TYLA and ACTL host annual National Trial Competition Although the crime is fictitious, the courtroom drama at the annual National Trial Competition is very real to the law students navigating what will soon become an integral part of their careers. This year’s event had more than 315 participating teams from 160-plus law schools competing in 14 regional tournaments across the country, with the top two teams from each region advancing to the national finals in Texas on March 11-15. Chicago-Kent College of Law took home first prize as the 2015 National Champion Team, while Baylor Law School placed as a quarterfinalist. The national tournament, hosted by the Texas Young Lawyers Association and the American College of Trial Lawyers, seeks to prepare future attorneys to successfully complete a trial from beginning to end. This year, the event returned to Houston, the city where it began in 1975. Preliminary rounds, which had more than 200 volunteers, took place at the Harris County Civil Courthouse, and final rounds were held at the federal courthouse. “The students are nervous because this mock trial tournament is unlike any other— we have random volunteers playing witnesses that competitors meet just 15 minutes before the round begins, so you never know what the witness will say on the stand,” said Zeke Fortenberry, tournament chairman and a TYLA director. “Also, the students are excited to try a case in front of the distinguished attorneys.” HNBA conference addresses diversity and attorney well-being Attorneys and legal professionals discussed diversity and lawyers’ health at the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Corporate Counsel Conference and Uvaldo Herrera Moot Court Competition on March 18-21 in San Antonio. The HNBA Latina Commission hosted a plenary session on how Latinas, who represent less than 1 percent of partners in U.S. law firms, can tackle gender bias in the legal profession. The conference also focused on the health and mental wellness of minority attorneys. State Bar of Texas Presidentelect Allan K. DuBois and Bree Buchanan, director of the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program, shared their personal stories and the importance of achieving success without compromising well-being. “I know that TLAP works because it helped me,” DuBois said. “I have been sober for 21 years.” SMU recognizes distinguished alumni with awards Recipients of this year’s Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law alumni awards include an immigration and nationality lawyer who has been recognized for her community empowerment work, counsel for one of the world’s largest oil companies, a defense attorney who has a history of winning multimilliondollar verdicts, and the leader of a regional nonprofit that seeks justice for human rights abuses. Mary Elizabeth “Liz” Cedillo-Pereira, managing attorney with Cedillo-Pereira and Associates in Dallas, received the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Emerging Leader Award; Siriporn Chaiyasuta, general counsel to Chevron Europe, Eurasia and Middle East Exploration & Production Limited, received the 2015 Distinguished Global Alumni Award; G. Michael Gruber, a founding partner in Gruber Hurst Johansen Hail Shank in Dallas, received the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award for Private Practice; William O. Holston Jr., executive director of Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, received the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award for Public Service; and Joseph W. McKnight, professor emeritus of law and Larry and Jane Harlan Faculty Fellow Emeritus at SMU Dedman School of Law, received the 2015 Honorary Alumnus Award (to read more about McKnight, go to texasbar.com/mcknight). The alumni awards were presented during a ceremony on March 19.
Published by State Bar of Texas. View All Articles.
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