2014-2015 State Bar of Texas SECTION REPORTS Section reports are included in the July issue of the Texas Bar Journal to update Texas lawyers on State Bar section activities. The reports do not necessarily reflect the position or official policy of the State ar of Texas, which is formulated by the State Bar Board of Directors or by the membership through referendum. For more information or to join a section, go to texasbar.com/sections or call (800) 204-2222, ext. 1420. ADMINISTRATIVE AND PUBLIC LAW Kimberly L. Kiplin, Chair The Administrative and Public Law Section had an eventful year. In August 2014, we partnered with UT Law CLE to sponsor the Ninth Annual Advanced Texas Administrative Law Seminar. During the conference, the section awarded Dudley McCalla its inaugural Administrative Law Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his contributions to the practice of administrative law. This year’s conference will be held August 31-September 1 at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center in Austin. In October 2014, we held the annual Mack Kidd Administrative Law Moot Court Competition. It provides law students from all over the state the opportunity to hone their appellate skills before panels of experienced practitioners, with the final round held before active justices of the 3rd Court of Appeals. The 2014 winning team hailed from St. Mary’s University School of Law. The section also continues to sponsor the Texas Tech Administrative Law Journal, which explores cutting-edge issues in the field and is the only journal in Texas to focus on administrative law. In technological advancements, this year also saw an enhancement of the section’s website and the launch of a quarterly e-newsletter to help us connect more efficiently with our more than 1,000 members. ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION Donald R. Philbin Jr., Chair Educating the public about ADR and developing member skills were the goals we drove across platforms this year. The section has reworked our infrastructure to gather and deliver quality content and resources to both ADR users and practitioners. Texasadr.org is a one-stop shop for anyone using ADR. Under the rules tab, litigators can find quick links to current arbitration rules. Transaction attorneys can easily access specialized rules and clauses when considering how contracting parties will resolve disputes. Neutrals can kick their game up a notch with specialized trainings, the latest literature, or blogs on case updates. The coming ADR Handbook will contain specialized papers by seasoned practitioners. What we’ve dubbed the “Science Project” will round up the research on why mediation is so effective and why it neutralizes predictable cognitive shortcuts that often impede direct negotiations. “The Benefits of Arbitration in Texas” was published last year. Our CLE programs focus on legal updates and best practices. And our strong council and future leadership assure a bright future for Texas ADR. We invite practitioners of all flavors to join us to more effectively use ADR to benefit their clients. ANIMAL LAW Robyn Fae Katz, Chair The Animal Law Section completed its third annual writing competition in May, where the top three papers received $1,500, $1,000, and $500 awards. The Animal Law Section also hosted the Animal Law Institute in Austin with speakers from across the country. Topics from the institute included estate planning with pets in mind, addressing and recovering in police dog shooting cases, starting an animal nonprofit, “Ag-Gag” laws and the First Amendment, a discussion on the impact of the Lira case on rescues and shelters, and how to successfully recover damages in animal law cases. The event had numerous volunteers from Texas law schools and a local high school as well. The section is already planning for next year’s Animal Law Institute. The Animal Law Section will hold its annual meeting at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting. New board members, including a new chair, will be elected, and three CLEs will be presented. The section is pleased that its membership continues to rise each year. ANTITRUST AND BUSINESS LITIGATION Thomas R. Jackson, Chair The Antitrust and Business Litigation Section had yet another extremely active year. The section continued its quarterly publication of the Texas Business Litigation Journal, including its annual survey articles on developments in antitrust law, arbitration, business torts, class actions, Delaware fiduciary law, personal jurisdiction, expert witness law, and securities law. The section presented a program at the 2014 State Bar Annual Meeting titled “Federal and State Antitrust Review of Mergers—Strategies and Practical Guidance for the Challenge to American Airlines/U.S. Airways,” with speakers Joe Alioto, Renata Hesse, Bruce McDonald, and Bruce Wark. The section also presented its Ninth Annual Distinguished Counselor Award to Allene Evans, a leading antitrust lawyer and former chair of the section. At the 2015 State Bar Annual Meeting, the section presented a program titled “Inside the Insider Trading Trial of Mark Cuban,” with speaker Tom Melsheimer. Finally, the section is preparing a trial training session for members of the Texas Attorney General’s Office to be presented in the fall. APPELLATE Cynthia Keely Timms, Chair The Appellate Section has been busy and plans on becoming busier. We surveyed our section members, asking what additional projects they would like. We received hundreds of responses. Our members would like us to provide reduced-cost and free CLE, more networking and socializing activities, and local events, including local CLE opportunities, among other things. We are currently working toward finding ways to provide these benefits. In addition, the section joined with others in opposing the proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure that reduce the length of briefs in federal appeals. Other projects included: (1) the Hidalgo County Bar Association’s 2015 David H. Hockema Civil Trial Law Course, where several of our section leaders participated in a panel discussion concerning aspects of trial practice that require assistance from appellate lawyers; (2) the Bench Bar Liaison Committee hosted a breakfast meet and greet in Houston with the judges of the 1st and 14th Courts of Appeals; (3) as is our annual tradition, we co-sponsored the State Bar’s Practice Before the Texas Supreme Court course and will be co-sponsoring the Advanced Civil Appellate Practice and the Civil Appellate Practice 101 courses in September. ASIAN-PACIFIC INTEREST Ann R. Chao, Chair APIS celebrated its 20th anniversary at our Annual Conference and Retreat on April 17-18, with more than 125 guests attending the event in Austin. APIS kicked off the celebration with a welcome dinner cohosted by the Austin Asian American Bar Association at Searsucker restaurant. During the conference, APIS proudly recognized the following award recipients: Justice David Wellington Chew Award—Albert Tan; Affiliate of the Year—Asian American Bar Association