Important Updates to Meetings this Fall
Please note our NEW LOCATION at Scott, Douglass and McConnico Please go to www.tcwla.org by September 15th to reserve your lunch! Remember, if you don’t RSVP, we can’t order you a lunch and no shows will be billed!!
Two local criminal defense attorneys will help civil practitioners heroically answer — or learn just enough to appropriately avoid answering — criminal law questions (e.g., “If I’m pulled over, should I take the breath test?”). The information will assist you on how to sufficiently respond to middle-of-the-night calls and other related criminal law questions. All attorneys, regardless of their practice area, will benefit from this presentation.
The presenters are David Gonzalez and Kristin Etter. DavidgraduatedfromStanfordLawSchool in 1999 and proceeded to found Sumpter & Gonzalez, a public-interest-for-profit law firm. Kristin Etter joined the firm in 2003 after practicing as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in Laredo for two years. If you would like to learn more about these phenomenal attorneys and their firm, please visit www.sg-llp.com.
Don’t miss this unique presentation that will provide information to assist your clients, family and friends if a criminal law emergency arises. An informative 1 hour CLE, including .5 of ethics.
FROM THE PRESIDENT
May you live in interesting times – Faux Chinese curse
As I sat down to write this message kicking off our new year, the chattering class was providing background ambiance on the television. A woman candidate for Vice-president and a black candidate for President are history making events. Soaring gas prices and food prices strain the budgets of families and businesses alike. Job losses and the mortgage crisis bring an ever rising tide of home foreclosures. Another hurricane is bearing down on the gulf coast, reminding us of undeniable climate change and ever more frequent natural disasters. And underscoring it all are never ending wars on terror and drugs.
My husband commented that we are most certainly living in interesting times. Indeed we are. The challenges that face us as a nation are daunting and those that face us as women and lawyers are both constant and ever changing. It makes the work of the Travis County Women Lawyers Association more needed than ever, while making it even more difficult to accomplish. Finding the perfect balance between family, work and community is a constant individual, or perhaps family, challenge. As President of TCWLA, I am tasked with coming up with the “theme” for our year. This year’s theme is “Finding the Perfect Balance.”
Our membership is diverse. We have women who have practiced law for decades, women who measure their legal careers in years instead of decades, and women who are just starting their legal careers. We have women who practice in large, medium and small firms, solo practitioners, government lawyers, and “in-house” corporate lawyers. We have single women, married women, women with young children, and women whose children have flown from the nest. We are trying new and different events this year in an attempt to reach more of our membership with programs that will be interesting and valuable to a wider variety of our membership.
We will be trying some evening events/programs to reach members who cannot make noon program lunches. The 3 hour ethics CLE based on a legal thriller book was so successful we are bringing it back. In the spring, we are trying to put together a comedy night CLE event, and are considering another cooking class CLE. The noon program lunches on the third Wednesday of each month remain our primary vehicle for CLE and we welcome suggestions from you for topics of interest. Of course, we are devoting at least one of these to finding balance in your professional and personal life.
Community service remains a priority. TCWLA sponsors or cosponsors several programs. These include the Color of Justice program in which high school students spend the day at the UT School of Law, and hear from minority lawyers with compelling stories of self-made success to encourage them to pursue a career in law. Judge Naranjo continues to lead the Take Your Daughters to Work program which brings elementary school girls to the courthouse for the day to participate in a mock trial and receive an introduction to a career in law. Last year Liz Branch realized her goal of bringing a Women’s Resource Fair to Austin through the
AustinYoungLawyersAssociationandTCWLAcontributedtothefundingofthisprogram. Thisisawellreceived and much needed program to assist women in need. This year we hope to expand TCWLA’s participation in this program. As always, we will provide funding and support to our sister organizations the Travis County Women Lawyers Foundation and the scholarship corporation.
All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl, so of course we will continue past favorite social events. The first scheduled social event is the annual Christmas party, although the Williamson County Bar Association has suggested a joint event that may take place earlier in the fall. The Pathfinders luncheon in January will be an opportunity to talk with successful women lawyers in central Texas and learn from their experiences. The Judicial Reception in February will be an opportunity to rub elbows with central Texas Judges as we honor their service to the profession. We also begin UT law students on the path to professional networking through a mixer with the Women’s Law Caucus. Of course the grand finale, the grants and awards luncheon we cosponsor with the Foundation, will be held in May.
Last, but not least, we have an exciting new Board this year. Half are returning Board members and half are new to their positions, binging fresh ideas and talent. You will be meeting them through this newsletter as we spotlight one Board member each month, beginning with the new Board members. Our retiring Board members have my thanks for their dedication and service. We are trying to revitalize the committee structure, and will be calling on you in the near future to serve on a committee.
