State Bar of Texas Podcast

Podcast Logo

The State Bar of Texas Podcast is a monthly show featuring news and discussions relevant to the legal profession, from the latest industry trends and caselaw to practice tips and State Bar programs. Host Rocky Dhir, attorney and CEO of Dallas-based Atlas Legal Research, invites thought leaders and innovators to share their insight and knowledge on what matters to practitioners. To subscribe, go to iTunes or Google Play.


EPISODE 69: What Automated Certificates of Service Mean for Texas Lawyers
E-filing systems are quicker and more efficient, but there is certainly still room for human error, as was seen in a recent case heard by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans—a lawyer who had agreed to use e-filing later missed a motion for summary judgment that landed in his spam folder, leading to his failure to respond to the motion in time and, ultimately, to the court tossing the lawsuit. What does all this have to do with Texas lawyers? State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir welcomes D. Todd Smith to talk through the functions of automated certificates of service in the state and how this technology could prevent circumstances similar to those that led to the recent 5th Circuit case.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Clio.


EPISODE 68: The Lanham Act Turns 75!
We may not give much thought to how trademark laws affect our daily lives, but the Lanham Act has played a huge role in protecting us as consumers. How? State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir welcomes intellectual property experts Joe Cleveland and Craig Stone to discuss the evolution of trademark law and its functions in our economy. They also honor Texas Congressman Fritz Lanham’s contributions to this area of the law and explain how his namesake act has promoted trust and reliability in United States commerce and inspired other countries to model their laws after its statutes.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Clio.


EPISODE 67: Diversity and Inclusion in the Texas Bar Journal
The Texas Bar Journal has been striving to make sure diverse voices are represented in its pages. State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir talks with Angelica Hernandez, a member of the Texas Bar Journal Board of Editors, to learn how articles are selected for the Journal and how the unique perspectives of diverse authors benefit all Texas legal professionals.


Episode 66: A Conversation with Sylvia Borunda Firth—Your New State Bar of Texas President
Sylvia Borunda Firth has been sworn in as the new president of the State Bar of Texas! State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir welcomes Borunda Firth to discuss her hopes for the presidency, particularly her passion for diversity and inclusion. As the first Hispanic woman and first person from El Paso to ascend to the presidency, she discusses her unique campaign path, the importance of these “firsts,” and the progress they represent. Borunda Firth then zeros in on two specific issues: her hopes to tackle the problem of “legal deserts” in the state and her thoughts on McDonald et al v. Sorrels et al and why a mandatory state bar is good for Texas lawyers. 


Episode 65: Reopening Texas Courts: Plans and Challenges for Resuming In-Person Court Proceedings
As Texas has lightened its COVID-19-related restrictions ahead of many other states, courts around the state are making plans to, or have already, opened their doors to resume in-person court proceedings. As this process moves forward, how are jurors, litigants, and the many other people involved kept safe? State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir talks with Judge Maricela Moore about what her court, the 162nd Judicial District Court of Dallas, is doing to ensure safety and what challenges it faces related to changing mandates, individual juror concerns, and many other considerations. Moore also discusses the use of Zoom, her take on its role in the future of the judiciary, and when she thinks it does and doesn’t work for court proceedings.

Judge Maricela Moore is the presiding judge of the 162nd Judicial District Court of Dallas County and the local administrative district judge.



Episode 64: Remote Court: Judge Emily Miskel’s Insights On COVID-Era Proceedings
After a year of remote court, how are judges, lawyers, and litigants doing? State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir talks with Judge Emily Miskel, vice chair of the Texas Supreme Court’s Remote Proceedings Task Force, about the many innovations in Texas courts throughout the past year. Judge Miskel highlights the advantages of remote court and its ability to increase access to justice for many litigants and predicts what newly established systems will remain in place in the future, even after courts fully open.



