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Posted on: Jul 16, 2021

The Houston Bar Association welcomed 2021-2022 President Jennifer A. Hasley of Hasley Scarano, L.L.P. and celebrated the accomplishments of 2020-2021 President Bill Kroger of Baker Botts L.L.P. at its Annual Dinner on July 15.

The association presented its two highest awards for professionalism, achievement, and leadership.

The Justice Eugene A. Cook Professionalism Award was presented to David J. Beck, founding partner of the law firm of Beck Redden LLP. The award’s namesake, Justice Cook, was a former HBA President and former Texas Supreme Court Justice who chaired the Committee on Professionalism that drafted the Texas Lawyer’s Creed.

Beck is a nationally-recognized trial lawyer who served as President of the State Bar of Texas, President of the American College of Trial Lawyers, President of the International Association of Defense Counsel, and Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Center for American and International Law. He was appointed for a six-year term on the University of Texas System Board of Regents in 2015 and was named a “Distinguished Alumnus” by both UT-Austin and the UT Law School. He is a Life Member and Past President of the University of Texas Law School Foundation Board of Trustees and an adjunct professor at UT Law School.

The HBA presented the Justice Ruby Kless Sondock Award to Susan L. Bickley, a partner at Blank Rome LLP and current office chair for the firm’s Houston office. The award’s namesake, Justice Sondock, was a trailblazer for women in the law, the first woman to serve on the Texas Supreme Court and the first woman to serve as a District Judge in Harris County.

Bickley served as Chair of the Houston Bar Foundation during a difficult pandemic year in which the Foundation raised a record amount to support pro bono legal services through the HBA’s pro bono program, Houston Volunteer Lawyers. She served on the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct Committee of the State Bar of Texas and on the Steering Committee for the United Way Women’s Initiative. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the UH Law Foundation and the Board of Directors of John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science.

Kroger presented Special Recognition Awards for exemplary service to the legal profession and the community to Dean Michael F. Barry of South Texas College of Law Houston, Dean Joan R.M. Bullock of Thurgood Marshall School of Law, and Dean Leonard M. Baynes of the University of Houston Law Center for leadership in legal education and community engagement.

Kroger awarded the inaugural Tara Shockley Award for Exemplary Service and Dedication to the HBA to the award’s namesake, Associate Executive Director Tara Shockley. She will retire in December after a 40-year career at the HBA. The award will be given on occasion to an HBA staff member who has demonstrated outstanding dedication to the bar.

In addition, several HBA Committees and their co-chairs were recognized for outstanding achievements during 2020-2021:

Bench Bar Conference Committee
Rick Anderson, Roberts Markel Weinberg Butler Hailey PC
Hon. Julie Countiss, First Court of Appeals
Hon. Michael Gomez, 129th District Court
Jennifer A. Hasley, Hasley & Scarano, L.L.P.
The Hon. Lauren Reeder, 234th District Court

County Law Library Committee
Hon. Sonya Heath, 310th District Court
Hon. Sarah Beth Landau, First Court of Appeals
Maria Lowry, Law Office of Maria S. Lowry

Diversity & Inclusion Committee
Scott Ellis, Foley & Lardner LLP
Murtuza Hussain, Baker & McKenzie LLP
Jacquelyn Rex, Smyser Kaplan & Veselka, L.L.P.

Fun Run Committee
Brooksie Boutet, Shipley Snell Montgomery LLP
Amber Morrison, Laredo Energy
Cara Vasquez, DLA Piper LLP (US)

Gender Fairness Committee
Jason Beesinger, Joyce + McFarland LLP
Catherine Hounfodji, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
Tiffany Larsen, Harris County District Attorney's Office

The Houston Lawyer Editorial Board
Anna Archer, Editor in Chief
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas

Implicit Bias Task Force
Mindy Davidson, Houston Bar Association
Hon. Genesis Draper, County Criminal Court at Law #12
Scott Ellis, Foley & Lardner LLP
Karen Hurwitz, Karen Hurwitz & Associates
Hon. Latosha Lewis Payne, 55th District Court
Shemin Proctor, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Hon. R.K. Sandill, 127th District Court
Ashley Steininger, Houston Bar Association

Law Week Committee
Joseph Lawson, Harris County Robert W. Hainsworth Law Library
Karen Lukin, Attorney at Law
Charles Shaw, Harris County District Attorney’s Office

LegalLine Committee
Joyce Banks, Baker Botts L.L.P.
Ellyn Josef, Vinson & Elkins LLP
Mitch Reid, formerly of Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP; now with Spencer Fane LLP
Sarah Roark, Locke Lord LLP
John Stavinoha, Bracewell LLP
Andrew Yeh, Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP