News From Around The Bar January 2022
Harriet Miers Named Texas Access to Justice Commission Chair
The Texas Supreme Court named Harriet Miers, a partner in Locke Lord in Dallas and Washington, D.C., as the new chair of the Texas Access to Justice Commission, effective January 1. Harry Reasoner, who served as chair for 12 years, will serve as chair emeritus. The court commended Reasoner for his service and steadfast commitment to ensuring access to justice to all Texans. “Under the dedicated leadership of Chair Reasoner, the Commission made incredible strides in pursuit of its mission to increase the quality and quantity of civil legal services for the poor in Texas,” the court order said. In his role as chair emeritus, Reasoner will continue to be active in the commission and will lead the 2022 Veteran’s Gala. He is a partner in Vinson & Elkins in Houston. “Harry Reasoner is an iconic member of our legal community, indeed most influential and revered for his character and abilities,” Miers said in a press release. “He is one of America’s most highly regarded trial lawyers for his professionalism and effectiveness, and he is legendary in his contributions increasing access to justice for low-income Texans. His passion for making real our country’s pledge to provide justice for all is unsurpassed.” Miers, who served as president of the State Bar of Texas from 1992 to 1993, was appointed to the commission in 2013 and served as chair of the commission’s Legislative Committee, leading efforts to secure funding for civil legal aid. On a national level, she served as co-chair of the Legal Services Corporation Leaders Council. “Harriet has long been a great leader in working for access to justice both at the national level and as a commissioner,” Reasoner said in a press release. “She will continue to provide great leadership.” For more information about the Texas Access to Justice Commission, go to texasatj.org.
Houston Bar Association Harvest Celebration Raises Over $900,000 for Pro
Bono Legal Services
The Houston Bar Association’s 72nd Harvest Celebration raised over $900,000 to support pro bono legal services for low-income Houstonians. More than 1,100 HBA members and guests attended the event on November 8, 2021, at the River Oaks Country Club. “The Houston Bar Association, in collaboration with our committed members, generous underwriters, and partnership with the Houston Bar Foundation, Houston Volunteer Lawyers, and the Houston Bar Association Auxiliary, proudly hold the annual Harvest Celebration to raise funds with one goal in mind—to give people hope to providing a qualified volunteer lawyer and access to the legal system so that justice may always be served,” HBA President Jennifer A. Hasley said in a press release. The fundraising event supports Houston Volunteer Lawyers and has raised more than $10 million for pro bono legal services in Harris County. For more information about the Houston Bar Association, go to hba.org.
Nominations Sought for Pro Bono Awards
The Legal Services to the Poor in Civil Matters and Legal Services to the Poor in Criminal Matters Committees of the State Bar of Texas 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. February 25. Recipients of the Pro Bono Excellence Awards and the Indigent Defense Awards will be notified in May. Award nomination forms are available at texasbar.com/probonoawards. For more information about these awards, contact the Legal Access Division at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-204-2222, ext. 1855.
Megan LaVoie Appointed Office of Court Administration
Megan LaVoie has been appointed Office of Court Administration administrative director effective December 1, 2021. LaVoie replaces Interim Administrative Director Mena Ramón, who had been serving in the role since August 2021 when David Slayton left the position to become vice president of court consulting services for the National Center for State Courts. “Megan LaVoie has helped direct legislative and policy initiatives for the judiciary and worked to support Texas courts in meeting the challenges of the COVID pandemic,” Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht said in a press release. “She is a respected administrator and an effective advocate for the justice system.” LaVoie has been director of public affairs and special counsel to the Office of Court Administration since 2016. She has served on the State Bar of Texas Public Affairs Committee since 2018.
Former Chief Justice Ann Crawford McClure Honored With 2021
The Texas Center for Legal Ethics announced that former Chief Justice Ann Crawford McClure, of the 8th Court of Appeals in El Paso, received the Chief Justice Jack Pope Professionalism Award. The TCLE presents the Pope Award to a judge or attorney who personifies the highest standards of professionalism and integrity in appellate law. The award is named for former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Jack Pope, one of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics’ founders and the first individual to receive the award in 2009. McClure served on the committee that drafted the Texas Standards for Appellate Conduct, the first set of ethical guidelines in the country that applied specifically to appellate lawyers. She was the only sitting appellate justice on that committee and played an active role in the drafting process. Under her leadership, the El Paso Court of Appeals was the first court to adopt the standards, and she authored the first appellate opinion to cite the standards. “Chief Justice McClure exemplified the highest standards of professionalism as a practicing lawyer and as an appellate justice. In both roles she made immense contributions to legal ethics in Texas,” appellate attorney Kevin Dubose said in a press release. Dubose is immediate past chair of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics Board of Trustees. The award was presented to McClure by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht at the annual Texas Supreme Court Historical Society John Hemphill Dinner on December 3, 2021, in Austin. TBJ