JCBA celebrates Law Day with elections, awards and fun activities

By Marilyn Tennissen | May 7, 2013

Members of the Jefferson County legal community gathered May 3 for Law Day activities including the election of new officers to the local bar association and recognition of outstanding lawyers.

The officers elected to the Board of Directors of the Jefferson County Bar Association for 2013-2014 are:

• President: David Grove

• President Elect: Raquel West

• Vice President: Trent Bond

• Immediate Past President: Trent Devenzio

• Treasurer: Mark Sparks

• Secretary: Courtney Arkeen

• Second Term Directors: Lance Bradley, Don Lighty, Wyatt Snider, Position Open (to be filled by JCBA Board)

• First Term Directors: Denise Gremillion, James Makin, Larry Simmons, David Starnes

• JCYLA Representative: Frank Messina

The Jefferson County Young Lawyers Association also held elections for its board of directors. Officers elected are:

• President: Frank Messina

• President Elect: Julia Matheny

• Vice President: Ronnie Turner

• Immediate Past President: Rachel Grove

• Treasurer: Jennifer Turner

• Secretary: Lindsay Scott

• Second Term Directors: Catherine Cockrell, Koby Hoffpauir, Monica Wilkins, Position Open, Position Open

• First Term Directors: Cade Bernsen, Cody Dishon, Casey Hargroder, Cody Rees, Sheigh Summerlin

• Minority Director: Brittanie Holmes

• TYLA Representative: Baylor Wortham

One of the highlights of the day included the presentation of the Blackstone Award to James W. Mehaffy. The Blackstone is the most prestigious award offered by the bar association. It is bestowed upon a practicing senior attorney in recognition of his/her consistent ability, integrity and courage as a lawyer.

Mehaffy received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and a doctor of jurisprudence degree from the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle, Wash., in 1965.

Later that year he began his law career with the firm Keith Mehaffy and Weber, now Mehaffy & Weber, in Beaumont. He is board certified in Personal Injury Trial Law.

He continued work at the firm until he became judge of the Jefferson County 58th District Court. He served in that capacity from 1994 to the end of 2006.

Mehaffy also worked as an adjunct professor of business law at Lamar University and worked at the Provost Umphrey Law Firm for a year.

On July 1, 2008, Mehaffy went into solo mediation and arbitration practice in Beaumont.

He has received numerous awards on the local and state level.

In addition, Beaumont attorney Ken Lewis was given the JCBA/Texas Center Professionalism Award, presented to a lawyer that exemplifies by conduct and character, truly professional traits and who others in the bar admire and seek to emulate.

The Liberty Bell Award is another award from the bar, but this one is given to a non-lawyer who has made the most selfless contribution to his/her community to strengthen the effectiveness of the American justice system by instilling better understanding and appreciation of the law. The award was given this year to Misty Craver, the director of Jefferson County Victims’ Assistance program.

Sheigh Summerlin was named Outstanding Young Lawyer.

Awards were also given to high school students for editorial writing and a poster contest; and the team from Msgr. Kelly Catholic High School was winner of the Mock Trial competition.

Other fun events for Law Day included a washer tournament, fajita cook off and tunes from several attorney-musicians.



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