When "It happens" we can help. Free phone consultation. Make the call today: 972-559-4548

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State Bar of Texas

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News on the Lawyers and Legal Professionals of Texas
Updated: 2 days 6 hours ago

Pro bono assistance requested for asylum seekers in the El Paso area

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 14:44

Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center is looking for pro bono attorneys to travel to El Paso for at least a week to provide much needed direct legal services on the ground.

Immigration experience is a plus, but not required. Volunteers will be directly assisting detained asylum seekers in greater El Paso with their asylum claims.

To learn more and fill out a short form confirming your interest, please click here. Direct questions to Volunteer Pro Bono Coordinator, Melanie Gleason, Esq. at melanie@las-americas.org.

Additionally, the State Bar of Texas’ web page Texasbar.com/volunteer contains resources and information about how lawyers can volunteer or donate to several organizations working to reunite families separated at the Texas border.

Dallas Bar Association wins ABA Partnership Award

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 12:00

The Dallas Bar Association was awarded the 2018 American Bar Association Partnership Award on July 31 in Chicago. Pictured are, from left, DBA Executive Director Alicia Hernandez, DBA President Michael K. Hurst, and Pamila J. Brown, chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Bar Services and Activities. Photo courtesy of the Dallas Bar

The American Bar Association Committee on Bar Activities and Services recognized the Dallas Bar Association as the recipient of the 2018 ABA Partnership Award on July 31 in Chicago. The award was presented in relation to DBA’s work on the DBA WE LEAD program.

WE LEAD, or Women Empowered to Lead in the Legal Profession, is a DBA program in partnership with the Dallas Women’s Foundation and the Dallas Women Lawyers Association. The program is led by DBA President Michael K. Hurst and DBA Vice Chair of the Board Shonn Brown.

The WE LEAD program seeks to address challenges facing women in the legal profession; to empower, educate, and uplift them to take a successful legal practice to new heights; and to prepare lawyers for leadership roles in their law firm, business community, and the communities in which they live.

For more information about the DBA WE LEAD program, go to dallasbar.org.

Free legal clinic for veterans in Tomball

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 10:46

Veterans can receive free legal advice at a clinic hosted by the Houston Northwest Bar Association, the Montgomery County Bar Association, and the Houston Bar Foundation’s Veterans Legal Initiative on Saturday, August 11.

The clinic will offer veterans and spouses of deceased veterans advice and counsel from volunteer attorneys in any area of law, including family law, wills and probate, consumer law, real estate and tax law, and disability and veterans benefits. Those who qualify for legal aid and are in need of ongoing legal representation may be assigned a pro bono attorney to take their case.

The clinic, which does not require an appointment, will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at the Tomball VA Outpatient Clinic, 1200 W. Main St., Tomball 77375.

For more information, go to hba.org or contact the Veterans Legal Initiative at (713) 759-1133.

To view a list of other free veteran legal clinics around the state, please go to the State Bar’s Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans webpage at texasbar.com/veterans.

State Bar receives national award for improving legal services to low-income Texans

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 14:26

The State Bar of Texas was presented a prestigious 2018 Harrison Tweed Award on August 3 at the American Bar Association Annual Meeting in Chicago.

The Harrison Tweed Award recognizes bar associations that have made extraordinary efforts to improve the availability of civil legal services or indigent defense services to people living in poverty. Named for an outstanding leader in the promotion of free legal services to people living in poverty, the award was created in 1956 by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants (SCLAID) and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA).

The State Bar of Texas was honored for the sum of its legal services efforts, including disaster response efforts after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in August 2017, several pro bono assistance programs, and the creation of the Texas Opportunity & Justice Incubator.

“We are honored to receive a 2018 Harrison Tweed Award,” State Bar of Texas Executive Director Trey Apffel said. “The State Bar of Texas works every day to assure all citizens equal access to justice, which is a key part of our mission.”

Click here to read the full news release.

Free CLE on disaster legal services, FEMA appeals planned for McAllen area

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 12:59

Several state, local, and national bar associations; disaster legal services providers; and the city of McAllen are coming together to educate lawyers and the general public in the McAllen area on FEMA appeals processes and disaster legal services in general.

The free seminar, “Disaster Legal Services and FEMA Appeals CLE,” will be from 9 to 11:30 a.m. August 24 at the McAllen Convention Center, 700 Convention Center Blvd. Attorneys will receive 2.5 hours of CLE credit (including .5 hours of ethics) and training on how to handle a FEMA appeals case.

