NEW DIRECTION Trey Apffel, a League City attorney, was sworn in as the 2014-2015 president of the State Bar of Texas at the General Session Luncheon on June 27. Apffel, surrounded by his family, shared with the audience his objectives for the upcoming bar year, including the expansion of communications tools and outreach projects. “My goal will be to engage our members in constructive dialogue and connect attorneys to the programs and services that will help make their practices more productive and their lives less stressful,” Apffel said. “We will continue to search for how we can improve an already efficient, effective, and exemplary bar association.” Apffel, who has served on the board of directors of the State Bar of Texas and as a member of the executive committee among other bar leadership roles, also highlighted the importance of taking an active role. “We must not shy away from speaking out forcefully on issues that affect the profession of law, our practices, or most important, the people we represent,” he said. “It is the oath we take as lawyers, and it is the right to access to justice that we defend every day that makes our profession different from any other.” 50-YEAR LAWYERS RECEPTION More than 50 lawyers celebrating 50 years of legal practice gathered to see friends and colleagues and to be recognized by the State Bar for their contributions to the profession. Section Recognizes Outstanding Women The Women and the Law Section celebrated prominent women lawyers and introduced new group leadership during its membership meeting. Melissa Dorman of Dallas, 2013-2014 chair of the section, presented the Sarah T. Hughes Women Lawyers of Achievement Award to Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva M. Guzman (above) and the Louise B. Raggio Award to Robin Russell, partner in the Houston office of Andrews Kurth. Andrea Johnson, partner in the Houston office of Burleson, received the Barbara Culver Clack Award. Following the awards presentations, Nora Bryant of San Antonio was introduced as the section’s 2014-2015 chair. Immigration Law Meets Criminal Defense During the Immigration and Nationality Law Section’s session focused on criminal law, panelists recommended that criminal law practitioners representing non-U.S. citizens should consult with a knowledgeable immigration attorney—particularly when a plea is involved. Immigration lawyers can advise on what consequences a guilty plea might have on a client’s prospects of being deported or placed into custody, as well as a client’s ability to travel and eligibility to become a citizen, as immigration courts must consider criminal convictions. If a non-citizen client is considering a guilty plea in a controlled substance matter, for example, criminal lawyers should inform the client that such a decision would result in mandatory jail time of six to eight months. While most panelists and attendees seemed to agree that it would be helpful if courts appointed immigration counsel to assist the criminal bar, it was widely understood that government budgets make this unlikely, so practitioners in both areas of law should collaborate to ensure their clients receive the best representation possible. LBJ’S ROLE IN THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT At the start of the Bench Bar Breakfast on June 27 that would discuss Lyndon Baines Johnson’s role in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Lynda Johnson Robb, elder daughter of the former president, reminded the audience of Texas lawyers that “nobody can understand Lyndon Johnson’s mind.” Then she and fellow panelists, in commemoration of the act’s 50th anniversary, set out to analyze LBJ’s strategies and actions that led to passing the monumental bill that forever changed American society. Robb, who was 20 years old when her father signed the Civil Rights Act, was joined by Austin lawyer Larry Temple, who served as special counsel to LBJ, and panel moderator Talmage Boston, an author and shareholder in Winstead in Dallas. The panel started by discussing Johnson’s desire to pass a civil rights bill. Temple told the audience that Johnson’s thoughts on civil rights originated in Cotulla, Texas, “where he taught in a one-room school to a group of Mexican-American children, and he saw in their eyes the hunger they came to school with and the deprivation they came to school with.” Examining why Johnson hadn’t voted for civil rights legislation during his early years in Congress, Boston said, “He had a famous saying that ‘you don’t try to kill the snake until you have the hoe in your hands.’” Even though some in Congress wanted to postpone a vote on the civil rights bill until after the 1965 elections, Robb said that her father knew they needed to do it before a “window of opportunity” was missed. “He really wanted to seize the moment and the hearts of the people in this country.” No doubt a factor in the act’s success was that LBJ was a unique man with traits conducive to getting things done in Washington. All panelists commented nostalgically on the rarity of such bipartisan teamwork in today’s political environment. “There was a time