Justice Karen A. Angelini
2004-2005 President
San Antonio Bar Association

 

August 2004

The 2004-2005 Bar year is off to a great start with the election of new officers and directors!  We are in the process of getting our committee chairs in place and putting the committees together.  We plan to publish in the Subpoena regular committee reports throughout the year from all of our committees.

The San Antonio Bar Association/San Antonio Bar Foundation gala committee, chaired by Nissa Sanders, has been hard at work throughout the summer.  They have planned a spectacular evening that will surely be one to remember.  The gala will again be held at the Sky Room located on the Incarnate Word University campus.  The view of the city is  beautiful from the wall of windows located on the south side of this very elegant ballroom.  We will have a fabulous dinner catered by Rosemary, and to finish off a perfect evening, we will dance to the music of the Mo-Dels.  The installation committee has worked hard to solicit sponsors and auction items for the event since all proceeds will go to the Community Justice Foundation.  The Community Justice Program itself will be featured throughout the evening through a variety of photographs and a short video.  If you’ve been one of the many CJP volunteers, you just might see yourself in some of the presentations during the evening.  The CJP has become one of the most important and  meaningful programs of the San Antonio Bar Association.  I encourage you to attend the gala to show your support for the program, and, in the process, to enjoy a fun-filled evening with your fellow lawyers.

Finally, I would like to recognize Judge Karen Pozza, immediate past-president, for her excellent leadership this past year. Judge Pozza did an outstanding job, not only as San Antonio Bar president, but also as co-chair (along with Justice Phylis Speedlin) of the CJP.  We look forward to her continued leadership in this fine service to the San Antonio community.  We look forward to a great 2004-2005 Bar year.  See you on September 18!

 

September 2004

A great deal of the work done by the San Antonio Bar Association is accomplished through our committees.  Every year, a chair is appointed for each committee, and SABA members are invited to express preferences for committee assignments.  The committees meet at varying times and with varying frequency, depending upon the needs of each committee.  The committee chairs for this year are listed on the right.  If you expressed a desire to serve on a committee, you will be contacted soon if you have not already been contacted.

I would like to express my thanks to those SABA members who have agreed to chair committees, as well as to those who will serve as committee members this year. I hope to improve communications between the committees and SABA members this year by giving the committee chairs an opportunity to make committee reports in the Subpoena. Beginning this month, these reports will start running in our new “Committee Corner.” Turn to page 5 to review the reports for this month.  Hopefully, this will give our members a better understanding of what the SABA committees are doing and what their plans and goals for the year are.

On a final note, don’t forget about the September 18 Installation Gala. Thanks to all our sponsors for their generous participation. See you there!

 

October 2004

The 2004 San Antonio Bar Association Installation Gala was a huge success thanks to the generous participation and cooperation of so many people.

We began the evening at the Incarnate Word University Sky Room with drinks, hors d’oeuvres, classical music performed by members of the San Antonio Youth Orchestra and a magnificent view of the San Antonio skyline as the sun was setting.  As dinner was served, we were entertained by the SABA singers, led by the very talented Mary Doggett and Lamont Jefferson, who performed a very humorous musical tribute to the Community Justice Program.  It’s clear that David West has a great future in songwriting!  We then honored our outgoing president, Judge Karen Pozza, and her officers and directors and introduced the new officers and directors.  Laurie Weiss, the new San Antonio Bar Foundation chair, introduced her new officers and board.  And we recognized Jimmy Allison, executive director of SABA, for his 50 years (yes, 50 years!) of working in various capacities in the Bexar County Courthouse.  Throughout the evening we were entertained by Congressman Charlie Gonzalez as he encouraged bidding on the fabulous silent auction items and announced the lucky door prize winners.  The remainder of the evening was spent on the dance floor as the very talented Geary and Kay Reamey wowed everyone with their dancing and Wayne Christian amazed us with his rendition of “Honkey Tonk Woman.”  Yes, lawyers do know how to have fun!

The evening was not only fun, but also a great success for the Community Justice Program, which benefits from the proceeds.  Thanks to all who participated.  Thanks to SBC and Valero, our title sponsors, and thanks to all our sponsors for your generous participation.  I would especially like to thank Nissa Sanders, who chaired the installation committee with such competence and enthusiasm, and Jane Fritz, executive director of the Community Justice Program, who handled many of the details.  The Gala was a wonderful way to begin the 2004 year!

 

November 2004 - A Time to Give Thanks

Here we are again! It’s November, and before long we’ll be totally consumed with the holidays and all the additional stresses the season brings.  As lawyers, we lead very busy lives, and sometimes trying to fit in the shopping, family gatherings and social commitments seems impossible.  After all, there are only 24 hours in a day!  And, as we try to accomplish the impossible, it’s very tempting to become frustrated, angry and resentful of the demands on our time instead of remembering to stop and give thanks for all that we have.
   
