Achievements & Accolades

 The San Antonio Bar Association/Foundation has earned its bragging rights!

 

Added June 2014

Continuing our 5-year winning streak, the San Antonio Lawyer magazine has received FOUR Stars of Texas Bars Awards for Best Feature Story, Best Human Interest Story, Best News Article and Best Series of Articles (Substantive Law).  The award winning articles are:

Best Feature Story
• The San Antonio Council House Fight “A Day of Horrors — Fruitful of Blood” by Fred Jones
(March-April 2014 San Antonio Lawyer)

Best Human Interest Story
• Park Street, Perry Mason, & The Case of the Endless Earworm by Steve Peirce
(January-February 2014 San Antonio Lawyer)

Best News Article
• What to Do When Your Briefcase is Missing by Stephen Gordon
(September-October 2013 San Antonio Lawyer)

Best Series of Articles -
Substantive Law
• Moving Between Law Firms: Conflicts of Interest and Confidentiality by Prof. Vincent Johnson (November-December 2013 San Antonio Lawyer)
• Technology & Law: MoneyBall Law for the iPad Litigator by Mark Unger (September-October 2013 and January-February 2014 San Antonio Lawyer)
• What to do When Your Briefcase is Missing by Stephen Gordon (September-October 2013 San Antonio Lawyer)

These awards will be presented at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting Bar Leaders Luncheon at the Austin Convention Center on June 26, 2014. This is a tremendous honor to the SABA Publications Committee and editorial staff.  CONGRATULATIONS to the authors, editors, photographers and all the wonderful volunteers who contribute to our publications!

 

Added July 2013

The San Antonio Bar Association was honored to receive the Texas Access to Justice Commission’s annual Deborah G. Hankinson Award for Division III. This award honors local bar associations and young lawyer affiliates that demonstrate a commitment to access to justice in their communities and to raising financial support for legal service providers on a local and statewide basis. The award was presented during the 2013 Bar Leaders Conference in Houston with SABA Immediate Past President Andy Kerr in attendance. SABA’s receipt of the award is a reflection of the continued support of the Community Justice Program by our entire legal community.

 

Added May 2013

We’re on FIRE y’all! Continuing SABA’s 4-year winning streak, the San Antonio Lawyer magazine and the Subpoena newsletter have received THREE Stars of Texas Bars Awards for Best Feature Story, Best Human Interest Story and Best News Article. The award winning articles/publications are:

Best Feature Story
Applying Collaborative Procedures to Will, Probate, and Guardianship Disputes by Harry Munsinger
(January-February 2013 San Antonio Lawyer magazine)

Best Human Interest Story
Gerry Goldstein, for the Defense by Stephen H. Gordon
(March-April 2013 San Antonio Lawyer magazine)

Best News Article
The Future of Judicial Elections by Andrew L. Kerr
(February 2013 Subpoena)

These awards will be presented at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting in Dallas on June 20, 2013. This is a tremendous honor to the SABA Publications Committee and editorial staff. CONGRATULATIONS to the authors, editors, photographers and all the wonderful volunteers who contribute to our publications!

 

Added April 2013

Lawyers in various professional groups, and several judges, have come together to pool donations and purchase eight Automatic Electronic Defibrillators for the Bexar County Courthouse and Bexar County Justice Center to be used in areas where members of the public and courthouse personnel come together.
Practice groups and individuals contributing to this project include:

Bexar County Probate Courts
SABA Appellate Practice Section
SABA Construction Law Section
SABA District Courts Committee
SABA Family Law Section
San Antonio Bar Foundation
San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
San Antonio Real Estate Attorneys’ Discussion Group
Hon. Walden Shelton

In all, the lawyers and judges donated close to $14,000.


In March, the San Antonio Bar Association sponsored a training session held in the courtroom of Judge Walden Shelton to raise awareness of the eight new units. Bexar County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Jackson, Dr. Earl Smith and Dr. Richard Clemons demonstrated how to correctly use the defibrillators, which will be strategically placed throughout the two justice buildings. If you missed the demo and would like view a copy of the instructional DVD that came with the AEDs, please contact Kim Palmer at kimp@sabar.org.

 

Added September 2012

This month, the Community Justice Program will celebrate its 10th Anniversary.  It’s been busy decade for the CJP as we have continued to grow and meet the legal needs of low-income residents in our community.  This past year has been a great year, cumulating with the program’s recognition by the American Bar Association as the recipient of the 2012 Harrison Tweed Award. This prestigious award is given to a bar association that has made extraordinary efforts to improve legal services availability to poor persons in their community. 

