2014-2015 State Bar of Texas Committee reports are included in the July issue of the Texas Bar Journal to update Texas lawyers on State Bar activities. The reports do not necessarily reflect the position or official policy of the State Bar of Texas, which is formulated by the State Bar Board of Directors or by the membership through referendum. For more information or to complete a Committee Volunteer Interest Form, go to texasbar.com/committees or call (800) 204-2222, ext. 1516. ADMINISTRATION OF RULES OF EVIDENCE Robin Malone Darr, Chair The Administration of Rules of Evidence Committee is pleased that the Texas Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals enacted the restyled Texas Rules of Evidence. This year, the committee reviewed and studied Article II Rules and Rule 503 of the Texas Rules of Evidence. The Article II Subcommittee, chaired by John Janssen, recommended changing the 30-day pre-trial deadline in Rule 203 to 45 days to align with Rule 1009. The subcommittee acknowledged that Rules 203 and 1009 deal with separate issues, but noted that, in practice, confusion exists. AREC concurred and recommended the change to the Supreme Court Advisory Committee. The Rule 503 Subcommittee, chaired by Terry Jacobson, surveyed the law of other states to determine how the lawyer-client privilege applies in cases with allied litigants. Thank you to Michelle Hille, Jared Horton, Amanda Sanchez, and Jared Wilkinson of Baylor Law School for their assistance with the survey. In May, AREC reviewed survey results and reported to other sections of the State Bar that have expressed interest in this project. After considering comments of other sections, AREC will evaluate whether to recommend an amendment of Rule 503 to the Supreme Court Advisory Committee. ADVERTISING REVIEW Steve Tatum, Chair The committee continues to work in the pursuit of three objectives: (1) educate the bar about the provisions of the Advertising Review Rules, (2) provide guidance to the bar concerning compliance with Part VII, and (3) ensure compliance with the rules by reviewing and approving filed advertisements. Gene Major, director of the Advertising Review Department; Michael Dobbs, coordinator of the Advertising Review Department; and various members of the committee gave a number of presentations this year to educate lawyers and others about the requirements and restrictions imposed by the Advertising Review Rules. These included live, videotaped, and Web-based presentations. Major also presented at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting, Texas Minority Counsel Program, and Legal Marketing Association events throughout Texas. The committee continued working with the publishers of Super Lawyers, the Rising Stars list, and other similar publications to ensure that their advertising is filed with and reviewed by the committee before publication. The committee provided guidance concerning the rules by meeting throughout the year and reviewed more than 4,000 applications in the 2014-2015 bar year. The number of filings has consistently increased, with the largest category of filed submissions being electronic/websites. ANNUAL MEETING Sara Dysart and Andy Kerr, Co-Chairs The 2015 Annual Meeting took place in San Antonio on June 18-19. The Annual Meeting Committee offered a diverse selection of quality CLE for the best value, featuring keynote speakers Evan Smith, editor in chief and CEO of the Texas Tribune; Judge Ken Starr, president and chancellor of Baylor University; and Fred Bartlit Jr., trial counsel for President George W. Bush in the Florida “hanging chads” trial. With more than 90 informative learning sessions, this year’s meeting featured content for everyone. State Bar sections provided practice-specific programs as well as joint events, including the Adaptable Lawyer Track and the Business Law and Corporate Counsel Law Section track. During Friday’s General Session Luncheon, 2014-2015 State Bar President Trey Apffel gave parting remarks and Allan K. DuBois was sworn in as 2015-2016 president. At the Texas Young Lawyers Association reception, 2014-2015 TYLA President Rebekah Steely Brooker gave farewell remarks and C. Barrett Thomas was sworn in as 2015-2016 president. The San Antonio community and law firms statewide deserve acknowledgement and gratitude for their dedicated support of the Annual Meeting. Be sure to mark your calendars for the 2016 Annual Meeting in Fort Worth on June 16-17. CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT Carole Hurley, Chair To address the educational needs of attorneys involved in child protection litigation, the committee again conducted a workshop at the Advanced Family Law Course and worked with the Family Law Section to make this training affordable. The Supreme Court of Texas Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families provided scholarships to a number of attending attorneys. The committee’s child protection litigation conference in June 2014 featured sessions designed specifically for attorneys representing parents, children, and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. The committee continues to distribute English and Spanish copies of When Babies Cry, its DVD on shaken baby syndrome, and also made a presentation on Adoption Day at the annual Bar Leaders Conference. The committee is working to bring greater public awareness to the problem of prenatal alcohol exposure. It also continues to work toward board certification for child welfare practitioners