GCBA Header

GCBA March 2016 Newsletter
President's Message

March is one of the busiest months of the year.  Many of us are trying to juggle spring brea vacations with our full work schedules.  For college basketball fans, March is one big, energy-filled party with the anticipation of the all-important NCAA Basketball Tournament.  Over the course of the next few weeks, millions of viewers will fervently bet on multiple brackets as the nation's top college basketball teams compete to become the 2016 NCAA champion.  However, there is a lot more to be earned from the Tournament, than just bragging rights if you pick the winning bracket.  Believe it or not, there are four simple, but critical life lessons you can take away from the NCAA bracket that can be applied to each of our practices.

1. Have a Game Plan - All coaches plan incessantly before March Madness begins.  They painstakingly research the competition and ensure that their team has been training per the right plan.  This seems relatively straightforward; however, many attorneys float through their careers without a clear game plan.  Many of you may work in firms that do not have a business plan for the firm as a whole, let alone your practice group or individual attorneys.  And some of you are not privy to the firm's plan, even if there is one.  It is easy to get caught up in the routine day-to-day activities, but when a firm invests the upfront time in putting plans in writing, it demonstrates intention and commitment, makes ideas more concrete, finds clarity and increases the likelihood of success.

2. Prepare for Plans to Change  - Ada pting to change is a process and the leaders of the  law firms are responsible for preparing a plan for their firms to adapt as the future unfolds.  This is not dissimilar to NCAA coaches going in with a detailed game plan, matching their best defender with the opposition's top scorer and planning the offensive strategy likely to have the most success.  One of the most striking changes in the legal profession over the past half century is the enormous increase in the total number of lawyers, together with the major expansion in the  size of many law firms, the emergence of megafirms, the branch office phenomenon, and the globalization of the profession. This expansion in the lawyer population has been accompanied by greatly intensified competition among law firms for legal busin ess.  In 1951 there were approximately 220,000 lawyers in the United States; by 2000, the lawyer population exceeded one million.  This growth in our profession has necessitated the need for attorneys to change their practice as they go along in order to succeed.  So if you find yourself ten points down at the half, it is time to try something new.  It is important to set overall plans and goals, but it is even more important to assess the situation at important milestones and to not be afraid to change course.  Life is not static, and neither is the legal profession.


3. Pay Attention to the Small Things - Some of you may have heard this story about former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.  The first day of practice, he would make his team practice putting on their socks.  The players complied, but were perplexed by the process.  Why would a coach like John Wooden waste his time coaching young men how to put their socks on? Coach Wooden would later explain: "If there are wrinkles in your socks or your shoes aren't tied properly, you will develop blisters.  With blisters, you'll miss practice.  If you miss practice, you don't play.  And if you don't play, we cannot win."  In life or in business it is very easy to get caught up in the grand strategic context and to ignore the small things.  When a huge success is celebrated, it is usually because of the culmination of many small details done right.  In our personal lives, these could be simple things such as being grateful, smiling more, working out, etc.  Over time, the little things add up.  This philosophy is also applicable to each of our practices.  It is important for each of us to pay attention to how we treat our clients; how well we handle even the smallest cases on our docket; and what kind of team culture we foster in our firms.  These little things make up the fabric of the firm and can make or break its chance of sustained success.


4. Make Your Timeouts Productive - Although we do not see the players in action during timeouts, these are a crucial part of the game.  Players and coaches catch their breath, revisit their game plans and adjust their direction at these junctures.  Likewise, successful attorneys and law firms do a great job of carving out time in their schedules to recharge and reflect on how they are faring, measuring key performance indicators and adjusting their direction on a regular basis.

So it is not all madness for the next few weeks; look for motivation and inspiration from the
se teams fighting for the Championship and apply them to your practice.  I wish you all good fortune on your brackets and in your practices!
Kelly M. Haas
President, Galveston County Bar Association
GCBA March CLE Luncheon: 
Family Law Judges' Roundtable

Please join us at noon on Thursday, March 17th, at the San Luis Resort for the Family Bar Judges' Roundtable.  Judge Anne B. Darring, Judge Barbara E. Roberts, Associate Judge Stephen Baker and District Clerk John Kinard will be our panelists and will discuss their policies and procedures, answer questions and take feedback; while Genevieve McGarvey, an officer at McLeod, Alexander, Powel and Apffel, P.C., will serve as the moderator.
If you plan to attend the lunch meeting be sure to RSVP and include your correct Texas bar number, to ensure credit for attending.  If you attend without pre-registering online, you will need to self-report on your own "My Bar Page" section of TexasBar.com.
Please remember that the GCBA guarantees payment for a minimum number of lunches depending on the responses. If you can no longer attend the event, please send a short notice to  contact@galvestoncountybar.org .
Non-member guests can attend for $25, payable at the event.

