Happy Holidays from The Texas Lawbook. Holiday cheer is quite literally in the air right now; snowflakes (sleetflakes?) fall to the ground outside my window this Thursday afternoon, melting just as they hit the stone-patterned back patio. The wind whistles a frosty tune. Menus are being planned (well, tomorrow they are). Delivery drivers from Amazon, USPS and FEDEX make their continued cameos in the neighborhood. I wish you a happy holiday season, whichever holiday your household celebrates.
My household celebrates Christmas, and I can guarantee you that this weekend, “Home Alone” 1 & 2 will be on loop as I recite my favorite lines (“For the kids.” “Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal.” “Wow, what a hole!”), I will wonder where the time went as I scramble to finish buying gifts, and my dog will attempt to unwrap every present Sunday morning under the assumption that everything is for her.
In the recent editions of P.S., it’s become clear how big lawyers’ hearts are — especially during the holidays, when the need is even greater for those in need. You can find information about the latest holiday giving below, including the record-breaking outcome of Houston Young Lawyers Foundation’s Adopt-an-Angel program.
And now, a few housekeeping items:
For future consideration in the P.S. column, email your submissions to email@example.com— preferably by EOB Wednesdays, or noon Thursdays at the very latest. And because other projects may prevent me from responding immediately, please include as much detail as possible in your initial email so that I’m not bombarding you with a bunch of questions just as you’re getting into holiday or weekend mode. Who wants to be that person?
Details that I’ll definitely want are below, based on the charitable item type:
— If it’s a donation, please include information about what the donation was or how much, which nonprofit/charity the donation benefitted and how it will help, who was involved from your organization and key dates.
— If it’s a gala or other charity event, please include information about how much was raised, who the honorees were at the event (if any) and what they were honored for, the time and place of the event, the registration link (if it’s an upcoming event) and a list of the largest sponsors.
— If it’s an award, please include information about why the firm/person is being awarded, what the award is, when it happened and — if it’s a group effort — which Texas-based lawyers involved should be recognized.
— If it’s a CLE or other educational event centered around pro bono or diversity, please include information about who is on the panel, who is moderating, who the sponsors are, the link to sign up and what topics the event will cover — and ideally, why that’s important.
— If it’s an announcement about new nonprofit leadership, please include information about the person joining and their title, how long they’ve been involved with the nonprofit — or, if they were already on the board and are taking an elevated leadership role, how long they’ve been on the board — and any other background information about the person that may be helpful (practice area, other charitable leadership roles, why the cause is personally significant to them, etc.
The latest charitable happenings
— Legal Services Corporation has provided hundreds-of-thousands in grant money to two legal aid organizations in Texas: $35,000 to Legal Aid of Northwest Texas and nearly $286,000 to Lone Star Legal Aid (LSLA). LSC is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in the 1970s to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The corporation currently provides funding to 132 legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.
LANWT will use its grant for cybersecurity efforts, including retaining an outside expert to audit the organization’s cybersecurity system and work with LANWT to better protect it from threats.
LSLA will use its grant to develop software tools that will keep content and legal information website in Texas up to date. The automated tools will check online legal authorities — such as statutes, regulations and administrative proceedings — and send alerts to staff about potentially outdated material. This effort is significant because it will allow for better service to low-income Texans, disaster survivors and other Texas residents who struggle to afford an attorney in the state.
— Hunton Andrews Kurth recently celebrated 10 years of supporting the Texas Children’s Hospital Medical Legal Partnership — a clever acronym for a Houston-area organization, MLP, for short. Founded in 2012 with the Houston Volunteer Lawyers program, MLP offers critical assistance to low-income medical patients and their families, including pro bono legal services. HuntonAK was one of the original participants when MLP formed 10 years ago and has handled more than 340 pro bono cases for the organization since.
— The Houston Young Lawyers Foundation broke a record this year in providing gifts to the city’s underserved children through HYLF’s Adopt-an-Angel program. With the help of the Houston legal community, HYLF provided toys to nearly 4,000 kids. According to HYLF Chair Brenda Adimora, this number surpassed last year’s by nearly 900 children.
The HYLF has been doing its Adopt-an Angel program for nearly 30 years. Each year HYLF recruits firms and individuals to buy gifts or make monetary donations and then a group of HYLF volunteers delivers the gifts to local elementary schools and charities.
The donations were received and housed at the Trinity Lutheran Church downtown during the first week of December, and were delivered the week of Dec. 12.
Adimora, an attorney at Susman Godfrey, said the top two firms to adopt the most angels were Morgan Lewis and Kirkland & Ellis. She also thanked a group of committed individual volunteers, many of whom also serve on HYLF’s board of trustees: Yetter Coleman associate Amy Farish, METRO staff attorney Anietie Akpan, Thompson Coe senior attorney Ben Ritz, Jackson Walker senior counsel Robin Hennegan, Schlanger Silver associate Loren Canales, HYLF Executive Director Lucy Cain, as well as the moving company for the effort, Carter Moving.