The primary goal of the event is to educate lawyers and better prepare them to assist the residents of Cameron, Hidalgo, and Jim Wells counties who are struggling to recover from devastating floods that occurred in late June. The event is open to the public for educational purposes, but the lawyers in attendance will not be able to answer specific legal questions or provide legal advice.

Click here to RSVP to attend. For a look at the full program, including topics and speakers, click here.

The event is hosted by the Texas Young Lawyers Association, Hidalgo County Bar Association, Hidalgo County Young Lawyers Association, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division, and the city of McAllen.

The federal disaster declaration for Cameron, Hidalgo, and Jim Wells counties due to flooding that occurred June 19 through July 13 makes federal funding available to affected individuals in those counties. The assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover. Lawyers and legal aid services are often needed to assist individuals with the application process as well as handling appeals after a denial.

Back to school savings

Fri, 08/03/2018 - 08:00

Your Member Benefit Program has everything you need for the first day of school. Visit the Education and Moving Services pages to start saving.

  • All Campus – You and your family have access to significant tuition savings when you enroll in select online degree and certificate programs through one of the All Campus partner schools.
  • ABCmouse.com – ABCmouse.com is the most comprehensive digital learning resource for children ages 2-8. State Bar of Texas members save 30% on subscriptions.
  • Budget Truck Rental – Hello, easy moving. Goodbye stress. Save 20% on base rates for all Budget truck rentals.
  • SAS Curriculum Pathways – Available at no cost to you, SAS Curriculum Pathways provides interactive tools, resources and apps on the core disciplines for grades K through 12.
  • Veritas Prep SAT – Veritas Prep offers twice the course hours of competitors and four official SAT practice tests. Save $100 on any Veritas Prep SAT 2400 course.
  • The Learning Experience – An academy of early education, the Learning Experience enriches the lives of children from 6 weeks to 6 years old. All State Bar of Texas members receive 10% off tuition at any participating location.
  • U-Pack – With coverage across the United States and Canada, U-Pack specializes in long-distance moving services. You can save $60 on your next move.

Current offers provided by Beneplace.

For more information on other discounts you’re eligible for as a member of the State Bar of Texas, visit texasbar.com/benefits.

Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange
The Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange is a multi-carrier private exchange designed for State Bar of Texas members and their staff and dependents. Available to both individuals and employer groups, the exchange offers a wide range of health insurance choices and more.

State Bar of Texas – Benefits & Services

#LawyerVacay highlights

Fri, 07/27/2018 - 15:00

Here are some of our favorite #LawyerVacay submissions so far. We want to see how you spend your time away from the office and focus on your well-being! Tag us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using #LawyerVacay. Not on social media? Email us at tbj@texasbar.com.

Chad Ruback of Dallas sent us this photo on Twitter of him enjoying tubing on the Guadalupe River with his wife and daughter Kennedy, who is less than a year old.

Paul of Houston sent us these pics of him hitting the links.

#LawyerVacay highlights

Fri, 07/27/2018 - 15:00

Here are some of our favorite #LawyerVacay submissions so far. We want to see how you spend your time away from the office and focus on your well-being! Tag us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using #LawyerVacay. Not on social media? Email us at tbj@texasbar.com.

Chad Ruback of Dallas sent us this photo on Twitter of him enjoying tubing on the Guadalupe River with his wife and daughter Kennedy, who is less than a year old.

Paul of Houston sent us these pics of him hitting the links.

Southwest Jewish Congress to honor Lisa A. Genecov at annual fundraiser

Thu, 07/26/2018 - 15:41

Lisa A. Genecov, who is head of healthcare transactions at Norton Rose Fulbright, will receive the Audrey Kaplan Inspiring Women of the Southwest Award presented by the Southwest Jewish Congress.

The event celebrates volunteerism and diversity. Genecov has volunteered at the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, as well as serving as a board member, vice chair, and chair of the fundraising agency’s lawyers division and pacesetters and young leadership societies.

She has also chaired and co-chaired several committees and was a member of the council of the American Bar Association Health Law Section. Genecov is a co-founder of the Center for Women in Law at the University of Texas School of Law.

The Southwest Jewish Congress will also honor science educator Donna C. Perce and education leader Gary Griffith with its first lifetime achievement awards.

