades-long military career, he Licensed to practice law in Arkansas in 1979 and in Texas in was awarded the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal 1982, Randy has practiced across a wide with two oak leaf clusters, and the Air Force Commendation Medal. spectrum of legal areas, including title Since leaving the military, Randy has sustained robust engageinsurance defense, personal injury dement with veterans’ issues. He has served as the supervising atfense, commercial litigation, real estate torney for Houston Volunteer Lawyers’ Veterans Legal Initiative, litigation and criminal law. which provides free legal advice and legal representation to U.S. Before he commenced his illustrious veterans. Over the years, Randy has maintained his own pro bono legal career and received his innumerable practice representing veterans in VA dismilitary honors, Randy first served as a ability benefits cases. Moreover, this past page for the United States Congress for three years, bar year, Randy served as co-chair of the being only one of nineteen pages to graduate from Houston Bar Association’s Military & Vetthe Capitol Page School in the Library of Congress in erans Committee, in which he and his fel1969. Inspired by his father, who served in the United low co-chairs – Rick Houghton and Jonny States Army and retired as a lieutenant colonel, RanHavens – were recognized with a Presidy then enrolled in the renowned Citadel in Charlesdent’s Award by 2021-2022 HBA President ton, South Carolina, graduating with a commission Jennifer A. Hasley for their leadership in as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force promoting collegiality among attorneys in 1973. He served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force who have served in the military and enuntil he was honorably discharged in 1983. couraging public awareness of veterans’ “During my time in the Air Force, I served as a misissues. Some of those very serious issues sile launch crew commander in Titan II ICBM [ininclude post-traumatic stress disorder, tercontinental ballistic missile] system for six years,” Randy Clark was a 2021-2022 co-chair of the traumatic brain injuries, and suicide rates, shared Randy. “I also served as a judge advocate for HBA Military & Veterans Committee with Jonny which are extraordinarily high among four years until I left active duty.” Havens (center) and Rick Houghton (right). veterans. “Studies have shown that veterServing as a JAG provided Randy invaluable adans are at 50% higher risk of suicide than their peers who have not vanced trial skills very early in his career: “When I transitioned to served,” explained Randy, “This concerns me personally.” the civil practice of law, I found that my contemporaries had just In reflecting on what being a veteran means to him, Randy shares started learning about the discovery process. I was years ahead in that it means living by the core values of the U.S. Air Force: “Integmy trial advocacy skills.” rity first: an airman is a person of integrity, courage and conviction; Randy further explained that the U.S. Air Force has a leadership Service before self: an airman’s professional duties take precedence training trajectory for all its future leaders. There’s the Squadron Ofover personal desires; and, excellence in all we do.” ficer School, as well as the Air Command and Staff College. And With his spirit of volunteerism and distinguished legal and milifor those who wish to progress to senior leadership, there’s the Air tary careers, it is more than evident that Randy gracefully personiWar College, of which Randy was a graduate. “They train leaders fies these values. throughout your career,” explained Randy, “Managing people is a very different skill set from practicing law.” Anietie Akpan is the editor in chief of The Houston Lawyer. Randy subsequently joined the Air Force Reserve upon leaving She is staff counsel for the Metropolitan Transit Authority of active duty in 1983, where he served for the next twenty years. DurHarris County, Texas (METRO). “Being a veteran to me means to live the Air Force core values: Integrity First. Service Before Self. Excellence in All We Do.” –Randall B. “Randy” Clark


