News From Around The Bar

Photo courtesy of the Dallas Bar Association

Dallas Bar Association elects Robert Tobey as president

Robert Tobey, of Johnston Tobey Baruch, was elected president of the Dallas Bar Association for 2020. He was sworn in as the 111th president on January 11. Officers serving on the DBA Board of Directors are Aaron Tobin, president-elect; Karen McCloud, first vice president; Cheryl Camin Murray, second vice president; Monica Lira Bravo, secretary/treasurer; and Laura Benitez Geisler, immediate past president. The DBA Board of Directors includes Vicki D. Blanton, Rob Cañas Jr., Jonathan Childers, Stephanie Gause Culpepper, Rocío García Espinoza, Isaac Faz, Sakina Rasheed Foster, Justin Gobert, Hon. Martin Hoffman, Krisi Kastl, Kathleen Kilanowski, Bill Mateja, Hon. Audrey Moorehead, Lindsey Rames, Mary L. Scott, Andrew Spaniol, KoiEles “Koi” Spurlock, and Amy M. Stewart. For more information about the DBA, go to

Texas Attorneys Win 2019 American Bar Association Spirit of Excellence Awards

Richard Pena, 1998-1999 State Bar of Texas president, and Judge Lora Livingston, of the 261st Civil District Court in Austin, will receive American Bar Association Spirit of Excellence Awards on February 15 at the JW Marriott Austin. The award, presented by the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, honors lawyers whose commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession is evident in their workplace and at the local, state, or national level. For more information about the ABA, go to

Legislative and Campaign Law is Newest Texas Board of Legal Specialization Specialty Area

The Texas Supreme Court approved legislative and campaign law as the newest Texas Board of Legal Specialization specialty area. Texas is one of the first states in the country to approve specialization in legislative and campaign law. Attorneys who wish to earn certification must have extensive experience in this area of law, complete a specified number of CLE hours in the specialty area, and pass an exam. The new specialization will focus on legislative procedures, campaign finances, lobby laws, and mechanisms of government. The effort was led by Andy Cates, former State Bar of Texas Legislative and Campaign Law Section chair. Current Section Chair Elizabeth Hadley will serve on the committee to develop the application for the certification and to vet exam applicants. To find out more about the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, go to

Information on Running for State Bar of Texas District Director

Those attorneys in good standing who are interested in running as a district director for the State Bar Board of Directors must submit a petition to the State Bar by March 1. Names provided on the petition should be legible and the bar card number of each individual must be provided. State Bar rules state that petition signatures may not be collected prior to September 1 of any given year. For more information, go to

Entries Sought for 2020 Texas Gavel Awards

The State Bar of Texas Public Affairs Committee announced it is seeking submissions for the 2020 Texas Gavel Awards, which honor outstanding journalism that fosters public understanding of the legal system. Entries published or broadcast during the 2019 calendar year will be accepted for print, broadcast, and online categories until 5 p.m. February 28. There is no entry fee. The awards will be presented at the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas’ annual conference in September. For details about the Texas Gavel Awards, go to

Texas Access to Justice Foundation Awards Grants in Honor of 35th Anniversary and John Grisham

The Texas Access to Justice Foundation awarded grants to four legal aid organizations in honor of bestselling author John Grisham and the organization’s 35th anniversary. TAJF is providing $75,000 grants to Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, Lone Star Legal Aid, South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project, and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. These grants will provide basic civil legal services to those in need in Texas. “Speaking from personal experience John Grisham passionately recounted how having the help of a lawyer makes the vital difference for those struggling with legal challenges,” said Richard L. Tate, chair of the TAJF Board of Directors, in a news release. “We thank him for bringing this message to our 35th anniversary celebration and for his work to encourage others to make a difference.” Grisham served as the keynote speaker of the foundation’s 35th anniversary dinner and donated his time and service on behalf of those in need of legal aid. For more information about TAJF, go to

State Commission on Judicial Conduct Releases Annual Report

The State Commission on Judicial Conduct has released its fiscal year 2019 annual report covering activities from September 1, 2018, to August 31, 2019. It is available online at


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