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Bulletin October 2017

National Pro Bono Week


October 22 - 28, 2017

President’s Page

The Cloud Before the Storm


urricanes Harvey and Irma are gone, leaving behind a multi-billion dollar mess to clean up. The physical and emotional damage will take years to repair. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected, especially our brethren whose practices have been altered. Kudos to by Nick Bettinger the Texas judicial system in responding quickly in the aftermath of Harvey, extending deadlines, relocating proceedings, and assuring our profession that justice delayed is not always justice denied. Mother Nature has a way of bringing out the civility in all of us. We dismiss our differences and come together as a profession, a city, a state and a nation, working toward a common goal—restoring the spirit of our friends and neighbors. Whether you have donated your time, your talent or your money, you have reinforced the underlying principle of our Lawyer’s Creed—blindly treating others with respect. Thank you for your selfless efforts. Technology played a big role in the hurricane preparations and recovery. When the last major hurricane struck the Texas coast (Ike in 2008), smartphones were fairly new and not too sophisticated. This time around, a large percentage of south Texas residents were able to use mobile devices to get real time radar maps and maintain constant communication with loved ones. FEMA even issued a smartphone app with critical contact information, updates from the National Weather Service, and emergency shelter locations. Mother Nature still has the upper hand, but thanks to technology, we’re gaining on her. Many of our members do not have the time or desire to research tech products to improve their practice and better serve their clients. So on November 7 at the Tarrant County Bar Center, we are bringing together representatives of some of the best legal technology products and service providers for lawyers. Watch your e-mail for more details. Let’s talk about some technology that is particularly important in the aftermath of the recent hurricanes. Are all of your files still in paper format, and what would you do in the event of a tornado, fire, hurricane, or other natural disaster? Many Tarrant County lawyers learned the hard way after the tornado in 2000. Back then, op-

tions were limited for redundancy. Now, cloud-based applications and storage are becoming the norm. So what is cloud computing? (This is where I usually lose people. Hang with me). Simply put, the “cloud” is a network of servers that you access over the internet, as opposed to an old IBM box tucked behind some paper files from the 1990s in that closet next to the water heater. Big companies like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and IBM have data centers with thousands of servers possessing enough storage to house a video of your entire life, multiple times over. These cloud networks have characteristics that many of us do not have the time, resources or desire to implement: • Redundancy—How many of you regularly back up your data? And if you do regular backups, have you ever verified that you can actually restore the backup if necessary? In the cloud, data is backed up in real time, so the risk of loss is virtually nonexistent. Even if you don’t use the cloud to host all of your applications, you could easily solve your redundancy needs by backing up your documents and/or data to the cloud. • Security—Do I even need to point out the concerns over electronic security? Not a week goes by that we don’t hear of an internet security breach. Viruses, spyware, botnets, ransomware. Many of us don’t even understand these concepts, much less know how to combat them. Cloud servers are usually managed by experts who implore strict measures to secure the data. Granted, no provider is 100% secure, but chances are the cloud offers better security than a closet in the back of your office. • Reliability—Ever had your server or workstation go down? How productive were you during that time? Cloud providers utilize redundancy and virtualization to provide you 24/7/365 access to your applications, documents and data. • Access—Many in our profession have figured out a way to remotely connect to the office. This connectivity is often satisfactory to get a little work done from home. But Murphy’s Law dictates that the one time you absolutely need to access your data remotely, something will go wrong. Hosting your applications and data in the cloud removes the necessity that your equipment and internet connection at the office be up and running at all crucial moments. In the cloud, you can get to your data more directly, securely and quickly. You still with me? Ok, how about a very basic use of the cloud that all of us can implement fairly easily. Say you want to convert those paper files on your desk to electronic documents and be able to access them from a remote computer or smartphone. CONTINUED ON PAGE 4



Contents Features 3 National Pro Bono Celebration Law Firm Security Step 4 17 Protect Your Internal Systems"


Advertiser's Index

Bailey & Galyen............................................10, 22 Dispute Resolution Services..................................8 Juris Fabrilis.......................................................16 KoonsFuller.................................Inside Front Cover Law Offices of Jason Smith.................................19 Law Offices of Steven C. Laird, P.C.......................13 LawPay...............................................................18 Lone Star Ag Credit.............................................21 Stephens Anderson & Cummings...........Back Cover Texas Lawyers' Insurance Exchange...................19 Tindall Square Office Complex............................24 The Colaneri Firm, P.C........................................24 The Collie Firm...................................................16


▪ OCTOBER 2017

817.338.4092 ▪ Fax 817.335.9238 website: email: 2017-2018 Officers

President................................Nick Bettinger President-Elect..........................Lance Evans Vice President.............................John Cayce Secretary-Treasurer...............Gary L. Medlin


Departments 1 President's Page 4 YLA Snapshot 5 Calendar of Events 6 Snippets 8 It's All Happening Around the Bar 9 100 Club 11 Judicial Profile - Judge Jennifer Rymell 14 Lawyers on the Move & in the News 14 CLE Corner 15 Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans 16 Other Associations' News & Information 18 Lawyer Referral & Information Service News 19 A Word From Our Sections 22 Tarrant County Volunteer Attorney Services 23 Benefits of Membership 24 Membership Report 25 LegalLine 25 Vendor List

Tarrant County Bar Association


Directors Term Ends 2019

Director..............................Susan Hutchison Director............................Jason C. N. Smith Director............................Tennessee Walker

Term Ends 2018

Director..................................Cody L. Cofer Director..............................Veronica C. Law Director..........................................Lu Pham

2017-2018 Appointed Directors

Appointed Director.......................Joe Regan Appointed Director................Lori Spearman

