BASTROP COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION HOLDS PLAY FUNDRAISER Local lawyers and judges took their talents to the stage April 28-30 as a part of the Bastrop County Bar Association’s annual theatrical fundraiser. The Cedar Creek Shootout: State of Texas vs. Orange W. Wicks was a historically accurate three-act play based on a 19th-century murder case in which the first black justice of the peace in Bastrop County was charged and later convicted following a shootout outside his courtroom that left two black men and two white men dead. With proceeds from the dinner theater performances, the bar association plans to give $2,000 scholarships to five area students, $1,000 before their first years of college and $1,000 prior to their second, Bastrop County Bar Association President Caroline A. McClimon said. Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program launches new website The Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program launched a new website June 1 aimed at providing information and resources to Texas lawyers, law students, and judges who are concerned for themselves or a colleague in regards to general well-being, mental health, or substance use issues. The site, tlaphelps.org, is not only easy to navigate but also accessible 24/7 on any mobile device, tablet, or desktop. The site features links to articles, podcasts, videos, and TED Talks on topics including wellness, stress and anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder, suicide prevention, substance abuse, and cognitive decline. Resources are tailored to law students, young lawyers, lawyers, aging lawyers, judges, and legal employers. If you or someone you know needs assistance, go to tlaphelps.org. CLE Committee establishes Pat Nester Award The State Bar of Texas Continuing Legal Education Committee created the Pat Nester Innovation in Professional Development Award in March to recognize an individual whose innovative contributions have substantially advanced CLE in Texas. The inaugural award went to Nester, a national leader in CLE who retired from the State Bar in May after 40 years. The TexasBarCLE director and Nester will nominate possible future recipients of the award, and the CLE Committee will decide who, if anyone, should be honored each year. U.S. 7th Circuit chief judge to keynote Hemphill Dinner Hon. Diane P. Wood, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, will be the keynote speaker at the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society’s 22nd Annual John Hemphill Dinner on September 8 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin. Wood, who went to high school, college, and law school in Texas, was among the first women to clerk for the U.S. Supreme Court when she worked for Justice Harry A. Blackmun. The Texas Center for Legal Ethics will present an award recognizing a Texas appellate lawyer or judge who demonstrates the highest level of professionalism and integrity. Proceeds from the dinner support the society’s archival and educational programs, including its journal and book publishing projects. For ticket information, go to texascourthistory.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Travis County Women Lawyers Association member speaks at UN Diane Hebner, an Austin attorney and member of the Travis County Women Lawyers Association, spoke at the 61st session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women on March 17 in New York. Hebner’s panel, “Economic Empowerment of Elderly Women in the Legal Context,” discussed various issues including how to report unequal pay practices. Emeritus Attorneys: It’s Time to Report MCLE Hours The Supreme Court issued an order dated April 28, 2015, that amends Article XII of the State Bar Rules to eliminate the MCLE exemption for emeritus attorneys. Beginning June 1, 2017, emeritus members will be required to comply with MCLE reporting requirements. FAQs Why was the MCLE exemption for emeritus attorneys removed? The recommendation to remove the MCLE emeritus exemption came from the State Bar Task Force on Aging Lawyer Issues. The MCLE emeritus exemption was removed to ensure that all active practicing attorneys remain current in the law. The recommendation was approved by the State Bar MCLE Committee and then by the State Bar Board of Directors and the Supreme Court of Texas. Are current emeritus members “grandfathered” and exempt from the new requirements? No. When does the MCLE requirement for emeritus attorneys become effective? The MCLE requirement applies to compliance years starting on or after June 1, 2016. Previously exempt attorneys may claim credit for CLE completed within 12 months immediately preceding the first compliance year beginning on or after June 1, 2016, provided that these CLE hours have not been used for compliance in a prior year. What if I am retired and no longer practice law, or I practice only for family? Attorneys who no longer practice law may claim MCLE non-practicing status or inactive membership status. To be eligible for either status as an option for MCLE compliance, an attorney must be non-practicing or inactive during the entire MCLE compliance year. Members who practice law at the beginning of a compliance year and later change to inactive status are not eligible for an exemption but may defer their MCLE requirements. Members who practice law only for family members may claim the MCLE non-practicing status, but must remain on an active membership status. To request inactive membership status, contact the Membership Department at email@example.com or (800) 204-2222, ext. 1383. To request MCLE non-practicing status, contact the MCLE Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 204-2222, ext. 1806. What is the difference between MCLE non-practicing status and inactive membership status? Either status will exempt an attorney from MCLE requirements. However, members who request inactive membership status are ineligible to vote in State Bar elections. Members who request MCLE non-practicing status are considered active members of the State Bar, can continue to vote in State Bar elections, but do not need to complete the yearly 15-hour MCLE requirement. What if I am ill, disabled, or unable to travel to MCLE courses? Travel and attendance at live CLE is not required. All MCLE hours can be completed through approved webinars, teleconferences, DVDs, and downloadable programs. Hardship exemptions and extensions may be available for those who have experienced medical or other extraordinary hardship during the compliance year. Contact MCLE staff for information on applying for an extension or hardship exemption. Are there low-cost CLE options for those on a fixed income? Yes. There are a variety of low-cost and free options available. MCLE staff can help with finding suitable CLE, or attorneys can use the course search site at texasbar.com/coursesearch.
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