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Texas attorneys honored by ABAYLD

Tiye Foley, Michael Ritter, and Ryan V. Cox received On the Rise—Top 40 Young Lawyers Awards from the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.

The ABA’s On the Rise award program began in 2016 and has provided “national recognition for ABA young lawyer members who exemplify a broad range of high achievement, innovation, vision, leadership, and legal and community service,” according to its website. Candidates for the awards are ABA members, licensed to practice in the U.S. or its territories, are 36 or young, and are nominated by those familiar with their professional work.

Foley is an attorney with Exxon Mobil Corporation’s Environmental and Safety Law group and previously worked in litigation with Baker Donelson. In private practice, she focused on creditor lawsuits, commercial disputes, and bad-faith insurance claims. Foley also has a background in mechanical engineering, which aids her intellectual property and environmental cases. In addition to practicing law, she spearheads monthly legal clinics in the Houston area as chair of the NAACP-Houston Legal Redress Committee and is on the board of directors for and general counsel to JJ’s I’m Me Foundation, which is a nonprofit that hosts life-development workshops for at-risk girls.

Ritter has worked extensively with the state’s court system, including the Texas Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas, and currently the 4th Court of Appeals in San Antonio. He’s drafted more than 350 opinions and worked on more than 700 appellate matters. Ritter has authored more than 30 law review articles and legal publications, with one being cited by the Texas Supreme Court. Outside of his law practice, he co-owns a business to help students in 47 states and six countries develop argumentation and presentation skills; promotes access to justice and diversity through the Texas Young Lawyers Association, or TYLA, and San Antonio Young Lawyers Association, or SAYLA; served as president of the San Antonio LGBT Bar Association and Texas Association of Appellate Court Attorneys; and volunteered with nonprofits that help LGBTQ youth, people living with HIV, and single parents without transportation.

Cox is a senior attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project in San Antonio, where he works on voting rights litigation in state and federal courts, with a focus on addressing systemic issues that prevent voter access to the polls. He previously was a briefing attorney with the 13th Court of Appeals and clerked with the U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas. Cox is a TYLA director and has worked on local affiliate programs and projects that address fair housing and eviction cycles. He has also previously served the SAYLA as a director and president in 2017-2018, a year when its projects won ABAYLD Service to the Bar, Service to the Public, and Comprehensive Programming Awards, as well as the W. Frank Newton Award from the State Bar of Texas in recognition of efforts to increase legal services to the poor.

The ABA’s On the Rise award program began in 2016 and has provided “national recognition for ABA young lawyer members who exemplify a broad range of high achievement, innovation, vision, leadership, and legal and community service,” according to its website. Candidates for the awards are ABA members, licensed to practice in the U.S. or its territories, are 36 or young, and are nominated by those familiar with their professional work.

For a full list of 2019’s award winners, go to americanbar.org/groups/young_lawyers/awards_scholarships/on_the_rise/2019-honorees.

 

Original author: Eric Quitugua
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Stories of Recovery: Today My Life Is Good

Editor’s note: TLAP offers confidential assistance for lawyers, law students, and judges with substance abuse or mental health issues. Call TLAP at 1-800-343-8527 (TLAP) or find more information at tlaphelps.org.

Law school made me an alcoholic, or to be fair to law school, it was during law school that I crossed over to alcoholism. In college, I used to drink on weekends and sometimes got drunk. But I could decide when I wanted to get drunk. In law school, drinking was a major social component of my life and was a good way to relax and unwind from the stress of the day. But I began to lose the power of choice in terms of my drinking—I got drunk when I did not intend to, and I started to drink to black out, embarrassing my friends and myself.

I graduated, passed the bar, practiced law, got married, went into academia, had children, published articles, and received promotions and tenure all while I was still an active alcoholic. I was a “functioning” alcoholic and was able to practice my profession, attend church, volunteer in many community activities, and still be a good spouse and parent, or so I thought. I needed a drink desperately every day when I got home though, and after that, I might or might not remember the evening. I was not “present” for most of my adult life, and I was depressed, anxious, and angry at home.

