News From Around The Bar

Texas Access to Justice Foundation Chairman Receives Award

Richard L. “Dick” Tate, the Texas Access to Justice Foundation’s chairman since 1999, received the Harold F. Kleinman Award, named for TAJF’s first chairman, at the foundation’s 35th anniversary dinner on October 25 in Austin. Tate was recognized for his decades of service to the foundation including his work defending the constitutionality of the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts, or IOLTA, program, which provides millions of dollars for civil legal services for Texans with limited incomes. Attorney and best-selling author John Grisham was the keynote speaker at the dinner. For more information about TAJF, go to

Above from left: Attorney and novelist John Grisham with Richard L. “Dick” Tate, chairman of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, at TAJF’s 35th anniversary dinner in Austin. Photo by Michael Charles/The Mill Photography Studio.

Austin Adoption Day Celebrates 23 New Families

Thirty-nine children became part of 23 families on November 7 as part of the 18th annual Austin Adoption Day at Gardner Betts Juvenile Center. Along with a dozen attorneys, Chief Justice Jeff Rose, Justice Chari Kelly, and Justice Gisela Triana, all of the 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin, plus many other Travis County judges volunteered their time to create forever families for the 39 children. Austin Adoption Day is a partnership among the Austin Bar Association, Austin Bar Foundation, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and CASA of Travis County with the assistance of the Travis County Juvenile Probation Department, Partnerships for Children, the Travis County Office of Child Representation, and the Travis County Children’s Protective Services Board. For more information about the Austin Bar Association, go to

New SMU Law Clinic to Focus on First Amendment Issues

SMU Dedman School of Law will launch a First Amendment Clinic in fall 2020 that will focus on issues including free speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly and petition. The clinic is sponsored by a $900,000 donation from the Stanton Foundation that will cover the core operating expenses for five years. “SMU is incredibly honored to be the recipient of this extraordinary gift,” said Jennifer Collins, dean of SMU Dedman School of Law, in a press release. Tom Leatherbury, a partner in Vinson & Elkins, will serve as the clinic’s director. He serves as the practice group leader for the firms’ appellate practice and has 40 years of experience in state and federal appeals and trials. Professors Lackland H. Bloom Jr., Dale Carpenter, and Jeff Kahn will serve as the clinic’s advisory committee. The law school is launching a nationwide search for a full-time fellow to handle day-to-day administration of the clinic. For more information about SMU Dedman School of Law, go to

Texas Bar Foundation Donates $10,000 to State Bar Exam Prep Scholarship Program

The Texas Bar Foundation donated a grant of $10,000 to the State Bar of Texas Diversity in the Profession Committee for its Bar Exam Preparation Scholarships. The committee aims to help defray the financial burden of preparing for the bar exam. In doing so, the committee awards vouchers for partial scholarships from bar preparation companies. Third-year law students who attend an American Bar Association-accredited Texas law school and who are preparing for the 2020 Texas Bar Exam are eligible for scholarships. Applications are due January 15, 2020, on the committee website at

State Bar of Texas Women and the Law Section Announces Writing Competition

The State Bar of Texas Women and the Law Section is calling for Texas law students to participate in its 2020 Texas Law Student Writing Competition. The winning entrant will receive the 2020 Harriet E. Miers Writing Competition Award and $1,000 payable toward law school-related educational expenses. The second place finisher will receive $500 toward law school-related educational expenses. The two essays may be published in the section’s newsletter. Essays should be no more than 2,500 words and should identify and analyze a legal challenge for women in Texas and/or in the United States based on recent news reports. Students must submit entries by February 28, 2020, to Nicondra Chargois-Allen, Women and the Law Section chair, by email at with the subject line “WAL Student Writing Competition.”

Texas Attorney Launches New Art and Music Experience in Austin

Texas attorney Thomas J. Henry launched “Austin Elevates,” a community art and music experience on November 8-9 in Austin. The event benefited local nonprofit organizations the SAFE Alliance, Superhero Kids, and St. David’s Foundation Community Fund. “Austin continues to be one of our nation’s most popular destinations to experience the best in art and music,” Henry said in a news release. “With this event, I hope to foster more unique talent in order to further elevate the Austin community and support the amazing nonprofits making a cultural difference every day.” The festivities included the unveiling of a new mural by contemporary street artist Alec Monopoly and a special concert featuring performances by Kygo and Daddy Yankee at the Austin360 Amphitheater at the Circuit of The Americas. All donated proceeds from the event support the participating nonprofit organizations. For more information, go to


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