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SBOT President-Elect Race

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 2, 2017

State Bar of Texas certifies petition candidate for president-elect race

 

Joe K. Longley of Austin will join Chad Baruch of Dallas and Laura Bellegie Sharp of Austin as a candidate for president-elect of the State Bar of Texas.

 

On February 28, Longley was approved as a petition candidate after submitting 5,332 eligible signatures from State Bar members, gaining him a place on the ballot. Under the State Bar Act, any member of the bar meeting certain eligibility requirements may run for president-elect by submitting a petition signed by at least 5 percent of the State Bar membership.

 

State Bar members will vote April 3 to May 2, and election results will be announced May 2. The winner will serve as president of the State Bar of Texas from June 2018 to June 2019.

 

Joe K. Longley is a solo practitioner in Austin, specializing in consumer and policyholder class actions. His Austin office overlooks the UT Tower and the Capitol.

 

In 1973, Longley co-authored and nurtured the passage of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act, together with the private remedies sections of Article 21.21 (Now Chapter 541) of the Texas Insurance Code. Since then, he has co-authored Chapters 542 (prompt pay) and 544 (unfair discrimination) of the Insurance Code, the Texas Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, the Texas Home Solicitation Act, and landlord-tenant protections.

 

Longley has authored numerous seminar papers, taught insurance law at the University of Texas School of Law, and served on the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors, the District 9 Grievance Committee, and as chair of the State Bar Consumer Law Section, now called the Consumer and Commercial Law Section. In 2011, he received the State Bar Insurance Law Section’s Insurance Legend Award.

 

Longley and his wife, Maggie, have three grown children and have been blessed with five grandchildren.

As previously announced, the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors on January 20 approved the nominations of attorneys Chad Baruch of Dallas and Laura Bellegie Sharp of Austin as candidates for president-elect.

 

Chad Baruch is certified in civil appellate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. A longtime solo practitioner, Baruch is now a shareholder in Johnston Tobey Baruch in Dallas.

 

Baruch has served as a member of the State Bar Board of Directors and Executive Committee and as chair of the Texas Bar College, Council of Chairs, Consumer and Commercial Law Section, and Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section.

 

A frequent continuing legal education speaker, Baruch received the 2015 State Bar of Texas Gene Cavin Award for lifetime contributions to CLE and the 2016 Texas Bar Foundation Dan Rugeley Price Memorial Award for excellence in legal writing and commitment to the profession. The Texas Access to Justice Commission has named him a Pro Bono Champion.

 

Alongside his legal career, Baruch has served as a college and high school head basketball coach and government teacher. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School.

 

Laura Bellegie Sharp is an AV-rated trial attorney handling all forms of litigation for the Sharp Firm in Austin.

Sharp has served on the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors and the State Bar of Texas Insurance Trust Board of Directors and is a current member of the board of the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Sharp was a member of the bar’s Court Rules Committee, the Grievance Committee, and the Women in the Profession Committee. She is a Texas Bar Foundation life fellow and a member of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.

 

Sharp was the 2003-2004 president of the Austin Bar Association and held director and officer positions from 1998 to 2003. She is a founding fellow of the Austin Bar Foundation, having served twice as chair, and continues to serve as treasurer. She has been a delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates since 2008, is on the board of the National Conference of Bar Foundations, and is an American Bar Foundation life fellow.

 

Sharp received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and a J.D. from Baylor Law School.

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In Memoriam: Chief Justice Jack Pope

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 27, 2017

Jack Pope 1913-2017 from Osler McCarthy on Vimeo.

 

 

Texas Supreme Court advisory

Contact: Osler McCarthy, staff attorney/public information
512.463.1441 or email
Twitter: @OslerSCTX

CHIEF JUSTICE JACK POPE, 1913-2017

 

View an online video tribute

Retired Texas Chief Justice Jack Pope, who helped establish formal judicial education for Texas judges, fought for a voluntary judicial-ethics code when judges had none and fought again to make that code mandatory and enforceable, died Saturday at 103. He served Texas for 38 years as a district court judge, court of appeals justice and on the Supreme Court, the last two as chief justice.

 

His judicial tenure, as a whole, was the longest of any Texas Supreme Court justice.

 

“Chief Justice Jack Pope was a judicial icon,” Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht said. “His hard work, scholarship, common sense, humor, and integrity are legendary. No Texas judge has ever been more committed to serving the rule of law and the cause of justice. He was my mentor, role model, counselor, and most especially, my friend. Texas has lost a great, great man.”

 

As a court of appeals justice, Pope’s reassessment of water rights conveyed by Spanish and Mexican land grants changed Texas water law forever. As chief justice he forged a way to guarantee income to finance legal assistance for the poor. Concerned with double litigation in the same case, he won legislative support for statutory changes to thwart “forum shopping” for favorable judges.

 

“I’m a common-law lawyer,” he proudly would proclaim, his right hand jabbing at the air, his voice emphatic in the way Jack Pope’s could get emphatic when his passions ran high about the law and judging. “And I was a common-law judge.”

 

The common law is the wisdom tested by the ages, he believed, but for him it was more than that. “This is history and it’s why the poor man, or the black man, is treated the same as all others,” he said.

 

By the time he retired in 1985, he wrote 1,032 opinions – a record then in Texas, by his reckoning. Two of them are considered among the most-important opinions in the state’s history.

 

“Common-law opinions,” he once said, proudly.

 

With his chiseled features and shock of white hair, Hollywood could not have cast a better judge.

 

Two sons survive him, Andrew Jackson Pope III and Walter Allen Pope, and three grandchildren.

 

His wife of 66 years, Allene Nichols Pope, died in 2004. On the back of her headstone at the Texas State Cemetery he had inscribed: “Allene is the difference between deeds and wishes, finishing and quitting, success and failure.”

