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DOD Names Lead for Suicide Prevention and Response Independent Review Committee

Members of DOD's Suicide Prevention and Response Independent Review Committee are in Washington to begin work to address suicides in the U.S. military.
(Originally posted by DoD News)
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Legal Services to the Poor in Civil Matters Committee announces Pro Bono Excellence award winners

The State Bar of Texas Legal Services to the Poor in Civil Matters Committee has announced its 2022 Pro Bono Excellence awards winners.

Michael Logan Ware, of Fort Worth, received the Frank J. Scurlock Award; the Rev. Brooks Harrington, of Fort Worth, received the J. Chrys Dougherty Award; Judge Jerry W. Simoneaux Jr., of Harris County Probate Court 1 in Houston, received the Judge Merrill Hartman Pro Bono Judge Award; Metroplex Veterans Legal Services, of Dallas, received the Pro Bono Award; Audrey F. Momanaee, of Houston, received the Pro Bono Coordinator Award; Stacey Manela, of Houston, received the Pro Bono Support Staff Award; and Sidley Austin LLP of Dallas received the W. Frank Newton Award.

The Frank J. Scurlock Award—Michael Logan Ware

The Frank J. Scurlock Award honors an individual attorney in good standing who has provided outstanding pro bono work. Throughout his more than 30-year career, Ware has provided pro bono criminal defense services to dozens of clients and put in thousands of hours of work to ensure they had adequate counsel regardless of their ability to pay.

Ware’s pro bono cases in recent years have typically been through direct requests from pro bono clients or their family members. Ware has provided pro bono criminal defense services to three clients in the past two years totaling approximately 160 hours of work.

Chrys Dougherty Award—the Rev. Brooks Harrington

The J. Chrys Dougherty Award recognizes an outstanding legal services staff attorney. Harrington founded the Methodist Justice Ministry, or MJM, in January 2006 to assist low-income clients with protective orders, divorces, and custody cases with a focus on protecting women and children. Since its inception, MJM has filed 2,100 cases. In total, MJM has provided legal protection to approximately 2,300 women and children in the past 17 years.

Judge Merrill Hartman Pro Bono Judge Award—Judge Jerry W. Simoneaux Jr.

The Judge Merrill Hartman Pro Bono Judge Award honors a sitting or retired judge who has provided exemplary pro bono service, including outreach to attorneys to increase the quantity and quality of pro bono representation; modifications to court processes to increase access to justice; advocacy on behalf of access to justice; service as a volunteer judge for pro bono clinics; or other pro bono proceedings.

With critical support from Simoneaux, Houston Volunteer Lawyers leveraged its 2021 CLE and judicial training materials to recruit over 230 pro bono attorneys who agreed to handle a probate matter in 2021. Simoneaux also helps plan and execute Houston Volunteer Lawyers’ annual Guardianship & Ad Litem Certification CLE.

Pro Bono Award—Metroplex Veterans Legal Services

The Pro Bono Award honors a volunteer attorney organization that has made an outstanding contribution toward guaranteeing access to the legal system by the poor. Metroplex Veterans Legal Services, MVLS, was founded in 2013 and is the only statewide veterans-focused pro bono legal clinic program in Texas. Its legal clinics focus on removing the legal barriers to employment and housing for veterans and assisting disabled veterans in obtaining military/VA disability benefits. MVLS has approximately 342 volunteer attorneys in addition to 19 assistant attorney generals working alongside the attorney general of Texas.

Pro Bono Coordinator Award—Audrey F. Momanaee

The Pro Bono Coordinator Award is presented to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the delivery of, and access to legal services for the poor. This individual also serves as the pro bono coordinator for a volunteer attorney organization or group, local bar association, law firm, law school, corporate legal office, governmental law department, or legal services organization.

Momanaee has worked tirelessly on numerous pro bono activities, including the “No One Left Behind” initiative, which helps Afghanis who fear persecution and harm in their homeland obtain humanitarian parole and legal entry into the United States. She has also encouraged attorneys at her office to provide pro bono support to over a dozen pro bono guardianship matters and many other family law matters.

Pro Bono Support Staff Award—Stacey Manela

The Pro Bono Support Staff Award recognizes the exemplary contributions of non-attorney volunteers such as paralegals, administrative assistants, interpreters, and other support staff who work on pro bono projects.

Manela is one of the most skilled providers of trial graphics in the field. Her firm, Art of Facts, provides trial graphics and litigation support for many of the most well-respected firms in Houston. She is widely recognized as the go-to person in Houston for trial graphics and trial support.