of Houston; Best Lawyers Under 40—Monika Singh Sanford, Rep. Gene Wu, and Jessica Vu; Outstanding Mentor—Sakina Rasheed; and Champion of Diversity— Anna Sankaran. CLE topics included: A Conversation with Executive Recruiters, Practical Steps to Minimize Cyber Risk, How to Recognize and React to Implicit Bias, Hot Topics in Labor and Employment Law, and a fireside chat featuring president-elect of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and managing assistant general counsel of Verizon, Jin Hwang. The weekend concluded with the Annual Gala and Awards Dinner, which featured remarks by Daniel Hu, founding chair of APIS, and Judge Todd Wong, the first Asian-American elected to the Travis County judiciary. APIS continues to serve its membership—from law students to legal veterans— through coordination with Asian bar organizations across Texas. AVIATION LAW Eric Michael Levenhagen, Chair The Aviation Law Section of the State Bar of Texas exists to provide education and information that equips, encourages, and supports attorneys practicing aviation law in Texas. We once again had a successful year accomplishing that mission with robust member participation at the Annual Meeting and annual early morning breakfast at the Southern Methodist University Air Law Symposium. During the symposium, we provided a scholarship to an outstanding future aviation lawyer, Jennifer Smiley, and we look forward to continuing this custom in years to come. The section enjoyed its now-established tradition of dinner together the evening before the Annual Meeting, where the food was excellent and the company delightful, all thanks to the sponsorship and outstanding coordination by the Austin law firm of Slack & Davis. We hope you’ll join us in the ongoing excitement this coming year. BANKRUPTCY LAW Hon. Richard S. Schmidt, Chair While bankruptcy filings fell this year, the section remains strong and growing. On the CLE front, the section sponsored advanced consumer and advanced business bankruptcy seminars in February. The section began a series of one-day seminars in El Paso. We expect to continue these throughout the state in cities that do not normally hold section CLE events. We have continued our Starting Out Right seminars aimed at new lawyers interested in bankruptcy. We ended the year with our biannual Bench Bar Conference in May. Our treasurer, Eduardo Rodriguez, was recognized by the State Bar for his outstanding pro bono participation. He is one of many section lawyers who provide pro bono representation throughout the state—he just does a whole lot of it. The section is partnering with the American Bankruptcy Institute to administer the CARE/MoneyWise program in schools in Texas. The program teaches youth and adults the basics of financial management. By the end of the year, we published three newsletters, including a special edition on the predicted crisis in the oil and gas industry. BUSINESS LAW Ronald L. Chichester, Chair The section is revamping its website so that content will be easier to find, forms and document assembly functionality will be included, and CLE will be offered for members. The Texas Journal of Business Law, the scholarly publication sponsored by the section, is in the process of moving to an all-electronic format. This move has three immediate benefits. First, the text of articles will be indexed for easier searching. Second, the section will no longer bear the cost of printing and mailing, which has risen substantially in the past few years. Finally, authors favor an online journal, and it is hoped that a journal that is widely published will entice authors to submit high-quality papers. The council also voted to support HB 1603, which would create a chancery court system in Texas to handle complex business litigation. The council worked with other sections to mitigate problems with HB 3095, which would affect powers of attorney. The Business Law Section continues its membership initiatives by engag ing law students and informing them of the opportunities in business law. The section donated legal services and continues to sponsor CLE programs with the State Bar, TexasBarCLE, and several law schools. COLLABORATIVE LAW Anne K. Shuttee, Chair The Collaborative Law Section had a very productive year. Through its new Local Bar Project, the section offered a free speaker on collaborative law to almost 200 local bar associations, and section members are now making CLE presentations to bar associations around the state. Through this project, we hope to ensure that every Texas attorney knows about the collaborative law option for dispute resolution. The section also launched a pro bono project for the provision of collaborative law services to low-income clients in family cases, starting with two cases with Houston Volunteer Lawyers. On the CLE front, the section cosponsored the annual Collaborative Law Course advanced seminar and a civil training scheduled for September 2015. We also partnered with the LGBT Law Section for a program at the 2015 Annual Meeting on the use of collaborative law in same-sex breakups. The section has publicized developments regarding HB 2512 (the Uniform Collaborative Law Act) and also launched a new website, published three newsletters to our members, and submitted comments to the Texas Board of Legal Specialization on proposed changes to board certification requirements. COMPUTER AND TECHNOLOGY Joseph Jacobson, Chair The Computer and Technology Section remains a great resource on the law of technology, technology’s impact on ethics, and implications for the practice of law. Members receive our quarterly online newsletter, Circuits, which has addressed topics as varied as ethical issues arising out of online comments to zombies in botnets. If you’re unaware of zombies and botnets, you’ll want to join our section to keep up with the Texas Legislature, which passed a statute defining both. Section members receive free membership in the International Legal Technology Association, which has webinars and other free resources and discounted convention admissions. You’ll access the same information available to Baker Botts, Dell Inc.’s legal department, and the U.S. Department of Justice—just to name a few of ILTA’s other entity members. You’ll find the section’s Texas Legal app on Google Play or iTunes. This app, free to section members, is a downloaded version of major Texas codes, some federal technologyoriented statutes, both Texas and federal rules of civil procedure, and the Texas and federal rules of evidence. Join the Computer and Technology Section to reap current benefits and ensure that topics most important to you are addressed. We are looking for contributors and leaders. CONSTRUCTION LAW William W. Sommers, Chair The Construction Law Section is proud to report the continuation of its commitment to support the educational and professional pursuits of the state construction community at large. Additionally, the section was recognized by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation for its substantial contribution and commitment