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8 Advocate (Texas) 1 (1989)

handle is hein.barjournals/adsbate0008 and id is 1 raw text is: LITIGATION SECTION
Terry 0. Tottenham, Chairman
One American Center
600 Congress Avenue
Austin 78701
Frank Baker, Chairman-Elect
One Alamo Center
106 St Mary's
San Antonio 78205
Forrest Bowers, Vice-Chairman
1401 Texas Avenue
Lubbock 79048
Doyle Curry, Secretary
201 W. Houston St.
Marshall 75670
Judge Alice Trevathan, Treasurer
151st Judicial District Court
Harris County Courthouse
Houston 77002
T. Ray Guy
Judge George M. Thurmond
Del Rio
Lev Hunt
Corpus Christi
Roy Barrett
Michael Connelly
Harriet Miers
Jack Pasqual
San Antonio
Judge Catherine J. Crier
Frank Southers
San Antonio
John F. Nichols
Judge David Keltner
Fort Worth
Steve McConnico
Charles Matthews
NEWSLETTER: The Advocate
Professor J. Patrick Hazel
University o1 Texas School of Law
727 E. 26th St.
Austin 78705


te Bar Litigation
Teion Report
The Advocate             Vol. 8, No. 1

March 1989

In reading the December 1988 issue of The Advocate it should have struck us all
that the time is now. I refer to the well written, practical and provocative articles on
professionalism and more specifically to the implicit suggestion for rules of statewide
application. The Supreme Court of Texas should promulgate rules of professional-
ism embracing, at least, concepts expressed in the Dallas Bar Association's Guide-
lines of Professional Courtesy and Lawyers Creed, the American College of Trial
Lawyers' Code of Conduct;' and the synthesis of these in the standards of litigation
conduct for attorneys appearing in civil actions in the Northern District of Texas
ordered by the United States District Judges in the Dondi and Knight cases last year.
In our eagerness to enact new disciplinary rules and procedures and to preserve
the integrity of the integrated Bar at Sunset time, we may have lost sight of the reason
why all these concerns are with us. Lawyers should, but do not, respect themselves.
Leaving the issue of respect aside, however, there are pragmatic reasons why law-
yers should treat clients, courts and other lawyers with more courtesy and consider-
ation. Rambo tactics generate sanctions and malpractice suits. Can we afford either?
The other branches of government, State and Federal, await the opportunity to con-
trol the practice of law. If we fail to make the system work, they surely will try.
The District Judges of Dallas County recently followed the lead of their counter-
parts on the Federal bench. Lawyers and clients there will know their civility, hon-
esty and fairness are expected professional conduct and not a sign of weakness.
The same expectations should prevail throughout Texas. The Supreme Court has
inherent power to control the practice of law. The State Bar should move the court
to adopt rules of professionalism.
There is strong sentiment among thoughtful lawyers in the Litigation Section, the
Texas Bar Foundation, the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, the Texas Association
of Defense Counsel and trial lawyers generally that we have to treat each other better
than we do.
F W. Baker
One of the most frustrating things to do in Austin is to try and keep up with the
Legislature on a daily basis. It is more than a full time job. The Texas Trial Lawyer's
Association probably does as well as anyone. Hence, much of what I have to report
comes from them.
Worker's Compensation is the big topic of the moment. The legislation (already
passed the house) does away with a trial de novo and makes an appeal to a court
an administrative review, i.e. substantial evidence. There are a multitude of other
changes. If you are interested in them, write or call the legislature fora copy of House
Bill 1.
The next big item for litigators is really the one that is most important, i.e., judicial
selection. The most important bills are S.B. 407 and S.J.R. 22, both introduced by
Senator Caperton, containing a constitutional amendment and enabling legislation
that provides for appointment by the Governor of appellate justices and judges and
district judges in Bexar, Dallas, El Paso, Harris, Tarrant, and Travis counties and for
confirmation elections on a non-partisan ballot of those justices and judges. Many
speculate that the recent lawsuits regarding single-member districts for trial judges
may aid in passage of this legislation and constitutional amendment.
In the general area there is H.B. 520 mandating that exemplary damages, less plain-
tiff's attorney fees, be deposited in the state treasury. H.B. 374 would provide the trial
judge discretion to mandate cases for less than $25,000 to mediation. H.B. 536 would
give the legislature control of State Bar funds. Finally, H.J.R. 39 is a constitutional
amendment and enabling legislation to change civil juries from twelve to six persons.
In the field of products liability there is a movement on to CODIFY present
common law.
And, we ain't seen nothing yet!
J. Patrick Hazel

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