2016-2017 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 Leslie Sara Hyman, Chair The Administration of Rules of Evidence Committee continues to evaluate the rules of evidence to ensure they are internally consistent, match the actual practice of law, and, to the extent possible, track the Federal Rules of Evidence. The rules under substantive review and the subcommittee chairpersons are: Rules 509 and 510—Chris Hanslik Rule 503 (ESI)—Elena Villasenor Rule 503(a)(5)—Lee Ann Reno Rule 609—Stephanie Stevens Rule 707—Peter Haskel Rule 803(10)—Steven Goode The committee is also reviewing three anticipated changes to the federal hearsay rules through a subcommittee chaired by Alex Bell. As a result of its work last year, AREC recommended changes to the Supreme Court Advisory Committee to Rules 203, 408, 509, 701-703, and 705. Most of those amendments were technical or designed to align the Texas Rule with the Federal Rule. ADVERTISING REVIEW Stephen L. Tatum, Chair The committee continues to work in the pursuit of three objectives: (1) educate State Bar of Texas members about the provisions of the Advertising Review Rules, (2) provide guidance concerning compliance with Part VII of the Advertising Rules, and (3) ensure compliance with the Advertising Rules by reviewing and approving filed advertisements. Gene Major, director of the Advertising Review Department; Michael Dobbs, program coordinator of the department; and various committee members gave a number of live, videotaped, and web-based presentations over the past year to educate lawyers and others about the requirements and restrictions imposed by the Advertising Rules. Major also presented the Advertising Review’s CLE at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting; to the first cohort of the Texas Opportunity & Justice Incubator, or TOJI; and at the Intellectual Property Law Conference. The committee is also exploring a new interpretive comment to the rules. The committee met throughout the 2016-2017 bar year to provide guidance concerning the rules and reviewed more than 3,500 applications. The largest category of submissions filed was electronic/websites. ANNUAL MEETING Christina Melton Crain, Chair The 2017 State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting took place on June 22-23 in Dallas. The Annual Meeting Committee offered a diverse selection of quality CLE, featuring keynote speakers Chief Judge Carl E. Stewart, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit; Southern Methodist University Professor Bryan A. Garner; and Joseph Jaworski, an author and adviser to company executives on strategy and leadership. With more than 80 informative sessions, this year’s meeting featured programs for everyone from the first-year associate to the seasoned professional. State Bar sections provided practice-specific panels as well as joint events, including the Adaptable Lawyer track and the Business Law and Corporate Counsel sections. During the General Session, 2016-2017 State Bar President Frank Stevenson gave parting remarks and Tom Vick was sworn in as 2017-2018 president. At the Texas Young Lawyers Association reception, 2016-2017 TYLA President Sam Houston thanked young lawyers for their service and gave farewell remarks. Baili B. Rhodes was sworn in as the 2017-2018 president. The Dallas 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 2018 Annual Meeting on June 21-22 in Houston. CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT Charles G. Childress, Chair The Child Abuse and Neglect Committee continues to support legal and public education to improve professionalism and ameliorate child abuse and neglect. The committee supported the creation of a child welfare law specialty through the Texas Board of Legal Specialization as proposed and developed by the Children’s Commission of the Texas Supreme Court. The Supreme Court approved its creation on February 14, 2017. A subcommittee has been formed to explore creating a Child Welfare Law Section when the new specialty is fully implemented. The committee has developed and will present the one-day Advanced Family Law Child Abuse Workshop at the Advanced Family Law Conference 2017 in August. The committee provided assistance to an annual interdisciplinary training conference called Keeping Infants and Toddlers Safe in Houston in June. The committee is continuing to promote and distribute “shaken baby” videos for use in educating parents on the dangers of rough handling of infants. The committee presented its annual Fairy Davenport Rutland Award for Distinguished and Dedicated Service to Children and Families. CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION Hon. Xavier Rodriguez, Chair During the 2016-2017 bar year, the Continuing Legal Education Committee met twice with the Board of Professional Development Subcommittee and bar staff to propose topics for future CLE programs and to discuss challenges and opportunities facing TexasBarCLE and TexasBarBooks. TexasBarCLE continues to be a leading provider of high-quality CLE. In recognition