to justice for low-income Texans, by Justice Eva Guzman’s kind words. On to new business, I am happy to report the commencement by filing the formal application with the State Bar for recognition of a specialization designation in construction law. The process is currently in progress and we are hopeful that at its conclusion, the first exam may be administered in 2016. CONSUMER AND COMMERCIAL LAW Melanie Phipps Sanders, Chair In its tradition of offering quality CLE, the Consumer and Commercial Law Section’s Advanced Consumer and Commercial Law Course, a twoday CLE program, was well received, as was the section’s CLE offered during the 2014 Annual Meeting and recent webinar. The section continued its support of legal aid through sponsorship of the Champions of Justice Gala Benefiting Veterans and sponsorship of a benefit dinner for Access to Justice and Texas Law Help. The section was pleased to receive several strong candidates for the 2015 Craig Jordan Consumer Protection Writing Competition. The winner received a scholarship at the Annual Meeting. The section employed a new benefit to members: Lexology—a Web-based service that delivers decision and legal analysis. The section’s Listserv remains a valuable tool for its members and an active forum allowing them to tap into the collective expertise of the section’s membership. Its topical publication, the Journal of Consumer & Commercial Law, continues its long tradition of publishing quality materials that are both current and relevant to the practice of law in Texas. CORPORATE COUNSEL Clay B. Scheitzach, Chair The 2014-2015 bar year was another tremendous year for the Corporate Counsel Section. The section continued its commitment to pro bono services by providing $50,000 in grants to organizations committed to delivering legal services and extending justice to all. The pro bono committee, headed by Pat Allison and Michael Marin, ensured this section continued to lead the State Bar in supporting and delivering pro bono opportunities for its members. The section provided excellent CLE opportunities, including the 37th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute, co-sponsored with the University of Texas School of Law; Advanced In- House; Annual Meeting CLE; and multiple free regional CLE and networking opportunities. I want to recognize Brad Hancock, Jane McBride, Alma Reyes, and Larriet Thomas, who worked tirelessly to deliver these events. The section continued its delivery of top-quality content relevant to inhouse practitioners. The newsletter, led by Aaron Carlson, and the Corporate Counsel Review, led by Val Ricks and Steve Stein, again exceeded expectations. If that was not enough information, the section provides the Corporate Counsel Newsstand daily email through our partnership with Lexology. Connecting with our membership continues to be a focus. Please visit our redesigned website at texascorporate counsel.com or our section’s Facebook or LinkedIn pages. CRIMINAL JUSTICE Hon. Doug Skemp, Chair The Criminal Justice Section had a very active year. The section was able to underwrite two important projects involving the Michael Morton Act. First, we were able to give the Texas District & County Attorneys Association the funds it needed to produce a video covering the responsibilities of a prosecutor in complying with the act. While mainly used as a CLE tool for prosecutors, the video is available to any interested person. The section was also able to provide money to the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association for a study on the costs of compliance with the Michael Morton Act. This study is completed and is available to all interested parties. The section was also able to reinstitute a newsletter for all members. It will cover caselaw updates and timely articles and features. This newsletter is edited and produced by Cheryl Wattley, a professor of criminal law at the University of North Texas School of Law. Finally, the section was able to continue its tradition of providing scholarships to the Advanced Criminal Law Course and the Rusty Duncan Course, as well as putting on a CLE presentation at the State Bar’s Annual Meeting. ENVIRONMENTAL AND NATURAL RESOURCES LAW Jean M. Flores, Chair The ENRLS continued its tradition of being one of the most active mediumsized sections, with member services, heavy involvement in law school outreach programs, pro bono projects, publications, and conferences. In August 2014, we sponsored the two-day 26th Annual Texas Environmental Law Superconference, a very successful (and entertaining) event that was sold out at 500-plus attendees. In February 2015, we co-sponsored the important Changing Face of Water Rights 2015 conference. We continue to award Buck J. Wynne Scholarships to the highestranking environmental law student at each Texas law school, and fund student internships at several state and county agencies. We also participated in many panel discussions around the state, speaking with law students about careers in environmental law. Other significant activities this year included: (1) successful pro bono efforts resulting in the planting of 62 trees in drought-affected Houston; (2) publication of Essentials of Texas Water Resources, an invaluable resource for water topics (available through texasbarcle.com); (3) publication of the Environmental Law Handbook; and (4) publication of the Texas Environmental Law Journal, which we distribute to our section members electronically and make available on our website at texenrls.org. FAMILY LAW Jimmy Vaught, Chair We continue to advance the Family Law Section’s goal of providing attorneys for indigent Texans. In 2014, the Pro Bono Committee put together six seminars across the state and planned six more seminars in 2015. The price of admission to the seminar, which qualifies for mandatory CLE credit, is the commitment to handle two family law pro bono matters within 12 months. The section will continue its pro bono efforts, including the development of a webinar. The section also put together a pro bono presentation focusing on domestic violence. The 2014 Advanced Family Law Seminar was an opportunity for the section to honor family lawyers who have made a significant contribution to the practice of family law, including: Diana Friedman, who was awarded the Dan Price Award; David Carlock, who received the Ken Fuller Pro Bono Award; Cheryl Wilson, who was elected to the Hall of Legends; and Beth Maultsby and Kathryn Samler, who received the Joseph McKnight Best CLE Article for “High Conflict Family Law Matters and Personality Disorders.” Harry Tindall received the Gay G. Cox Collaborative Law Award. The Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists awarded its Sam Emison Award to Kathy Kinser. GENERAL PRACTICE, SOLO, AND SMALL FIRM Brandon S. Earp, Chair The General Practice, Solo, and Small Firm Section had an active year in addressing the needs of the largest segment of actively practicing lawyers in Texas. We continue to provide the substantive caselaw and analysis that is necessary to keep abreast