Tarrant County Young Lawyers Association Spring 2017 President.......Tennessee Walker Fall 2017 President.............Christopher Gee Immediate Past President......Robert G. West Executive Director.................Megan Cooley Ex-Officio Members State Bar of Texas Director............................Gary L. Nickelson Director...............................Curtis Pritchard American Bar Association Delegate...................................Janna Clarke Bar Bulletin Editor...................................John F. Murphy Assistant Editor.....................Kathleen Flacy Graphics/Production............Elizabeth Banda TheTarrant County Bar Bulletin is a monthly publication of the Tarrant County Bar Association. Articles, photos, suggestions or comments should be directed to: 1315 Calhoun Street ▪ Fort Worth, TX 76102-6504 Deadline for submission is the 20th day of the month, two months prior the date of the issue (e.g. March 20 for the May issue). Items for publication may be emailed to in Word format. Articles published in the Bar Bulletin do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Tarrant County Bar Association, its officers, or the Board of Directors. Advertisements, and feature articles should not be considered an endorsement of any service, product, program, seminar or event.


ro Bono Week takes place every year in October and celebrates the pro bono ethic of the thousands of professionals who volunteer their skills and professional expertise to support nonprofits all around the world. Tarrant County Bar Foundation is proud to celebrate the volunteer attorneys, paralegals, law and college students who had volunteered throughout the year to make Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans-Tarrant County Chapter (TLTV) and Tarrant County Volunteer Attorney Services (TVAS) strong and successful programs. On the Professionalism and Barriers to Justice, Madam Justice Eleanor Cronk of the Ontario Court of Appeal said: “The elements of professionalism include not only integrity, honor, independence, civility and leadership. Central to professionalism is the duty of service to the public: not to some of the public; not to only the dominant majority; but, to all the public, including the disadvantaged, the unpopular and the marginalized.” Legal Aid offices are overwhelmed by the amount individuals requesting legal assistance. Legal Aid has limited funding and staff, which prevents the legal services that they provide to reach all the individuals seeking assistance. With programs supported by Bar Foundations and Associations such as TLTV and TVAS, the number and type of cases and individuals that receive assistance grows every day. At the same time volunteer attorneys benefit from providing pro bono assistance by developing skills in other areas of practice, by increasing

client interaction skills, obtaining courtroom experience, and free training, CLE and mentorship to name just a few benefits. Our programs continue to grow and October is full of events in which volunteers can participate: TLTV Legal Clinic for Veterans: October 20, 2017, 2 PM - 5 PM Tarrant County College - Trinity River Campus TVAS General Advice Clinics: October 23rd, 6:00 PM – Morris Center Sponsored by Kelly Hart and Hallman

October 30th, 6:00 PM – True Worth Center Sponsored by Cantey Hanger

TVAS Expunction Clinic: October 14th, 8:30 AM – Greater Community Missionary Baptist Church, Arlington For questions or to sign up for any of these events, please contact Aleed J Rivera, g




Balloon sculpture of the month. Cloud ballooning.

Go get yourself a Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 ($430 on Amazon). This little breadbox-sized scanner can wirelessly scan documents to your computer, smartphone, or the cloud. The cloud in this instance can be a familiar name, such as Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, or Evernote. The free storage offered by these providers is sufficient to hold an electronic version of your largest case file. Once you have scanned your files to the cloud, head over to the Bar Center on October 24 to shred those files. We will have Magic Shred onsite to destroy up to four boxes per person. Free to TCBA members! Have a great month. g


YLA Snapshot Christopher Gee, President TCYLA


his is a busy time for the Tarrant County Young Lawyer’s Association (TCYLA), and I’m excited to be serving as the President for this Fall/Winter term! We have a great team of officers that will help lead us through this next session, and a great group of Directors that includes our newest member, Harrison Smith. I joined the Board in the Spring of 2012 soon after my wife and I moved to Fort Worth from Washington, D.C. Although our time in D.C. was a great experience, and we hated leaving many friends and work colleagues, I was originally from Texas (Sulphur Springs) and was anxious to get a little closer to home. I convinced my wife (originally from Cleveland) that she would grow to love the Lone Star State, and we haven’t looked back since! Neither of us were very familiar with Fort Worth, and getting involved with TCYLA ended up being a great way for us to meet friends and get plugged into the community. One of my favorite things about our organization is the variety of events and programs that we offer to our members. Although the social events, like the monthly happy hours and Spring Fiesta, are a lot of fun and great opportunities for our members to network, we also work hard to emphasize professional development and community service. We will be partnering again this year with Texas A&M School of Law on their professionalism program to emphasize how important it is for law students to become engaged with the


▪ OCTOBER 2017

local bar early and often. We also have our annual CLE program, Bridging the Gap, on Thursday, October 12th, at the Tarrant County Bar Office, which focuses on topics relevant to lawyers who are in the early phases of their career. I’m excited that we’ll be teaming up for the first time with Habitat for Humanity on Saturday, October 7th, for their annual Cowtown Brush Up event, and the annual golf tournament, benefitting the Tarrant County Bar Foundation, will be held on Monday, November 6th, at Mira Vista Country Club. As always, it’s a full calendar, and we look forward to seeing many of you at these upcoming events! g

Calendar of Events

October 2017

3 Expunction for TCBA and Volunteer Attorneys 11:30 am - 1 pm, TCBA Office Free CLE for TCBA Members 5 Docket Call Social 5:00 pm, Dorsett Johnson & Swift, LLP 6 Career Transitions: Key Issues For Opening and Closing a Practice 12 pm, TCBA Office Free CLE 10 Solo & Small Firms Section Luncheon 12 pm, Petroleum Club 12 Energy Law Section Luncheon 12 pm, Petroleum Club 12 LegalLine 6 pm - 8 pm, TCBA Office 16 Bankruptcy Law Section Luncheon 12 pm, Fort Worth Club 17 Tax & Estate Planning Section Luncheon 11:30 am, Petroleum Club "Don't Overlook the Power of Powers" 17 Labor & Employment Law Section Luncheon 12 pm, City Club 18 Texas Creditor's Course - Texas Creditor's Bar Association & Tarrant County Bar Association 1:00 pm, TCBA Office "Ethical Interactions with Pro Se Defendants", "Overview of the Fair Credit Reporting Act", "Common Pitfall in Presenting a Claim in Probate", and "Update on Receivership Law" 19 FWB&E Section Luncheon 11:30 am, City Club "DOL Fiduciary Rules" 19 Construction Law Section Luncheon 12 pm, TCBA Office 24 Appellate Law Section Luncheon 12 pm, Petroleum Club Guest Speaker: Judge Costa 24 Magic Shred Event 3 pm - 6 pm, TCBA Lot 26 LegalLine 6 pm - 8 pm, TCBA Office 27 Brown Bag Seminar – Juvenile Law 12 pm, Juvenile Detention Center Training Room 31 Last Tuesday CLE 1 pm, TCBA Office