of the trend moving toward online CLE, expansion of webcasts and online classes remains a priority. With legal developments readily available on the internet, TexasBarCLE will focus its programs on emphasizing practical consequences—how changes in law affect the practice of law. Partial or full scholarships are now available for all live and online programs and for TexasBarBooks publications, and the number of attorneys applying has steadily grown. The goal is to take price out of the equation in the decision to attend a bar CLE program. TexasBarBooks added the Texas Real Estate Forms Manual and the Texas Guardianship Manual to the TexasBarBooks Online subscription service, which is available through a monthly or annual subscription. New editions in the Texas Pattern Jury Charges series and of the Texas Guardianship Manual were also released along with a new title, the Annotated Texas Family Code. COURT RULES Kennon L. Wooten, Chair The Court Rules Committee worked on several proposed rules during the 2016-2017 bar year. In February 2017, the committee forwarded proposed amendments to Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 11 to the Texas Supreme Court for consideration. Those amendments are intended to make clear that (1) an amicus curiae can file a letter in lieu of a brief, and (2) when filing a brief, the amicus curiae need only comply with the requirements for responding parties’ briefs. Beyond the TRAP 11 amendments, the committee has considered amendments to TRAP 10.5(b) to simplify procedures relating to motions to extend time, as well as amendments to clarify briefing requirements in cross-appeals. In regard to the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, the committee considered, among other rules, TRCP 91a, 202, and 205. The committee dedicated a significant amount of time to TRCP 202, crafting amendments designed to provide clarity regarding permissible document discovery and considering other amendments to provide for expeditious presuit discovery in cases involving cyberbullying. The committee monitored legislation impacting such cases during the 2016-2017 bar year and will revisit cases, along with other procedures, during the 2017-2018 bar year. DISABILITY ISSUES Lynda E. Frost, Chair The Disability Issues Committee began the bar year with a retreat where it identified priority issues, goals, and next steps designed to educate and reduce impediments in the Texas legal system for persons with disabilities. Courtroom Accessibility: Together with the Office of Court Administration, the committee is surveying Texas court staff about accessibility and accommodations for people with disabilities. Law Students with Disabilities: The committee is polling Texas law students to identify needs for helping students with disabilities easily find appropriate academic accommodations and disability related services. Communications Access Fund: The committee promoted this State Bar program that reimburses attorneys for sign-language interpreters and other auxiliary aids and services required by law to provide effective communication with clients. Special Education, Child Welfare, and the Juvenile Justice System CLE: The committee co-sponsored and redesigned the 13th annual program highlighting issues surrounding children and the legal and education systems. Mentorship Program: With the ABA Commission on Disability Rights, the committee identified opportunities to dovetail mentoring programs for law students and lawyers with disabilities, providing greater insight into identifying and overcoming special challenges in obtaining employment and practicing law for attorneys with disabilities. DIVERSITY IN THE PROFESSION Glenwood F. Hill II, Chair This year, the Diversity in the Profession Committee continued its mission to enhance opportunities for attorneys from diverse backgrounds and to increase their participation in State Bar activities. The committee furthered this goal by promoting its flagship program, the Texas Minority Counsel Program, or TMCP, and sponsoring several statewide mentoring and education programs. TMCP provides mentoring, networking, and business development opportunities for attorneys from diverse backgrounds who desire to work in or with law firms, corporations, or governmental entities. Additionally, the committee sponsored the Texas Minority Attorney Program, which provides networking opportunities for solo practitioners and small-firm attorneys from diverse backgrounds. The committee’s mentoring and educational programs included: (1) the Bar Exam Study Support Scholarship, which offers vouchers to defray the cost of preparation courses, (2) the Texas Minority Law Student Program, which gives law students clerkship and networking advice as well as mock interview feedback from local attorneys, and (3) a statewide K-12 pipeline initiative for scheduling attorney presentations in public schools to encourage students to consider the legal profession (with an emphasis on students from underrepresented backgrounds). The Diversity in the Profession