Sixth Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards Volunteering for the Vote Local Heroes The Best Kind of Lawyer: HBA Celebrates 25 Years Serving Special Olympics Law Week 2014 29th John J. Eikenburg Law Week Fun Run
Volume 51 â€“ Number 6
Karen Highfield Mark Gentry Christine Belcher Karnauch
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contents Volume 51 Number 6
FEATURES Harris County Bench Bar Pro 10 Sixth Bono Awards Presented May 1 By Tara Shockley
for the Vote 12 Volunteering By Taunya Painter
18 Local Heroes Best Kind of Lawyer: 29 The HBA Celebrates 25 Years Serving Special Olympics
By Demetri Economou and Bradford Crockard
Week Committee: 32 Law Serving Houston Year-Round By Suzanne Chauvin
Place Houston Bar Association 34 First Law Week Essay Contest John J. Eikenburg Law Week 36 29th Fun Run Benefits The Center
The Houston Lawyer
The Houston Lawyer (ISSN 0439-660X, U.S.P.S 008-175) is published bimonTHLy by The Houston Bar Association, 1111 Bagby Street, FLB 200, Houston, TX 77002. Periodical postage paid at Houston, Texas. Subscription rate: $12 for members. $25.00 non-members. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: The Houston Lawyer, 1111 Bagby Street, FLB 200, Houston, TX 77002. Telephone: 713-759-1133. All editorial inquiries should be addressed to The Houston Lawyer at the above address. All advertising inquiries should be addressed to: Quantum/SUR, 12818 Willow Centre Dr., Ste. B, Houston, TX 77066, 281-955-2449 ext 16, www.thehoustonlawyer.com, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 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. ÂŠThe Houston Bar Association, 2014. All rights reserved.
contents Volume 51 Number 6
departments Message 6 President’s Growing the Bar’s Family By David A. Chaumette the Editor 8 From Honoring a Rich Tradition By Robert Painter Lawyers Who Made a Difference 38 Houston James Addison Baker By The Hon. Mark Davidson Profile in Professionalism 39 AMarcy Rothman
Director, Kane Russell Coleman & Logan, P.C.
Trends 40 Legal U.S. Supreme Court Limits U.S.
Courts’ General Jurisdiction Over International Corporations By Richard Sheehy
U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies Test for Specific Personal Jurisdiction in Intentional Torts By Yvonne Y. Ho Reviews 42 Media The Right and the Power: The
Prosecution of Watergate
Reviewed by Jonathan C. C. Day
The Insanity Plea Reviewed by Robert Painter
The Houston Lawyer
45 Litigation MarketPlace
By David A. Chaumette Chaumette, PLLC
Finding Ourselves in the Service of Others
The Houston Lawyer
hen I became the president of the HBA a year ago, I did not fully appreciate the scope of this organization. Yes, I knew the buzz statistics about the number of members and committees, and, over the past year, I have really learned what the HBA does through seeing its members at work. That’s the focus of this issue, a quick look inside the wide range of our efforts. But there is so much more. In the past year, we accomplished the following: • Collecting almost 23,000 books for shelters and literacy projects, • Reaching almost 64,000 students through the Chronicle in Education Program, • Providing speakers for over 180 programs through our Speakers Bureau, • Answering over 5,300 calls through LegalLine, giving Houston area residents free legal guidance, • Raising almost $13,000 for the Souper Bowl of Caring, • Raising $75,000 to build our 17th house for Habitat for Humanity, and (of course) • Raising $619,500 for the Houston Bar Foundation to fund pro bono efforts across Houston. This is hardly a complete list. The HBA has provided over 300 hours of CLE, including over 70 hours of free CLE. Our Law Week program reached over 53,000 youth across Harris County. And the list goes on... The irony is that there is still so much that we can do. One of the great things about being president has been meeting other bar leaders from across the state and across the country. One of those, Scott McElhaney, the president of the Dallas Bar, spoke eloquently about our charge as lawyers in his inaugural address earlier this year. In that address (available at the Dallas Bar’s website), McElhaney asks each of us “What have you done for your country lately?” His point is that we as lawyers have an important role to play in our society. Shakespeare said to kill the lawyers first, because he understood then something that is still true today: lawyers are in the vanguard of our society. It’s not haughtiness when I say that we are among the leaders, the thinkers, and the protectors. McElhaney continued his essay with some great words about service: We thus have an obligation not just to chase the next client, or case or billable hour, but also to take some time out of our day or week to do what we can to help those less fortunate than ourselves. Of course, this idea is not new. When he sat on the New York Court of Appeals, Justice Benjamin Cardozo called membership in the bar “a privi6
lege burdened with conditions.” Being a lawyer meant that you were given the right to practice law, but it also meant inclusion in what he called an “ancient fellowship for something more than private gain” that included becoming “an instrument or agency to advance the ends of justice. What we do in our practices—the cases we win or the deals we close— may be important to ourselves, to our partners or to our firms, and they may increase our reputation or even our compensation. But practically every religion in the world tells us that, if we put our greatest hopes in achieving fame or power or money, we will inevitably be disappointed. Working for others—or as Judge Sanders put it, doing something for your country—helps fulfill our responsibilities to society. And it helps us personally. As Ghandi recognized, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Both McElhaney and Ghandi are right. I hope that in my time as president I have inspired a little, led a little, and supported a lot. The members of the HBA do great work every day, and I leave this office a better person for having made the journey. I have been fortunate enough to have had a front row seat for the past 12 months. For that, I am eternally thankful. Specifically, I have to thank my family and staff at my firm for their support during this journey. My sons have spent many weekend days, giving to others and coming to events ranging from Special Olympics to trash bashes. All of that with nary a complaint. My staff over the years has been equally amazing, helping me with more logistics and energy for each of my bar projects. They have all been so selfless in their giving, and I appreciate every bit of their efforts. I also want to say thank you to the HBA staff. We often mention how large the bar is and its projects, and its successes are due to the tireless work of the staff. They are dedicated to helping us maximize our impact across the community. When people tell me that I have had a good year, it’s really the staff who deserve a lot of the praise. My board has also been incredibly supportive. My projects have been their projects, my initiatives, their initiatives. They have let me challenge them to creatively tackle the bar’s biggest issues. I hope that the results of those discussions will move the bar in the right direction going into the future. I have been honored to serve as president of the Houston Bar. It has been a challenging, invigorating experience and I hope that I have left the bar better than I found it. That said, we are not done. Let’s continue our work in the community and continue to make a significant impact. That is my hope and our challenge, but it’s one where we are clearly up for the task. Thanks again, and I hope to see you soon.
Defending Texans Since 1994 Former Assistant United States Attorney Former Assistant District Attorney Founding Member of the National College of DUI Defense of Counsel Williams Kherkher LLP Law Office of Ned Barnett
Gulf Freeway Office: 8441 Gulf Freeway, Suite 600 • Houston, Texas 77017
713-222-6767 • www.nedbarnettlaw.com Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization thehoustonlawyer.com
from the editor
By Robert Painter Painter Law Firm PLLC
Julie Barry Attorney at Law
Angela L. Dixon Attorney at Law
Farrah Martinez Harris County District Clerk’s Office
The Houston Lawyer
Don Rogers Harris County District Attorney’s Office
Jill Yaziji Yaziji Law Firm
Honoring a Rich Tradition
of volunteerism within our bar and perhaps gain some inach year, this issue of The Houston Lawyer is spiration to find a way for you to volunteer. Taunya Paintdedicated to volunteerism. er profiles a Republican lawyer and a Democratic lawyer Over the years, I have attended numerwho volunteered their legal services to support highous functions where legal speakers wax profile campaigns. eloquentDemetri Economou ly about writes about the HBA’s how the law is a pro25-year history of profession rather than viding volunteers for a business, which Special Olympics. Sutranslates into the bezanne Chauvin prolief that attorneys owe files Sherri Cothrun, society a duty to prowho volunteers to vide volunteer servichelp immigrants with es. While I understand The 2013-2014 Editorial Board of The Houston Lawyer: Seated, from left, Jill Yaziji, the point that practic- associate editor; Don Rogers, associate editor; Robert Painter, editor in chief; Angela citizenship and voting ing law is certainly a Dixon, associate editor; and Keri Brown, past editor in chief; standing, from left, Tau- issues. Judge Josefina nya Painter, Amy Hargis, the Hon. Josefina Rendon, the Hon. Jeff Work, Angie Olalde, valued privilege, I see John Gray, Preston Hutson, Al Harrison, the Hon. Judy Ney, Aaron Reimer, Jeff Oldham, Rendon writes about and Suzanne Chauvin. Not pictured: Julie Barry, associate editor; Stacey Burke; Alan Judge Joe Villarreal’s things differently. Curry; Eric Davis; Jonathan C.C. Day; Todd Dupont; Kelly Fritsch; Jason Goff;, Polly As lawyers, we are Graham; Tammy Manning; Farrah Martinez, associate editor; Chance McMillan; Anjali passion for the Spanish-speaking version both professionals and Nigam; Bridget Purdie; Timothy Riley; and James Stafford. of the HBA’s LegalLine. Judge Rendon also shares the businesspeople. From solo practitioners to large firms, story of Justice Bill Boyce’s volunteer leadership with from professors to the judiciary, we all practice law to Healthcare for the Homeless-Houston. Farrah Martinez earn a living. And I think this is what makes the rich informs us about Garrett Johnston’s volunteer work with tradition of volunteerism in the Houston Bar Association the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. all the more beautiful. Tara Shockley shows how one attorney uses her musiInstead of having the obligation to volunteer, thoucal talents to help the less fortunate, while Amy Verbout sands of Harris County lawyers each year volunteer to highlights Norton Rose Fulbright’s outstanding contrivolunteer. In doing so, we forego the opportunity to butions to the MS150. make money to use some of our time to help society in ways that we find meaningful. Volunteerism comes in all shapes and sizes. Some atEditor’s Note : As a postscript to my column, just before this issue went to press, we torneys volunteer to help the poor. Other lawyers volwere saddened to learn that Don Rogers, an accomplished attorney unteer to assist veterans, such as in the HBA’s acclaimed with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, had passed away. Don epitomized volunteerism in the local bar setting, having served veterans outreach program. Still others volunteer to proon The Houston Lawyer editorial board for many years. In fact, he had mote causes or issues they are passionate about. recently been appointed editor-in-chief for the 2014-2015 bar year. We In this month’s issue, you can read about the diversity will sorely miss Don as an editor, attorney and friend. thehoustonlawyer.com
BOARD OF DIRECTORS President
David A. Chaumette
Neil D. Kelly
M. Carter Crow
First Vice President
Todd M. Frankfort
Second Vice President
Benny Agosto, Jr.
