CLEs at Membership Meetings a Huge Success
We are having record numbers attend membership meetings and receive lunchtime CLE. The Board encourages every member to take advantage of these net- working opportunities each month. The monthly membership meeting in November will be in the evening to accommodate members who find lunch too difficult to attend. We welcome your input and thoughts on other ways that we can provide membership benefits for you.
If you haven’t checked out our new website, take a look today. Also, we would love to high- light your professional accomplishments in the newsletter, on the website, and on our facebook page.
From Your President Amanda Taylor
“The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse.” — Helen Keller
Lately I have found my- self pondering the old adage that “life is a series of peaks and valleys.” As women lawyers (and sisters, and friends, and daughters, and wives, and mothers, and volunteers, and the list goes on and on…), we all struggle to maintain some semblance of “balance” in our lives. Inevitably, our quest for such balance will lead us up to the hilltop just as soon as it will drop us down to the valley. The key, I believe, is to push ahead, remembering that there are valuable lessons to be learned from both. Like my wise and trail- blazing Granny always said, “this too shall pass.”
Last month, we all experienced an unfortunate “valley” in the untimely death of Kristi Couvillon Wise, an Austin lawyer and young mother who suffered (as so many do) from postpartum depression. Please help her husband John and daughter Vivi remember that there are brighter days ahead by offering whatever support you can through www.4kristi.com. This website also links to helpful resources on dealing with postpartum depression.
At the same time, how- ever, the TCWLA Board experienced the fortunate “peak” of having Linda Chanow attend our October Board meeting to dis- cuss the programs she is developing with the UT Center for Women in the Law. I sincerely look for- ward to TCWLA’s involvement in these pro- grams. For example, Linda is organizing a “Boot Camp” training program for law students (and then expanding to recently-licensed attorneys) teaching skills to overcome the unique challenges faced by women in the legal profession. Linda has also authored and co-authored several studies regarding the advancement of women in our field, which demonstrate based on reliable data that employers benefit from women-friendly practices. We hope to bring you a future presentation of Linda’s work, so that you may utilize her studies to advocate for your own workplace (and work-life balance) successes!
One of the great benefits of being a TCWLA member is having a network of women lawyers that can help you through the valleys and congratulate you on the peaks. Please join TCWLA for our upcoming events and take ad- vantage of this great benefit! On November 5, we are hosting a half-day CLE on the “Basics Every Lawyer Needs to Know,” and on November 17 we are putting on a special evening program at Perry’s Steakhouse where you can learn to “Get the Networking Results of a Man, With the Strengths of a Woman!”
2010-2011 Board President
Austin Lawyers Support Group
Consider attending these meetings or contact Cameron Vann if you want to support the groups in other ways.
What: A confidential monthly education and support group for lawyers, judges and law students seeking help or support while healing from depression, addiction, job stress, anxiety and other mental health issues.
When: Every last Thursday of the month from 12:00 to 1:00 PM Where: 816 Congress, in the “Longhorn Room”, Room 320.
Free Parking under the building. Enter the parking area from 9th street.
Format: 30 minute speaker – an expert from the mental health field. 30 minute peer support – lawyers supporting lawyers
Contact: TLAP support is from Cameron Vann, J.D. Cameron.firstname.lastname@example.org , (512) 427-1453 or (800) 343-8527.
Please pass this information on to other lawyers who may be interested.
Meet Your Board Member Ly Barrett, Website Co-Chair
Practice Areas: General Business Transactions, Wills & Probate, Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Education: Ly received her law degree from Baylor Law School in 2003 with a concentration in Business Transactions. She completed her undergraduate degree in Economics at the University of Texas in Austin.
Employment: Ly started her practice in 2009 and offices in South Austin. Prior to return- ing to Austin last year, she has worked in-house at Texas Life Insurance Company in Waco managing the Compliance Department and working with
Organizations: Member of the Austin Asian American Bar Association, Austin Bar Association, College of the State Bar of Texas. Ly is ac- tive in the local community and have volunteered for local organizations such as the Aus- tin Classical Guitar Society, Capital Area Food Bank, and Volunteer Legal Services eve- ning clinics.
Interests: On the side, Ly works as an extra on local productions and also is an organizer. For leisure, she enjoys traveling and has been to countries such as England, Italy, Germany, France, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, and others. What she likes most about traveling is eating foods from different places. At the same time, she also enjoys venturing to various local restaurants. Other interests include bikram yoga, cycling, Sudoku, and movies.
Family: Ly met her husband Kevin Barrett through the annual bicycle ride, the Waco Wild West Century. They have volunteered for the ride annually ever since. On their first date, he gave her bike tubes and CO2 cartridges which instantly won her over. You may find them cycling at the Veloway.
