A FIRST The ballroom at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas erupted in sustained applause after Lisa M. Tatum (above) made history, becoming the first African American to serve as president of the State Bar of Texas. The San Antonio lawyer was sworn in by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson during the General Session Luncheon that was held on June 21, day two of the 2013 Annual Meeting, which was co-chaired by Dallas attorneys Robert Witte and Beverly Godbey. Tatum, who replaced 2012-2013 President Buck Files of Tyler, spoke about the duty lawyers have to their clients and the public and expressed her gratitude to the legal community and her friends and family for their support. “Being State Bar president in Texas is a significant undertaking,” she told the crowd. “There is a peace and energizing in knowing I am not alone.” 50-YEAR LAWYERS RECEPTION More than sixty 50-year lawyers, one of the largest groups in recent history, gathered for a reception and lunch—and caught up with old friends, colleagues, and classmates. To see more photos, go to flickr.com/photos/texasbar. A DIVERSE VISION FOR THE FUTURE The African-American Lawyers, Asian Pacific Interest, and Hispanic Issues sections held a joint reception in which many people were recognized for their service, including 2013-2014 State Bar President Lisa M. Tatum (above with Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson), who received the Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson Trailblazer Award. To see a list of more section award winners, go to texasbar.com/annualmeetingawards. PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN U.S. Magistrate Judge Irma Ramirez administered the oath of allegiance to new U.S. citizens June 21 during a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. The event, which was coordinated by the Committee on Laws Relating to Immigration and Nationality, featured opening remarks from past State Bar President Bob Black. THE TOP 10 THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT THE U.S. SUPREME COURT Justice Samuel Alito (left) offered a glimpse into the inner workings of the U.S. Supreme Court during a speech at the Bar Leaders Recognition Luncheon on June 20. Alito offered a “top 10” list of things he believes most people don’t know about the Supreme Court, saying his fellow justices’ recent TV talk show appearances inspired the David Letterman–style countdown. Among them: Most cases don’t involve constitutional law; oral arguments—although high profile—are only a small part of the job; and, despite some tartly worded dissents every now and then, the justices basically get along. Still, Alito decried the fact that oral arguments had become a “spectacle,” saying that trying to get a question in was like trying to snatch an item on sale at Walmart the day after Thanksgiving. Alito, who joined the Supreme Court in 2006, spoke to a crowd of more than 1,300 people inside the Hilton Anatole on the first full day of the bar’s annual meeting. At the time, the public was still awaiting word on how the Supreme Court would rule on several closely watched cases, including challenges to the Voting Rights and Defense of Marriage acts. Alito joked that although about 10 cases were left to be announced, those decisions didn’t make his “top 10” list. To see a list of local bar association winners, go to texasbar.com/annualmeetingawards. WAS LEE HARVEY OSWALD GUILTY? A mock trial of Lee Harvey Oswald for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963 ended in a hung jury after only nine of the 12 jurors voted to convict him. The State Bar of Texas staged the trial June 21 as part of its 2013 Annual Meeting in Dallas, inviting attorneys and law students to portray many of the central figures in the trial that would have been had nightclub owner Jack Ruby not shot and killed Oswald two days after the assassination. “You are about to witness what would have been the trial of the century,” said 68th Civil District Court Judge Martin Hoffman, who presided over the mock trial inside the Dallas County Criminal Courts Building, which was the site of Ruby’s trial and overlooks Dealey Plaza, where Kennedy was shot. Annual meeting attendees watched as U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña argued the government’s case against Oswald and as Dallas attorney Toby Shook staged his defense. The trial included testimony from multiple witnesses, but Oswald, portrayed by Flower Mound attorney Cameron J. Cox, did not take the stand. Afterward, Hoffman asked the jury and the audience to deliver verdicts. Most of the audience voted to convict Oswald, but they appeared split on whether he acted alone. WFAA-TV in Dallas aired the event live on its website and as an hourlong program June 29. BULLISH ABOUT THE FUTURE The 2013 Annual Meeting General Session Luncheon saw the departure of one State Bar president, the debut of another, and the celebration of the latest class of 50-year attorneys. The event, held June 21 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas and co-sponsored by the Litigation Section, also honored attorneys from across Texas for their exceptional service to the public and the legal profession. Ronald E. Bunch of Waxahachie was presented the Presidents’ Award and recognized for his numerous roles at the State Bar, from a member of the Board of Directors to the chair of the Commission for Lawyer Discipline. In addition to his devotion to protecting the public, Bunch has also instituted programs to rehabilitate lawyers. A Certificate of Merit Award was presented to Ralph H. Brock of Lubbock for his pro bono work and tireless service to the bar and to Kenda Culpepper for her leadership in furthering mentoring and