“We want SWJC to be known as an educational, philanthropic organization,” event co-chair Cindy Ray said.

The event takes place at Eddie Deen’s Ranch, 944 S. Lamar St., Dallas 75202. Sponsorships are available at $20,000, $10,000, $15,000, $5,000, $2,500, and $1,000.Ads and congratulatory messages can be placed in a tribute book—the deadline is August 9.

Ticket prices:

  • Individual: $75
  • Priority Seating: $150
  • Student: $45

Attendees may choose the honoree(s) they want to acknowledge by making a donation; honorees then are asked to name a charity of their choice. Through the SWJC 50/50 Donation Program, donations the night of the fundraiser are shared between the charities and SWJC. The event also helps fund SWJC’s programs, which are free and open to the public.

For more information, call Susan Myers at (214) 361-0018 or go to swjc.org.






Texas Board of Legal Specialization names chair, board members

Thu, 07/26/2018 - 15:30

The Texas Board of Legal Specialization, or TBLS, named William Frank Carroll of Colleyville as board chair and Tina Amberboy of Austin and Lisa Bagley Brown and Diane Dillard, both of Houston, as board members.

Carroll is an adjunct law professor at SMU Dedman School of Law and a faculty member for the NITA Trial Skills and Deposition Skills Program. He has served on the TBLS board since 2016 and was chair of the Civil Trial Exam Commission from 2009 to 2016. Carroll is a past director of the State Bar of Texas and has also chaired the State Bar’s Antitrust and Business Litigation Section, the Dallas Bar Antitrust and Trade Regulation and Business Litigation sections, and the FBA Federal Litigation and Antitrust and Trade Regulation sections. He has been board certified in civil appellate law since 1990 and civil trial law since 1992.

“I am excited about the opportunity to continue the work of former TBLS Board Chair David Dickson,” Carroll said in a press release. “We have an excellent group of board members and an outstanding executive director in Leo Figueroa. I look forward to working with all of them on maintaining TBLS’ highest standards of ethics and professionalism while ensuring the most competent legal representation for the public, organizations, and businesses statewide.”

src=”https://blog.texasbar.com/files/2018/07/Amberboy-129×150.jpg” alt=”” width=”129″ height=”150″ class=”alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-10823″ />Amberboy is the executive director of the Children’s Commission, part of the Texas Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families at the Supreme Court of Texas. <img She is also a co-founder of the Austin Bar Association Section of Court Appointed Family Attorneys and a member of the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, the National Association of Counsel for Children, and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Amberboy serves on the Department of Family and Protective Services Public-Private Partnership.

Brown handled litigation, drafting, and negotiating upstream and midstream agreements as managing counsel to Occidental Oil and Gas for 12 years. She was a senior attorney at Burlington Resources Oil & Gas. Brown has been board certified in oil, gas and mineral law since 1990 and is a member of both the State Bar of Texas and the Louisiana State Bar.

Dillard founded the Dillard & Ray Law Firm in 1987, where she was involved in the purchase, development, leasing, and sale of properties for local, regional, and national clients, and previously served as an associate to Vinson & Elkins. She has been board certified in commercial real estate law since 1987. Dillard was the first woman to receive the Distinguished Real Estate Lawyer Lifetime Achievement Award from the State Bar of Texas Real Estate, Probate & Trust Law Section, or REPTL. She was elected to the American College of Real Estate Attorneys in 1993 and served as chair to REPTL from 2000 to 2001.

To learn more about TBLS, go to tbls.org.

The Dog Tag podcast talks TLTV

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 09:00

Former State Bar of Texas President Terry Tottenham talked about the importance of the Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans program during a recent episode of The Dog Tag podcast.

“We’ve reached and serviced more than 28,000 veterans and veteran family members up to now in Texas alone,” said Tottenham. “We have over 9,000 lawyers who’ve contributed their time thus far.”

In 2011, Tottenham and the State Bar of Texas implemented the statewide program that provides pro bono civil legal assistance to veterans and their families who otherwise cannot afford legal services. Texas has the second-highest population of veterans in the nation, and a distressing number of Texas veterans are living in poverty or without homes. TLTV was modeled after a similar program launched by the Houston Bar Association.

Veteran Matt Elledge interviewed Tottenham for the podcast, which is sponsored by the Texas Veterans Land Board. Tottenham said the program’s “Clinic-in-a-Box” contains all the materials someone would need to set up a clinic for veterans. Interested attorneys can also go to texasbar.com/veterans to get information on how to start a veterans clinic. Attorneys looking to volunteer at a clinic can view see a current schedule of clinics here.

