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Southern Careers Institute Overview

Southern Careers Institute has maintained a tradition of career training for over 50 years. With campuses in Austin, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Pharr, San Antonio, Waco, and Online, SCI has made it our mission to provide our students with employer-tailored programs designed to make our graduates the most marketable in the industry.

About SCI Programs

Southern Careers Institute’s trade school programs in Texas can help you breakthrough into a rewarding career and succeed in today’s demanding marketplace.

Our courses are all built from an employer’s point of view with the career skills and certifications they’re looking for in their next hire. Students who enroll in our medical, business, cosmetology and trades training programs become more marketable than the competition as our programs are designed to make students eligible for recognized certifications, to connect them to employers with electronic profiles on our SCI Connect platform, and to further demonstrate career skills with verifiable SCI Connect Badges that demonstrate skills employers need.

At Southern Careers Institute, we offer a variety of trade courses that can lead to rewarding careers in a variety of fields. Our admissions staff is dedicated to matching your unique personality with the career training program that is the right fit for you. We are committed to stimulating, motivating, and educating our students to prepare them for their new life in a new field have dedicated Educational, Student and Career Services that are here to help.

If you would like more information about Southern Careers Institute, please click on the following link: https://scitexas.edu/

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Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP recognised by Best Lawyers®

Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) LLP, one of the world’s largest immigration law firms, has been named “Immigration Law Firm of the Year” by US News – Best Lawyers®. Only one law firm per legal practice area receives this recognition, making the award a significant achievement. BAL has also received a First Tier ranking in Houston, San Francisco and Washington, DC by Best Lawyers®.

The award caps a tremendous milestone year for the firm:

  • Opening of a 60-person office in mid-town Manhattan.
  • Establishing an unprecedented strategic alliance with Deloitte UK that combines the best of Deloitte’s scale, expertise and breadth outside of the US with BAL’s unparalleled legal expertise and high quality immigration services in the US.
  • Launching a large-scale Center of Excellence in Richardson, Texas to support over 600 cross-functional professionals including attorneys, legal and operational staff, as well as expansions of offices in Boston, Houston, McLean, Va. and Walnut Creek, Ca.
  • Unveiling of the industry’s first mobile immigration app, enabling anytime, anywhere case management across Android and iOS devices. The app is a component of Cobalt® the firm’s innovative digital immigration platform.

Commenting on the award, Managing Partner Jeremy Fudge stated, “This has been another extraordinary year for BAL. We have been quietly leading the industry for several years now and are honoured to receive the US News – Best Lawyers® ”Law Firm of the Year’ in immigration.”

About Best Lawyers®

Best Lawyers® “Law Firm of the Year” awards are country and practice area specific. They are determined based on a handful of factors, including: feedback from lawyers recognized by Best Lawyers® on individual lawyer and firm-wide work, the size and coverage of the firm in a specific practice area, historical analysis of the firm’s “Lawyer of the Year” awards in this area, and research surrounding the firm’s overall scope and areas of expertise.

About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

BAL is singularly focused on meeting the immigration challenges of corporate clients around the world in ways that make immigration more strategic and enable clients to be more successful. Established in 1980, the firm provides immigration expertise, top-notch information security and leading technology innovation like its Cobalt® digital immigration services platform. In 2018, the firm formed a strategic alliance with Deloitte UK to create the world’s first global immigration service delivery model. BAL and its leaders are highly ranked in every major legal publication, including Best Lawyers, Chambers, The Legal 500, and Who’s Who Legal. For more information about Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP, please visit: http://www.balglobal.com/

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Is outside ownership of law firms picking up steam?

One of the least interesting ways to end a conversation about legal innovation is also one of the most frequent. It goes something like this: “That change would require amendments to professional regulations.” Often, the regulation being discussed is the ban on nonlawyer ownership of law firms.

It’s a good way to end a conversation because, as Yale Law School professor John Morley puts it, it is “astonishing how little happens” on the issue of nonlawyer ownership in the United States.

But things are happening that are finally worth talking about. The State Bar of California voted in July to form a task force to study, among other things, allowing outside investors in law firms. Meanwhile, litigation finance giant Burford Capital Ltd. recently began discussing with law firms a financial structure that the company says would allow investors to own portions of today’s firms, with no regulatory changes required.

Commenting on the California task force, legal marketing executive Heather Morse asked if the news meant that a “game changer” for the law was “finally here.” The answer to that question is a resounding no. The task force won’t finish its work until 2020, so nothing has arrived yet. But the fact that a state bar association is studying the issue has, at least, generated a real discussion about an often taboo topic for the first time since 2016.

Legal innovators hope California’s task force comes to a much different conclusion than the efforts in 2016 of the American Bar Association’s Commission on the Future of Legal Services. That commission followed shortly on the heels of the ABA House of Delegates issuing a stamp of approval for professional Rule 5.4—the official ban on outside investors in law firms. A March resolution that year adopted “model regulatory objectives for the provision of legal services,” and noted that “nothing in this resolution abrogates in any manner existing ABA policy prohibiting nonlawyer ownership of law firms.”

Some of the harshest critics of the commission’s work exploring the concept were bar associations themselves. State bar leaders from Illinois, Missouri, New York, New Jersey and Texas wrote to oppose the idea of nonlawyer ownership.

“There is no need for non-attorneys to acquire ownership interests in firms, or any evidence that firms are in danger of losing access to complementary professional services if an ownership interest is not made available,” wrote Miles Winder III, then-president of the New Jersey State Bar Association. “The NJSBA urges the commission to not rehash settled concepts.”