Episode 63: Get to Know Your State Bar President-Elect Candidates!
Voting for the State Bar of Texas president-elect candidates will take place during the month of April! State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir talks to candidates Sara E. Dysart and Laura Gibson to learn about their backgrounds; discuss a variety of issues, from diversity and COVID-19 to access to justice and more; and hear what each hopes to bring to the role of State Bar president. Members can vote either online or by paper ballot from April 1 to April 30. Learn more at



Episode 62: Texas “Cat Lawyer”: The Zoom Mishap Turned Viral Sensation
We’ve all seen it! The viral “Cat Lawyer” video brought the world a collective laugh, but those on the screen somehow kept their cool in the midst of this absurdly humorous situation. “Cat Lawyer” himself, Rod Ponton, and returning guest Judge Roy Ferguson join State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir to discuss their experience and talk through their thoughts on levity and dignity in the courtroom.



EPISODE 61: Rules Vote 2021: Examining Proposed Changes to the Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct
In 2017, the Texas Legislature amended Chapter 81 of the Government Code to create the Committee on Disciplinary Rules and Referenda, or CDRR, and to overhaul the disciplinary rule proposal process. The CDRR has proposed a number of rule changes that can be voted on by eligible members of the bar February 2- March 4. To learn more about the items on the ballot, host Rocky Dhir welcomed CDRR members Lewis Kinard and Claude Ducloux. They outline each of the eight proposed changes and explain how the CDRR identified rules in need of revision. Go to for more information and to cast your vote.



EPISODE 60: Succession Planning: Being Prepared for the Uncertainties of the Future
Every lawyer will eventually end their practice of law, and being ready for that transition safeguards you, your clients, and your fellow attorneys. State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir welcomes Penny Robe to discuss the ins and outs of succession planning for well-prepared attorneys. They discuss the scenarios lawyers should consider as they create a plan (retirement, incapacitation, and more) and share some of the State Bar’s many succession planning resources available to help in the process.



EPISODE 59: Adapting to Change and Adversity: How the Pandemic Could Help Us Do Life & Law Better
Will we ever return to “normal,” or are we forever changed by COVID-19? The world of legal has had to adapt quickly to public health and safety guidelines, sometimes struggling to provide access to justice and maintain legal education in the midst of this difficult time. To examine the ways the profession has responded to these challenges, State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir welcomes lawyer and professor Michael Maslanka. Together, they search for silver linings and offer hope for a brighter future for the practice of law.



EPISODE 58: Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans: Making a Difference by Meeting Veterans’ Legal Needs
Ten years ago, the State Bar of Texas launched Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans (TLTV) under the leadership of 2010-11 bar president Terry Tottenham. A former Marine, Tottenham saw the plight of many Texas veterans experiencing poverty and homelessness and implemented TLTV to provide pro bono legal services to both them and their families. State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir welcomes Tottenham and fellow past bar president and veteran Richard Pena to talk about what TLTV has accomplished in the past decade and how Texas lawyers can offer their help to veterans in need today.



EPISODE 57: Keeping Employees Safe at Work — ADA Considerations in the Age of COVID
COVID-19 has created numerous complications for employers, leaving many unsure about how to best comply with their legal obligations to employees, especially when ADA considerations are at play. State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir welcomes Kelli Fuqua to discuss employment law and the ADA in the context of the pandemic. Fuqua offers practical guidance for employers on how to ensure compliance and get creative with employee accommodations.



EPISODE 56: Practice Well! — Law Practice Resources Division Launches Its New Website
What kind of tools could help you practice law in a healthy, sustainable way? With Texas’ diverse legal community in mind, the new website is filled with resources to help any and all Texas attorneys practice law with ease. State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir talks with Sharon Sandle about the genesis of this newly launched site and its goal of giving lawyers greater success in all areas of legal practice.



EPISODE 55: 2020 Annual Meeting On Demand: Holistic Hustle – 3 Practices to Help Attorneys Thrive at Work and at Home
Lawyers are more productive when they bring their whole selves to work. State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir welcomes Nik Sallie Franklin to discuss her talk from the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting On Demand focused on helping lawyers prioritize their mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Franklin opens up about how holistic practices can help lawyers regain confidence and practice law with excellence.



EPISODE 54: 2020 Annual Meeting On Demand: A Conversation with New TYLA President Britney Harrison
State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir sits down with the new president of the Texas Young Lawyers Association, Britney Harrison, to discuss her plans for the coming year. After running on a platform focused on empowerment, innovation, and education, Harrison shares how these priorities remain at the forefront of her goals, even amidst new challenges brought by COVID-19.