 

“He devoted his life not only to the efficient administration of justice, but also to ensuring that justice is available to all,” former Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson said. “Jack Pope will be remembered as second to none in the annals of Texas law.”

 

One of his law clerks, former state Rep. Dan Branch of Highland Park, used the analogy of the old Olympics figure-skating scoring method to congeal the Pope legend. “Whether judging him as a man or a jurist or legal scholar or writer,” Branch said, “whatever aspect of his life, I’d hold up a 10.”

 

“Judge Pope was such a legend in the law, such a respected jurist,” said another law clerk, Gwendolyn M. Bookman, a political science professor at Bennett College in North Carolina, who believes she was the first African-American woman to clerk for the Court. “Certainly working for and with him was the greatest honor of my career.”

 

The sweep of his reforms and his opinions changed Texas law forever, said Austin attorney Steve McConnico, also a former law clerk. “What he did for trial practitioners, there’s no way to measure it. …

 

“He really studied the law. If Roscoe Pound wrote something, he read it. If Cardozo wrote something, he read it.”

 

Senior U.S. Circuit Judge Thomas Reavley, a former Texas Supreme Court justice, did not hesitate to name the best jurist among hundreds with whom he served in a judicial career extending six decades, including judges on all but one of the 11 federal regional circuits.

 

“Jack Pope,” he said.

 

Andrew Jackson Pope Jr. was born to Dr. A.J. and Ruth Pope in Abilene in 1913, the year Henry Ford revolutionized automobile manufacturing with the assembly line and the year road-builders completed the first coast-to-coast paved highway.

 

Pope graduated in 1934 from what was then Abilene Christian College. In a sense, he never left his hometown, serving for years as a trustee on the Abilene Christian University board. Most of his library and papers were donated to the university.

 

He earned his law degree from the University of Texas in 1938 and began law practice in Corpus Christi under an uncle’s tutelage. The library table that was his first desk in his uncle’s office sat as the centerpiece of his Austin study.

 

On one corner rested the standup Royal typewriter Pope used as a judge to collect and express his thoughts, then, in his retirement, his memoirs, a family history and a tribute he published to honor a coterie of dedicated care-givers he depended on in his later years.

 

Following a stint in the Navy in World War II, Pope took his first bench in Corpus Christi in 1946, on the 94th District Court, and served for four years.

 

In 1951 he left for the San Antonio Court of Appeals, having beaten three contenders without a runoff in the all-important Democratic primary, becoming, he said, the first justice on the court from south of San Antonio. He served on that court for 14 years until his election to the Supreme Court of Texas in 1964.

 

A lifelong Democrat, he won his seat on the Court also in a three-way primary without a runoff when Texas was essentially a one-party state. He never had opposition for re-election to the court of appeals or Supreme Court.

 

But his appointment as chief justice to succeed Joe Greenhill might have been his greatest political triumph. By his recollection, Gov. Bill Clements, the first Republican governor since Reconstruction and a lame duck defeated in late 1982, could not find a chief justice who would survive the blackballing by which senators could kill an objectionable appointment from their home districts.

 

Greenhill urged Clements to appoint Pope. But 14 Democratic senators pledged to block any appointment Clements made, essentially dooming it in the Senate. They argued that such an important appointment should be saved for incoming Gov. Mark White, the Democrat who beat Clements.

 

White gave unqualified support to Pope.

 

So Clements picked Pope, who had voted for White. Despite the opposition, Pope took the oath, then demanded that he get the prerogative of giving the State of the Judiciary speech.

 

In it Pope argued for reforms he had championed for years. He urged nonpartisan judicial elections and, to promote equal access to justice for the poor, approval of the so-called IOLTA program to pay for civil legal help for the poor with interest on lawyers’ common client-trust accounts. He argued for overhaul of what he considered Texas’ wasteful venue statutes that almost guaranteed two trials – one on the venue question and one on the merits.

 

In a chapter for his memoirs he described resisting offers for a deal to win the Senate’s approval. Pope had no plans to run for the chief justice position because he would turn 75, the mandatory retirement age for Texas judges, in the middle of another term. But he said senators wanted him to promise to resign after the Senate approved him to allow White’s appointee as chief justice to run as an incumbent in the next election.

 

Pope said no. Such a deal would be unethical, even illegal, he said. “If the public sees that I will make a deal to get a job and to keep a job,” he later wrote, “then maybe they’ll think I’ll make deals on other matters.”

 

Branch chuckled at the thought. “How could you complain about Jack Pope? It was brilliance by Clements. He picked someone who was unassailable.”

 

Pope’s force for judicial education began as soon as he donned his robe in Nueces County. As a new judge he set a goal.

 

“At that point,” he recalled, “I decided I was going to read legal literature, one chapter every night, seven nights a week, for 12 to 15 years.”

 

Years later, many of those books and more lined the shelves of his home library in Austin. Talking about his life, Jack Pope pulled a book from a section of library, a copy of Minimum Standards of Judicial Administration.

 

“This is my Bible,” he said.

 

It could have been instead one of four volumes of Jurisprudence by the great legal scholar Roscoe Pound or a copy of the Magna Carta story or one of three volumes of Law and Society. Or any of the others among hundreds of books packed floor to ceiling with biographies and treatises in a garage-sized library at his home in the hills above Tom Miller Dam.

 

“These,” he said of the books lining his walls, “are my friends.”

 

When he was on the appeals court, he wrote New York University Law School to ask whether it offered judicial education for intermediate-appellate judges. NYU had the only judicial-education program in the country, but limited it to state supreme court jurists.

 

Finding nothing, he worked for years for judicial education, assisted in founding the Texas Center for the Judiciary, a judicial-education institute, and signed the order mandating education for Texas judges.

