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Posted on: Apr 12, 2021

Purpose: The HBA Diversity Awards recognize outstanding achievements and dedication by law offices, legal departments and individuals in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion in the legal profession. The nominations are reviewed by a committee of representatives from the HBA, the Gender Fairness Committee, the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and the LGBTQ Committee. The awards will be presented at the HBA’s Diversity & Inclusion 1L Summer Clerkship Program Celebration this summer.

History: The HBA Diversity Awards were created in the 2019-2020 bar year by then-HBA President Benny Agosto, Jr. This year, a new nomination form was developed to assist and encourage law offices and individuals to self-nominate or nominate another individual or organization for recognition.

Requirements: The HBA encourages Houston legal employers to apply, as well as individual HBA members who have achieved significant progress for diversity, equity and inclusion in the legal profession.

Entry: Click here to download the application form (Word document). Send the application form by 5:00 p.m., April 23, 2021, to HBA Associate Executive Director Tara Shockley at taras@hba.org.

Posted on: Apr 10, 2021

Law Day 2021 Logo Advancing the Rule of Law Now HBA Law Week Committee logo

Join the HBA in celebrating Law Day 2021 with the theme, "Advancing the Rule of Law Now."

 

Multi-bar Law Day Celebration, May 3

A headshot of Former FBI Director Louis FreehThe rule of law is the bedrock of American rights and liberties – in times of calm and unrest alike. The 2021 Law Day theme "Advancing the Rule of Law Now" reminds all of us that we the people share the responsibility to promote the rule of law, defend liberty, and pursue justice.

In honor of Law Day, the Dallas Bar Association presents a Conversation with DBA President Aaron Tobin and Former FBI Director Louis Freeh, Monday, May 3 from noon to 1:00 p.m. Click here to RSVP.

Supported by Austin Bar Association, Austin Young Lawyers Association, Bell County Bar Association, Collin County Bar Association, Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, Dallas Bar Association, El Paso Bar Association, Houston Bar Association, Jefferson County Bar Association, San Antonio Bar Association, and Tarrant County Bar Association.

 

HYLA/HYLF Law Day Virtual Luncheon, May 7

Join us on Friday, May 7 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for a virtual presentation by Supreme Court of Texas Justice Brett Busby, Haynes and Boone Senior Counsel Lynne Liberato, and University of Houston Law Center Dean Leonard Baynes. Click here to register.

This event is free for all to attend and is accredited for 1 hour of MCLE, including .25 hour of ethics. In addition, we will recognize the HYLA annual award winners and the HBA Law Day contest award winners.

 

More HBA Law Day Programming

Visit hba.org/LawDay to learn about the HBA's programs and how to get involved, including:

  • Essay, Photography, and Poster Contest winners;
  • Reading What If Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick at local elementary schools;
  • Resources and a guardianship presentation for special needs students, educators and families;
  • Collaborations with the AABAH, MABAH, HisBAH, and HLA;
  • and more!

Posted on: Apr 8, 2021

As we reach one year in the COVID pandemic, I want to thank our members for your support of the HBA and your engagement in the Houston community. Our HBA board and staff have continued to work hard to serve members with CLE, publications, and other resources to help your practice and your personal and professional development throughout this year.

Please take advantage of one additional, critical resource provided by Harris County Public Health. If you have not yet received a COVID vaccine, I encourage you to sign up through the portal below, even if you are not in a category that is currently eligible. That way, you will be in the system as soon as additional appointments become available. 

Harris County Public Health COVID Vaccine Signup

There are other ways to sign up, and I hope you will take advantage of several to improve your chances of getting a vaccine as soon as possible. I also hope you will share this link, and others, with your staff and colleagues. 

The HBA looks forward to continuing to serve you.

Posted on: Apr 5, 2021

The Houston Bar Association has launched its monthly online Houston Bar Bulletin to serve members with timely, interactive communication about events and activities, CLE, sections, networking, professional development, volunteer opportunities, and other member benefits.

You will receive an email each month giving you a direct link to the newsletter. The Houston Bar Bulletin also will be posted on the homepage of the HBA website, and you can read the newsletter on your desktop or mobile devices.