May/June 2022



Rick Houghton

“To me, being a veteran means having had the privilege to serve with the best team in the world and having a community of veterans to lean on and engage with now that I’m out of the Army.” -Rick Houghton By Kristen Lee


ick Houghton’s commitment to the veteran community is likely unmatched among young lawyers. He co-chairs the Military & Veterans committees for both the Houston Bar Association and the Houston Young Lawyers Association. “Although these committees fall under distinct entities, they often work in tandem and for a great cause: veterans in need,” shared Rick. “They provide networking opportunities for veteran lawyers and attorneys who are interested in military and veterans’ issues.” He also participates in the Veterans Leadership Development Group, a professional network and community for post-9/11 veterans – a community to which he belongs. Prior to joining Smyser Kaplan & Veselka, LLP as an associate practicing commercial litigation and white-collar criminal defense, Rick graduated with honors from the United States Military Academy at West Point and served as a U.S. Army officer for six years in a variety of domestic and overseas assignments, including as the commander of an air defense artillery training battery at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He’s also a Meritorious Service Medal recipient. “To me, being a veteran means having had the privilege to serve with the best team in the world and having a community of veterans to lean on and engage with now that I’m out of the Army,” he shared. “I’m no longer serving in the Army, but I look fondly on my time in uniform and am extremely grateful to those who currently serve. I also enjoy meeting and spending time with other veterans. That’s what drives me to be involved.” 42

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Rick’s commitment to veterans is rooted in family—all of his three siblings served in the Army, and one is still in the active-duty military. His commitment to veterans is further rooted in his desire to ensure veterans face fewer obstacles in their transition to civilian life—and that they are plugged into a community who can support them in myriad ways. “Veterans sacrifice so much for us, and they sometimes face significant challenges after military service—whether due to a service-connected injury, difficulty transitioning to civilian life, or otherwise,” he explained. “Some sources report that military suicides (active duty and veteran populations) reached a devastating high in 2021. This is a sobering, dire, and multi-faceted tragedy that requires attention from the bar, veterans organizations, and government at all levels.” On his way to taking up these leadership roles in the Houston veteran community, Rick earned a master’s degree in history from the University of Oxford. At Harvard Law School, he was the executive submissions editor of the Harvard Business Law Review and a board member of the Harvard Association of Law and Business. His educational and military experience continues to pay dividends. “The most important skills I gained are teamwork, discipline, and professionalism,” he said. “Like when I was in the Army, I’m lucky to now work with a great team at Smyser Kaplan & Veselka. I also try to bring the structure that I learned in the military to my practice and treat everyone with whom I interact—opposing counsel, the court, staff, colleagues— with dignity and respect.” Kristen Lee is a senior policy advisor in the office of Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia.

A Profile

in pro f e s s i o n a l i s m


Tom Wright Founding Partner, Wright Close & Barger, LLP

ur experiences shape our attitudes. My first experience in private practice was on the case that yielded the biggest verdict of all time, and it later led to a 60 Minutes piece entitled Is Justice for Sale in Texas? We have come a long way since that era, haven’t we? The lead defense lawyer in that case, one of my mentors, used to say, “When you’re young, your parents tell you that cheaters never win. When you grow up you learn they win all the time.” That’s just depressing. But was he wrong? We have made a lot of progress in restoring integrity to the system, and yet the profession is still plagued by lawyers who denigrate our profession. How? By abusing litigants and fellow members of the bar, by trading on improper influence, and by treating the practice of law as though it were some tawdry contest for money instead of a quest for justice. Sure, there are many fine lawyers on both sides of the docket that follow the rules and practice ethically. They are seldom the ones you hear about. As I write this, our society is reeling from unbearable violence that makes mere incivility pale by comparison. And yet, we are obliged to improve our profession and stop —or at least slow—the long slide downward. How do we do that? Return to the basics: follow the rules, treat judges with the respect their office deserves, advocate zealously within the bounds of the law, report those who abuse the rules or the system, don’t insult lawyers or litigants, and, as the Good Book says, “Do not grow weary in doing good.” That’s a tall order; but the privilege of being lawyers demands that we regain and maintain the respect of the society we serve.