I am honored to serve as your President this year. Please join us as we strive to meet the challenges of our interesting times!
Lawyers for Women Fighting Breast Cancer
Lawyers for Women Fighting Breast Cancer, an initiative sponsored by TCWLA, VLS and the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law at UT School of Law, provides free legal services to low-income women diagnosed with breast cancer with any civil legal issues that have developed as a result of being diagnosed with breast cancer. The goal is to provide pro bono legal services to all low-income clients of Komen Austin grantees. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Anna K. Meyers at VLS at 476-5550, ext 304 or firstname.lastname@example.org and mention the breast cancer project. See Page 9 for application.
Court Appointed Advocate CLE – 7.25 Hours Rent this DVD now or watch online (coming soon!)
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 5 hours of CLE credit with the Texas Bar and counts towards the 30 hour training requirement in Travis County.
Rental fee: $50 or rent with our Advanced DVD, a total of $75 for both
For questions concerning the rental of this DVD, please contact Paige Pritchett at email@example.com.
Meet Your Board Member: Amanda Taylor, Secretary
Practice Areas: Business & Commercial Litigation and Appeals, focusing on
Torts, Landlord-Tenant, Contracts, and Employment matters Employer: Hohmann, Taube, & Summers, LLP
Education: Amanda grew up in Arlington, Texas, where she attended The
Oakridge School for 13 years. She then headed off to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and earned her B.A. with a double-major in Political Science and Sociology. Amanda attended Baylor Law School.
Employment: Immediately after law school, Amanda began working for Justice Jan Patterson as a law clerk on the Third Court of Appeals in Austin. She was then promoted to serving as a staff attorney for Chief Justice Kenneth Law. Amanda has been an associate with HTS since April 2007.
Organizations: State Bar of Texas, Texas Young Lawyers Association, Austin Young Lawyers Association, and TCWLA
Interests: Amanda enjoys traveling (recent trips included Alaska and San Francisco), watching football (college and pro), following politics, attending live music events, playing with her niece, taking walks, shopping, and wine!
Family: Amanda is married to Scott Taylor, who works in the technology sector for Hewitt & Associates. The remainder of Amanda’s family, including two sisters and a niece, live in Arlington and Weatherford, Texas, and all of Scott’s family lives in Chicago.
Busy Associates Must Find Ways to Keep It Real
Heather Davies Bernard
Isn’t it great that we’re finally attorneys? What’s not so great is how overwhelming, exhausting, confusing, and hard it can be starting out. I have compiled a not-so-conventional top ten list of new attorney survival tips based on my experiences thus far.
1. Call your mother. It is just as important to keep in touch with your family now as it was in law school. And you remember how often you called home while in law school. Well, so does your mother.
2. Do not trust spell check. Before filing a document or turning in an assignment, print the document and read it on paper. Backwards. I am not joking. Our brains are adept at filling in the blanks for us and processing misspelled words, which allows us to overlook them. If you read a document backwards, you will catch errors that you would otherwise miss.
3. Find a mentor. Whether in your office or in your community, it is invaluable to find someone who you can ask questions and who will give honest answers. It is also invaluable to learn about your mentor’s career path as you define your own.
4. Stay in touch with your nonattorney friends—but for the right reasons. Conventional “new lawyer” wisdom advises staying in touch with your friends because they could become clients. My advice is to stay in touch with your friends because they are your friends, and they will help you relax and enjoy your time off. Yes, new business is important but so is friendship.
5. Do something other than law in your spare time. Nonlegal volunteer opportunities in your community can be not only personally fulfilling but beneficial to your career because they revitalize you.
6. If you are unsure about an assignment at work, ask questions. I received praise in my first review for asking detailed questions about my assignments. I was thrilled, even though I was asking questions primarily because I was afraid of making mistakes.
7. Manage your workload. Regardless of your billing requirements, it is important to remember that clients’ needs and deadlines rule. If you have too much on your plate, assess your workload and prioritize based on deadlines and the urgency of each project. Discuss that assessment with your supervisors. Supervisors will respect that you did not miss a deadline, try to hide the ball, or offer an excuse that they have probably heard before.
8. Arrive early for meetings and always be prepared. Punctuality and preparedness will pay off. And that includes bringing paper and a pen.
9. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Plan for your goals, talk to your mentor, and do good work. Do not get impatient with the process of just starting out.
10. Breathe. Take a minute every day to stop, breathe, and center yourself. Remember who you are and all that you have accomplished. And then go take the world by storm!