Click here or below to read the April 2021 issue.

 

 

You will be able to print the Houston Bar Bulletin on your office or home printer, if you prefer a paper copy.

To zoom in on a page in the electronic reader, click on the magnifying glass icon in the toolbar above the page, or double-click anywhere on the page and use the + and – buttons in the bottom left corner to adjust zoom.

Members will still receive the e-Bulletin every Monday; the CLE Update every Wednesday; the bimonthly print magazine, The Houston Lawyer; and special emails highlighting upcoming events or important information. The monthly online Houston Bar Bulletin will join that lineup to give you more in-depth information on HBA activities for the coming month, as well as photos and recaps of events.

If you have questions about the Houston Bar Bulletin, please contact Associate Executive Director Tara Shockley, taras@hba.org, or Web Manager Carly Wood, carlyw@hba.org, or call (713) 759-1133. The deadline to submit information for next month’s Bulletin is Tuesday, April 20.

Posted on: Mar 15, 2021

Behind the Lines: The Houston Lawyer Podcast

Listen to the latest episode of The Houston Lawyer's official podcast here! Download or stream via Buzzsprout.

HBA members can earn .75 hour of CLE credit from this podcast episode by logging in to hba.org/watchcle.


The latest issue of The Houston Lawyer explores alternative dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration. Check your mailbox or read online at thehoustonlawyer.com.

Be sure to visit The Houston Lawyer committee webpage.

Physical copies of the magazine have been sent to HBA members. If you would like a subscription to the magazine, email Carly Wood at carlyw@hba.org.

Posted on: Feb 22, 2021

Release - "Houston Bar Association, Related Organizations Offer Legal Help for Winter Storm Issues"

General Disaster Recovery Information & Assistance

Specific Issues

Further Help from the HBA & Affiliates

For Attorneys

Consumer Law Tips from Houston Lawyer Referral Service

  • Consumers should not pay excessive water bills (due to broken pipes, etc.), per PUC [Public Utility Commission of Texas]. However, consumers should be sure to pay - on time - the amount of the lesser of one’s previous month’s water bill or the 12 month average water bill.  
  • ERCOT [Electric Reliability Council of Texas] is still in the process of deliberating on how it will handle “cut-rate” utility providers who, in some cases, charged customers thousands of dollars for a single week of power allocation. This price hike was due to the kilowatt per hour increase that some of these electricity distributors charged. At this time, Consumer Protection Attorneys cannot give definitive advice on the escalated electric bills some received, but a realistic expectation is that bills will be drastically reduced in alignment with PUC water legislation. ERCOT is a quasi-governmental entity, so it can be sued under the DTPA, if necessary.
  • Should a consumer receive an outrageously expensive electric bill for the “freeze week”, he should attempt to contact PUC www.puc.texas.gov & ERCOT www.ercot.com/about/contact directly. If a consumer is unable to resolve their electric bill issue directly, he should contact a Consumer Protection Attorney who practices under the DTPA statute.
  • Should you wish to consult or hire an attorney for a legal matter the Houston Lawyer Referral Service offers low cost 30 minute consultations and attorney who charge reasonable rates. To request a referral, visit www.hlrs.org.

[Update 3/5/21] 

The Supreme Court of Texas has issued a Winter Storm Uri emergency order permitting out of state attorneys to practice Texas law temporarily. The order is attached and can be found here: https://www.txcourts.gov/media/1451832/219027.pdf.

Out of state attorneys must register at www.probonotexas.org/uri before providing pro bono services. Once the registration has been reviewed, the out of state attorney will receive an approval letter that they will need to provide to the organization they wish to volunteer with before providing pro bono legal services.

Posted on: Feb 18, 2021

The following HBA events and programs have been canceled or rescheduled.

