: The Blawgraphy
Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Houston Tonight: Legal and Business Considerations for Bootstrapping a Start-up

One great idea, the Caroline Collective, hosts another great idea tonight – Werkadoo Workshop: “Legal and Business Considerations for Bootstrapping a Start-up” with presentation by Nhan H Nguyen:

On the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, Werkadoo presents free business classes at the Caroline Collective.

This Wednesday, April 8, they’ve invited Nhan Nguyen to speak about “Legal and Business Considerations for Bootstrapping a Start-up.”

The class begins at 6pm — hope to see you here!

Where? 4820 Caroline Street, Houston, TX 77004

Justice Tim Taft Stepping Down from 1st Court of Appeals

According to Texas Lawyer, Justice Tim Taft, who has served on the Texas 1st Court of Appeals in Houston for 14 years will retire from the bench on April 30. Among other things Justice Taft is known to anyone involved in the advocacy programs at University of Houston Law Center as being very generous with his time in judging moot court competitions. Among his reasons for stepping down, Taft says “I’m going to be a visiting grandparent rather than a visiting judge.”

Texas Lawyer, Justice hanging up robe, will make more money retired

Harris County Creates Felony Mental Health Court

Harris County is seeking to expand its treatment of the mentally ill accused of crimes by turning Judge Jan Krocker’s 184th District Court into a specialized mental health court:

Harris County’s criminal district judges voted Wednesday to devote Krocker’s court, the 184th, to felony cases of defendants diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe depression.

It makes so much sense for so many reasons it’s hard to figure out why it’s taken this long. The probation numbers are particularly compelling:

In 2006 and 2007, the county studied whether mentally ill people on probation who were assigned to the two courts avoided getting into trouble and returning to jail. Most of these people were in the New START program, and 4 percent had their probation revoked, Ellis said. During the same period, 30 percent of the mentally ill not in the program had their probation revoked.

It’s a step in the right direction at least. The subtext is of course that many of the folks who are landing in the new mental health court have been falling through the cracks for years.

Houston Chronicle: Judge hopes mental health court will cut repeat arrests (archived)

Hurricane Ike Roils Houston Legal Community


The JP Morgan Chase Tower in downtown Houston lost most of the windows on the southeast side from the ground floor to somewhere near the 30th. The damage purportedly came from gravel and debris from a neighboring building.

The streets were littered with glass and debris including whole file cabinets and scattered documents marked "confidential." Yikes.

Some partners have been told not to expect to resume normal working operations there for 3-6 months. And yet…

All of our Blackberrys are working

The AP story, Houston port, airports wait to reopen after Ike, gives us a great reminder of the state of modern law practice -

Law firm Andrews Kurth LLP, headquartered in the JPMorgan tower, planned to farm out its 250 lawyers based there to other locations in Texas but continue doing its work — "All of our BlackBerrys are working," said spokeswoman Ashley Ronald.

Law practice, more than most industries, has the necessity for and the ability to develop contingency plans and backup systems to ‘take a licking and keep on ticking’  – it will be interesting to know what Houston law firms take from the Hurricane Ike experience. For the Galveston bar, it will be interesting to see what emerges. The Houston Chronicle is estimating that Galveston’s tax base may be cut in half. On the other hand the resulting damage may result in its own flood of insurance litigation.

For law students, the hurricane came in the middle of OCI, the on campus interviewing that starts the hiring process for most large and mid-sized law firms. Although interviews are being rescheduled and the hurricane presumably wouldn’t affect long-term hiring needs, it certainly doesn’t help.

Judge Russell Austin, RIP

I just learned that another friend of the UHLC has passed away. Judge Russell Austin suffered a stroke over the weekend and passed away yesterday. Judge Austin received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Houston and taught courses at both the University of Houston Law Center and South Texas College of Law. I had the pleasure of meeting Judge Austin only once but left impressed by his generosity and willingness to give back to the legal community through teaching and mentoring. I’ll consider myself fortunate if I have even half the impact in my career as he did in his.

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