and post resources for child protection litigators at texaslawyersforchildren.org. This site also provides information on pro bono opportunities in child protection cases. The committee selected an attorney to receive its annual Fairy Davenport Rutland Award for Distinguished Service to Children and Families, to be presented at the 2015 Advanced Family Law Course in August. CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION Deborah J. Bullion, Chair During the 2014-2015 bar year, the Continuing Legal Education Committee met twice with the Board Professional Development Subcommittee and bar staff to propose topics for future CLE programs and to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing TexasBarCLE and TexasBarBooks. TexasBarCLE continues to be a leading provider of high-quality CLE. In recognition of the trend toward online CLE, expansion of webcasts and online classrooms remains a priority. Also, with information on legal developments readily available on the Internet, TexasBarCLE will focus its programs beyond merely providing legal updates and will emphasize the practical consequences of how changes in the law affect the practice of law. CLE committee members continue to be assigned to serve on planning committees to ensure courses are of the highest level of quality and reflect the diversity of the bar. TexasBarBooks released several supplements to manuals, pattern jury charges for several areas of law, Essentials of E-Discovery, and Texas Perspectives on Firearms Law. It will be releasing the first online version of the Texas Family Law Practice Manual for sale by subscription this summer. COURT RULES Carlos R. Soltero, Chair The Court Rules Committee met five times during the 2014-2015 bar year. Two proposed rules were submitted. One would modify Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 223 to: (1) clarify that one shuffle is permitted per panel as opposed to per case; (2) clearly define the deadline for making a shuffle demand, particularly in light of increased written jury questionnaires; and (3) recognize electronic shuffling. The other would modify Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure 9.4, 38.1, and 38.2 to specify the location in the appellate record where error was preserved for each appellate by requiring the complaining party to provide citations to the record showing preservation. The proposal may conserve resources on appellate points where error was not preserved. In addition, the committee worked on other proposals to amend Rule 21 and 21a service particularly with pro se litigants, Rule 194 with respect to identifying trial witnesses and more specific disclosures in cases alleging misrepresentation claims or defenses, and a potential rule on procedures in cases of alleged spoliation. The committee has also continued its work with the Texas Supreme Court in providing website links to statewide local rules and created a Rules Resource Task Force. CRIME VICTIMS The goal of the Crime Victims Committee is to educate the legal profession and the public about the resources available to crime victims. The committee was inactive this year. The committee encourages crime victims and advocates to visit its Web page, available in English and Spanish at texasbar.com/crimevictims, for information on local, state, and federal crime victim rights. DISABILITY ISSUES Kelli Howard, Chair The Disability Issues Committee recommended this special issue of the Texas Bar Journal commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The committee’s video on Bootz’s Law (about the rights of people with disabilities who use service animals) continues to be widely viewed on the State Bar’s YouTube channel. Committee members speak to groups upon request regarding service animal laws. The committee co-produced a video with the Independent Living Research Utilization Program at TIRR Memorial Hermann, Disability Rights Texas, and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid on the rights of people with disabilities in homeless shelters and transi tional housing. It will soon be available at the bar’s YouTube channel and on the committee’s website. The committee once again provided a disability rights webinar on legislative updates and acted as co-sponsor for the 11th Annual Special Education and the Juvenile Justice System CLE course. Our mentorship program provides mentors to attorneys and law students with disabilities. The committee also collaborates with the bar’s Legal Access Division to provide training on the Communication Access Fund and how lawyers can ensure effective communication with clients who have disabilities. For more information, please visit texasbardisabilityissues.org or contact the new chair, Erin Lawler, at email@example.com. DIVERSITY IN THE PROFESSION Lisa J. Soto, Chair The Diversity in the Profession Committee promotes the retention, advancement, and meaningful participation of diverse attorneys in the profession as well as greater access to professional education. Almost 500 were in attendance at our Texas Minority Counsel Program, a premier networking and CLE event geared to increase opportunities for diverse attorneys to work with corporations and governmental entities. Join us for our next TMCP at the Westin Houston, Memorial City, on October 14-16, 2015. This year, we expanded our reach to: (1) engage more attorneys in K-12 classrooms where diverse students might not otherwise be exposed to careers in the law or know how to posture themselves