May/June 2022



A Voice for the Voiceless:


The Houston Lawyer

By Anuj Shah

E. Derick Mendoza, Esq.

reams often start when we’re young. An experience, perhaps imperceptible at the time, affects us in our youth, only to reignite years later. For Derick Mendoza, a partner at Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP, he remembers feeling a strong fascination with big cats like lions and tigers when he was 7 years old. It was a “cool thing,” to be sure, but there was more. The seemingly contradictory qualities of these animals’ sheer majesty, coupled with an almost indiscernible fragility, captivated Derick and planted a seed that would burgeon decades later. Derick’s experiences as a boy were not far from his mind. In fact, Derick briefly considered a career in more “nature-centered” fields, such as wildlife and marine biology, as an undergraduate. Like most, though, he got “practical.” In 2016, however, his early enthrallment with the big cats was revivified when Derick happened to see a television story about tigers endangered in the wild. That report spurred Derick to go beyond being an armchair admirer of the big cats and to want to truly make a difference for these awe-inspiring creatures. While donating money was the most obvious and accessible choice, Derick yearned for more. He charted a course of research and investigation and learned, to start, that one could actually “adopt” some of these endangered creatures (or, rather, sponsor specific animals) and help increase the quality of their lives. Derick’s sense of purpose grew. He realized he didn’t have to be a biology, wildlife, or marine science major to be involved 44

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in these animals’ lives in a meaningful way. But that was only the beginning. The more he explored, the more he heard about the abuse of animals in such arenas as circuses and zoos. While people see the glamorous side of these attractions, Derick was disheartened to learn that many animals used in entertainment can be the subjects of abuse—chained up, drugged, improperly cared for, and generally mistreated. This spurred Derick to another level. He started looking for accredited sanctuaries for big cats, found Big Cat Rescue (of Tiger King fame), and adopted a beautiful, oneeyed Siberian tiger named Zeus. As the months passed, Derick became increasingly galvanized and continued his quest to find other sanctuaries, particularly where petting the animals and other gimmicks were not allowed. He eschewed “transactional” sanctuaries, where the animals were chained, their movements restricted, and where revenue generation (such as allowing people to pay to take selfies with the animals) outweighed the animals’ interests. Instead, Derick gravitated towards sanctuaries, where the safety, well-being, and care for the animals were paramount. Derick learned that he was a true animal lover at heart, and he increasingly wanted to advocate for the protection of these creatures. As a result, Derick’s involvement continued to expand. He soon volunteered at sanctuaries as far West as California (at the Lions Tigers & Bears sanctuary) and as far East as Florida (the Big Cat Rescue sanctuary). Derick had found his calling. Through his fondness, and ultimately, his deep reverence for these nonhuman creatures, he became a “voice for the voiceless.” As he explains, “These animals are dominated, forced to be in captivity, abused. They don’t have the choices we do. They don’t have the voice, and we do…” Anuj Shah is board certified in Immigration & Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board.

SECTION spotlight

Taxation Section:


Going Hybrid and Working Together

By Glynn Nance and Buddy Sanders

he HBA Taxation Section has historically held a monthly tax luncheon at Brennan’s, a restaurant in the Midtown Houston area, where we have invited a speaker to address the group on a hot tax topic. However, when the pandemic hit in March of 2020 and everything shut down, our tax luncheons, much like all other HBA section luncheons, were cancelled through the rest of that fiscal year. During the 2020-2021 bar year, our monthly meetings were held exclusively online as tax seminars during the lunch hour, with no inperson meetings. However, while many of the other HBA sections continued to meet online for the 2021-2022 bar year, the Taxation Section decided to go hybrid - both online and meeting in-person for lunch at Brennan’s. It has proved to be a success as some members were still concerned about getting together due to COVID concerns, while others missed the interaction and wanted to meet in-person again. This satisfied both. The hybrid meeting format was initially a challenge as the audio/video feed on Zoom was not working well for those watching on their computer, and there was a distracting echo for those attending in-person. Additionally, our other concern with this hybrid format was that most people would choose the easy approach and watch the program online to avoid the hassles of driving to the restaurant or continue working at their desks. However, we charged every member the same fee, whether they attended the meeting in-person and received a lunch at Brennan’s, or chose to watch it online without a lunch, which resulted in approximately 90% of the partici-

