LEE PARSLEY – Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR)

Posted by on Monday, November 4th, 2019 in Blog

Reported by Leslie Bagby

President Bill called the meeting to order at a new location, Sterling Events. While it didn’t feel like home, the parking was dreamy and the food was delicious. Self service made the food line go quickly! Todd Coleman led the pledge to the United States flag and Judge Sylvia Holmes gave our invocation. Our greeters, Nick Hesselsweet and Attila Horvath, were extra friendly as they guided people to the meeting room and let everyone know that lunch was free. Carl Noble introduced our guests and visitors.


Charles Doty invited members to the wine party at his home on Friday, November 22 at 6:30 pm. The theme is “The Great Northwest” (wines from Washington and Oregon.) If wine is not your thing, you won’t want to miss the fellowship and the delicious food that Betsy Doty cooks up.

Austin SmilesPast President Harold Ingersoll announced that our own Dr. Pat Beckham will be honored at the Austin Smiles “Wish Upon a Star” event. He is one of the founders of Austin Smiles and has performed hundreds of cleft lip and cleft pallet surgeries in El Salvador, Honduras and Cuba.

Past District Governor Jerry Chapman, presented a District 5870 service award posthumously to our beloved Julie Benkoski. Husband, Harold, accepted this well-deserved award. Julie’s passion and drive for the East Panama Water Project is just another way that her memory lives on.

Despite there being no actual basket, Josue Limon had seven members come up for the Thank Goodness Basket and let the Club know what they are thankful for. We heard from Mike O’Krent, Michael Abelson, Ellen Hunt, David Menchaca, Steve Hake, Scott Rider and Mary Bird & Bob Bowman about celebrating anniversaries at a hockey game, a baby grandson on the way, memories of a Rotarian Dad, launching an exciting online business, and a jewelry and art show in East Austin.

After enjoying fellowship at our table, Michael Portman introduced Lee Parsley, General Counsel for Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR). Lee started off with a snake joke that didn’t have to do with lawyers. He gave each Rotarian a quiz on our Texas elected officials such as United States Senator, Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General and Rail Road Commissioner. Most Rotarians know these officials, however, Lee also asked if we could name a Texas Supreme Court Justice, A Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge and a Third Court of Appeals Judge. Judge Lee Yeakel was the only member with a perfect score. (He does have an unfair advantage in my opinion.)

Rotary-Law Reform











Lee went on to educate us on just how many judges are elected. Texans elect 1,898 judges! These officials make important decisions that affect all of us, yet most people do not know who they are. They typically do not do much campaigning. Voters base their decisions on party affiliation and name recognition (good or bad). There is a lack of knowledge about the candidates and Lee wants us to know that “Good judges matter.” Some decisions they make are literally life and death decisions. There are efforts being made to change the system. In the meantime, Lee encouraged us to vote, serve on juries and think about how we want to choose the judges that serve in our state.

President Bill announced that next week we will be back at St. David’s and the meeting will be on our Annual Ask Program and ACRF. President Bill thanked our advertisers, Corey Wilson (Kidd Roofing) and Andy Swanson (Centric Commercial). Attila Horvath led us in the Four Way Test and the meeting was adjourned.

More About Our Speaker:

Lee Parsley


Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR)

Lee Parsley is General Counsel for Texans for Lawsuit Reform, an organization he has represented in legislative matters since 2002. As an attorney for TLR, Parsley has

participated in the group’s successful efforts to pass numerous pieces of legislation, including the landmark 2003 bill (H.B. 4) that established Texas as the nation’s tort reform leader, and the 2005 bill (S.B. 15) that curtailed abuses in asbestos and silica litigation.

Parsley is a Board Certified civil appellate lawyer who has practiced in Austin, Texas, for more than 25 years. He also served for eight years on the Texas Board of Law Examiners, from 2007 to 2015, and was Chairman of that Board before ending his service.

From 2000-2004, Parsley was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas School of Law, where he taught a seminar on Texas appellate practice.

Parsley was the first Rules Staff Attorney for the Supreme Court of Texas, serving in that position from 1993 to 1997. In that position, he helped the Court rewrite the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, merge the Texas Rules of Civil and Criminal Evidence, and revise the rules governing pretrial discovery in civil cases.

He is a co-author of eleven chapters of the Texas Litigation Guide, covering appellate practice and procedure and pretrial discovery.

Parsley obtained an undergraduate degree and an MBA from Texas Tech University before graduating magna cum laude from Texas Tech University School of Law in 1989.

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