to make that path a reality; and (2) provide support for students to better prepare for the Texas Bar Exam in the hope that we may welcome minorities and females to the bar more quickly and in greater numbers. We have also continued both the Texas Minority Law Student Program— where we engage law students in informational sessions, mentorship, and hands-on skills-building through mock interviews—and the Texas Minority Attorney Program, where we provide low-cost, cuttingedge continuing legal education and networking opportunities. We encourage everyone to help strengthen the profession through inclusion. JURY SERVICE J. Francisco Tamez, Chair The Jury Service Committee met with clerks across the state to help identify issues with, causes of, and possible solutions to low jury turnout. During those meetings, committee members asked about creative solutions implemented by clerks and judges in addressing jury participation and enhancing jurors’ experiences. Practices included writing thank you letters, giving jurors certificates of appreciation, and writing op-ed pieces with local newspapers on the importance of serving on a jury. These samples are being disseminated to other judges and clerks as examples of ways that they can improve jurors’ experiences. The committee also reviewed the State Bar website and available online information on jury service. A subcommittee worked on editing this material to make it easier to use. The committee will continue to work with clerks and the State Bar to make sure that links to videos, public service announcements, and online publications are easy to access. The year concluded with committee members speaking at the University of Texas School of Law’s 2015 County and District Clerks Legal Education Program, where members informed the clerks about State Bar of Texas resources. LAW FOCUSED EDUCATION Daniel David Hu, Chair The committee implemented the following civics education projects this year: • Committee members continued to meet with their local school districts, private school networks, and community groups, providing them with the latest materials developed by the Law-Related Education Department. • We promoted classroom resources such as the State Bar of Texas’s I was the first. Vote for Me! and Oyez, Oyez, Oh Yay! websites. Committee members presented both projects during the Bar Leaders Conference in July. Using the Web-based program, committee members made classroom presentations in grades K-5 and made presentations to community groups and local bar associations. • The committee continues to support the We the People program. • Law Focused Education Committee members continue to speak to participants at local events and promote the use of the Law- Related Education Inc. website (texaslre.org) and national programs such as icivics.org and the Division for Public Services of the American Bar Association. The committee thanks Jan Miller and her staff for their unwavering support and for her dedication and tireless efforts in promoting law-related education. LAW PRACTICE MANAGEMENT William Wade Miller Jr., Chair The Law Practice Management Committee began the year by presenting a daylong seminar during the bar’s Annual Meeting in June 2014. The committee also launched a redesigned website, which allows greater mobile integration and easier search capabilities for LPM materials. It includes updated, downloadable “how-to” brochures intended to assist attorneys in starting, maintaining, and growing a practice. Throughout the year, committee members made presentations to several local bar associations across the state and at Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Finally, the committee planned and held the Law Practice Management CLE event that took place at the 2015 State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting. LAWS RELATING TO IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY Linda Brandmiller, Chair Exciting times continue for the LRIN Committee as immigration shines as one of the country’s top legal issues and overlaps with most areas of law. In keeping with efforts to make the committee accessible throughout the state, the fall meeting took members to Harlingen, coincidentally the day after President Barack Obama announced his immigration policy plans. The committee met at the local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office and members received information directly from the chief of staff by video. In addition, the Mexican Consulate offered information on immigration needs in the Valley and the committee volunteered to be a liaison with the State Bar. The spring meeting was again held in El Paso to coordinate a personal tour of the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, where family based consular processing applications for the entire country are completed. This experience is invaluable as members make contacts and are able to better understand their clients’ process by getting a behind-the-scenes look at how they are adjudicated. The summer meeting continues to be coordinated with the State Bar of Texas Immigration and Nationality Section and the summer quarterly meeting was at the bar’s Annual Meeting in San Antonio. LAWYERS’ ASSISTANCE PROGRAM Pamela Powell, Chair The Lawyers’ Assistance Program Committee worked throughout the year to advance the legal community’s knowledge of substance abuse and mental health issues facing lawyers and the resources available through the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program. The