when people actually talked to each other in Congress, across party lines,” said Robb, noting that her father knew everybody in Congress and was friends with most of them, to which the audience applauded. But LBJ also realized his limitations. “As great as Daddy was,” she said, “there were a lot of people out in the hinterland who were really putting their lives on the line.” Closing the panel, which maintained the focused attention of the audience of hundreds, Robb read a quote of her father’s: We know how much still remains to be done; and if our efforts continue, and if our will is strong, and if our hearts are right, and if courage remains our constant companion, then, my fellow Americans, I am confident, we shall overcome. To read the transcript of the panel discussion, go to texasbar.com/annualmeetingtranscripts. Seeing Clearly in the Courtroom “I don’t equate preparation to writing everything out. You become hostage to it and miss half the trial,” Rusty Hardin told a standing-room-only crowd during a presentation on June 26. “I don’t make up my mind about any witness before I see them on the stand for a while.” The criminal defense attorney, who is as comfortable in a courtroom as a young gamer is in a Minecraft village, is the force behind the Houston firm of Rusty Hardin & Associates and has a reputation for handling high-profile cases—Roger Clemens, the J. Howard Marshall II estate dispute with Anna Nicole Smith, and, most recently, the court of inquiry that resulted in the conviction of former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson for misconduct in the Michael Morton case. He recommended asking open-ended questions—and listening to the answers. A witness is like someone you’ve invited into your living room, he told the group. “Don’t ever stop listening to a witness,” he said. “It can be disastrous.” Celebrating Legends The Joint Reception of the African-American Lawyers, Asian Pacific Interest, and Hispanic Issues sections was a night of recognizing and presenting awards to members who had spent the past year—or their entire careers—achieving meaningful impact within the legal and minority communities. Looking to the future, the sections also inducted new council members. Above: Maria Antonietta Berriozabal accepts the 2014 Pete Torres Jr. Community Service Award from the Hispanic Issues Section. LAWYERS AND CHANGE Lawyers should be aware of smart technology and artificial intelligence, keynote speaker Jim Calloway, director of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Management Assistance Program, told a packed crowd at the popular Adaptable Lawyer Track. But Calloway wasn’t speaking about secret missions or indirectly acknowledging the computer aficionados in the room. He was referring to how lawyers can prosper in a future they didn’t expect, one filled with document assembly over the Internet and apps that draft legal documents. “The law is becoming commoditized,” Calloway explained, stressing that technology is changing at lightning speed. So how can a lawyer succeed? Calloway suggested attorneys improve efficiencies, lower production costs, automate, innovate, and adjust to changing consumer demands. He also said that alternative fee arrangements are critical to law firm reinvention and recommended charging by the document. Calloway said that people want convenience and service, which could include working evenings and weekends. “People pay more for service.” Texas Young Lawyers Association Rebekah Steely Brooker (above) was sworn in as 2014-2015 TYLA president at an evening reception that honored previous officers, welcomed new leaders, and acknowledged the group’s projects and outstanding attorneys for their contributions. To see a list of award winners, go to texasbar.com/annualmeetingawards. Panelists Debate National Security and Privacy Matters The lively Open Government Seminar featured panelists discussing several of today’s most pressing privacy issues, including Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency’s data collection practices, the Obama administration’s rejection of Freedom of Information Act requests, and public access to information about chemical storage facilities—like the one involved in the West, Texas, fertilizer plant explosion. At the heart of most of these topics was the question of how much freedom must be sacrificed for the safety of the country. Today’s Hottest Apps Panelists Sammy Ford, Michael Peck, and Mark Unger discussed their list of 60 favorite apps during this 60-minute session. Top picks included everything from WatchESPN, Siri, and GoToMyPC to Notability, GoodReader, and Boxcryptor. For the most part, productivity proved a big theme. “The reality is that the iPad has been a game changer,” Unger said. REMEMBERING BROWN V. BOARD Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, presented the General Session keynote address on the significance of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court school desegregation decision that observes its 60th anniversary this year. Rosen offered a historical review of Brown, explaining how then-Chief Justice Earl Warren pushed