professionalism. In his address to the crowd, keynote speaker U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (above) used the occasion to highlight reasons he’s bullish about the nation’s future. Cornyn, a former Texas Supreme Court justice, said he’s optimistic about the country partly because of its “world-class” higher education system. TEXAS YOUNG LAWYERS ASSOCIATION It was an evening of accolades, goodbyes, and new beginnings at the Texas Young Lawyers Association Reception, where 2012-2013 TYLA President C.E. Rhodes gave his parting remarks, and his successor, 2013-2014 TYLA President Kristy Blanchard, was sworn in. Flower Mound attorney Cameron J. Cox replaced Alyssa J. Long of San Antonio as TYLA chair. In addition to the changing-ofthe- guard proceedings, the reception provided a forum for recognizing TYLA projects and outstanding attorneys and one non-lawyer for their contributions. From left: Judge Lynn Cherry and Kristy Blanchard. To see a list of award winners, go to texasbar.com/annualmeetingawards. The Era of Big Paper Is Over Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson, David Slayton, the administrative director of the Office of Court Administration, and Texas Supreme Court Rules Attorney Marisa Secco discussed TexFile, the new official e-filing system for Texas, and how it will streamline processes across the state. On Jan. 1, 2014, mandatory e-filing goes into effect for the 10 most populous counties in the state. By July 1, 2016, every county in Texas will be required to use e-filing. The Two Most Important Trials in American History As lawyer-turned-historical author David O. Stewart flipped through images of American politicians, he told the crowd that the trial of Andrew Johnson was the first presidential impeachment trial—a proceeding that was significant because it would overturn how the public voted. The second most important trial in American history, according to Stewart, involved former Vice President Aaron Burr, who was being tried for treason. Stewart said it was noteworthy because the trial showed that everyone— even people the general public despised, such as Burr, who had killed his political opponent Alexander Hamilton in a duel—is entitled to legal protection and a fair trial. Burr was acquitted. Open Government Seminar The 83rd Texas Legislature approved bills that will make more records available and public meetings more transparent, a panelist said during the Open Government Seminar. The session proved to be one of the better ones for open government, said Michael Schneider, a vice president with the Texas Association of Broadcasters. Schneider joined state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, and Haynes and Boone attorney Laura Prather of Austin on a panel to discuss the session’s open government victories and defeats. For a list and description of the bills discussed, go to texasbar.com/opengovernment. LeadershipSBOT Awards “You have to stick your neck out every once in a while if you believe in what you are doing,” Supreme Court of Texas Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson told the graduating class of LeadershipSBOT. Jefferson urged the young attorneys to step out of their comfort zones. The brainchild of former State Bar President Harper Estes, LeadershipSBOT is a fusion of diversity awareness, idea implementation, executive grooming, and bar immersion. At the ceremony, small groups presented their service projects, which included videos on pro bono family law cases, a project stressing diversity in the profession, a mentoring bank that lawyers will be able to access via texasbar.com, and a lesson plan focused on civility. Emma Cano received the Pete Serrano Leadership Award for her outstanding contributions throughout the year. IgniteSBOT A first for Annual Meeting, IgniteSBOT brought together visionaries to speak about concepts and ideas they find important. Here’s the fun part: 20 slides per speaker, 15 seconds per slide, five minutes total talk time per person. Kevin O’Keefe, the CEO and publisher of LexBlog Inc., a blogging and social media company for attorneys, started off the session by talking about clout— and how you score it. Speakers and topics ranged from Deborah Bruce, the president of Lawyer-Coach, on outrunning the monetization tsunami (the online unbundling of legal services) to Rocky Dhir, the president and CEO of Atlas Legal Research, a provider of legal resources to in-house and law firm attorneys, on lawyers who have lives because of telecommuting. DIRECTOR’S CUT: A PRESIDENTIAL COLLECTION President George W. Bush stood atop the ruins of the World Trade Center on Sept. 14, 2001, and addressed the rescue workers through a bullhorn. “I can hear you!” he said, in what later would be known as a defining moment of his presidency. “The rest of the world hears you! And the people—and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!” That bullhorn is among the items on exhibit at the new George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, which has welcomed more than 80,000 visitors since opening to the public May 1 on the Southern Methodist University campus. The library director, Alan Lowe (above), offered an overview of the items June 21 during a keynote speech at the Bench Bar Breakfast. Other objects on display include Florida ballots with “hanging chads” from the disputed 2000 presidential election and steel beams from the remains of New York’s Twin Towers after the 9/11 terrorist attacks—a jarring and emotional sight for many visitors, Lowe said. Texas now has three presidential libraries, including the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin and the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station. That’s more than any other