News From Around The Bar

Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Deborah Hankinson serves as first woman Texas Access to Justice Foundation board chair

GorsuchFormer Texas Supreme Court Justice Deborah Hankinson, who began her three-year term as Texas Access to Justice Foundation board chair on September 1, is the first woman to hold the title. Hankinson, who served as TAJF vice chair for many years, spearheaded the creation of the Texas Access to Justice Commission, which partners with the foundation to expand legal aid opportunities for Texans. “It’s an honor to be able to serve the Texas legal aid community as chair of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation board,” Hankinson said in a press release. “Throughout my career, I have advocated for disadvantaged Texans and have supported the successes of civil legal aid organizations across the state. I am eager and proud to now help guide the foundation in its mission of equal justice for all.” Additionally, Houston attorney Travis Torrence was added to the foundation’s board of directors. As leader of the Global Litigation Bankruptcy & Credit Team at Shell Oil Company, he manages a team of attorneys and legal support professionals handling bankruptcy and credit legal issues for all of the company’s business units in the U.S. and Canada. Torrence is also a member of boards and councils at Yale Law School Fund Board, Tulane University School of Liberal Arts, and the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. “Travis is a tremendous talent in both law and life,” Hankinson said in a press release. “He brings a wealth of legal knowledge and a giving and generous spirit to the board, and we are honored to have his perspective in guiding the foundation in its mission of ensuring access to justice for all Texans.”

Robert Galloway to lead South Texas College of Law Houston’s Advocacy program

SmithRobert Galloway, recently named the inaugural president of the National Association of Legal Advocacy Educators, will lead South Texas College of Law Houston’s Advocacy Program. “I’m pleased that Rob Galloway will be leading our exceptional Advocacy Program,” said Michael F. Barry, president and dean of STCL Houston, in a press release. “A pillar of our distinguished program, Rob recently spearheaded a new set of standards applicable to remote advocacy competitions—all designed to promote fairness, consistency, and clear expectations for advocates in our new virtual world. I thank Rob for his leadership and for ensuring that South Texas College of Law Houston remains a national leader in advocacy.” A product of the South Texas Advocacy Program, Galloway was a member of the South Texas Law Review and the winning team at the State Moot Court Competition when he was in law school. He returned to STCL Houston in 1992 as an adjunct professor, where he then became an assistant professor of clinical studies and associate director of the advocacy program under the leadership of “Coach” T. Gerald Treece, who died in July. He has coached teams that won 40 national championships, 44 regional championships, and eight state championships.

Texas law librarian and legal technologist named to Fastcase 50 list of top innovator

A Texas law librarian and legal technologist was included in the annual Fastcase 50 list, which honors top innovators in the legal field. Andre Davison, the research technology manager at Blank Rome in Houston, was named to the list alongside other attorneys, professors, and entrepreneurs from around the world. He was honored for introducing and maintaining information resources—both purchased and internally developed—especially to the firm’s intellectual property practice. Davison is active in Blank Rome’s diversity and inclusion efforts and was honored with the firm’s Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones Diversity Award. Davison was recently elected vice chair/chair-elect of the newly constituted Black Law Librarians Special Interest Section of American Association of Law Libraries. He previously served as president of the Houston Area Law Librarians during the 2019-2020 year and is a member of the AALL Private Law Librarians & Information Professionals Special Interest Section executive board.

Vicki Clark kicks off new Bar Leaders Conference speaker series

In a world where COVID-19 has forced people to rethink how they’ll thrive, attorneys are currently navigating a new arena built on a bedrock of plexiglass benches, Zoom, and social distancing. With so many changes occurring during this pandemic, it’s OK to put some things on the backburner, said Vicki Clark, a consultant who trains organizations on how to foster community and support membership. Clark, who has given keynote speeches at the State Bar of Texas Bar Leaders Conference in the past, was the first speaker in the bar’s new Local Bar Leaders Conference Speaker Series. More than 200 bar leaders watched her webcast presentation titled “The Power of Associations: Leading in Times of Change,” gaining insight on how change can move an organization and people forward. “We have to be on the transition team,” she said. “We all have to think of different ways to lead.”

University of Houston receives $1 million for new John M. O’Quinn Law Building

The University of Houston received a $1 million gift from alumnus Danny M. Sheena, of the Sheena Law Firm, to support construction of the new John M. O’Quinn Law Building. In recognition of the gift, the planned moot courtroom and dividable classroom space will be named the Danny M. Sheena Courtroom; Danny M. Sheena Classroom; and Megan D. Sheena Classroom, named for Sheena’s daughter Megan, a current student at the University of Houston Law Center. “The existing UH Law Center was built over 50 years ago at a time when no computers or cellphones existed. I remember studying for my final exams in the underground study areas and thinking of the structural components that went into designing the Law Center,” Sheena said in a press release. “As a UH engineering and Law Center graduate, I am happy that I can be a part of the new UH Law Center state-of-the-art building that will continue to provide students with an excellent legal education.” Nearly $25 million has been raised through private philanthropy to help fund the new building. Construction of the $93 million John M. O’Quinn Law Building will begin in fall 2020. For more information about the University of Houston Law Center, go to TBJ


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