to make it unanimous. “He thought it would be crucial for the court’s legitimacy to speak in one voice on the most contested issue of the day.” Rosen compared Brown to recent unanimous rulings from the court under Chief Justice John Roberts. “Just this week, the court handed down landmark decisions involving the future of privacy and digital surveillance, the future of executive power, the nature of the First Amendment, and the future of broadband and intellectual property. And what was so unusual about these decisions is that many of them were unanimous.” Rosen also noted that Brown, as well as the decision’s competing visions of equal protection, is at the center of many current debates, including discussions of marriage equality, tenure and retention rulings, and affirmative action. “You see, very much alive, the legacy of Brown remains.” Justice Delayed, Not Justice Denied Attendees at this session were captivated to hear how Alabama attorneys conquered the “race against time” to achieve convictions—some 10 to 20 years later—of Ku Klux Klan members who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963, killing four African-American girls. Bill Baxley, who reopened the case as the attorney general of Alabama in the early 1970s, and G. Douglas Jones, who was the prosecuting attorney in the later 2001-2002 trial, spoke on dealing with the time-lapse—during which one of the suspects and some important witnesses died—and on reopening the pivotal civil rights case even though much time had passed and some in Alabama feared bad publicity. Their steadfastness resulted in three of the perpetrators being brought to justice. Above: Former Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley speaks about his role in prosecuting a KKK member who helped bomb the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963. UT Professor Remarks on Significance of Civil Rights Act Jeremi Suri, professor at the University of Texas at Austin Department of History and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, offered insight into how the Civil Rights Act of 1964 impacted the world. Suri said that the act served as a model for other important movements—such as women’s rights—for decades, and, in an interview about his presentation, added that it changed the way foreign countries viewed U.S. attitudes toward minorities. E-filing Use Grows in Texas Regardless of a county’s required start date, lawyers would be wise to read up on e-filing rules and providers and to practice the process to be ahead of the game. That was one message David Slayton, administrative director for the Texas Office of Court Administration, had during his session on electronic filing. Across the Lone Star State, 72 counties are now using the technology, which will become mandatory for all counties on a graduated schedule through July 1, 2016. Slayton said that the state’s switch to e-filing has so far “gone remarkably well for a project of this size.” He noted some of the benefits of e-filing, including ease of tracking the document and fewer returns from clerks for “quirky” reasons. He added that 90 percent of e-filed documents are processed within one day. “Even the least tech-savvy person can do this.” Texas Bar Foundation Award winners and grantees were recognized during the Texas Bar Foundation 2014 Annual Dinner, which was held June 27 and celebrated the foundation’s charge to enhance the justice system. Front row from left: G. Thomas Vick Jr. (2013-2014 board chair), Jim Branton, Jack Hebdon, Broadus A. Spivey, Sid Stahl, Sam Sparks. Back row from left: Jennifer Hasley, Tracy H. Crawford, W. John Glancy, Timothy Crooks, Judge Dean Rucker, Brian D. Shannon, Warren W. Harris, Richard R. Orsinger, Harper Estes. Not Pictured: Victor R. Scarano. To see a list of award winners, go to texasbar.com/annualmeetingawards. Ethics and Music Law As Ray Benson (center), a business owner and frontman of western swing band Asleep at the Wheel, attested at this session, musicians often feel like they can’t trust anybody because many get “screwed” by the music industry. Benson and attorney panelists Craig Barker and Broadus Spivey also discussed how lawyers can operate ethically to be the trusted counselors so many artists need. Shaping the Future The State Bar’s LGBT Law Section held a dynamic daylong CLE program with many interesting sessions, including one that discussed the legal options for LGBT foreign nationals seeking asylum in the United States. After the programming came to an end, the section held an awards ceremony, celebrating second-parent adoption attorney Suzanne Bryant and outgoing section Chair Shelly Skeen. STATE BAR BOARD REPORT Each Annual Meeting features two days of business for the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors. The 2014 meetings offered a chance to take stock of the past bar year, say goodbye to outgoing directors, and welcome those coming onboard. On the first day, 2013-2014 State Bar President Lisa M. Tatum offered an update on her presidential initiative I was the first. Vote for Me!, an online civics education project that celebrates important firsts in U.S. and Texas history. The project recently received a National Association of Bar Executives LexisNexis Community and Educational Outreach Award, which honors outstanding bar public service and law-related education programs. I was the first. Vote for Me! was unanimously selected in the category of state bars with more than 18,000 members and was commended for incorporating history, reading, math, and voting into one program. To date, more than 6,600 teachers have been introduced to the project at 170 training sessions, impacting nearly 297,000 students. 