Mental Health Subcommittee worked with attorney development departments at global law firms to develop wellness and mental health outreach programs resulting in continuing education courses presented at Houston offices of two firms and broadcast to all firm offices. Subcommittee members also worked with TLAP staff to create the Health and Wellness video series now found on the TLAP website. Members of the Law School Subcommittee served as liaisons to the deans of student affairs at 10 Texas law schools and held the Dean of Student Affairs Annual Summit. Direct outreach to law students included more than 25 presentations, an informational table at a wellness fair, and participation in a meditation series. TLAP materials offering help were distributed to all law libraries and career services offices. The Volunteer Recruitment, Training, and Retention Subcommittee was created last year to ensure qualified and diverse volunteers. This year, the subcommittee revised the volunteer materials and held training/recruitment sessions in Dallas, Houston, Lubbock, Corpus Christi, McAllen, and Brownsville. LEGAL SERVICES TO THE POOR IN CIVIL MATTERS Matthew B. Probus, Chair The volunteer members of the State Bar of Texas Legal Services to the Poor in Civil Matters Committee continue to help the board of directors carry out one of the bar’s core missions to “assure all citizens equal access to justice.” The committee worked on methods to improve volunteer recruitment for the LiveHelp project, which provides real time legal counseling to vulnerable Texans in need. The committee’s members assisted with staffing of volunteers for LiveHelp’s Veterans Legal Aid Week activities, which included handling legal questions of more than 50 veterans in need. The committee also began assessment of the need and feasibility of an education packet on veterans’ legal needs for use by local bar associations. The committee received strong nominations for the State Bar’s Pro Bono Excellence Awards and recommended to the board recipients who were recognized during the State Bar’s Annual Meeting in San Antonio. LEGAL SERVICES TO THE POOR IN CRIMINAL MATTERS Cathy Burnett, Chair For more than 20 years, this committee has worked to improve representation of indigent Texans in criminal matters. Committee members are drawn from diverse backgrounds and experiences within the criminal justice system, including state and federal practice venues, public and private practice settings, prosecution and defense functions, and nonprofit organizations and government agencies with an indigent defense focus. To fulfill its mission, the committee engages in three discrete activities: (1) studying delivery systems, (2) collecting data, and (3) developing recommendations for relevant stakeholders. The varied perspectives that committee members bring to this work are critical in performing these functions and shaping the committee’s output. This past year, the committee continued its role in developing Texasspecific guidelines for attorney performance. The Supplementary Guidelines and Standards for the Mitigation Function of Defense Teams in Texas Death Penalty Cases were adopted by the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors in April 2015. Work on juvenile representation standards is ongoing and in the draft review phase. Additional ongoing projects include language interpretation practices as an access-to-justice barrier, mentoring and early entry programs designed to increase capacity, and client choice attorney selection pilot projects. LOCAL BAR SERVICES Janna Clarke, Chair The Local Bar Services Committee has the express purpose of enhancing communication between State Bar and local bar leadership to assist local bars in the management and development of their associations. Our signature event, the Bar Leaders Conference—held July 24-25, 2015, at the Westin Galleria Houston—brings local bar leaders and State Bar officers and directors together to discover tools and resources while addressing common concerns. The committee also plans the annual Law Day and Stars of Texas Bars Awards programs. The State Bar and Texas Young Lawyers Association presented statewide contest awards to 18 students at the Law Day ceremony in Austin. This year’s theme, “Magna Carta: Symbol of Freedom Under Law,” encouraged students to explore why Magna Carta is still an important symbol of the rule of law. The Stars of Texas Bars Awards recognize the work of local bar associations. Award recipients were acknowledged at the Bar Leaders Recognition Luncheon during the 2015 State Bar Annual Meeting. Outreach to local bar associations through State Bar leadership, staff, and the Local Bar Services Committee remains strong. Some of the resources available include speaker coordination, strategic planning, program materials and coordination, off-the-shelf projects, and law-related education. MINIMUM CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION Jason Honeycutt, Chair The MCLE Committee administers the program of minimum continuing legal education as established by Article XII of the State Bar Rules. During this year, the committee proposed amendments to the MCLE Rules. Changes approved by the Texas Supreme Court in December 2014 allow electronic delivery of annual verification reports. Other proposed changes include the repeal of the MCLE age exemption. Under these proposed new rules and regulations, active emeritus members would be required to comply with the 15-hour