Committee is eager to increase the impact of these initiatives in the 2017-2018 bar year. JURY SERVICE Nicondra Chargois-Allen, Chair The Jury Service Committee completed a number of exciting projects in 2016-2017 while pursuing its mission of ensuring broad citizen participation and support of jury service. To mark Texas’ second annual Jury Appreciation Week, the committee created and distributed a guide to district clerks and jury administrators in all 254 counties. The Texas Legislature designated the first week of May as Jury Appreciation Week to honor those who give of their time to participate in our judicial system. The committee collaborated with the State Bar’s Law Focused Education Committee and Law-Related Education Department to develop curriculum for a program that will educate Texas students on the jury selection process and the importance of civic responsibility. The committee continued to add information to the State Bar’s Jury Service Resources webpage at texasbar.com/juryservice, including a public service announcement produced by the Waco chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. The committee also continued its outreach efforts by presenting State Bar jury service resources at a conference for county and district clerks in February. LAW FOCUSED EDUCATION Kevin Vela, Chair This year the Law Focused Education Committee worked with the Jury Service Committee to create a lesson that attorneys can use when visiting classrooms to explain the jury system. The lesson was piloted during the spring semester and will be ready to distribute next school year. Further, committee members met with their local school districts, private school networks, and community groups to share the latest materials developed by the State Bar Law-Related Education Department. This year’s new project, Liam Learns the Seven Principles of the Constitution, joins three other classroom resources—Justiceville, U.S.A.!; I was the first. Vote for Me!; and the Oyez, Oyez, Oh Yay! websites. Committee members presented all four projects during the Bar Leaders Conference in July. Using these web-based programs, members made presentations to classrooms, community groups, and local bar associations. Finally, members continue to represent LFEC at local committee events and promote the use of the Law Focused Education website, texaslre.org. LAW PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Dirk Jordan, Chair The Law Practice Management Committee began the year by presenting a daylong seminar on June 17, 2016, at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting in Fort Worth. Throughout the year, the committee continued to update and create new content for the Law Practice Management website, texaslawpracticemanagement.com, which has an average of about 1,600 visitors per month. “Starting A Practice” continues to be the most popular topic. Members of the committee contributed articles to the Law Practice Management issue of the Texas Bar Journal, published in February 2017, and provided training support for the inaugural cohort of the Texas Opportunity & Justice Incubator in April 2017. Currently, the committee is planning a series of short videos to address technology competencies and other areas of interest to Texas lawyers. In addition, a subcommittee has been formed to coordinate with the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct Committee to develop best practice materials following the approval of official comments to the rules dealing with the sale of a law practice and retention of client files and property. LAWS RELATING TO IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY Linda Alice Brandmiller, Chair The Laws Relating to Immigration and Nationality Committee continues to share immigration information with the bar since it overlaps with many practice areas of law. The Ten Minute Mentor video programs continue to grow in popularity and three additional segments are slated to be taped this year. The fall meeting was held in Austin and included a trip to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport for a tour of the international arrivals process and a meeting with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. At the winter meeting in El Paso, the committee met with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services staff to discuss adjudication issues and visit the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. This behind-the-scenes tour, which included meeting with division chiefs, provided immeasurable insight into how family-based consular processing applications are adjudicated. The committee met with a federal judge who oversees the docket regarding immigrants charged with “re-entry” at the spring meeting in Waco. Additionally, the committee was excited to meet with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office director who, along with the USCIS regional director on the committee, addressed multiple issues of concern including raids, arrests, detention, and ICE check-ins. The summer meeting was held