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New Laws Affecting Lawyers Effective September 1, 2015

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On September 1, 2015, approximately 700 new state laws became effective. Below you will find a brief summary of six new laws that are relevant to the legal profession. For more information on any piece of legislation, please visit http://www.legis.state.tx.us.

1. SB 1139 and HB 2182 Increased Fees for Civil Actions

  • The rates for the use of e-file in a civil action have increased from $20 to $30. The new law provides that the jury fee is now $40.

2. HB 7 - Repeal of Occupation Tax

  • Addresses the use of certain statutorily-dedicated revenue and includes provisions that would repeal various occupation taxes, including the $200 attorney tax.

3. SB 1116 - Electronic Notice

  • Amends the Government Code to authorize a "court, justice, judge, magistrate, or clerk" to send any notice or document using mail or electronic mail, and applies to all civil and criminal statutes requiring delivery of a notice or document.

4. HB 2573 - Deceptive Trade Practice Related to the Use of Certain Words to Imply that a Person who is not an Attorney is Authorized to Practice Law

  • Now the term "false, misleading, or deceptive acts or practices" will include the translation into a foreign language of a title or other word, including "attorney," "lawyer," "licensed," "notary," and "notary public," in any written or electronic material, including an advertisement, a business card, a letterhead, stationery, a website, or an online video, in reference to a person who is not an attorney in order to imply that the person is authorized to practice law.

5. SB 1135 - Revenge Porn

  • Creates a new criminal offense and civil cause of action for "revenge porn". Now victims don't have to just rely on civil lawsuits, since there is now a criminal punishment for publishing revenge porn.

6. SB 534 - Changes to Lawyer's Oath

  • Adds the following phrase to the attorney's oath: "conduct oneself with integrity and civility in dealing and communicating with the court and all parties."

Firm partner Benny Agosto, Jr. was featured on Univision America's regional Morning News as a legal expert where he spoke about the new laws and their effect on the community.

Benny Agosto, Jr. is a partner at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend in Houston, Texas. For over 65 years, Abraham Watkins has successfully represented injured people and families who fall victim to catastrophes. Our attorneys have the knowledge, experience and resources necessary to obtain just compensation their clients. For more information, please contact the office of Benny Agosto, Jr. at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend, by letter at 800 Commerce Street, Houston, Texas 77002, or by phone at (713) 222-7211.

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    The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective and uniformly applied process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

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    Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4000 members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

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