EPISODE 53: Be Prepared! – Disaster Planning Tips for Lawyers & Law Firms
September is National Disaster Preparedness Month! Have you considered whether your law firm could recover from an unexpected crisis? State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir discusses this topic with Hannah Dyal, whose article, “Building a Disaster Plan for Your Law Practice,” will appear in the September 2020 issue of the Texas Bar Journal. Hannah shares insights on the types of hazards lawyers should consider and outlines the essential elements of a well-conceived plan.



EPISODE 52: The 15th and 19th Amendments: Looking Back and Looking Forward
With the 150th anniversary of the 15th amendment and the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment both falling in 2020, host Rocky Dhir welcomes Paul Stafford, author of the recently published article “Men, Their Rights and Nothing More; Women, Their Rights and Nothing Less” to discuss the history of these amendments, how their histories intertwine, and the social challenges that existed then and that exist now. They discuss what led Stafford to write his article for the predominantly legal audience of the Texas Bar Journal, and Stafford shares his personal thoughts on the political activism going on today.



EPISODE 51: What to Expect from the 2020 State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting On Demand
For the first time ever, the State Bar of Texas is hosting its annual meeting entirely online! Host Rocky Dhir talks with Reginald Hirsch and Ron Chichester about what this virtual conference will look like and a sneak peek of the presentations and speakers planned for attendees.

Register here: 2020 State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting On Demand



EPISODE 50: Texas Judiciary: The New Landscape of Operations During COVID-19
The pace of the court system has drastically changed, and while remote proceedings have taken place where possible, many Texas legal professionals are eager to know when the courts will begin to reopen. State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir is joined by David Slayton, the administrative director at the Texas Office of Court Administration, to discuss the current operations of Texas courts, how technology has bridged the gap, and the plan to handle reopening on June 1st and beyond.



EPISODE 49: 2020 State Bar of Texas Elections: Get to Know Your Presidential Candidates
The 2020 elections for the State Bar of Texas and TYLA are starting now! State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir is joined by president-elect candidates Sylvia Borunda Firth and Pablo Almaguer to discuss their backgrounds, qualifications, and what they hope to bring to the bar presidency. They also share their thoughts on how they might help Texas lawyers and communities recover from the current public health and economic crises.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s elections will be entirely web-based. Members can vote online any time beginning April 1 and ending May 29 at 5 p.m. CDT.



EPISODE 48: Coronavirus and Employment Law: How Texas Employers Should Respond to COVID-19
Businesses all over the country have been heavily impacted by emergency public health measures, and many employers do not know how to navigate these quickly changing circumstances. Does current employment law or OSHA offer guidance for pandemic responses? What are employers’ responsibilities to their employees? State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir welcomes Teresa Valderrama to help answer these questions through a discussion about what employers need to know about how existing and newly enacted employment laws interact with the COVID-19 crisis.



EPISODE 47: How to Be an Entertainment Lawyer in Texas
You may naturally think of Hollywood, New York, or some other glitzy locale when imagining entertainment lawyers, but they exist in Texas, too! What does this practice area look like far from places typically associated with entertainment? State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir welcomes attorney Tamera Bennett to discuss how her passion for the music industry led her to grow an entertainment law practice right here in Texas.

Tamera H. Bennett helps clients protect what they create by practicing trademark, copyright, entertainment law, and mediation in Texas and Tennessee.



EPISODE 46: Now What? — Tips for the Transition from Law School to Legal Practice
In May and December each year, new graduates fresh from law school have to make the shift from student to legal practitioner. This often seems like a daunting task, but new grads don’t have to do it alone! The Dallas Bar Association’s Transition to Law Practice Program provides mentors to newly licensed attorneys that help them develop a network of contacts in their area of interest. State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir talks with Anna Rol, who entered the program as a mentee and now serves as a mentor and previously co-chaired the program.