Alistair B. Dawson Brent C. Perry
Warren W. Harris John Spiller
Hon. David O. Fraga Bill Kroger
DIRECTORS (2013-2015) Jennifer A. Hasley Daniella D. Landers
editorial staff Editor in Chief
Robert Painter Associate Editors
Julie Barry Farrah Martinez Jill Yaziji
Angela Dixon Don Rogers Editorial Board
Keri Brown Stacey Burke Suzanne Chauvin Alan Curry Britt Davis Eric Davis Jonathan C.C. Day Todd Dupont Sammy Ford Kelly Fritsch Jason Goff Polly Graham John Gray Amy Hargis Al Harrison Preston Hutson Tammy Manning Chance McMillan Judy Ney Anjali Nigam Angie Olalde Jeff Oldham Taunya Painter Bridget Purdie Aaron Reimer Hon. Josefina Rendon Timothy Riley James Stafford Hon. Jeff Work Managing Editor
HBA office staff Membership and Technology Services Director
Administrative/ Financial Assistant
Ashley G. Steininger Director of Projects
Continuing Legal EducationAssistant
Receptionist/ Resource Secretary
Director of Education
Lucy Fisher Cain
Communications/ Web Designer
Advertising sales Design & production QUANTUM/SUR
12818 Willow Centre, Ste. B, Houston, TX 77066 281.955.2449 • www.quantumsur.com Publisher
Leonel E. Mejía Production Manager
Marta M. Mejía Advertising
By Tara Shockley
Sixth Harris County
Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards
Large Firm – Norton Rose Fulbright Ninety-four percent of the attorneys in the Houston office of Norton Rose Fulbright contributed to the 32,269 pro bono hours recorded in 2013. That equates to an average of 150.9 hours per attorney. Norton Rose Fulbright accepted cases from the HBA’s Houston Volunteer Lawyers, Catholic Charities, the HVL/ Texas Children’s Hospital Medical Legal Partnership, Lone Star Legal Aid, and the Tahirih Justice Center. The firm is also appointed by the courts on criminal appeals and several family district courts appoint a Norton Rose Fulbright attorney to every Special Immigrant Juvenile status case as an amicus attorney. Several firm attorselected the recipients neys handled high in several categories. profile pro bono The keynote speakcases that had er was Stewart W. broad impact on Gagnon, partner and the community. In head of the Family addition to direct Law Practice Group representation of at Norton Rose Fulindividuals, firm bright, who is himself attorneys voluna recipient of the first teered for 12 HousHarris County Bench ton Area Women’s Bar Pro Bono Award Center Domestic recognizing an outViolence Clinics, Keynote speaker Stewart Gagnon standing individual four Houston Bar for his pro bono work in 2008. He told a Association Veteran’s Clinics, and four moving story of his first pro bono case, HVL Saturday Clinics. representing a woman who was abused and persecuted by her husband, and Mid-size Firm – Jackson Walker LLP its impact on his life. Gagnon and his The 77 attorneys in the Houston office
Presented May 1
or the sixth year, Harris County judges and attorneys came together to recognize outstanding pro bono service by presenting the annual Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards on May 1. The awards program was established to recognize outstanding pro bono service through local legal service providers and to encourage law firms, corporate legal departments and individual attorneys to volunteer direct legal services to low-income Harris County residents. A committee of seven judges and six attorneys, including representatives from the Houston Bar Association, the Houston Lawyers Association and the Hispanic Bar Association of Houston, reviewed nominations and
firm have also earned recognition for pro bono work at the state and national levels, and Norton Rose Fulbright was a recipient this year. The award recipients were honored with a ceremony and luncheon at the Civil Courthouse. In addition to receiving a custom-designed crystal and wood award, their names are featured on permanent plaques in the lobbies of the Civil Courthouse, Criminal Justice Center, Family Law Center and Juvenile Justice Center in downtown Houston.
of Jackson Walker LLP provided 1,926.9 represent a client on a pro bono basis Corporate Law Department – hours of pro bono direct legal services through the HBA’s Houston Volunteer Exxon Mobil Corporation in 2013. Their work includes assisting Lawyers, he likely did not imagine the In 2013, 171 ExxonMobil Law volunteers parents to become co-guardians of mencase would go on for more than five devoted more than 2,660 recorded hours tally incapacitated of pro bono seradult children, vice. Volunteers handling cases included not only from the HBA’s attorneys, but 33 Houston Volunsupport staff as teer Lawyers, well. Included drafting by-laws was pro bono for non-profit enlegal assistance tities, advocating for the HBA’s for teenagers who Houston Volhave been wrongunteer Lawyer’s fully removed medical-legal from schools, partnership with helping mothers Texas Children’s receive child supHospital, neighport, helping faborhood legal thers enforce their clinics, veterans visitation rights, clinics, nonprofit assisting disabled assistance and veterans, ensurcase representaing lessees are tions. ExxonMotreated fairly in From left: David Chaumette, HBA President; Rob Johnson and Susan Sanchez of ExxonMobil; Peter bil management Bennett of Peter J. Bennett, P.C.; Andrius Kontrimas of Norton Rose Fulbright; John S. “Jack” Edeviction proceed- wards; David Curcio of Jackson Walker LLP; and The Hon. Robert K. Schaffer, Harris County Admin- partnered with ings, and even re- istrative Judge. HVL to provide uniting children abducted by one parent years and involve over 500 hours of pro bono legal assistance through a new and brought to the U.S. illegally. The firm legal work. The case involved a couple Law Management Legal Clinic, and imalso participates in HBA’s Houston Volwho put their life savings into their plemented a Baytown Wills Clinic. Volunteer Lawyers legal advice clinics. dream of opening a gift store, only to unteers partnered with Catholic Charibe evicted and sued for damages by the ties to staff two citizenship clinics where Small Firm – Peter J. Bennett, P.C. landlord before the store even opened. over 60 naturalization applications were Peter Bennett has been a force for pro The client had used the last of her life prepared. In the fall of 2013, ExxonMobono legal services for many years and savings to hire an attorney to reprebil celebrated the second anniversary of has received recognition from the Houssent her, then later learned his law liits partnership with Norton Rose Fulton Bar Foundation for his outstanding cense was suspended and he had disbright LLP in a monthly legal clinic for contributions. In 2013, he logged 188.2 appeared. After losing her husband to the Houston Area Women’s Center Shelhours of pro bono service on 49 different cancer, she tried representing herself ter Clinic, which has served approxicases. His focus is on wills and probate, pro se for nearly a year, then finally mately 300 clients and accepted 30 casbut he also handled adult guardianship, went to HVL for help. Jack Edwards, es. ExxonMobil volunteers also provide divorce with children and advanced who was then with Morgan Lewis & pro bono services through the Tahirih directives through the HBA’s Houston Bockius and later joined Ajamie LLP, Justice Center, the Houston Pro Bono Volunteer Lawyers. Peter spends several stepped in as her pro bono attorney Joint Initiative, Texas Appleseed, Avenue hours each month volunteering for HVL’s and represented her through several CDC, and Texas Accountants and LawChinese and Vietnamese legal clinics, as facets of the lawsuit that went on until yers for the Arts. well as other Saturday clinics at Ripley 2013, when her landlord finally agreed Tara Shockley is the communications House and Fourth Ward. to settle the case. Although the court director for the Houston Bar Association awarded attorney’s fees, Edwards and and managing editor of The Houston Individual – John S. “Jack” Edwards, Jr. Ajamie LLP donated those fees to the Lawyer. When Jack Edwards volunteered to HBA’s Houston Volunteer Lawyers. thehoustonlawyer.com
By Taunya Painter
Volunteering A for the Vote President Ronald Reagan called it the “second oldest profession,” 1 but some Houston Bar Association members volunteer their legal expertise to ensure not only the success of their favored candidate, but one of our greatest freedoms —the right to vote.
lthough today is a cold and rainy Monday, December 11, 2000, that doesn’t keep the public, the protesters, and top media brass off the steps of the United States Supreme Court. Every other day I walk by these steps on my way to work, but today is different as I walk into the highest court in the land. On this day, lawyers for George W. Bush, Al Gore and the State of Florida stand before the Court to argue an emergency appeal only three days old. Today is a day that will become famous or infamous, depending on your view of the Court’s decision to intervene in the Presidential election in Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000). As a young lawyer, I sit in the Supreme Court in awe of the history that is made this day, the bigwigs surrounding me that I have only seen before on television, and the justices sitting behind the bench. Mostly, though, I sit in awe of the exceptional legal jousting by the attorneys that stand for the candidates. At this moment, I realize the election process is also very much a legal process. Fast forward to the politically-charged environment of 2014 where lawyers play key roles in every aspect of the election process—fundraising, campaigning, primaries, general elections, vote counting, and recounting. While some of the highstakes election work is billable, most of the legal work to ensure fair elections is pro bono. Recently, I had the privilege to talk with two members of the Houston Bar Association who are champions of fair elections: Philip Hilder and Marcella Burke. One is a Democrat and one is a Republican, but both volunteer their legal expertise for the same goal. Philip Hilder Philip Hilder has a private practice, Hilder & Associates, P.C., in the area of white collar criminal defense, internal investigations, and whistleblower rep-
tion codes. If a lawyer takes chances by resentation. Before he opened his firm, Then, at Boston College Law School, bending the rules, that undermines the Phillip was the attorney-in-charge of I assisted Teddy Kennedy’s campaign process and reflects poorly on the canthe Houston Field Office of the United when he challenged President Jimmy didate.” States Department of Justice’s Organized Carter for the nomination, but I was Crime Strike Force. He also served What’s the most unexpected thing as Assistant United States Attorney that ever happened to you on an for the Southern District of Texas election day? assigned to the Presidential Orga“As we all know, Barack Obama’s nized Crime Drug Enforcement keynote speech at the 2004 DemoTask Force. cratic Convention in Boston cataOne of his more famous clients pulted him to the national stage. since he has been in private pracRemember, though, at the time, tice was the Enron whistleblower, he was still a low-ranking senator Sharron Watkins. “But I also assist from Illinois. For the 2008 presiclients with avoiding trouble,” he dential primary, Hillary Clinton says smiling. “Maybe that’s why candidates like to have me on Philip Hilder, shown in the top left of the photo behind President and John Edwards were front runners. I had been involved in the board. Politicians want to win. But Barack Obama. Obama campaign since February 2007. sometimes they need more objective adstill very much behind the scenes. The I was in Iowa for the first primary. After vice about the campaign and election Walter Mondale campaign for President the polls closed, we were all at the conlaws.” was my ‘first date,’ so to speak, providvention center waiting for election reing legal advice during the presidential sults. I was talking with David Axelrod, So, where did it all start for you? When primary. I volunteered and in short orObama’s chief campaign strategist, when did you catch the “political bug?” der found myself the deputy legal counhe received a call. Axelrod was given the “My early childhood political memories sel, advising the campaign on everyheads-up that one of the TV networks weren’t exactly on the Carville-Matalin thing from campaign finance, to Illinois was projecting Obama as the winner. drama level, but I did grow up in a poprimary procedures, party convention Immediately, Axelrod was enveloped by litically divided household. Kids notice rules, and poll watching. It was ‘civil reporters. I strolled over to the podium things like this, even at age five. My war’ work. We were fighting our own, to wait. In walks Barack Obama. By the dad campaigned for Nixon and took not the Republicans.” time the mass of media made way for me block walking, while my mom suphim to make a statement, I found myself ported Kennedy. Mom’s politics won me What special training have you had, right next to him.” over, and by the time I could vote and go and how did you get it? out myself, I was poll watching for the “On-the-job training, and a lot of selfWhat does a typical election day look Democratic Party.” education during non-election years. I like for you? “I cut my political teeth in Chicago,” learned federal campaign finance and “Not like that!” he says jokingly, referhe tells me. Now we are both smiling as federal election laws. The battleground ring to the Obama encounter. Be prewe admit to admiring the now-canceled where I’ve been particularly useful, pared for a long day. Typically, most television series ‘Boss’ set in the middle though, has been in primaries. These are action occurs in the morning and then of Chicago politics. “Chicago politics Democratic Party procedures on the loagain late afternoon until polls close. is educational on many levels, and not cal and state levels.” Nonetheless, issues can pop up throughsomething I needed a law degree to do,” out the day ranging from answering a although he admits that having a law In the excitement of a campaign, do you poll watcher’s question to seeking a temdegree proved “beneficial” to navigating think differently than campaign staff? porary restraining order to prevent votthe Cook County political scene. “No, and yes. Just like everyone else, I ing irregularity. Of course, Presidential want to see my candidate win. But, when elections are much more intense than How did you transition from street I perform legal services for a candidate the off-year elections.” work to legal work? or party, they are my client, and they “As an undergraduate at the University need to be treated in that role. I have to Was there ever a moment when you of Iowa, I learned the Iowa caucus probe realistic and provide objective advice. averted a disaster? cedures, which is a great notch to have My responsibility is to ensure that the “More of a personal disaster, averted in your belt for presidential primaries. candidate’s campaign is within the electhehoustonlawyer.com
by luck. When I was on the stage with Obama in Iowa, my phone battery was dead. Thank goodness! By the time I got off that stage and recharged my phone, I realized that I had dozens of calls from friends who saw my moment of fame. I was so crazy excited on stage, that if my phone hadn’t been dead, I might have answered it not realizing I was live on national TV.” Do you have to be a political person to be involved? “Absolutely not. An election is a legal process, similar to litigation or an administrative proceeding. If I were to make an analogy, the different elections (primary vs. general; state vs. federal, etc.) have varying rules and procedures much like the differences seen in criminal law, civil litigation, administrative proceedings and other proceedings. Early on in my career, I was involved doing mostly research and providing advice. When I worked for the government, I had to remove myself from any involvement in politics and elections. Now, that I’m back in private practice, I’ve become more involved. I do some fundraising, but other than that I’m focused on the area I can add the most value—my legal expertise. A lawyer at different stages of a career can have varying levels of involvement. It’s a process that is easy to
try once, maybe through a local election, to see if it strikes a cord.” What would you tell attorneys that want to sign up for pro bono legal work, but are a little concerned they will get pulled into non-legal campaign work or maybe get in over their head on election law? “They could contact one of the national legal associations—the Democratic National Lawyers Council (NLC) or the Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA). These organizations are associated with the national parties, and they train and organize lawyers for state and presidential races on election day and any recount processes. Partnering with one of these associations will focus a volunteer’s time to legal issues and will also give attorneys that are newer to the election law issues a network of more experienced attorneys.”