November 2017

2 Appellate Law Section Biennial Event 2:00 pm - CLE; 5:00 pm - Reception, City Club 6 TCBA and TCYLA Golf Tournament 1:00 pm, Mira Vista Golf Course 7 Tax & Estate Planning Section Luncheon 11:30 am, Petroleum Club "Protecting Beneficiaries From Themselves and Others" 8 Collaborative Law Section Luncheon 12 pm, La Hacienda Ranch Restaurant, Colleyville 9 LegalLine 6 pm - 8 pm, TCBA Office 10 Brown Bag Seminar 12:30 pm, TCBA Office "Mental Health Issues: What to Look for in Friends and Clients and How to Help" 14 Membership Luncheon 11:45 am, City Club 16 FWB&E Section Luncheon 11:30 am, City Club "Long Term & Elder Care Planning" 16 Construction Law Section Luncheon 12 pm, TCBA Office 17 National Adoption Day 9 am, Family Law Courts 23 Thanksgiving Day Holiday Office Closed 24 Thanksgiving Day Holiday Office Closed 28 Real Estate Section Luncheon 12 pm, City Club 28 Solo & Small Firms Section Luncheon 12 pm, Petroleum Club 28 Last Tuesday CLE 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm, TCBA Office 3 hours CLE in Ethics 29 Tarrant County Bar Foundation's Advocates for Justice Luncheon 11:30 am, Fort Worth Club

Sponsorship opportunities are available for all events. Please contact Megan Cooley at for more information.




Civil and Criminal

Co-Editor Judge Carey Walker, County Criminal Court No. 2

by Judge Bob McCoy g County Criminal Court No. 3


Where did actions in equity originate? (A) Court of Common Pleas (B) King’s Bench (C) The Privy Council (D) The Chancery (See answer at end of article.)


Judge Bob, have there always been problems affording accused individuals speedy trials? Apparently not. Following the Saint Valentine’s Day massacre on February 14, 1929, at the SMC Cartage warehouse in Chicago, Al Capone fled to Philadelphia, where he was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon. Following his arrest, he was charged, tried, convicted, and sentenced to one year in jail in 16 HOURS!



(a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently humorous) To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

THE DANES’ QUOTE OF THE MONTH [My dog] can bark like a congressman, fetch like an aide, beg like a press secretary, and play dead like a receptionist when the phone rings. Ramses —Gerald B. H. Solomon, U.S. Congressman; entry in contest to identify Capitol Hill’s Great American Dog.

CRIMINAL ITEMS OF INTEREST 1. Self-representation

“[A] trial court may not deny the right to self-representation based simply on ‘predictions of likely recalcitrant behavior’ or delay or disruption incidental to self-representation without a legal education.” A request for self-representation is timely if brought before the jury is impaneled. A jury has been impaneled when those who have been chosen to serve have been selected and sworn.” Lathem v. State, 514 S.W.3d 796 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth


▪ OCTOBER 2017


2. No Judicial Bias

In the absence of a clear showing to the contrary, we will presume that the trial court was neutral, detached, and unbiased in all phases of the trial. “Judicial rulings alone almost never constitute a valid basis for a bias or partiality motion.” Carson v. State, 515 S.W.3d 372 (Tex.App.—Texarkana 2017).

3. Election

A defendant may choose to require the State to elect a specific criminal act that it relies upon for conviction. This choice is strategic and may be waived or forfeited. One reason that a defendant may decide against demanding an election is that the State will be jeopardy-barred from prosecuting the other offenses that were in evidence. Smith v. State, 515 S.W.3d 423 (Tex .App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2017).

4. Excited-utterance

The excited-utterance exception to the rule against hearsay relates to statements made about startling events even if those events are not the charged offense. Pickron v. State, 515 S.W.3d 462 (Tex. App.— Houston [14th Dist.] 2017).

5. Cumulation order

Appellant does not cite, nor have we found[,] any case where a court voided a cumulation order simply because the written order erroneously reversed the oral pronouncement’s sequence of sentences. Indeed, a judgment containing a clerical error will not render a cumulation order void. Lopez v. State, 515 S.W.3d 547 (Tex. App.— Houston [14th Dist.] 2017).

6. Abandoned property

A party lacks standing to object to the reasonableness of a search of abandoned property. Straight v. State, 515 S.W.3d 553 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2017).

7. Corpus delicti rule

The rule states that, when the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt, a defendant’s extrajudicial confession does not constitute legally sufficient evidence of guilt absent independent evidence of the corpus delicti. Bradford v. State, 515 S.W.3d 433 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2017).

CIVIL ITEMS OF INTEREST 1. No Propsective Nuisance

A court may exercise its equitable power to enjoin a prospective nuisance under certain circumstances. However, Homeowners do not cite, and we have not found, any Texas authority permitting recovery of damages in tort liability for a prospective nuisance. . . . [P]roving the project will be a nuisance did not entitle Homeowners to an injunction as a matter of right. 1717 Bissonnett, LLC v. Loughhead, 500 S.W.3d 488, 497, 501 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2016).

2. Statute of Frauds

The legal description in the conveyance must not only furnish enough information to locate the general area, as in identifying it by tract, survey and county, it must also contain information regarding the size, shape, and boundaries of the interest conveyed. If the contract does not sufficiently describe the real property interest to be conveyed, the conveyance is void under the Statute of Frauds. Thomas v. Miller, 500 S.W.3d 601, 608 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 2016).

6. No Sex Change Orders

In sum, [Texas Family Code] Chapter 45 both defines the substance of the right to a name change and tells the judiciary how to adjudicate that right. By contrast, there is no statutory scheme expressly authorizing sex change orders or establishing procedures for obtaining such an order. In Re McReynolds, 502 S.W.3d 884, 889 (Tex. App.—Dallas, 2016).