pants attending in-person. Additionally, we have noticed that many of our members engage in multiple areas of the law, not just tax. For example, some of our members are with small firms, where the member might be both the tax specialist and the M&A transactions attorney. To address this, we have decided to consider combining some of our lunch meetings with other HBA sections. This year, the Taxation Section had its first foray into joining forces with another HBA section through a joint luncheon with the HBA Mergers and Acquisitions Section on May 18. The luncheon focused on project financing structuring on renewable energy, including the tax benefits relating thereto. This hybrid luncheon was also the first in-person luncheon by the HBA Merger and Acquisition Section since the pandemic and has helped them transition back to in-person lunches, at least in part. The HBA Taxation Section hopes to expand on this experience and reach out to other HBA sections that would be open to having joint section meetings, while also still entertaining the option of such luncheons being hybrid. Glynn Nance is the 2021-2022 vice chair of the HBA Taxation Section and is a founding partner at Nance & Simpson, L.L.P. Mr. Nance has been practicing law for over 28 years. Buddy Sanders is the 2021-2022 chair of the HBA Taxation Section and a partner at Locke Lord LLP. Mr. Sanders has been practicing law for over 27 years, starting out as a tax attorney with the Office of Chief Counsel for the IRS.

May/June 2022


Committee spotlight

HBA Golf Tournament Enjoys a Beautiful Day on the Course


The Houston Lawyer

By Kenneth Krock

n April 7, the Houston Bar Association held its 74th Annual Golf Tournament at Wildcat Golf Club. The tournament was completely sold out, with 144 registered golfers enjoying a beautiful day playing the club’s Lakes Course. The Golf Tournament, which is put on entirely through the HBA Golf Tournament Committee and its volunteers, raises money for charities through sponsorships, individual and team registrations, and donations. The proceeds of this year’s Golf Tournament benefited the Houston Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the HBA which supports programs that provide legal representation to the indigent, promote community understanding of our legal system, and foster the administration of justice. This year, the tournament raised over $32,000 net for the Houston Bar Foundation, the second-highest in the recorded history of the tournament. Since 1995, the HBA Golf Tournament has raised over $400,000 for the Houston Bar Foundation and other charities. Participants played an 18-hole round in a four-person team scramble format with both longest drive and closest-to-the-pin contests, as well as certain prize holes, including one that offered a chance to win a trip to play the famed Pebble Beach course in California. This year’s tournament also included two holes with celebrity golfers, where teams could improve their overall score on the hole through additional donations. Contest winners, as well as first-, second-, and third-place teams, were awarded at the awards dinner at the conclusion of


May/June 2022

the tournament. A boxed lunch and dinner were included in the cost of registration, as well as a raffle to win numerous door prizes donated by sponsors. Tournament sponsors included Baker Botts L.L.P; Consilio; FTI Consulting; and Vinson & Elkins LLP. Other sponsors included Rapp & Krock, PC; Caroline Mediation Center; Beck Redden LLP; Jim Adler & Associates; Locke Lord LLP; Christian Levine Law Group, LLC; the Potts Law Firm; Gray Reed; Esquire; Cruver, Robbins, & Fu, LLP; Olson & Olson LLP; Link Mediation LLC; and numerous hole and giveaway sponsors. The 2021-2022 HBA Golf Tournament Committee co-chairs were myself, Ryan Kinder, and Jeff McPhaul. We were among this year’s President’s Award re[Top] Kenneth Krock (right) served on the cipients for outstanding 2021-2022 HBA Golf Tournament Committee with co-chairs Ryan Kinder of Bradley Arant service. Boult Cummings LLP (left) and Jeff McPhaul More information of Locke Lord LLP (center). about this year’s tourna[Center] The 74th Annual Golf Tournament raised over $32,000 net for the Houston Bar ment is available at hba. Foundation, the third-highest in the recorded org. Please check back history of the tournament. [Bottom] Kenneth Krock (right) pictured with for information on next co-chair Ryan Kinder at the 74th Annual Golf year’s event.


