State Bar of Texas
June 24, 2008

Contact: Kim Davey, 800.204.2222 x 1713 or 512.427.1713

Dallas, Fort Worth Individuals and Organizations Honored by State Bar of Texas

(Austin) – Presentation of awards honoring exceptional service to the public and the legal profession will be a highlight of the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting, June 26-27, at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.

The following Dallas and Fort Worth area individuals and organizations are among those being honored:

Dallas Diversity Task Force Presidents' Award, presented by past presidents of the State Bar for outstanding contributions to the legal profession. The Dallas Diversity Task Force made significant strides in raising awareness surrounding the issues of diversity in the legal community and in promoting greater diversity among Dallas law firms. The task force has been praised for setting new standards for measuring, tracking and reporting on diversity and promoting best practices for hiring, retention, and promotion of attorneys of color at Texas law firms.

Members of the Task Force include Frederick Barrow, Vickie Blanton, Gabriella Gallegos, Martin Garza, Michelle Gross, Keiko Ichiye, Ramona Martinez, Clara Saafir, Divya Verma, and Victor Vital. Haynes and Boone, LLP (Dallas office) – W. Frank Newton Award. In 2002, Haynes and Boone agreed to defend two Mexican nationals, Alberto Sifuentes and Jesus Ramirez, who had been convicted of murder for the 1996 shooting of a Panhandle convenience store clerk. The defendants, indigents and with poor English skills, both received life sentences from separate juries, despite evidence of their innocence. Haynes and Boone has spent 7,493 hours on the men's cases, equivalent to $2.35 million at the firm's rate, and more than $400,000 in expenses. In 2008, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed and vacated the convictions of the two men. Haynes and Boone has pledged to represent the men in the event of re-indictments or if new trials are ordered, until both their cases are concluded.

Presidential Citations will be presented by outgoing State Bar President Gib Walton to the following individuals to honor their contributions and commitment:

Talmage Boston, for his commitment to the creation of excellent programming and planning for the State Bar Annual Meeting. Boston will serve as Annual Meeting Chair for the 2009 event in Dallas. David Keltner, for leadership in building and sustaining the leading continuing legal education program in the country.

Tim Mountz, for dedication and commitment to access to justice and working to promote awareness of Lawyer Referral Services throughout Texas.

Tom Vick of Weatherford, for dedication and commitment to access to justice for all Texans, and faith in the justice system and rule of law when they were in the national spotlight and being tested under extraordinary circumstances.

The Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) will honor the following: Reneé Breazeale – Liberty Bell Award, presented by TYLA to an outstanding non-lawyer who has made a selfless contribution to his or her community to strengthen the effectiveness of the American system of justice. Breazeale,of Homeward Bound, Inc. in Dallas, has over 19 years experience in the mental health industry working primarily with chemically dependent individuals. She is the intake director and oversees the residential unit for women, and the New Life Opportunity Project.

Sheri D. Crosby – Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas, presented by TYLA to an attorney who has exemplified professional proficiency, service to the profession, and service to the community. Crosby is an associate with Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP. Daniel Peugh of Denton – TYLA's President's Award of Merit. Peugh co-chaired a newly formed Military Affairs Committee, to develop programs and projects to assist military personnel and their families with legal issues. His leadership resulted in the creation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act pamphlet, available as a public service through the State Bar Public Information Department. Hon. Bonnie Sudderth – TYLA's Outstanding Mentor Award. Judge Sudderth is honored for serving as a role model to young lawyers, fostering their development and contributing to the profession and the community. She consistently demonstrates a commitment to mentoring young lawyers through her judicial position and through her adjunct position at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law. Notable awards presented by State Bar Sections:

Shannon Bates of Plano – Chair's Award, Intellectual Property Law Section.
James E. Coleman, Jr. – Luther H. Soules Award, presented by the Litigation Section.
Jannette Johnson – Sarah T. Hughes Award, presented by the Women and the Law Section. This award honors the accomplishments of women who have achieved outstanding recognition in their professional area and who, by doing so, have paved the way for success for other women attorneys.
Ernest Martin – Legends Award, presented by the Insurance Law Section.
Constance Nims - Pro Bono Award, presented by the Paralegal Division.
Rust E. Reed – Distinguished Texas Probate Attorney Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by the Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law Section.
Frank St. Claire – Distinguished Texas Real Estate Attorney Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by the Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law Section.
Ken Upton – Judge Norman W. Black Award, presented by the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification Issues Section.

The State Bar of Texas is an administrative agency of the Supreme Court of Texas that provides educational programs for the legal profession and the public, administers the minimum continuing legal education program for attorneys, and manages the attorney discipline system.