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  • Thursday, September 21, 2017
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          1Deadline New Mem AppsDeadline for new member applications and worksheets to be in Dallas at the National ABOTA office. They will be reviewed at the October National Board Meeting. 2
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10 11 12 13 14 15MIT Dallas vs HoustonTo be held at University of North Texas Law School, a challenge between the Houston and Dallas chapters! First time event. Look for more information. 16
17 18 19James Otis LectureTime: 9:00 am
Annual event for 150 Texas students to come to the Texas Capitol and sit in the House of Representatives. 9:00am-3:00pm Dr. Bill Brands, UT Professor of History, will speak about one of his many wonderful books. More information to come.
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Recent News

2017 Santa Fe CLE Roundup – WOW!

The 2017 TEX-ABOTA Santa Fe CLE Roundup – WOW!

Once again, we are proud to say that our annual CLE program was an overwhelming success. Dicky Grigg pulled a huge rabbit out of his “speaker hat”, thanks to cooperation from Dallas ABOTA member, Randy Johnston.

The first speaker on Friday morning had been touted as a “Mystery Speaker”.  There could be no advance promotion and we all had to turn in any device that could take a photograph before entering the room. The guesses on who it was ranged from Oprah to Sandra Bullock to Barack Obama to John Grisham to former Pres. George W. Bush, to name a few.

After a poignant, emotional introduction by Randy Johnston, our speaker walked from the back of the room to the podium.  It was Mark Owen, a member of SEAL Team Six who participated in the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips and the mission that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. He spoke to us about his passion for becoming a member of the elite team and what it took to achieve that. He also told us about being on the helicopter that crashed inside the compound where Osama Bin Laden had been living for five years! His team somehow survived the crash and continued on their mission to find Bin Laden.  Mark was the second person through the door when Bin Laden was killed.

But his story wasn’t as much about that event as it was about the importance of teamwork and always trying your best in everything you do. Needless to say, our members were moved by his remarks.

Certainly, that was a hard act to follow, but our other speakers held their own as they spoke about the reality of “virtual lawyers”,  sex discrimination claims at universities and the fallout at Baylor, representing unpopular clients such as Robert Durst and a visit from long-deceased former Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Naturally, fun was had at our cocktail receptions and other activities, including a visit to the surreal immersive art experience, Meow Wolf.

The weather cooperated with us this year, so there were no last-minute dashes inside to dodge rain drops.

See photos of the 2017 Santa Fe CLE Roundup and Annual Dinner here.

Thank you to all of our sponsors for your support.

Speakers      Sponsors

Sponsors:

Saturday Night Dinner:Freese Goss 30618_FG_Logo_VectorFreese & Goss, Dallas

Saturday Night Cocktail Reception:

Crain_Lewis_BrogdonLogo

Crain Lewis Brogdon

Full Color Logo Horizontal

Stanton LLP

Friday Night Cocktail Reception Sponsor :

TXMLC-Spaced Out-01-01 323 SMTexas Medical Legal Consultants

 

CLE Program Sponsors:

worldwide_sm

PhysLifeCare

A&M_Corporate_PMS7463Alvarez & Marsal


Davis Settlement logo-web

HDBD Logo (2017F)

WABOTA RECEPTION SPONSOR:

The Rose/Cates Group (Dallas)

Welcome Reception Sponsors:

 ✪ Spivey & Grigg  ✪  Kim Law Firm
✪ Ware Jackson Lee O’Neill Smith & Barrow, LLP ✪
✪ Ben C. Martin ✪ Capshaw & Associates ✪ Henke, Williams & Boll, LLP
✪ Holmes, Diggs, Eames & Sadler, PLL C ✪ Roach & Newton
✪ Scott Douglass & McConnico, LLP’s ✪ Richardson & Burgess LLP
✪ Winckler Harvey ✪ Howry Breen & Herman
✪Whitehurst, Harkness, Brees, Cheng, Alsaffar, & Higginbotham, PLLC ✪

2017 James Otis Lecture Series

Media Release Form                                   2017 Agenda – JOL

 

The 2017 James Otis Lecture Series program will be held at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on Tuesday, September 19th. The program is typically held on Constitution Day, September 17th, but since it fell on a Saturday, the program was moved to the following Tuesday.