W. Frank Newton Award—Sidley Austin LLP

The W. Frank Newton Award recognizes the pro bono contribution of attorney groups whose members have made an outstanding contribution in the provision of, or access to legal services to the poor. Sidley’s Dallas office has been an indispensable partner to Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program’s, or DVAP’s, mission to recruit, train, and support volunteer attorneys to provide free, civil legal help and full representation to low-income people in Dallas County across a variety of cases.

Last October, DVAP named Sidley “Law Firm of the Year” at its 2021 Pro Bono Awards. This was the second year that DVAP awarded the firm this recognition for its tireless dedication to pro bono service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Per AP

 

Should this be “Judge Merrill Hartman Pro Bono Judge Award”?

 

Should this be “Judge Merrill Hartman Pro Bono Judge Award”?

Original author: Will Korn
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U.S. to Resume Small, Persistent Presence in Somalia

The U.S. military advise-and-assist support to forces in Somalia will soon change from an ad hoc basis to one of persistent presence, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said.
(Originally posted by C. Todd Lopez)
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Howitzers Proving Very Effective Against Russians, DOD Official Says

The 155 mm M777 towed howitzers supplied by the U.S. and other types supplied by ally and partner nations to Ukraine are having a big impact on the battlefield, a senior Defense Department official said.
(Originally posted by David Vergun)
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'Tremendously Bad': Justice Thomas Criticizes Leak of Draft Opinion Overturning 'Roe'

"I wonder how long we're going to have these institutions at the rate we're undermining them," Thomas said.

     
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How To Leave the Legal Industry (Or at Least Find a Job That Makes You Happier)

This week's episode of Law.com's Legal Speak podcast features an interview with Adam Pascarella, a Penn Law grad and former Baker McKenzie associate who charted his own path outside of the legal industry eventually becoming founder and CEO of Second Order Capital Management.

     
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DOD Must Take Action to Keep Tech Edge

As America's strategic competitors advance their technological advantage, the U.S. must take action to avoid losing its edge, the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering said.
(Originally posted by DoD News)
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NFT Boom: What Are the Regulatory and Enforcement Risks?

The exploding market for NFTs has created a wide variety of potential risks, including consumer fraud, money laundering and sanctions evasion, regulatory lawyers say.

     
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'A Wine This Court Will Not Serve:' Judge Blasts Perdue's Election Lawsuit as 'Sour Grapes'

A Fulton County judge called the petition "speculation, conjecture, and paranoia" falling far short of a valid demand for injunctive relief. A similar decision in a previous case resulted in a demand for attorney fees, which is still pending.

     
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Federal Government Joins Lawsuit Over Alleged Sexual Harassment of Courthouse Employees

Feds are asking the court to enjoin Schuylkill County from "causing, creating, or condoning a sexually or retaliatory hostile work environment."

     
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Pentagon Announces Deployments to Replace Forces in Europe

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has ordered the deployment of around 10,500 personnel in the coming months to replace previously deployed Army units serving in the European theater of operation.
(Originally posted by Jim Garamone)
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Committee seeks public comments on proposed ethics opinion

The Professional Ethics Committee for the State Bar of Texas is accepting public comments on the following proposed ethics opinion through July 12:

Proposed Opinion 21-3 (Revised): Under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, may a lawyer employed at a nonprofit agency that provides pro bono or low-cost legal services obtain client consent during the intake process that allows the disclosure of some of the client’s confidential information to third-party organizations that fund the agency?

Go here to read the proposed opinion and provide comments.

Original author: Lowell Brown
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U.S., Thai Defense Leaders Look to Future in Indo-Pacific

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III welcomed Thailand's Prime Minister and Defense Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to the Pentagon to build on the more than 200-year-old history between the two countries. 
(Originally posted by Jim Garamone)
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Fisher House: 'Home Away From Home' When Medical Needs Arise

For 32 years, more than 430,000 U.S. service members, veterans and their families have made a Fisher House their home away from home during lengthy hospital stays and short-term outpatient care — all free of charge.
(Originally posted by Terri Moon Cronk)
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Texas Bar Journal announces 2022 Short Story Contest winners

 

Thank you to the 14 writers who submitted entries to the Texas Bar Journal Short Story contest this year.

Author names were removed from entries before being submitted to judges in order to keep the contest fair and impartial. Two panels of judges faced the challenging task of selecting winners, and for each round, the same evaluation form was used for consistency. Five entries advanced to the final round, which was judged by Pamela Buchmeyer, of Dallas and Jupiter, Fla.; Mike Farris, of Dallas; and last year’s winner, Mark Ratway, of Dallas.