 

But judicial education was only one of several judicial-administrative reforms he envisioned. In 1962, when he was on the appeals court, a State Bar committee he chaired drafted the first voluntary judicial-ethics code. In 1972, when he was on the Supreme Court, he drafted the first mandatory judicial conduct code for Texas judges.

 

Perhaps his greatest contribution to Texas law, however, was State v. Valmont Plantations, decided in 1961 while he was on the San Antonio Court of Appeals. In Valmont, Pope reevaluated a landmark water-rights case from three and a half decades before, found it laden with dicta and without analysis of Mexican and Spanish land grants even though those land grants should have been critical to the decision.

 

So Pope cast aside the notion that he was abandoning settled law, methodically demonstrating its fallacies. His Valmont decision was a proud legacy because the Texas Supreme Court adopted his opinion as its own, a rare move.

 

Valmont reassessed water rights conveyed by Spanish and Mexican land grants. It held, in a case by landowners along the Rio Grande suing for irrigation water from the new Falcon Reservoir on the Texas-Mexico border, that irrigation-water rights in the Lower Rio Grande Valley were not included in Mexican and Spanish land grants unless expressly mentioned in the grants.

 

When historical novelist James Michener researched water and its bearing on Texas history for his novel Texas, Branch recalled, Michener called on Pope to explain it.

 

“His researchers had figured out that he was water law,” Branch said.

 

In 1986, University of Texas law Professor Hans Baade honored Chief Justice Pope after his retirement with a law-review article titled, “The Historical Background of Texas Water Law – A Tribute to Jack Pope.”

 

Abilene Christian, Pepperdine, Oklahoma Christian and St. Mary’s universities awarded him honorary degrees.

 

In 2009 the Texas Center for Ethics and Professionalism presented its first Jack Pope Professionalism Award to Pope. In 2010 the State Bar’s Judicial Section honored him with a lifetime achievement award.

 

“Just about the time I was getting the hang of being a judge,” he said once, “I had to retire.”

 

In a quarter-century of retirement he kept active, studying and writing about the law and his family history, preparing books and papers for donation.

 

His was a familiar figure as he walked through his West Austin neighborhood.

 

At 96, determined to walk 9.6 miles for his birthday, an Austin television station featured him preparing by stretching lengthwise across his legs to touch his toes. High school athletes would have been envious.

 

McConnico perhaps put it best.

 

“He was a man for all seasons.”

 

 

Tags:  Jack Pope  State Bar of Texas  Texas Supreme Court 

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SABA Holiday Hours

Posted By Administration, Friday, December 23, 2016

Happy holidays from the San Antonio Bar!

 

Please note our holiday hours:

 

Friday, December 23

Early close at 3:00 p.m. in observance of Christmas Eve

 

Monday, December 26

Office closed in observance of Christmas Day

 

Tuesday, December 27-Thursday, December 29

Regular office hours

 

Friday, December 30

Early close at 3:00 p.m. in observance of New Year's Eve

 

Monday, January 2

Office closed in observance of New Year's Day

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Meet a Member: Holiday Special Spotlight

Posted By Administration, Friday, December 23, 2016
Updated: Thursday, December 22, 2016

Enjoy some festive comedy and watch bar leaders introduce our newest member. The SA Bar sends many thanks to Board Members Marty Truss, Ty Sheehan and Justice Rebeca Martinez who star in this parody along with Past President Judge Larry Noll. This video was made possible because of your prowess acting and good humor! 

 

 

Tags:  Judge Noll  Justice Rebeca Martinez  Marty Truss  Monthly Luncheon  SABA  Ty Sheehan  Ty-Rex 

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President's Message: Love Your Lawyer Day

Posted By Bobby Barrera, SABA President, Friday, November 4, 2016

I must assume that I am not the only lawyer who didn't know that by proclamation of the ABA Law Practice Division Council (I didn’t know that there was one of those either!), the first Friday of every November has been decreed to be “Love Your Lawyer Day.” Surprisingly, this tradition is now 15 years old and has been the subject of both annual celebration and criticism. The alleged purpose is to thank lawyers for all they have done for the public, not only on an individual level, but also for the contributions lawyers have made in the shaping of American civilization and the protection of our God-given rights. There may be a lawyer reading this who has already asked internally, “Can Bobby say ‘God’ gave us these rights? Who will be offended by this statement?” Therein lies the inherent conflict in the redemption of the reputation of our profession and its purpose. As a general rule, we exist to resolve conflicts of opinion and the interpretation of our interaction not only with each other, but with everything earthly and heavenly as well. This is no easy task as evidenced by the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States being split 5-4 on so many of the opinions which control our lives and dictate our human interaction. These men and women, arguably the most ably qualified legal minds in the country, rarely interpret the written law and the evidence to the same conclusion. It is axiomatic that for every winner, there is a loser. Accordingly, someone is always despising their lawyer or the opposing party’s lawyer. Or, they are all (including the lawyers) loathing the judge who most generally is also a lawyer! So to what end is the purpose of “Love Your Lawyer Day” other than to sell coffee mugs and marketing gimmicks?

 

Many years ago I was fortunate enough to hear then-Congressman Charlie Gonzales give a speech about the privilege of being a lawyer. It is truly one of the best and most professionally moving speeches that I have ever heard. The message was more artfully conveyed by him in 45 minutes than I can do now in one sentence, but, put simply, it was that we, as lawyers, are blessed not only with the opportunity, but, more importantly, with the responsibility to champion the rights and freedoms of all persons in this country. We have the right and the duty to stand up to the most powerful government in the world and tell it that it is wrong. We, as lawyers, told the Supreme Court that “separate but equal” should not be the law as it demeaned human dignity and they listened. We, as lawyers, have the responsibility to protect the weak and underprivileged from those who would do them wrong for financial gain, just ask Johns Manville and the asbestos companies. We, as lawyers, have the responsibility to protect the falsely accused from politically, racially or vindictively motivated prosecution — just ask Michael Morton, the “San Antonio Four” or Alan Brown. We, as lawyers, have the ability to change the laws that others with self-interests in mind would cause us to endure. 