The legal services provided by the clinics run the gamut, but Tottenham said the greatest demand for legal services is in the area of family law.

To learn more about TLTV, go to texasbar.com/veterans.

Stories of Recovery: ‘The Scariest and Most Amazing Gift’

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 06:00

Editor’s note: This post is part of the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program’s Stories of Recovery blog series. TLAP offers confidential assistance for lawyers, law students, and judges with substance abuse or mental health issues. Call TLAP at 1-800-343-8527 (TLAP) and find more information at tlaphelps.org.

A little over four years ago, I believed my life was over. Not because of the consequences from my drinking, but because I knew I could not go on with drinking the way I did.

But what would be the point of living if I did not have alcohol?

I am not sure if I progressed into drinking alcoholically or if I ever had control, but when I took the first drink, I had little to no control over the amount I would drink or what I would do.

I was in my last year of law school and, although I drank almost every night regardless, my only coping skill was to drink when I felt any sort of pain or anxiety. The next morning, I would always swear I would not drink that day, but by that evening, I would be in line buying wine. Not only would I continue to drink through the night, I often drove to get more alcohol or to party with other people just to not feel so alone.

Even though I knew when I drank that I would binge and make dangerous or risky decisions, I still felt determined that I could control my drinking and behavior afterwards, because I could not imagine living without alcohol. So I kept drinking. I drank before classes and during finals.

In between graduating law school and starting to study for bar review, I was arrested and charged with a DWI. I swore to my family and friends that I was done. Beyond the criminal consequences, I knew my family and friends were angry and afraid, and I knew I would be facing potential consequences with my license to practice. Because I knew I had nothing else, I went to a psychiatrist who prescribed me Xanax.

I felt trapped, hated myself, and was extremely suicidal. I ended up using Xanax like I drank and also drank again. All within a week, I ended up being admitted into treatment for depression.

After leaving treatment, I decided to continue with outpatient treatment and bar review. I did not feel like I had time to stop. While in both treatment programs, it was recommended to me that I go into Alcoholics Anonymous. However, I told them that I could not because I did not believe in “God” and the steps mention a “Higher Power.” I also did not want to stay stopped forever. I was then told that as part of defending my criminal case, I needed to go to meetings. A week after I started attending meetings, I was told to get a sponsor.

Getting into recovery has been the scariest and most amazing gift I have received. I walked into a room full of people who appeared normal and yet talked about feelings and things they had done that I had felt and done. I never had that connection with anyone I had met before.

At that point, I only wanted to receive my family and friends’ forgiveness and to get rid of the potential criminal and licensure consequences so that I could get back to what I wanted to do. I am so grateful that because of the pendency of my case, I had time to sit and listen.

I learned that alcoholism is a progressive and fatal disease. I later learned through a program at the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program that although it was not my fault that I received this disease, I had a responsibility to the world to recover. I started to work the steps and eventually wanted to be sober for me. This was long before I found out what would happen to me with people, my case, and my license to practice law.

Service is the biggest part of my recovery today. I sponsor and also am part of TLAP’s peer assistance program. I am a young attorney who feels a sense of responsibility to be of service to other young attorneys. I find it staggering that 30 percent of attorneys under age 30 drink alcoholically.

Today, I no longer feel shame or self-hatred, but I do have tools when I start to feel afraid or overwhelmed or start to obsess about work or life in general. I can honestly say that I feel happy, joyous, and free. I would not have that if I continued to drink.

I truly believe I would not even be living today, let alone feeling any sort of freedom. And that is what I wanted. Freedom. I just had to be willing to listen and follow the suggestions of someone else who described my drinking and feelings as their own at one point, but who had somehow gained a life of peace without drinking.

Now, I get to share my own experience, strength, and hope with others who have a chance to recover from such an insidious disease. I can contribute to life and not feel like life disfavors me, as I once did.

I love my life today.

Dallas Bar Association dedicates 28th Habitat for Humanity house

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 09:00

The Dallas Bar Association dedicated its 28th Habitat for Humanity house on July 21. The DBA began building homes for Habitat for Humanity in 1991.

The DBA’s Home Project Committee coordinates the build and is led by co-chairs David Fisk, of Kane Russell Coleman Logan, and Michael Bielby Jr. of Vinson & Elkins.