of the changes in our practices each quarter with the publishing of our General Practice Digest. We also offer general practice CLE programs in conjunction with the bar and our General Practice Institute. The council continues to monitor developments within the bar and the Supreme Court as they impact the practices of lawyers. The council backed a pair of resolutions that help define the obligations of lawyers for the retention of client records and the sale of law practices upon termination, retirement, or death of the lawyer. Further, the council has continued to review and comment upon the uniform legal forms being proposed in family law and probate. The council advocates that these forms have only served to create minefields for the poor within our legal system that cannot be fully realized by them at the time they create them. GOVERNMENT LAW Kathryn H. Davis, Chair The Government Law Section continued to expand services to its growing membership, which saw a 15 percent increase this year. We also expanded our outreach to practitioners in every area of government law, from the municipal to the federal level. In accordance with that effort, we were pleased to introduce a monthly e-blast for members. These e-blasts highlight and provide links to current caselaw, upcoming government law-related CLEs, and other items of interest. The section continues to sponsor the Government Law Boot Camp and is proud to also sponsor the main program this year—the renamed and refocused Advanced Government Law 2015 course (formerly Suing and Defending Governmental Entities). The section is also a co-sponsor of the Open Government Seminar at the State Bar Annual Meeting. Linda Halpern was honored as the fourth annual recipient of the section’s Outstanding Government Lawyer Award. Halpern was recognized for her 21 years of government law service in a 31-year career. Halpern received numerous awards and recognitions during her time with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Texas Attorney General’s Office. The section also continues to improve and expand its website, txgovernmentlaw.org. HEALTH LAW Denise Webb Glass, Chair The Health Law Section co-sponsored its annual Texas Health Law Conference in October with the Texas Hospital Association, which had more than 250 attendees. In connection with the conference, the section provided scholarships to 19 law students representing six Texas law schools, which enabled them to attend the conference, and hosted a networking luncheon for law students to meet with section leaders and past section chairs. Also at the conference, the section presented its inaugural Distinguished Service Award to J.D. Epstein in recognition of his significant contributions to and promotion of the practice of health law. The section also debuted its new section T-shirt at the conference. At the American Bar Association Midyear Meeting in Houston, the section, in conjunction with the ABA Health Law Section, sponsored a breast cancer advocacy event. At the conclusion of the Texas legislative session, the section provided a free legislative update webinar as a member benefit. The section continues to deliver to members a weekly summary of proposed and adopted rules in the Texas Register affecting the practice of health law. HISPANIC ISSUES Bernardino Agosto Jr., Chair As I was being sworn in as the chair of the State Bar of Texas Hispanic Issues Section in June 2014, our country was facing a humanitarian crisis at its borders. Our HIS board and membership seized this opportunity to serve our members and our community by forming a coalition with the State Bar of Texas, among other organizations, for the purpose of training and providing volunteer services to assist the thousands of unaccompanied minors who had crossed our borders. There was a great need for pro bono services to provide unaccompanied children with access to justice, due process of law, assistance during the immigration court proceedings, and humanitarian aid. HIS stepped up in a big way! We put together an incredible coalition of partners who worked for this great cause. Workshops were organized across the state to train attorneys and volunteers regarding the immigration process. Goods and funds were collected for humanitarian aid. Thank you to all who have donated their time, efforts, and assistance to this worthy cause. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com. INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES Craig Andrew Stanfield, Chair This past year, the Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section once again worked to educate and promote discussion regarding civil rights and our responsibilities as citizens. Those efforts included supporting the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights and co-sponsoring continuing education courses focused on constitutional issues. Additionally, we once again awarded the Patrick Wiseman Award for Civil Rights. This year, we presented that award in honor of Judge William Wayne Justice. INSURANCE LAW Mark A. Ticer, Chair For $30 a year, the Insurance Law Section continues to be an excep tional and tangible value for those who are confronted with insurance issues full time, part time, or occasionally. This year, the section has enhanced its website (txins.org) by including a searchable member directory, adding recent court opinions, offering sample pleadings and motions, and creating a searchable library from previous editions of the Journal of Texas Insurance Law. The new electronic version of the journal includes linked case citations for mobile devices. The section’s weekly “Right Off The Press” email continues to provide the absolute latest Texas insurance-related court opinions. Finally, our “extreme makeover” of the Advanced Insurance Law Course (and Casino Party) at the Hilton San Antonio Hill Country Hotel & Spa was a great success. This year, the section aggressively solicited its members to become more involved by serving on the council (the governing arm of the section), by participating in committee work, or writing an article for the Journal. Volunteers are essential for delivering services and benefits our section members deserve. We solicit your participation and ideas and look forward to a great year under the leadership of Jim Cooper, the section’s chair-elect. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW Kristin Jordan Harkins, Chair The Intellectual Property Law Section continues to enhance the benefits provided to members. Furthering our tradition of offering highquality CLE, the section hosted two well-received programs: the 28th Advanced Intellectual Property Law Course, a two-day March event in Houston preceded by a half-day patent prosecution workshop; and our CLE program at the State Bar Annual Meeting. The 2015 Advanced Patent Litigation Course will be held in Dallas in July and will cover the anatomy of a patent case. To better serve our members, the section has revamped its website at texasbariplaw.org. The section has also streamlined its substantive law committees—which include Patent, Trademark, Copyright, and Trade Secret Law—and its member services committees, including Diversity, Membership, Newsletter, Public Relations, Texas IP Law Journal, Website, Women in IP Law, and New Lawyers. The section is actively involved in leading-edge IP issues, filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc. trademark case and providing resources for Texas lawyers interested in IP with the publication of multiple editions of our newsletter and the Texas Intellectual Property Law Journal. Our section’s leadership continued to explore additional initiatives during our second annual spring retreat. INTERNATIONAL LAW Andrew Melsheimer, Chair This year, the council had two primary goals: offering more CLE opportunities to its membership and increasing member participation. We are happy to report that we met these goals and are excited about continued programming and involvement in the coming year. We hosted CLEs in Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. These programs provided the membership with meaningful content on current topics in the international sector. In addition, they provided members throughout the state with an opportunity to expand their networks by meeting others whose practices touch on international matters. Several of our events have allowed the section to partner with other groups—such as the Dallas Bar Association International Law Section, the Texas Young Lawyers Association, the SMU International Law Society, and the Houston Bar Association International Law Section—furthering our outreach efforts. This is in addition to our continued law student outreach to four law schools in the state. The section welcomes those interested in leadership positions as well as those interested in providing programming. Our goal is to increase participation, offer meaningful CLE opportunities, and foster networking within the membership at large. JUDICIAL Hon. David L. Evans, Chair This year, the Judicial Section faced a challenging legislative session. The Legislative Committee spent countless hours analyzing bills and providing resource testimony to assist the Legislature in making informed decisions, without unintended consequences. When it appeared that HB 1603, the chancery court bill, might pass without a thorough study of the need or probable impact, the section obtained permission to officially oppose the legislation. We also worked diligently through the session to improve judicial compensation. Special thanks is due to Judge Alfonso Charles, our Legislative Committee chair, KaLyn Laney with the State Bar, and Hank Mitchell of the Alliance for Judicial Funding for their work. Our Membership Committee, chaired by Justice Patrick Pirtle, was busy this year looking at ways to increase membership by improving section benefits and educating the judiciary about them. The Judicial Ethics Committee, chaired by Justice Evelyn Keyes, has taken on several new initiatives, including a review of past opinions from 1975 to the present. If you are a member of the judiciary and have an ethical dilemma, I encourage you to contact this committee to gain insight from your peers. In September 2014, the section honored Judge Larry Gist with the Judicial Lifetime Achievement Award. JUSTICE OF THE PEACE COURTS Howard M. Bookstaff, Chair We are continuing to work hard in the Justice of the Peace Courts Section. Several of our board members have been instrumental in providing educational opportunities for the attorney and justice of the peace members of our section. During the year, we had two CLE luncheon presentations. We also had a CLE presentation at the Annual Meeting on June 18, 2015, followed by a social that evening. The purpose of our section is to: (1) further the administration of justice in the justice courts; (2) provide a forum for the exchange of information on matters of practice and procedure in justice courts; (3) provide information and educational opportunities for the membership; and (4) cooperate closely with the State Bar of Texas and other professional organizations in developing, supporting, and promoting legal and professional activities affecting justice courts. In addition to licensed attorneys in good standing with the State Bar of Texas, membership in the Justice of the Peace Courts Section is now open to all current and former Texas justices of the peace. Justices of the peace who are not licensed attorneys can become associate members of the section. JUVENILE LAW Kevin L. Collins, Chair The section hosted the 28th Annual Robert O. Dawson Juvenile Law Institute in Fort Worth this past February. The conference was well attended and well received. The format was a bit different this year, with no breakout tracks and three keynote speakers instead of one. There was also a special video tribute to the late Professor Robert O. Dawson, whom the conference is named after, providing details of his life’s work in juvenile advocacy. The annual tradition of a fundraiser auction for scholarships continued, and several thousand dollars were raised to benefit youth who have been sentenced to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department and would not otherwise be able to afford college expenses. Each year, one of the scholarship recipients speaks at the conference, describing the impact of the funds on his or her life—and this year was no exception. Several local bar associations donated money to the fund this year, including the Houston Bar Association, which contributed $10,000. These are times of positive change in how Texas handles youth offenders, and I look forward to being involved in this continued evolution. Please visit juvenilelaw.org for more information on our section. LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW Clara “C.B.” Burns, Chair Continuing our tradition of offering high-quality CLE programs for employment lawyers on both sides of the docket, the Labor and Employment Law Section hosted its 25th Annual Labor Law Institute in September 2014. The featured speaker was Peggy Mastroianni, legal counsel to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. We will host our 26th Annual Labor Law Institute, which promises to be another great program, on September 18-19, 2015, at the JW Marriott in San Antonio. The section provides information to its membership in other ways as well. We maintain a website, laborlaw.org, that highlights activities of the section and features a jury charge database that includes hundreds of actual jury instructions and questions used in federal and state employment cases in Texas. The section also electronically distributes the Labor and Employment Law Newsletter, which summarizes recent federal and state law employment cases. Finally, the section is proud of its efforts promoting pro bono and internship activities. This year the section awarded more than $40,000 to fund grants and internships to legal service providers and other organizations for use in areas involving labor and employment law. LAW STUDENT DIVISION Belashia Wallace, Chair This was a record-breaking year for