Issues Related to Women and Children in the 80th Legislature
At our September 19th meeting State Representatives Valinda Bolton and Donna Howard will bring us up to date on new legislation and amendments to existing legislation enacted during the last legislative session regarding issues that affect women and children.
Valinda Bolton was elected in November 2006 to represent District 47 that encompasses the southwest portion of Travis County. For over two decades Valinda has worked with victims, women and children, caught in a cycle of abuse. Valinda has served on the boards of several advocacy organizations, and is a founding member of WOMAN, Inc. (Women Opting for More Affordable Housing Now), a community housing development organization. Since election to the Texas House, Valinda has been appointed to membership on the Human Services and Welfare Committee, a standing committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Valinda serves on the Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee and the County Affairs Committee in the Texas House.
Donna Howard was first elected to an unexpired term and then elected to her own full term to represent District 48 in western Travis County. Donna has years of hands-on experience in the areas of public education and public health. She has worked as a critical care nurse at Brackenridge and Seton Hospitals and served as the first hospital based Patient Education Coordinator in Austin history. She has been a health education instructor at UT. Donna served on the Eanes ISD board from 1996 to 1999 and is a co-founder of Advocates for Eanes Schools. Donna also helped start the Texas Education Crisis Coalition. Donna serves on the Higher Education Committee, among others, in the Texas House.
Join us in September as we get the latest on legislation in the areas critical to women and children, plus the inside story on the future direction of health and education in the Texas legislature. TCWLA has applied for 1.0 credit hours for this CLE event.
From the President
I am honored to serve as your President of the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association for the 2007- 2008 bar year. This year, 2007, marks the official 30th anniversary of TCWLA. In celebration of this milestone, TCWLA is planning a year of exciting events and member services like never before!
For starters, check out our new, improved website at https://www.tcwla.org. Besides providing everything you need to know about TCWLA at your fingertips, our website provides unprecedented services to our members. Now you can renew your membership and pay online! Or RSVP to general lunch meetings and pay online. Or pay in advance for lunches for the entire year for a small discount. This fall, we plan to offer for the first time ever—(drum roll please)—online CLE, viewable from the comfort of your home or office. Stay tuned!
In addition to our dazzling new website, TCWLA has several exciting new events to look forward to this year. On November 8, TCWLA is teaming up with the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) for a special lunch program not to be missed: “Roadmap to Leadership Success—Advancing and Retaining Women Attorneys in Today’s Law Firms.” The symposium promises to present an exciting, open and frank panel discussion from experts in the legal field in the recruitment and retention of women at private law firms. Speakers include Jerry Clements, managing partner of Locke, Liddell & Sapp; Ida Abbott, Blane Prescott with Hildebrandt, International; and a CPA from Deloitte & Touche, who will discuss the accounting industry’s model measures taken to foster the advancement and retention of women in that field. We are anticipating over 200 attorneys and legal professionals in attendance. We are currently seeking sponsors for this event, so if you or your firm would like to sponsor, please contact me.
Are you a closet foodie like me? Then you will love our TCWLA members-only cooking school taught by Austin’s very own lawyer-chef Marie Hejl. Fresh from an appearance on The Martha Stewart Show, and host of her own show “Cooking with Marie,” Marie promises to inspire and delight with timesaving tricks in the kitchen for all of us overworked, underfed (well, hungry, anyway) lawyers.
Of course, we’re already planning some of the great events that you have come to know and love from TCWLA. In January, we’ll be honoring the founding members of TCWLA for a special 30th anniversary Pathfinders Luncheon. And it wouldn’t be February without our Judicial Reception at Green Pastures. In late spring, TCWLA and the Foundation will host another incredible charity awards luncheon. Last June, our Foundation awarded a record $20,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations providing legal services to women and children in the Austin area, along with two scholarships to UT Law Students. There is so much to be proud of in our community of women lawyers!