Marcella Burke Marcella Burke is in the litigation and appellate practice group at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. She focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation, appeals, and arbitration for a broad range of clients in the commercial, energy, financial, and oil and gas industries. In addition, with just under two years into her law practice, she has
significant knowledge and experience in election law issues assisting the Republican Party and its candidates. By just talking with you for only a few minutes, I can sense your passion for the election process. Why do you think it is important for lawyers specifically to be involved? “Most Americans know they have a right to vote, but may not know the extent of or limitations on that right. The right to vote is derived from a concoction of constitutional amendments, federal laws, state laws, and Democratic and Republican party rules. Needless to say, it’s complex.” I read your bio, and you specialize in “complex!” “This is one of the many reasons that I love election law. It is true, though, that the complexities of the election process are similar to the complexities in the litigation process. We help our clients access the courts by handling the complexities. That’s my hope as I volunteer in the election process—to eliminate the complexities so the public can participate in the system with confidence.” Where and how did you get your start? “In my community. Before becoming a lawyer, I did some volunteering that fa-
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miliarized me with the process of —what “I have worked on a presidential race and happens and how I started out as a voter many state-wide races, including U.S. registrar. While at Texas A&M, I signed Senate, U.S Congress, Texas Attorney up through the local county voter regisGeneral, and Texas Railroad Commistrar office, attended a few hours training sioner. I’ve done multifaceted research session, and received my first package of on election law, voter fraud, and voter voter registration cards that afternoon. A friend and I asked local bars, bands, dance halls, and dormitories to participate in voter registration events, and together, we registered over 8,000 voters. After that, I became a Republican Party election judge and precinct chair. Again, more training. Everything from setting up the polling place, to qualifying voters and showing them how to use voting machines, to enforcing restrictions on campaign activities Marcella Burke, left, with Senator Ted Cruz outside of the polling place. These roles identification issues. For the Ted Cruz built a foundation for doing legal elecfor U.S. Senate campaign and a few othtion work, which is now my focus.” ers, I also did research on policy matters and drafted position papers.” Is there any lesson learned from your non-legal volunteering that has impacted So on statewide races like these, what your pro bono election work? type of controversies arise, since we have “Yes, but more on a personal level. One an automated voting system? weekend shortly before an election, I “Mostly innocuous ones that can be was helping a candidate, his family, and handled by an election judge. At times, campaign volunteers call potential votthough, election violations emerge that ers. I was on the phone with a voter from need legal intervention so they don’t West Texas, and my cell buzzed with a threaten the veracity of the election. text: ‘Opponent in the dessert buffet line For instance, people trying to vote for at the Houston Country Club.’ I had to a second time or trying to use someone laugh. The voter paused, so I had to ask: else’s name to cast their vote. There was ‘Do you want someone who is hanging one incident where over 1,000 voters out at the country club, or someone who were registered to the same house. And is on the phone with voters?’ I’ve always we saw people registered to vacant lots. instinctively believed, but I got to see Some of these problems are just in the first-hand, that when it comes to crunch system, but if they arise on election day, time, winners work harder and smarter.” the volunteers manning the polls need definitive solutions based on the laws.” In what elections have you applied your legal training to help the candidate Have you ever applied your legal work “smarter?” knowledge in areas other than a 16
specific election? “Yes. The Texas legislature enacted a voter ID law, which has been the source of much litigation and public debate. I’ve drafted policy papers and helped draft an amicus brief on the law and related legal topics.” If attorneys in the Houston Bar Association want to do some pro bono election work, where would they start? “A good place is the county political party—the Harris County Republican Party or the Harris County Democratic Party. These organizations represent the third largest county in the United States, which means they want help. The county parties also retain legal counsel, so that person is someone a volunteer could contact. However, if someone wants to get involved in a primary election, it is best to contact the candidate or the campaign manager directly. Remember, it is ‘volunteer’ work, so what you do and whom you do it for, is up to you. I’ve always tried to volunteer for people whose policies I largely support. When that happens, I’ve been comfortable doing legal and non-legal work. Once I remember driving around polling locations in the middle of the night putting up signs wondering how in the world did I get roped into this—but it’s all part of our great democracy.” Taunya Painter is a member of Painter Law Firm PLLC, where she specializes in business, contract, and international law, and she is a member of The Houston Lawyer magazine Editorial Board. She can be found at her firm site www.painterfirm.com. Endnotes 1. “It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.” Ronald Reagan
HBA members Elaine Balagia: volunteer both Putting Musical Talent Good Use legal and non-legal to By Tara Shockley time and expertise through hundreds of community organizations each year, as well as through HBA programs and activities. The volunteer efforts n her day job, Elaine Balagia is an oil and litigator with McGinnis Lochridge. of the attorneys gas But in her off hours, she devotes her talent as a singer-songwriter to organizaprofiled here are tions that help the less fortunate. Known representative of as “Lainey” to her friends and fellow musishe has been licensed to practice law the passion and cians, for three years, but music has always been of her life. commitment that partBalagia grew up in a family that took her HBA volunteers to musical theater and plays. As a child, she sang with Houston Grand Opera, Theater bring to serving their Under the Stars and her church. Later, she singing at local venues with other profession, their began Houston musicians and developed songcommunity, and the writing skills for a genre she says is best described as country music. She also plays world beyond. piano and is learning the banjo.
Her family also encouraged her passion for helping others. Her father, Jack Balagia, is vice president and general counsel of ExxonMobil, where the legal department is a strong supporter of pro bono legal services. Her mother, the Rev. Mary Balagia, is a Methodist minister whose charitable work includes The Wesley Foundation and Wesley Community Center.
For the past two years, Balagia and fellow musicians Brant Croucher and Sam Austin have donated their time and talent to play for an event sponsored by the HBA’s Houston Volunteer Lawyers. The summer soiree at the House of Blues provides good refreshments, camaraderie and music, while encouraging attorneys to win raffle prizes by donating pro bono legal services. Balagia started volunteering with HVL as a law student at the University of Texas. She would accompany her father as he volunteered at pro bono legal clinics. Once she began practicing law, she found a new way to use her musical talent to benefit organizations that help those who can’t afford basic legal services. “There are so many people who are abundantly blessed. I’m one,” says Balagia. “I’m in a position to give back, to help people who are in dire conditions.” “Some people get everything, some get nothing. There’s too much disparity. I’ve struggled with that,” she says. “There’s so much need, but there are so many ways available to help.” The HVL gig is only one way Balagia uses music to help those in need. She and her band turned a musical Christmas card recorded for her parents into a benefit for the Star of Hope Mission. They put the four songs online and asked people to pay what they wanted to download the recording. All of the funds were donated to the Star of Hope. This fall, Balagia is chairing two silent auctions – one for Read3Zero, a literacy organization for children, and one for The Wesley Foundation. She also continues to play at local clubs and community events, while recording her own material and lending background vocals on a recording by Brant Croucher. On one particular weekend, Balagia and her band were scheduled to play the Empty Glass in Tomball one night, the First Saturday Arts Market in the Heights the next. “To experience the fullness of what life and a city have to offer, you have to be involved in all aspects,” she says. Balagia rarely plays during the week while focusing on her busy law practice, and has no plans to pursue music as a ca-
reer. “I do it because it’s fun,” she says. “As a job, it would take a lot of the joy out of it.” Both her music and service in the community give her a better perspective.“Problems I see in my life are miniscule compared to those I see around the corner,”says Balagia. “If people realized how much there is to gain on every level by giving back, they would do it more often.” Tara Shockley is the communications director for the Houston Bar Association and managing editor of The Houston Lawyer.
The Hon. William Boyce: Providing Healthcare for the Homeless By the Hon. Josefina M. Rendón
ublic service comes naturally to Justice William Boyce. Throughout his nearly eight years of service with the Fourteenth Court of Appeals, Justice Boyce has continued to serve his community as a board member of Healthcare for the Homeless-Houston (HHH) since 2006, serving as its chairperson since 2011. Dedicated to providing high demand health care, HHH runs clinics in downtown/midtown, providing Houston’s homeless with essential medical care. These services, which include physical, behavioral and oral care, have a tremendous impact on the livelihood of Houston’s homeless, offering a helping hand in their effort to find work and rebuild their lives. Another area of focus for HHH is mental health services for recently released
inmates. The Harris County Jail is one of the largest mental health providers in Texas. While many inmates achieve mental health stability while incarcerated, when released they lack resources to continue their mental health care and then relapse into criminal activity. “[N]early 25 percent of county jail inmates are diagnosed with mental illnesses like schizophrenia, major depression, and bipolar disorder, compared to 5 percent in the general population. Those with severe mental illness have nearly twice the number of legal charges against them as those without,” explains the HHH website. HHH’s Jail Inreach Project aims to break this unfortunate cycle. Upon release, inmates are met by a caseworker, who walks them to HHH’s clinic at The Beacon, near Christ Church Cathedral downtown, where they are immediately connected with psychiatrists and provided with continuing mental health care. A pilot study has confirmed significant reductions in recidivism rates for participants and corresponding significant cost savings. HHH’s board is diverse, consisting of medical and social work professionals, accountants, business people and lawyers. Besides Justice Boyce, other attorneymembers include Hector Pineda (Shell Oil), Kendall Montgomery (Hagans, Burdine, Montgomery & Rustay, P.C.), Scott Davidson (Locke Lord LLP) and Ann AlBahish (Jackson, Gilmour & Dobbs, PC). “[T]he cross-section of lawyer participation on the board speaks well of the willingness of Houston’s legal community to get involved,” says Justice Boyce. David Buck, M.D., MPH, a professor at Baylor College of Medicine and founderpresident of HHH, raved about Justice Boyce’s commitment to the community: “ [Justice Boyce] is an exceptional board member and has been responsible for transforming our board to be able to accommodate the huge transformation needed in healthcare for the homeless today.” Dr. Buck added, “his consistent, methodical presence in all aspects of HHH governance emulates a standard for all. He is an outstanding leader.”