2014-2015 State Bar President Trey Apffel of League City reported that the Supreme Court of Texas had approved the State Bar’s 2014-2015 budget. Outgoing board chair Cindy V. Tisdale of Granbury presented public member Tim Kelly of Austin with the Outstanding Third-Year Director Award, and the bar’s Executive Director Michelle Hunter honored Jerry Phillips of TexasBarCLE as the Employee of the Quarter. In other action, the board approved: • Proposed changes to State Bar Rules concerning MCLE electronic notification and self-study hours. The first change would allow additional electronic MCLE notifications, which would provide more service options for members while offering cost savings to the State Bar. The second change would decrease the number of self-study hours that may be completed during any compliance year (Section 6) from “no more than five” to “no more than three.” The proposed change mirrors a 2010 change to the regulations that allowed a maximum of three hours of self-study per compliance year. The proposed changes will be considered by the Texas Supreme Court, which adopts changes to the State Bar Rules. • A recommendation of the Legislative Policy Subcommittee to approve a request from the Tax Section to submit comments to the Internal Revenue Service regarding exceptions to Treasury regulations that prohibit contingent fees for people who represent taxpayers before the IRS. The Tax Section recommends a minor clarification of the exceptions. • A recommendation that section representatives to the board work with the Animal Law Section on amendments to its section bylaws. On the second day, San Antonio solo practitioner Allan K. DuBois was sworn in to succeed Apffel as State Bar president-elect. Lubbock attorney Roger Key replaced Tisdale as chair of the board, and Supreme Court of Texas Justice Phil Johnson administered the oath of office to new directors. Apffel previewed his presidential initiatives for the year, saying he would work to continue improving and expanding State Bar communications efforts. Apffel’s plans include a refreshed look for texasbar.com and a full launch of Texas Bar Connect (connect.texasbar.com), a new members-only social networking platform that is currently operating in beta mode. He also plans to continue supporting successful presidential initiatives from the past, including I was the first. Vote for Me!, the pro bono Care Campaign, Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans, and Oyez, Oyez, Oh Yay! A GLOBAL OVERVIEW OF NATIONAL SECURITY RISKS Admiral Bobby R. Inman, former director of the National Security Agency, discussed numerous security threats around the world during a speech at the Bar Leaders Recognition Luncheon on June 26. Among the most serious, he said, are weapons of mass destruction, international terrorism, cyberterrorism—noting, “the worst of all is Edward Snowden”—the international narcotics movements, infectious diseases, and global trade agreements. Inman, who was director of the NSA during America’s post-Watergate period and deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, focused on giving the audience a broad overview of the world’s most pressing issues and current events. He covered much ground, discussing Arab Spring, kidnappings in Africa, the “all-out civil war” in Syria, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the unstable leadership in North Korea, and more. Speaking on climate change, he said that science clearly establishes human activity as a substantial cause but is yet to determine a clear solution. He noted the potential importance of a global trade agreement between the United States and the European Union, as well as a Trans-Pacific Partnership. “How this all plays out will have a significant impact on our economy,” he said. Perhaps one of the most important matters in terms of its impact on our national security, according to Inman, is the real prospect that “within a decade,” North America could be completely energy independent and replace Russia as a major supplier of natural gas to Europe. Inman, who is a native Texan, said that we should be watching China because its economy will likely bypass ours within the next decade and the current president is going after corruption, although it remains to be seen how far into the upper government levels Xi Jinping will go. One thing, Inman said, is clear: “He will make no concessions on single- party control of the country.” To see a list of local bar association winners, go to texasbar.com/annualmeetingawards.
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