with the State Bar Immigration Section at Annual Meeting in Dallas. LAWYERS’ ASSISTANCE PROGRAM Hon. Bonnie Janice Ellington, Chair The Lawyers’ Assistance Program Committee supports the work of the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program staff by producing programming for lawyers, law students, and judges related to overall well-being, as well as substance use and mental health issues. The Law School Subcommittee has initiated wellness forums in several law schools in which panels of lawyers and students in recovery share their experiences, strength, and hope. The subcommittee also continued to institute on-campus support groups, conduct orientations and classroom presentations, and bring relevant training to law school deans of students through direct engagement and an annual conference. The Wellness Subcommittee has made live lawyer wellness presentations at 18 global law firms statewide. Panel presentations on suicide prevention and healing from grief and loss were developed and will be accessible through TexasBarCLE at the end of the year. Additionally, outreach to local bar associations in smaller cities and rural areas is ongoing. Finally, the Communications Subcommittee, in conjunction with the State Bar Communications Division, created a Facebook page, facebook.com/tlaphelps, for TLAP and a new website at tlaphelps.org. LEGAL SERVICES TO THE POOR IN CIVIL MATTERS Matthew Probus, Chair The Legal Services to the Poor in Civil Matters Committee serves as a clearinghouse to monitor developments in and facilitate coordination of efforts with federally funded Legal Services Corporation providers, private organizations, and local bar initiatives. The volunteer members of the committee continue to help the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors carry out one of the bar’s core missions: to “assure all citizens equal access to justice.” The committee completed and distributed a survey to legal services groups across Texas to determine what skills training legal aid programs most need. The committee also started researching various models of self-help centers that already exist around Texas. After completing the research, the committee will develop a report reflecting what tools are currently offered to self-represented litigants in cities, counties, and local bar organizations across the state, highlighting examples of models that work well. The committee helped develop the agenda for the Access to Justice track at the State Bar’s annual Bar Leaders Conference. Finally, the committee received strong nominations for the State Bar Pro Bono Excellence Awards and recommended winners to the board of directors. Recipients were recognized at the State Bar Annual Meeting in Dallas. LEGAL SERVICES TO THE POOR IN CRIMINAL MATTERS Catherine G. Burnett, Chair The committee brings together members of the criminal justice community with diverse practice experiences and backgrounds to study indigent defense in Texas and develop recommendations for action. This year the committee included representatives from public and private practice settings, prosecution and defense functions, the judiciary, court administration, state agencies, and nonprofit organizations. The goal is to ensure quality representation to indigent persons involved in criminal matters. This committee fosters the State Bar’s critical mission to “advance the quality of legal services” through its work on indigent criminal defense performance guidelines. This year the State Bar Board of Directors adopted the fourth set of Texas-specific guidelines for attorney performance, focusing on juvenile representation. The committee focused on three access to justice projects: (1) the use of interpreters for limited English-proficiency participants in the criminal justice system, (2) a study of the State Counsel for Offenders, and (3) an online survey asking new practitioners to identify barriers to accessing a criminal defense practice and potential programs to address that gap. The committee received strong recommendations for its dual awards recognizing outstanding legal scholarship and service delivery; recipients were recognized during the State Bar’s Advanced Criminal Law Course. LOCAL BAR SERVICES Janna Clarke, Chair The Local Bar Services Committee has the express purpose of enhancing communication between State Bar leadership and local bar leaders to assist the latter in the management and development of their associations. The committee’s signature event, the Bar Leaders Conference, brings local bar leaders and State Bar officers and directors together to discover tools and resources while addressing common concerns. The State Bar and the Texas Young Lawyers Association presented statewide contest awards to 18 students at the Law Day ceremony in Austin in May. This year’s theme, “The 14th Amendment: Transforming American Democracy,” encouraged students to explore why equal protection of the laws is essential to liberty. 