While the leaders of HHH are enthusiastic about his vision, the Justice himself has a meek spirit about his volunteerism, preferring to spotlight both the organization and its exceptional leadership. He urges others to join this endeavor, saying, “HHH is a great organization to get involved with for a lawyer who is looking to expand focus from strictly legal activities and look at the bigger picture of community involvement. This is not only because of the good work that HHH does, but also because the difficult issues that HHH confronts every day require strategic thinking and creative problem-solving.” For more on HHH, visit its website at www.homeless-healthcare.org. Josefina M. Rendón is a mediator, former civil district judge and retired municipal judge in Houston. She is a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board.
Sherri Cothrun: Helping New Americans Vote By Suzanne Chauvin
herri Cothrun has chosen a unique dual way of helping Houston’s vibrant immigrant community, by helping them to apply for U.S. citizenship and then assisting them with signing up to vote after they become citizens. Cothrun, a partner at Cothrun & Lucido, primarily practices family law, but she goes beyond those legal boundaries when she volunteers both her non-legal and legal hours. Sometimes the non-legal work gives her the most satisfaction. “You meet people and learn about their lives,” she said. But thehoustonlawyer.com
she also changes their lives because helping them become U.S. citizens opens many opportunities for them. Cothrun volunteers throughout the city at the naturalization workshops of Neighborhood Centers, Inc. (www.NeighborhoodCenters.org), an organization that trains the volunteers and matches them with immigrants. She works one-on-one with immigrants helping them complete their applications to change their immigration status from that of legal permanent
residents to U.S. citizens. Cothrun’s work with immigrants does not stop there. As a member of the League of Women Voters (www.lwvhouston.org), she attends naturalization ceremonies. At those ceremonies, federal judges swear in the new citizens, and, as Cothrun explained, “the judges invariably talk about the responsibilities of voting.” After each ceremony, Cothrun and others from the League of Women Voters pass out voter registration cards. “It’s an honor to share
this moment with the new citizens,” she said. “Seeing them sworn in and registering to vote completes the circle that begins with the application process.” Cothrun is always encouraged by the interest the newly-naturalized U.S. citizens show in voting. Usually around 90 percent of them will register to vote on the day of their naturalization ceremony, even though it takes more time for them to stay afterward and sign up. She pointed out that registration can be hectic because there are usually about 1,800 to 2,000 people being naturalized from many different countries. “At the last swearing-in ceremony I attended, there were individuals from 127 countries,” she said. Cothrun’s volunteerism has a tremendous impact on many new citizens and their communities, and facilitiates their opportunity to have a lasting impact on our society through exercising the cherished right to vote. Suzanne Chauvin is a Senior Assistant City Attorney in the Labor, Employment, and Civil Rights section of the Houston City Attorney’s Office. She is a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board.
Eddy De Los Santos: An Advocate for Children By Suzanne Chauvin From left standing: Judy Bozeman, Donnie Roberts, Allen Lewis, Michael Ringger and Elizabeth Leicht From left seated: Bill Cunningham, Maureen Phillips, Rick Morales and Tom Williams
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ddy De Los Santos is modest about his work with Child Advocates, Inc. In fact, I never knew he volunteered with Child Advocates until I saw his face on television one day. “Hey, I know that guy!” I thought. The ad was seeking volunteers to serve as court appointed guard-
ians ad litem for children in CPS cases. De Los Santos, a partner with Baker Donelson, has been involved with Child Advocates since he was a law student at South Texas College of law. He saw an ad for volunteers, and after one meeting, he was hooked. “If I don’t do it, who’s going to do it?” he thought. De Los Santos began as a volunteer guardian ad litem working on Spanish speaking cases. Each Child Advocates volunteer is subject to a background check and receives 30 hours of training before being eligible for appointment to cases. The volunteers are appointed to CPS cases and are the “eyes and ears” of the court. The volunteers interview parents and children, and make recommendations to the court. De Los Santos notes that volunteers come from all walks of life, including retirees, teachers, real estate sales, and of course, attorneys. However, De Los Santos points out that the CASA volunteers are guardians ad litem, not attorneys ad litem. The Houston Chapter of Child Advocates is one of the largest in the country and will train about 225 volunteers this year. As a busy lawyer, De Los Santos concedes that it can be difficult during busy periods to volunteer, but says that finding the time is worth it. All of De Los Santos’s cases have been Spanish speaking cases, and there is a critical need for Spanish speaking and minority volunteers in Houston. “In my cases, it’s not just about the kids.” De Los Santos helps parents understand appropriate ways to discipline and interact with their children. He says that sometimes there are cultural differences among immigrant parents who are new to the United Sates. He tries to help them “learn a different way of parenting.” Now De Los Santos serves as legal counsel to Child Advocates. Through the years, he has seen children turn their lives around, and some have even become advocates themselves. Although he is modest about his volunteer service, his enthusiasm for the work makes him a great salesman for Child Advocates. “If CASA organizations don’t do what they do, kids fall through the thehoustonlawyer.com
cracks.” De Los Santos has made it his mission not to let that happen. Suzanne Chauvin is a Senior Assistant City Attorney in the Labor, Employment, and Civil Rights section of the Houston City Attorney’s Office. She is a member of The Houston Lawyer editorial board.
Garrett Johnston: Changing the Life of an Immigrant Teen By Farrah Martinez
ess than a year ago, Eliud Rangel was a 16 year old high school student, much like his friends in many ways. He enjoyed movies, sports and hanging out with friends. But he was different in one major way because he was unable to plan his future. “I couldn’t do things my friends were doing, like choosing a college and career,” he said. Eliud had no legal documentation authorizing him to live in the United States, and he had no hope of removing this huge barrier to a happy life. Eliud was worried about even the simple things that so many of his friends never thought twice about. “The reality of my desperation sunk in at age 16,” he said, “because I couldn’t get a driver’s license or insurance. When my friends started taking their driving test, but I couldn’t, it was devastating.” He felt hopeless. But then he heard about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program. On June 15, 2012, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced the deferred action process for young people. Essen-
tially, DACA allows certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children and who meet several key guidelines to request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. Approved DACA applicants are then eligible to apply for a social security number and work authorization. “I wanted to be first in line,” Eliud said. He knew that he could not afford to hire an attorney, but he also knew he could not afford to botch his application. “I wanted to do it right,” he said. “I wanted this to work for me.” That’s when he found Catholic Charities St. Frances Cabrini Center for Immigration Legal Assistance, Houston’s largest non-profit provider of low-cost and probono immigration legal assistance. The Cabrini Center, at the time, was collaboratively holding a clinic with Winston & Strawn LLP. The Cabrini Center brought the training and clients, and Winston & Strawn brought the attorneys. Garrett Johnston, a corporate lawyer at
Winston & Strawn, focuses on mergers and acquisitions and securities law. Because much of his work with companies is on a national level, Garrett had a strong desire to connect with individuals in his community on a local level. So, when the opportunity to provide pro bono services to DACA clients arose, Garrett knew it was a good fit. “I had the training in hand, so I knew the hurdles I would need to jump with my assigned client,” Johnston said. “While initially speaking with Eliud and his family, I became excited to help Eliud because I knew he was a model candidate for DACA approval.” Johnston gathered the information needed, submitted Eliud’s DACA application in November 2013, and within three months, he had helped change Eliud’s life forever. “It was one of the most rewarding moments of my legal profession when I was able to inform him that his application was approved,” Garrett recalls. “I was able to see first-hand how dedicating a few hours of pro-bono services can change someone’s life. And, as we change people’s lives locally, that impacts our community in a positive way,” Johnston says of Winston & Strawn’s willingness to sponsor this program with Cabrini Center. He insisted that he is just one of the many lawyers at his firm who have collectively volunteered over 700 hours of pro-bono assistance for more than 50 clients in five DACA clinics across the country. The November 2013 clinic hosted by Winston & Strawn’s Houston office was also attended by partners Joan Beckner, Melanie Gray and John Strasburger. Eliud and his family are extremely grateful and satisfied with the legal assistance they received from Johnston through Winston & Strawn and the Cabrini Center. He said that the pro-bono services he received will impact him in so many ways forever. “My family and I feel more confident and are not scared of getting into trouble for being undocumented,” he said. “I know that now I can accomplish what I want with my education and career. And I will be able to enjoy life more, like being
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Norton Rose Fulbright: Riding for a Cause By Amy Verbout
his year’s BP MS 150 was a ride of firsts for Norton Rose Fulbright. It was the first time the firm participated in the fundraising cycle ride from Houston to Austin, and they put together the biggest first-year team in the ride’s 30 year history. A two-day, 180-mile cycle ride from Houston to Austin, the BP MS 150 is the largest ride for multiple sclerosis in North America. Proceeds benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Out of this year’s 13,000 participants, 142 cyclists were lawyers and professionals from Norton Rose Fulbright. From 24 offices, spanning the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, South Africa and the Middle East, the team came together from 11 different countries to raise an impressive $300,000 for MS charities. As Norton Rose Fulbright’s primary global charitable initiative for 2014, the preparation and actual event was truly a worldwide effort. Adrian Ahern, global chairman of Norton Rose Fulbright, expressed his enthusiasm for the fundrais-
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ing initiative. “Our international team of cyclists collectively traveled hundreds of thousands of miles to participate in a challenging, yet rewarding weekend. It is fantastic to see all of Norton Rose Fulbright rally behind this important charity.” Dan McClure, litigation partner in Norton Rose Fulbright’s Houston office and captain of Norton Rose Fulbright’s BP MS 150 team, said the ride allowed their lawyers from around the world to get to know each other personally, to bond, and to share a common purpose. In addition to connecting and sharing a common goal, all offices were able to combine their worldwide resources to support those in need. In the US, fundraising efforts included Valentine’s Day candygrams, raffles, pizza lunches and t-shirt sales. The London office raised money through a gala dinner and auction, and also organized a stationary bike fundraiser and trivia contests. Norton Rose Fulbright raised money in South A Conversation With
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Africa by hosting a hospitality tent at a major cycle race in Cape Town. Fundraising bake sales were also held in the US, UK, Australia, Canada and Russia. A primary fundraising initiative— “The Challenge 150”—was an exercise in which Norton Rose Fulbright participants around the world raised money by completing a task 150 times—everything from making 150 crafts to taking 150 photographs of landmarks. Cheryl Nolan, litigation associate in the Houston office, was confident Nor-
ton Rose Fulbright could help make a difference for such a worthy cause. “The BP MS 150 impacts so many people in a positive manner. It was exciting to see a total team commitment in our offices around the world, from the riders to the volunteers, as well as the countless others who helped in the fundraising efforts.”