Kenneth Krock is one of the 2021-2022 co-chairs for the HBA Golf Tournament Committee, one of next year’s co-chairs for this committee, and a shareholder in the business law firm Rapp & Krock, PC, where he leads the litigation and creditor rights group for the firm.

May/June 2022



Concurrent Cause – the Potential for Sweeping Change in Texas Insurance Law


The Houston Lawyer

By Valerie Henderson and Judson Mahan

ne of the first things any law student learns is that a plaintiff in most civil cases must prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence. However, this simple rule turns out not to be so simple in the context of the concurrent cause doctrine within the world of Texas insurance law. Under current Texas law, the doctrine of concurrent causes provides, when covered and non-covered perils combine to create a loss, the insured is entitled to recover only that portion of the damage caused solely by the covered peril.1 Moreover, the insured has the burden to present some evidence affording the jury a reasonable basis on which to allocate the damage.2 This has long been the law in Texas. The Supreme Court of Texas was set to consider Frymire Home Servs., Inc. v. Ohio Sec. Ins. Co. this past year, which would have transformed the concurrent cause doctrine, until it was dismissed in December after a settlement was reached. In Frymire, the insurer claimed the insured bore the burden to segregate the damages to their roof between hail damage and non-covered wear and tear. The case was appealed to the Fifth Circuit, which questioned whether this case would trigger the concurrent cause doctrine under Texas law because of the nature of wear and tear damages.3 To gain further clarification on this issue, the Fifth Circuit 48

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certified three novel questions to the Supreme Court of Texas: 1. Whether the concurrent cause doctrine applies where there is any noncovered damage, including “wear and tear” to an insured property, but such damage does not directly cause the particular loss eventually experienced by plaintiffs; 2. If so, whether plaintiffs alleging that their loss was entirely caused by a single, covered peril bear the burden of attributing losses between that peril and other non-covered or excluded perils that plaintiffs contend did not cause the particular loss; and, 3. If so, whether plaintiffs can meet that burden with evidence indicating that the covered peril caused the entirety of the loss (this is, by implicitly attributing one hundred percent of the loss to that peril). Although other cases in Texas have addressed similar issues regarding the concurrent cause doctrine, none have answered how a claim becomes subject to the concurrent cause doctrine or whether the presence of any preexisting damage necessarily triggers the doctrine. Since the Supreme Court of Texas dismissed the case, we must continue waiting to obtain concrete answers to these questions. However, if and when these questions present themselves again, a ruling could dramatically change the landscape of Texas insurance law. As the Fifth Circuit noted, there will almost always be some sort of pre-existing condition that may fall under a policy exclusion, such as wear and tear. If the Supreme Court of Texas were to determine that these types of non-covered damages do not trigger the concurrent cause doctrine, or that the doctrine is triggered but the insured does not have a duty to establish the loss is attributed to a covered peril, the burden would essentially inverse itself onto the insurers to prove the percentage of

the damage due to the non-covered peril, which would be a substantial change in Texas insurance law. While damages like wear and tear may not directly attribute to the loss itself, a weathered roof would still be a contributing cause for property to be prone to damage from weather-related events and should be considered in awarding damages under Texas law as it currently stands. Furthermore, while an insured may assert a loss was caused by a single covered peril, this will almost never be the case with wear and tear because almost all property, even new, likely suffers some amount of wear and tear. New precedent allowing an insured to meet their burden of proving their damages by attributing 100% of the loss to an insured peril without consideration for other damages, such as wear and tear, would significantly decrease the burden on insureds to prove their damages and seemingly directly contradict Texas law as it currently stands. But then the question remains, from a practical standpoint, how could an insured allocate a percentage of damage to a non-covered peril that, alone, did not produce any noticeable loss until it was combined with a covered peril? Hopefully we will have our answer sooner rather than later. Until then, one thing is certain—this decision, no matter the outcome, will likely have a paramount impact on how insurance claims are litigated in Texas going forward. Valerie Henderson is a shareholder in the Houston office of Baker Donelson who regularly represents insurance carriers regarding first-party residential and commercial property claims. Judson Mahan is a litigation associate in the Houston office of Baker Donelson. Endnotes