MCLE requirement but would be exempt from paying noncompli ance penalties and initial reinstatement fees for late compliance or late reporting. Emeritus members would not be exempt from fees associated with consecutive suspensions or multiple- year suspensions. The proposed amendments repealing the MCLE age exemption have been approved by the State Bar Board of Directors and are currently under review by the Supreme Court. The use of MCLE online services by sponsors and attorneys continues to increase yearly. This year, the MCLE Department received approximately 525,000 attendance records and 25,000 applications for accreditation of CLE activities. Eighty percent of this information was received electronically via the MCLE website. PARALEGALS Paul Taparauskas, Chair The committee was quite active again this year. The 33rd Annual Texas Forum convened in Dallas in February, presenting the program “Ethics in the Lone Star State: Supervisory Responsibilities of Counsel.” The forum was attended by 143 attorneys, paralegals, and paralegal educators. We thank Forum Planning Subcommittee Chair Allen Mihecoby, members of the subcommittee, and State Bar committee liaison, Kanice Spears, for their efforts resulting in the success of the event. The committee was discontinued as a State Bar committee at the end of the 2014-2015 bar year. The forum and some other activities of the committee will be continued by the Paralegal Division and other State Bar committees and departments. The committee was created in 1978 with the mission of establishing the paralegal profession in Texas and assisting attorneys in utilizing paralegals to practice law more effectively. The committee has successfully completed this mission. The paralegal profession is firmly established in Texas as part of the legal profession. We thank all members of the committee, past and present, for their efforts in accomplishing its goals. PATTERN JURY CHARGES— BUSINESS, CONSUMER, INSURANCE, AND EMPLOYMENT Hon. Brett Busby, Chair The committee published its 2014 edition of Texas Pattern Jury Charges— Business, Consumer, Insurance & Employment. This year, the committee focused efforts on drafting new charges and updating existing charges to reflect current statutory and decisional law. The 2014 edition includes new questions and instructions on construction contracts, insurance contracts, and the main purpose exception to the statute of frauds. New comments on contracts terminable at will or on notice, spoliation, and the Defamation Mitigation Act are also included. The committee significantly revised the employment chapter to reflect changes in Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code to conform to federal amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act. A new question on failure to make reasonable workplace accommodations was also included. The committee has continued work on new questions regarding misappropriation of trade secrets, which will be included in the 2016 edition. It collaborated with the PJC—Oversight Committee and the other PJC volumes to develop new topics and expand on existing charges as needed. The committee welcomes comments on its drafts, which are posted at texasbarbooks.net. Questions and suggestions for new topics to be included in future editions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. PATTERN JURY CHARGES—CRIMINAL George Dix, Chair The Pattern Jury Charges—Criminal Committee was formed in 2005 with the goal of drafting criminal instructions in plain language. The committee designed an outline that explicitly states the relevant statutes and legal definitions and then applies the law to the facts in common sense language. With this format, the committee produced five volumes in nine years. However, as it began planning for additional material, the committee decided to update and reorganize the series for greater utility and potential expansion. It took content from various volumes of the original series and added new subject matter to create the first of the new series of Texas Criminal Pattern Jury Charges— General, Evidentiary & Ancillary Instructions, which was published in 2015. This volume contains model jury instructions for the general charge, ancillary issues, evidentiary instructions, and punishments. Subsequent volumes will update, reorganize, and add to the instructions on more specific topics. Texas Criminal Pattern Jury Charges—Intoxication and Controlled Substances and Texas Criminal Pattern Jury Charges—Defenses will be updated in the fall of 2015 to include new cases and statutory changes. PATTERN JURY CHARGES—FAMILY AND PROBATE Hon. Kathleene Dennise Garcia, Chair Following publication of the 2014 edition of Texas Pattern Jury Charges— Family & Probate, the committee continued work on new probate topics for planned inclusion in the 2016 edition. Representatives of the committee worked with representatives from the other civil pattern jury charges committees in preparing instructions addressing spoliation of evidence for publication in all the civil PJC volumes. The committee monitored 2015 legislation that would potentially require updates to the existing charges and comments for incorporation in the 2016 edition. Drafts of the committee’s work will be posted on texasbarbooks.net before publication. We welcome feedback on these drafts from the bench and bar. Comments and questions, as well as suggestions for new topics to be included in future editions, may be sent to email@example.com. PATTERN