Over 125 students from across Texas will arrive first thing in the morning and be taken on a personal tour of the Capitol before the program begins.

The program has been held in the chambers of the House of Representatives since 2012.  The students actually sit in the seats of the Representatives! It is a truly historical setting, and so full of Texas history.

We are honored to have Richard Middleton, ABOTA Foundation President, with us for our event. He is coming from Savannah, GA to experience the TEX-ABOTA “JOL” program.

We are thrilled that once again, the students will treated to a discussion by “rock star” history Professor H.W. “Bill”Brands. The topic will be his newest book, The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War.

Professor Brands will no doubt weave numerous strands of this history into a compelling story that might actually relate to today’s global events.

Students from Houston, Canyon Lake, Carrizo Springs, Palestine, Austin and Dripping Springs will participate in the event. TEX-ABOTA is again honored to have students from the Texas School for the Deaf, along with their interpreters, with us this year. Juan and Eva Dominguez will bring the students from Carrizo Springs, leaving at 4:00a.m. Tuesday morning to arrive on time.

After Dr. Brands’ talk, the group will walk across the Capitol grounds to the First United Methodist Church for lunch. Dr. Brands will most likely autograph the books that TEX-ABOTA has provided to student. After lunch, each student will be recognized and receive a certificate naming them as a James Otis Lecture Series scholar.

These students are interested in civics and government and history.  They are our future and TEX-ABOTA wants to present them with as many learning and experiential opportunities as possible.

ABOTA Defends Texas Judge

ABOTA defends Judge Rodney Gilstrap from attacks by House Chairman

Constitutional separation of powers requires judges to decide cases impartially without political pressure

DALLAS (July 19, 2017) — The American Board of Trial Advocates, a non-partisan national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges, opposes the direct personal attacks made by Rep. Darrell Issa, Chairman of the Intellectual Property Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, about U.S. District Judge J. Rodney Gilstrap. ABOTA is dedicated to the preservation of a fair and impartial judiciary and the right to trial by jury. State and federal judges are accountable to the law, not to special interests or political pressure.

Recently, Rep. Issa criticized a recent ruling of Judge Gilstrap, District Judge for the United States Court of the Eastern District of Texas, calling his conduct “reprehensible” and insinuating the decision was motivated by a personal bias to local community interests rather than the law. Regrettably, Rep. Issa’s criticism extended beyond a challenge of the legal precedent to a personal attack on Judge Gilstrap and his integrity as a jurist.

“One of our primary purposes is the preservation of the independence of the judiciary,” said F. Dulin Kelly, ABOTA National President. “The judicial canons preclude judges from responding to public criticism of their rulings and when a member of the judiciary has been publicly criticized, our ABOTA protocol requires us to evaluate the criticism and determine whether a response on behalf of the judge or court is appropriate.”

ABOTA is an organization consisting of an equal balance of plaintiff and defense lawyers. The Texas statewide chapter, known as TEX-ABOTA, is made up of 16 local chapters and serves as a consolidated voice of more than 1,300 members. Ann Hennis, TEX-ABOTA President, said the statements about Judge Gilstrap are contrary to the organization’s ideals of disagreeing with respect, seeking a common ground, and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States.

Mr. Kelly added that with members of all political persuasions and both sides of the bar, ABOTA and TEX-ABOTA strongly decry this effort to politicize and denigrate any individual jurist.

In a formal statement posted on ABOTA.org, Mr. Kelly said:

“We reject the attempt to denounce our judges into foregoing their obligation to use their best judgment, devoid of influence, in an appropriate ruling. Whether you agree with isolated decisions or do not, political influence on our Courts is to be opposed.