Galveston County Young Lawyers
Laura Hughes

The Young Lawyers Section will have its next lunch meeting on Wednesday, March 23rd at the Olympia Grill at Pier 21 at noon.  Among other topics, we will discuss the upcoming Law Day program (April 28th), nominations for the Liberty Bell and Outstanding Young Lawyer Awards, and interest in becoming the next President-Elect of the Section.
If you have any questions or are interested in learning more details about any particular event, please contact me at laura.hughes@americannational.com .
Thank you!
Laura Hughes
GCYLS President 2015-2016
2016 Law Day Scholarship Application and Essay Question

The Galveston County Young Lawyers Section ("GCYLS") is now accepting applications from Galveston County high school seniors, who indicate an interest in pursuing a secondary degree toward a career in the legal profession, including, but not limited to, the practice of law, law enforcement or public service.  The GCYLS hopes to award several scholarships, including one for the Bill Todd Memorial Scholarship.  All scholarship awards will be based on responses to the attached application.  Please forward this application to any Galveston County high school senior you know and urge them to apply.  The completed application and essay must be received by Friday, March 25, 2016 at 5pm.  The scholarships will be presented to the winners at our Annual Law Day Luncheon at the San Luis Resort in Galveston on Thursday, April 28, 2016.

Liberty Bell Award:
Call For Nominations

As part of the annual Law Day program, the Galveston County Bar Association presents a Liberty Bell Award.  The purpose of the award is to recognize community service that has strengthened the American system of freedom under law and to provide public recognition to men and women, particularly non-lawyers, for outstanding service in one of these areas:
  • promoting a better understanding of our Constitution and the Bill of Rights;
  • encouraging greater respect for law and the courts;
  • stimulating a deeper sense of individual responsibility so that citizens recognize their duties as well as their rights;
  • contributing to the effective functioning of our institutions of government; and
  • fostering a better understanding and appreciation of the rule of law.
If you know someone whose service in the listed areas deserves recognition, please complete the application and send them to Laura Hughes at laura.hughes@americannational.com.

Reception to Honor United States Judge George C. Hanks, Jr.

The Galveston County Bar Association

invites you to a reception in honor of 

United States District Judge George C. Hanks, Jr.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Olympia Grill at Pier 21

100 - 21st Street, Galveston

Please RSVP by April 12, 2016

This event is made possible due to generous donations from

Galveston County Bar Association

Greer, Herz & Adams, LLP

Jones Robinson, LLP

The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd

T he Law Offices of McLeod, Alexander, Powel & Apffel, PC

Mills Shirley, LLP

Royston, Rayzor, Vickery & Williams, LLP

Save The Date

Thursday, April 28, 2016 at 12:00 noon

San Luis Resort and Spa - Galveston, Texas

Key Note Speaker - Jeffrey Rosen

Jeffrey Rosen is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Constitution Center, the only institution in America chartered by Congress "to disseminate information ab
out the United States Constitution on a non-partisan basis. Rosen is also a professor at The George Washington University Law School, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a contributing editor for the Atlantic.

He is a highly regarded journalist whose essays and commentaries have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, on National Public Radio, and in The New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer. The Chicago Tribune named him one of the 10 best magazine journalists in America and a reviewer for the Los Angeles Times called him "the nation's most widely read and influential legal commentator." He received the 2012 Golden Pen Award from the Legal Writing Institute for his "extraordinary contribution to the cause of better legal writing."

Rosen's new book, Louis Brandeis: American Prophet, will be published on June 1, 2016, the 100th anniversary of Brandeis's Supreme Court confirmation. He is also the author of The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries that Defined America; The Most Democratic Branch: How the Courts Serve America; The Naked Crowd: Reclaiming Security and Freedom in an Anxious Age; and The Unwanted Gaze: The Destruction of Privacy in America. He is co-editor, with Ben Wittes, of Constitution 3.0: Freedom and Technological Change.

Rosen is a graduate of Harvard College; Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar; and Yale Law School. 

GCBA Board - Call For Nominations

The Galveston County Bar Association Nominations Committee is pleased to announce the call for nominees to serve on the 2016 - 2017 GCBA Board of Officers and Directors.  Participating on the Board of Officers and Directors enables you to lend your leadership and vision to the Galveston County legal community and to contribute to defining its path forward.  If you are interested in serving or nominating a fellow member, please contact Robert Booth regarding the open positions.

Galveston Ad Litem Seminar Now Available Online

Access to the Probate/Guardianship and Family/Children/CPS CLE seminars is available on our website for $200 per course. You will have lifetime access to the content. If you are not a member of the GCBA, you will be asked to register an account with our website to access course. If you are a GCBA member or have previously purchased access to a seminar, make sure you are  
logged in   with your existing account.

Houston Lawyer Referral Service - Free Ethics CLE

"Ethics and Lawyer Advertising: Navigating the Pitfalls"
Wednesday, April 13 - 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
1111 Bagby, Heritage Plaza Room (Lobby Level)
1.5 hours of MCLE ethics credits to all licensed attorneys in attendance.
RSVP REQUIRED to Karen Ramsey, Executive Director at Houston Lawyer Referral Service
(713) 650-0470 or kramsey@hlrs.org

Follow Us On Facebook

Facebook has become the most popular social networking site on the internet.  Sharing photos and information between friends and family members has never been easier with the rise in popularity of Facebook.  Please follow us on Facebook and share your photos with fellow members from our upcoming events.  You can find our page at:

Galveston County Bar Association | Email | Website