Since it began in 2002, the CJP has doubled the number of clinics it operates and now offers SIX pro bono clinics. Additionally, the program has matched approximately 6,400 cases to pro bono attorneys! The CJP is fortunate to have wonderful partners that ensure the continuation and success of the program.  Without the continued collaboration with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, the CJP could not continue to operate. 

Created in October 2002 by co-founders Justice Phylis Speedlin and Judge Karen Pozza, the CJP continues its mission to increase access to justice and provide free neighborhood-based legal services to individuals who may not otherwise have access to our legal system. Current co-chairs Judge Larry Noll and Justice Sandee Bryan Marion and the CJP staff would like to thank every volunteer who has made it possible to keep the program going and serve such a large number of indigent individuals that otherwise would not have had access to legal representation. Volunteer attorneys, judges, court reporters, bailiffs, law students, paralegals, notaries, legal assistants and countless others help to make our 2-3 monthly clinics a continued success. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered this past year and in the history of the CJP.

As we start our tenth year in operation, the CJP looks forward continuing our efforts to meet the needs of the less fortunate in our community through our regular CJP clinics and other projects. We would like to extend a special thanks to everyone that helps provide much needed funds to our program. Thank you to the Association of Corporate Council South/Central Texas for their work with the Ethics Follies and for generously supporting us with the proceeds from this amazing production. We also want to thank those who bought tables and supported the 2012 San Antonio Bar Association Installation Gala, participated in our annual golf tournament, and extend our sincerest gratitude to the Texas Access to Justice Foundation for awarding several grants that support our monthly Veterans Clinics. With the support of the entire legal community, we can continue the success of the program for more years to come — thank you for your continued support over the past ten years and helping us help the less fortunate in Bexar County with free legal assistance!

If you are interested in volunteering or helping in any capacity, please call 210.227.8822 x26 or email suzanned@sabar.org.

 

Added August 2012

The Community Justice Program is pleased to announce that it was recently awarded a grant in the amount of $22,000 from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation.  The Texas Access to Justice Foundation (TAJF) is the leading funder of civil legal aid to the poor in Texas. Created in 1984 by the Supreme Court of Texas, TAJF awards millions of dollars per year that benefits hundreds of thousands of low-income Texans annually including victims of crime, abused and neglected children, veterans, the elderly and the homeless. These funds will help support the program’s monthly Veterans Clinic and allow us to continue providing legal assistance to low-income veterans in our community.

 

Added June 2012

The San Antonio Lawyer magazine received three Stars of Texas Bars Awards for Best Human Interest Story, Best Feature Story and Best Substantive Series.  The award winning articles were: Cost Effective Legal Research, written by Mike Martinez and Katy Stein of the St. Mary’s Law School and published in the November-December 2012 issue (Best Feature Story); Remembering Hattie Ruth Briscoe, written by Johnny Thomas and published in the January-February 2012 issue (Best Human Interest Story); and A Courtroom Lawyer, Parts I,II, III written by Luke Soules and published in the May-October 2011 issues of the San Antonio Lawyer magazine (Best Substantive Series).

In the award notification letter, Michael Truncale, Local Bar Services Committee Chair, wrote “You should feel proud of your accomplishment, because the quality of the submissions from local bar associations was extremely high this year.”  We are!  This is a tremendous honor to the SABA Publications Committee and editorial staff.  CONGRATULATIONS to the authors, editors, photographers and all the wonderful volunteers who contribute to our publications!

 

Added May 2012

We are pleased to announce that the Community Justice Program has been awarded the American Bar Association’s 2012 Harrison Tweed Award. This tremendous honor is given to a bar association that has made extraordinary efforts to improve legal services availability to poor persons in their communities. The CJP will be recognized as the recipient for this award on August 3 at the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago. The Community Justice Program is a joint project between Texas RioGrande Legal Aid and the San Antonio Bar Association. This great partnership is now in its 10th year of operation and has helped more than 6,000 indigent clients. The CJP and TRLA would like to thank all our volunteers and supporters who have helped make the CJP one of the premier pro bono programs in the United States, and express our deep appreciation to the American Bar Association for this distinct honor.