When our elected representatives choose to issue personal attacks and name calling on any individual judge, demeaning the personal integrity of the jurist, the effect is to undermine the very principles of our liberty and government. Politics have no place in our courts. We believe judges should be selected in a manner that assures well-trained, qualified, experienced, independent and neutral judges. Political attacks that impugn a judge’s character have no legitimate role in the legislative framework. It weakens a critical, co-equal branch of our constitutional government. If we are to remain a nation of laws, we must have independent and neutral judges who will apply the law fairly and impartially. To utilize a personal attack against an individual jurist for the purpose of a political agenda diminishes the authority of our system of justice.”

Preserving the quality and independence of the judiciary has been a hallmark of ABOTA’s efforts for decades, and the organization believes that confidence in the nation’s judicial system is profoundly important. More on this topic can be found in the ABOTA white paper, “Preserving a Fair, Impartial and Independent Judiciary,” on the ABOTA.org website.

For more information contact:
Brian Tyson at (800) 932-2682
briant@abota.org

TEX-ABOTA “Day at the Capitol” 2017

This year was the first year of the TEX-ABOTA “Day at the Capitol” event, held on Thursday, April 13 at the Texas State Capitol.

TEX-ABOTA members from across the state met with Rep. Hugh Shine, Rep. Todd Hunter, Rep. John Smithee, Sen. Charles Schwertner, Rep. Ramon Romero, Jr., Rep. Brandon Creighton, Rep. Jessica Farrar, Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, Rep. Ryan Guillen, Rep John Kuempel, Rep. Matt Rinaldi, Rep. Abel Herrero, Rep. Helen Giddings, Rep. Rene Oliveira, Rep. Paul Workman and Rep. J.M. Lozano.  In some cases, if the Legislator was unavailable, the group met with their Legislative Aide or Director.

Some of the members who participated in person included TEX-ABOTA President Ann Hennis, Curt Fenley, III (President Elect), Grace Weatherly (Vice President), Robby Alden (Secretary), Eileen O’Neill (Treasurer), Dan Sciano, Michael Smith, Scott Brann, Gwen Richard, Woody Roark, Scott Scherr, Lance D. Sharp and Robert E. White.

(l-r) Sharp, Roark, Fenley, Sciano and Scherr

(l-r) Sharp, Roark, Fenley, Sciano and Scherr

leg day 2017

Making plans for the meetings.

Meeting with Rep. Todd Hunter.

Meeting with Rep. Todd Hunter.

Day at the Capitol

Day at the Capitol

 

 

 

 

 

 

The main purpose for visiting those members was because of TEX-ABOTA’s interest in several Bills that have been submitted. TEX-ABOTA has passed Resolutions in opposition to the following Bills.  (Click the number to view the introduced Bill and Resolution to view the Resolution).

HB2594 – Chancery Courts aka Special Courts for Special People; Resolution
HB 1038 – TRCP 91a related to award of costs and attorney’s fees in a motion to dismiss that have no basis in law or fact; Resolution
SB 985 – Attempt to eliminate three Dallas County Courts at Law (CC3, CC4, CC5). Resolution

The Texas Association of Defense Counsel, Texas Trial Lawyers Association, and Texas Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates sent a Chancery Courts Joint Letter.

This was a very successful first effort, and we hope to continue gathering momentum from our members to join us at each Legislative session.

TEX-ABOTA & SBOT New Orleans 2017 “Advanced Trial Strategies”

We hope you plan to attend the State Bar of Texas Advanced Trial Strategies Course in New Orleans, February 9-10, 2017. 
TEX-ABOTA is once again a proud co-sponsor of this event and we would like to be well represented in Louisiana.
The event will be at the 
Omni Royal Orleans Hotel in New Orleans
621 St. Louis Street
New Orleans, LA   70140
(504) 529-5333
SBOT-discounted room rate is $229++, single or double (available on first come-first served basis)
If room block is sold out, please contact Kathleen Korrodi (at SBOT) at Katherine.Korrodi@TEXASBAR.COM.
Cutoff for this rate is January 11, 2017
If you plan to attend the TEX-ABOTA Board Meeting, book your room now, as they only have a limited number of rooms Friday evening.
Please RSVP

for the Thursday TEX-ABOTA Cocktail Party

and the Saturday Board Meeting here.
 