JURY CHARGES—GENERAL NEGLIGENCE, INTENTIONAL PERSONAL TORTS, AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION Brock C. Akers, Chair The committee produced a new 2014 edition of its PJC volume with some important and dramatic additions. After several years of effort and hundreds of hours devoted to the project, the committee produced an entire new section for workers’ compensation cases. A new chapter was also added for animal injuries. Other major changes include an instruction and comment on spoliation, revisions to the corporate gross negligence PJCs, a new comment on non-subscribing employer actions, a revised damages question for nuisance actions, and a revised instruction on independent contractor by written agreement. The dedication and hard work of this committee has been exemplary in every way, reflecting the very best that the bar has to offer in terms of service to its members and the judiciary. PATTERN JURY CHARGES— MALPRACTICE, PREMISES, AND PRODUCTS Jeff Levinger, Chair Last fall, the committee welcomed the publication of the 2014 edition of Texas Pattern Jury Charges— Malpractice, Premises & Products. It features several significant additions, including questions and comments relating to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (the patient “anti-dumping” law). In addition, it includes an important comment on the distinction between negligence and breach of fiduciary duty claims in legal malpractice cases. Another significant change involves new questions in the medical malpractice chapter, which help to delineate when the heightened “willful and wanton” negligence standard should be submitted in cases involving medical care of both an emergency and non-emergency nature. After the publication of the 2014 edition, the committee turned to identifying new projects and improvements for the 2016 edition. We are taking a fresh look at some of the older and more frequently used PJCs to ensure that they remain correct and contain citations to the most recent cases. We also intend to expand upon our recent work on breach of fiduciary duty claims in legal malpractice cases. As the committee continues identifying and drafting additions and changes to the 2016 volume, we welcome input to assist in our mission of “getting it right.” PATTERN JURY CHARGES— OIL AND GAS Ricardo E. Morales, Chair The Pattern Jury Charges—Oil and Gas Committee has continued its efforts to complete charges for the first edition of pattern jury charges in oil and gas. The committee has met throughout the year, focusing on completing its first volume to provide assistance and guidance for both the bench and bar in oil and gas litigation. The committee’s first volume will focus on several areas of oil and gas law, including adverse possession, defenses, executive rights, exculpatory clauses, issues arising between lessor and lessee, and trespass. In addition to developing these topics, the committee has also collaborated with the other pattern jury charges volumes and the PJC—Oversight Committee to address issues relevant to multiple practice areas and to ensure consistency between the volumes. The committee is finalizing charges that will be included in its first volume, which it anticipates publishing in the fall of 2015. The committee welcomes comments on its drafts, which will be posted at texasbarbooks.net prior to publication. Comments and questions, as well as suggestions for new topics to be included in future editions, may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. PATTERN JURY CHARGES—OVERSIGHT Hon. Tracy Christopher, Chair The PJC—Oversight Committee reviews all changes made to the individual volumes of the Pattern Jury Charges. All volumes published revised editions this year with many new additions and changes. Those are described in the individual volumes’ reports. The committee suggested potential new areas for the individual volumes to consider. As an oversight committee, we review proposals for consistency among volumes in order to maintain a consistent style of understandable charges. We strive for accuracy in the legal elements and we want jurors to understand each question in the jury charge. PROFESSIONALISM Kenda Culpepper, Chair The goal of the Professionalism Committee is to improve early development of new lawyers and promote professionalism throughout the bar. The 2014-2015 bar year was a successful and hard-working one for the committee, as was reported at the April 2015 State Bar Board of Directors meeting. The committee created a mentoring video featuring Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht. Members also produced a CLE PowerPoint on professionalism and ethics, which will be sent to State Bar board members for use in their respective districts, and committee members participated in a panel discussion regarding the Texas Lawyer’s Creed at the bar’s Annual Meeting and in a webinar. The committee is excited to be finishing its Web-based project, “NEED ETHICS? A Directory of Speakers,” which will provide smaller local bar associations with a database of engaging ethics speakers who are willing to travel. The committee continues to reach out to local bar associations and law schools regarding the importance of professionalism and to provide resources at texasbar.com/mentoring. Members are also focused on publicizing the Texas Lawyer’s Creed. During this year, more than 500 creed posters and 1,000 creed brochures (and an additional 106 in Spanish) have been distributed statewide. PUBLIC