The Hon. Joe Villarreal: Giving “Consejos” or Advice
By Hon. Josefina M. Rendón
Amy Verbout is the communications assistant and web manager for the Houston Bar Association.
onsejos legales, buenas tardes!” This is likely the answer you will hear if you call 713-7591133 after 6:00 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month. Many times, the voice will be that of the Hon. Joe Villarreal, who has coordinated this legal advice line since 1997. Consejos Legales or “legal advice” is the Spanish language version of the Houston Bar Association’s LegalLine. In existence since 1986, it is the combined effort of both the Mexican American Bar of Houston (MABAH) and the Hispanic Bar Association (HisBA) in cooperation with the HBA, which provides the necessary facilities and much needed publicity for the program. A former president and long-serving board member of each, Judge Villarreal organizes the participation of both organizations every month, helping to recruit four to eight volunteers for the expected 20 to 50 calls seeking legal advice. An Associate Judge for the City of Houston since 2009, Villarreal spent the preceding 22 years with the City’s Department of Public Works and Engineering, including 17 years as division manager. From his participation in Consejos Legales, to the Will-A-Thon (where the HBA provides free wills to low-income seniors), to the Adopt-A-School Tutoring Program, Judge Villarreal has freely given hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of service in
Join the Houston Bar Association’s 100 Club The Houston Bar Association 100 Club is a special category of membership that indicates a commitment to the advancement of the legal profession and the betterment of the community. The following law firms, corporate legal departments, law schools and government agencies with five or more attorneys have become members of the 100 Club by enrolling 100 percent of their attorneys as members of the HBA. Firms of 5-24 Attorneys Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend Adair & Myers PLLC Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C. Ajamie LLP Andrews Myers, P.C. Bair Hilty, P.C. Baker Williams Matthiesen LLP The Bale Law Firm, PLLC Barrett Daffin Frappier Turner & Engel, LLP Bateman/Pugh, PLLC Bell, Ryniker & Letourneau, P.C. Berg & Androphy Bingham, Mann & House Blank Rome LLP Brewer & Pritchard PC Buck Keenan LLP Burck, Lapidus, Jackson & Chase, P.C. Bush & Ramirez, L.L.C. Butler I Hailey Caddell & Chapman Cage Hill & Niehaus, L.L.P. Campbell Harrison & Dagley LLP Campbell & Riggs, P.C. Chernosky Smith Ressling & Smith PLLC Christian Smith & Jewell, L.L.P. Connelly • Baker • Wotring LLP Cozen O’Connor Crady, Jewett & McCulley, LLP David Black & Associates De Lange Hudspeth McConnell & Tibbets LLP Devlin Naylor & Turbyfill PLLC Dinkins Kelly Lenox Lamb & Walker, L.L.P. Dobrowski, Larkin & Johnson LLP Dow Golub Remels & Beverly, LLP Doyle Restrepo Harvin & Robbins, L.L.P. Ebanks Horne Rota Moos LLP Edison, McDowell & Hetherington LLP Ellis, Carstarphen, Dougherty & Griggs P.C. Ewing & Jones, PLLC Faubus & Scarborough LLP Fernelius Alvarez PLLC Fibich Hampton Leebron Briggs Josephson, LLP Fisher, Boyd, Brown & Huguenard, LLP Fisher & Phillips LLP Fizer Beck Webster Bentley & Scroggins, P.C. Fleming, Nolen & Jez, L.L.P. Frank, Elmore, Lievens, Chesney & Turet, L.L.P. Fullenweider Wilhite PC Funderburk Funderburk Courtois, LLP Galloway Johnson Tompkins Burr & Smith Germer Gertz, L.L.P. Givens & Johnston PLLC Godwin Lewis, P.C. Goldstein & Lipski, PLLC Gordon & Rees LLP Greer, Herz & Adams, L.L.P. Hagans Burdine Montgomery & Rustay, P.C. Harris, Hilburn & Sherer Harrison, Bettis, Staff, McFarland & Weems, L.L.P.
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Singleton Cooksey LLP Smith Murdaugh Little & Bonham, L.L.P. Smyser Kaplan & Veselka, L.L.P. Sprott, Rigby, Newsom, Robbins & Lunceford, P.C. Stevenson & Murray Strong Pipkin Bissell & Ledyard, L.L.P. Stuart & Associates P.C. Sutton McAughan Deaver, PLLC Taunton, Snyder & Slade, P.C. Tekell, Book, Allen & Morris, L.L.P. Thompson & Horton LLP Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons, LLP Tucker, Barnes, Garcia & De La Garza, P.C. Ware, Jackson, Lee & Chambers, L.L.P. Watt Beckworth Thompson Henneman & Sullivan LLP Weycer Kaplan Pulaski & Zuber, P.C. White Mackillop & Gallant P.C. Williams, Birnberg & Andersen, L.L.P. Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas LLP Williams Morgan, P.C. Willingham, Fultz & Cougill, LLP Wilson, Cribbs & Goren, P.C. Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker Wright Abshire, Attorneys, PC Wright & Close, L.L.P. Yetter Coleman LLP Ytterberg Deery Knull LLP Zimmerman, Axelrad, Meyer, Stern & Wise, P.C. Zukowski, Bresenhan & Sinex, L.L.P. Firms of 25-49 Attorneys Adams & Reese LLP Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP Baker & McKenzie LLP Beck I Redden LLP Beirne, Maynard & Parsons, L.L.P. Chamberlain Hrdlicka White Williams & Aughtry Coats I Rose Cokinos Bosien & Young Gibbs & Bruns LLP Greenberg Traurig, LLP Hoover Slovacek LLP Jones Day Littler Mendelson, PC Olson & Olson LLP Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Firms of 100+ Attorneys Andrews Kurth LLP Baker Botts L.L.P. Bracewell & Giuliani LLP Haynes and Boone LLP Locke Lord LLP Norton Rose Fulbright Vinson & Elkins LLP Corporate Legal Departments Anadarko Petroleum Corporation AT&T Texas BP CenterPoint Energy El Paso Corporation Kellogg Brown & Root Inc LyondellBasell Industries MAXXAM Inc Newfield Exploration Company Petrobras America Inc. Plains Exploration & Production Co. Pride International Inc. Rice University S & B Engineers and Constructors, Ltd Sysco Corporation Texas Children’s Hospital Total E&P USA Inc. University of Houston System Law School Faculty South Texas College of Law Thurgood Marshall School of Law University of Houston Law Center Government Agencies City of Houston Legal Department Harris County Attorney’s Office Harris County District Attorney’s Office Harris County Domestic Relations Office Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County Texas Port of Houston Authority of Harris County Texas
Firms of 50-100 Attorneys Baker Hostetler LLP Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP Jackson Walker L.L.P. Martin, Disiere, Jefferson & Wisdom, L.L.P. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP Porter Hedges LLP Thompson & Knight LLP Winstead PC
support of Houstonians, young and old. In addition, he spent several years working with the Houston Lawyer Referral Service and is currently working on the HBA’s Law Week Committee. Judge Villarreal is especially supportive of the Law Week Committee’s East End Poster Workshop, the award-winning program encouraging increased student participation within their community. He has also helped with Leadership for Tomorrow/Leadership 2000, a mentorship program designed to encour-
age middle and high school students to stay in school and seek higher education. There is one more service that Judge Villarreal gladly provides for the HBA and our city—he sings! For years, Judge Villarreal has acted and sung with Night Court, the annual fundraising musical comedy show. He has also performed with the renowned Houston Symphony Chorus, one of the oldest, all-volunteer vocal ensembles in the United States, which performs great choral masterworks with the Houston Symphony
Orchestra in Jones Hall. Judge Villarreal’s volunteer leadership is a true example to our profession. Josefina M. Rendón is a mediator, former civil district judge and retired municipal judge in Houston. A 1976 graduate of the University of Houston Law Center, she has done volunteer work since her teenage years when she regularly taught Sunday school to children in an impoverished community in Puerto Rico. She is a member of The Houston Lawyer magazine editorial board.
We’ve Moved! New HBA Office The HBA office is now located at: 1111 Bagby, FLB Suite 200 Houston, TX 77002 All phone, fax, and staff emails remain the same. 713.759.1133 (p) 713.759.1710 (f)
By Demetri Economou and Bradford Crockard
The Best Kind of Lawyer:
HBA Celebrates 25 Years Serving Special Olympics
Poster from HBA Special Olympics Day at The Center.
his year marks 25 years of partnership between Special Olympics and the Houston Bar Association (HBA). Special Olympics provides year-round athletic training and competitions for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The organization thrives largely because of volunteersâ€™ selfless commitments to its cause. In 1989, the HBA made a worthy pledge to serve Special Olympics by forming a committee to facilitate volunteer service among Houston lawyers. The Special Olympics Committee was established at the urging of Texas Supreme Court Justice Eugene A. Cook, a prominent Houston attorney and former HBA president. A champion of professionalism and community service, Justice Cook was the principal architect behind the Texas Lawyerâ€™s Creed: A Mandate for Professionalism, and is a selfless servant of community service organizations. thehoustonlawyer.com
Photos on pages 30-31 from HBA volunteer events for Special Olympics.
Since its formation, the committee has devoted tens of thousands of volunteer hours to Special Olympics events in the Houston area. One of the strongest and most diverse committees in the HBA, members come from all backgrounds and practices. The common ground between all members, however, is the desire to serve others. HBA President David Chaumette believes this should be a model for all Houston lawyers. “Our Special Olympics Committee members are active throughout our community and reflect the Bar’s commitment to giving back,” Chaumette said. Some members contribute to the organization beyond the hours put in as a committee member. Bill Crook, Divisional Vice President and Associate General Counsel at Weingarten Realty, not only is a parent of a Special Olympics athlete, but also coaches multiple Special Olympics sports. Bill also competed as a Unified Partner (paired with 30
a Special Olympics athlete) at the Texas golf tournament and the Special Olympics Golf North American Invitational Tournament. “As a parent and a coach, I know what the involvement of the volunteers, like the HBA Special Olympics Committee, means to the athletes,” he said. “Without the volunteers, the Special Olympics organization would not be able to exist to improve the lives of our athletes.” Renee Klovenski, Special Olympics Program Director for Greater Houston, has been involved with the committee for 21 years. Appreciative of the HBA’s support, she summed up its involvement with Special Olympics: “Volunteers from the law community coming together to give themselves and their time to provide the opportunity for those in Special Olympics to have the time of their lives... personally and professionally, I am grateful.” As lawyers, we must focus on a zeal-
ous representation of our clients —in short, we must do our best to win, but achieving that end result is meaningless if we have not done our very best to get there. That is true as well for the Special Olympics athletes. The Special Olympics Athlete Oath, recited by the athletes before each competition, reflects this truth: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” It’s not just about winning. The best kind of lawyer is the one who thinks of others first, and himself or herself second, whether in representing clients or helping those in need. As the HBA Special Olympics Committee renews its commitment to service this year, we should all make this commitment on a personal level, too. Demetri Economou practices with Burleson LLP. Bradford Crockard practices with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. They are co-chairs of the 20132014 HBA Special Olympics Committee.
