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Title: Assistant Disciplinary Counsel – Disciplinary and Disability Law Location: Houston Age: 38 The Public’s Champion Jennifer A. Hasley applied to the State Bar of Texas’ Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel in 1998 because, after five years in private practice, she wanted to make a difference. “I liked that I would be kind of a champion of not just the legal profession but also the public. We really maintain the reputation of the profession,” she says. The practice of law is an honor and a privilege for Hasley, says her longtime legal assistant Shawn Leslie. It is important to Hasley to shore up the public’s dim view of the profession by weeding out bad apples among the bar, Leslie says. Sometimes, that means disbarment. Judge Robert Newsom, of Hopkins County’s 8th District Court, presided over one such case. The defendant represented himself and pulled out all the stops trying to keep his license. The defendant was frustrating in motions and at trial, Newsom says, but Hasley was impressively composed throughout. “I have a pile about a foot tall of the pleadings in that case. Some of them were just way out there, alleging all kinds of things. She just responded very well, and her pleadings were in great shape,” Newsom says. Hasley prevailed, and the lawyer was disbarred. “There are some respondents out there who are very bad. The best way to work the case is to keep your feelings in check,” Leslie says. At the State Bar, Hasley has five jury trials, 27 bench trials and 40 administrative-law evidentiary hearings under her belt. So when defense lawyers prepare to duke it out with Hasley, they know what to expect, and many admire her professionalism. “She’s just a model prosecutor,” says Houston solo Wayne Paris. Paris, who spent three years in Hasley’s shoes and another 27 years on the defense side of disciplinary issues, would know. He says Hasley is tough without being overbearing, and one of the best lawyers the Bar has on staff. He remembers a case in which he testified as an expert for the defense. The disciplinary panel held that the defendant had not violated Bar rules, and Hasley still called Paris afterward to tell him she appreciated his testimony. “You don’t have people call you up very often and tell you that,” he says. Hasley says she takes “a tremendous amount of pride in being a lawyer.” In her additional role as litigation trainer for the office, she takes care to pass on that pride. She has also developed procedures to assist with the handling of cases from filing to court date. The office receives some 9,000 grievances each year, and about 3,900 of them proceed through the system, she says. To Hasley, that’s 3,900 people, all unhappy with their legal services, who she can help. “It’s so rewarding to have someone who feels wronged and have the court agree,” she says.

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