The winner, “The New Client,” by Jeff Kramer, earned the highest number of points.

Please congratulate these attorney-authors for making it through the competitive first round of judging to the finals.

“The New Client,” by Jeff Kramer (first place)

“The Guardian,” by Carly Gallagher Murray (second place)

“The Same Difference,” by Victor Segura (third place)

“The Jury Doctor,” by Frank J. Gonynor

“Status Normal—All Fouled Up,” by Cynthia F. Burham

 

Here’s an excerpt from “The New Client”:

Molly was calling me “mister,” which must mean there’s somebody in the office who wants to talk to me. I closed the browser window from the article I was reading. According to the Extraordinary Humans section of the Dallas Morning News (the politically correct media avoided using the terms “Superhero” and “Supervillain” these days), there had been a break-in at the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant and two pounds of enriched uranium was missing. The FBI suspected The AtomSmasher was behind the heist, but nobody has claimed responsibility yet.

“What is it, Molly?”

She opened and closed her mouth several times before speaking. “There’s a gentleman here, he says he wants to hire you.” She looked pale and unsteady on her feet.

 

The entire story, along with the second-place and third-place entries, will be published in the June issue of the Texas Bar Journal.

 

 

Original author: Will Korn
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Sponsored Content: Alternative Payment Methods: 4 Benefits for Law Firms

The days of paying by cash or check are quickly disappearing. Thanks to innovations in digital technology, today’s consumers can pay for goods and services using a wide variety of payment methods, including credit cards, digital wallets, contactless methods, and more.

However, many law firms today are slow to adapt to modern payment trends and are still only accepting some of the oldest and most traditional payment types. Here, we highlight a few important reasons why your firm should accept multiple payment methods.

Meet your clients’ modern billing expectations

It’s becoming increasingly rare to find a business that does not accept modern online payment options. And when today’s consumers encounter a professional service provider that doesn’t offer these options, they will often take their business elsewhere. Therefore, it’s essential to offer the most modern payment options to your clients if you don’t wish to lose them to one of your competitors.

Gain a competitive advantage

Conversely, if most of your competitors are still clinging to traditional forms of payment, you can make your firm far more appealing by offering alternative payment methods. Adopt the latest and most popular payment options and make it well known your firm accepts them for your services. Then, when clients in your area are searching for a law firm to take their case, yours will be in a much better position to be the first they reach out to.

Foster more trust in your clients

Offering more payment options shows your commitment to providing an exceptional client experience. When clients notice they have numerous choices available to them, they will see your firm as professional and accommodating. Should one payment method not work for any reason, they’ll always have another to fall back on. You can reinforce this notion by maintaining PCI compliance every year and making it clear you take every precaution to keep their payment data safe.

Increase your chances of getting paid

When you allow clients to choose from multiple payment methods, it helps ensure your bills are paid on time (or even paid at all). If clients can pay your bill the way they want to, there’s a good chance they’ll pay in the first place. You can even take advantage of automated payment options that all but guarantee on-time payments.

Ultimately, firms that can offer alternative payment methods position themselves as much more client-centric by keeping the needs of their clients top of mind from the beginning of the case to the end. The more you can be mindful of your clients’ needs, the more likely they are to become repeat clients (and recommend your services to others).

To learn more about LawPay and our commitment to supporting your firm’s success, visit lawpay.com/texasbar.

 

Original author: John Lehman
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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 www.trla.org.

Original author: Will Korn
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State Bar board elects new chair, advances proposed budget

The State Bar of Texas Board of Directors held its quarterly meeting on April 29 in El Paso. Highlights of the meeting appear below. You can watch video of the meeting at youtube.com/statebaroftexas and read the agenda and meeting materials at texasbar.com/bodmaterials.

New board chair-elect

The board elected Dallas district director Chad Baruch chair of the board for the 2022-2023 bar year. Baruch, managing shareholder at Johnston Tobey Baruch, previously served on the board from 2007 to 2010 and was one of two nominated candidates for president-elect in 2017.

New at-large directors

The board approved President Sylvia Borunda Firth’s appointment of Elizabeth Sandoval Cantu, of Edinburg, and Modinat “Abby” Kotun, of Houston, as at-large directors. Cantu and Kotun will serve three-year terms beginning in June.

State Bar of Texas budget

The board voted to submit the proposed 2022-2023 fiscal year budget to the Texas Supreme Court for consideration. The proposed budget is available at texasbar.com/budget.

Proposed Texas Lawyer’s Creed and rule changes

The board approved the submission of proposed revisions to the Texas Lawyer’s Creed to the Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals for consideration. The board also approved referring to the Supreme Court recommendations from the Court Rules Committee regarding Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 193.7 and Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 39.7.

