Annual Summer CLE & Clarence Darrow Award Presentation @ Hotel ZaZa Houston, Houston [19 June]

Annual Summer CLE & Clarence Darrow Award Presentation

12:30 - 19:30

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Hotel ZaZa Houston
5701 Main St, Houston, Texas 77005
5 hours of free MCLE for members, including 2 hours of ethics.

12:30 Check-in, Nachos & Antipasto served

12:50 Dinesh Singhal & Steven Duble
Opening Remarks & Announcements

1-2 Mike Doyle introduction of
Fran Watson: Civil Rights in 2017, the 50th Anniversary of
Thurgood Marshall’s Swearing-in

2-3 Barbara Radnofsky introduction of
Philip Zelikow: Law & Order: Global,
Balancing Civil Rights & National Security

3 Break with cheese, fruit, & sweets

3:15-4:15 Gov. Mark White introduction of
Patricia Bernstein
Ten Dollars to Hate: Then and Now

4:15-5:15 Reenactment of Texas 1925 All-Woman Supreme Court
Organized by: David Furlow
Remarks by: Judge Ruby Kless Sondock, the first
woman appointed to serve full time on the Texas
Supreme Court
Participants: Judge Alexandra Smoots-Thomas
Judge Katie Kennedy
Justice Terry Jennings
Judge Phyllis Randolph Frye
Tim Riley
Alan Van Fleet

5:15 Reception begins, bars open, food served

5:45-8 Clarence Darrow Award Presentation and Reception
Aditri & Arjun Singhal — National Anthem
Dinesh Singhal — Clarence Darrow's legacy
Commissioner Rodney Ellis — Introduction of Morton
Michael Morton — Introduction of Raley
John Raley — Acceptance Speech

