Friday was the second day of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) and meetings for the State Bar of Texas. Here is my take on some of the events attended and topics discussed.
Today was the second day of the State Bar of Texas’ Annual Meeting, hosted in Fort Worth, Texas this year. Though the location rotates every year, this is the first time since 2010 that the conference has been held in Fort Worth. There were many great events and discussions on a wide variety of topics available to attend today. Here is the highlights of some of the major ideas shared during a small handful of the presentations today:
- Setting up Your Practice & Solo Solo: These two sessions discussed some of the unique issues that Solo Practitioners and small law firms face in getting established and actually running the business side of the law firm. One of the biggest questions revolved around client trust funds and when a lawyer actually earns the retainer. There have been some new ethics decisions from the State of Texas directly on point to the issue.
- Military Justice Update: A View From the Bench: This was a great seminar talking about the recent changes in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) that changed the way medical records can be requested and used during a Court Martial proceeding. This was presented by recently retired Lieutenant Colonel Faulkner, a former Military Judge from Fort Hood, Texas. Essentially, instead of the Military Judge reviewing the documents in-camera (meaning only the judge reviews it and then decides whether it is admissible or not) there must now be some level of cause shown before the Military Judge can begin the the in-camera review. This was a great session that brought up some interesting issues around the concept of “privileges” (i.e. the ability to exclude relevant evidence for a good reason like the husband-wife privilege or the priest-partitioner privilege) and how this new law expands or contracts the scope of current privileges.
- General Lunch Session with Guest Speaker S.C. Gwynne: This was an incredible speaking event. Mr. Gwynne wrote the recently published “Empire of the Summer Moon” which talks about the waning days of the Comanche Empire in Texas. The big take away (which I echo from my experience deployed in Afghanistan) is that culture means everything. It is likely immature and inappropriate to view a problem solely through your own cultural lens, history, and social norms. You must view the problem through both sides in order to develop a lasting and adequate resolution. (i.e. the Comanches spent several decades rating other tribes back and forth. This was their cultural norm. To those who were settling Texas, it was barbaric).
- Disaster Planning and Recovery: This was an awesome session with Mr. Paul Martin of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies. In this presentation he broke down the concept of disaster preparedness and why even solo firms need to think about it. Many of the things that Mr. Martin presented were actually echoed almost everything I spoke about in my recent paper “Operation Disaster Defender”.