Laurels is a listing of the professional accomplishments by Texas attorneys. If you have a listing for Laurels, please fill out our online form at texasbar.com/tbj. Robert Pelton, of the Pelton Law Office in Houston and Abilene, was chosen to receive the 2012 Jim D. Bowmer Professionalism Award from the College of the State Bar of Texas. Chastiti Horne, a partner in Ebanks Horne Rota Moos, L.L.P., in Houston, received a 2012 Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Award for her volunteer work with Child Advocates Inc. as a guardian ad litem for abused and neglected children. Nancy N. Lynch, a former administrative law judge with the State Office of Administrative Hearings, was named by the office as Administrative Law Judge Emerita. During her time at SOAH, Lynch established the office’s alternative dispute resolution program. Ruth Casarez, formerly an administrative law judge with the State Office of Administrative Hearings, was named by the office as Administrative Law Judge Emerita. Casarez established the administrative driver’s license suspension program during her time at SOAH. Peter M. Koelling, director and chief counsel of the American Bar Association Justice Center, received a Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at Northern Illinois University. Harvey L. Morton, a sole practitioner in Lubbock, received the Justice James G. Denton Distinguished Lawyer Award from the Lubbock Area Bar Association. The award recognizes a recipient who exemplifies exceptional service to the legal community, the local bar association, and the public. Andrew Fono of Winstead, P.C., in Houston, was named secretary for the Houston Bar Association Environmental Law Section for 2013-2014. Jennifer Tomsen, a shareholder in the Houston office of Greenberg Traurig, L.L.P., was elected to the council for the Securities Litigation and Arbitration Law Section of the Houston Bar Association. Carlos Moctezuma Garcia, a partner in Garcia & Garcia, Attorneys at Law, P.L.L.C., in McAllen, received the John E. Cook Pro Bono Award from the Hidalgo County Bar Association. The award recognizes an attorney who has done exceptional pro bono work by providing free legal services to the poor. Melissa B. Kates, a partner in Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff & Miller, L.L.P., in Arlington, was named 2013-2014 chair of the Construction Law Section of the Tarrant County Bar Association after previously serving as secretary. Judge Judy Warne, of the 257th Judicial District Court in Houston, received the David A. Gibson Award from the Gulf Coast Family Law Specialists for exemplifying professionalism and excellence in the practice of family law. B.F. Hicks, a Mount Vernon sole practitioner, received a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Lone Star Land Steward Award for his stewardship of the Daphne Prairie property, which supports a remnant of the rare Silveanus dropseed prairie. The department recognized Hicks for using land management methods to conserve and restore 840 acres of native grasslands, including a 120-acre virgin prairie. The land has been in the Hicks family since 1839. Stephen Pate, a partner in Norton Rose Fulbright in Houston, was elected a Fellow of the American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel in recognition of his wide range of legal and insurance capabilities. Charles W. Schwartz, a partner in the Houston office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, L.L.P., was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. Sharon Breckenridge-Thomas, a visiting professor at Liberty University School of Law in Lynchburg, Va., was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to serve on the Texas Commission on Human Rights, which investigates statewide employment and housing discrimination. Elizabeth A. Schartz, a partner in the Dallas office of Thompson & Knight, L.L.P., was named secretary of the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas Board of Directors. She has served as a board member at large since 2008 and began a new two-year term May 1, 2013. Frederick W. Sultan IV, a partner in the Austin office of Gardere Wynne Sewell, L.L.P., received the Austin Bar Foundation 2012-2013 Outstanding Director Award for his leadership in advocating for diversity in the legal profession. Sultan is a member of the Austin Bar Diversity Committee and the co-founder and inaugural director of the Austin LGBT Bar Association. Benny Agosto Jr., of the Houston law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend, received the 2013 Peter Torres Jr. Community Service Award from the Hispanic Issues Section of the State Bar of Texas. The annual award is given to individuals and organizations with a history of service to the Hispanic community. John A. Nechman, a partner with Katine & Nechman, L.L.P., in Houston and an adjunct professor at South Texas College of Law, was named Male Grand Marshal of the 2013 Houston LGBT Pride Celebration.
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