 

Added June 2011

At the Texas Bar Leaders Luncheon on June 23, the San Antonio Lawyer magazine and the Subpoena newsletter received FOUR Stars of Texas Bars Awards for Best Overall Newsletter, Best Human Interest Story, Best Series of Articles (Substantive Law) and Best Series of Articles (Feature/General Interest).  The award winning articles/publications are:

Best Overall Newsletter
Subpoena

Best Human Interest Story
You Don’t Have to Call Me Darlin’, Darlin’  by Steve Peirce  (November-December 2010 San Antonio Lawyer magazine)

Best Substantive Law Series
Proposed ‘Charges’ For Bench Trials  by Ellen Mitchell  (January-February 2011 San Antonio Lawyer magazine)
Arbitration Clauses in Attorney-Client Contracts: Against Public Policy?  by Barry Beer  (November-December 2010 San Antonio Lawyer magazine)
Referral Fee$  by Tom Crosley and Tim Torres  (September-October 2010 San Antonio Lawyer magazine)

Best Feature/General Interest Series
Through the Looking Glass  by Karen Norris  (January-February 2011 San Antonio Lawyer magazine)
The Trial - Afghan Style  by Karen Norris  (March-April 2011 San Antonio Lawyer magazine)

In the award notification letter, Susan Barrington Sanchez, Local Bar Services Committee Chair, wrote “You should feel proud of your accomplishment, because the quality of the submissions from local bar associations was extremely high this year.”  We are!  This is a tremendous honor to the SABA Publications Committee and editorial staff.  CONGRATULATIONS to the authors, editors, photographers and all the wonderful volunteers who contribute to our publications!

 

Added September 2010

CJP Receives Grant  The CJP has been awarded a generous grant by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation to help further the services of our Veterans Clinics, hold them on a more frequent basis and provide personnel to help manage the clinics. Thank you to TAJF for supporting our program and helping us to reach out to all of the veterans in Military City, USA who are unable to afford legal assistance.

 

Added July 2010

The San Antonio Lawyer magazine and the Subpoena newsletter received Stars of Texas Bars Awards for Best News Article, Best Human Interest Story and Best Feature Story.  The award winning articles were: Thoughts of Ralph G. Langley upon the Dedication of Langley Elementary, written by Sara Murray and published in the November-December 2009 issue of the San Antonio Lawyer magazine (Best News Article); Robin Teague’s president’s column My Mentors in Immigration Law: Home Will Never Be the Same, published in the April Subpoena newsletter (Best Human Interest Story); and Ethics Follies: Lee Cusenbary’s Brainchild by Amanda Reimherr Buckert, published in the January-February 2009 issue of the San Antonio Lawyer magazine (Best Feature Story).

In the award notification letter, Michael Truncale, Local Bar Services Committee Chair, wrote “You should feel proud of your accomplishment, because the quality of the submissions from local bar associations was extremely high this year.”  We are!  This is a tremendous honor to the SABA Publications Committee and editorial staff.  CONGRATULATIONS to the authors, editors, photographers and all the wonderful volunteers who contribute to our publications!

The SABA publications committee weren’t the only members of the San Antonio legal community being honored at the State Bar Annual Meeting.  Maria “Lulu” Villanueva was also honored as the first recipient of the State Bar of Texas 2010 Pro Bono Coordinator Award for her outstanding work with the Community Justice Program in San Antonio.

The Pro Bono Coordinator Award is given to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the delivery of, and access to legal services for the poor, while serving 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.

Lulu Villanueva and the San Antonio Bar Association were honored at the Bar Leaders Recognition Luncheon at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting in Fort Worth on June 10.

 

Added February 2010

San Antonio Bar Association members lauded for pro bono service in attorney’s misconduct

Whereas the San Antonio Bar Association, throughout a long and distinguished history, has provided dedicated service to the community and the profession and remains strongly committed to that purpose and to that purpose and to the pursuit of equal access to justice for all citizens,

Whereas members of the San Antonio Bar Association generously gave if their time and skills to provide pro bono legal assistance to their community in a time of need,

Whereas members of the San Antonio Bar Association under the directorship of Jimmy Allison answered the call to help their fellow San Antonio citizens who were victims of a single attorney’s misconduct,

Whereas in 2007 and 2008, hundreds of clients of one San Antonio attorney were facing possible arrest and fines when it became known that the attorney had used deceptive practices in dealing with clients, who had paid in good faith for legal services to handle traffic offenses,

Whereas the hundreds of citizens’ cases that should have been disposed of by that attorney, and their resulting appearances and complaints before the San Antonio municipal courts, substantially burdened the court system, judges and staff,

