Top Story

Top Story

Message from the TYLA President
By:  Baili B. Rhodes

Over the past several days, my Facebook feed has filled with pictures and stories of those who have been driven from their homes and businesses by Hurricane Harvey and the associated flooding. First responders, medical professionals, and volunteers have already put in countless hours assisting those who have suffered loss. We likely won’t know of the devastation for weeks, or even months to come.  But we can start making our contributions to relief efforts now. The legal profession is first and foremost a profession of service.  Friends, it is time to serve.

In his message to the membership on Tuesday, State Bar President Tom Vick identified a number of ways that we can contribute to disaster relief, please consider joining in one (or more) of the following efforts:   

First, the State Bar is connecting Texas lawyers who have been adversely affected by the storm with other lawyers who are able to assist them with needs including temporary housing, office space, and cleanup services. If you have been adversely affected or wish to assist a colleague, please take a moment to complete our Hurricane Harvey assistance survey

Second, if you would like to donate money to the hurricane relief effort in Texas, you can give through the Texas Bar Foundation by clicking here. All donations collected through this effort will go to benefit the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Third, we are matching attorney volunteers to disaster-related service opportunities. If you are an attorney who wants to help by giving brief advice, limited-scope service, or full representation to Harvey survivors, please complete the form at

Other items of interest:

Disaster relief resources
When disasters strike Texas, the State Bar serves as a clearinghouse for disaster response resources for the public and attorneys. The State Bar of Texas legal hotline—(800) 504-7030—helps people find answers to basic legal questions and connects them with local legal aid providers following declared disasters. Please help us by sharing the hotline number and the public resources available at Disaster resources designed specifically for attorneys can be found here

HB 1774 regarding insurance claims
The State Bar has received questions about a bill passed during the latest Texas legislative session that changes the law as it applies to lawsuits relating to certain property insurance claims, including property damage and loss caused by natural disasters. The new law, House Bill 1774, applies to insurance claims and lawsuits filed on or after September 1, 2017. It requires certain pre-lawsuit notices by property owners, changes the amount of interest payable on claims that are determined to be underpaid or paid late, and may affect the amount of attorneys’ fees recoverable in a lawsuit. This story was covered in The Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle.

Texas Supreme Court orders
The Texas Supreme Court issued an order Tuesday allowing out-of-state lawyers to practice in Texas temporarily under certain conditions. The order allows an attorney licensed and in good standing in another U.S. jurisdiction to practice in Texas for six months from the date of the order if: (a) the attorney is displaced from his or her home jurisdiction as a result of Hurricane Harvey and practices in Texas remotely as if located in his or her home jurisdiction, or (b) the attorney provides services to victims of Hurricane Harvey through a legal aid program, pro bono program, or bar association. The attorney must register for temporary practice in Texas and agree to abide by Texas disciplinary rules. Read the order here

The court issued another order Tuesday regarding the statutes of limitations in civil cases related to delays caused by Hurricane Harvey. The order expires September 28 unless extended by the court. Read it here

The Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals previously issued an emergency order authorizing modification and suspension of court procedures in proceedings affected by Hurricane Harvey. The order, which is effective through September 27 unless the courts extend it, is available here.

Court closures
Multiple Texas courts and clerks' offices are closed due to Hurricane Harvey. Visit the Court Closures & Delays page on the Office of Court Administration website for details.

To those of you have volunteered, thank you for your service.  To those of you who have suffered loss, or are still in harm’s way, you are in our thoughts and in our prayers.  We are here to serve you.

All the best,

Views and opinions expressed in eNews are those of their authors and not necessarily those of the Texas Young Lawyers Association or the State Bar of Texas.

Submit an Article

Interested in writing an article for eNews?

Contact Us

Connect With Us