A number of years ago, I learned a valuable lesson on the subject of giving thanks.  My car was stolen from a parking lot. Needless to say, I was upset, but the police were able to recover the car, and my insurance company paid for the damage the thief had done.  A few days later, my car was, once again, stolen from the same parking lot.  I was more than upset this time, but, again, the police recovered the car, and my insurance company, once again, paid for the damage. (I have since learned about anti-theft devices for cars!) As I was indignantly describing my unfortunate experience as a crime victim to a friend, she just looked at me and, with very little sympathy, reminded me that I should be thankful I was standing in my shoes rather than in the shoes of the thief.  And as I thought about it, she was right!  After all, I had my car back, and I had insurance to cover the damage.  I was fortunate to be living a life that did not tempt me to turn to crime whereas the thief, for whatever reason, was living in circumstances that apparently encouraged him or her to steal cars.  Yes, I had plenty of reasons to be thankful!
   
So, as we enter this season of Thanksgiving, I want to stop and take time to give thanks.  I am thankful for the San Antonio community of lawyers who so wonderfully uphold the professionalism of their calling.  I am particularly thankful for those who, in addition to their usual practice, participate in pro bono representation.  Many members of the San Antonio legal community give selflessly of their time, talent and skill to represent indigent criminal defendants as court-appointed attorneys.  And, many attorneys participate in the Community Justice Program providing pro bono services to those in our community who cannot afford basic legal services.  I am thankful to all who generously open their hearts and pocketbooks to programs such as the Community Justice Program, the San Antonio Bar Foundation and to the charities supported by the Bexar County Women’s Bar Bench Brunch.
   
I am grateful for the members of the San Antonio Bar Association who spend countless volunteer hours serving on the Bar board and committees, and also for those who lead and participate in the various Bar sections and in the many specialty bars we have within the San Antonion legal community.  I am also grateful for our Bar Association staff who  provides support for the many services and programs the Bar offers.
   
I am thankful, as I’m sure all attorneys in our community are, to those attorneys who have inspired, mentored and taught us about the practice and professionalism of the law.  Each month, as I attend the memorial services the Bar and the Fourth Court of Appeals sponsor, I am reminded of and give thanks for the lives of those attorneys who have, in so many different ways, touched the lives of their fellow attorneys, their clients and their friends and family.
   
And finally, I am thankful that I have the opportunity to be part of the legal profession and a vital and productive local bar association.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

 

December 2004 - Measuring Success

With the beginning of a new year upon us, many of us will, no doubt, be making some New Year’s resolutions for 2005.  Yes, the new year is a good time to look back over the past year and try to measure our success as lawyers and, hopefully, look forward to future success in the upcoming year.  But how do we, as lawyers, measure our success?  I suppose there are as many definitions of success in the legal profession as there are lawyers -- in other words, it depends.  For some, success may be measured in terms of money, while for others, it may be a matter of how well we can balance our careers with our family lives.  For some, success could mean heading up a large law firm, while for others, it means enjoying the independence of a solo practice.  Success for some means going to the courthouse and trying cases as often as possible, while for others, success as a lawyer means avoiding the courthouse if at all possible.

But no matter how we each measure our own success as a lawyer, I think it’s fair to say two of our former San Antonio Bar Association presidents have certainly achieved a huge measure of success -- Wallace B. Jefferson, newly-appointed Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court and Paul W. Green, newly-elected Justice of the Texas Supreme Court.  Both of these fine San Antonio attorneys now hold judicial posts on the highest civil court in the state.  Chief Justice Jefferson, who has served on the Supreme Court since March of 2001, was formally sworn in as Chief Justice by United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on November 11.  Justice Green will take the oath in early January.  But these two SABA members are not the only ones to have achieved this measure of success.  SABA member Judge Barbara Hervey currently serves on the Court of Criminal Appeals.  Judge Hervey has been a member of this, the highest criminal court in the state, since 2001.  We congratulate these SABA lawyers on their success in achieving leadership  positions in the state judiciary.

And to all of our SABA members, I wish you a happy holiday season and much success in the new year.

 

January 2005 - Changes

Every year brings new changes, and you’ve probably already noticed the Subpoena has changed. Our dedicated SABA staff is always looking for new ways to serve SABA members better and in a cost-effective manner.  By reducing paper size and including more advertising, we are hoping to still communicate effectively with SABA members but with less cost. 

Speaking of changes, those of you who practice in the civil district courts will find that the new year brings a new district judge to the 224th district court. Judge David Peeples stepped down from the 224th district court in September 2004, and Governor Perry has appointed Rene Diaz, formerly of Brock and Person, to preside over the 224th district court. A formal swearing-in ceremony will be held for Judge Diaz on January 14 in the presiding courtroom.  Congratulations to Judge Diaz!