7. Post Judgment Enforcement

A turnover order must be challenged on direct appeal and is subject to the deadlines for perfecting an appeal. . . . Because the trial court can render multiple post-judgment orders to enforce its judgment for an indefinite period of time, it is possible for the trial court to amend an otherwise final, appealable order after the deadline for appealing the first order has passed. Alexander, Dubose, Jefferson & Townsend LLP v. Chevron Phillips Chem. Co., 503 S.W.3d 1, 7 (Tex. App.—Beaumont 2016).

QUOTE OF THE MONTH Learning never exhausts the mind. —Leonardo da Vinci

3. Partial Performance Exception to the Statute LEGAL QUOTE OF THE MONTH of Frauds Partial performance is an exception to the statute of frauds. The “[partial performance] exception is enforced only when denial of enforcement would amount to a virtual fraud in the sense that the party acting in reliance on the contract has suffered a substantial detriment, for which he has no adequate remedy, and the other party, if permitted to plead the statute, would reap an unearned benefit. Thomas v. Miller, 500 S.W.3d 601, 609 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 2016).

4. Fiduciary Shield Doctrine

Under the fiduciary shield doctrine, a nonresident officer or employee may not be subject to personal jurisdiction when all of his contacts with the forum state were made on behalf of his corporation or employer. However, this court has repeatedly held that the doctrine does not protect a corporate representative from the exercise of specific jurisdiction as to intentional torts or fraudulent acts for which he may be held individually liable. Yujie Ren v. Anu Res., LLC., 502 S.W.3d 840, 849 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2016).

5. Intervening Regulatory Changes

Generally, the right to develop property is subject to intervening regulatory changes. Section 245.002(a) creates a narrow exception to this rule by ensuring that if, after receiving a development application or plan, a regulatory agency changes its land-use regulations, the agency cannot enforce such regulatory change to the detriment of the applicant. City of Floresville v. Starnes Inv. Group, 502 S.W.3d 859, 869 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2016).

“The act is not criminal unless the intent is criminal.” —Legal maxim


Beginning in 1879, Thomas A. Edison invents not only a functioning light bulb, but also practical electrical generation and distribution so that it can be commonly used. One unintended consequence may have been to change the way we currently think of normal sleep. Prior to a consistent light source (and to this day in undeveloped areas which still lack consistent lighting), "normal" sleep was a series of two or more sleeping cycles, broken by periods of wakefulness and activity during extended winter night hours.; 12891-natural-sleep. html; and_polyphasic_sleep; wiki/Thomas_Edison, all reviewed April 2, 2017.

QUIZ ANSWER: (D)The Chancery was the original forum in which actions in equity were heard. Equity was first practiced in the Middle Ages by the Chancellor of England, whose office (the Chancery) heard complaints that could not be brought at common law. (Source: The Legal History Project) g






Thank you to Max Glauben for speaking at September's CLE Membership Luncheon about his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. Thank you to Gary Medlin of the The Medlin Law Firm for sponsoring the event.

Thank you to the Transition to Practice Committee for hosting "Family, Criminal, and Bankruptcy: What Every Lawyer Should Know." Special thanks to Gary Medlin of The Medlin Law Firm, Dwayne Smith of Gardner & Smith, PLLC, and J. Michael McBride of J. Michael Mcbride, P.C. for speaking at the CLE event.

It's All Happening Around the Bar

For affordable mediation services, call DRS. Because when you talk, we’ll listen. Get the help and resources needed to work through disputes outside of the courtroom. Dispute Resolution Services of North Texas, Tarrant County’s Dispute Resolution Center, provides a safe environment for parties to discuss and resolve issues affordably. Following a proven process, trained neutral mediators work together with parties to develop workable solutions. The mediators’ guidance throughout the process gives the parties and counsel the opportunity to create their own solutions. To discuss your case, call today.

817-877-4554 4304 Airport Freeway, Suite 100 Fort Worth, Texas 76117

Uncommon attention to reach common ground. 8

▪ OCTOBER 2017

Members of the 2017-2018

100 Club *List Reflected Below is as of September 21, 2017 Adams Lynch & Loftin, P.C. Albert Neely & Kuhlmann, LLP Anderson & Riddle, LLP Baker Monroe, PLLC Barlow, Garsek & Simon, LLP Blaies & Hightower, LLP Bonds Ellis Eppich Schafer Jones, LLP Bourland, Wall & Wenzel, P.C. Brackett & Ellis, P.C. Broude, Smith & Jennings, P.C. Brown, Dean, Prctor & Howell, LLP Bruner & Pappas, LLP Cantey Hanger, LLP City Attorney - Fort Worth Cook Children's Health Care System Curnutt & Hafer, LLP Dawson Parrish, P.C. Decker Jones, P.C. Dowell, Pham & Harrison, LLP Forshey & Prostok, LLP Friedman, Suder & Cooke, P.C. Griffith, Jay, & Michel, LLP Harris, Finley & Bogle, P.C. Harrison Steck P.C. Haynes and Boone, LLP Holland, Johns & Penny, LLP Jackson Walker, LLP Jim Ross Law Group Joshua Graham & Associates, PLLC Kelly Hart & Hallman, LLP KoonsFuller, P.C. Lacy, Lyster, Malone & Steppick, PLLC Law, Snackard and Gambill, P.C. Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson, LLC

Lively and Associates, PLLC Loe, Warren, Rosenfield, Kaitcer, Hibbs, Windsor, Lawrence & Wolffarth, P.C. Martinez Hsu P.C. McDonald Sanders Law Firm Mellina & Larson, P.C. Moses, Palmer & Howell, LLP Murphy Mahon Keffler Farrier, LLP Naman, Howell, Smith & Lee, PLLC Nelson Bumgardner, P.C. Noteboom Law Firm Padfield & Stout, LLP Parker Straus, LLP Phelps Dunbar LLP Pope, Hardwicke, Christie, Schell, Kelly & Taplett, LLP Schneider Law Firm, P.C. Second Court of Appeals Stephens, Anderson & Cummings, LLP Suzanne I. Calvert & Associates Tarrant County CDA's Office Taylor Olson Adkins Sralla & Elam, LLP The Berenson Firm The Blum Firm The Colaneri Firm The Wolf Law Firm, P.C. Thompson & Knight, LLP Underwood Law Firm, P.C. Varghese Summersett, PLLC Watson Caraway Midkiff & Luningham, LLP Whitaker Chalk Swindle & Schwartz, PLLC Wick Phillips Winstead PC