FRAN WATSON is an attorney and sociopolitical activist. She is a native Houstonian with a passion for social justice. She believes everyone deserves a life of dignity, equal access, and fair treatment. She is a founding partner of Simoneaux & Watson, P.C., a firm that focuses on protecting the legacy of families. Fran is an active member of the Houston LGBTQ and progressive communities, with a strong focus on the intersection of race and gender. She is the current President of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, the South’s oldest civil rights organization dedicated to advancing gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights through education, advocacy, and the endorsement of pro-equality political candidates. She serves on Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s LGBT Advisory Board. She is the 2016-17 Co-Director of the Houston chapter of New Leaders Council (NLC), a progressive leadership institute that recruits, trains, and promotes innovative leaders to affect change in their surroundings. She is a member of the NLC4 Women’s Caucus, a policy team of women from across the country seeking to promote an agenda of equality for women. Recently, Fran was elected to the statewide board of Annie’s List, an organization that recruits and empowers progressive women to run for office. She is past president and current advisory board member of Montrose Grace Place, a drop-in center that provides a safe environment for vulnerable, homeless youth of all sexual orientations and gender identities. She is a member of the board of directors for Standard of LOVE, a long term, empowerment movement for black communities. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her wife of twelve years, Kim Watson.
PHILIP ZELIKOW is the White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He has also served at all levels of American government, including as an elected member of his town’s school board.Having begun his career as a trial and appellate lawyer in Texas, he returned to grad school and taught for the Navy. Becoming a Foreign Service officer, his diplomatic assignments culminated in remarkable White House years (1989-91) on the NSC staff for President George H.W. Bush. He then became a professor, first at Harvard, later at Virginia. At Virginia he has also done a stint as the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. His books include «Germany Unified and Europe Transformed» (with Condi Rice), «The Kennedy Tapes» (with Ernest May), and «Essence of Decision» (with Graham Allison). He directed the 2001 Carter-Ford commission on national election reform, which led directly to the bipartisan Help America Vote Act. He returned to full-time government service in 2003 to direct the 9/11 Commission, oversaw its landmark report, and then worked on the legislation that implemented some of the Commission’s recommendations. In 2005 he went back to Washington as Counselor of the Department of State, a deputy to Secretary Rice, and dealt with foreign policy problems around the world. Recently he helped lead a group of corporate and civic leaders called Rework America, sponsored by the Markle Foundation, working on American economic opportunity amid the digital revolution. He drafted their book, “America’s Moment” (Norton, 2015). Zelikow has also been a member of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board for President Bush (2001-2003) and for President Obama (2011-2013). Since 2015 he has been a member of the Defense Policy Board for the Secretary of Defense.
MARK WHITE was the 43rd governor of the State of Texas, serving from 1983 to 1987. After graduating Baylor University and Baylor Law School, he practiced law in Houston. He was the Texas Secretary of State from 1973 to 1977, and Attorney General from 1978 to 1983. As governor, White was a strong advocate for public education and is credited for passage of the Educational Opportunity Act, which resulted in student SAT scores being increased and teachers receiving the largest proportional salary increase in the state’s history. Other reforms enacted during his tenure include health insurance benefits for retired teachers and the “No Pass, No Play” provision to ensure that students make passing grades before participating in extracurricular activities. In 2016 HISD opened Mark White Elementary School in his honor. He is chairman of the board for the HISD Foundation, a non-profit organization which supports the public schools.
PATRICIA BERNSTEIN is a writer and historian. She is the the author of The First Waco Horror: the Lynching of Jesse Washington and the Rise of the NAACP. That book tells the story of the lynching of Jesse Washington in Waco in 1916, how the lynching affected the growth of the fledgling National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and how a young women's suffrage activist was drafted by the NAACP to go to Waco and investigate the lynching. Bernstein the president of Bernstein and Associates, a public relations firm in Houston. She has a degree in American Studies from Smith College. Bernstein will discuss her book,«Ten Dollars to Hate» which tells the story of the prosecution of the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s by far the most successful incarnation since its inception in the ashes of the Civil War and the first prosecutor in the nation to successfully convict and jail Klan members. Dan Moody, a twenty-nine-year-old Texas district attorney, demonstrated that Klansmen could be punished for taking the law into their own hands in this case, for the vicious flogging of a young World War I veteran. Ten Dollars to Hate explores this pivotal and brutal chapter in the history of America. Her talk will include a comparison of the Roaring Twenties and our present situation.
DAVID A. FURLOW is the Executive Editor of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society Journal. He is certified in civil appelate law and has extensive experience as a prosecutor and civil litigator. Mr. Furlow has particular expertise in First Amendment cases involving the rights of individuals and business owners to engage in political
and commercial free speech including signage, elections, and entertainment, in state, federal, and U.S. Supreme Court cases.Mr.
Furlow has been practicing trial law since 1983. He served as the 2006-2007 chair of the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section’s Media, Defamation & Privacy Law Committee, chaired ABA Annual Meeting seminars about First Amendment and media issues in 2007 and 2008, and was a vice chair of the Section’s Intellectual Property Committee. He serves on the Board of the Houston Chapter of Americans for Separation of Church and State. He served as a speaker and a script consultant in Warrior Queen Boudica, a 2006 documentary on The History Channel.