U.S. state. “I’ve lived here long enough to know you wouldn’t have it any other way,” Lowe said. TEXAS BAR FOUNDATION The Texas Bar Foundation 2013 Annual Dinner was a time to honor award winners, recognize grantees, and celebrate the foundation’s work in soliticting charitable donations to enhance the justice system. The dinner, held June 21, also served as a memorial to Houston attorney Gib Walton, a past chair of the foundation and past president of the State Bar, who died in February 2013. Front row from left: Wayne Fisher, Jerome W. Johnson, and John G. Browning. Back row from left: John D. Ellis Jr. (2012-2013 trustees chair), Claude Ducloux, John Eckel, Douglas W. Alexander, Alan D. Feld, Tracy Christopher, George C. Chapman, Josiah M. Daniell III, and Sharon S. Millians (2012-2013 fellows chair). For a list of award winners, go to texasbar.com/annualmeetingawards. Technology for the Mobile Lawyer Fort Worth attorney Nicholas Bettinger talked about the latest and greatest releases, products, and technology for lawyers on the go. Bettinger, who also happens to be the IT director for McDonald Sanders, touched on the differences between tablets, the smartphones wars, mobile printers like the Brother PocketJet 3, and other practical information for tech-savvy attorneys. NFL Players’ Post-Playing Career Brad Sham, known as the Voice of the Dallas Cowboys, told a packed crowd that he was alarmed by the way people behave at sporting events. “I grow concerned about the lack of civility that comes through sports media,” he said. The Dallas Cowboys play-by-play announcer talked about what happens to NFL players after their careers are over and said he wished there was a mechanism in place to teach them about the harsh realities of life. “A young man and a lot of money is not a good combination.” What Corporate America Really Expects Dallas native Walter Sutton, associate general counsel for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and the recipient of the 2013 Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, moderated a panel discussion on corporations and diverse outside counsel. The participating panelists— Toni D. Nguyen, assistant general counsel at Dallas-based Luminex Corporation; Michelle A. Peak, senior labor attorney at American Airlines; and Navin Rao, vice president and assistant general counsel at Dallas-based Michaels Stores Inc.—emphasized the need for outside counsel to be diverse in makeup as well as in thought. “I’m not shy about saying your numbers are low and I’m going to take my business elsewhere,” said Rao. According to the panelists, attorneys who attend diversity events and who interact with lawyers in these groups tend to have a better understanding of what corporations are looking for when hiring outside counsel. MEETING OF THE MINDS On day one of the State Bar Board of Directors meeting, 2012- 2013 President Buck Files discussed the year’s goals and accomplishments, including increased communication with members. Lisa M. Tatum, State Bar of Texas president-elect, introduced the 2013-2014 Solo and Small Firm Outreach Program, a pilot project designed to engage sole practitioners and lawyers from smaller firms in the work of the bar. Tatum reported that the Supreme Court of Texas approved the budget and then outlined revamped communications efforts, including increased activity on social media, a new President’s Opinion enewsletter, and the launch of Texas Bar TV. Committee reports followed. Boerne attorney Steve Schechter received the Outstanding Third-Year Director Award, and Presidential Citations were presented to Executive Director Michelle Hunter and Chair Frank E. Stevenson II of Dallas. Ronald E. Bunch of Waxahachie received a Certificate for Service Award from the Chief Disciplinary Counsel’s Office, and Gabriel Torres received the Employee of the Quarter Award. On day two, Galveston County lawyer Trey Apffel (above right), who won a runoff election in May, was sworn in to succeed Tatum as president-elect. Granbury attorney Cindy V. Tisdale (left) replaced Stevenson as chair of the board. New directors were also sworn in. During the meeting, Tatum previewed her initiatives for the year, including the Care Campaign for low-income Texans, which is designed to connect lawyers and clients and increase pro bono efforts. Tatum, the first African American lawyer to serve as State Bar president, also is spearheading the web-based civics project I was the first. Vote for Me!, which spotlights significant firsts in U.S. and Texas history included in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills social studies standards for elementary school students. Harry Reasoner of Houston discussed the Access to Justice Commission, and afterward the meeting was adjourned. ACE U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, in town to speak at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting, threw out the ceremonial first pitch June 19 as the Texas Rangers defeated the division rival Oakland Athletics. Alito’s throw was off the plate, but he still drew applause from the crowd at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. He then took a seat along the first-base line to watch the game with Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson. Dallas attorney Talmage Boston, an Annual Meeting Committee member and former State Bar director who has written two books on baseball history, said the promise of tossing the first pitch lured Alito to North Texas. Boston worked with Annual Meeting Committee member and former White House counsel Harriet Miers, a friend of Alito’s, to arrange the visit. “He’s a huge baseball fan,” Boston said in an interview with LXBN TV and Texas Bar TV.
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