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Law Week Committee:
Serving Houston Year-Round By Suzanne Chauvin
nating with the Houston Lawyers’ Assoon’t let the name fool you: the enjoyed trying on judicial robes for size. ciation, the Hispanic Bar Association, the HBA’s Law Week Committee They had the opportunity to take photos Mexican American Bar Association, and is busy throughout the year. and get ideas for participating in the Law the Asian American Bar Association. They Law Day, which is on May 1 Week Poster Contest and also toured the organized workshops in the Third Ward, each year, was initiated in the 1950s by Courthouse. East End and Chinese Community CenPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower as a way The Committee works hard to orgater, with volunteer attorneys and judges to educate the American people on the nize Law Week activities for citizens of all helping young students importance of the rule prepare posters and talkof law. Law Day eventuing to them about the law. ally grew into Law Week, The committee orgaand is now coordinated nized a two-week series primarily through the of Law Day readings to American Bar Association second and third grade eland local bar associations. ementary school students Law Week consists of a in nearly 100 schools variety of events designed throughout the area. In to educate and inspire, keeping with this year’s and the Houston Law theme, HBA members Week activities are no exread Amelia Bedelia’s First ception. Vote, by Herman Parish. The Law Week ComThe committee also mittee is co-chaired by arranged a series of diaSammy Ford IV of Abra- Law Week Contest Winners ham, Watkins, Nichols, The HBA recognized the winners of its Law Week Poster, Essay and Photography Contests at the logues between members Sorrels, Agosto & Friend, Houston Young Lawyers Association/Houston Young Lawyers Foundation Law Day Luncheon on April of the judiciary and memand Neil Kelly of Andrews 28. The HBA would like to thank the Blake Pratz and Jo Simmons of the Pratz Simmons Group at UBS for bers of the bar that was their continued sponsorship of the essay and poster contests, as well as Stratos Legal for underwriting presented in seven local Kurth LLP. The HBA’s Law the photography contest and Wendy Dawson of Social Motion Skills for underwriting the special needs Week program follows contests. Pictured here, from left: Blake Pratz of Pratz Simmons Group at UBS; Miguel Parra, First high schools, primarily the theme set each year Place, Photography Contest; Diana Meza, First Place, Poster Contest 6th-8th Grade; Jo Simmons of Pratz to seniors. The presentaby the American Bar As- Simmons Group at UBS; Anastasia Burdzinski, First Place, Poster Contest K-2nd Grade; Kara Garcia, tions focused on educating high school students sociation, which chose First Place, Poster Contest 3rd-5th Grade; and James Patrick Robertson, First Place, Essay Contest. about the new Texas Voter ID law and the “American Democracy and the Rule of ages, with a particular focus on students. importance of voting. Law: Why Every Vote Matters.” Programs Each Law Week, the committee conLaw Week Committee members assist emphasized that every vote is important, ducts a Poster Contest, an Essay Contest, with other programs commemorating and encouraged all citizens to vote. and a Photography Contest on the Law Law Day, proving that their service to the The committee began its work in SepDay theme. The Poster Contest includes community extends far beyond one week tember by helping to recruit attorneys to a category for special needs entrants. First and one group of citizens. The Law Week read to elementary school classrooms as place winners are submitted to the State Committee embodies the ideal of profespart of the HBA’s Constitution Week celBar of Texas Law Day Contests, where sionalism, and well represents Houston ebration. they compete with other winners across lawyers throughout the community to In January, committee member Justice Texas for prizes in the various categories. those who may never meet other attorKem Frost took the lead in hosting a preThe Law Week Committee is also neys. sentation at the 1910 Courthouse for spereaching out to urban minority comcial needs students and teachers, which munities, which have not always particiincluded a discussion by Supreme Court pated in large numbers in Law Week. To Suzanne Chauvin is a Senior Assistant of Texas Justice Phil Johnson on how laws increase participation in the Poster ConCity Attorney in the Labor, Employment, are made. Students posed for pictures test, the committee conducted a series of and Civil Rights section of the Houston City with judges and presenters, and especially poster workshops in February, coordiAttorney’s Office.
Law Week HYLA Award Winners
The HYLA/HYLF presented several awards at the Law Day Luncheon. Pictured from left: Zach Allie, HYLA president; Meredith Clark, HYLA/HYLF Law Day Luncheon co-chair; keynote speaker, Chief Justice Kem Frost of the 14th Court of Appeals; Nicole Voyles, HYLA/HYLF Law Day Luncheon co-chair; the Hon. Dan Downey, Outstanding Mentor Award; Hillary H. Holmes, Woodrow Seals Outstanding Young Lawyer of Houston Award; Linda Crooker Hunsaker, Liberty Bell Award; and Aisha J. Young, HYLF chair.
Law Week Naturalization Ceremony
HBA President David Chaumette greets members of the Armed Forces who became new U.S. Citizens at the Naturalization Ceremony on April 23. Chaumette, a naturalized citizen, gave a welcome address.
Law Week Naturalization Ceremony
Angela Webster and Joe Villarreal of the Law Week Committee greet new citizens as they leave the April 23 Naturalization Ceremony, presenting them with brochures on legal and community services available through the HBA.
Law Week Readings
(L) The Hon. Bill Boyce at Holy Spirit Episcopal School. (C) Margaret Maddox at Clear Lake City Elementary School. (R) Karan Ciotti at Patterson Elementary School. thehoustonlawyer.com
Law Week Readings
(L) Leslie H. Tronche at Field Elementary. (C) David Chaumette at Lexington Creek Elementary School. (R) Jennifer Hasley at Roberts Elementary School.
First Place Houston Bar Association Law Week Essay Contest
American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters
By James Patrick Robertson, Memorial High School
s Americans, many of us take the right to vote for granted. The right to vote is one of the basic principles of democracy, and one we see every day. Whether it is the election for the next President of the United States, or a vote on the new municipal bill, democratic elections are present everywhere in modern America. Yet, this basic premise, that we, regardless of race, gender or creed, can vote or not vote as we please, was not always present in our society. There was a time when â€œWe the Peopleâ€? did not mean all of the people; a time when individuals were elected to represent people who did not have the ability to vote for a representative. As history has repeatedly demonstrated, every vote is important and should not, cannot, be ignored. Evidence of the importance of a single vote can be traced all the way back to 1776, when the Second Continental Congress was debating whether to issue a resolution of independence. By early July, most representatives had agreed to vote for independence. 34
The notable exception was Delaware, which had a deadlock between George Read and Thomas McKean, as neither could agree on how to vote. McKean was for independence, while Read was not. The third member of the delegation, Caesar Rodney, rode seventy miles in the rain during the evening of July the 1st, so that he would be present on July the 2nd, when the vote was to occur. Caesar Rodney broke the deadlock; Delaware voted for independence and the Declaration of Independence was ratified. Another momentous day for the vote would be on March 30, 1870. On this day, the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution, allowing all men, regardless of race, to vote, was adopted. This amendment meant that the law of the land would now be applied on a color-blind basis. This amendment was a colossal milestone for a society which had hobbled along with a proportion of the population prevented from being able to vote for the men that supposedly would represent them and their interests. In a simi-
lar vein, the Nineteenth Amendment was adopted on August 18th, 1920. This amendment prevented any discrimination in voting rights based on sex. With another stroke of the pen, the remaining population of the United States was enfranchised, and America had made the long steps toward counting every vote. The final step of the march for universal suffrage was the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prevented local and state governments from imposing disenfranchisement based on race or ethnicity. For the first time, America was truly a full democratic society. But why? Why is universal suffrage such an important concept? Why does every vote matter? The answer lies in the Declaration of Independence, the piece of parchment that Caesar Rodney made a seventy-onemile journey to save. The Declaration of Independence proclaims that one of the self-evident truths of nature is that â€œGovernments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent
of the governed.” In other words, governments are given their power by the people, to work for the people. The vote is how an individual gives his or her consent to the government; it signifies a bond between the elector and the elected. It is a contract between citizens and the government; by voting in an election, you give your consent to the democratic process, and your word that, no matter the outcome, you will abide by the outcome and other rules of the land lawfully. In this day, where the United States now has a population of 300 million, with each citizen clamoring to have his or her voice heard through the ballot box, does one vote truly make that much of a difference? Many say no, and do not exercise their right to
Law Week Dialogue
vote. Of course, this failure is their prerogative, but in refusing to vote, one relinquishes his or her control of the government to the others, and essentially forfeits his or her voice. And even today in America, every voice, every vote does matter. Take for instance the 2000 presidential election in Florida, in which several voting machines improperly punched the ballots, resulting in possibly incorrect results. Officials had to check, by hand, every card for indication of how the individual had voted. These votes were particularly important because the remaining votes of the Electoral College, and who would win the United States presidency, depended on the results of Florida. Eventually, the votes went to George W. Bush, and he became the 43rd
Judge Debra Ibarra Mayfield and attorney Manpreet Singh presented a “Dialogue on Voting” at Stephen F. Austin High School on May 13. Dialogue programs were presented in seven high schools during May.
President of the United States, although it is not difficult to see where a shift of a few thousand votes could have changed the election, and Al Gore would have become President. One can only imagine and wonder how having Al Gore as President would have shaped the United States’ responses to the events of the coming decade. So, why does the vote matter? It matters because it is the very foundation of our government, the formula by which decisions are made and tranquility is maintained. The vote matters because it is one of the most, if not the most, important rights of the American public. The vote matters becase what “We the People” think and believe matters, and the vote is our mouthpiece directly to the government’s ear.
Constitutions for Jury Service
Harris County District Clerk Chris Daniel, Harris County Administrative Judge Robert Schaffer and HBA President David Chaumette distributed pocket-sized copies of the Constitution to all citizens who reported for jury duty on May 1.
Law Week Poster Workshops
The HBA held poster workshops in the Third Ward, East End and Chinese Community Center. At the Chinese Community Center, young students worked on posters for the Law Week contest and got to find out more about law, including trying on Judge Margaret Stewart Harris’s judicial robe. thehoustonlawyer.com
29th John J. Eikenburg Law Week Fun Run Benefits The Center T he 29th John J. Eikenburg Law Week Fun Run on March 22 raised $64,074 for The Center, a nonprofit agency that provides opportunities that promote individual choice, personal growth and community involvement for persons with mental retardation and those needing similar services, so they may reach their maximum potential. This brings the total to $1,136,494 in contributions to The Center over the life of the race. Nearly 750 walkers and runners participated in the event in downtownâ€™s Sam Houston Park. Named for the HBA president who founded the race in 1985, the John J. Eikenburg Law Week Fun Run is truly a team effort that involves many months of planning and coordination. Race directors were Jeremiah Anderson of King & Spalding LLP;
The start of the one-mile childrensâ€™ run.
Meredith Clark of KoonsFuller, PC; and Nicole Voyles of Jenkins & Kamin, L.L.P. Fun Run Committee Members were Erica Anderson, Gloria Avila, Andrew Brown, Megan Brown, Eric Cassidy, LaVerne Chang, Colleen Cockrum, Pia Das, Demetri Economou, Amanda Ferguson, Eleanor Gilbane, Jacob Godard, Kathryn Gottlieb, Melissa Grobler, Erin Lunceford, Danielle Maya, Cassandra McGarvey, Scott Michelman, Susan Oehl, Eric Pardue, Gavin Parker, Andrew Pearce, Kara Philbin, Claire Rogers, Paul Roslyn, Sherry Scott, Douglas Speights, Bridget Vick, Hon. Wesley Ward, Mark Wege, Katherine Willyard and Zachary Wolfe. Photos by Anthony Rathbun Photography. To see race results and Fun Run photos, see the link on the HBA website, www.hba.org.
HBA President David Chaumette, Elizabeth Eikenburg and emcee Lee Jolly prepare to start the 8K run.
The Fun Run is a family event, fun for all ages! 36
Residents of The Center prepare to participate in the one-mile family walk.
Runners take off in the 8K event.
The Strasburger & Price team of John Spiller, Kelsey Members of The Center Foundation Board. Sproull, and Trent Stephens took home the President’s Trophy for the fastest law firm team for the second year. The HBA and the Fun Run Committee would like to thank all of the teams who supported and competed in the race. The top 4 law firm teams were: First: Strasburger & Price 1:42:11.4 John Spiller Trent Stephens Kelsey Sproull Second: Gibbs & Bruns 1:46:44.7 Colin Pogge David Sheeren Jeffrey Cotner
Third: Johnson Trent 1:52:00 Sherry Bankhead Carter Stern Chris Trent Fourth: Serpe Jones 1:52:13.0 Amy Craft Mark Callend Robert Bell
Maximo Mendoza was the top male finisher, while Hope Layman was the top female runner.
Members of the Eikenburg family come out each year to support the race, named after the late John J. Eikenburg, who started the event as president of the Houston Bar Association in 1985-86.
Fun Run co-chairs Nicole Voyles, Meredith Clark and Jeremiah Anderson.
Grand Old Grizzly provided a musical backdrop for pre- and post-race festivities.