JUDGE RUBY KLESS SONDOCK was born in 1926 in Houston and attended Cottey College in Nevada before marrying and starting a family. She later enrolled in the University of Houston Law Center with the intention, she has said, of becoming “the best legal secretary in town.” As one of only five women in her class, Justice Sondock graduated as valedictorian in 1962. She had been admitted to the bar a year earlier.Gov. Preston Smith offered her the appointment to the bench of the Harris County Domestic Relations Court in 1973. Four years later, Gov. Dolph Briscoe appointed her to the 234th District Court, earning her the distinction of being the first woman district court judge in Harris County. In 1982, Gov. William P. Clements appointed Justice Sondock to the Texas Supreme Court to serve the unexpired term of a deceased justice. With this appointment, she became the first woman to serve on the Texas Supreme Court in a regular session of the court, and the first woman to serve on the court since a special session in 1925. Justice Sondock neither sought election for a full term nor accepted the later nomination to serve the unexpired term of then-retiring Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Joe Greenhill. Instead she returned to district court, and ran unopposed. Since retiring from the bench, Justice Sondock worked for many years as a successful private mediator in Houston. Her alma mater, the University of Houston Law Center, hosts a biennial lecture series in her name, “The Ruby Kless Sondock Lecture in Legal Ethics.” University of Houston Law Center Dean Baynes said, “Like so many other women trailblazers, Justice Sondock succeeded with grace, dignity, self-assurance and courage, not letting any obstacles or barriers stand in her way.”
JUDGE ALEXANDRA SMOOTS-THOMAS was born and raised in Southeast Houston, Texas. She attended Kincaid where she was active in their nationally recognized, award-winning policy debate team. She studied government and journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, where she was active in the Student Government. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of St. Thomas, with an Honors degree in Communications. She graduated from South Texas College of Law, where she won three National Moot Court titles, two speaker awards, and two briefing awards. After law school, she join the trial section at Brown McCarroll's Houston Office. After several years of practice, she opened her own law office that expanded and became known as Smoots-Hogan, Brockman, & Brauchle. She defended individuals, homeowners, small companies, and municipalities. Her practice included commercial litigation, construction litigation, real estate law and litigation, insurance law (first-party and third-party claims), U.S.C. 1983 claims, family law, and personal injury litigation. In 2008, she was elected to her first term as Judge of the 164th Civil District Court of Harris County, Texas. During her first term, she significantly reduced her Court’s docket and presided over almost 100 jury trials. In 2012, was elected to a second term on the bench, receiving the most votes of any other judicial candidate.She is is avid supporter of children's and cancer charities. She is also passionate about the advancement of women in professional careers, routinely speaking to and supporting several community organizations geared toward that mission, and she acts as a mentor for several aspiring women.
JUDGE KATIE KENNEDY received her B. A. Summa Cum Laude from Rhodes College in 1981 and her J. D. from Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1984. While at Vanderbilt, she served as an Associate Editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review. After graduation from law school, Judge Kennedy served as a Law Clerk for Senior United States Circuit Judge Bailey Brown on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. She joined the law firm of Bracewell & Giuliani in 1985 and practiced commercial litigation until she was elected to the bench of the 164th District Court in 1992. She was reelected in 1996. Judge Kennedy resigned from the bench in December 1999. Since resigning from the bench, Judge Kennedy has served as an Assigned Judge in the courts of the State of Texas sitting in Harris and surrounding counties. She has also mediated and arbitrated thousands of disputes involving all areas of civil law. She has served as a Court Appointed Special Master in numerous cases. In the 2010 Judicial Candidate Qualification Poll, Judge Kennedy received more Well Qualified ratings than any District Judge candidate, incumbent or challenger. While on the bench, Judge Kennedy was consistently one of the highest rated judges in the Houston Bar Association’s Judicial Qualification and Evaluation polls. In 1998, she was one of three judges statewide appointed by the Texas Supreme Court as a member of the Judicial Campaign Finance Study Committee. The Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists selected Judge Kennedy as the 1999 Trial Judge of the Year. The Houston Chronicle and Texas Executive Women honored her as a 1999 Woman on the Move. In 2007 she was appointed to the Texas Access to Justice Commission, and she served as a Commissioner from 2007-2013. She served as Chair of the Commission’s Awards Committee. She serves on the Board of the Houston Lawyer Referral Service. She previously served on the Board of the Harris County Dispute Resolution Center.
JUSTICE TERRY JENNINGS, the Senior Justice on the First Court of Appeals, first took his oath of office on January 1, 2001. He is Board Certified in Civil Appellate. From 2003 to 2014, he “served with distinction” as a member of the Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee. The Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists named Justice Jennings its 2009 Appellate Judge of the Year. In 2011, the Houston Press named him “Houston’s Best Appellate Judge.” The Texas Bar Foundation, “in recognition of his service and devotion to the highest traditions of the Bar,” elected Justice Jennings a Life Fellow in 2013. And in 2016, the University of Houston Law Alumni Association, “in recognition of his exceptional achievement in public service,” awarded Justice Jennings its Public Sector Achievement Award. A fourth-generation Texan, he is a native of San Antonio and a 1982 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in government and was a member of the Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society. He earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree in 1988 at the University of Houston Law Center. Based on academic excellence, he served as an Associate Editor of the Houston Law Review, where he won the 1987 Outstanding Law Review Candidate of the Year award. Upon graduation, he began his legal career practicing civil litigation. In 1990, he joined the Harris County District Attorney's Office.