Registration for the program:


Advanced Trial Strategies 2017  (live)
MCLE Credit: 13 hrs (includes 3.25hrs ethics)
 
Early Bird Registration: $845.00   (Regular Course Fee: $895.00)
Note: Early Bird Registration ends Thursday, January 26, 2017
 
TEX-ABOTA members save up to $75 off their registration fee!
This is a State Bar of Texas Program and TEX-ABOTA is only co-sponsoring it.
 
You must make your own CLE program and hotel reservations. 
 
 
TEX-ABOTA will have our first Board Meeting of the year that Saturday, February 11th. It will be from 9:30am-11:30am.  All ABOTA members are welcome to attend.
Get to the Omni Royal Orleans hotel on Wednesday evening and get settled in for this great program on Thursday and Friday mornings.
TEX-ABOTA Schedule:
Thursday – February 9th – TEX-ABOTA will host a cocktail reception at the hotel for all attendees at 5:30pm
Saturday, February 11th – TEX-ABOTA Board meeting at the hotel from 9:30-11:30am (Note the different time).
Please RSVP

for the Thursday TEX-ABOTA Cocktail Party

and the Saturday Board Meeting here.
(if you clicked the link above, there’s no need to click this one.)
About the Seminar:
Tentative program topics:
  • Initiating Litigation
  • Jury Selection
  • Legal Writing
  • Fixing It – A Panel Discussion of Upcoming Legislation, Litigation, Procedural Rules, Statutes
  • Attorneys’ Fees Update
  • Evidence Strategies
  • Strategic Use of Motions
  • Client Selection and Control
  • Complex Cases
  • Strategic Use of eDiscovery
  • Courtroom Technology
  • Preservation of Error
  • Ethics Jeopardy

 

2017 Santa Fe CLE Roundup

The 2017 TEX-ABOTA Santa Fe CLE Roundup

Speakers      Sponsors

 

As of 4/7/17, Thursday night hotel is sold out.  We recommend that you book a room at La Fonda, under the group name TEX-ABOTA, or a hotel of your preference.  Be sure and email Cay Dickson to be put on the wait list for a room at our hotel. 

DO NOT cancel your reservation at the Inn & Spa at Loretto, if you can’t attend;
please contact Cay Dickson first, as we can use your room.

Book your hotel room from the CLE PROGRAM REGISTRATION form or:
Call Inn & Spa at Loretto Reservations -Toll Free at 1-866-582-1646
Group code: 10L4PS or mention the

Group Name, 2017 TEX-ABOTA SF CLE Roundup
One night’s room and tax deposit will be taken when the reservation is made.

If you book from the registration form, please remember to click “Continue” at the bottom of the Lodging page to complete the payment part of registration.

 

 Click here to register to attend the CLE Program, Events and Activities

The tentative event schedule is:

Thursday evening cocktail party at the hotel  5:30-7:00pm

 

Friday Morning CLE Attendee Breakfast – 7:00-8:00am

Friday morning CLE program  8:00-12:35pm

Friday afternoon  – A howling good time at Meow Wolf   1:30-3:30pm
This place is just flat out cool. An arts collective and production company that creates immersive, multimedia experiences that transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of storytelling. Our work is a combination of jungle gym, haunted house, children’s museum and immersive art exhibit.

Several members visited it last year and said that you can make it whatever kind of experience you like – adventurous, slow-paced, exploratory and/or physical. There are no rules, no one tells you what to do or where to go, or what door to try to open. It’s whatever you want it to be. They loved it! Give it a shot…you came to Santa Fe because it’s vibrant!