Task force updates

President-elect Laura Gibson provided an update on the Redistricting Task Force, saying the task force recommended no changes to the bar districts this year. The Building Planning Special Committee continues to study possible uses for the bar’s property at 1415 Lavaca St. in Austin, committee chair Jerry Alexander said. Also, Houston district director Diane St. Yves-Brewer updated the board on the Discipline & Client-Attorney Assistance Program Subcommittee’s review of the report of the Task Force on Public Protection, Grievance Review, and the Client Security Fund.

Committee appointments

The board approved appointments to the bar’s standing committees for 2022-2023.

Recognitions

The board adopted resolutions honoring Judge M. Sue Kurita and El Paso immigration attorney Linda Y. Rivas for exceptional service. Executive Director Trey Apffel presented Staff Excellence Awards to Eric Quitugua, associate editor of the Texas Bar Journal, and Amy Turner, human resources director.

Looking ahead

The next scheduled board meetings will take place June 8-9 in Houston. Comments can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To find your district directors, go here.

Original author: Lowell Brown
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Dirty Factual Statements About Criminal Law Jobs Revealed

It will include a radical pre-trial investigation to gather as many details to help your case as possible. It is going to additionally span the verification that all proof in opposition to you was obtained in an unquestionable manner. Interviews with the police, witnesses, or every other parties involved might be completed to reveal any […]

The post Dirty Factual Statements About Criminal Law Jobs Revealed first appeared on Family in Law.

(Originally posted by Teel Marcus)
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International Students, F-1 Visas, Graduation and . . . Work in the U.S.?

Many international students present in the U.S. on an F-1 visa are eager to jump out of the classroom into the U.S. workforce. After graduation, those international students—many of whom come from less fortunate circumstances—seek to give back to the local U.S. community that provided so much opportunity, and many of this writer’s nonprofit organization clients—religious organizations, churches, and social service providers—are likewise eager to bring those international students into the workplace fold.

Pause.

An F-1 visa is not likely an appropriate vehicle for an international student’s post-graduation work in the U.S.

Student visas (F-1) are authorized by United States Code (8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(F)) – “an alien having a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning, who is a bona fide student qualified to pursue a full course of study and who seeks to enter the United States temporarily and solely for the purpose of pursuing such a course of study . . . at an established [and qualified and approved] college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or in an accredited language training program in the United States . . .”) (emphasis added).

The Regulations (specifically, 8 C.F.R. 214.2(F)(9)) authorize qualified and limited conditions when an F-1 visa student may work—on campus and off campus—during the student’s course of study. Also, if the student’s spouse is present on an F-2 visa (as the spouse of an F-1 visa holder), “[t]he F-2 spouse and children of an F-1 student may not accept employment.” See 8 C.F.R. 214.2(F)(15)(i).

Thus, an individual who is present in the U.S. on an F-1 visa and has completed the applicable course study is not authorized to work in the U.S., absent appropriate approval.

See authorization information here.

The Regulations governing authorization for F-1 visas allow for qualified “optional practical training” (OPT) for up to 14 months (subject to conditions for extension up to 24 months) following completion of the course of study, but the student must apply for authorization for temporary employment for optional practical training directly related to the student’s major area of study. “The student may not begin optional practical training until the date indicated on his or her employment authorization document, Form I-766.” See 8 C.F.R. 214.2(F)(10)(ii) (providing further that an F-1 student may engage in OPT “[a]fter completion of the course of study . . .”) (emphasis added). See OPT information here; Temporary (Nonimmigrant) Workers | USCIS at footnote 1 (“Only a few nonimmigrant classifications allow you to work in this country without an employer having first filed a petition on your behalf.  Such classifications include the nonimmigrant E-1, E-2, E-3 and TN classifications, as well as, in certain instances, the F-1 and M-1 student and J-1 exchange visitor classifications.”).

This is just one high-level area to consider for an F-1 visa student (or the potential employer of same). The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Agency, as well as the Department of State each, provide a wealth of guidance on this subject. But, there are many nuances within the actual Regulations (i.e., the law) that may create legal impediments, or that may provide a legal avenue for an opportunity for the international students in the U.S. on study who wants to give back in the form of employment. With careful attention to the permissions afforded by the Regulations, an international student and a local employer may strategically and lawfully ensure that a potential employer-employee relationship remains within the guardrails constructed by U.S. law.

The post International Students, F-1 Visas, Graduation and . . . Work in the U.S.? appeared first on Freeman Law.

Original author: Cory Halliburton
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