Over the years, TCWLA presidents have selected a “theme” or focus of their term. My theme is simple: relevance. It is my mission that TCWLA will be relevant, meaningful and truly helpful to you and your practice. In this 30th year of TCWLA, we strive to honor the contributions of the past while keeping our eyes firmly on the horizon of new things to come. Join us as we embark on another exciting year of growing and giving.
Laurie M. Higginbotham
TCWLF-TCWLAANNUALAWARDS LUNCHEON AND CHARITY RAFFLE A BIG SUCCESS
By Lulu Flores, TCWLF Immediate Past Chair
The Travis County Women Lawyers’ Foundation and Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association held its Annual Awards Luncheon on Friday, June 15, 2007 at the Austin Hilton. The event featured Shannon Sedwick of Esther’s Follies founder and she did a fabulous job of keeping us on track and smiling! The luncheon focused on the stars of our local legal community who received awards for their service to the profession and community, as well as our grant recipients who provide invaluable services to our community and received grants totaling $20,000 to fund specific legal projects.
The luncheon was a big success! We raised $30,500 in total. $2000 was raised from our first ever Live Auction – tickets to the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. A big THANK YOU to Susan Morrison who was our successful bidder! Our raffle netted an additional $2,600.
Another big THANK YOU to our sponsors – we raised $19,500 – our highest amount ever! This year’s sponsors were: PLATINUM – Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, L.L.P., Clark Thomas & Winters, P.C., and Henslee, Fowler, Hepworth & Schwartz, L.L.P., Walsh, Anderson, Brown, Schulze & Aldridge, P.C.;
GOLD – Brenda H. Collier, P.C., Davis & Wilkerson, P.C., Fulbright & Jaworski, L.L.P., HendlerLaw, P.C., Scott, Douglas & McConnico, L.L.P. and Winstead P.C.;
SILVER – Baker Botts, L.L.P., Haynes and Boone, L.L.P., Fritz, Byrne, Head & Harrison, L.L.P.;
BRONZE – Alexander Dubose Jones & Townsend, L.L.P., Law Office of Becky Beaver, Cole & Powell, P.C., The Hon. Margaret A. Cooper, Davidson & Troilo, P.C., Hanna & Plaut, L.L.P., The Hon. Nancy Hohengarten, and Kinney Recruiting, Inc.
Thanks to Ann Greenberg for heading up the sponsor solicitations for us this year.
The 2007 award recipients were: Ms. Lucy Wood for Public Interest; Ms. Edna Yang for Contributions to the Minority Community; Ms. Laurie Eiserloh for Government Service; Ms. Denise Hyde for Pro Bono; Ms. Mary Kay Sicola for Litigation; and Ms. Phyllis Schunck, for Outstanding Achievement. In addition, Henslee, Fowler, Hepworth & Shwartz, LLP received the Firm/Organization/GovernmentEntityAwardandMs.RandeHarrellreceived theTCWLAPresident’sAward.
Our 2007 Grant recipients were: Advocacy, Incorporated; The Austin Children’s Shelter; Capital Area AIDS Legal Project; FamilyEldercare; Jane’s Due Process; Texas C-Bar; Texas Advocacy Project; and Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas.
Our charity raffle had wonderful items from the following supporting businesses:
Avant Salon & Spa, The Driskill Hotel, EddieV’s Edgewater Grill, The Four Seasons Hotel – Austin, Green Pastures, Jeffrey’s, Joe Koen & Sons Jewelers, Lake Austin Spa & Resort, Lisa’s Grooming, Mandola’s Italian Café, Russell Korman Jewelers, The Stephen F. Austin Intercontinental Hotel and Zach Scott Theatre. Thanks to Luncheon Co-Chair, Laurie Higginbotham for coordinating this effort and for packaging the items with a special flair.
The TCWLF board has already begun collecting great prizes for next year’s luncheon! 2007 Luncheon Co-Chair Brenda Collier is on another roll! She was the one who snagged the Jon Stewart tickets this year, and has already gotten them and the Colbert Report to commit tickets for this coming year! We look forward to seeing you at an even better Luncheon next year!