Whereas in January 2009, Presiding Municipal Judge John Bull contacted the San Antonio Bar Association about the situation and asked for the bar’s assistance,

Whereas members of the San Antonio Bar Association, led by John Carroll and Mark Unger, quickly volunteered to take these cases pro bono,

Whereas over a six-week period, members of the San Antonio Bar Association resolved more than 500 cases, ensuring that many of the attorney’s former clients received the legal assistance they needed,

Whereas because the San Antonio Bar Association attorneys effectively assisted the citizens of San Antonio, claims presented to the State Bar of Texas Client Security Fund related to the attorney’s misconduct have been substantially minimized,

Be It Therefore Resolved that the State Bar of Texas takes great pleasure in recognizing the outstanding pro bono efforts of the San Antonio Bar Association and expresses its sincere gratitude to the organization’s dedicated service to the profession, to the public, and to the State of Texas.

Presented this 28th Day of January 2010 by the State Bar of Texas.

 

Added January 2010

Attorneys from across San Antonio are teaming up with the San Antonio Bar Association to support local military units deployed overseas.  Spearheaded by 285th District Judge Michael Peden in early 2007, the  program began modestly with a number of law firms and individual attorneys adopting Lt. Christopher Knecht and the 31 soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry stationed in Ambar Province, Iraq.  The response from the legal community to support these local soldiers was exceptional.  Over the course of 11 months, the Fourth Court of Appeals (organized by Karen Vowell Sales) and the District Attorney’s office (organized by Sally Uncapher) collectively sent over 250 boxes to the battalion.  The San Antonio Young Lawyer’s Association organized a massive baked goods drive to send to their soldiers, and many law firms rose to the challenge, sending countless packages and letters to the battalion.  In an email to Judge Peden, Lt. Christopher Knecht wrote: “Generally, morale is good right now.  We are still just a month or so into our tour, and things are going well for the Battalion so far.  We appreciate your support and prayers.  Your words of encouragement and support make what we do here easier and more bearable.  Thank you for all that you do.  You should be very proud of your soldiers.”

The 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry is now safely home, but with additional friends and family of the San Antonio legal community being stationed overseas, the San Antonio Bar Association Adopt-a-Soldier program is back in business.  In the short time since the original plea for volunteer adoptees went out, the response from the San Antonio legal community has been overwhelming.  Over 75 individuals and law firms have adopted soldiers, and many of the law firms have taken on entire squadrons.

Participating attorneys and legal staff are enthusiastic about the program and have all contributed in their own way to send items to their soldier(s), writing letters and collecting “luxury” items otherwise unattainable by the soldiers.  Typical care packages include items such as snack foods, books, pre-paid phone cards, personal hygiene items, gag gifts and most importantly, thank-you cards and letters of support.  By all accounts, it is the letters of support that the soldiers treasure beyond all else.

Attorney Rick Reyna and the attorneys of Brock Person Guerra Reyna, P.C. have sent an incredible 125+ boxes (including at least one DVD player) to two local squadrons — Charles T. Cate and the 120 airmen (50 from San Antonio) of the 455th Expeditionary Aerial Port Squadron stationed in Bagram, Afghanistan and SPC Ian MacDiarmid and the 37 soldiers of the 1st Corps, 2nd Infantry, 3rd Brigade, Alpha Company, 2nd Platoon (AKA the Tomahawks) stationed in Diyala, Iraq) over the holidays alone!  Charles Cate writes in an email to Rick Reyna: “It is a great feeling knowing that people back home that you’ve never met — and likely will never meet — will open their hearts, pantries and wallets to support those they will likely never meet or speak to in their lives.  Without men and women like you and those in your office, the country that we live in isn’t worth fighting for, and your actions show precisely why it is worth risking everything.”

Cox Smith Matthews Incorporated has also been very active in the adoption program.  Recently Marty Truss, a lawyer from Cox Smith, donated over 150 DVDs to the Fourth Court of Appeals to be included in future packages mailed to the troops.  These DVDs were owned by his father, who recently died.  In an email to the Fourth Court, Marty wrote, “My dad was a wonderfully sweet-hearted and extraordinarily generous man who identified very strongly with the stoic, heroic archetype figures like John Wayne, Lee Marvin.  He liked to think he was the gruff old soldier with a heart of gold but he really wasn’t all that gruff.  My dad would have tripped over himself to pack these off to the troops on his own.”