 

In short, we have the responsibility to protect the American way of life with the application of the law and our creative, reasoning legal minds. However, we accept the premise that with this responsibility comes consequences for both the successes of our efforts as well as our failures. I know that I have walked back to my office from the courthouse on numerous occasions questioning internally the true meaning of the word “justice” in the application of my responsibilities to my criminally-charged client versus my responsibility to the community in which my family and I live. When successful, my client may “love” me, but those who he may have offended certainly revile me and what I do for a living. The same holds true for those lawyers who seek to prevent Christian prayers in our schools, who seek to force the use of gender-specific bathrooms by everyone, who seek to protect the rights of those who kneel during the National Anthem, who seek to protect billion-dollar corporations from responsibility for the defective products which they sell...the list goes on and on. Again, the understandable contradiction between the responsibilities of our profession and our public reputation remains unaltered by the outcome of the legal situations which we orchestrate to benefit our clients. Without regard to the virtue or sanctity of the goal we ultimately seek to obtain in litigation, in the eyes of the general public, the fact that we fight the fight is enough to impugn our reputation and their perception of us. More so, the morality of what we do and our utility to the public is continuously derided in humor, which rarely rises to the level of even a “courtesy chuckle.”

 

So it is with good reason that neither I nor most of you have never heard of “Love Your Lawyer Day” because we, as lawyers, didn’t assume the responsibilities and the duties that we have so that we could be lauded and praised as Hollywood celebrities are by the general public. No, we do what we do to protect the American Dream and our way of life without regard to the consequences to our reputation or our conflicting introspection. We are the “special forces” of the civilian legal world and the United States Constitution is our arsenal. These United States of America have the greatest legal system in the world, and we, as lawyers, are privileged and duty bound to protect it. Godspeed. 

 

Tags:  Bobby Barrera  Love Your Lawyer Day 

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National Love Your Lawyer Day History

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 20, 2016
Updated: Friday, November 4, 2016

Mark your calendars, lawyers across the nation will be celebrating Love Your Lawyer Day this November 4, 2016. 

 

According to the American Bar Association, "lawyers have consistently been the target of verbal bashing, derogatory portrayals in popular culture and literature rife with lawyer bashing" for hundreds of years. Love Your Lawyer Day was created by the ABA to reverse negative stigma surrounding the legal community. Section 1 of the resolution asks that the public say, Thank you, and honor all the good lawyers contribute to our communities. Ways to celebrate may include: sending a card, flowers or gifts, taking them out to lunch, making a donation to a charity in their name and, last but not least, sending them a testimonial of their work. Lawyers may not be asking for recognition but who wouldn't love thoughtful appreciation? 

 

Another initiative of Love Your Lawyer Day encourages attorneys to perform one hour of pro bono work or donate the equivalent of one billable hour to their favorite charity. SABA's Community Justice Program is designed for lawyers to give back to their community by offering to take on pro bono cases. To date, CJP has matched more than 8,500 pro bono cases to volunteer attorneys! Whether you're a member of the legal community or the general public, you can make sure charities win big.

 

Be sure to show your enthusiasm and appreciation for the legal community on your social media accounts and use #LoveYourLawyerDay. 

 

 

Tags:  Love Your Lawyer Day 

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Texas Bar Foundation Award Nominations

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Texas Bar Foundation is calling for entries for the 2017 Award Program!  The Texas Bar Foundation award categories include the following:

  • Outstanding 50 Year Lawyer Award recognizes an attorney whose practice spans 50 years or more and adheres to the highest principles and traditions of the legal profession and service to the public.
  • Dan Rugeley Price Memorial Award recognizes an attorney who is an accomplished legal writer and researcher.
  • Lola Wright Foundation Award is given to an attorney who exemplifies the highest standards of legal ethics.
  • Outstanding Law Review Article Award which honors a law review article published by one of the Texas law schools.
  • Ronald D. Secrest Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award is awarded to an attorney who has demonstrated high ethical and moral standards and has demonstrated exceptional professional conduct, thus enhancing the image of the trial lawyer.
  • Samuel Pessarra Outstanding Jurist Award is given to an active current Federal or State judge who has served on the bench for a minimum of 10 years and exhibits an exceptionally outstanding reputation for competency, efficiency, and integrity.
  • Gregory S. Coleman Outstanding Appellate Lawyer Award recognizes an attorney who exhibits an outstanding appellate practice and strong moral compass while maintaining a strong commitment to providing legal services for the underserved and mentoring of young lawyers.
  • Terry Lee Grantham Memorial Award is awarded to an accomplished, talented, and dedicated Texas lawyer who is a servant of the profession and a dedicated advocate.

For more information and to download the nomination form, please visit the Texas Bar website and click on the "2017 Awards Submissions" ribbon.

 

The deadline for submission is January 15, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. in the Texas Bar Foundation office.

 

Texas Bar Foundation 515 Congress Ave., Ste. 1755 Austin, TX 78701
Phone: (512) 480-8000  |  Fax: (512) 480-8005  |  Email:
jbramlett@txbf.org

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2016-17 SABA Officers and Directors

Posted By Erin Boren, Friday, August 12, 2016

Announced at the San Antonio Bar Association's Annual Meeting and July Luncheon, July 28, 2016, the 2016-17 SABA Board took the lead starting August 1 under President Bobby Barrera. Bobby, a solo practitioner and owner of the Law Office of Robert J. Barrera, P.C., takes his post 43 years following his father, Roy Barrera, Sr., who was President in 1973. 

