‘On the Merits’ Blog to Address Legal Misconceptions and Myths

4/4/2011

The Texas Center for Legal Ethics (TCLE) has launched “On the Merits,” a blog that will address legal news and trends of the moment from the perspective of legal ethics, accuracy and the roles that judges and attorneys play in the system of justice.

“On the Merits” is part of a revamp of TCLE’s online assets, including the relaunch of the organization’s website and a refurbished online Justice James A. Baker Guide to the Basics of Law Practice course, which all Texas lawyers must take.

“‘On the Merits’ will tackle the myths and misperceptions of the legal system that frequently turn up in news coverage, media accounts and urban legends,” says Jonathan Smaby, executive director of TCLE. “Our goal is to provide lawyers and non-lawyers alike with a thoughtful discussion of how our legal system actually works.”

The blog will be updated by Mr. Smaby, co-author of the third edition of “Opening and Managing a Law Practice,” which is published by TCLE. Smaby, a former Dallas business attorney, was vice chair of the State Bar of Texas’ Advertising Review Committee and is a frequent CLE speaker on the topics of legal ethics, law office management and lawyer advertising. He’s also written numerous articles for various print media, including the Dallas Morning News, the New York Times and the National Law Journal.

“Any time reporters, commentators or the public at large mischaracterize or misunderstand the legal system – including its lawyers, judges or court decisions – there’s a need to set the record straight, and there’s an opportunity to educate the public on the workings of justice,” says Smaby. “Our goal with the ‘On the Merits’ blog is to serve as a timely resource for individuals who seek and value that clarity.”

Smaby notes that the name of the TCLE blog originates from a legal expression that means to decide matters based on facts surrounding an issue of contention, rather than peripheral issues or other distractions. “On the Merits” is TCLE’s first blog.

Founded in 1989 by three retired Texas Supreme Court chief justices, TCLE promotes the values contained in the Texas Lawyers’ Creed. The group pursues the original vision of its founders as the leading storehouse of knowledge and resources for ethics and professionalism in Texas.

For more information, please contact Jonathan Smaby at 512-427-1477 or at jonathan.smaby@texasbar.com.

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