William Henderson, a professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law who wrote a study that spurred California’s task force, says the issue is anything but settled. The rise of technology has put law firms on an uneven plane with new companies that are looking to enter the legal services market. Without the ability to co-invest in law firms, he says, people with the types of skills needed for today’s market—such as technologists, data analysts and others—will not be attracted to law firms.

“What we have is consumer protection for those who can afford legal services, but the ethics rules really limit the ones who can enter the market,” Henderson says.

Those ethics rules won’t be amended without a fight. Jordan Furlong, a consultant on the legal business based in Canada, points out that no bar association has voluntarily vanquished the prohibition on outside owners in law firms. In both Australia and the U.K., direct government intervention was the basis for allowing so-called “alternative business structures.”

Still, recent reforms to California’s bar association may work in reformists’ favour. Last year, the State Bar of California split into two parts: one contains the voluntary trade association activities, while another focuses on regulation and discipline.

That separation, along with a rule that put six nonlawyers on the bar’s 13-member board, limits what legal consultant Mark Cohen says is an incentive for bar associations to bow to pressure from their members to protect lawyers’ revenue streams.

As evidence of this incentive, Cohen points to a doomed pilot program, ABA Law Connect, that used Rocket Lawyer’s technology to provide consumers access to lawyers for as little as $4.95. The pilot was scrapped in early 2016 after bar leaders from Illinois, Pennsylvania and elsewhere wrote a letter decrying the program for what they perceived as a “blue-plate-special mentality.”

“The ABA Law Connect program is not in the best interest of the public, the legal profession or small businesses that operate in our states,” the bar leaders wrote.

Cohen disagrees.

“This is not really about protecting the public. How can they say that when roughly 85 percent of Americans who need legal services can’t afford them at the present rates?” he says. “I think this is just lawyer protectionism.”

Cohen and others believe that nonlawyer ownership in law firms would allow them to harness increasingly important technologies and professional skills to provide new and less-expensive types of legal services.

One example of that is the U.K.’s Gateley plc, one of the few law firms to list its shares publicly following bar regulation reform. The firm increased last year its number of employees by 8.8 percent, to 757 people, many of whom the firm’s chairman, Nigel Payne, says were drawn to the firm by the opportunity to own equity. More than 55 percent of the employees participate in a stock-option program, Gateley said in its most recent annual report in July.

“Being able to offer something different as an employer has helped us not only retain staff since the IPO, but also attract a wide pool of new talent,” Gateley wrote.

For those who are not inclined to wait out a decision from the California bar—or who operate elsewhere in the United States—there may be a near-term way to offer something different to employees.

Burford Capital, the litigation financier that wrote in support of the ABA’s 2016 commission on nonlawyer ownership, says it can finance new ventures that would provide corporate-like equity in today’s law firms. Burford hasn’t publicly shared all the specifics of the plan, but its co-founder, Jonathan Molot, who is also a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, says it would involve spinning off the nonlegal functions of a law firm into a separate company. That company would receive investment from Burford or others. The firm’s partners would also be investors, allowing them to own a piece of what they helped build long after they stop billing hours.

“I think liberalising the ethics rules is a good idea,” Molot says. “But, that being said, because you’re not looking to move the entire profit center of a law firm into a permanent structure, only a slice of it, I think that can all be done now without any change.”

Change or not, it is a good time for talk.

Global law firm plans to make the move to PwC Tower in Uptown Dallas

With PwC Tower at Park District slated for completion by mid-year, global law firm Winston & Strawn LLP has announced a deal at the Class A office tower, confirming a bit of information reported on last summer by the Dallas Business Journal.

As previously reported, Winston & Strawn has signed a long-term lease for about 56,000 square feet on floors eight and nine in PwC Tower, a 20-story, 500,000-square-foot office building adjacent to Klyde Warren Park in Uptown Dallas.

Winston & Strawn plans on moving into PwC Tower upon its completion this summer.

The office tower has an executive lounge, fitness facility, onsite restaurants and outdoor amenity spaces, as well as on-site banking by Chase Bank and a valet for tenants and guests.

PwC Tower will give Winston & Strawn, as well as its other tenants, a prestigious home in North Texas with high-quality amenities, said Scott Krikorian, a senior managing director at Trammell Crow Co.’s DFW business unit.

“We are confident that Park District is the perfect location for Winston’s growing Dallas presence,” Krikorian said in a prepared statement.

Trammell Crow Co. is developing Park District, which includes a 34-story, 228-unit luxury residential tower with about 13,000 square feet of retail space, in conjunction with joint venture partner MetLife.

Park District is expected to raise the bar on luxury office and living in Uptown and bring “top-of-the-market” development to this part of Dallas.

Dallas-based High Street Residential, a Trammell Crow Co. affiliate, is overseeing the development of the residential tower. The Office of James Burnett is the landscape architect designing the connecting plaza between the two towers.

HKS Inc., also headquartered in Dallas, is the project architect of PwC Tower.

Phil Puckett, Harlan Davis and Neal Puckett of CBRE’s Dallas office, along with Nancy Pacher of CBRE’s Chicago office, represented Winston in the deal.

Dennis Barnes, Clay Gilbert and Shannon Brown of CBRE’s Dallas office represented the landlords, Trammell Crow Co. and MetLife.