To be eligible for the 100 Club, any law firm, government agency, law school, or corporate legal department that has four or more members and attains 100% TCBA membership compliance for the 2017-2018 bar year qualifies for the “100 Club.” The firms/organizations listed (above) have already paid their membership dues and qualify for 100 Club membership for the new bar year. Any firm/organization that qualifies in

the future will have its name published in every issue of the Bar Bulletin for this bar year. TCBA is proud of the participation of these law firms and other groups! The new bar year began on July 1, if you have not paid your renewal invoice, contact our Membership Director Lauren McKnight at 817.338.4092 or email her at g


by Perry Cockerell

Judge Jennifer Rymell


udge Jennifer Rymell, Tarrant County Court at Law, Number 2, has always dreamed big and been willing to take chances to achieve her goals. Once dreaming of becoming an international lawyer, it was during law school that she learned her true passion was in trial work. In 2002 she took a chance in running for her judicial position. To do so she had to resign as Fort Worth Municipal Judge, and it was not certain whether the incumbent would seek another term. She decided to pursue her goal and run for the seat. She won after the incumbent chose not to run again and after winning the contested Republican primary and general election. Judge Rymell was born in Dayton, Ohio and lived in the Midwest during her early years as her family moved through Indiana, Texas and Illinois. Her father was a physics professor at Purdue and her mother was a homemaker. At age five the family moved to Houston for her father to pursue his doctorate in physics at Rice University. After he finished his degree her family moved to Champaign, Illinois, and after a few years they moved back to Houston. One year while in high school her family participated in a foreign exchange program, exchanging homes with a family from Holland who moved into their home in Houston. The move was life changing for her. She attended the American School of The Hague, dated an ambassador’s son and played tennis with Alexander Haig. She loved the experience so much that she decided she would become an international lawyer. Longing to stay, she cried on her way back to the United States from Holland. In 1984 she graduated from Kingwood High School in Houston. In 1988 she graduated magna cum laude from Texas State University in San Marcus with a degree in Criminal Justice and was accepted to St. Mary’s Law School. During her first year in law school she was an intern with the United States Attorney’s office. This led to a position in her second and third year with a prominent federal criminal defense attorney. “During my second year I clerked for Gerry Goldstein in a well-known firm for federal criminal defense practice. It was never a dull moment working for Gerry. We always dealt with cutting edge issues and needless to say, I learned a lot.”

During law school her thoughts of pursuing international law changed. “I took international law and decided I did not want to do mostly transactional work. I wanted to litigate. I wanted to do criminal law. I liked the courtroom better.” But thoughts of Holland still drifted in her mind and during the summer between her first and second years of law school she attended the University of Innsbruck in Austria. She graduated from St. Mary’s Law School in 1991, enjoying the experience and the friendships she developed along the way. “There was a lot of camaraderie in law school class. A lot of St. Mary’s graduates practice in Fort Worth. The first year was difficult but I got the hang of it. I enjoyed it.” After graduation she was offered a job in Weatherford in the Parker County Attorney’s office. Then County Attorney Pat Fleming told her, “If you pass the bar, show up on Monday. If you don’t, then I don’t want to see you.” She reported the following Monday and remained for the next four years, handling cases ranging from criminal to civil, matters in the Commissioners Court, and the Child Protective docket. In 1995 she took a position in Fort Worth with the State Bar of Texas as an Assistant Disciplinary Counsel litigating disciplinary matters in the district courts across west Texas, including Lubbock and Amarillo. Three years later she became a Municipal Judge for the City of Fort Worth and held that position until 2002 when she decided to run for County Court at Law Number 2. She risked her career taking a chance for the seat. Her determination prevailed. Two years after winning the seat she was named Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas. Now in her 14th year as Judge of the Tarrant County Court at Law Number 2, she never imagined that she would end up there after years of hard work and pursuing her goals. “This is the best job. The best part of my job is working with all the lawyers that practice in my court. There is a lot of respect and collegiality. The lawyers not from Tarrant County always say how they like to come over here.” A typical work week involves hearings every day with jury trials on Monday and Wednesday. Jury trials usually last one or two days. The court has no limits on opening statements or voir dire and attorneys agree on their time limits on closing arguments. Attorneys may obtain jury information cards the day before the jury trial. Prior to the trial the attorneys CONTINUED ON PAGE 18



National Adoption Day Friday, November 17, 2017 8:30 a.m. Tarrant County Family Law Center


n National Adoption Day, we will celebrate and help place children from the foster care system with new forever families. If you are interested in being on the National Adoption Day committee, volunteering at the event, or making a financial contribution, please email Remember that kids are being adopted year-round! Please continue to donate bears in the bins located at the Tarrant County Bar office and the Tarrant County Family Law lawyer’s lounge. Opening remarks will be recorded by Juris Fabrilis.


â–Ş OCTOBER 2017

Steve Laird

Steve Laird is one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Texas* There’s a Reason

It takes years to establish a good reputation Handling Personal Injury Wrongful Death & 18-Wheeler Cases *Texas Super Lawyers, Top 100 (2005-2013, 2015-2016) - Thomson Reuters

We're excited to welcome Seth McCloskey to the firm!

