News From Around The Bar
Frank Stevenson Receives Professionalism Award
Past State Bar of Texas President Frank Stevenson is the 2019 recipient of the Morris Harrell Professionalism Award, which honors the “attorney who best exemplifies, by their conduct and character, truly professional traits who others seek to emulate and who all in the bar admire.” Stevenson, who also served as the president of the Dallas Bar Association, is a partner in Locke Lord in Dallas, a trustee of the Texas Bar Foundation, vice president of the Western States Bar Conference, and a longtime advocate of pro bono services. As president of the State Bar, he was integral to the launch of the Texas Opportunity & Justice Incubator, now one of the largest legal incubators in the country. Stevenson will be recognized by the Dallas Bar Association and the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism at an award ceremony at noon on November 15 at the Belo Mansion. For more information about the Dallas Bar Association, go to dallasbar.org. For more information about the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism, go to legalethicstexas.com.
Texas Leads the U.S. in Pro Bono and Compensated Cases
In a report released by the Legal Services Corporation’s private attorney involvement section, Texas was named 2018’s top state for combined pro bono and compensated cases closed at 7,365. LSC, an independent corporation created by Congress to fund legal assistance to low-income individuals, examined the services of legal aid programs it assists nationwide in “LSC By the Numbers: The Data Underlying Legal Aid Programs.” Of the 7,365 cases handled by LSC grantees in Texas, 6,398, or 86.9%, were pro bono. The remaining 967, or 13.1%, comprised compensated cases. LSC grantees in Texas include Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, which received more than $10.4 million in total LSC funding; Lone Star Legal Aid, which received more than $11.3 million; and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, which received about $15 million. The report further found that at the state level, Texas leads the nation in veteran households served, accounting for 17.3% of all veteran households—nearly 7,000—served by LSC grantees.
David Insley Awarded First Randall Chapman Fellowship
Recent St. Mary’s University School of Law graduate David Insley was awarded the first Randall Chapman Fellowship by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation and the Texas Legal Services Center. During his two-year fellowship, he will focus on serving economically disadvantaged families struggling to navigate the justice system. “David has a fire of imagination, depth of thought, and a true passion for justice,” said Karen Miller, TLSC executive director, in a press release. The fellowship was created at the end of Chapman’s 32-year tenure as TLSC executive director.
State Bar Accepting Expressions of Interest for
2020-2021 Standing Committees
The State Bar of Texas is accepting expressions of interest to serve on committees for the upcoming bar year, which begins June 1, 2020. The survey form to express interest is available at texasbar.com/committeeform and is due December 1. Information provided will be submitted to the president-elect for consideration. Standing committees are established by the board of directors, and members are appointed by the president-elect to consider matters of interest to the bar membership, update professional materials, recommend changes to policies and procedures, and study legal issues affecting the legal profession and the public. For the list of committees and their roles, go to texasbar.com/committees.
Texas Legal Leaders: ‘It’s good to get
On the eve of World Mental Health Day, the State Bar of Texas released a video on October 9 highlighting the importance of lawyers seeking help for anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and other mental health issues. “We are here to send a strong message to our legal community that it’s time that we recognize one thing: It’s good to get help,” Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrmann says in the video. The four-minute video, “It’s Good to Get Help,” was produced by TexasBarCLE and the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program, which provides confidential help for Texas lawyers, judges, and law students struggling with mental health or substance use issues. The video features a variety of leaders in the Texas legal profession, and their comments are interspersed with personal stories from attorneys who say they benefited from getting help for issues ranging from grief and burnout to drug and alcohol use disorders. Call the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program at 800-343-8527 (TLAP) to get help for yourself or a colleague, and go to youtube.com/statebaroftexas to watch the video.
Houston Law Center Dean Wins CLEO EDGE
The Council on Legal Education Opportunity, or CLEO, honored Leonard M. Baynes, dean and professor of law at the University of Houston Law Center, with a CLEO EDGE Award in education. Baynes will be honored at an awards reception on November 7 in Washington, D.C. The CLEO EDGE Awards honor individuals and entities that represent CLEO’s three pillars—education, diversity, and greater equality. For more information about CLEO, go to cleoinc.org.
2020 Health Insurance Open Enrollment Begins November 1
The 2020 national open enrollment period for individual health insurance coverage begins November 1 and runs until December 15 for a coverage start date of January 1, 2020. New carrier options are available this year for members to consider. Also, there are enhancements to the added-value benefits that now include complimentary Telemedicine, $10,000 of AD&D insurance, supplemental health coverage, and Health Advocate. Additionally, the Members Health Plan created exclusively for Texas law firms was launched last year and is providing significant benefits to participating firms. The program allows small and large firms to pool their risk as one large group for quality benefits, lower fees, and potential savings. Whether your firm has two or 100 or more employees, this may be a good option to consider.?For more information, go to memberbenefits.com/texasbar. TBJ