Friday evening cocktail party –  at La Terraza, beautiful venue atop the La Fonda Hotel 6:00-7:30pm

Saturday Morning CLE Attendee Breakfast – 7:00-8:00am

Friday Morning Past National & TEX-ABOTA Presidents’ Breakfast – 7:00-8:00am

Saturday morning CLE program  8:00-12noon

Saturday afternoon Cooking at Santa Fe School of Cooking 1:30-3:30pm
or
Golf at Las Campanas, courtesy of Houston Emeritus Advocate, Julius Glickman 1:30-5:30 Shotgun start

Saturday
evening cocktail party and Annual Dinner and Annual Awards Presentation (6:30-7:30 cocktails, 7:30-10:00pm Dinner & Program)

Sunday morning TEX-ABOTA Board Meeting (all ABOTA members are invited) 8:00-10:00am MCT

Sponsors:

Saturday Night Dinner:Freese Goss 30618_FG_Logo_VectorFreese & Goss, Dallas

Saturday Night Cocktail Reception:

Crain_Lewis_BrogdonLogo

Crain Lewis Brogdon

Full Color Logo Horizontal

Stanton LLP

Friday Night Cocktail Reception Sponsor :

TXMLC-Spaced Out-01-01 323 SMTexas Medical Legal Consultants

 

CLE Program Sponsors:

worldwide_sm

PhysLifeCare

A&M_Corporate_PMS7463Alvarez & Marsal


Davis Settlement logo-web

HDBD Logo (2017F)

WABOTA RECEPTION SPONSOR:

The Rose/Cates Group (Dallas)

Welcome Reception Sponsors:

 ✪ Spivey & Grigg  ✪  Kim Law Firm
✪ Ware Jackson Lee O’Neill Smith & Barrow, LLP ✪
✪ Ben C. Martin ✪ Capshaw & Associates ✪ Henke, Williams & Boll, LLP
✪ Holmes, Diggs, Eames & Sadler, PLL C ✪ Roach & Newton
✪ Scott Douglass & McConnico, LLP’s ✪ Richardson & Burgess LLP
✪ Winckler Harvey ✪ Howry Breen & Herman
✪Whitehurst, Harkness, Brees, Cheng, Alsaffar, & Higginbotham, PLLC ✪

2017 SANTA FE CLE ROUNDUP SPEAKERS
as of 5/30/17

FIRST SPEAKER FRIDAY MORNING– Because of security concerns, we are unable to publicize or reveal the name of our first speaker on Friday morning. Seriously.

IMPORTANT: Members of the audience will not be allowed to bring cameras, iPads, or cell phones into the meeting room during the presentation. Unfortunately, security concerns prohibit us from broadcasting the presentation to the overflow room. We apologize for any inconvenience these security measures may cause, but assure you they are necessary. After attending this presentation, you will understand and appreciate why these precautions were taken. Procedures that need to be in place for this speaker will be forthcoming.

 

Charles "Chip" Babcock

Charles “Chip” Babcock

Charles “Chip” Babcock – Houston

Chip litigates and handles appeals across the United States. He has tried over 100 cases to a jury and argued over 50 appeals. Chip was chosen one of the 25 Greatest Lawyers of the Last 25 Years by Texas Lawyer. With particular expertise in media and First Amendment litigation he has represented Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil McGraw, and George W. Bush. He will discuss his representation of Oprah when she was sued by Texas cattlemen for creating a “lynch mob mentality” in producing a “scary” story about the safety of beef.

 

Karl Bayer

Karl Bayer

Karl Bayer – Austin

After a successful career as a trail lawyer, Karl has specialized in mediation and arbitration. Prior to going to law school, he graduated from Rice University with a B.A. in electrical engineering and earned a Masters in biomedical engineering from MIT. Utilizing his engineering and legal background, Karl often serves as a Special Master in federal and state courts. Karl will fill us in on the impact of big data, the internet, mobile computing, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence on the civil justice system and the jury trial.