Donors for this year’s house include:
• Gold Hard Hats ($5,000 and more): Baron and Blue Foundation; Thompson & Knight Foundation; and Vinson & Elkins.
• Silver Hard Hats ($3,000 to $4,999): Cozen O’Connor; Drinker Biddle & Reath; Kane Russell Coleman Logan; and Vistra Energy.
• Bronze Hard Hats ($1,500 to $2,999): Austin Industries; Canterbury, Gooch, Surratt, Shapiro, Stein, Gaswirth & Jones; Clark Hill Straburger; Cokinos Young; Cutler-Smith; DBA Bankruptcy & Commercial Law Section; DBA Construction Law Section; DBA Criminal Law Section; DBA Health Law Section; DBA Real Property Section; Gerstle Minissale Snelson; Gordon Reese Scully Mansukhani; Griffith Davison & Shurtleff; Jackson Walker; John C. Ford Inn of Court; Lewis R. Sifford; McCarthy Building Companies; McGuire, Craddock & Strother; Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr; Nixon Jach Hubbard; Peckar & Abramson; Slates Harwell; Stuber Cooper Voge; The Kenrich Group; Underwood Law Firm; and Weinstein Radcliff Pipkin.

For more information about the Dallas Bar Association, go to dallasbar.org. To learn more about the Home Project Committee’s work with Habitat for Humanity, go to facebook.com/DBAHomeProject.

State Bar of Texas seeks public input on transparency efforts

Mon, 07/23/2018 - 16:18

The State Bar of Texas is seeking public input on its communications and transparency efforts. Members of the public are invited to take a short survey, available at texasbar.com/publicsurvey through August 6, where they can evaluate the State Bar’s public communications and provide feedback on areas for improvement.

The State Bar Board of Directors voted unanimously on June 20 to hire the Texas-based independent advisory firm Weaver to complete an objective examination of the State Bar’s transparency efforts and to make recommendations for improvement. As part of its review, Weaver is conducting separate surveys of State Bar members and the general public.

Joe K. Longley

“The State Bar of Texas, as an administrative agency of the Supreme Court, is committed to being a leader in open government,” State Bar President Joe K. Longley said. “Your input is essential to this effort and will be used by Weaver in making its recommendations to the board.”

The public survey is 11 questions long and takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. While aggregated survey results will be shared with the State Bar of Texas, individual responses will remain anonymous.

Texas lawyers can take the State Bar of Texas member survey by logging on to My Bar Page at texasbar.com and clicking on the black button in the lower-right corner of the dashboard labeled “Transparency Survey.”

If you have any technical difficulties accessing or completing the survey, please contact Matt Paske from Weaver at (972) 448-9257 or matthew.paske@weaver.com.

Longley: Candidates sought for State Bar president-elect

Mon, 07/23/2018 - 14:52

Joe K. Longley

Editor’s note: State Bar of Texas President Joe K. Longley sent the following message to members on July 19.

Dear Member,

I am writing to let you know that the Board of Directors is seeking candidates for the 2019 president-elect race, which will take place April 1-30. Whether you are interested in running as a board-nomination candidate or —as I did in 2017— as a petition candidate, you can find information about the process here.

This election cycle, potential candidates for 2019 president-elect should come from non-metropolitan counties, in accordance with State Bar Rules.

The 2019 race will be the first under a new State Bar election process designed to more closely align the campaign periods for board-nominated candidates and petition candidates. 

On August 29, the board’s Nominations and Elections Subcommittee will meet in Austin to interview potential president-elect candidates who wish to seek election through the board’s nomination process. The full board will vote on the subcommittee’s recommended president-elect nominees on September 28 in Austin.

Per State Bar Rules, petition candidates may begin collecting signatures September 1 and can appear on the ballot by submitting the signatures of at least 5 percent of the active State Bar members on or before March 1.

Also, nominees in the 2019 election will benefit from the board’s approval in January 2018 of extensive policy changes that loosened or eliminated many of the old campaign guidelines.

I strongly supported these policy changes to ensure that all candidates can fully exercise their free speech and freedom of association rights. No longer are there any limits on who a nominee may contact; nor on the amount of money any nominee may spend.

As a state agency in which membership is mandatory to be licensed, the State Bar is much stronger when more members get involved in its form of self-governance. If you have any questions about how to run for State Bar president-elect or district director, please let me know. I look forward to hearing from you.