CPT Michael Hudson, son of local attorney Cindy Sue Hudson and whose unit of twelve soldiers were recipients of many of the Fourth Court of Appeals’ generous shipments (postage generously donated by the McQueeney Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9213 and its Ladies Auxiliary), writes in a handwritten letter to the Fourth Court, “In those few moments when our thoughts wander to the comforts of the states, they will forever include you as the manifestation of all that is good about the United States: selfless service and the devotion to a cause greater than yourself.”

The San Antonio Bar Association is continuing to collect names of local soldiers in need of adoption for this ongoing project.  If you know of other San Antonio soldiers who need letters and care packages, please let us know!  Contact San Antonio Bar Association Executive Director Jimmy Allison at 210.227.8822.  Thank you, San Antonio Legal Community, you make us proud!

 

Added March 2009

For the past 25 years, the San Antonio Bar Foundation has promoted justice in our community through educational and charitable services and is committed to supporting community-based efforts to minimize conflict and implementing pro bono and educational programs.  The Foundation has also provided its members with the opportunity to best utilize their time and resources and participate as stewards of the Foundation’s vision and goals.

Since its inception, the Foundation has initiated many important community programs such as the People’s Law School, which is an annual seminar that provides the public access to free legal sessions, and the Amigos in Mediation (AIM) program, a peer mediation program in community schools.   The Foundation has also made a commitment to support programs such as the Wills Clinic and the Community Justice Program, which provide pro bono legal assistance to low-income residents in our community.

To provide financial support for the many community initiatives the Foundation supports, the Foundation hosts several fundraising events throughout the year, of which the annual Peacemaker Awards Gala is the Foundation’s signature event and primary fundraiser.   First held in 1995, the San Antonio Bar Foundation’s Peacemaker Awards Gala recognizes the efforts of those individuals and entities in our community who are committed to promoting non-violent means of dispute resolution and have demonstrated outstanding service to our community.

As it looks to the future, the San Antonio Bar Foundation will continue in its commitment to recognize and support conflict resolution programs and  peer mediation in Bexar County schools and pro bono programs that benefit low-income residents.  This year, the San Antonio Bar Foundation is pleased to honor the outstanding individuals, community service entity and school that are recipients of the 2009 Peacemaker Awards.  This year’s recipients represent the very best in our legal and public service community.

 

Added January 2009

The Community Justice Program, the San Antonio Bar Association and the San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association teamed up with attorneys across Bexar County in a pro bono effort to assist the more than 2000 people who were affected by an attorney’s misconduct and still have unresolved traffic tickets.  Several hundred cases were resolved at the two day-long clinics held at the San Antonio Municipal Court on Friday, January 16 and Thursday, January 22.  Thank you to all who helped with this worthy cause!

 

Added in January 2008

The Texas Bar Foundation has awarded a grant in the amount of $10,000 to the San Antonio Bar Association’s Community Justice Program (CJP) to create a DVD to assist low-income residents filing for bankruptcy. These funds will enable the Community Justice Program to expand its program and to provide greater access to pro bono legal services to the low-income residents of our community. 

Since opening its first neighborhood legal clinic in October 2002, the CJP has matched over 2,000 pro bono cases with local volunteer attorneys.  Each clinic brings a self-sufficient “mobile courthouse” to local communities that provides attorneys, district clerks, notaries, court reporters, interpreters, legal support staff and judges—all on a volunteer basis.  The Texas State Bar Foundation grant will be used to create a Bankruptcy DVD that would help low-income residents seeking bankruptcy legal services determine their eligibility for bankruptcy and also provide assistance on other debt issues. 

Working with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA), the San Antonio Bankruptcy Bar Association, credit counseling organizations and the Bankruptcy Court, the bankruptcy DVD will be designed to assist individuals in determining if they are eligible to file for bankruptcy; what type of filing would be appropriate (either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13); and, if they are not eligible for pro bono services through the CJP, other available resources and/or options to assist them with their debt issues.  The CJP hopes to create a DVD that will better prepare eligible clients for the bankruptcy process and provide other debtor counseling services.  Upon completion of this project, the CJP hopes to make the DVD available to other legal aid organizations and bar associations throughout Texas.

Since its inception in 1965 the Texas State Bar Foundation has awarded more than $9 million in grants to law-related programs.  Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably-funded bar foundation.

Through the continued support of the Texas State Bar Foundation and the entire legal community, the Community Justice Program is in its sixth year of providing San Antonio’s low-income residents access to free legal services through a neighborhood-based forum.

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