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O ffi ces

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S t e v e n C . L a i r d, P. C . 817.531.3000


Lawyers on the Move &

in the News

Paul George, of Texas A&M University School of Law, was named the reporter for the Uniform Law Commission’s Registration of Foreign Judgments to Harmonize the Law of Canada and the United States. Kenyatta M. Braggs, previously with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, is now a director of Brackett & Ellis, 100 Main St., Fort Worth 76102. Larry W. Wilshire, Michael L. Peck, and Sterling Elza, all of Brown, Dean, Proctor & Howell in Fort Worth, are now co-chairs of the firm’s construction law practice group. g

If you are a TCBA member and would like to place an announcement in the Bar Bulletin, we would like to hear from you. Please submit information by email to Elizabeth at



Sherry Jones Associate Executive Director

Is it your birthday month? Need CLE? Need ethics?

TCBA can help!


Each September we present a three-hour ETHICS CLE course at the Brown Bag Seminar. The seminar is recorded and shown at the bar office throughout the year on the LAST TUESDAY of the month. If you can’t make it here on the Last Tuesday of the month, you can rent a DVD, watch it, return it, and get the CLE credit. We have other DVDs available for viewing at the bar office or for rental so you can watch at home or in your office in your own time. Included in the DVD library are: • Practicing Law and Wellness–half hour of Ethics credit • Practicing from the Shadows–half hour of Ethics credit • Legislative Update–three hours of credit There are several other DVDs available.

1:00 PM Shotgun Start • $150 per Golfer 4 Person Team Scramble. Register as a team or individually. Winning Team, Closest to the Pin, and Longest Drive SPONSORSHIPS Golf Hole Sponsorships are Tax Deductible and available for $450. Golf Hole Sponsorships benefit the Tarrant County Bar Foundation’s Fellowship program for local law students.

Your sponsorship will include a tee box sign, recognition in promotional materials, recognition at the awards ceremony and tournament, and $100 off 1 team entry. For more information, please contact 6600 Mira Vista Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76132

Banquet Sponsorships are available for $550.

Please submit the entry form with your check made payable to: TCYLA 1315 Calhoun Street Fort Worth, TX 76102 You may also fax your form to 817-335-9238 or email it to Contact Clark Rucker at for further questions.


▪ OCTOBER 2017

DVDs are also sent to CLE Online. As a member of the TCBA, you can get a discount when getting your CLE through them. Check, and then call me for the discount information. Some have inquired about a DVD for Guardianship Certification. Our program is approved and is ready for you. As always, feel free to call if you need some CLE before your birth month. I will do my best to help.


Other Associations’ News & Information

Arlington Bar Association Meets on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. President, Ruth Lane. For location & information, email arlingtonbarassociation@yahoo. com or call 214.651.5622. Black Women Lawyers Association For meetings and information, contact Judge Maryellen Hicks, President, at 817.451.7100 or Dee J. Kelly Law Library Welcomes Bar Members! For the latest Texas A&M University School of Law library hours and information, please visit or call 817.212.3800. Fort Worth Chapter Association of Legal Administrators Meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the City Club, 301 Commerce Street, Fort Worth, 76102. For more information, contact Lisa Boyd at 817.339.2478 or Fort Worth Paralegal Association General Membership Meetings are held at noon every 4th Thursday of the month at Joe T. Garcia’s, 2201 N. Commerce. FWPA Board of Directors meets at noon every 1st Tuesday of the month at the Bar Center. For more information, go to L. Clifford Davis Legal Association (f/k/a/ Tarrant County Black Bar Association) holds its meetings on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 6:00pm. For more information, contact President Albert Roberts by email at mr.albert.roberts@ MABA (Mexican American Bar Association) Meets on the last Thursday of each month with location to be announced. For more information, contact President Eloy Sepulveda at 817.332.1285. Northeast Tarrant County Bar Association (NETCBA) Meets for CLE luncheons on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at La Hacienda Restaurant, Hwy. 121. Contact President Traci Hutton at 817.442.9352 or Tarrant County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCCDLA) Meets every 2nd Thursday at Joe T. Garcia’s, 2201 N. Commerce. For more information, contact President Brad Shaw at 817.237.1254 or Tarrant County Family Law Bar Association Meets at noon on the 4th Tuesday of each month, with location to be announced. For more information, contact president Norma Bazán, 817.735.4000 or Tarrant County Probate Bar Association Meets on the 1st Thursday of each month at the Petroleum Clubmembers free, guests $30. For more information, contact Lara Aman at 817.390.6040 or Tarrant County Trial Lawyers Association Meets on the 4th Wednesday of each month at Joe T. Garcia’s. For more information, contact Mark Anderson at 817.294.1900. Tarrant County Young Lawyers Association The 2017-2018 new TCYLA Year began September 1, 2017. If you need an application or meeting information, call 817.338.4092, email, or go to the website at Texas Association of Defense Council Meets for lunch every 4th Wednesday at Angelo’s. Contact George Haratsis, McDonald Sanders at 817.336.8651 for more information.


▪ OCTOBER 2017

Law Firm Security Step 4: Protect Your Internal Systems


Provided by: LawPay

n today’s digital world, computers can be a treasure trove for an online attacker and can also provide a jumping-off point to reach other systems or online accounts. There are multiple routes into these systems, from open network connectivity to targeted malware. Fortunately, there are a few key tools at your disposal to protect against these threats.

able. Typical exceptions include instant messaging and file sharing applications. Some software applications may require specific exceptions to be configured to allow access from other computers on your network or the internet, but the vendor documentation should make this clear.

Keep Your Systems Updated

One final tool for protecting your systems is to limit what users are able to access and modify. In computer security circles, this is known as the Principle of Least Privilege, and states that users should have the minimum privileges necessary to do their jobs. By limiting users in this way, you ensure that confidential information is accessible to specific individuals and non-administrative users cannot make system changes that may threaten the security of your office. We suggest that you create an Administrator user with full privileges to configure your PCs, and then individual, non-administrator accounts for each user in your office, including yourself (avoid using an administrator account for your own primary account). Then, you can share files and folders with specific users based on their need to access the information. The above steps will help ensure that your systems are significantly less vulnerable to hacks and data exfiltration from within and without.