Law Week Fun Run Sponsors Gold Sponsor Baker Botts L.L.P. Exxon Mobil Corporation Norton Rose Fulbright HBA Litigation Section South Texas College of Law Vinson & Elkins LLP Silver Sponsor Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend Amicus Search Group LLC Andrews Kurth LLP BoyarMiller Burleson LLP Judge Kyle Carter Ellison Keller, P.C. Judge Mike Engelhart Equivalent Data Fernelius Alvarez PLLC Gray Reed & McGraw,P.C. Greenberg Traurig, LLP Godwin Lewis PC Houston Bar Association Auxiliary Charitable Fund, Inc. Jane and Doug Bland Jenkins & Kamin, L.L.P. Johnson, Trent, West & Taylor, L.L.P. Jones Day King & Spalding LLP KoonsFuller, PC Legal Directories Publishing Company, Inc. Liskow & Lewis Locke Lord LLP Lubel Voyles LLP
McGuire Woods LLP Nell McCallum & Associates, Inc. Shook, Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P. Steptoe & Johnson Stinemetz Law Firm Strasburger & Price, LLP Sunbelt Reporting & Litigation Services/Depot Texas UHY Advisors, Inc. U. S. Legal Support Judge Wesley Ward Other Important Supporters CBS Radio – Hot 95.7 FM Norton Rose Fulbright Grand Old Grizzly Luke’s Locker Refreshments Faust Distributing Company The Coca-Cola Company The Kroger Co. Todd Lonergan Big & Juicy Baby Bull Watermill Express Security Secured by Constable Alan Rosen and his staff from Precinct 1. Master of Ceremonies Services donated by long-time emcee, Lee Jolly thehoustonlawyer.com
Houston Lawyers Who Made a Difference
James Addison Baker
By The Hon. Mark Davidson
ice University is one of the educational gems of our nation. Alumni of the school have made notable accomplishments in business, science, technology, government and even football. Much of the credit for the founding of the school is correctly credited to the generosity of the school’s namesake, William Marsh Rice. Less is known about the role a Houston lawyer, James Addison Baker, had in the school’s development. Baker deserves a lot of acclaim for the preservation of that trust and for the devotion he gave to the school’s growth in its formative years. Baker had represented William M. Rice from his first days as a lawyer with the firm of Baker, Botts and Baker. A relationship of friendship and trust formed between them. In time, Rice told Baker of his dream of leaving most of his substantial estate to found a university dedicated to the advancement of literature, science and art. A will was drawn
of Trustees of the School until his death in 1941. Baker accomplished a lot more in his life than his work for Rice University. He was active in developing the arts, industry, banking and other assets of the growing city of Houston. He did much of the legal work that up by Baker to make that dream possible. led to the creation of Memorial Park. He After Rice’s untimely and suspicious death, served as a managing partner Baker spent years negating of the firm we know as Baker a fraudulent will prepared by Botts L.L.P. for many years. Rice’s murderer and defeating Baker made our community challenges to the will made by a better place in many ways. Rice’s extended family. HavAll residents of Houston owe ing preserved the corpus of him a huge debt. To the thouthe trust, he set out to create sands of graduates of Rice a school modeled after some University, and to the millions of America’s greatest colleges. of people who have benefited From investment of the funds James Addison Baker from the accomplishments of in the estate, the purchase of those graduates, James A. Baker made a the land for the school, the design of the difference that will endure for centuries to buildings, to the hiring of the first adminiscome. trators and faculty, Baker had a major role in every facet of the founding of the school. The Hon. Mark Davidson is an MDL judge Whether you consider Rice the “Harvard of and judge (retired) of the 11th District Court. the South” or consider Harvard “the Rice His column for The Houston Lawyer focuses of the North,” there is no question that the on Houston attorneys who have had signififoundation Baker created gave the school a cant impact on the law, the legal profession and those served by the law. great start. He would serve on the Board
in pro f e s s io n ali s m
Thomas M. Roche Attorney at Law, Exxon Mobil Corporation (Retired)
In the broader societal context, we are privileged to be part of a profession that has helped shape this country’s institutions and values. The attorney’s role in the rule of law is our critical contribution to our way of life. The rule of law is also one of this country’s significant contributions to stability and development throughout the world. I feel very fortunate in my 34 years with Exxon Mobil Corporation to have been able to practice my profession throughout the world under a wide variety of legal systems and approaches to the rule of law. This has led me to an even greater appreciation of the critical importance of the appropriate application of the rule of law for any society.
The Houston Lawyer
rofessionalism has two distinct aspects to me—one personal and the other societal. On a personal level, the study and practice of law has instilled (or perhaps re-enforced) in me the necessity and satisfaction of doing things the right way. There is no substitute for intellectual rigor, preparation and thoroughness in approaching and resolving any issue. The intellectual discipline instilled in us from our first day in law school stays with us for life. It shapes not only how we conduct our professional work but also many aspects of our personal lives.
U.S. Supreme Court Limits U.S. Courts’ General Jurisdiction Over International Corporations
The Houston Lawyer
n January 2014, the U. S. Supreme Court decided Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. 746 (2014). Plaintiffs claimed that DaimlerChrysler’s Argentine subsidiary collaborated with the government to torture and kill their relatives during Argentina’s “Dirty War” between 1976 and 1983. They sued DaimlerChrysler’s German parent (Daimler) in California. The district court dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction, but the court of appeals reversed. There was no dispute in the trial court that the court could exercise jurisdiction over Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), which is the American subsidiary, although MBUSA was not a party to the case. The court applied an “agency theory,” which has a two-part analysis: (1) Are the services provided by MBUSA sufficiently important to Daimler that, if MBUSA went out of business, Daimler would continue selling cars in this vast market either by selling them itself, or, alternatively, by selling them through a new representative?, and; (2) Can plaintiffs show an element of control, albeit not as much control as is reMay/June 2014
phasized that a state could exercise “general personal jurisdiction” over a foreign company only if the contacts were “continuous and systematic” as to render the foreign company virtually at home in the forum state. The Daimler AG opinion will most likely make it difficult for a plaintiff to sue a corporation that is not incorporated nor has its place of business in the forum state, simply based upon a theory of general jurisdiction. It should be noted, however, that this opinion does not apply to claims based on specific jurisdiction, i.e. claims that arise out of or relate to activities in the forum state. The specific jurisdiction issue was taken up by the Court in Walden v. Fiore, which the Court decided just a few weeks after the Daimler AG opinion. The Court even found the assertion of general personal jurisdiction over a company that “engages in a substantial, continuous, and systematic course of business in the State” too expansive. The Court noted that Daimler was a German company, emphasizing that courts should be especially careful when deciding personal jurisdiction over a company or person who is not a resident of the United States. The Daimler AG opinion certainly limits the scope of general personal jurisdiction.
the U.S. Supreme Court reversed and rejected the theory of
personal jurisdiction based on whether
By Richard Sheehy
quired to satisfy the “alter ego” test? The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that Daimler had more than enough control to meet the agency test because “Daimler has the right to control nearly every aspect of MBUSA’s operations.” As a result, the Court of Appeals concluded that the trial court had jurisdiction over Daimler because the Court had jurisdiction over a separate subsidiary that was not even involved in the case (i.e. MBUSA). On motion for rehearing, several dissenting Justices had rather vehement reactions. They pointed out that no other circuit court uses the agency test, especially in the way the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit applied it in this case. Not surprisingly, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed and rejected the theory of personal jurisdiction based on whether the subsidiary’s actions were “important” to the parent. The Court’s main discussion was more interesting, however. The Court held that Daimler was not subject to personal jurisdiction in California even if the contacts of MBUSA were attributed to the parent. The Court implied further that a California court possibly may not even have general jurisdiction over MBUSA even though MBUSA had many contacts with California. About 2.4 percent of all Mercedes Benz cars worldwide are sold in California, and MBUSA has “multiple facilities” in California. But MBUSA is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in New Jersey. The Court em-
the subsidiary’s actions were
‘important’ to the
Richard Sheehy is a founding shareholder of Sheehy, Ware and Pappas, P.C., which was formed in 1985. He is the head of the firm’s appellate section.
U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies Test for Specific Personal Jurisdiction in Intentional Torts By Yvonne Y. Ho
ust weeks after deciding an issue of general personal jurisdiction in Daimler AG v. Bauman,1 the U.S. Supreme Court clarified the standard for specific personal jurisdiction related to intentional tort claims in Walden v. Fiore, 134 S. Ct. 1115 (2014). In Walden, the Court unanimously held that the Due Process Clause does not permit a court to exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant whose only “contact” with the forum state is its alleged commission of an intentional tort while knowing that the plaintiff resided in that state and would suffer injuries there. The defendant in Walden was a federal officer who confronted plaintiffs, two professional gamblers, at an airport in Georgia, where the plaintiffs were waiting to catch a flight to Nevada. The defendant seized the plaintiffs’ cash and later allegedly drafted a false probable cause affidavit for forfeiture of the funds. The plaintiffs filed suit in a Nevada district court, asserting that the defendant had violated their Fourth Amendment rights. The district court dismissed the suit for lack of personal jurisdiction, but
a divided panel of the Ninth Circuit reversed.2 The court of appeals looked to the so-called “effects” test for jurisdiction involving intentional-tort claims, from Calder v. Jones.3 According to the majority opinion, the “effects” test was satisfied by allegations that the defendant had “expressly aimed” his conduct at Nevada by “individually target[ing]” individuals that he knew had significant connections to Nevada and causing “foreseeable harm” in Nevada. Over the dissent of eight judges (in two separate opinions), the Ninth Circuit denied rehearing en banc. The Supreme Court reversed, noting that two “well-established principles of personal jurisdiction are sufficient to decide this case.” First, to satisfy due process, a defendant’s relationship with the forum state “must arise out of contacts that the defendant himself creates with the forum State.” Second, the jurisdictional analysis “looks to the defendant’s contacts with the forum State itself, not the defendant’s contacts with persons who reside there.” As the Court explained, “the plaintiff cannot be the only link between the defendant and the forum. Rather, it is the defendant’s conduct that must form the necessary connection with the forum State that is the basis for its jurisdiction over him.” Applying these principles, the Supreme Court disagreed with the Ninth Circuit’s focus on the officer’s knowledge of the respondent’s Nevada connections
as the basis for finding personal jurisdiction. That approach “impermissibly allows a plaintiff’s contacts with the defendant and forum to drive the jurisdictional analysis” and “improperly attributes a plaintiff’s forum connections to the defendant.” In reality, the defendant formed no jurisdictionally-relevant contacts with Nevada because he “never traveled to, conducted activities within, contacted anyone in, or sent anything or anyone to Nevada.” The Court also rejected the notion that the plaintiffs’ injury in Nevada was enough to satisfy the jurisdiction test because the same injury would have been felt anywhere that plaintiffs happened to go. Walden’s emphasis on “well-established” principles makes clear that the test for specific jurisdiction is no different in intentional torts than in any other case. The analysis must focus on whether the defendant’s conduct—apart from the plaintiff’s forum connections— creates the “minimum contacts” necessary to support personal jurisdiction in the forum state.
The defendant in
Walden was a
federal officer who
confronted plaintiffs, two professional gamblers, at an
airport in Georgia,
where the plaintiffs were waiting to
catch a flight to
Yvonne Y. Ho is an associate in the appellate group at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP. She also serves as an HBA Ambassador and a co-chair of the HBA Minority Opportunities in the Legal Profession Committee. Endnote 1. While t134 S. Ct. 746 (2014). 2. Fiore v. Walden, 688 F.3d 558 (9th Cir. 2012). 3. 465 U.S. 783 (1984).