the Law Student Division in membership numbers, program attendance, and scholarship recipients. This was also the first year that a “Law Students” column, featuring success tips for Texas law students, was in each month of the Texas Young Lawyers Association’s eNews. For a $15 annual LSD membership fee, law students become automatic members of TYLA, obtain a student bar card that includes their lifetime bar card number upon passing the Texas Bar Exam, receive a free LSD T-shirt, get free registration to TexasBarCLE live and video replay seminars, plus much more! This year, Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law made the most improvement. It had the highest number in LSD program attendance, scholarship recipients, and membership, increasing from fewer than 40 student members last school year to nearly 200 student members. Our record-breaking LSD year would not be possible without the guidance of our Project Coordinator Bree Trevino, along with our law student representatives: Latoya Merida, Benjamin Martinez, Matt Gaffron, Connor Buchanan, Ashley Teague, Victoria Vish, Adam Taylor, Jennifer Coffee, Rebecca Fischer, Michael Bellacosa, Amanda Roark, Caitlin Neal, Eric Firouzbakht, Aubrey Noonan, Jeffrey Kirk, Rebecca Bellay, and Andrew Yeh. LEGISLATIVE AND CAMPAIGN LAW Ross Fischer, Chair Formed in April 2014, the section had a productive first year. At the bar’s 2014 Annual Meeting, the section sponsored presentations discussing hot topics in the areas of campaign finance, lobby, and election law. The section distributed its inaugural e-newsletter in October, featuring analyses of recent court decisions, pending rulemaking, and ethics advisory opinions. In December, the section sponsored a well-attended seminar covering legislative drafting, Texas legislative parliamentary procedure, and an insider’s look at the 84th legislative session. In February, Gov. Greg Abbott declared ethics reform legislation to be an emergency item, citing conflicts of interest, campaign finance disclosures, and contracting by state officials. The declaration focused attention on this important and quickly changing area of the law. In response, the section distributed its second e-newsletter, which covered the governor’s emergency ethics declaration, changes to the House and Senate rules, challenges to the state’s lobby law, and regulatory actions taken by the Texas Ethics Commission. The section also debuted its website, legislativeandcampaignlaw.com, which includes its CLE course materials and e-newsletters. Finally, in conjunction with the 2015 State Bar Annual Meeting, the section sponsored a half-day seminar dealing with legislative changes to state ethics laws. LGBT LAW John V. Trevino Jr., Chair The LGBT community saw monumental changes in 2014-2015 at both state and federal levels. As a result, significantly more Texas lawyers represent LGBT clients who are affected by these changes. Building on last year’s efforts, we increased exposure of LGBT law issues to the full bar and emphasized the impact of these changes on various areas of law. We sponsored several CLE webcasts and live programs on data privacy, military and veterans issues, marriage equality, employment law, employee benefits, religious exemptions, family law, and LGBT estate planning. The speakers included nationally recognized scholars and practitioners Gordon Tanner (general counsel of the U.S. Department of the Air Force), Shannon Minter, Professor Arthur Leonard, Hon. Phyllis Frye, Donna Wilson, and Jody Scheske. The section successfully partnered with the Computer and Technology, Military and Veterans Law, Individual Rights and Responsibilities, and Collaborative Law sections, stressing the expansiveness of LGBT law issues in different practice areas. We continued to take a more active role with the efforts of the Diversity in the Profession Committee, providing newsletter content and diversity CLE speakers. The section’s proposed bill to repeal Texas’s unconstitutional sodomy statute was again included in the State Bar’s legislative package. LITIGATION Patricia Long Weaver, Chair The Litigation Section is pleased that its new members-only website is fully functional and now provides access to current and past issues of the section’s journal, the Advocate, as well as access to its quarterly newsletter News for the Bar. The website also now includes free CLE, currently offering six substantive hours and more than one hour of ethics. This CLE is in addition to the litigation update and CLE track offered at the Annual Meeting. This year the section continued its program of honoring Texas Legal Legends, inducting Robert Black and George Chandler. The section also awarded six internships for legal aid groups and is in the process of considering grant applications for other legal-directed charity projects. Having been a legislative session year, the LS Snap and the Legislative Committee worked hard monitoring bills, disseminating information to our members, and receiving permission to oppose the chancery court bill. Finally, the website contains a membership directory as an additional benefit. MILITARY AND VETERANS LAW Linda K. Webster, Chair The Military and Veterans Law Section held two CLEs, which provided excellent training regarding military and veterans law issues. In October 2014, the MVLS held a joint-training CLE with the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel. Topics covered in the presentations included common issues in divorces involving military personnel, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, the military medical disability process, preparation of estate planning documents for military personnel, and Veterans Affairs rating procedures. Attendees included military attorneys, government civilian attorneys, and civilian attorneys in private practice. The MVLS held a CLE at Texas Tech University School of Law in Lubbock in February 2015. Despite a snowstorm, the CLE was able to proceed. Topics covered included characterization of military discharges and how that affects VA benefits, a framework for evaluating changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, an update on the changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice from the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 and 2015, and the operation of veterans courts. A business meeting for the section was held after each CLE. Next year will include the Biennial Institute, so expect another great year of CLEs from the MVLS. MUNICIPAL JUDGES Hon. Joyce Elaine Marshall-Augustine, Chair This has been a year of development for the Municipal Judges Section. The trend throughout the state has been a focus on our youth and the continued education of judges. The Municipal Courts Education Center is developing the Online Learning Center, which will offer a variety of professional development courses that relate to municipal courts and will be a useful research tool for judges. One of the newest courses is the Evidence Primer, and we anticipate this program to grow to cover topics that are of interest to new