And, fortunately, some things don't change! Our SABA Committees have been working hard during this bar year as has been evidenced by the Committee Corner Section of the Subpoena each month. The CLE committee has been working especially hard to bring the “Legal Outfitter 2005” seminar to SABA members on February 25. This seminar will be held in the jury room in the courthouse basement, and will feature prominent speakers on a variety of topics. And -- members can receive a days’ credit of CLE for only $50. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend.

 

February 2005 - David Robinson Teams Up with SABA!

What an exciting opportunity we have as SABA members!  David Robinson has agreed to be our special guest speaker at a fundraising luncheon on Tuesday, March 1.  As those of you who have volunteered with the Community Justice Program know, David Robinson makes the Carver Academy facilities available each month for our members to provide pro bono legal services for needy individuals in our community.  The Carver Academy is a school located on the east side of San Antonio that provides an excellent private education to many young people in our community.  So, it only makes sense that David Robinson and SABA would collaborate in this event that will benefit both the Community Justice Program and the Carver Academy.  We owe David Robinson a deep debt of gratitude for his participation in the Community Justice Program and in this fundraising event.  In addition to attending the event, you will have the opportunity of purchasing raffle tickets for a chance to win a basketball autographed by David Robinson.

The luncheon will be held at the SBC Community Center.  This is a brand new downtown venue located directly across the street from City Hall. In fact, the David Robinson/SABA luncheon will be the very first event to be held in this beautiful and stunning facility.  You will not want to miss this very special event!

 

March 2005 - CLE and MORE...

Have you ever asked yourself why you should continue to be a member of the San Antonio Bar Association? If so, then I invite you to consider the benefits of local bar membership and to take advantage of them.
   
Without a doubt, the outstanding and affordable CLE programs provided by SABA are a great benefit to members. Each year SABA conducts the Criminal Law Institute, Anatomy of a Civil Trial, monthly three-hour ethics programs, and monthly Last Chance Videos. Several SABA sections also conduct periodic specialized CLE programs. This year, the Anatomy of a Civil Trial is taking on a new look as Judge Lori Massey is enthusiastically planning a great new program with the help of many of our civil district judges and prominent local attorneys. Also new this year is the Technology EXPO, which was held last month in the Central Jury Room. Not only were participants provided with a great CLE program, but they also had the opportunity to visit with a number of law-related vendors who sponsored the program. CLE credit is also available at most of our SABA monthly luncheons held on the fourth Thursday of each month at the Plaza Club. And remember, most SABA CLE programs are offered to SABA members at a reduced rate.
   
Membership in SABA comes with other benefits as well.  Practically every law office in town, plus many other individuals and organizations, has a SABA pictorial directory. Only SABA members have their picture and other information published in the directory. SABA members also receive the Subpoena and the San Antonio Lawyer magazine. These publications are full of information lawyers need to know about what’s happening in the legal community.
   
SABA provides opportunities for serving the community. The Community Justice Program gives members a valuable volunteer experience in providing legal services to indigent individuals in our community.  Additionally, SABA provides a Lawyer Referral service which is a benefit both to attorneys who participate and to the San Antonio community.
   
The SABA office located on the fifth floor of the courthouse is a very busy place as SABA provides facilities for lawyers to conduct mediations, arbitrations and to confer with clients. The county library is also located on the fifth floor. Thanks to SABA, free Westlaw is now available in the County library.
   
Lastly, there is a valuable social and networking benefit to belonging to your local bar. In addition to the monthly luncheons, SABA provides a number of social opportunities including the annual installation gala, Law Day luncheon, and other special receptions and events held throughout the year.
   
These are but a few of the many advantages of SABA membership.  If you haven't availed yourself of your membership benefits lately, I encourage you to do so. You'll be glad you did!

 

April 2005 - Law Day Celebrates the American Jury

The theme for Law Day this year is “The American Jury: We the People in Action.” In addition to the Law Day luncheon which is scheduled for May 6 at the Marriott Rivercenter, the SABA Law Day committee, chaired by Leslie Hyman, is also planning an educational event for area students to expose them to the jury selection process.

During the first week of May, several of our district judges have volunteered to preside over a “Mock Voir Dire” in which volunteer  lawyers will act as trial counsel, and students will play the roles of prospective jurors. After the jury has been selected, the lawyers will debrief the students, explaining who was selected and why.  This is a wonderful opportunity for students who are considering a career in the law and also for those who will someday serve as jurors to learn more about how the system works. If you are interested in participating in this project, pleast contact Leslie Hyman at 210.554.5294.

