JUNE GENERAL MEETING
Join us for our annual brainstorming/year in review meeting on June 18 at noon at Winstead,
PC, 401 Congress, Suite 2100. Lunch will be: Chicken enchiladas verdes, green salad, Southwestern pasta salad, Chips and salsa, Iced tea & Cupcakes. Your input is highly valued so please join us before we take our summer hiatus to plan a wonderful 2008 – 2009 bar year!
FROM THE PRESIDENT
I’ve been on the board of TCWLA since 2003. In 2003, we had been married three years, had just purchased our first house the year before and had one child (a baby). I was an associate and my husband just joined our current firm. Five years later, we’re contemplating buying our second house, have a 5 1⁄2 year old and a 3 year old, and we’re partners in our own firm together. Even just the past year has been so dynamic and busy for me that on reflection, I feel like a completely different person than I was when I joined this organization.
Well, maybe not completely. I’ve always had certain characteristics even as a little girl that wouldn’t really surprise anybody who knows me. But having weathered more than a few storms now, I certainly feel stronger, not to mention more appreciative of slowing down. As I get older, time seems to go faster and faster. It seemed like every year of high school felt like a decade, and every semester in college was like a year at least. But once you get out of school and start creating a family and career of your own, time seems to have no defining markers anymore, no beginnings or endings.
Which is not to say that you stay on a steady, even plain after those hurdles. This past year has certainly felt like climbing a mountain and now I feel like I’m finally starting to level out. I just finished a tough trial that I handled alone, out of state in federal court, with a – shall we say, temperamental – judge who was appointed to the bench when I was in first grade. I have never had a legal experience quite like this before. A month before at the pretrial conference, I got a 4-hour taste of what I could expect in trial and it wasn’t pretty. To make it even worse, the opposing counsel wasn’t exactly a joy to share the process with either. The week before trial, I spent two days mentally and emotionally paralyzed, with uncharacteristically no appetite whatsoever, thinking of what that week ahead would be like with a judge who previously threatened me and my experts with contempt if we dared venture outside of their reports. Finally, I just started preparing, figuring there was nothing else to do but just prepare as I normally would, and deal with what came.
Sure enough, the trial was absolute torture. The judge changed the rules from one minute to the next, from one party to the next, yelled at me, yelled at my experts (including a mild-mannered professor of pediatric neuroradiology, who informed me on a break that she was “not used to being yelled at in that manner.”) We don’t have a judgment yet, as it was a bench trial, but despite this rough ride, I’m still optimistic that we may have won. Whatever the final result, that unpleasant experience gave me more confidence than ten easy wins could have given me. Because I survived! And I not only survived, I really handled this grumpy judge and put on a great case. I didn’t enjoy that process, but every day of that experience, I got leaner (even though I did eventually start eating!), tougher, and stronger than before. Now, I’m feeling kind of like a new forest growing over scorched earth. I think I’m still recovering a little from being so scorched. But once you’ve been through the fire, it’s harder to get burned. I think I have a new Teflon armor as a result. And that is a good feeling. I’ve enjoyed serving TCWLA and will continue to serve as Past-President and as the Chair of the Foundation next year. You’re in great hands with Rande Herrell as incoming president! Thanks for being a part of my ongoing growth and I hope TCWLA and I can continue to be a part of yours.
Laurie M. Higginbotham
Thank you to TCWLA member, D’Ann Johnson for hosting the annual TCWLA – WLC mixer in her historic home known as “The Old School” on March 26, and to TCWLA board member Elizabeth Branch for organizing this event.
TAKE YOUR DAUGHTERS TO WORK DAY
Thank you to the Hon. Orlinda Naranjo for once again organizing TCWLA’s annual Take Your Daughters to Work Day! Every year, Judge Naranjo opens her courtroom to at-risk girls to let them participate in a mock trial on the topic of dating violence. We appreciate Judge Naranjo’s dedication to this important project for our community.
COURT APPOINTED ADVOCATE CLE (BEGINNERS) – 7.25 Hours
TCWLA sponsored, and filmed, a CLE titled “What You Need to Know to be a Court Appointed Advocate” on May 21, 2007. The CLE covered the nuts and bolts of representing children and parents in CPS cases, as well as teaching the participants about available services for clients with mental illnesses and other disabilities, ethical considerations, mediation of CPS cases, attorney general and DRO cases, and guardianships. The CLE lunch portion featured a judicial panel, in which the following Texas judges and former judges participated: the Hon. Craig Enoch (former Texas Supreme Court Justice), the Hon. Eva Guzman (14th Court of Appeals, Houston), and the Hon. Darlene Byrne (126th Judicial Civil District Court (Travis County)). The panel was moderated by TCWLA board member, the Hon. Orlinda Naranjo (419th Judicial Civil District Court (Travis County)).