judges, clerks, prosecutors, and bailiffs. We continue to participate in the flexible judicial education training that is offered by the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center. The section also watched closely all the legislative bills that may affect judges as well as the bills that relate to juveniles, as many teen courts are emerging across the state. This year’s presentation concerning teen courts and juvenile case managers should prove to be educational to the courts that are moving toward hiring juvenile case managers in their cities as well as developing teen courts. NATIVE AMERICAN LAW Ron Jackson, Chair The Native American Law Section focused on three matters in 2014-2015. “Homecoming” was the theme of our annual conference on January 30, 2015, as we invited founding members and past leaders of the section to be honored with commemorative medals, followed by traditional music and dancing accompanied by the eagles of Sia (comancheeagle.org). Topics included a federal Indian law overview by Ray Torgerson, an update of Indian law by Ron Jackson, and a panel discussion on the Indian Child Welfare Act, which included founding member and former section chair Tricia Tingle, who is the associate director of Tribal Justice Support at the Bureau of Indian Affairs of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The other two items included a barapproved statement of support for legislation pending before the Texas Legislature, a first for the section, and the section’s plan seeking to involve members in rewriting the section bylaws and developing opportunities to create and implement programs to better serve and assist members working with tribal communities and families, as well as coordinate efforts with like-minded organizations. OIL, GAS, AND ENERGY RESOURCES LAW David Michael Patton, Chair Our section’s 76th year was a good one despite falling oil prices. Membership has topped 5,000 for the first time. We have held or are planning more programs than ever before. Cumulatively, we experienced record attendance for OGERL-sponsored CLE. Our planning committees and faculties have consisted of incredibly talented and experienced volunteer educators and practicing attorneys. Our website has been significantly improved and is now a wonderful learning resource. Since October 2014, our members have benefited from a complimentary copy of Ernest E. Smith Selected Works, a 75th anniversary gala featuring Daniel Yergin, quarterly section reports, a website with relevant information and access to past publications, and discounts for admission to section CLE events. A hardbound Landmark Cases will soon be sent to the printer for distribution to members. We also hope to have a new women’s initiative ready for fall 2015. The council is seeking ways to attract young lawyers and to be more diverse. We have also begun consideration of a Mexican law initiative that would help our members take advantage of recent developments in energy law by our southern neighbors. Finally, we are planning events to reach out to members where major CLE events are not held. PARALEGAL DIVISION Clara Luna Buckland, President The Paralegal Division has 1,743 members! Megan Goor of Fort Worth was elected as the 2015-2016 presidentelect. In October, the board established an additional District 1 directorship. On April 8, elections for oddnumbered districts were completed, and for the first time in many years, the PD has a full board. Award presentations were made at the State Bar Annual Meeting, and the 2015- 2016 board of directors was installed. Texas Advanced Paralegal Seminar 2015 Saddle Up for CLE!, a threeday multi-track continuing legal education event, will be held in Fort Worth on September 30-October 2. More than 70 attorneys will present on various substantive legal topics. The Web-based PD app went live on February 20. Once members log on, they can manage their CLE hours and then read the Texas Paralegal Journal on their handheld devices. The e-newsletter, the Paralegal Pulse, launched in May 2014 and is published on the last Thursday of each month. The PD continues to work with the State Bar’s MCLE Committee on its efforts to have the MCLE Rules and Regulations revised to allow teaching credit to be given to attorneys who present substantive continuing legal education to paralegals. POVERTY LAW Matthew Brian Probus, Chair The Poverty Law Section had an excellent year. The section continued its First Friday CLEs. Topics included a range of issues helpful to the delivery of legal services to the indigent and vulnerable. The section completed the redevelopment of its website, making it more informative and easier to use. The section’s committee on Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 145 and Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts certificates developed a summary report of issues that various counties have seen in the filing of Rule 145 certificates and problems surrounding e-filing of those certificates. At this year’s Annual Meeting, the section presented a CLE on resources for attorneys handling pro bono cases and hosted a happy hour. The section’s Nominations Committee accepted nominations for the annual Impact Awards and Noble Award, which were presented at the section’s annual meeting. The Impact Award recipients were Veronica Carbajal of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid and Gene Rollins of Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas. The recipient of this year’s Noble Award was Fred Fuchs of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. PUBLIC UTILITY LAW Susan Gentz, Chair The Public Utility Law Section will host its annual conference and seminar on Friday, August 28, 2015, at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center in Austin. The event will begin with our annual section meeting, followed by a continuing legal education program that will address issues of interest to practitioners involved in electric, communications, water, and natural gas regulation. Panels of practitioners will discuss recent decisions and rulemaking proceedings at the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Railroad Commission of Texas that impact utility rate cases and other subjects of interest. Specifically, presentations will address ratemaking reform in the electric and gas industry and the designation of transmission providers to construct new transmission lines. PUC staff and industry representatives will offer their perspectives on how the transfer of water utility regulation to the PUC is playing out. Key developments in telecommunications and cable will be discussed. There will be a wrap-up of developments in the recent legislative session, as well as our traditional caselaw update and ethics presentations. REAL ESTATE, PROBATE, AND TRUST LAW Richard L. Spencer, Chair The section published four issues of the REPTL Reporter for our members. More than $35,000 in CLE discounts were provided to our members this year. A full legislative package was submitted to the State Bar and approved for inclusion to the