 

May 2005 - Month of May Full of Opportunities

The month of May promises to be a busy one for SABA members.
   
First, our annual Law Day luncheon will be held on May 6. In addition to celebrating the American Jury system, we will honor two outstanding lawyers. We will be presenting the prestigious Joe Frazier Brown Sr. Award to Charlie Smith, who has distinguished himself primarily in the civil practice of law. As co-recipient, the award will also be presented posthumously to Judge Bill White, who distinguished himself as an outstanding criminal practitioner and jurist.

On May 12 we will swear in the newest judge on the Fourth Court
of Appeals -- Justice Rebecca Simmons. Justice Simmons’ appointment is an historic one because, with her appointment, the Fourth Court of Appeals became the only all-woman appellate court.  Then on May 13, our local district judges will present the Anatomy of a Civil Trial IX. This seminar is a “must” for all lawyers who regularly practice in Bexar County.
   
And at our monthly luncheon on May 26, SABA will hold a joint meeting with the San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. Judge Fortunato Benavides of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will be our speaker. We expect a big turnout, so be sure to make your reservations early.
   
With all the usual events such as the Community Justice Program clinics, it looks like the month of May will present numerous opportunities for SABA members.  Hope to see you there!

 

June 2005 - SABA is Fortunate to be so Well-Served by its Members

Last year, as my term as president of SABA was approaching, I began to understand the importance of delegating tasks to just the right person for each undertaking.  I was fortunate to find many willing and hard-working volunteers to take on the various projects SABA sponsors.  Everyone I asked to chair or serve on a committee agreed to do so, and they have all done a great job. Whether it’s Nissa Sanders, who chaired the Installation Gala committee, or Leslie Hyman, who chaired the Law Day committee, or any of the others who so graciously agreed to serve, I can confidently say that SABA is blessed with some excellent leaders who do not hesitate to volunteer their time, talent and hard work.
   
But there is one bar leader who stands out. Jane Macon has chaired the Program committee for several years, and I was absolutely delighted when she agreed to again serve throughout my presidency.  Using her fantastic powers of persuasion, she has convinced some outstanding speakers to address our membership at our monthly luncheons.  Jane always manages to come up with interesting speakers who enlighten, educate and sometimes even entertain us. And, as you can see from the photograph on the right, Jane has been an active and effective bar leader throughout her career. I ran across an October 1978 issue of the Subpoena as I was cleaning out my attic recently. This picture of Jane receiving the 1978 Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas Award was on the front page, and it reminded me that some things, fortunately, never change.  Jane began by serving as a leader in the Young Lawyers and has continued with her service to SABA.

I am so grateful to have bar leaders like Jane, who have consistently and unselfishly given of themselves throughout the years to make our organization a great one.

 

July 2005

It has been a real privilege to serve as president of the San Antonio Bar Association this past year. SABA was fortunate to have hard-working and dedicated board members and officers as well as very active committee chairs and committee members. Our specialty sections were also extremely active, providing a great opportunity for our members to network and share ideas with other attorneys who practice in the same specialty area. I want to thank all of you who have stepped up and accepted these leadership positions with  such commitment and dedication.
   
I am grateful to our members who have supported the various SABA events throughout the year. Our installation gala was a great success, not only in terms of providing a wonderful social opportunity for our members, but also in terms of raising substantial funds for SABA’s Community Justice Program. We also had tremendous support from SABA members who attended the joint fundraising luncheon in which David Robinson gave a very personal and inspirational talk on “Service Above Self.” That event raised money, not only for SABA’s Community Justice Program, but also for the David Robinson Carver Academy, which is one of the Community Justice Program venues. We had a tremendous turnout for our Law Day Luncheon in which our members joined with lawyers across the nation to celebrate the role of the jury in our system of justice. And, we had wonderful participation from our membership in the numerous CLE programs SABA sponsored throughout this past year. Thanks to all of you who helped make all of these events successful.
   
The Community Justice Program continues to be SABA’s “shining star.” Our volunteer lawyers have provided free legal services to well over 1,000 people in the San Antonio community who would otherwise go unserved.  Thanks to all of you who so graciously and generously give of your time and talent to this very worthwhile program.  And finally, thanks to the SABA staff who work hard to keep SABA operating on a day-to-day basis year in and year out.
   
As this is my last president’s column, I'd again like to say what an honor it has been to serve. The experience has helped me realize just what a great profession we have chosen and what wonderful people San Antonio lawyers are. President-elect Mary Doggett will assume the SABA president position on August 1, and I'm pleased to say she has already started making plans for a successful 2005-2006 Bar year. I wish Mary and the new officers and board members well as they begin their terms of office and continue to serve the San Antonio Bar Association.

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