New Nonprofit Firm the First Founded by Baby Lawyers

Two recent law graduates in Houston have joined a national trend by launching a new nonprofit law firm to serve low- and middle-income clients.

Access Justice Houston, founded by 2017 University of Houston Law Center graduates MacKenzie Dunham and Doug Evans, has become the fourth Texas-based nonprofit firm—along with DiFilippo Holistic Law Center in Austin, Legal Access Texas in Dallas, and Greater Waco Legal Services in Waco—that are targeting modest-means clients in an effort to close the justice gap. The other Texas-based nonprofit firms were launched by veteran lawyers; Dunham and Evans are the first recent law graduates to take the plunge.

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PDF: New Nonprofit Firm the First Founded by Baby Lawyers _ Texas Lawyer

One Texas Law School Is Doing the Heavy Lifting When It Comes to Diversity Efforts

Texas legal educators are striving to recruit racially and ethnically diverse law students, but there’s one law school that’s excelling hand-over-fist compared to the others.

With 91 percent of its current students hailing from minority racial and ethnic backgrounds, Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law takes the top spot when it comes to a diverse student body.

Texas Lawyer analyzed demographic data from the 10 Texas law schools and ranked them based on the percentage of minority students. Schools submit data annually to the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which is responsible for accrediting law schools.

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PDF: One Texas Law School Is Doing the Heavy Lifting When It Comes to Diversity Efforts _ Texas Lawyer

Open Records Reveal Personality Clashes, Power Struggle at Thurgood Marshall

One of Texas’s public law schools has reeled during the past year under the stress of a censure from the nation’s law school accreditor, exacerbated by personality clashes between leaders of the law school and central university.

A series of bad publicity has unveiled problems within Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law. The first problem became public in July 2017, when the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, which accredits law schools, issued censures against the school for violation of an anti-discrimination accreditation standard, as well as multiple academic standards. Another round of negative press hit in October 2017, when TSU President Austin Lane abruptly canceled a law student organization’s event, which drew rowdy, disruptive protesters. The fiasco—participants said the university violated their free speech—was quickly followed by the resignation of interim law school dean James Douglas.

Documents obtained through a Texas Public Information Act Request reveal details pertaining to personality clashes and power struggles between Lane and Douglas. Interviews with Douglas and former dean Dannye Holley provide more insight about what happened behind the scenes, before and after the ABA’s censures.

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PDF: Open Records Reveal Personality Clashes, Power Struggle at Thurgood Marshall _ Texas Lawyer

Justice Sotomayor Visiting Houston to Discuss Legal Education

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is visiting Houston on Jan. 26 to answer law students’ questions about her life story and sit down with a law professor for a talk about the role of legal education.

Sotomayor’s visit to the University of Houston Law Center will put her face to face with law and pre-law students, who submitted advance questions and will listen as law dean Leonard Baynes moderates a discussion with the Justice about the students’ queries. As Sotomayor has done at past events, it’s likely she will walk among the students in the law classroom during her talk. Students will enjoy that personal touch, Baynes said.

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PDF: Justice Sotomayor Visiting Houston to Discuss Legal Education _ Texas Lawyer

Houston-area Courts Crippled by Hurricane Harvey

Pummeled by Hurricane Harvey, federal and state courts along the Texas Gulf Coast have closed their doors and suspended all operations, grinding to a near halt one of the busiest jurisdictions in the country.

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PDF: Houston-area Courts Crippled by Hurricane Harvey _ Law

Disciplinary Suit Filed Against Lawyer for Filing Frivolous Legal Mal Case

Mark Womack, a Houston solo practitioner who beat back a legal malpractice case after eight years of litigation, said he’s gratified that the State Bar of Texas filed a disciplinary lawsuit against the lawyer who represented the plaintiff who sued him.

The Commission for Lawyer Discipline sued Houston solo practitioner Armando Lopez in Harris County District Court, alleging he violated rules that ban a lawyer from bringing a frivolous lawsuit, lying to a court or being dishonest, fraudulent, deceitful or misrepresentative. The original petition said that Lopez represented a plaintiff in an underlying malpractice suit against Womack, who eventually filed the grievance against Lopez.

“It was serious misconduct,” said Womack. “I’m gratified the state bar has made the decision to enforce the rules in this fashion. I think it shows the system works.”

Published on TexasLawyer.com on Aug. 8, 2017.

PDF: Disciplinary Suit Filed Against Lawyer for Filing Frivolous Legal Mal Case _ Texas Lawyer