 

2016-17 Officers


Bobby Barrera

President

 

Beth Watkins

President-Elect

 

Santos Vargas

Vice President

 

Thomas A. Crosley

Secretary

 

David M. Evans

Treasurer

 

Directors

 

Justice Rebeca Martinez

2015-17 Term

 

Judge Jefferson Moore

2015-17 Term


Mark Sessions

 2015-17 Term


Ty Sheehan

 2015-17 Term


Dawn Finlayson

 2016-18 Term


Derek Hilley

 2016-18 Term


Judge Richard Price

 2016-18 Term


Christine Reinhard

 2016-18 Term

 

 

Tags:  Board  Bobby Barrera  Officers 

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Online voting for 2016-17 SABA Board

Posted By Administration, Thursday, June 16, 2016

Elected officers of the San Antonio Bar Association will serve the term August 2016 through July 2017. Elected directors will serve the term August 2016 through July 2018.   

 

  • Please vote for one nominee for each officer position, and vote for no more than FOUR nominees for the director positions. Voting for more than four directors will disqualify your director votes.

 

You are not required to vote for every position. If you choose not to participate in online voting, a paper ballot will be mailed to you the first week of July. Paper ballots must be returned to the Bar postmarked no later than Monday, July 15, 2016. After ballots are returned and tabulated, election results will be announced at the San Antonio Bar Association luncheon, Thursday, July 28, 2016 held at the Plaza Club.

 

Click here to view candidate biographies. On August 1, 2016 Bobby Barrera will become President of the San Antonio Bar Association. 

 

HOW TO LOGIN 

To access the online ballot, you are required to enter login credentials. If you have not logged in before, reset your password using the email address on file or your default username, FirstnameLastname (i.e. JimmyAllison). A reset link will be sent to the email address on file. Once your password is reset, login using your username and new password. If you still aren't able to access your account, email erinb@sabar.org

 

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE TO BALLOT

The survey serves as your electronic voting ballot.


 

Tags:  Board  Election  Officers  SABA 

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Get to know SABA's officer slate!

Posted By Administration, Thursday, June 9, 2016
Updated: Thursday, June 9, 2016

ONLINE VOTING - Click here to continue to electronic voting

  • Online voting begins June 16 and closes June 28.
  • The online voting option will appear under the Member Resources tab.
  • Members will receive an email notification when voting begins with a link to the voting portal.

 

Meet the members on the 2016-2017 Officer Slate! 

 

2016-2017 Office Slate:

President-Elect — Beth Watkins

Vice President — Santos Vargas

Secretary (choose one) — Tom Crosley or John Ritenour, Jr.

Treasurer — David Evans

Directors (choose four) — Jason Bashara; Catherine Casiano; Dawn Finlayson; Daryl Harris; Pedro Hernandez, Jr.; Derek Hilley; Richard Price; Christine Reinhard


President-Elect — Beth Watkins

 

Beth Watkins is an appellate attorney in private practice. In addition to her full-time practice, she has taught a class of Legal Research and Writing at St. Mary’s University School of Law for the past ten years.


Watkins received her undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri in Columbia in 1999 and her law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 2002. Before starting her own law firm, she worked for the Fourth Court of Appeals as a Briefing Attorney for Justice Catherine Stone. Watkins became Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law in 2008.


Watkins currently serves as SABA Vice President and has also served as a SABA Director (2008-12), Treasurer (2013-14) and Secretary (2014-15). She has held a number of positions, including Chair, of the SABA Appellate Practice Section from 2003 to the present. Watkins has served on the Board of Directors for the St. Mary’s University Law Alumni Association since 2003. Watkins volunteers for and chairs numerous committees in the legal community.


She is a member of the Texas Trial Lawyers Associations (TTLA) and the San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association (SATLA) and served in various capacities on SATLA’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee since 2008. She is a Fellow of the San Antonio Bar Foundation and the Texas Bar Foundation. Watkins is currently working on a program to help indigent litigants navigate their way through the appellate process.


Watkins also gives back to her neighborhood by serving on the board of directors of her neighborhood association. She was President of that neighborhood association in 2006-07.


Watkins was named the Outstanding Young Lawyer of San Antonio by the San Antonio Young Lawyers Association in 2007. She has also been recognized as one of San Antonio’s Best Appellate Lawyers by S.A. Scene Magazine and a Texas Monthly Rising Star and Super Lawyer in Appellate Law.

In law school, Watkins competed on St. Mary’s Moot Court Team. In 2002, she won the ABA Moot Court National Championship and was named the best speaker in the nation. 


Watkins enjoys traveling and spending time with her niece and nephews. She has two labs and owns a historic home that breaks every time she saves a little bit of money.

 


Vice President — Santos Vargas


Santos Vargas is a partner at Davis & Santos, P.C., where he runs a practice focused on complex business litigation matters. Vargas currently serves as the Secretary of the San Antonio Bar Association and has previously served as SABA Treasurer and SABA Director.


Vargas was also President of the San Antonio Young Lawyers Association, an organization in which he held positions as Director, Secretary, Vice President, President-Elect, President and Immediate-Past President. 


Vargas currently serves as a member of the State Bar of Texas Local Bar Services Committee, which organizes the annual Texas Bar Leaders Conference and provides support to local bar associations throughout the State of Texas. In addition, Vargas has served as a member of the State Bar of Texas’ Annual Meeting Committee.


Vargas is a graduate of Class 34 of Leadership San Antonio, which is co-sponsored by the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.  Vargas is also a graduate of the Alex Briseño Leadership Development Program Class of 2005, sponsored by the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Vargas was also a founding member of VISION-San Antonio and served on their board from 2005-09.