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 2017 Annual Meeting on June 22 in Dallas. Outreach to local bar associations through State Bar leadership, staff, and the Local Bar Services Committee remains strong. Some of the resources available to local bars include speaker coordination, strategic planning, program materials and coordination, off-the-shelf projects, and law-related education. MINIMUM CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION Nathan Anderson, Chair The Minimum Continuing Legal Education Committee administers the program of minimum continuing legal education as established by Article XII of the State Bar Rules. This year, the MCLE department received approximately 575,000 attendance records and 26,000 applications for accreditation of CLE activities. About 87 percent of this information was received electronically through the MCLE website. During the bar year, the MCLE Committee proposed amendments to the MCLE rules and regulations. These changes were administrative, with the primary purpose of maintaining consistency between the rules and regulations with respect to awarding course credits. The committee also recommended changes to automate deferrals for inactive members and streamline administrative procedures for handling requests for exemptions and extensions. The committee also initiated a study of the accreditation standards for CLE activities. The study will continue through the 2017-2018 year. PATTERN JURY CHARGES—BUSINESS, CONSUMER, AND EMPLOYMENT LaDawn Horn Conway, Chair This year the Pattern Jury Charges—Business, Consumer, and Employment Committee published its 2016 edition, which includes new charges on fraudulent transfer, misappropriation of trade secrets, late payment of claims under the Texas Insurance Code, and prompt payment in construction contracts. The committee has updated charges throughout to reflect current statutory and caselaw and is working on material for its next edition. The committee is also working with other pattern jury committees on a cross-volume subcommittee to develop new charges for breach of fiduciary duty by attorneys. The committee is also working with the Pattern Jury Charges—Oil and Gas Committee to develop new contracts charges and to update existing charges relevant to both volumes. The committee is working on the 2018 edition, including charges on debt collection practices and comments on voluntary payment, unjust enrichment, and money had and received. The 2018 edition will also be updated throughout to reflect current law. The committee welcomes input from the bench and bar and will post drafts to texasbarbooks.net before publication. Comments, questions, and suggestions for new topics may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. PATTERN JURY CHARGES—CRIMINAL Wendell Odom, Interim Chair The Pattern Jury Charges—Criminal Committee continued its ongoing reorganization efforts with the publication of Texas Criminal Pattern Jury Charges—Crimes against Persons & Property in the fall of 2016 with updated model jury instructions from the previous volumes and new instructions on capital murder, money laundering, credit card abuse, and aggravated sexual assault of a child. Additional material was also included in the sexual offenses chapter, addressing jury unanimity, the state’s election of particular incidents, and instructions on the meaning of “on or about” in the allegation of the offense date. With four reorganized volumes now published, the committee will focus its efforts on revising Texas Criminal Pattern Jury Charges—General, Evidentiary & Ancillary Instructions and Texas Criminal Pattern Jury Charges—Criminal Defenses, to be released in early 2018. PATTERN JURY CHARGES—FAMILY AND PROBATE Hon. Kathleene Dennise Garcia, Chair Following publication of the 2016 edition of Texas Pattern Jury Charges—Family & Probate, the committee considered several topics and updates for possible inclusion in the 2018 edition. Representatives of the committee worked with members of other civil pattern jury charges committees regarding proposed coverage of breach of fiduciary duty in other civil PJC volumes. The committee monitored 2017 legislation that will require updates to the existing charges and comments for incorporation in the 2018 edition. Drafts of the committee’s work will be posted on texasbarbooks.net before publication and feedback is welcomed. 