1. Wallis v. United Serv. Auto. Ass’n, 2 S.W.3d 300, 303 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 1999, no pet.). 2. Lyons v. Millers Casualty Insurance Co. of Texas, 866 S.W.2d 597, 601 (Tex. 1993). 3. Frymire Home Servs., Inc. v. Ohio Sec. Ins. Co., 12 F.4th 467, 471 (5th Cir. 2021).

Equal Access Champions The firms and corporations listed below have agreed to assume a leadership role in providing equal access to justice for all Harris County citizens. Each has made a commitment to provide representation in a certain number of cases through the Houston Volunteers Lawyers. Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP Baker Botts L.L.P. BakerHostetler LLP Beck Redden LLP Blank Rome LLP Bracewell LLP Law Office of David Hsu Brogden and Associates CenterPoint Energy, Inc. Chamberlain Hrdlicka Chevron USA Dentons US LLP The Ericksen Law Firm Eversheds Sutherland US LLP Exxon Mobil Corporation Fleurinord Law PLLC Foley & Lardner LLP Frye and Benavidez, PLLC Fuqua & Associates, P.C. Gibbs & Bruns LLP Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Gray Reed Greenberg Traurig, LLP Halliburton Energy Hasley Scarano, L.L.P. Haynes and Boone, L.L.P. Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP Jackson Walker L.L.P. Jenkins & Kamin, L.L.P. The Jurek Law Group, PLLC Katine & Nechman L.L.P. Kean Miller LLP Law Firm of Min Gyu Kim PLLC

King & Spalding LLP KoonsFuller, P.C. The LaFitte Law Group, PLLC Kirkland & Ellis LLP Locke Lord LLP LyondellBasell Industries Martin R.G. Marasigan Law Offices Marathon Oil Company McDowell & Hetherington LLP McGarvey PLLC Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart P.C. Rita Pattni, Attorney at Law Law Office of Robert E. Price Rapp & Krock, PC Reed Smith LLP Royston, Rayzor, Vickery & Williams, LLP Sanchez Law Firm Shell Oil Company Shortt & Nguyen, P.C. Sidley Austin LLP Angela Solice, Attorney at Law Sorrels Law Squire Patton Boggs Diane C. Treich, Attorney at Law Law Office of Norma Levine Trusch Vinson & Elkins LLP Weycer, Kaplan, Pulaski & Zuber, P.C. Law Office of Cindi L. Wiggins, J.D. Wilson, Cribbs, & Goren, P.C. Winstead PCWinston & Strawn LLP Yetter Coleman LLP

May/June 2022


Media Reviews

The Inclusive Leader: Taking Intentional Action for Justice and Equity By Dr. Artika R. Tyner Published by the American Bar Association Reviewed by Anietie Akpan

Diversity. Equity. Inclusion. n light of the racial reckoning of the summer of 2020, the omnipresence of these three words is undeniable. They have been used as metaphoric bricks to build overdue institutional changes in our legislation, in policies implemented to create more transparency and accountability between law enforcement and the communities they serve, and in the corporate commitments to support the needs of people of color in the legal profession. Racial inequities have long been enmeshed in the fabric of our nation. Though the anti-racism town halls and social justice protests have been integral to effectuating systemic change over the past two years, it is important to remember that change begins within by educating oneself on how oppressive systems operate. Condemning racial inequities is easy, but being a true ally requires time and research. In her book, The Inclusive Leader: Taking Intentional Action for Justice and Equity, Dr. Artika R. Tyner explains the significance of redefining leadership through an allyship lens, noting that the future