Joe K. Longley 
President, State Bar of Texas

State Commission on Judicial Conduct to hold public hearing

Mon, 07/23/2018 - 10:00

The State Commission on Judicial Conduct will conduct its biennial public hearing at 10 a.m. August 8 in Room E2.028 in the Capitol Extension in Austin. The purpose of the hearing is to consider comment from the public regarding the commission’s mission and operations.

Witnesses may register to speak at the hearing by completing and submitting a witness affirmation form. Forms will be available in the hearing room on the day of the hearing, or may be requested in advance by contacting the commission. Testimony will be limited to five minutes per witness, but written submissions will also be accepted in addition to or in lieu of oral testimony.

The sign-in period is from 9:45 to 10:15 a.m.

For more information, go to scjc.texas.gov.

Best vacation ever with your Member Benefits Program

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 08:00

Thanks to your Member Benefit Program, your family can have the best vacation ever. The platform has savings on resorts, hotels, suitcases and more. Check out the Travel and Retail pages for more info.

  • TripBeat — TripBeat makes it easy and affordable to book the perfect resort vacation. We have more than 2,400 properties around the world where you can save up to 40% on the room rate.
  • Red Roof Inn When you’re on the road, Red Roof Inn has a room for you. State Bar of Texas members receive 15% off the room rate at any of the more than 380 Inns nationwide.
  • Cruise & Vacation Perks With the Cruise & Vacation Perks program, you always receive the lowest available fare, plus a 4% cash-back award, for all cruise vacations. Cruise lines include Crystal Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean and more!
  • Luggagedesigners — State Bar of Texas members save an additional 10% on over 10,000 travel-related items. Products include luggage, suitcases, anti-theft travel bags, RFID-blocking wallets, backpacks, duffels, handbags, leather goods and many more.
  • Briggs & Riley — Briggs & Riley offers a bag for every traveler and a collection for every lifestyle. You can save 20% on luggage and business-case collections.
  • eBagseBags is devoted to helping customers find the perfect gear for their journey through life. You can enjoy free shipping for purchases over $49 and 25% off sitewide.
  • ZipcarAs a Zipcar member, you can book sedans, hybrids, SUVs and even luxury vehicles whenever you need them. When you sign up for Zipcar for a low annual fee of $70, you’ll get $30 in free driving.

Current offers provided by Beneplace.

For more information on other discounts you’re eligible for as a member of the State Bar of Texas, visit texasbar.com/benefits.

Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange
The Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange is a multi-carrier private exchange designed for State Bar of Texas members and their staff and dependents. Available to both individuals and employer groups, the exchange offers a wide range of health insurance choices and more.

State Bar of Texas – Benefits & Services

SBOT Litigation Section grant helps Houston Volunteer Lawyers assist low-income households after Hurricane Harvey

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 10:21

The Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas has awarded a $25,000 grant to support Houston Volunteer Lawyers’ efforts to provide legal representation to low-income households who have a legal issue caused by Hurricane Harvey and who cannot afford an attorney, particularly in cases that involve litigation.

According to a news release, Houston Volunteer Lawyers (HVL) will assist low-income households who have been denied FEMA assistance based on the preexisting condition of the home, who are facing foreclosure or bankruptcy due to financial strain after the storm, or who are fighting insurance denials or undervaluation of damage.

“HVL is committed to assisting these families and individuals, who were denied assistance and who are at risk of losing their homes, through this generous grant from the Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas,” said Wafa Abdin, HVL executive director.

HVL is the service arm of the Houston Bar Association.

One attorney’s non-traditional path to law

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 15:00

By Floyd E. Guest Jr.

Upon graduation from Duke University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a major in accounting, my plan for a career as an FBI agent was changed when my older brother called me in April 1952 and asked me to move to Houston to help him form a life insurance company.

During WWII, my brother Jim was second in command of a Landing Ship Medium at Okinawa with the U.S. Navy when he was accepted into Harvard Law School for admission once the war ended. When Japan surrendered, Jim’s ship was decommissioned in Orange, Texas, and while there, he visited Houston, which appealed to him as a right-sized Southern town that would give him a better career opportunity and a more Southern lifestyle—something he desired. He was raised and educated in Anderson, South Carolina, and graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1943. After finishing Harvard in 1949 and working for a patent law firm in New York for two years, Jim decided to leave the big city and start a law practice in Houston.