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 continues to review appropriate updates to the 2016 volume. Revisions have been made to the volume relative to the distinction between the use of “occurrence” or “injury” in submitting personal injury damage claims. The committee continues to examine revisions concerning commentary relating to the failure to mitigate and a possible definition of “mental anguish.” Two Texas Supreme Court cases have caught the committee’s attention. J&D Towing, LLC v. Am. Alternative Ins. Corp. will result in modifications to the PJC relative to property damages. The case addresses loss of use damages, fair market value of property, and abrogates previous law. Consequently, the committee will make changes to the property damage section of its volume. Another significant case is Crosstex North Texas Pipeline, L.P. v. Gardiner. Here, the Supreme Court addresses the definition of “nuisance.” Accordingly, the committee will update the nuisance section of the book to reflect the Supreme Court’s recent discussion. The committee continues its work on proposals relative to a section concerning the Texas Theft Liability Act. New content ideas may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. PATTERN JURY CHARGES—MALPRACTICE, PREMISES, AND PRODUCTS Jeffrey S. Levinger, Chair The Pattern Jury Charges—Malpractice, Premises, and Products Committee submitted its 2016 edition to the bench and State Bar, capping off more than 18 months of revisions, additions, and improvements of the 2014 edition. The committee continues to identify and research new topics for the 2018 edition and anticipates new comments on judicial error in legal malpractice cases and the necessary-use exception in premises liability cases—both necessitated by recent Texas Supreme Court opinions. The committee also anticipates adding questions and comments on attorney breach of fiduciary duty and the discovery rule in cases involving nonmedical malpractice. The committee continues to review and improve upon existing questions and comments in the current edition. The mission remains the same—to “get it right.” PATTERN JURY CHARGES—OIL AND GAS Ricardo Morales, Chair The Pattern Jury Charges—Oil and Gas Committee published its inaugural edition of the pattern jury charges in the summer of 2016. The committee began its work on the volume four years ago, building on the efforts of the State Bar’s Oil, Gas, and Energy Resources Law Section, which had previously drafted charges for use by its members. Since publication, the committee has continued to meet throughout the year in preparation of the 2018 edition. The committee continues to work with the Pattern Jury Charges—Business, Consumer, and Employment Committee to ensure uniformity on common issues and to provide several jury questions on new issues to both volumes. The committee’s 2016 edition includes charges on adverse possession, trespassing, lessor-lessee issues, executive rights, contracts between working interest owners, defenses, and damages. The committee continues to monitor new developments in oil and gas law and update the charges as needed. The committee welcomes comments and questions, as well as suggestions for new topics, which may be sent to email@example.com. PATTERN JURY CHARGES—OVERSIGHT Hon. Jane N. Bland, Chair The Pattern Jury Charges—Oversight Committee refers public comments and jurisprudential changes to the appropriate PJC committee for consideration, resolves inconsistencies among the volumes, and reviews proposed additions and revisions to the PJC volumes before their publication. The committee provides feedback to the other PJC committees in a timely manner and serves as a clearinghouse for determining the best among differing approaches for alerting the practitioner to changes in the law. This year, the committee completed review of additions to the PJC Business, PJC Malpractice, and PJC General Negligence volumes in advance of their publication. The committee approved additions to PJC Criminal for capital murder and sexual offense charges. The committee approved updates to general negligence, malpractice, and proportionate responsibility charges in light of Nabors Well Services, Ltd. v. Romero, 456 S.W.3d 553 (Tex. 2015). A task force composed of representatives from the committee and the other volumes continued its work on pattern charges for breach of fiduciary duty claims. Finally, the committee has approved a task force charged with reviewing and updating mental anguish instructions for each of the volumes. Task force reports are expected in the fall of 2017. PROFESSIONALISM Suzanne M. Duvall, Chair The Professionalism Committee works to identify factors that influence professionalism and to develop and recommend to the State Bar Board of Directors ways to improve the professional development of new lawyers. This year, members introduced a revamped SBOT Advisory Network, a statewide database of attorneys willing to serve as mentors, which was featured in the May issue of the Texas Bar Journal. The committee also added names to its Need Ethics? A Directory of Speakers database launched in 2015-2016 to provide local bar associations with knowledgeable orators willing to travel to discuss ethics topics. The committee’s efforts to promote the importance of civility in the profession continued with the distribution of more than 2,000 English- and 600 Spanish-language Texas Lawyer’s Creed brochures and 470 creed posters in the past bar year. In the upcoming year, the committee plans to roll out a Day of Civility Guide for local bars and to help organize a statewide Day of Civility to celebrate professionalism, among other projects. The committee also looks forward to presenting its resources at the 2017 Bar Leaders Conference. For more information on the