News From Around The Bar

Houston Bar Association raises over $870,000 for pro bono legal services

The Houston Bar Association raised a record $873,874 to support pro bono legal services for low-income Houston residents at its 70th annual Harvest Celebration. “The 70th annual Harvest Celebration was truly record setting, and we want to thank all of the sponsors, the HBA team, and Houston lawyers who are dedicated to making the HBA and Houston the best it can be,” said HBA President Benny Agosto Jr. in a news release. The Harvest Celebration was designated a fundraiser 20 years ago and has raised almost $9.5 million for pro bono legal services in Harris County. For more information about the HBA, go to

From left, Houston Bar Association President Benny Agosto Jr., HBA Treasurer and Harvest Celebration Co-Chair Jennifer A. Hasley, HBA Auxiliary President Keisha Phillips, and Harvest Celebration Co-Chair and Houston Bar Foundation Chair Travis Torrence. Photo courtesy of the Houston Bar Association.

Texas Bar Foundation grants $19,547 to Houston Volunteer Lawyers

Houston Volunteer Lawyers received a $19,547 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation, allowing the program to enhance its web-based pro bono volunteer training materials. The grant will expand HVL’s volunteer portal with an online learning management system that will offer individualized courses and materials on topics tied to the pro bono cases HVL offers. The program will add to its existing course content, as well as create new content on topics such as how to take a case and handling divorces and divorce temporary orders hearings. “We will be able to provide [better and more interactive content] to all our volunteers working on pro bono cases as a result of this grant from the Texas Bar Foundation,” HVL Executive Director Michael Hofrichter said in a news release. “This means that more clients will get the help that they need.” For more information about the HVL, call 713-255-1829 or go to

Judge Harlin D. Hale receives Judicial Excellence Award

Judge Harlin D. Hale, of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas, was presented with the 14th annual William J. Norton Jr. Judicial Excellence Award at the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges annual meeting on November 1 in Washington, D.C. The William J. Norton Jr. award, created by Thomson Reuters and the American Bankruptcy Institute, honors a bankruptcy judge whose career has embodied the same dedication to the insolvency community as did the award’s namesake. Thomson Reuters donated $5,000 to the ABI Endowment for Education in Hale’s name. Hale was recognized for his service in remarks by his colleagues from the Northern District of Texas, Judge Stacey Jernigan and Chief Judge Barbara Houser. He has served as a U.S. bankruptcy judge since 2002 and has served as chair of the State Bar of Texas and Federal Bar Association Bankruptcy sections.

Nominations sought for awards

Two State Bar committees—Legal Services to the Poor in Civil Matters and Legal Services to the Poor in Criminal Matters—seek nominations of deserving individuals, groups, and entities that perform exceptional work in the field of legal services to the poor. Nominations are due by 5 p.m. on February 28. Recipients of the Pro Bono Excellence Awards and the Indigent Defense Awards will be notified in May. Award nomination forms are available at For more information about these awards, contact the Legal Access Division at or 800-204-2222, ext. 1855.

State Bar of Texas Judicial Poll

In January 2020, the State Bar of Texas will conduct a judicial poll. The races will include those contested primary races for the Texas Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals, and the courts of appeals from the various judicial districts throughout the state. The poll will be conducted electronically, and e-ballots will be emailed to all Texas attorneys who are in good standing. Be sure to check your spam filter if you do not receive the email. Attorneys may also vote online by going to If you prefer a paper ballot, please call 866-720-4357 or send an email to Request a paper ballot by no later than January 24 to ensure adequate postal delivery time. All ballots must be received by 5 p.m. CST on February 4.TBJ


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