 

Lisa Blue

Lisa Blue

Lisa Blue – Dallas

Lisa Blue is not only an extraordinary trial lawyer, she is also a licensed psychologist. She is a past president of TEX-ABOTA, past president of AAJ, and was previously chosen TEX-ABOTA “Trial Lawyer of the Year.” Dr. Blue has published numerous books and has lectured extensively on voir dire and trial strategy. Lisa will combine her “two careers” to help us have a more meaningful law practice with her topic – The Power of Mindfulness in the Practice of Law.

 

David Chamberlain

David Chamberlain

David Chamberlain – Austin & 

jay harveyJay Harvey – Austin

They will report on what is left of the Civil Justice System in Texas after the legislative session. They have informed us their presentation may be about how to practice real estate law or wills and estates.

 

 

 

Richard Cohen

Richard Cohen

Richard Cohen – Montgomery, Alabama

Richard is the president of the Southern Poverty Law Center. He joined as a legal director in 1986 and has spent over 30 years fighting hate and injustice.. Under his guidance, the SPLC won a series of landmark lawsuits against some of the nation’s most violent white supremacist organizations. He also successfully litigated a wide variety of important civil rights actions – defending the rights of prisoners to be treated humanely, working for equal educational opportunities for all children, and bringing down the Confederate battle flag from the Alabama State Capitol. In 1999, he obtained a record $37.8 million judgment against a Klan group for its role in the burning of a South Carolina church.

 

Dick DeGuerin

Dick DeGuerin

Dick DeGuerin

Dick has made his reputation handling tough cases. One of his most sensational cases was the successful defense of Robert Durst who killed his neighbor, dismembered the body and threw the remains in Galveston Bay. Dick convinced the jury to find Durst not guilty. Dick has defended many famous and infamous clients including former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and former House Majority Leader Tom Delay. Dick will talk to us about his representation of David Koresh and the Branch Davidians.

 

Chad Dunn

Chad Dunn

Chad Dunn – Houston

Chad has made a name for himself as an outstanding trial and appellate lawyer. As General Counsel to the Texas Democratic Party, he has handled numerous trial and appellate matters related to voting rights, redistricting, and civil rights. He was named one of the Top Ten Lawyers Under the Age of 40 by Texas Lawyer magazine. His presentation will involve his representation of several young women who have sued Baylor University based on accusations of sexual assault.

 

Rick Harrison

Rick Harrison

Rick Harrison – Austin

Rick has more than 40 years of experience in representing clients in complex commercial litigation at trial and on appeal in a broad range of areas, including business litigation, technology, intellectual property, employment and product liability. Prior to entering private practice, Rick served as a Special Assistant Attorney General of Texas and was responsible for discovery, trial preparation and the three-month jury trial concerning the Howard Hughes Estate and the determination of Howard Hughes’ legal domicile at death. Rick will share with us some of his “star-studded” adventures in the Howard Hughes case.

 

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. – Washington, DC

In 1864, Justice Holmes attended Harvard Law School, and later taught there as a professor. In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Holmes to the U.S. Supreme Court. Holmes retired in 1931, at the age of 91. During his time on the court, he earned the nickname “the Great Dissenter” for how often he opposed his fellow justices in their opinions. Holmes is remembered as one of the court’s most eloquent speakers.

 

 

rickjones

Rick Jones

Rick Jones – New York City

Rick Jones is the Executive Director and a founding member of the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem.  NDS is known internationally for its innovative, community-based, holistic public defense practice and has been named the #1 Public Defender Office in America.  Rick is a lecturer in law at Columbia Law School and on the faculty of the National Criminal Defense College in Macon, GA. He currently serves as President-Elect of the National Association of Criminal Defense.

 

MIkal Watts

MIkal Watts

Mikal Watts – San Antonio

Mikal Watts joined forces with Francisco Guerra IV to form Watts Guerra LLP which handles catastrophic personal injury, toxic torts, product liability, commercial litigation, and mass torts. In 2013, Watts was charged with fabricating more than 40,000 BP oil spill victims and indicted in federal court in Mississippi. After defending himself In a 5 week trial, Watts was found not guilty on all counts. He now seeks to reform a criminal justice system that has failed those it was implemented to protect.