Many malware threats operate and spread by taking advantage of problems in software for which fixes have long been enabled. Unfortunately, these fixes are often not applied to the vulnerable systems. Modern operating systems, such as Windows and Mac OS X, support automatic installation of critical updates — you just need to enable it. A number of application packages, such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat, also support automatic updates. Given their widespread use throughout businesses, these applications offer a rich target for hackers. If the applications you use offer automatic updates, make sure this feature is enabled.

Install Anti-Malware Software

Clicking a link in an email that looked legitimate, downloading a file from a site you thought was secure — these are common actions done every day that infect systems with malware, and the damage can range from keyloggers stealing passwords to ransomware holding your data hostage. You can greatly reduce your risk of falling victim to these attacks by making sure Antivirus/Anti-Malware software is installed and configured properly on all of your systems. Once installed, make sure real-time checking is enabled so that security analysis is performed immediately as actions are performed. You should also schedule full computer scans weekly at a time that doesn’t interfere with your work. If you are using Windows 8 or later, Windows Defender antivirus is pre-installed and needs only to be configured.

Limit Access

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Enable Your Firewall

A firewall inspects the communications coming in and out of your computer and makes a decision to allow the communications to continue or to block them. They can prevent attackers from gaining access to your computer and data, as well as halt the spread of malware from one computer to others. Windows and Mac OS X both have built-in firewalls that you can configure to meet the needs of your office. You should enable your firewall and configure it to block all incoming connections except for applications that you specifically en-



Lawyer Referral & Information Service LRIS


is off to a great start for the new bar year. We thank our LRIS attorneys for their sustaining memberships. Expansion of the program would not be possible without the commitment of our attorney members. We are grateful to Earl Hargrave, Dustin Lee, Edwardo Meza, Caleb Moore, Francis Nathan, Kathlynn Pack, Sarah Robbins, Sarah Seltzer, Anthony Simpson, and Paul Youngblood for paying referral fees this month. Thank you!! Our fees for joining the LRIS: Payment of an annual fee for Members of the Tarrant County Bar Association: $150 - licensed less than one year; $175 - licensed less than three years; and $200 - licensed more than three years. If you are interested in joining our LRIS, please contact Carolina at or call 817.338.4092. g

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11 exchange witness and exhibit lists, and Judge Rymell's bailiff prepares a seating chart. The court favors mediation but it is no longer mandatory. The Judge said that many debt and personal injury cases are filed in her court. She noted that she is trying a significant number of jury cases. She said that filings have increased again and that there are more hearings on contested discovery issues then there used to be. Her advice is to “be prepared and don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for assistance. Trials are more effective when there are demonstrative aids. Lawyers are welcome to use what technology we have or bring their own.” She is happy to give pointers to the attorneys after the trial, if they ask for her advice. Judge Rymell is the former president of the Texas Association of County Court of Law Judges and was named the Outstanding St. Mary’s Judicial Alumni for Fort Worth Chapter in 2013. Next month she will become the chair of the Judicial Section of the State Bar of Texas. g

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▪ OCTOBER 2017



Law Offices of Jason Smith

. . . And now a Word From Our Sections


Trials and Appeals Employment, Personal Injury, Insurance Board Certified Civil Appellate Law

Jason Smith 817.334.0880 600 8th Aveue Fort Worth, TX 76104

Amerian Board of Trial Advocates

e are well into the bar year and the sections are moving along. Several of the sections have luncheons this month – Solo & Small Firms – October 10; Energy Law – October 12; Immigration & International – October 13; Bankruptcy Law – October 16; Tax & Estate – October 17; Labor & Employment – October 17; FWB&E – October 19; Construction Law – October 19; and Appellate Law – October 24. The bar association has 18 active sections. You may view the list at If you would like to join a section, please contact the bar office and we will get that done. Coming up in November, the Appellate Law Section will host a Tarrant/Dallas County Appellate Sections Biennial CLE event on November 2, with a reception to follow. In addition, the Solo & Small Firms Section will host a Family Gathering at Joe T. Garcia’s on Saturday, November 11. g Sherry Jones Associate Executive Director

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Patricia Peterson, Claims Attorney




All TCBA members can learn the basics of assisting clients with the expunction or non-disclosure of their criminal record at a free CLE. TVAS volunteers can attend the CLE to prepare for the October 14th clinic. TUESDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2017 11:30 AM - 1 PM TCBA OFFICE

Guest Speaker: John D. Cramer,

Retired career prosecutor from the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office and frequent speaker on expunctions and non-disclosures.

Register with Sherry at or 817.338.4092.


▪ OCTOBER 2017

“I finally have my place in the country. Lone Star Ag Credit helped me finance my piece of Texas.” CHARLES GREEN | 5G LAND & CATTLE CO. Member Since 1998


Visit to connect with a loan officer near you.


Texas County Volunteer Attorney Services


VAS committee and volunteers have worked diligently in providing legal services to those Tarrant County residents that cannot afford an attorney. On August 30th, TVAS volunteers held an estate planning legal clinic for members of Gatehouse. The Gatehouse at Grapevine provides long-term solutions to deep-rooted problems so that permanent, positive change becomes possible for women and children who have been victims of domestic violence. “It is empowering,” a Gatehouse resident stated about the process of making decisions about how their medical and financial situation is going to be handled when she cannot make decisions for herself. Those are the changes that cannot be quantified and those are the transformations that volunteer attorneys and paralegals from Kelly Hart and Hallman and the Fort Worth Paralegal Association through TVAS helped achieve. Talking about changes and transformations, for some other residents a divorce provides that “clean slate” and


▪ OCTOBER 2017

that “new beginning” that some of them have waited for years. On September 12th and in partnership with LANWT and with the support of the District Clerk’s Office, TVAS volunteer attorneys and paralegals accepted twelve (12) cases for indigent residents of Tarrant County making a new beginning a reality. TVAS Committee thanks all its volunteers for helping make a difference in the life of so many. g

For questions or to sign up for any of these events, please contact Aleed J Rivera at

Why be a member of the Tarrant County Bar Association? Besides wonderful networking opportunities and camaraderie in the legal community, membership has other benefits such as:



The TCBA has eighteen Substantive Law Sections offering CLE and networking with members interested in the same areas of law.