The Houston Lawyer



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of leadership must focus on leveraging one’s ability to “influence people from a range of different backgrounds, build multicultural organizational cultures, and unleash vibrant thought processes to achieve a collective vision.” She provides a practical framework for building these essential leadership tools (rooted in the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion), by outlining four stages of learning: intrapersonal, interpersonal, organizational, and societal. “The first person you lead is yourself,” is how the first chapter of the book— highlighting the significance of intrapersonal learning—begins. Here, Dr. Tyner discusses how our leadership story is shaped by our experiences encompassed in “cultural dimensions” of race, age, ethnicity, and gender. Effective leaders, she explains, are able to explore the multidimensional nature of their own story while affirming the cultural experiences of others. This includes robust self-examination of our implicit biases and privileges. The chapter ends with reflective journal questions (“How does privilege impact your leadership story? What strategies do you use to get out of your comfort zone?”) and quotes to inspire from historical social justice thought leaders and a robust list of additional DEI resources for reference and additional reading. Such is the blueprint for the remaining chapters: while the first chapter focused on the intrapersonal (engaging in self-discovery), the remaining chapters focus on the interpersonal (building authentic relationships with others), the organizational (establishing strategic outcomes and promoting equity), and the societal (developing sustainable, durable solutions). Together, these four important puzzle pieces create the framework for building the type of leadership that


creates healthy workplace relations and positive morale and fosIn her book... ters multicultural Dr. Artika R. teams. The Inclusive Tyner explains Leader is a great the significance primer for anyone who seeks to of redefining understand what leadership racial and social justice-informed through an leadership is, and allyship lens.” the steps needed to successfully build those leadership skills. The only ingredient I’d say was missing from this great book is the important discussion about being performative (this is not a critique of the author as the DEI space is so vast. No one book could cover everything). This book provides comprehensive steps about how to effectuate change from the individual to institutional level; however, I have been in spaces where leadership has attempted to establish DEI initiatives, but would still engage in microaggressions, use people of color as “decorative set pieces” in marketing materials during Black History Month, and so forth. A discussion about “performative” DEI initiatives and examples of the same would have fully closed the loop on how to advance racial and social equity in the workplace and beyond. Anietie Akpan is the editor in chief of The Houston Lawyer. She is staff counsel for the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas (METRO).

Enhance Your Practice Try the HBA advantage

Join the HBA 100 Club! TThe Houston Bar Association 100 Club is a special category of membership that indicates a commitment to the advancement of the legal profession and the betterment of the community. The following law firms, government agencies, law schools, and corporate legal departments with five or more attorneys have become members of the 100 Club by enrolling 100 percent of their attorneys as members of the HBA. Firms of 5-24 Attorneys Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner Ajamie LLP Alvarez Stauffer Bremer PLLC Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC Berg & Androphy Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP Buck Keenan LLP Bush & Ramirez, PLLC Christian Levine Law Group, LLC Coats | Rose Crady, Jewett, McCulley & Houren, LLP De Lange Hudspeth McConnell & Tibbets LLP Dentons US LLP Devlin Naylor & Turbyfill PLLC Dobrowski, Larkin & Stafford, L.L.P. Doyle Restrepo Harvin & Robbins LLP Ewing & Jones, PLLC Fisher & Phillips LLP Fizer Beck Webster Bentley & Scroggins Fogler, Brar, O’Neil & Gray LLP Frank, Elmore, Lievens, Slaughter & Turet, L.L.P. Funderburk Funderburk Courtois, LLP Germer PLLC Givens & Johnston PLLC Gordon Rees Scully & Mansukhani, LLP Hagans Montgomery Hagans Henke, Williams & Boll, LLP Hirsch & Westheimer, P.C. Holm | Bambace LLP Horne Rota Moos LLP Hughes, Watters & Askanase, L.L.P. Husch Blackwell LLP Irelan McDaniel, PLLC Jackson Lewis P.C. Jenkins & Kamin LLP Johnson DeLuca Kurisky & Gould, P.C. Jordan, Lynch & Cancienne PLLC