 

TEX-ABOTA Files Amicus Brief Opposing Push Poll Intended to Sway Jury Pool

The TEX-ABOTA Amicus Committee has filed the 2016.8.11 Consolidated Brief of Amicus Curiae together with TADC, TTLA and National ABOTA with regard to push polling done in a case in Lubbock, Texas.

The preservation of fair and unbiased juries is of paramount concern to everyone who supports our Constitution and particularly the Seventh Amendment.

Our thanks to all of the individuals who participated in this effort, including:
Brian P. Lauten
Michael P. Lyons
Christopher A. Duggan
Guy Choate
Roger W. Hughes
Peter Kelly
Jeffrey Simon
David Chamberlain
Eileen O’Neill

2016.8.11 Consolidated Brief of Amicus Curiae.

2016 James Otis Lecture Series Soars

The 2016 James Otis Lecture Series program was held at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on Tuesday, September 20th. The program is typically held on Constitution Day, September 17th, but since it fell on a Saturday, the program was moved to the following Tuesday.

Over 130 students from across Texas arrived first thing in the morning and were treated to a tour of the Capitol before the program began.

The program has been held in the chambers of the House of Representatives since 2012. Due to construction in those chambers, the program was held in the Senate Chambers this year. It is a lovely, historical setting, full of Texas history.

We were honored to have Cynthia McGuinn, ABOTA Vice President, with us for our event. She came in from San Francisco specifically to experience the TEX-ABOTA “JOL” program.

Once again, the students were treated to a discussion by “rock star” history Professor H.W. “Bill”Brands. The topic was his best selling book, “The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin”. The book was a Pulitzer prize finalist! Professor Brands told the students about Ben Franklin’s early life and how his intelligence carved the path his life took. He was 70 years old and became a “revolutionist” who helped shape the Constitution and, ultimately America.

Students attending were from Houston, Dallas, Carrizo Springs, Palestine, Austin and San Antonio. TEX-ABOTA was honored to have students from the Texas School for the Deaf in attendance, along with their interpreters. Juan and Eva Dominguez brought the students from Carrizo Springs, leaving at 4:00a.m. Tuesday morning to arrive on time.

After Dr. Brands’ talk, the group walked across the Capitol grounds to the First United Methodist Church for lunch. Dr. Brands was kind enough to autograph the books that TEX-ABOTA had provided to them at the beginning of the summer. After lunch, each student was recognized and received a certificate naming them as a James Otis Lecture Series scholar.

These students are the best of the best. They are interested in government and civics and economics and history. They will, without a doubt, be leaders in their fields.

As Dr. Brands said, maybe some of them will return to the Senate Chambers – only as Senators.

TEX-ABOTA Annual Award Winners

TEX-ABOTA recognized Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, United States District Judge Mary Lou Robinson of Amarillo, and attorney Terry Tottenham of Austin with its 2016 awards at its annual meeting on June 11, 2016.

TEX-ABOTA is compromised of the 16 Texas chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and its members include defense and plaintiff attorneys committed to the preservation and protection of the U. S. Constitution’s 7th Amendment right, and Texas Constitution’s right, to a jury trial in civil cases; and to an independent and impartial judiciary.

 

Mark Cuban 2016 Champion of Civil Justice

Mark Cuban
2016 Champion of Civil Justice

Mark Cuban was named the 2016 recipient of the Champion of Justice Award, which is given periodically to a litigant who exhibits courage and commitment beyond their own lawsuit, which protects, defends and preserves the Seventh Amendment constitutional right to jury trials.  For seven years, Mr. Cuban valiantly fought against charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission and was completely vindicated by a jury of citizens. Simply paying the fine would have been simpler and cheaper, but he refused to admit to something he had not done.    Mr. Cuban’s acceptance interview with ABOTA member Tom Melsheimer can be viewed on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0FftV-pZ9Y&feature=youtu.be.  In addition, Mr. Cuban’s public service announcements supporting the 7th Amendment can be viewed on the Save Our Juries website, http://saveourjuries.org/index.cfm?pg=Videos.