The 2017-2018 TCBA Bar year has begun!

Reduced rates on CLE (Brown Bags, Luncheons, Section Meetings, Last Tuesday CLE).


Community Service Opportunities through the Foundation: LegalLine, Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans-Tarrant County Chapter, Tarrant County Volunteer Attorney Services; and through community service committees: People’s Law School, Annual Food Drive, Blood Drive, Elder Law Committee, and others.


Monthly Bar Bulletin (by email or mail) and updates on upcoming events by e-mail.


Free CLE and professional seminars.


Mentoring or being mentored through the Transition to Practice program.


Reduced rates on room rental at the TCBA Bar Center.


Reduced rates on office supplies, UPS, shredding documents, the Fort Worth Zoo, and more.


The professional networking opportunities.


So the next time someone asks you why join the TCBA, please let them know. We thank you for your continued membership. This Bar Association is great because of its members like YOU! If you have any questions regarding your membership, please contact Lauren at the bar office at 817.338.4092 or by email at


Membership Report

he 2017-2018 TCBA Bar year is now in full swing! Per the TCBA bylaws, all members that have not renewed by October 1st will no longer be in good standing, but can still renew to reactivate their membership. Thank you to everyone who has renewed your membership. We would not be here without all of you! The Membership Committee is holding their free CLE program for ALL TCBA members on October 6th, 2017. “Career Transitions: Key Issues For Opening and Closing a practice” will run from 12 - 4:30 PM and all attendees will receive 4.0 hours of CLE (3.0 hours of ethics). You

will have the opportunity to hear from vendors that can support you while opening or closing a practice. In addition, Charles Awalt will be discussing his article, “Ethical Issues in Closing a Law Practice & How to Avoid Them.” He will moderate two panels of experts—one on closing a practice and another panel on opening a panel. Lunch is generously sponsored by Merrill Lynch and JKJ Benefits. If you have any questions regarding your membership, please contact Lauren at the bar office or email her at g

We would like to take this time to welcome the new members of the TCBA: ATTORNEYS Glenda Allen-Rosales Garrett Bradshaw Jake Boyd Amber Brigham Michael Alex Campos Sierra Taylor Cook Viviana Cavada Nicholas S. Davis Gavin Fearey Graciela Garcia Trenton Gray Kurt W. Greve Taylor Lee Harris


Jeremy A. Holden Patrick Hopkins Amy McFadden Travis Owsley John Reyna William Werley


Kaitlyn Amundson Trevor Armstrong Jessica Bonds Shelbie Bradley Brett Bushnell McKenzie Coe Connor Day

▪ OCTOBER 2017

Loren Domit Elkins Jacob Elsner David Gallivan Michael Galyen Amanda Garza Elise Howard Ethan Hughes Katlyn Humbarger Jenna Johnson Bailey Jones Alexandra Lizano Alexis Long Cecelia Morin James Nickolas Aarika Novelli

Wiley E. Oliver V William Peterson Joseph Brandon Schuelke Katelyn Tigner W. Tyler Underwood Jennifer Vincent Chris Weinbel Alexis Yelvington

ASSOCIATES John Burke Joseph Krug Marc Richards Jennifer Sterling

Member Benefits Vendor List TCBA members may take advantage of discounts provided by the following vendors:

ABA Retirement Funds Program provides full-service 401(k) plans to benefit the legal community. To learn more, contact local rep. Jacob Millican at 817.451.5020 or visit AMO Office Supply offers TCBA members the lowest price guaranteed on office supplies, with next-day delivery and free shipping! Call 800.420.6421. Falcon Litigation Solutions offers discounts on copying, litigation displays, trial boards, etc. Call 817.870.0330. Fort Worth JSB Co., Inc., offers a 10% discount to TCBA members on printed material - business cards, letterhead, envelopes, business forms, brochures, flyers, and more. For a quote, call 817.577.0572. Fort Worth Zoo discount tickets - $9.50 adult, $6.50 for child or senior. For tickets, contact or 817.338.4092. If mailing or charging tickets, add 50 cents.

LegalLine P

lease consider donating two hours of your time the 2nd and 4th Thursday, January through November from 6 - 8:00 PM. LegalLine is a valuable community service outreach program that needs your time and skills. If you are interested in volunteering or sponsoring, please contact Carolina at or 817.338.4092. g







LegalLine will resume in January 2018.

Texas Rangers Baseball discount tickets are available by going to, selecting a game and entering the coupon code. Contact Sherry Jones for the coupon code by email at UPS - TCBA has signed an agreement with UPS for TCBA members to receive discounts on shipping. The discounts vary according to the type of shipment, so check out UPS for your needs at or 1.800. PICK.UPS. For IT Help: Juris Fabrilis - Cool Tools for Lawyers offers members discounted rates on web-based tools to help you manage your law practice. 817.481.1573 ext. 101. For Shredding and Document Disposal: Magic Shred is a secure shredding business that shreds your documents on-site. Magic Shred offers a 10% discount to TCBA members. Call the TCBA office for details. Expanco is N.A.I.D. AAA-Certified document-destruction service offering 40% off to TCBA members. Call the TCBA office for details. g




PRESORTED Bar Bulletin ▪ October 2017 STANDARD Tarrant County Bar Association U. S. POSTAGE PAID 1315 Calhoun Street FORT WORTH, TX Fort Worth, TX 76102-6504 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED PERMIT 1807

justice IS



✯ YOUR ✯


If any of your contact information is incorrect, please submit the corrected information to the TCBA office at 817.338.4092, fax to 817.335.9238 or email to

CONNECTED Honoring your clients, as well as your referral fee.


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CONTINGENT-FEE LITIGATION REFERRAL FEES HONORED Jason Stephens is licensed in Texas and Oklahoma. Seth Anderson is Board-Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. John Cummings is Board-Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and in Civil Trial Law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

Tarrant County Bar Association - Fort Worth Tarrant County Volunteer Attorney Services Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans - Tarrant County Chapter




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Tarrant County Bar Association Bar Bulletin (October 2017)  

Take a look inside and see what's happening at the Tarrant County Bar Association.