JUDGE PHYLLIS RANDOLH FRYE is the nation's first openly transgender judge. When the “gay” community was still ignoring or marginalizing the transgender community in the early 1990’s, she began the national transgender legal and political movement (thus she is known as the TG movement’s “Grandmother”) with the six annual transgender law conferences and their grassroots training. Judge Frye is one of the Task Force’s 1995 “Creator of Change” award winners. In 1999, she was given the International Foundation for Gender Education’s “Virginia Prince Lifetime Achievement” award. In 2001, she was given the National LGBT Bar Association’s (a.k.a. Lavender Law’s) highest honor, the “Dan Bradley Award.” She was honored beginning in 2009 by Texas A&M University with an annual “Advocacy Award” given in her name. In 2013 the Houston Transgender Unity Committee gave her its “Lifetime Achievement Award.” In 2015, she was given the National Center for Transgender Equality’s “Julie Johnson Founders Award.” In 2010, she was sworn-in as the first, out, transgender judge in the nation, as a City of Houston Associate Municipal Judge. She is a senior partner with Frye, Oaks and Benavidez, PLLC, which is an out LGBTI-and straight-allies law firm. While the members of the firm practice law in a variety of areas, she devotes her practice exclusively to taking transgender clients — both adults and minors — through the Texas courts to change the clients’ names and genders on their legal documents.
TIM RILEY has been practicing civil trial and personal injury trial law for more than 30 years. He has tried scores of lawsuits and settled hundreds of cases prior to trial. He is Board-Certified, in both Civil Trial Law and Personal Injury Trial Law. He has been elected as an Advocate Member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He is the immediate past-president of HCDLA.
ALAN VAN FLEET practices antitrust law with McDermott, Will, & Emery. His litigation and arbitration experience spans a wide range of industries, including energy, computer hardware and software, internet services, iron and steel fabrication, rail and air transportation, biotechnology, health care and financial services.
As an adjunct professor of management at the Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University, he teaches Antitrust for Business Managers. He has been recognized for his pro bono work over many years. In 2012, he filed a Supreme Court amicus curiae brief in Fisher v. University of Texas on behalf of the family of Heman Sweatt, who in 1946 was denied admission to UT Law School for the sole «fact that he is a negro,» leading to the landmark case Sweatt v. Painter. Of the 91 amicus briefs filed in Fisher, Tony Mauro of the National Law Journal praised Allan's as «one of the most powerful briefs on either side,» and Linda Greenhouse urged the justices «hear the voice of Heman Sweatt» in her New York Times article «History Lessons.»
RODNEY ELLIS was elected Harris County Commissioner for Precinct One in 2016. He served in the Texas Senate from 1990 to 2016, where he earned praise as a leader on economic development, education, civil rights, budget, responsible environmental policy, tax cuts for the middle class, criminal justice, and workforce development policy. Prior to that he served three terms on the Houston City Council, and was chief of staff to the late U.S. Congressman Mickey Leland. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Southern University, a master’s degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, and a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. He also studied at Xavier University of New Orleans and the London School of Economics. As Senator,he passed more than 630 pieces of legislation and is recognized nationally for his leadership on increasing greater access to college for high-achieving Texas students, championing criminal justice reforms to protect the innocent and hold the guilty accountable, and fighting to provide quality affordable health care to the most vulnerable Texans, amongst many other issues.He is a senior advisor in the Public Policy and Regulation practice group for Dentons, the world’s largest law firm. He has been a pivotal leader in assisting many African nations as they continue to transition from the regimes of the past to more modern, responsive governments. He chairs the Board of Directors for the Innocence Project. He also serves on the LBJ Foundation Board of Trustees, the University of Texas School of Law Foundation Board of Trustees, and the Council on Foreign Relations.
MICHAEL MORTON, author of «Getting LIFE»
“A devastating and infuriating book, more astonishing than any legal thriller by John Grisham” (The New York Times) about a young father who spent twenty-five years in prison for a crime he did not commit…and his eventual exoneration and return to life as a free man. Getting Life is an extraordinary story of unfathomable tragedy, grave injustice, and the strength and courage it takes to find forgiveness.
JOHN RALEY obtained a B.A. in Letters (History, Literature and Philosophy) summa cum laude from the University of Oklahoma, and he obtained an LL.M. in International Law from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Prior to founding Raley & Bowick, John was a litigation partner at Fulbright & Jaworski, L.L.P. and the managing partner of the Houston office of Cooper & Scully, P.C. His tenacity and skill are internationally recognized, and he has been featured in or interviewed by CNN, The Texas Tribune, Texas Monthly, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, Katie Couric, and 60 Minutes. He has represented several celebrity clients, including Maya Angelo, Brian Bosworth, Richard “Racehorse” Haynes, Hilary Duff, and Lara Logan. In 2013, Texas Lawyer magazine named John one of the top five “Impact Players” of Texas, and the University of Texas Law School awarded him their annual “Texas Jurist Award.” John was given a 2013 Presidential Citation by the Texas State Bar in recognition of his seven year pro bono fight in state and federal courts for DNA testing in order to exonerate Michael Morton, an innocent man who served 25 years in prison. The resultant landmark Michael Morton Act requires prosecutors to provide defense counsel free access to investigation information.
John was named 2013 “Houstonian of the Year” by the Houston Chronicle. In 2014, the Brazos County Bar gave him their annual “Atticus Finch Award.” John received the 2015 Houston Bar Association President’s Award for Pro Bono Service. HCDLA is proud to present John with our 2017 Clarence Darrow Award.
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2017 Soirée: Houston and Beyond
Hotel ZaZa Houston

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