News From Around The Bar
June 2022

Champions of Justice Gala Benefiting Veterans raises $550,000

Charles A. Beckham Jr., a partner in Haynes and Boone in Houston, has been elected president of the More than $500,000 was raised to help provide civil legal services to low-income Texas veterans during the Champions of Justice Gala Benefiting Veterans at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center in Austin on April 28. Proceeds from the gala, which was co-sponsored by the Texas Access to Justice Commission and the State Bar of Texas, are distributed by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation to legal aid programs across the state. Texas Supreme Court Justice Brett Busby, the court’s liaison to the Texas Access to Justice Commission, served as the gala’s master of ceremonies. Throughout the evening, he emphasized how important it is for Texas veterans to come home to a community of support. Busby announced the inaugural “Macey and Harry Reasoner Access to Justice Lecture Series,” which featured retired Lt. Gen. Nadja West, 44th U.S. Army surgeon general and former commanding general of U.S. Army Medical Command, as the keynote speaker. For more information about the Texas Access to Justice Commission, go to

Baylor Law School Aannounces Law Schools Participating in Top Gun XIII competition

Law students from some of the top trial advocacy programs in the country will take part in the 13th annual National Top Gun Mock Trial Competition, scheduled for June 1-5 at Baylor Law School in Waco. This year’s competition, known as Top Gun XIII, is by invitation only and is among the nation’s most prestigious and intense mock trial competitions. It is limited to 16 law schools, each represented by one student who will be announced as their school’s advocate in May. Participants will not receive the case details they will argue until 24 hours prior to the competition, and the winner will take home a $10,000 prize. The 16 competing law schools are: American University Washington College of Law; Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law; Chicago-Kent College of Law; Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law; Fordham University School of Law; Loyola Law School, Los Angeles; Quinnipiac University School of Law; Samford University Cumberland School of Law; Stetson University College of Law; South Texas College of Law Houston; Temple University Beasley School of Law; UCLA School of Law; University of California Berkeley School of Law; University of Denver Sturm College of Law; University of Georgia School of Law; and University of South Carolina School of Law.

Board of Law Examiners Announces Top Three Scorers on February Texas Bar Exam

Hannah E. Shoss, Evan Alexander Barr, and Olivia Sher are the three highest scorers on the February 2022 Texas Bar Exam, the Texas Board of Law Examiners announced in a press release. “The Supreme Court of Texas is immensely proud of the achievements of these three individuals,” said Texas Supreme Court Justice Brett Busby in a press release. “We welcome them to the bar and wish them productive and fulfilling careers in the law.” Shoss, a 2017 graduate of SMU Dedman School of Law, is the top scorer on the February exam. Shoss was admitted to the Oklahoma Bar in 2017. Barr, a 2020 graduate of Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, is the second-highest scorer on the February exam and was admitted to the California Bar in 2021. Sher, a 2019 graduate of Tulane University School of Law, is the third-highest scorer on the February exam, and was admitted to the California Bar in 2021. The top three scorers were honored at the State Bar of Texas New Lawyers Induction Ceremony on May 13 at Bass Concert Hall in Austin.

STCL Houston’s Black Law Students Association Honors Associate Dean Helen B. Jenkins

Executive Vice President Emerita and Professor Helen B. Jenkins received a Lifetime Achievement Award for 35 years of service to South Texas College of Law Houston, or STCL Houston, at a gala March 7 hosted by STCL Houston’s Black Law Students Association. Jenkins, who teaches, writes, and speaks in the areas of wills, trusts, estate administration, and guardianship law, is the founder and director of STCL Houston’s Professor of Law Diversity Initiative. “It was such a joy to be able to honor Dean Jenkins in this special way,” said Black Law Students Association President Heaven Smith, who coordinated the event, in a press release. “She is an amazing role model, and we all think the world of her.” Jenkins attended Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Conservatory of Music and earned a master’s degree in music from Howard University. She is an alumna of the University of Houston Law Center. For more information about STCL Houston, go to

ABA Hispanic Commission’s
Cinco de Música Plays Again

Cinco de Música returned for its second year via the American Bar Association Hispanic Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities. Held online, the virtual event featured comedy from Michael Freed, president of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, and five musical performances, including Dallas’ Off the Record. Off the Record features three Texas lawyers—vocalist Jaime Mata and bass player Steve Klimacek, in-house attorneys with AT&T, and keyboard player Price Collins, managing partner in Wilson Elser in Dallas. Cinco de Música is a nationwide celebration to raise awareness of and support for the ABA Hispanic Commission, chaired by Texas Access to Justice Foundation Executive Director Betty Balli Torres. For more information, go to

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid Rolls Out
New Universal Phone Numbers

To provide a streamlined solution for those individuals in need of legal representation throughout 68 southwest Texas counties, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, or TRLA, recently established new universal local and toll-free phone numbers. Anyone seeking to apply for legal services, contact a TRLA office, or contact a TRLA staff member should now dial 956-996-TRLA (8752) or 833-329-TRLA (8752). When callers dial these numbers, they will receive a general message and then be given the following prompts: “Press 1 to apply for legal assistance (intake); Press 2 for a staff directory; Press 3 to speak with an operator; Press 4 to reach our public defender offices.” Except for some holidays, these phone lines will remain open on weekdays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. CST. For more information about TRLA, go to


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