Women Push for Lactation Rooms in Courthouses

Women Push for Lactation Rooms in Courthouses

By Angela Morris (law.com, March 12, 2019)

In courthouses across the country lawyer moms still have no option but to express their breast milk in public bathrooms, where they face frequent interruptions and unsanitary conditions.

But some women lawyers are pushing to change the lack of breastfeeding accommodations in courthouses. They’ve succeeded in getting the American Bar Association House of Delegates in January to pass a resolution to encourage federal, state and local courts to create properly-equipped lactation areas.

Now it’s on to the next step: to get key decision-makers like court administrators and chief justices on board and show them easy, workable solutions to accommodate nursing lawyers, witnesses, jurors and the public.

Mass shootings prompt bar associations to offer pro bono services to survivors and victims’ families

By Angela Morris (ABA Journal, March 2019)

A wide array of legal issues arise for survivors and victims’ family members in the wake of mass shootings. Probate matters are common—easier when the victim had a will, and harder with young or low-income adults who commonly don’t have them. When parents are killed or debilitated by injury, they need lawyers to sort out child custody or guardianship matters. People impacted by mass shootings can get government crime victim compensation funds but may need help navigating the bureaucracy to obtain them. They may come into money donated by the public and require attorneys to ensure they get the funds they’re entitled to receive.

The frequency of mass shootings has prompted a growing web of bar associations across the nation to independently create pro bono programs to help those affected. Attorneys are flocking to volunteer. The lawyers who lead these pro bono efforts have started unofficially collaborating by sharing forms and documents, explaining what’s on the horizon and sharing the best methods to deal with the grim reality.

To read the whole story, visit the ABA Journal

Women Ascend to Leadership Ranks at the Biggest Metro Bar Associations in Texas

Women Ascend to Leadership Ranks at the Biggest Metro Bar Associations in Texas

By Angela Morris (Texas Lawyer, March 2019)

Although the female attorneys of Texas, just like their nationwide peers, are still limited in their ascent to the upper echelon in law firms and corporations, their counterparts within local bar associations are finding better leadership opportunities.

All five of the Lone Star State’s biggest metropolitan area bar associations are currently run by women executive directors. Two of them, Kay Sim of Houston and Delaine Ward of Austin, have been at their posts for 30-plus years, while the remaining three—Alicia Hernandez of Dallas, Megan Cooley of Tarrant County and June Moynihan of San Antonio—all took over after longtime leaders retired within the past few years.

“It’s wonderful we have them, because they deserved it. They are all qualified, but more than anything, they all have that spirit of caring about the community and its needs and searching with their boards on ways they can, as a profession, help those communities be better,” said Sim, executive director of the Houston Bar Association, the longest-serving of the bunch.

Blockchain neophyte carves out niche in cryptocurrency litigation

Blockchain neophyte carves out niche in cryptocurrency litigation

By Angela Morris (ABA Journal, February 2019)

David Silver learned about cryptocurrency the way a lot of people do—at a dinner party.

It was 2014 and there was one person at the dinner table who was heavy into bitcoin mining—the computer-powered competition that creates new bitcoins. It was the first Silver and most of his friends, who were on a trip to Utah as part of their service on a nonprofit philanthropic foundation’s board, had ever heard of it. But after the dinner conversation, Silver returned home to Florida and found himself the beneficiary of philanthropy from this miner.

“He gave everyone bitcoin,” recalled Silver, who received five bitcoins—worth over $1,500 back then. Silver still holds them, worth more than $18,705 at presstime, down significantly from $95,000 in December 2017 when bitcoin hit an all-time high.

The world of cryptocurrency soon spilled over into his practice. He learned that the under-regulated industry has tremendous potential for fraud and that investors have suffered real losses. The Coral Springs, Florida-based plaintiffs’ attorney, who had mainly concentrated on securities and financial fraud cases, began to carve out a niche representing allegedly defrauded cryptocurrency investors in class-action lawsuits against the largest crypto exchanges and companies that conducted initial coin offerings.

Grassroots ‘Black Lives’ Program Grows at Law Schools

Grassroots ‘Black Lives’ Program Grows at Law Schools

By Angela Morris (Law.com, Feb. 17, 2019)

As part of the trend in “movement” lawyering, nearly 20 law schools across the country are part of Law for Black Lives, a grassroots program focused on racial and social justice.

The New York-based nonprofit network is made of up about 5,000 lawyers that launched in 2015 and includes multiple initiatives, including the one-year-old clinical program involving students from 18 schools who partner with grassroots advocacy groups to advance social change.

“It’s all about empowering people with the knowledge to uplift themselves,” said SaFiya Hoskins, a third-year student at Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law.”

Texas Law Schools Experienced a Modest First-Year Enrollment Gain in 2018

Texas Law Schools Experienced a Modest First-Year Enrollment Gain in 2018

By Angela Morris (Texas Lawyer, February 2019)

On the national stage, law schools saw a 3 percent boost in first-year student enrollment—the first gain since 2010—but Texas saw a more modest gain of just 1 percent, which is 2,220 students.

However small, an enrollment uptick is welcome news since law schools for years have tightened their budgets after the Great Recession wrecked the legal job market and dissuaded prospective students from choosing the law school route.

Texas A&M School of Law in Fort Worth saw the largest bump of 32 percent, and four other schools also grew their enrollment. On the other side, five schools saw declining enrollment, headed by St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, with an 18 percent drop.

Enrollment data comes from the American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, the nation’s law school accrediting body. How do Texas’ law schools compare? Each is listed below in alphabetic order.

Kimberly-Clark In-House Counsel Has ‘NEW’ Idea for Black Women Lawyers

Kimberly-Clark In-House Counsel Has ‘NEW’ Idea for Black Women Lawyers

By Angela Morris (law.com, Feb. 4, 2019)

In her day job, Dallas lawyer Chasity Henry works in-house at Kimberly Clark-Corp., but when she’s not tending to the global giant’s transactions, she’s extending her hand to pull other black woman lawyers up the career ladder.

It started when Henry and former law school friends, all black women, began meeting for casual happy hours about eight years ago, discussing their challenges in the legal profession. It was Henry who pitched the idea of creating an official nonprofit organization—The NEW Roundtable—with the mission of empowering African-American woman lawyers, enhancing their careers and influencing the wider legal profession to improve hiring, retention and promotion of black women. (NEW stands for Network of Empowered Women.)

“Formal networks aren’t in place, oftentimes, for African-American women,” said Henry, assistant general counsel of corporate affairs and legal strategy at the Irving, Texas-based $18 billion company with brands like Kleenex, Huggies and Kotex. “We felt we didn’t always have the opportunity to join the other tables, so we created our own.”