Being in academics, I “audited” 12-step programs for many years before I got sober. I knew there was a problem, but being a well-educated person, I thought I could think, reason, or study my way to a solution. I attended hundreds of meetings and read dozens of books, but I could not deal with the reality that the only solution to my problem was to stop drinking.

For me, the crisis came when my spouse decided that our marriage was over. I very much loved my spouse and our life together. I could not imagine not seeing my children every day, nor splitting up the life we had built together. But we separated. I started to attend 12-step meetings and began the long journey to sobriety.

I committed to that program of recovery and particularly came to love and respect the people in our local legal professionals group. I went to the weekly meetings and found people who understood my problem, including the incredulity and pain of asking oneself, How did a smart and talented person like me get here? I have a good job, a nice home and family, and I am an active and productive member of the community. How can I be an alcoholic? I met lawyers like me, personable and functional, yet defeated by their addictions and depression. That first year I also attended the annual Texas Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers convention and found even more attorneys who shared my problem—and showed me that a solution was possible.

After a year sober, my life, objectively, was good, but I was separated and getting divorced. I cried every day and began to suffer from thoughts of suicide. I could not sleep and felt that everyone, except possibly my children, would be better off without me. I still had enough sense to realize that I really did not want to kill myself, so I began seeing a psychiatrist and counselor and started on a true road to recovery.

Since that time, now several years ago, I have come to realize that I used alcohol to treat my underlying problems of anxiety and depression. When the alcoholic “medicine” was removed from my system, it was important to get professional treatment since the 12-step program alone could not treat the mental health problems I had. I also now understand that depression is not a “character defect” or personality flaw that can be removed by prayer, service to others, or efforts of will. Depression, like alcohol, can be a sneaky and lifelong disease that needs to be treated and monitored.

Today my life is good. I remarried, my first spouse and I remained friends, and we did a great job raising two wonderful children. I have true friends, and I have my career and it has thrived. I go to meetings regularly and reconnect with friends at the annual Texas LCL conference.

I still have problems, insecurities, worries, and occasionally, a really bad day. However, I now know the difference between a genuine problem and an inconvenience. I value my friends and family and am actually there for them, rather than passed out on the couch or lying in bed with a hangover. Best of all, the future is something I look forward to.

Original author: Guest Blogger
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McGEE v. McFADDEN. Decided 06/28/2019

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE v. NEW YORK. Decided 06/27/2019

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RUCHO, ROBERT A., ET AL. v. COMMON CAUSE, ET AL.. Decided 06/27/2019

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MITCHELL, GERALD P. v. WISCONSIN. Decided 06/27/2019

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UNITED STATES v. HAYMOND, ANDRE R.. Decided 06/26/2019

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KISOR, JAMES L. v. WILKIE, SEC. OF VA. Decided 06/26/2019

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TENN. WINE AND SPIRITS RETAILERS ASSN. v. BLAIR. Decided 06/26/2019

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DUTRA GROUP v. BATTERTON, CHRISTOPHER. Decided 06/24/2019

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IANCU, ANDREI v. BRUNETTI, ERIK. Decided 06/24/2019

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UNITED STATES v. DAVIS, MAURICE L., ET AL.. Decided 06/24/2019

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FOOD MARKETING INSTITUTE v. ARGUS LEADER MEDIA. Decided 06/24/2019

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FLOWERS, CURTIS G. v. MISSISSIPPI. Decided 06/21/2019

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NORTH CAROLINA DEPT. OF REVENUE v. KAESTNER FAMILY TRUST. Decided 06/21/2019

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KNICK, ROSE MARY v. SCOTT, PA, ET AL.. Decided 06/21/2019

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REHAIF, HAMID M. v. UNITED STATES. Decided 06/21/2019

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AMERICAN LEGION, ET AL. v. AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSN., ET AL.. Decided 06/20/2019

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GUNDY, HERMAN A. v. UNITED STATES. Decided 06/20/2019

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McDONOUGH, EDWARD G. v. SMITH, YOUEL. Decided 06/20/2019

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