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Final Farewell Matthew Paul of Austin, the state’s prosecuting attorney for more than a decade, died on March 25 at the age of 51. Paul, who graduated first in his class at the University of Texas School of Law in 1985, became an assistant state prosecuting attorney in 1987 after serving about two years as an assistant county attorney in Kerrville. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals appointed Paul as state prosecuting attorney in 1996. “He’s always been the fairest and most reasonable prosecutor I’ve ever met,” CCA Judge Barbara Hervey says of Paul. Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley says Paul did a great job of professionalizing the Office of the State Prosecuting Attorney and forming good relationships with local prosecutors around the state. Bradley says Paul was in the difficult position of trying to balance the need to have a consistent statewide policy with the sometimes-contrary desires of local prosecutors. “I can’t think of a time when he wasn’t able to blend those two goals,” Bradley says. Hervey says that when Paul argued a case before the CCA, he sat at the counsel table across from where she sits on the bench. Paul never could get his tie right, Hervey says, noting that she finally bought him a tie at a tall men’s shop. After that, whenever Paul sat down at the counsel table prior to an argument, he’d always adjust his tie a little, Hervey recalls. Bradley says Paul also was good at presenting and summarizing the law for prosecutors and was a frequent speaker at the annual conference of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association. In 2005, the TDCAA presented Paul with the C. Chris Marshall Distinguished Faculty Award for outstanding contributions to the education of Texas prosecutors. The Silver Screen While the new documentary “A Lawyer Walks Into a Bar” is a funny and engaging film about six law school graduates attempting to pass the California bar exam, the movie has a distinctive Texas flavor to it. That’s because the film’s co-producer is former Texas lawyer and 1999 University of Texas Law School graduate Evan Fitzmaurice. The documentary focuses on the torture the aspiring lawyers go through while preparing for and taking California’s notoriously difficult bar exam � a film idea Fitzmaurice came up with while taking the test himself after moving to Los Angeles in 2005. The character-driven portions of the movie are interrupted by interviews with well-known attorneys who’ve shaped the profession � many of them colorful Texans. When the documentary opened at the AFI Dallas International Film Festival last week, it received plenty of laughs. The film starts with a real video deposition from 1992 in which Joe Jamail of Houston’s Jamail & Kolius nearly comes to blows with a hostile witness he calls a “dumb son of a bitch.” “The Jamail thing just had to be dealt with, but in a very respectful way,” says Fitzmaurice, who practices entertainment law as an associate with Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum & Morris in Los Angeles. The film ends with more Texas-lawyer anecdotes, including a playful exchange between Jamail and fellow Texas plaintiffs lawyer W. Mark Lanier of Houston’s Lanier Law Firm about Lanier’s use of hair gel. If the movie gets picked up by a distributor, Fitzmaurice hopes to bring his film � including Jamail and Lanier � to a larger audience. “There’s no guarantee, we’re just hopeful,” says Fitzmaurice. “We think the appeal is built in.” New Certification Attorneys who practice criminal appellate law soon may have an opportunity to seek certification by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in their specific practice area. TBLS has scheduled an 11 a.m. April 25 public hearing at its Austin office to hear comments on proposed standards for certification in criminal appellate law. “It is long overdue,” John Stride, chief of the appellate division in the Denton County District Attorney’s Office, says of the proposed certification. Stride says many appellate attorneys handle only appeals and are unable to get enough trial experience to qualify to take the TBLS test for criminal law certification. The other alternative is to seek a waiver on the trial experience, which Stride says TBLS does not always grant. Stride credits Austin criminal-defense solo David Schulman with spearheading the effort to create a criminal appellate law certificate. Schulman says he put together an ad hoc committee of prosecutors, defense attorneys, courts of appeals justices and others who worked on the proposed standards. Gary McNeil, TBLS executive director, says the proposed standards are posted online at www.tbls.org . After receiving public comments, the TBLS board will make any adjustments needed in the standards before deciding whether to recommend them to the Texas Supreme Court, McNeil says. The court will have the final say on the certification, he adds.

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