EPISODE 45: The State Bar of Texas’ 2019 Year in Review episode
With 2019 rapidly coming to a close, State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir takes a moment to review the latest changes in the legal landscape. It may not exactly be Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but Dhir is in fact visited by three guests explaining big cases and other developments from the past year, highlighting issues lawyers should be aware of today and even providing a glimpse of what may be coming in the future. Helping guide Dhir through this process are special guests Shawn Tuma, providing insights on cyber-law and data security; Warren Harris, sharing the latest on appellate practice; and Beth Johnson, discussing developments in family law.



EPISODE 44: The Texas Lawyer’s Creed: Conduct Above Reproach
The Texas Lawyer’s Creed has been a source of aspirational guidance for Texas lawyers for the past thirty years, and when it was reaffirmed by the Texas Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals in 2013, lawyers were reminded of its continued relevance. But how exactly did this document come to be, and how has it helped Texas lawyers? In this edition of the State Bar of Texas Podcast, host Rocky Dhir welcomes State Bar of Texas Past President Buck Files and Rockwall County Criminal District Attorney Kenda Culpepper to discuss the history of the creed and its aim to help lawyers conduct themselves with the highest degree of professionalism.



EPISODE 43: Branding for Lawyers: What You Should and Shouldn’t Do
What can you do to stand out to consumers in your community? State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir talks to Amy Boardman Hunt, a content marketing and public relations pro, and Gene Major, a state bar compliance officer, about their unique perspectives on branding for lawyers. Hunt offers advice for effective approaches to legal marketing, and Major goes over what lawyers need to keep in mind to ensure their marketing adheres to compliance rules. They also discuss how the Texas Senate’s newly enacted SB Bill 1189 (addressing deceptive advertising of legal services) is intended to provide greater clarity and protection for consumers. 



EPISODE 42: Suicide in the Law: A Problem We Can’t Keep Ignoring
Mental health issues disproportionately affect the legal profession, and stark data on suicide rates among attorneys calls our attention to the great need for increased awareness. In this EPISODE of the State Bar of Texas Podcast, host Rocky Dhir talks to Dallas attorney and mental health advocate Terry Bentley Hill and Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program Director Chris Ritter about their passion for helping attorneys learn how to recognize and get help for mental health issues. Hill and Ritter openly share their painful personal experiences with these matters, shedding light on the types of symptoms in yourself, colleagues, or loved ones that signal a need for intervention. They discuss the services offered through the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program and encourage lawyers to seek confidential support at 1-800-343-TLAP (8527).



EPISODE 41: Bar Leaders Conference 2019: Q&A with Leaders of TYLA
From the State Bar of Texas Bar Leaders Conference, Texas Young Lawyers Association President Victor Flores hosts a Q&A with President-elect Britney Harrison and Immediate Past President Sally Pretorius. They answer questions submitted by new lawyers at the bar’s New Lawyers Induction Ceremony—providing helpful tips on litigation preparation, work-life balance, and overcoming fears as a new lawyer.



EPISODE 40: State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting 2019: Forms of Address with Judge Roy Ferguson
Getting a rare peek into an often overlooked corner of the legal profession, State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir sits down with Judge Roy B. Ferguson, of the 394th Judicial District Court, to discuss the social challenges that arise after becoming a judge. Ranging from how lawyers and laypeople should address a judge in public to the impacts ascending to the bench has on friends and family, Judge Ferguson talks about the lesser known impacts that most new judges don’t anticipate and few outsiders can truly understand.

Special thanks to our sponsor, LawPay.



EPISODE 39: State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting 2019 - Josh Team and the Adaptable Lawyer
Smaller firms and solo practitioners may think big companies like Keller Williams Realty are out of their reach, but these companies are more eager for their help than they realize. State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir sits down with Keller Williams Realty President Josh Team in front of a live audience at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting 2019 to discuss the impacts of disruption across all industries, why an organization like Keller Williams needs attorneys to help them keep pace with changing technologies, and the best ways lawyers can get noticed by large corporations. This EPISODE qualifies as one hour of self-study MCLE credit for State Bar of Texas members. (To claim self-study, attorneys should log in to My Bar Page at and click on the link to “View/Report MCLE Hours.” From the MCLE homepage, click on “Add Attendance” and go to the tab to add self-study.)

Special thanks to our sponsor, LawPay.

Page 2 >

We use cookies to analyze our traffic and enhance functionality. More Information agree