Vargas started his career at Cox Smith Matthews and ran his own practice for four years prior to joining Davis & Santos. Vargas received his bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Mary’s University in 1999 and received his law degree from Syracuse University College of Law in 2004.  

Vargas plans to draw upon his extensive leadership experience with SABA and other organizations to diligently and faithfully carry out the duties of SABA Vice President. 


Outside of the practice of law, Vargas enjoys spending time with his wife, Patricia, and their two children Laura (6) and Santos (4). Vargas also enjoys cooking and participating in outdoor activities.  

  


Secretary — Candidate A: Tom Crosley

 

Tom Crosley is the current SABA Treasurer and previously served as a Director for four years. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas in 1988 and his law degree from the University of Houston in 1992. He was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1992 and is also admitted to practice in the U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of Texas, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.


Prior to forming the Crosley Law Firm, P.C. in 2005, he was a partner with Branton & Hall, P.C. in San Antonio, where he worked for ten years. He began his legal career in Houston as an associate at Brown McCarroll, LLP for four years. Crosley is AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell,  Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and Board Certified as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is a Past President of the San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association.


From 2001 to 2005, he served under appointment by the Bexar County Commissioners Court to the Advisory Board for the Bexar County Dispute Resolution Center. He has been an active member of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association (Director, 2005-present; Advocates Director, 1999-2001), the San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association (Director, 2000-01; President, 2002), the American Board of Trial Advocates (inducted 2004; Secretary, 2014; Treasurer, 2015; Vice President, 2016), the American Bar Association, the Texas Young Lawyers Association (Director, 1997-2001), the San Antonio Bar Association (Director, 2004-06, 2013-15), the San Antonio Young Lawyers Association (Director, 1997-2001; Vice President, 2000) and the American Inns of Court. Crosley is a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and the San Antonio Bar Foundation and a member of the State Bar College. In 2001, he received a SABA President’s Award for pro bono service.


Crosley enjoys an active trial practice, having tried 50 civil cases as lead counsel. He is a frequent author and speaker at legal seminars on topics related to personal injury trial law. He has been selected as a Texas Super Lawyer each year since 2004 by Thomson Reuters as published in Texas Monthly. Three times in the past decade, he has achieved one of the top ten personal injury verdicts in Texas as reported by VerdictSearch.


Crosley’s docket of cases includes personal injury and wrongful death cases arising from automobile and trucking accidents, defective products, medical malpractice and related areas. Crosley is married to Karen, and they have four children.

  


Secretary — Candidate B: John Ritenour, Jr. 

 

John “Bud” Ritenour, Jr. is a solo attorney practicing criminal defense in trial, appellate and post-conviction matters in both State and Federal Court. He also practices state parole release and revocation. He is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and a Fellow Member of the College of the State Bar of Texas. He is also admitted to practice in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States.


In 2013, Ritenour and co-counsel Warren Wolf won a death-penalty habeas corpus case, Trevino v. Thaler, in the U.S. Supreme Court, argued by Wolf. That same year they were recognized as co-recipients of both the TCDLA Percy Foreman Lawyer of the Year award and the SACDLA Kim Young Defender of the Year award. Ritenour has been recognized several times as one of the top criminal defense lawyers in San Antonio (“as selected by their peers”) by Scene S.A. Magazine. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, the San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (Past President, current Webmaster) and the San Antonio Bar Association. Ritenour currently serves as Chair of the Bexar County Public Defender Oversight Board and co-chairs the SABA Criminal Law and Procedure Committee with Judge Ron Rangel.


Ritenour spent 27 years on active duty with the U.S. Air Force, primarily as a communications-computer officer, retiring as a Colonel in 1992. His duty assignments included Vietnam, Greece, England, Saudi Arabia and seven states. He and his wife moved 21 times in those 27 years. After retiring from the Air Force, Ritenour attended St. Mary’s University School of Law, graduating in 1995. He has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Ohio State University and a master’s in computing sciences degree from Texas A&M University.


Ritenour is originally from Ohio, but was enlightened when he married the former Carolyn Thompson of Devine, Texas. They have two children, Steven in League City and Debbie in Austin, and two grandchildren, Josie and Callum. They currently live in Helotes, Texas, and enjoy a good mystery, keeping up with friends around the world and spoiling grandchildren.

  


Treasurer — David Evans

 

Dave Evans is a sole practitioner, practicing primarily employment and commercial law.  He grew up in San Antonio, graduating from Jefferson High School the same year Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” hit the Billboard 100. He left for college in Louisiana, where he met the wonderful woman he would eventually marry, Katie Cherie. After a year doing nothing particularly noteworthy with his business degree, he started law school at the University of Texas, graduating in 2001 and taking a job at Akin Gump’s San Antonio office, where he cut his teeth on employment law. 


He then worked at Langley & Banack for a dozen years before going out on his own in February 2016. He has been an officer for the San Antonio Young Lawyers Association, the San Antonio Bar Foundation and presently serves as a SABA Director. He and Katie enjoy spending time with their children, Sophia and Shepherd.

  


Directors (four spots available) — Candidate A: Jason S. Bashara

 

Jason S. Bashara was born and raised in San Antonio where he graduated from high school from the Texas Military Institute. Thereafter, Bashara obtained his bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University. He graduated from St. Mary’s School of Law and was licensed by the State Bar of Texas in May 2002. 


Bashara worked for Plunkett & Gibson, Inc., where his primary focus was products liability, medical malpractice defense and insurance defense. In 2004, he shifted his practice to include family law. Bashara opened the Law Office of Jason S. Bashara in 2007 in order to focus on creating a quality, boutique firm focusing on family law and litigation that derives from family law disputes such as judgment collections. 