Viewing of this DVD qualifies for 7.25 hours of CLE credit with the Texas Bar, including one hour of Ethics, and counts towards the 30 hour training requirement in Travis County.
Rental fee: $100 plus shipping & handling for DVD rentals. Questions? Please contact Paige Chappell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FEDERAL DAY IN COURT CLE QUALIFIES FOR ADMISSION TO THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS.
The inside scoop from federal law clerks.
What is really important to federal judges.
Tips from the best attorneys on both sides of the docket.
The newest developments in caselaw by top law professors.
How to get a handle on the latest court e-filing technology.
For those who were unable to attend TCWLA’s Day in Federal Court on May 11, 2006, a DVD
of the seminar is available for rent. Whether you are an experienced federal practitioner or applying for admission to the Western District of Texas, this seminar will provide you with
invaluable practice tips and the rare opportunity to hear first-hand from the judges, their law clerks, and some of the most skilled lawyers and law professors around.
This course is required for anyone seeking admission to the Western District of Texas, but this year the program was designed to appeal to experienced practitioners and new applicants
alike. This is a rare opportunity to hear directly from the law clerks behind the scenes, the judges who will decide your clients’ fate, and the successful lawyers who have what it takes in federal court. In addition, the program includes a training session on E-filing conducted by the IT director for the Western District.
Viewing of this DVD qualifies for CLE self-study credit of up to 5 hours with the Texas Bar and will be considered as a qualification for admission to the United States District Court of the Western District of Texas. Return the DVD in good condition, and TCWLA will send you a letter of completion to be included with your application for admission to the Western District of Texas
Seminar Fee: $195 plus tax, plus additional shipping charges.
For questions concerning the rental of this DVD, please contact Paige Chappell at email@example.com
Give Your Resume an Extreme Makeover
If you’re of the boomer generation, and looking for a new career, you could be getting the cold shoulder from employers. Your hair may be saying “under 40”, but recruiters put your resume in the geriatric-reject pile. If
you’re feeling symptoms of age discrimination, your resume could be working against you, making you seem out of date and one step from retirement. There are three reasons your resume may be keeping you out of
interviews. Your resume is due for an update if:
1. Your technology skills date you from the stone age
2. Your key industry words are decades old
3. Your resume format doesn’t follow current trends
Don’t despair if your resume is out of date. You can perform an extreme resume makeover by using the following tips.
1. Get current on your industry’s technology. Be aware that technology terms are often used as keywords to filter the best resumes from electronic databases. If your resume doesn’t have them, it may never be seen. Make sure your technology skills aren’t leaving you behind. Check job descriptions from various sources within your industry to see what technology skills employers are looking for. Determine what’s missing from your resume. Then decide what you need to learn or do in order to fill that technology gap. Adult education, college classes, or even online learning are all great ways to catch up.
2. Make sure your resume reflects current terminology. If you have just been adding to the same old resume over the years your early entries reflect outdated key words. Bring your resume up to date with the help of publications from your industry’s professional associations. If you don’t belong to any professional associations, you might be missing out on the latest industry-speak. Another good resource for current terminology is online job postings. Search job descriptions in your field for recurring key words. Learn to use the current terminology for your industry for optimum results.
3. Make sure your resume reflects today’s trends in resume format and style. A decade back, the reverse-chronological format worked fine for you. But now that you have more experience, it may not be your best choice. The more advanced hybrid format will showcase your skills and expertise to your optimum advantage. With a hybrid resume, potential employers will form an impression of you based on your top accomplishments, not just your most recent job description.
Many of the old resume rules just don’t apply any more. For example:
* “Limit your resume to one page.” This idea went out with the advent of electronic resumes. Nothing is harder on the eyes than a trying to read a three-page resume squished onto one page.
* “Your resume should go back no more than ten years.” Don’t use an arbitrary number to determine how much to include on your resume. Ask yourself, “how far back does my work history relate to my current objective?”
* “One resume should handle everything.” Not so! For greater effectiveness adjust your resume to different functions or industries you’d like to explore.
Finally, make sure you use the correct electronic version. You’ll want to have (1) a standard Word format (for printouts and email attachments), and (2) a Plain Text version for “text only” online forms.
Give your resume an extreme makeover using these tips to let your experience work for you rather than against you. You’ll see increased requests for interviews leading to your best career opportunity ever.