TCWLA Member Awarded Top Honor Given by Mexico Outside Its Borders
Teresa Villaseñor Harris was recently presented the Ohtli award at a reception hosted by Mexican Consul General Rosalba Ojeda, who recognized Harris for her work providing free legal services and assistance to Mexican immigrants and their children.
The Ohtli honors individuals who work to improve the lives of people of Mexican heritage living abroad. Named for the Aztec Nahuatl word meaning “path,” it is given annually at Mexican consulates in the U.S. by the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior, an agency that promotes ties between Mexico and Mexican communities in the United States.
A first-generation Mexican American and native of Los Angeles, Harris, 51, got her law license in Texas in 1989 and has been practicing law in Austin since moving to the city in 1998. She is a member of the Fowler Law Firm and Travis County Women Law- yers.
Earlier this year, Ms. Harris’ firm received the 2010 State Bar of Texas Frank Newton Pro Bono Service Award for exemplary pro bono services.
Harris says volunteerism is a tradition in her family going back generations and is some- thing she feels compelled to do.
The assistance she provides includes “anything from help- ing them get their kids in school or helping them apply for benefits or read documents,” Harris told the crowd at the awards ceremony.
“It’s just continuing to give back to people and give them a hand up or opportunities to be able to improve their situations.”
Previous Ohtli winners in Austin include Texas Secretary of State Esperanza “Hope” Andrade , Southwest Key Programs President and founder Juan Sanchez and Mexic-Arte Museum Executive Director and co-founder Sylvia Orozco.
Back to Basics: Answers to Basic Questions that All Lawyers Need to Know
When: Friday, November 5, 2010 at 9:00am
Cost: Tickets are $35 in advance; $40 at the door. Where: Wells Fargo Tower
Isn’t it frustrating when family and friends ask seemingly basic legal questions that as a lawyer, they assume you should know the answer to, but you don’t because it is not an area of law that you practice?
Travis County Women Lawyer’s Association has organized a breakfast CLE with a great line of speakers on the following topics:
· Wills and Estates: Learn the nuts and bolts behind wills, power of attorneys, and directive to physicians–documents every person should have. Natalie Niles Arguello, The Fowler Law Firm
· Family Law: Find out the basics of a divorce decree and standard custody arrangements. Jeana Lungwitz, UT Professor and Shareholder with Lungwitz & Lungwitz
· Criminal Law: Ever wondered what a driver should do when the police pull over the car and the driver has been drinking? Can lawyers bail people out of jail? What’s a reasonable search and seizure during a traffic stop? Mindy Montford, criminal defense attorney
· Business Law: Learn the basics of starting a non-profit or for profit business. Lee Potts, Partner with Brown McCarroll
· Consumer Basics: What are people’s rights and protections if their identity has been stolen? When I agree to contracts online, what does that mean? John “Chip” Rainey, Shareholder with Greenberg Traurig
Excerpted in part from an article by Juan Castillo in the Austin- American Statesman on September 14, 2010.
In Memory of Kristi Couvillon-Wise: 1974-2010
On October 1, 2010, Kristi Couvillon-Wise passed away after a hard- fought battle with postpartum depression. She was a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, the University of Texas School of Social Work, and Trinity University.
During the memorials held for Kristi, it became immediately clear that the attributes Kristi is most remembered for are her compassion and her selfless devotion to others. Kristi’s passion for helping others began early. Prior to attending law school, Kristi worked as a social worker for people living with HIV/AIDS, mental illness, and drug addiction. After law school, she received the prestigious Soros Justice Fellowship to provide direct representation in habeas corpus appeals for indigent Texans on death row with the Texas Defender Service. Following her fellowship with TDS, Kristi worked briefly at the Travis County Attorney’s Office before becoming a partner at Sumpter and Gonzales. In a January 2010, Kristi opened her own criminal defense practice. In February, Kristi was named a 2010 Rising Star by Thomson Reuters and Texas Monthly.
Kristi’s family held a memorial service for her on October 5, 2010 at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas. Kristi is survived by her husband, John, and her beautiful baby girl, Vivienne.
Kristi is already greatly missed. A website has been set up in Kristi’s memory where one can view photos of Kristi and make a donation for her husband and daughter. The address is www.4Kristi.com.
During this difficult time, TCWLA would like to encourage anyone who may be struggling with postpartum depression or who may know someone struggling. There is hope, and there are resources. In Austin, Any Baby Can (512.454.3743) has counseling resources. Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1.800.273.TALK) is a free, twenty-four hour hotline available to anyone in a suicidal crisis or emotional distress as well as for family and friends of those in crisis. Finally, The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has additional resources and information. Their website is www.afsp.org.