 Judge RobinsonJurist of the Year is The Honorable Mary Lou Robinson of Amarillo, Texas, who has served as a judge for more than 60 years, beginning in 1955 – before women were allowed to serve on juries!  Judge Robinson first served as a trial court judge in state courts, then as a justice on the Amarillo Court of Appeals, and for the last 37 years as a United States District Judge. Judge Robinson has exemplified fairness, impartiality and an intense commitment to the U.S. and Texas constitutional rights to jury trial in the American system of justice. Among her many notable cases, she was the presiding judge in the “Oprah Trial” in Amarillo, Texas. Jude Robinson was unable to attend and her award was accepted by chapter president, Channy Wood.

 TxAbta0464Trial Lawyer of the Year is Terry Tottenham of Austin, Texas, and a longtime partner at the Fulbright and Jaworski law firm, now Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP. Mr. Tottenham served in many capacities within the firm including managing partner as well as partner in charge of its products liability trial section. His many accomplishments as a leader of the Texas bar include the creation of the Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans while he was president of the State Bar of Texas.  Mr. Tottenham’s award was presented to him by his long-time friend Ken Tekell of Houston, Texas.

State Bar of Texas Recognizes David Halpern

STATE BAR OF TEXAS RECOGNIZES DAVID HALPERN WITH THE 2016 NANCY L. GARMS MEMORIAL AWARD

David HalpernDALLAS (June 16, 2016) — The State Bar of Texas presented attorney David Halpern with the Nancy L. Garms Memorial Award at its 2016 Annual Meeting in Fort Worth. This award is given to an attorney or judge who demonstrates commitment to law-focused education programs and civic engagement.

Halpern is assistant general counsel for Texas A&M University and a national board member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. In 2009, he founded the Teachers Law School, an ABOTA Foundation program that connects legal professionals with educators to provide seminars and roundtables on civics concepts for the classroom.

The ABOTA Foundation has organized more than 40 TLS programs across the country. Topics include separation of powers, judicial independence, education law, and the importance of trial by jury. These presentations give teachers the tools to help their students better understand and appreciate the value and relevance of the American legal system.

Halpern practices in the areas of student affairs and litigation. Prior to joining the Office of General Counsel at Texas A&M, he served as an assistant attorney general for the State of Texas for 19 years. Halpern is on the extended faculty at the University of Texas School of Law, the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, and he has served as teaching faculty for the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Supreme Court’s Permanent Commission for Children, Youth, and Families, and the National Association of Attorneys General.

Halpern’s dedication to civics education follows the footsteps of the Nancy L. Garms Memorial Award namesake. Garms was the first female president of the Amarillo Bar Association and an adjunct professor at West Texas A&M University. Her tireless dedication to civics education was reflected in her service as president and longtime board member of Law Focused Education, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization of the State Bar.

For more information contact: Brian Tyson at (800) 932-2682 briant@abota.org.

ABOUT THE ABOTA FOUNDATION:

The ABOTA Foundation is the educational arm of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Founded in 1958, ABOTA is a membership organization of more than 7,500 civil trial attorneys who have been invited to join because of their outstanding trial skills, integrity and civility in the courtroom. ABOTA members are almost evenly divided between plaintiff and defense attorneys. The Foundation’s mission is to educate young Americans about the right to trial by jury and other constitutional liberties. The ABOTA Foundation has created the Justice by the People curriculum (10 lesson plans available free on the Scholastic website at www.scholastic.com/americanjustice), the James Otis Constitution Day Lectures, and the Teachers Law School. The Foundation is also a lead sponsor of the National High School Mock Trial Championship and has partnerships with leading civic education organizations.

 

2016 Halpern Award SBOT (PDF version)