Bashara became Board Certified in Family Law in 2012 and is currently the President of the San Antonio Family Law Association. He has been recognized by Texas Monthly as either a Rising Star or Super Lawyer for 2005-09 and 2011-16 (doesn’t know what happened in 2010!). Bashara was named as one of the Top 30 Family Lawyers in San Antonio by S.A. Scene Magazine for 2016. 


Throughout the years, Bashara has volunteered in the “Just Take One” Community Justice Program as well as the VA program. Both he and his wife, Elizabeth, are very involved in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and have supported the Center for Family Relations. Bashara and Elizabeth are the parents of Alexandria (7) and Samuel (10).

  


Directors — Candidate B: Catherine Casiano

 

Catherine “Cathy” Casiano is the Director of Recruitment in the Office of Law Student Recruitment and Admissions at St. Mary’s University School of Law where she is responsible for nationwide outreach and recruitment of prospective law students, diversity programming and coordination of pre-law events. Additionally, Casiano is a co-director of the St. Mary’s Undergraduate Moot Court Competition and, last summer, created St. Mary’s Leadership in Law Summer Camps, which provide high school students a week-long opportunity to learn from and interact with professionals in the legal community.


Casiano is a graduate of St. Mary’s University School of Law, Boston College and Incarnate Word High School. Prior to working at the law school, she was the staff attorney at the Bexar County Domestic Relations Office, where she assisted indigent non-custodial parents with the enforcement of their visitation rights and also maintained a solo practice handling criminal and pro bono immigration cases.


Casiano is a Past President of the St. Mary’s Hispanic Law Alumni Association and currently serves as a board member of the St. Mary’s Law Alumni Association, the St. Mary’s Hispanic Law Alumni Association and the Mexican American Bar Association where she serves as the Chair of the Scholarship Committee. As a member of SABA, Casiano was involved in the Mentoring Committee and continues to serve as a mentor to high school, college and law students. She was honored as the 2016 Sister Grace Walle Mentor of the Year by the Hispanic Law Students Association of St. Mary’s University School of Law.


Casiano is an active member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, was the Flower Chair for this year’s St. George Episcopal School Second Grade Float and created a YouTube video showing parents how to make paper flowers. Casiano enjoys baking, planning parties and spending time with her husband, fellow attorney Jason Cruz, and their two kids, Diego and Paloma.

  


Directors — Candidate C: Dawn Finlayson

 

Dawn Bruner Finlayson practices employment law and is a partner at Barton, East & Caldwell, PLLC. Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, she has been in private practice with San Antonio firms for more than 35 years, including five years as department head of the labor and employment law group at Matthews & Branscomb. Dawn also served as Senior Counsel for Clear Channel Communications for more than four years.  


Finlayson currently serves as a SABA Director. She has served on and chaired the speakers committee for SABA’s monthly luncheons for many years and recently served on the 2016 SABA Law Week Committee. She is a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and a member of the State Bar of Texas (SBOT) and the American Bar Association. She is also a member of the San Antonio Manufacturers Association and has served on the executive boards of several alumni and charitable organizations.


An author of numerous articles and papers on substantive legal issues, Finlayson has lectured on advanced litigation for the SBOT, the University of Texas and numerous other groups that devote resources to the education of licensed attorneys and also regularly addresses students, business leaders, human resources professionals and attorneys on all aspects of employment law. She was selected by her San Antonio peers as 2015 Lawyer of the Year – Labor and Employment by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Lawyers in America. She is regularly recognized by Best Lawyers and is also recognized by Thompson Reuters Super Lawyers.  


When she began her law career, Finlayson served as Assistant Attorney General for the State of Texas and served as special law clerk to the Honorable W. S. Sessions. Finlayson received her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin and, in 1978, her law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law.


Finlayson and her husband of more than 30 years, Dan, have deep San Antonio community roots. Dan is a realtor who has spent years working with Alamo Heights and North San Antonio clients. They can often be seen with their rescue dog, Woody, walking on the San Antonio Riverwalk. When no one is looking, Finlayson goes shopping for vintage clothing at estate sales.

  


Directors — Candidate D: Daryl Harris

 

Daryl Harris is an Assistant District Attorney in the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, where he has served since 2004. During his tenure at the District Attorney’s Office he has served primarily as a trial attorney, representing the State of Texas in more than 60 criminal trials. He’s also advocated on behalf of individual plaintiffs in more than 20 petitions for protective and restraining orders. Harris is a graduate of St. Mary’s University School of Law and has served for years as an adjunct professor of Trial Advocacy, where he’s helped to train the next generation of trial lawyers in Bexar County. He’s a member of the San Antonio Black Lawyer’s Association (SABLA) and an active contributor to their Wills Clinics and other outreach programs provided to working class communities on the east-side of San Antonio. 


Harris is a 2007 Fellow of the African American Leadership Institute (AALI) sponsored by the Alamo City Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation. He is an active member of the Grace First Baptist Church and is a leader within the education ministry, mentoring high school students in 2016 Texas YMCA Youth in Government – Mock Trial Competition, SAT/ACT test preparation and written/oral advocacy competitions. Harris is also a life member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and an energetic participant in its community service projects, specifically Project Alpha, which seeks to educate young men about their role in reducing teenage pregnancy. Harris delivered the commemorative message at the 22nd Annual San Antonio Citywide Interfaith Worship Service in January 2009 and the text — “Dr. King’s Legacy on Tolerance” — was published in the January-February 2010 issue of San Antonio Lawyer. He has also authored “By Any Means Necessary: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Texas’ DNA Testing Law in the Adjudication of Free-Standing Claims of Actual Innocence” published in The Scholar, St. Mary’s Law Review on Minority Issues, in the fall 2003.  