committee’s work, go to texasbar.com/professionalism. PUBLIC AFFAIRS Rudy A. England, Chair The committee’s mission is to expand public understanding of the legal system and to foster relations with the news media to advance that goal. During the 2016-2017 bar year, the Public Affairs Committee worked to ensure the continued success of its Open Government Seminar, co-sponsored by the Government Law Section, at the 2017 State Bar Annual Meeting. The seminar included panels examining 2017 legislation relating to open government in Texas and a discussion of the Texas Supreme Court decision Boeing v. Paxton and its impact on government transparency across the state. The committee also hosted the 2016 Texas Gavel Awards, which recognize outstanding Texas journalism that enhances public understanding of our legal system. The committee is proud to continue its partnership with the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas to present the awards at the FOIFT annual conference in September 2017. REAL ESTATE FORMS Denise Cheney, Chair The Real Estate Forms Committee is responsible for maintaining the Texas Real Estate Forms Manual as a reliable source of real estate forms and information for practitioners. The committee monitors changes in real estate and related areas of law and practice at the state and federal levels and revises the manual to keep it up to date. The committee also expands the scope of the manual when necessary to reflect current practice trends and to increase the areas of real estate law addressed. During 2016-2017, the committee prepared a new edition and subcommittees reviewed, revised, updated, and reorganized the existing content and added new topics through the summer and fall. The entire committee then reviewed the revisions. The third edition of the manual was published in early 2017. 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 Texas Supreme Court, 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 helps set the general editorial direction for the magazine. In 2016-2017, the Texas Bar Journal Board of Editors examined a number of subjects, including transportation, education law, litigation, constitutional law, family law, law practice management, employment law, technology, and transition to practice programs. The Journal also featured coverage of the Texas Young Lawyers Association’s project I Was the First. You Can Be a Lawyer Too! The board offered an informative “Year in Review” issue, cultivated a work-life column, and conducted a 2017 Texas Bar Journal Readership Survey. TEXAS DISCIPLINARY RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT M. Lewis Kinard, Chair The Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct Committee includes lawyers from nearly every sector of the State Bar and is commissioned to develop language for the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct on behalf of the State Bar Board of Directors. Topics are suggested by bar members, courts, the board, and others. The committee worked over the past year on guidance for practitioners in the form of proposed rule language, comment language, and other practice guidance. Four areas of focus were (1) guidance for lawyers wishing to sell or purchase some or all of a law practice, (2) limited exemptions from imputed conflicts of interest for volunteers at off-site clinics, (3) guidance on retention and destruction of client files, and (4) guidance to lawyers whose clients have lost full mental capacity during representation. Following the adoption of the 2017 State Bar Sunset bill, this committee is prepared to continue its role as adviser to the board and perform other actions that support the new Committee on Disciplinary Rules and Referenda. WOMEN IN THE PROFESSION Jennifer C. Wang, Chair The Women in the Profession Committee promotes the advancement of women attorneys in Texas and met regularly this year to address ongoing and planned projects in support of its goals. The committee launched its initiative to bring women attorneys together for discussions through a virtual forum using Texas Bar Connect, the State Bar’s social network. The forum will be used to address career development, promote diversity in the legal profession, help identify barriers that prevent women lawyers from obtaining the full rewards of the profession, and identify possible solutions to address discrimination, retention, and promotion of women in the practice of law. Additionally, the committee explored ways to create a more dynamic and informative website to support its ongoing projects, such as adding a resource to encourage nominations of women for various awards to raise the profiles of deserving women attorneys and the status of all women attorneys. Included in the website update is the committee’s continued efforts to make available a video titled Next Generation of Solutions to Retain and Advance Women Lawyers.
Published by State Bar of Texas. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://mydigimag.rrd.com/article/Committee+Reports/2818983/419639/article.html.