  • Real Estate Section Meeting, "Texas Vested Rights Under Tex. Loc. Gov't Code Ch. 245: A Simplified Approach" → Date TBA
  • Taxation Section Meeting, "Overview of Outbound International Tax Rules" → Date TBA
  • LegalLine → March 3
  • Friday Afternoon HBA CLE Webinar, "Trust Me, I'm a Lawyer: Handling Trust Accounts, Fee-Splitting, and Freelancing" → March 12
  • HBA Law Day Essay, Photography & Poster Contest entry deadline → March 12, 5:00 p.m.
  • 35th Law & the Media Seminar, "Justice Reform: The Quest for Fairness and Accountability" → Date TBA
  • Gender Fairness Speed Mentoring → March 24

Watch the HBA website and your email inbox for further updates.

Posted on: Feb 10, 2021

On February 9, 2021, Harris County Commissioners Court adopted a resolution, introduced by Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis and led by Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee, to rename the Harris County Law Library in honor of Robert W. Hainsworth.

In 1951, Mr. Hainsworth filed a lawsuit challenging the “one-table rule,” which was a Law Library rule requiring African-American attorneys to use a single, designated table while working in the library. While the courts denied his call for equality, it is only fitting that the Law Library be rededicated to acknowledge the victory of his vision. Today’s Law Library is a place where everyone has a seat at any table.

“Mr. Hainsworth’s determination in the fight for equality is an inspiration for us all, especially those attorneys and self-represented litigants who so often use the Law Library,” County Attorney Menefee said. “He was a trailblazer. His work on this case and in later founding the Houston Lawyers Association shows that he was relentless.”

“I am very proud to support renaming the Harris County Law Library after Robert W. Hainsworth, especially during Black History Month,” said County Commissioner Ellis. “Hainsworth’s fight to desegregate the courthouse and law library paved the way for generations after him. It is only fitting that we would name our law library, which helps to make the legal system more accessible to all, in his honor.”

“We are planning projects with community partners to create a permanent exhibit in the library and to offer educational programs to raise awareness about Robert W Hainsworth and his work for equality in Harris County,” said Law Library Director Mariann Sears.

Today’s Law Library rededication was widely supported by local leaders and legal organizations at Commissioners Court, including the Houston Lawyers Association (HLA), the Houston Young Lawyers Association, the Houston Area Law Librarians, the Houston Bar Association (HBA), HLA president R.J. Blue, HBA president Bill Kroger, and several former HLA leaders.

 

About the Harris County Robert W. Hainsworth Law Library

The Harris County Robert W. Hainsworth Law Library opened its doors in 1915 as the Harris County Law Library, and it has continued to serve Harris County’s legal information needs for more than a century. After becoming a part of the Office of the Harris County Attorney in 2011, the Law Library greatly expanded its technology offerings and services to the public. Visit www.harriscountylawlibrary.org for more information.

Posted on: Jan 8, 2021

To all members of the Houston Bar Association:

The Houston Bar Association joins many state and local bar associations in condemning this week's violent assaults on our Capitol and efforts to upend the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another. As lawyers, we take an oath to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law, including the decisions of our courts. We have a special responsibility to ensure that what happened this week never happens again.

We are living in a time of great challenges in our nation. We face attacks on our governmental and political systems from division and chaos. We face a deadly pandemic that threatens our families, our economy, and our lives. The only way to effect meaningful change is for responsible Americans, regardless of their political affiliation, to stand up for our Constitution, our democracy, and our shared values.

As we celebrate 150 years as the Houston Bar Association, I hope we can come together as lawyers and renew our commitment to upholding our constitutional processes, to equal justice and equal rights under the law, and to healing our divided nation.

Bill Kroger Signature
Bill Kroger
President, Houston Bar Association

Posted on: Dec 16, 2020

"During times of crisis, Houston lawyers have always stepped up," says HBA President Bill Kroger in a new video message to members on the crucial need for pro bono legal services in our city. Much of the economic impact of COVID-19 will be felt in 2021. Through Houston Volunteer Lawyers, you can make 2021 a year of recovery and lift up those who lost so much during the pandemic.

The greatest need of HVL's clients is pro bono representation in eviction and family law cases. Volunteers handling pro bono cases will be assigned an HVL staff attorney mentor who will help with developing case strategy and provide sample forms and templates. If you are interested in volunteering, please call (713) 275-0140 or email probono@hvlp.org.


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