HOUSTON ATTORNEY HONORED FOR CIVIC LEADERSHIP Houston-area thought leaders recognized former State Bar President Kelly Frels on March 23 with the Eugene H. Vaughan Civic Leadership Award from the Center for Houston’s Future. For more than four decades, Frels has dedicated his time and talents to the city and people of Houston—from desegregating schools to improving air quality. Frels, now senior counsel at Bracewell, was instrumental in formulating the firm’s school and public-law practice, among many other accomplishments, including work on setting the legal rules for the nation’s first comprehensive magnet school system in the 1970s. ABA PRESIDENT SPEAKS IN AUSTIN American Bar Association President Paulette Brown (center) meets with the Boys & Girls Club of Austin at Overton Elementary on March 31, along with members of the Austin Young Lawyers Association. Brown, who was in Texas as part of her national Main Street initiative, also gave opening remarks at an ABA conference on the death penalty at the University of Texas School of Law. SHEERAN-CROWLEY TRUST LAUNCHES WEBSITE In April, the Patrick D. Sheeran & Michael J. Crowley Memorial Trust launched a website, sheerancrowley.org, aimed at helping Texas lawyers, judges, and law students with substance abuse problems, depression, and other mental health issues. In 1995, a small group of lawyers created the Sheeran-Crowley Trust to provide financial assistance to those in need who didn’t have the means to pay for services. Not only can visitors to the site help financially by clicking on the donate button but they can also get help or help someone in need by calling the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program toll-free at (800) 343-8527. All communication with TLAP is confidential by statute. For more information, go to sheerancrowley.org. National Judicial College discusses courtroom security, honors Wallace Jefferson John Muffler, a retired U.S. marshal and National Judicial College faculty member, spoke March 3 to a crowd of attorneys and judges about the importance of courtroom security. The Austin event was hosted by the National Judicial College, which works to improve judicial productivity. Muffler discussed Judge Julie Kocurek, who recently returned to the courtroom after recovering from injuries sustained when an assailant opened fire on her vehicle in the driveway of her home last fall. He stressed that our judiciary should be considering safety at home and at work. Former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson was honored at the event with the Advancement of Justice Award. TBLS names new executive director The Texas Board of Legal Specialization has named Leo D. Figueroa as its new executive director, replacing Gary McNeil, who retired after 30 years of service. Authorized by the Texas Supreme Court, TBLS certifies attorneys in 22 specific areas of law and paralegals in seven areas. It is one of the largest legal board certification programs in the United States. Fifth graders learn about the dangers of drugs and alcohol In February, attorneys and medical practitioners visited 14 different schools in four districts in the Houston area to instruct kids on the consequences of using drugs and alcohol. The Houston Bar Association and physicians founded the Inter-professional Drug Education Alliance, known as IDEA, in 1992, with the focus of preparing kids to deal with peer pressure, and that mission still rings true today. At February’s event, doctors talked about damaged minds and bodies, and lawyers spoke of handcuffs and jail attire. To have the IDEA program come to your school, email email@example.com or call (713) 759-1133. Leading the future The 31st Annual Texas Leadership Forum on February 26-28 in Austin focused on topics such as ethics and the rule of law and featured accomplished Texans including Texas Supreme Court Justice Jeff Brown, former Texas Supreme Court Justice Dale Wainwright, Texas Ethics Commission Chair Paul Hobby, and former Texas Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes. The event, which is hosted by the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute, aims to develop and inspire the next generation of Texas leaders.
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