The Right and the Power:
The Prosecution of Watergate By Leon Jaworski HarperCollins Publishers LLC
The Houston Lawyer
Reviewed by Jonathan C. C. Day orty years ago this summer, the Supreme Court decided United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974). Leon Jaworski argued the case for the United States of America. This anniversary may be the perfect time to read or re-read Jaworski’s 1976 account, The Right and the Power: The Prosecution of Watergate. As Jaworski tells it, the decision to volunteer was difficult, “The question now was this: Are you, Leon Jaworski, at sixty-eight and with a fair share of good fortune, willing to take on something that probably will be nothing but trouble?” By the time Jaworski arrived in Washington, the stage had been set. In June 1972, the police had arrested five men at the Watergate Hotel repairing surveillance equipment previously installed inside the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters. Then, the first Special Prosecutor (Archibald Cox) had been fired for subpoenaing tapes from the voice-activated recording system installed at President Nixon’s request in the Oval Office. Jaworski was named the new Special Prosecutor. Jaworski took over five task forces but focused on nine tapes withheld by President Nixon including one from March 21, 1973, because John Dean, the White House Counsel, had testified that on that day he had “brought the President fully up to date.” Public reaction to the firing of Cox finally forced the President to turn the tapes over to the trial court and to Jaworski, but only for confidential review. The tapes shocked Jaworski: “I was badly shaken, so shaken that I didn’t want anyone to notice it... I needed to be alone... I had listened to 42
that voice. I had heard it before in person and on radio and television, so decidedly different now, as the President plotted with his aides to defeat the ends of justice.” On March 21, 1973, the President talked about what Jaworski describes as “cash for silence”: NIXON: How much money do you need? DEAN: I would say these people are going to cost, uh, a million dollars over the next, uh, two years. NIXON: We could get that... I, I know where it could be gotten. DEAN: Uh, huh. NIXON: I mean it’s not easy, but it could be done. But, uh, the question is, who the hell would handle it? During the same meeting on March 21, 1973, Nixon spoke with “staccato urgency” about how his staff should avoid testifying before the Senate: NIXON: That’s right. Just be damned sure you say I don’t remember. I can’t recall. I can’t give any honest... an answer that I can recall. But that’s it. If there was any doubt what Nixon meant, the next day he ordered them to “stonewall”: NIXON: I don’t give a s*** what happens. I want you all to stonewall it, let them plead the Fifth Amendment, cover up or anything else, if it’ll save the plan. That’s the whole point. The President still had one line of defense against disclosure of the tapes: Executive Privilege. Since first hearing the tapes, Jaworski had been unable to share what he knew with the American public or to use the tapes in the criminal cases pending against the President’s aides. The question of “executive privilege” was a matter of first impression for the Supreme Court. On July 8, 1974, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in United States v. Nixon. “Shouting” reporters and protestors swamped Jaworski as he walked up the steps to the Supreme Court, many of them were young people who had been sleeping
outside the Supreme Court for days. It was ninety degrees that morning, and once inside the Supreme Court building Jaworski felt fractious for his rendezvous with history. Jaworski needed only a tie (4-4), and Judge Sirica’s order for the President to produce the tapes would stand. Jaworski’s brief summarized the case and justified the Court’s jurisdiction: The narrow issue presented to this Court is whether the President, in a pending prosecution against his former aides and associates being conducted in the name of the United States by a Special Prosecutor not subject to Presidential directions, may withhold material evidence from the Court merely on his assertion that the evidence involved confidential government deliberations... Any notion that this controversy, arising as it does from the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum to the President at the request of the Special Prosecutor, is not justiciable is wholly illusory. During oral argument, the Justices spoke more than 100 times. Jaworski quotes this response at length in The Right and the Power: JAWORSKI: Now enmeshed in almost 500 pages of briefs, when boiled down, this case really presents one fundamental issue —who is to be the arbiter of what the Constitution says? Basically this is not a novel question—although the factual situation involved is, of course, unprecedented... Now, the President may be right in how he reads the Constitution. But he may also be wrong. And if he is wrong, who is there to tell him so? And if there is no one, then the President, of course, is free to pursue his course of erroneous interpretations. What then becomes of our constitutional form of government? So when the counsel for the President in his brief states that this case goes to the heart of our basic constitutional system, we agree. Because in our view, this nation’s constitutional form of government is in serious jeopardy if the Continued on page 44
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Equal Access Champions
The firms and corporations listed below have agreed to assume a leadership role in providing equal access to justice for all Harris County citizens. Each has signed a five-year commitment to provide representation in a certain number of cases through the Houston Volunteer Lawyers. For more information contact Kay Sim at (713) 759-1133. *Bold type indicates new Equal access Champion.
Large Firm Champions Andrews Kurth LLP Baker Botts L.L.P. Bracewell & Giuliani LLP Norton Rose Fulbright Locke Lord LLP Vinson & Elkins LLP
Baker Hughes Incorporated BP America Inc. CenterPoint Energy, Inc. ConocoPhillips Exxon Mobil Corporation Halliburton LyondellBasell Marathon Oil Company Shell Oil Company
Intermediate Firm Champions Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP Haynes and Boone, L.L.P. King & Spalding LLP
Mid-Size Firm Champions
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP Baker Hostetler LLP Beirne, Maynard & Parsons, L.L.P. Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Aughtry Gray Reed & McGraw, P.C. Greenberg Traurig, LLP Jackson Walker L.L.P. Jones Day Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP Porter Hedges LLP . Strasburger & Price, L.L.P. Susman Godfrey LLP Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP Winstead PC
Small Firm Champions
Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend Beck | Redden LLP Burleson LLP Gibbs & Bruns LLP Hays, McConn, Rice & Pickering, P.C. Hughes Watters Askanase LLP Johnson DeLuca Kurisky & Gould, P.C. Kroger | Burrus McGuireWoods LLP Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. ReedSmith LLP Schwartz, Junell, Greenberg & Oathout, L.L.P Sidley Austin LLP Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP Weycer, Kaplan, Pulaski & Zuber, P.C. Yetter Coleman LLP Edison, McDowell & Hetherington LLP Fullenweider Wilhite PC Funderburk Funderburk & Courtois, LLP Hicks Thomas LLP Hogan Lovells US LLP Jenkins & Kamin, L.L.P. Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP KoonsFuller PC Ogden, Gibson, Broocks, Longoria & Hall, L.L.P. Strong Pipkin Bissell & Ledyard, L.L.P. Sutton McAughan Deaver LLP Wilson, Cribbs & Goren, P.C.
Boutique Firm Champions Blank Rome LLP Coane & Associates Connelly • Baker • Wotring LLP
Brian Albrecht Law Office of Peter J. Bennett Law Office of J. Thomas Black, P.C. Law Office of Robbie Gail Charette Chaumette, PLLC Damani Law Firm Helene Dang Law Office of Papa M. Dieye The Ericksen Law Firm Flowers & Frankfort Frye, Steidley, Oaks & Benavidez, PLLC Fuqua & Associates, P.C. David Hsu Hunton & Williams LLP Law Office of James and Stagg, PLLC Katine & Nechman L.L.P. KimLy Law Firm PLLC Gregory S. Lindley Law Office of Maria S. Lowry Alejandro Macias Martin R.G. Marasigan Law Offices Danielle H. Maya The Law Office of Evangeline Mitchell, PLLC Bertrand C. Moser Patel Ervin PLLC Law Office of Brent C. Perry, P.C. Pilgrim Law Office Robert E. Price Cindi L. Robison Scardino & Fazel Shortt & Nguyen, P.C. Jeff Skarda Tindall & England, P.C. Travis Torrence Diane C. Treich Norma Levine Trusch Clinton Yu
President, any President, is to say that the Constitution means what he says it does, and that there is no one, not even the Supreme Court, to tell him otherwise... Two weeks later, the Supreme Court which included four justices appointed by Nixon, unanimously denied the President’s claim of executive privilege: We conclude that when the ground for asserting privilege as to subpoenaed materials sought for use in a criminal trial is based only on the generalized interest in confidentiality, it cannot prevail over the fundamental demands of due process of law in the fair administration of criminal justice. The generalized assertion of privilege must yield to the demonstrated, specific need for evidence in a pending criminal trial... The resulting firestorm forced President Nixon to resign in August 1974 The following month, he received a pardon by President Ford. Jaworski returned to Houston, less than one year after volunteering. Upon reflection, Jaworksi concludes that Watergate proved “our Constitution works... no one—absolutely no one—is above the law.” Jonathan C. C. Day worked for Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. and Dobrowski L.L.P. before establishing Day PLLC in 2007. Day PLLC is a general practice firm in the Houston Heights focused on litigation, contract negotiation, and community development.
The Insanity Plea By Larry D. Thompson Story Merchant
The Houston Lawyer
Reviewed by Robert Painter
alveston, Texas. A maniacal serial killer. A wrongfully-accused former lawyer who left a big firm practice because of a mental illness. What’s not to love about this latest legal thriller by
Houston attorney Larry D. Thompson? One of the things that I enjoy about Thompson’s books is that he always manages to weave a thorny legal issue into the plot, without sounding preachy. The Insanity Plea is a page-turner that entices the reader to ponder the plight of the mentally ill in America, as well whether the legal standard for an insanity plea is fair and just. Wayne Little is an accomplished trial lawyer, whose brother, Dan, was accused of a brutal murder on a Galveston beach. Dan himself was, at one time, an accomplished attorney, but ended up on the streets after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Despite his innocence, the evidence in the Galveston murder points to Dan. The police obtain a dubious confession while Dan is clearly out of his mind. To make matters worse, the prosecution hires a nationally-renowned psychiatrist, Frederick Parke, M.D., to testify that Dan was not insane at the time he committed the cold-blooded murder. When thinking of Dr. Parke, imagine a mix of Hannibal Lecter and Tony Robbins. Dr. Parke lives in Vail, Colorado and is a professor and frequent expert witness. One of his side pursuits is putting on seminars on how to convince anyone of anything. As an expert witness, Dr. Parke is willing to say anything necessary to satisfy whoever is writing the check. In a backroom deal with the assistant district attorney prosecuting the case, the murder victim’s father agrees to pay Dr. Parke’s whopping $200,000 fee. Before sending the payment, though, the father made his expectations clear to Dr. Parke, who had no problem forming a favorable opinion on the spot... as soon as the check cleared. I enjoyed this element of social satire concerning the modern proliferation of “experts for hire” in litigation. Few litigators haven’t asked the question “Really?”
after reading the report of an opposing expert witness. A more explicit issue addressed in the book is the uncomfortable nexus of mental health and the law. During the trial preparation phase, Dan’s defense team confronts the practicalities of trying to meet the near-insurmountable burden of proof for an insanity plea under Texas law. They deal with a client who sometimes is insane and, on other occasions, both sane and brilliant, depending on his medication levels. Meanwhile, they discover an increasing number of murders around the country that appear related. One attempted murder even targets a member of the defense team. It is not until the last day of trial, though, that the pieces come together. And the story of the trial itself captures the uncertainty and fluidity of trial that anyone who has tried a case will appreciate and find familiar. I don’t want to give away what happens, but let’s just say that the trial ends with a grand crescendo while Dr. Parke is on the stand. Larry Thompson’s The Insanity Plea is a great story with memorable characters. It tackles some serious issues in law and society and is a delightful book to read. Robert Painter is a litigation attorney with the Painter Law Firm PLLC, where he handles medical malpractice and commercial litigation matters. He is editor-in-chief of The Houston Lawyer. For classifieds ads please contact:
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Expert Witness/Consultant Securities Arbitration and Litigation Over 35 years experience and 100 cases
The Houston Lawyer
Thomas R. Temple MBA, RIA