Houston law graduates Ieshia Champs and Shartory Brown have inspired many people with their stories surviving childhood homelessness and teenage pregnancy and then succeeding in law school while raising multiple kids.
Texas Lawyer spoke with Brown and emailed Champs for advice for other law students about juggling a strict schedule, coping with overwhelming demands, and tapping into their inner strength and resiliency. Here are their answers, edited for clarity and brevity.
It’s poetic coincidence that the biggest U.S. Supreme Court rulings in the LGBT civil rights movement bore the date June 26, said high court litigator Paul Smith, who argued the landmark case that laid the foundation for same-sex marriage equality.
In Lawrence v. Texas, John Lawrence and Tyron Garner were arrested in Lawrence’s Houston home for alleged “deviant sexual intercourse” that violated the Texas criminal sodomy statute. Fifteen years ago on June 26, 2003, the high court ruled in Lawrence that criminal sodomy statutes were unconstitutional. It paved the way for the high court on the same date—June 26—nine years later in Windsor v. United States to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act’s definitions of “marriage” and “spouse” as limited to opposite-sex couples. And in 2015, again on June 26, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in Obergefell v. Hodges.
Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump is well-known nationally for representing families of unarmed black people killed by police, like Michael Brown and Stephon Clark, in wrongful death and police brutality cases.
In his latest role, he’s the host of “Evidence of Innocence,” a new show on TV One about wrongful convictions with episodes running on Mondays in June.
Crump, president and founder of Ben Crump Law in Tallahassee and Los Angeles, narrates the stories and interviews the four wrongfully convicted African-Americans who are featured in the show. As the survivors—and the defense lawyers and investigators who won their clients’ freedom—sit under studio lights telling their stories, actors and actresses re-enact the drama, with intense music in the background.
We caught up with Crump, a former National Bar Association president, to ask about his role in the show, how it’s affected him personally and the larger impact he hopes to see from it. Here are his answers, edited for clarity and brevity.
As a bomber terrorized Austin this month, Big Law senior associate Liz Marcum had a very specific reason to be worried.
While law enforcement moved in on the suspect, Liz Marcum’s husband—Deputy U.S. Marshal Robert Marcum—was called in to track and apprehend the bomber.
PDF: Big Law Associate_s Life Ensnared in Austin Bomber’s Fate _ Law.com
Disbarment might be on the horizon for Texas state Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, because of his criminal conviction on 11 felony fraud-related charges.
Uresti, a personal injury attorney, fraudulently steered his clients to invest in FourWinds Logistics, a hydraulic fracking business that turned out as a Ponzi scheme. He pleaded not guilty, claiming he didn’t know about the scam until it was too late. One of Uresti’s lawyers has pledged to appeal Uresti’s convictions for wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and securities fraud violations.
Texas Lawyer spoke with Wayne Paris, managing member of Gillis Paris & Heinrich in Houston, who’s practiced legal ethics law for 40 years, about what an attorney disciplinary case against Uresti might look like and the possible outcome. Here are his answers, edited for brevity and clarity.
PDF: Here’s What an Attorney Discipline Case Against Texas Sen
The legal profession’s own #MeToo movement is playing out on Twitter.
Under the hashtag #LadyLawyerDiaries, the discussion over the last year has evolved to tackle serious and pervasive issues surrounding women in the law. It’s become a movement that enables female attorneys to speak out collectively about gender bias and sexual harassment in the legal profession.
We talked with Greenberg Traurig partner Kendyl Hanks of Austin, one woman—along with Goodwin associate Jaime Santos of Washington, D.C.—among a core group of about 15 female attorneys who have joined forces to tweet as one under the @LadyLawyerDiaryhandle. The group ranges in age from 20 to 40, coming from diverse legal backgrounds—law clerks, court staff attorneys, law firm associates and partners, law professors, in-house counsel.
PDF: Women Lawyers Join #MeToo Movement with Hashtag of Their Own _ Law
Most people already know about judicial Twitter sensation Don Willett, the Texas Supreme Court justice whom the U.S. Senate confirmed in mid-December for a spot on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
But here’s a lesser-known voice in the Twittersphere from the Lone Star State’s highest court: Justice Jeffrey Brown’s Camry. That’s right. His Toyota Camry @CamryofJustice.
The 14-year-old car with the Twitter handle “Camry of Justice” has belonged to Brown since he bought it at CarMax in Houston in 2012. Dubbed the “CoJ” for short, the XLE model “with a sweet V6” (according to its Twitter bio) could be the only car owned by a judge on Twitter. Tweeting from the Camry’s perspective since 2014, Brown writes about his journeys across Texas to meet with lawyers, to speak at legal education seminars or to appear at campaign events. The car, which just crested 212,000 miles, is so beloved on #appellatetwitter that lawyers on the road ask Brown about it first thing when they see him, and seem disappointed if he has flown to his destination rather than driven the Camry.
PDF: In the Persona of His Toyota, Texas High Court Judge Tweets Away _ Texas Lawyer