Legislature with other State Bar bills. The Public Service Committee gave grants totaling nearly $50,000 to agencies assisting underserved citizens in the real estate, probate, and trust law areas. In conjunction with the Oil, Gas, and Energy Resources Law Section, REPTL funds the writing and publication of the Texas Title Examination Standards. This year REPTL updated and revised its bylaws. The REPTL writing contest awarded prizes to three deserving law school students. The Common Interest Ownership Law Committee, which deals with property owner’s association matters, began the process to start a new area of specialization. Lastly, REPTL is working with the Houston Parks Board on the Bayou Greenways 2020 project to provide additional hike and bike trails. SCHOOL LAW Juan Cruz, Chair This year has been an extraordinary one for the School Law Section. A new website committee was established, headed by Michael Currie and including members Julie Allen, Mari McGowan, Mark Tilley, and Leticia McGowan. The committee produced an excellent website for our members and those who are interested in joining the section. The section also hosted its annual University of Texas School of Law School Law Conference, which was held at the Renaissance Hotel in Austin. The event was sold out thanks to the efforts of our planning and faculty members who contributed their time and energy. On July 23-25, 2015, the section will hold its annual retreat at Moody Gardens in Galveston, where section members will hear presentations on cutting-edge legal issues and enjoy activities with family members in a fun and relaxed setting. The membership of the section continues to grow primarily because education is a strong focus of Texas families, interested stakeholders, the courts, and the Legislature. Given such interest, the section welcomes all lawyers who may be interested in the area of school law to join and learn about the varied practice of school law and keep up-to-date on the latest trends impacting education. TAX Andrius R. Kontrimas, Chair This was another strong year for the Tax Section. We launched a new website that is faster, easier to navigate, and has a bold new look. It includes Twitter and LinkedIn functionality. We selected Sander Shapiro as the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Texas Tax Lawyer Award and the section graduated its second Leadership Academy class. Our Leadership Academy guides the next generation of tax lawyers by providing participants with mentoring, opportunities to get involved in leadership committees, programs on topics every tax lawyer should know, and networking opportunities. The section’s Government Submissions Committee sent 11 comment letters to the IRS, Texas Comptroller, and Texas Department of Insurance. The section continued its awardwinning pro bono program of assisting pro se litigants during U.S. Tax Court calendar calls. We continued our long-standing tradition of providing live CLE by hosting seven CLE events. We visited seven law schools to host our Tax Career Day panel where tax lawyers discuss what they do and answer student questions on how to become a tax lawyer. We awarded four $2,000 scholarships to law students demonstrating academic excellence and commitment to the practice of tax law. We also published three issues of the Texas Tax Lawyer. TEXAS ENTERTAINMENT AND SPORTS LAW Craig Crafton, Chair The Texas Entertainment and Sports Law Section had a great 2014-2015 bar year. TESLAW sponsored the annual Entertainment Law Institute in Dallas, presented a great panel of ethics speakers at the 2014 State Bar Annual Meeting, and hosted a South By Southwest networking event in Austin. TESLAW supported the Texas arts community with a financial contribution to the nonprofit Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts. In addition, TESLAW produces the leading Texas Entertainment and Sports Law Journal and provides a quarterly e-newsletter as membership benefits. The journal and e-newsletter can be accessed through the TESLAW website (teslaw.org), where section members can join a searchable database of entertainment attorneys. In addition to the famous “Rock Star Attorney” merchandise, the section rolled out a new line of TESLAW T-shirts featuring the slogan, “Because Everyone is Working on a Screenplay.” Recognized by entertainment law practitioners and business leaders, TESLAW continues to find strength and its future from the active and energetic section leaders as entertainment law evolves and grows with the entertainment and media industry in Texas. WOMEN AND THE LAW Eleanor Anne Bryant, Chair The Women and the Law Section continues to grow, now at nearly 800 members. This year at the Annual Meeting, we were pleased to partner with several other bar sections to present the Diversity Forum, featuring panel discussions on diversity, inclusion lessons, and unconscious bias. Following our annual reception, cohosted this year by the Bexar County Women’s Bar Association, we presented a CLE on implicit bias in firms and in the courtroom, titled “Status Report on Sticky Floors and Glass Ceilings.” At our section membership meeting, the accomplishments of two of our state’s most extraordinary women attorneys were celebrated: the Sarah T. Hughes Women Lawyers of Achievement Award was presented to Carol E. Dinkins, and Kathleen J. Wu was honored with the Louise B. Raggio Award. Many thanks to these women, and to the dozens of deserving nominees, for inspiring us with their dedication to the profession. I am joined by our incoming Chair Chelsie King Garza in inviting you to connect with us in the coming bar year as we continue the conversation on how to improve the practice of law for Texas women. We look forward to hearing from you! WORKERS’ COMPENSATION Michael Sprain, Chair The Workers’ Compensation Section experienced an exciting year. In August 2014, the section had its yearly party and fundraiser with proceeds being donated to charitable organizations selected by our membership. Lea Buffington, Kyle Morris, and John Molinar spearheaded the casino night event that was an overwhelming success. Members from both sides of the docket were able to come together for the benefit of several organizations. Thanks to the organizers’ work, a better-than-expected turnout occurred and more than $6,000 was raised for the charities. The section continues to keep members apprised of current events through our website, newsletters, and email blasts. Ken Wrobel, our newsletter editor, has performed admirably by collecting articles from members and providing appeals panel summaries. Thank you, Ken, for your diligent work for the section. In August 2015, the 12th Annual Advanced Workers’ Compensation Seminar will take place in Austin. During the seminar, Judy Ney will be assuming the position of chair of the section. Judy will be the first hearing officer from the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation, to chair the section. We all look forward to her leadership during the course of her term.
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