Dallas Bar Association

Honoring the Profession

The 36th Annual Hispanic National Bar Association Convention was held recently in Dallas and we were pleased to have been a part of it.

Hispanic National Bar Association Convention

With the help of the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association (DHBA), we welcomed lawyers, legal scholars, politicians, and celebrities from across the nation into our city and into our legal community. The CLE programming at this convention was top-notch. I was fortunate to be a part of a program in which Kacy Miller, President of Courtroom Logic Consulting, interviewed Jose Baez, the criminal defense attorney who tried the Casey Anthony trial. He spoke about jury selection in the trial, while Fox News regular, Geraldo Rivera provided insights about the media coverage of the trial. It was very interesting to see these two men juxtaposed: one who tries the case in the court of law and the other who discusses the case in the court of public opinion. Truly, this panel was only one of many excellent presentations put on by the HNBA.

The convention was a mighty success thanks to the hard work of Judge Teresa Guerra-Snelson, president of the DHBA, and Christie Villarreal, counsel for AT&T Services in Austin, who co-chaired the Host Committee. I congratulate them on their efforts in organizing the events of the convention and getting the DBA involved. With their help, we were able to host the convention’s opening reception with HNBA Board of Governors and members of the DHBA at the Belo Mansion. This event was well-attended by the HNBA Board and DHBA members; importantly, also present were the DBA Board of Directors including officers who preside over our sister bar associations. I am grateful for the attendance of our DBA board members; it is critical we take advantage of these opportunities to actively support the inclusion of minority bar associations and promote diversity within the legal community of our city.

October is a big month this year at the Dallas Bar Association. We have three signature events which I am really looking forward to: the Androvett Legal Media and Marketing Seminar, the Stephen Philbin Awards, and the Criminal Justice Forum.

Androvett Legal Media & Marketing

On October 6, at the Belo Mansion, we are hosting the second half of the training seminar put on by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing. The first half was a media training seminar to help lawyers capitalize on opportunities to speak with members of the media. This half-day session will focus on how to market your firm in the information age. What I really like about this program is that it is one of those CLE’s you would have to pay a lot of money to attend if you weren’t a member of the Dallas Bar Association. I hope that you will take advantage of this great opportunity to learn skills that will help you grow your practice. I will be there, and I hope to see many of you there, too. To register, contact jsmith@dallasbar.org.

Stephen Philbin Awards

Each year, the DBA honors members of the media and presents awards for their achievements in reporting legal stories and issues. Media coverage of the law includes everything from proposed legislation to courtroom drama and jury verdicts. The media informs the general public of what’s happening in the legal world and how it might affect them. Good legal reporting educates the public and checks the power of government. Journalists and reporters, in their exercise of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, keep our society strong and free; I am looking forward to celebrating their contributions at the Philbin Awards on October 17.

This year, the keynote speaker is Tom Mesereau, the California criminal defense attorney who represented Michael Jackson to multiple acquittals in a highly publicized trial. He is nationally famous for that trial work in particular, but he also spends a great deal of his time and resources providing free legal services and counseling to the poor. As a criminal defense attorney, I am as impressed by his skills in the courtroom as his commitment to seeing that the poor and disenfranchised receive competent legal representation. His efforts in the courtroom and outside the courtroom help protect and strengthen our Sixth Amendment right to assistance of counsel in criminal prosecutions. As a sentinel for the Sixth Amendment who has faced intense media exposure throughout his legal career, I am excited to hear what he will say about the journalists who guard our First Amendment. Purchase your tickets at www.dallasbar.org/philbins.

Criminal Justice Forum

Later that week, on October 21, the Dallas Bar Association is hosting a Criminal Justice Forum. Judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys who practice at Frank Crowley Courthouse are coming together in a summit-style CLE to collaborate on implementing new methods and procedures to improve the criminal justice system in Dallas County. I am pleased to announce participation from Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Cathy Cochran, District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, and County Clerk John Warren. At least 10 sitting Dallas County judges will be participating in presentations and panels. We are lucky to practice law in a county in which the district attorney, criminal district court judges, county criminal court judges, and defense attorneys are willing to engage in a dialogue about working together on the system. Thanks to all of you who have agreed to participate, and thanks to Bruce Anton, of Sorrels Udashen & Anton; Hon. Roberto Canas, Jr., County Criminal Court No. 10; Hon. Elizabeth Crowder, Criminal District Court No. 7; Hon. Carter Thompson, Criminal District Court No. 5; and Dallas County Public Defender Lynn Pride Richardson; for their work as co-chairs of the Criminal Justice Forum. I expect we will have a good turnout. Pleaseregister at www.dallasbar.org to attend this free event.

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