Best Summer Associate Program

Sure, there’s much to recommend a summer associate at San Francisco’s Morrison Foerster, where one can stroll Fisherman’s Wharf after reviewing depositions, or at Boston’s Foley Hoag, where you’d be a fool not to catch a game at Fenway Park after getting some face time with the partners. But how about spending the summer in Dallas, where, well, sometimes it’s not quite 100 degrees in the shade? On July 8, Vault.com released the list of top 50 best summer associate programs. While Morrison Foerster was No. 1 and Foley Hoag was No. 2, the Dallas office of Haynes and Boone ranked No. 44, the only Texas firm to make the list. Vault asked first-year through third-year junior associates who participated in their current firm’s summer associate programs to rate their experience on a scale of 1-to-10 in two areas: how well the summer program prepared the associate for life at the firm, and how fun the summer associate program was. The Overall Best Summer Associate Program ranking reflects the average of these two categories. Haynes and Boone scored a solid 7.929 rating. Mike Boone, a founding partner of the firm and a big booster of his home town of Dallas, isn’t surprised by his firm’s and his town’s showing on the list. “We never want to win an award for the best summer camp program. This is a real experience for them if they came to work here,” Boone said of his firm’s summer associates. “We try to give them, first and foremost, what it would be like to be a lawyer in the trenches here. And balance that to see what we’re like as people and is it culturally a fit in what it’s like to work here.” As for fun in Dallas? Boone reeled off the list, including the firm’s close proximity to the American Airlines Center—home to the Dallas Mavericks, the Dallas Stars and most big musical performances that come through town—and to Klyde Warren Park, which is possibly the only greenbelt and recreational area suspended over a crosstown freeway. “It’s a great place to live. Admittedly, in August, it gets a little hot,” Boone said of Dallas. “But it’s a great place to live.”

Want to Be a Federal Judge?

There are a total of nine federal judicial vacancies in Texas right now, and they aren’t going to fill themselves. That’s why U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz have put out another call for applicants for two of those benches: one each in the Northern and Southern districts. “Texans deserve the finest legal minds and ablest professionals to serve as U.S. district judges throughout our state’s federal judicial districts,” Cornyn said in a statement. “Public service is a great calling, and as a former judge, I encourage everyone who is interested in serving in these important positions to apply.” There’s a lengthy application process for the benches, and the application deadline is Aug. 1. Aspiring federal judges can download an application from the senators’ websites and email them to either FJEC@cornyn.senate.gov or FJEC@cruz.senate.gov. What are Texas’ Republican U.S. senators—and the White House, for that matter—looking for in a Texas judicial nominee? It helps to be any combination of a U.S. magistrate judge, a U.S. attorney, or a lawyer with strong connections to the district in which he or she will serve [See "Three for Texas: Meet the Nominees for Federal District Judgeships" Texas Lawyer, July 7, 2014, page 4.] One man who knows all about being a federal judge—and the trouble that can occur when benches remain empty for too long—is Royal Furgeson. Furgeson, a retired U.S. district judge, appeared on Texas Lawyer’s Reversed & Remanded videoblog to discuss the historic nature of the nominee named to replace him on a San Antonio trial court bench.

Firm Gains Austin Office

Holland & Knight announced July 1 the hiring of 11 lawyers from Brickfield Burchette Ritts & Stone. In Texas, the news means that Holland & Knight gains an Austin office, its second in the Lone Star States, after Dallas, and adds three lawyers, according to Bill Burchette, a partner who moved from Brickfield’s D.C. office to Holland & Knight’s branch in the nation’s capital. In Austin, Mark Davis will move to Holland & Knight as a partner, and Fred Ritts and Alvin Taylor as senior counsel. Burchette said the three Texas lawyers will continue to work with existing energy clients but, at Holland & Knight, they will have much “more depth” in terms of legal services to offer clients in comparison to what was available at their previous firm. Peter Brickfield, a partner in Brickfield Burchette Ritts & Stone, did not return a call by press time.

Emergency Border Funding

Of the nearly $4 billion in emergency funding President Barack Obama requested from Congress to address an influx of unaccompanied minors entering through the U.S.-Mexico border, $64 million is earmarked for the Department of Justice, according to the White House’s July 8 press release. Here’s where that money, if allocated, will go.

$45.4 million: hire approximately 40 additional immigration judge teams, some temporarily, and expand courtroom capacity, including additional video conferencing and other equipment in support of the additional immigration judge teams;

$2.5 million: expand the legal orientation program that assists adults and custodians of children in the immigration court system;

$15 million: provide direct legal representation services to children in immigration proceedings;

$1.1 million: hire additional immigration litigation attorneys to support federal agencies involved in detainee admission, regulation and removal actions.