Kane Russell Coleman & Logan PC Kean | Miller LLP Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP KoonsFuller, PC Law Feehan Adams LLP Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP Lorance Thompson, P.C. Liskow & Lewis McGinnis Lochridge McGuireWoods LLP McKool Smith MehaffyWeber PC Morris Lendais Hollrah & Snowden Murrah & Killough, PLLC Nathan Sommers Jacobs PC Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart, P.C. Paranjpe Mahadass Ruemke LLP Peckar & Abramson, P.C. Phelps Dunbar LLP Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP Pipkin Ferguson PLLC Ramey, Chandler, Quinn & Zito, P.C. Rapp & Krock, PC Reynolds Frizzell LLP Roach & Newton, L.L.P. Ross Banks May Cron & Cavin PC Royston, Rayzor, Vickery & Williams, L.L.P. Rusty Hardin & Associates, P.C. Schirrmeister Diaz-Arrastia Brem LLP Schwartz, Page & Harding, L.L.P. Scott, Clawater & Houston, L.L.P. Shannon Martin Finkelstein Alvarado & Dunne, P.C. Shearman & Sterling LLP Shellist | Lazarz | Slobin LLP Shipley Snell Montgomery LLP Smith Murdaugh Little & Bonham LLP Sorrels Law Spencer Fane LLP Sponsel Miller Greenberg PLLC

Strong Pipkin Bissell & Ledyard LLP Stuart PC Taunton Snyder & Parish Taylor Book Allen & Morris Law Firm Thompson & Horton LLP Tindall England PC Tracey & Fox Law Firm Ware, Jackson, Lee, O’Neill, Smith & Barrow, LLP West Mermis, PLLC Weycer, Kaplan, Pulaski & Zuber, PC Williams Hart Boundas Easterby LLP Wilson Cribbs & Goren PC Wright Abshire, Attorneys, PC Wright Close & Barger, LLP Ytterberg Deery Knull LLP Zukowski, Bresenhan & Piazza L.L.P. Firms of 25-49 Attorneys Adams and Reese LLP Andrews Myers, P.C. Beck Redden LLP BoyarMiller Cokinos | Young Gibbs & Bruns LLP Hogan Lovells US LLP Littler Mendelson P.C. Martin, Disiere, Jefferson & Wisdom LLP McDowell & Hetherington LLP Yetter Coleman LLP

Susman Godfrey LLP Winstead PC Firms of 100+ Attorneys Baker Botts L.L.P. Bracewell LLP Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP Locke Lord LLP Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP Porter Hedges LLP Vinson & Elkins LLP Corporate Legal Departments CenterPoint Energy EOG Resources, Inc. MAXXAM, Inc. Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. Quantlab Financial, LLC Rice University S & B Engineers and Constructors, Ltd. Law School Faculty South Texas College of Law Houston Thurgood Marshall School of Law University of Houston Law Center

Firms of 50-99 Attorneys Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C. BakerHostetler LLP Brown Sims, P.C. Chamberlain Hrdlicka Greenberg Traurig, LLP Haynes and Boone, LLP Jackson Walker L.L.P. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Government Agencies Harris County Attorney’s Office Harris County Domestic Relations Office Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas Port of Houston Authority of Harris County, Texas 1st Court of Appeals 14th Court of Appeals

May/June 2022



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The Houston Lawyer

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May/June 2022

The Houston Lawyer was honored to receive several Stars of Texas Bars Awards at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting, June 9-10, 2022 • Best Overall Newsletter • Feature/Human Interest Story • News Article • Series of Articles - Feature/

General Interest

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