While waiting to take the Texas Bar Exam in early 1952, Jim found a job with a life insurance company selling retirement annuities to servicemen, which changed his thinking about a career practicing law. He decided to form a life insurance company for himself and me instead. Texas law had been changed to allow new charters to be issued for mutual life insurance companies with no capital required. Jim sold me on the opportunity and I joined him in the project until 1959, when I decided to get my law education. I sold him my company share so that I could attend the University of Texas School of Law. I liked the financial services industry so I concentrated my law courses on wills and trusts rather than trial procedures.

Upon graduation in 1962, I passed the Bar Exam and was hired by the Bank of the Southwest in Houston as an assistant trust officer. After five years, Capital National Bank of Houston hired me to help open its trust department. My career path changed again because of the Keogh plan, a law that allowed qualified retirement plans to be opened for self-employed individuals. Banks or trust companies were the only allowed trustees for the plans, and split-funded accounts were approved so permanent life insurance could be used as a fixed investment on the lives of plan participants allowing annual premiums on policies up to 50 percent of the contributions. The balance of the contribution was to be invested in equities by the bank trust department. In 1969, bank officers were not among the highest income earners, and by then I had a growing family to support. I resigned the job with Capital National after being offered a partnership interest by an industrious life insurance agent to market the bank’s new Keogh retirement plans.

The partnership grew rapidly, and my income increased substantially with the sale of life insurance to unincorporated lawyers, doctors, partnerships, and other businesses. My partner and I both qualified for the insurance industry’s Million Dollar Round Table in 1971 and we continued to qualify for each of the next 15 years when he retired. We had formed a retirement planning company, PBA Retirement Plans Co., which I acquired by our buy/sell agreement. I later sold it to two of my key employees in 2004 upon my retiring from Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. At the ripe old age of 75, I started my solo law practice focused on wills, trusts, and probate while continuing to work as an insurance broker. At age 88, I probated a will in Houston for an old life insurance client who had died at age 88 after having a distinguished career as a professor of ophthalmology at the Baylor College of Medicine. That may be my last probate case since I am seriously thinking of retiring again now that I am widowed and living in an assisted living facility.

While in Austin enjoying my law student days, I served as president of the Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity, Sam Houston Senate (the University of Texas Law School chapter). My thought then was that I could practice law as long as I had good health and my thinking cap was still working, but now may be a good time to hang up my shingle, as I am tired and retired. My law school education has served me well as a basis in all of my varied careers, and I can recommend it to anyone interested. Go for it and enjoy your life and family. As the saying goes, some old lawyers never die, they just lose their appeal. Check back with me in a few years when we meet again for an update on my career plans.

Floyd E. Guest Jr. is an 89-year-old attorney from Spring who originally became a licensed Texas attorney in 1962 but took a non-traditional path that included years spent working in the life insurance industry, with wills and trust, and in a retirement-planning company, as well as teaching ophthalmology at Baylor University. At 75, Guest began practicing law, having recently taken up a probate case while retired and living at an assisted living facility,

Texas Center for Legal Ethics announces 2018 Pope Award winner

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 09:00

The Texas Center for Legal Ethics, or TCLE, has named David Keltner of Fort Worth as the recipient of the 2018 Chief Justice Jack Pope Professionalism Award. Keltner will be presented with the award by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht at the annual Texas Supreme Court Historical Society Dinner on September 7 in Austin. The Pope Award, named in honor of deceased Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Jack Pope, is given to a judge or attorney who personifies the highest standards of professionalism and integrity in appellate law. Keltner is an appellate attorney with Kelly Hart & Hallman in Fort Worth. He previously served as a justice on the 2nd Court of Appeals in Fort Worth from 1986 to 1990. Keltner is one of the original drafters of the Texas Lawyer’s Creed and worked with Chief Justice Pope in 1984 to enact the State Bar’s new disciplinary procedure rules. He was chair of the State Bar Board of Directors in 1999-2000.

“David Keltner epitomizes what every young lawyer should aspire to be—an advocate who strives to further the administration of justice in a manner that honors his clients, the attorneys that he works with and against, and the judge before whom he appears,” said Grapevine attorney Jerry Bullard, who was one of the attorney’s who nominated Keltner.

For more information about the Pope Award and the Texas Center for Legal Ethics, go to legalethicstexas.com.