News From Around The Bar
Baylor Law Grad Receives Honorary Bar Admission After His Death
The Texas Supreme Court recognized Ty Drury with an honorary inclusion on the official rolls of Texas attorneys. The court awarded his family with an honorary, posthumous law license and bar card at a ceremony on January 29—the first posthumous honor by the court in more than a decade. Drury had been diagnosed with stage four colon cancer on April 27, 2018, one day before graduating from Baylor Law School; he died on August 25, 2019, at the age of 28. Drury sat for the Texas Bar Exam in July 2018 and missed passing by six points. The effort to have Drury honored with a posthumous degree was initiated by Bridgeport attorney Michael Simpson, who had hired Drury while he was a law student. Photo courtesy of the Texas Supreme Court.
Kenda Culpepper Elected President of TDCAA
Kenda Culpepper, Rockwall County’s criminal district attorney, took office as the Texas District & County Attorneys Association’s 82nd president. The nonprofit organization serves Texas prosecutors and their staffs. Among its services are producing CLE courses, providing technical assistance to the prosecution community and criminal justice agencies, and serving as a liaison between prosecutors and other organizations in administering criminal justice. TDCAA represents over 6,000 prosecutors, investigators, and personnel in Texas. “I am humbled to have been elected by my peers across Texas and so proud to represent the thousands of prosecutors, investigators, and other personnel who work in offices from Houston to El Paso and the Panhandle to the southern border,” Culpepper told Blue Ribbon News. “I take very seriously the responsibility of leading this organization—an organization manned by public servants who are vested with prosecuting the worst of the worst and helping to keep our communities safe. I am truly inspired by so many of my colleagues and look forward to collaborating with them to further the interest of justice across our great state.” For more information about the TDCAA, go to tdcaa.com.
Native American Law Section Celebrates Culture With Traditional Dances
The State Bar of Texas Native American Law Section hosted dancers that performed traditional dances during the section’s annual conference on February 7 in Austin. Conference attendees were treated to demonstrations of the Grass, Stomp, and Fancy dances before being invited to join in the Circle dance. Music performed on a large drum and paired with traditional vocals accompanied the dancers. The section advocates for the common professional interests of Native American lawyers and those with an interest in Native American law in Texas. Photo by Adam Faderewski.
Oratory Competition Honors Martin Luther King Jr.
Elementary school students took part in the final rounds of the Foley & Lardner MLK Jr. Oratory Competitions in Dallas, Houston, and Chicago. Students answered the question of what the civil rights leader’s vision for America would have been in 2020. Channeling King’s passion and charisma, they gave original speeches and were evaluated based on delivery, stage presence and decorum, content interpretation, and memorization. The competition, first held in 1993 in Dallas, takes place in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. Day and is designed to encourage people to remember and pay tribute to King’s legacy.
Annual Statistical Report for the Texas Judiciary FY
2019 Shows Increase in Civil Filings
The Office of Court Administration, the Texas judiciary, and the Texas Judicial Council have released the Annual Statistical Report for the Texas Judiciary Fiscal Year 2019 with data from every level of court. Highlights include civil filings increasing in nearly every category with debt cases accounting for 30% of the incoming caseload; new misdemeanor cases filed falling to their lowest rate since 1991; cases involving injury or damages involving motor vehicles increasing by 9% from the previous year; child protection case filings declining by 7%; and the number of felony cases filed reaching an all-time high in 2019, largely driven by growth in drug possession cases. Read the report at www.txcourts.gov/oca/.
St. Mary’s University Hosts 26th People’s Law
St. Mary’s University celebrated the 26th year of the People’s Law School, which provides free education by local attorneys on legal topics such as identity theft, wills, and Social Security, on February 15. The project is a joint effort by St. Mary’s University School of Law’s Pro Bono Program and the San Antonio Bar Foundation. “Service and justice are integral parts of the St. Mary’s mission,” said Greg Zlotnick, director of St. Mary’s University School of Law Pro Bono Program, in a press release. “By convening members of the legal community and the general public, the school of law demonstrates its commitment to increasing access to justice—particularly for those who may not otherwise have access to an attorney.” For more information on the People’s Law School, go to the event’s page on the San Antonio Bar Association website.TBJ