AFFAIRS Rudy England, Chair The 2014-2015 bar year was another productive one for the Public Affairs Committee as we worked to expand public understanding of the legal system and the role of lawyers and to foster relations with the news media in advancing these goals. The committee continued its sponsorship of the Open Government Seminar at the 2015 State Bar Annual Meeting in partnership with the Government Law Section. The seminar included engaging panel discussions on “Privacy, Security, and the Cloud” and the 84th Texas Legislature’s record on open-government legislation. The committee was also proud to continue its partnership with the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas in presenting the 2014 Texas Gavel Awards, which recognize outstanding Texas journalism that enhances public understanding of our legal system. The committee issued a call for entries to Texas journalists, recruited an expert judges panel, and presented the awards at the FOIFT annual conference in Austin. REAL ESTATE FORMS Richard Spencer, Chair The Real Estate Forms Committee studies changes in real estate and related areas of law and practice at the state and federal levels and oversees the Texas Real Estate Forms Manual to preserve its efficacy and legal accuracy. Early in 2014, the committee produced a supplement that addressed changing federal home loan regulations, changes to homestead regulations, and statutory changes made by the 83rd Texas Legislature. Over the past year, the committee reviewed numerous sources of information to ensure that no significant changes or additions were required. Changes from the 84th Legislature, new federal statutes, and caselaw will be assimilated into the next supplement, available in early 2016. TEXAS BAR JOURNAL BOARD OF EDITORS John G. Browning, Chair The Texas Bar Journal is the official publication of the State Bar of Texas. In print since 1938, the magazine serves as a publication of record for the Supreme Court of Texas, a scholarly legal journal, and the association magazine for the State Bar of Texas. Each month (except for August), the Texas Bar Journal is distributed to approximately 100,000 subscribers—and is the only publication reaching every lawyer in Texas. The board of editors reviews legal article submissions, develops issue topics, and sets general editorial direction for the magazine. In 2014-2015, the Texas Bar Journal Board of Editors examined a number of subjects, including ethics, violence, e-filing, criminal law, leadership, and the vanishing jury trial. The Journal also featured coverage of State Bar and Texas Young Lawyers Association initiatives, which included pieces on LeadershipSBOT and bullying. The board offered an informative “Year in Review” issue and also worked with staff members to bring back a humor column. TEXAS DISCIPLINARY RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT Gregg McHugh, Chair The committee regularly reviews and, if necessary, suggests revisions to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct and their comments. Any suggested changes are intended to assist lawyers, their clients, and the broader public. This year, the committee recommended the adoption of a rule that would provide exceptions to conflicts of interest rules for lawyers providing certain pro bono legal services. The committee plans to focus next on rules concerning clients with diminished capacity, the disposition of client records, and the sale of a law practice. WEB SERVICES Jason S. Coomer, Chair This past bar year, the committee oversaw the official launch of Texas Bar Connect, the bar’s private social media platform that enables members to network, share expertise, exchange documents, and blog about topics relevant to their profession. This year also marked the launch of a refreshed State Bar website, which features a responsive design that is adaptable to any device and a simple, uncluttered look that focuses on the user experience. The committee also helped plan the sixth annual Adaptable Lawyer Track, which was held during the State Bar Annual Meeting in San Antonio on June 18-19, 2015. Katrina Grider with Katrina Grider and Associates in Cypress delivered the keynote speech. WOMEN IN THE PROFESSION Elizabeth M. Marsh, Chair The Women in the Profession Committee is committed to promoting the status of women attorneys in Texas. The committee met regularly in Austin and in conjunction with the Texas Minority Counsel Program. The committee continued its work on a presentation titled “The Next Generation of Solutions to Retain and Advance Women Lawyers.” The presentation will be made available to continuing legal education programs and to members of law firm management committees in Texas, among others. The committee also continued its promotion of Rough Road to Justice: The Journey of Women Lawyers in Texas, by Betty Trapp Chapman. The book highlights the history of the careers and accomplishments of women lawyers in Texas. Three committee members participated in interviews for the selection of a new State Bar minority director. The committee also continued its work to maintain a master list of awards for lawyers and to nominate worthy women lawyers for these awards. The committee receives an annual update on the status of women lawyers in Texas from the executive director of the University of Texas Center for Women in Law and continues to gather and post statistical data regarding women lawyers in Texas.
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