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CIVIL PRACTICE CLINIC’S WORK BRINGS RECOGNITION TO THE LEGAL CLINICS AT THE LONE
STAR LEGAL AID’S LEX LEGACY LUNCHEON

The University of Houston Legal Aid Clinic was recognized as a Pro Bono “Law Firm” Partner at the Lone Star Legal
Aid’s Lex Legacy Luncheon on December 3, 2014. The award, presented to Janet Heppard, Director of the UH Law
Center Clinical Program and Barbara Stalder, Clinical Supervising Attorney of the UH Civil Practice Clinic, recogniz-
es the “generous gifts of time and talent” in the work done by the civil practice clinic students and supervising at-
torneys in providing legal assistance to indigent people in the greater Houston area on a wide variety of civil cases,
including divorce, domestic violence, adoption, estate planning, guardianships, name changes and probate.

The Lex Legacy Luncheon recognized the lawyers, judges and community trailblazers who helped pioneer a national
model for legal services. The celebration began with the unveiling of LSLA’s Hall of Heroes, a portrait gallery
recognizing 65 Bar and community leaders who have tirelessly championed the ideal of fair access to the justice
system. During lunch, the Chairs and Honorary Chairs, which included Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson, Chief
Justice Thomas R. Phillips, and Joe G. Roady, paid tribute to the honorees and to LSLA’s rich history—dating back
to 1949 when LSLA’s progenitor Houston Legal Foundation marked its first full year of offering free legal services to
those in need. Lone Star Legal Aid is a United Way agency that acts as a safety net for at-risk Texans, providing
free civil legal services to clients facing complex legal issues with no ability to afford a private attorney.

CIVIL CLINIC STUDENTS ACT AS AMICUS ATTORNEYS IN A JURY TRIAL

Under the supervision of Professor Barbara Stalder, 3L students Esther Kim, and Melissa MacNeil, represented the
court as amicus attorneys in a child custody case where the father requested sole custody of his three and six year
old children. The father had three protective orders filed against him on behalf of the children, the children’s
mother and grandfather. Kim prepared the voir dire and opening statements, as well as examination of a witness.
MacNeil gave the closing statement and also helped examine a witnesses. The students flanked Professor Stalder on
both sides and took notes as she did the rest. Professor Janet Heppard and a few other clinic students observed the
trial and assisted with the jury voir dire. The trial resulted with the jury’s decision to award the mother sole
custody. After the trial, the students were complemented on their performance by the other attorneys, the judge,
and the jury.

 From left: Janet Heppard                         Esther Kim  “It was incredibly exciting
 (Clinical Program                                            to be part of the whole
 Director and Civil                                           process, and I learned so
 Practice Clinic Director),                                   much about litigation
 Texas Supreme Court                                          tactics, evidence and
 Justice Eva Guzman, with                                     court decorum, and most
 Barbara Stalder (Clinical                                    importantly, what NOT to
 Supervising Attorney of                                      do as attorneys.
 the UH Civil Practice
 Clinic) at the 2014 Lex                          We also had the opportunity to speak to the jury
 Legacy Luncheon on                               after the trial was over, which gave us great insight
 December 3, 2014.                                into what the jury thought were the more relevant
                                                  facts. (It was very surprising to learn what they
UH Law Center | Clinical Legal Education Program  thought wasn't very important.)” - Esther Kim 3L

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