Harris is a retired Army Officer who is “airborne” and has served in a variety of command and staff positions world-wide through his 20 years of service. In addition to his law degree, Harris holds a master’s degree in operations research and systems analysis from Kansas State University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the United States Military Academy at West Point. Aside from his community involvement, Harris enjoys music, chess, cycling, working out (whenever he makes the time), reading a good mystery and fellowshipping with friends from all walks of life. Harris is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio — who “got to Texas as soon as I could!” — and has been happily married to his bride, Deborah, for more than 30 years. He and Deborah have two adult sons.

  


Directors — Candidate E: Pedro Hernandez, Jr.

 

Pedro V. Hernandez, Jr. is a graduate of SMU Dedman School of Law, Texas A&M International University (MBA), Baylor University (B.S.) and Holy Cross High School. Twenty-one years ago, he returned to his home town to practice bankruptcy, business, probate and family law as a sole-practitioner. Prior to then, Hernandez practiced law in Dallas at Gardere & Wynne and Rochelle & Balzersen and also served as a former U.S. Bankruptcy Court law clerk. He is a Certified Public Accountant, licensed since 1982, and has received training as a Mediator.


Hernandez previously served in various leadership roles within the SABA Family Law Section, including as a board member and President. He is also a Past President of the SA Bankruptcy Bar Association. Hernandez has spoken to both organizations on legal topics, including valuation, bankruptcy and family law.


In the community, Hernandez volunteers as a mediator at the Bexar County Dispute Resolution Center and currently serves on the school advisory board at St. Mary Magdalen Elementary School. He is a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and Member of the Texas Bar College. Hernandez and his wife, Alejandra, enjoy traveling together; however, he is on his own when hacking away at high-handicap golf.


 

Directors — Candidate F: Derek Hilley

 

Derek Hilley is a graduate of St. Mary’s University School of Law, the University of Texas and Clark High School. He started his law firm with partner Carlos Solis two years ago after leaving the District Attorney’s Office. 


Prior to starting his litigation practice, Hilley worked at the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office where he interned after his first year of law school. After graduating law school in 2008, he began his legal career for the Law Firm of S. Mark Murray, working on commercial litigation and estate litigation cases.  


Seeking additional trial experience, Hilley worked at the Bexar County District Attorney’s office. He practiced in the misdemeanor courts and was later promoted to the Family Justice Unit, where he advocated for children and families affected by abuse. Hilley then worked in the Elder Fraud Unit, prosecuting those who defrauded elderly individuals, including contractor fraud, identification fraud and mishandling of estate matters. He volunteers as a speaker throughout Texas, educating members of our community about the dangers of consumer fraud and how to avoid falling victim. Hilley was voted a 2015 and2016 Best San Antonio Lawyer for Criminal Law and was recently listed as a Rising Star.


Hilley has been happily married to his wife, Jennifer, for more than eight years, and they have two wonderful children, Lyndin and Weston. He enjoys spending time with his family, hiking and helping his daughter work on her garden.

  


Director — Candidate G: Richard Price

 

Richard Price presently serves as Judge of the 285th District Court, having been elected in November 2010. Price currently serves as a Director of the San Antonio Bar Association (SABA).


Price was born and raised in San Antonio. He received his law degree at Washington & Lee University School of Law, bachelor’s degree from Trinity University and master’s degree in business administration at Incarnate Word University. 


Price has been a licensed attorney for more than 27 years. Prior to becoming a judge, he handled cases primarily in personal injury, premises liability, product liability, construction litigation, toxic tort, mold, foundation, first party, uninsured and underinsured litigation and pro bono family law.  

 

Price’s professional memberships and community involvement through the years include SABA and SABA’s District Courts Committee, Alternate Dispute Resolution Section, Construction Law Section, Family Law Section, Litigation Law Section and Membership Committee; State Bar of Texas (SBOT) and SBOT’s Judicial Section; Texas Bar Foundation; Juvenile Board of Bexar County, Infrastructure Liaison Committee and Programs Committee; Civil Jury Assignment Clerk Oversight Committee; Williams S. Sessions American Inns of Court; and Any Baby Can Board.

  


Directors — Candidate H: Christine Reinhard

 

Christine E. Reinhard is a founding partner of the locally-based, nine-lawyer firm, Schmoyer Reinhard LLP. Her practice focuses on all aspects of management-side labor and employment law, and as an active trial lawyer, she regularly defends employers in employment-based litigation throughout the state. Reinhard is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  


Reinhard has been an active member of the local bar community, having served as a Director of the San Antonio Bar Association and Foundation since 2014. This past year, Reinhard helped lead, along with the Honorable Judge Renee Yanta, Group 3 of the William S. Sessions Inns of Court in their January presentation, and she is currently assisting the Bexar County Women’s Bar Foundation with the establishment of their LEAD Academy. Reinhard has served as the Chair of the SABA Mentor-Mentee Committee and is a Past President of the Bexar County Women’s Bar Association and Foundation. She also recently wrapped up her three-year term as Chair of the Human Resources Committee for Seton Home, having previously served on its Board of Governors from 2009 to 2014.  


In 2014, Reinhard was named an Outstanding Lawyer by the San Antonio Business Journal. She also has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America since 2011 and as Super Lawyer or Rising Star since 2006. In 2012, she was named by Best Lawyers as their inaugural San Antonio Litigation-Labor and Employment Lawyer of the Year.  


Reinhard is a proud graduate of St. Mary’s University School of Law and Texas A&M University. In the fall, you can find her at every A&M home football game with her Aggie husband of 25 years, Zane, her Aggie daughter, Brittani, and soon-to-be son-in-law, Tyler Chance (an Aggie too!). Reinhard enjoys reading, traveling and being a San Antonio downtown denizen.

Tags:  Bar Leadership  Bio  Board  Election  Officers  SABA 

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