Last, but not least, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the members of the Foundation and Association for their hard work in making this year’s luncheon such a big success. I couldn’t have been more proud than to have served with such stellar women!
Save the Date – Cooking With Marie – Tuesday, November 13, 2007
TCWLAwillbehostingacookingclasswithMarieHejlontheeveningofTuesday,November13,2007. Marie will show us how to whip up some quick and delicious weeknight meals for busy women attorneys! Seating will be limited, so look out for details in next month’s newsletter. Marie’s new cookbook should be out by then, so we will also be selling cookbooks at the event. See www.withmarie.com for more information about Marie, her cooking show, guest appearances and recipes.
Meet Your Board Member: Laurie Higginbotham
PracticeArea: FederalTortClaimsActCases,Plaintiffs’ Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice, Trialand Appeals.
Employer:Archuleta,Alsaffar&Higginbotham. Ispecializeinrepresentingmilitaryservicemembers,veterans, and their families who have been catastrophically injured at a military or veterans’ hospital. We have clients all over the United States and the world. Besides being mostly military enlisted or veterans, most of our clients are very disabled, and often very poor. It’s extremely gratifying to help these clients. In 2007, we started representing Hurricane Katrina victims in federal tort claims cases. This addition to our practice has been equally gratifying, exhilarating, and sometimes exhausting.
Education: I bleed orange – I attended the University of Texas at Austin for undergrad (history major) and law school. I’m one of those people who grew up in Dallas, came to Austin for school, found Eden, and never left.
Family: I have a wonderful, amazing, adorable husband who is also my law partner, Jamal Alsaffar. We met when we were 19 in undergrad at UT and have been married for 7 years. We practice out in Lakeway, but haven’t moved out there yet…it’s in the works. As a result, when we’re not traveling on business, we’re traveling together around Austin in our car! We have two beautiful, loving boys, Jack (almost 5) and Luke (2 1⁄2). Jack has grown into a full-fledged, bike-riding, t-ball-and-soccer-playing, swimming kid. He is the most energetic and sweet human being on earth. Luke is just starting preschool this fall and does everything he can to keep up with his big brother. He is very dramatic (I don’t know where he gets this!) and has big blue eyes (I do know where he got those) and loves to dance (again, the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree). As a mother, I’m training my boys to be world-travelers, professional chefs, philanthropists and gentlemen. Jamal is all for those things, too but would substitute “professional soccer player” for “professional chef.” Despite our best efforts they will probably both end up as lawyers, which would be okay. We love being lawyers.
Loves to do: I love to cook, travel for pleasure, dine out, host dinner parties, and shop—preferably bargain shop. My favorite things to do in Austin are shop at Central Market, ride the train in Zilker Park with my husband and kids, walk around campus, wander around the Arboretum or the Domain, chill at a bookstore with a good cup of coffee, or have a “pajama party” with my family. We give the kids an early bath, get them in their PJ’s, strap them in their car seats with their favorite snacks and DVD, grab some coffee and drive around our favorite spots in town. By the time we’re ready to head home, they’re ready for bed and we enjoyed a “night out” and some grown up conversation without a sitter.
Tidbits: My guilty pleasure as of late is a mild addiction to social networking internet sites. I got into MySpace when a good friend moved to New York and started blogging. Then I got sucked into Facebook when we hired a bunch of college students to do temporary work on our Katrina cases. It’s as easy as checking your email, and when your schedule is packed to the gills like mine is, it is an extremely convenient way to keep up with your friends, at least your tech-savvy, hip friends.
What You Need to Know to be a Court Appointed Advocate CLE
Rent this DVD now or watch online (coming soon!)
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)).
For those who were unable to attend this CLE in person on May 21, 2007, a DVD of the seminar is now available. 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
For questions concerning the rental of this DVD, please contact Paige Chappell at firstname.lastname@example.org.