As I write this I’m still in the honeymoon phase of my TCDLA presidency. I’m on the beach at The Pearl resort on South Padre Island, with friends and family, attending our TCDLA Members Trip. This even includes our CDLP seminar—Upholding Justice One Client at a Time—the Board of Directors orientation for TCDLA, the Criminal Defense Lawyers Project (CDLP), and our foundation, the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Education Institute (TCDLEI). It’s a reunion with TCDLA family and friends I have known for years, and an opportunity to meet newer members of TCDLA and their families.
The weather this week on South Padre Island has been perfect. The beach BBQ at Beach Access #5 the best ever, thanks to Bill Trantham, Bobby Lerma, and volunteers. Thank you all! Susan Kelly towed her Hobie Cat catamaran sailboat here from Waco for the event so that Don Flanary and I could pretend to be sailors and pirates. Our TCDLA staff, Melissa Schank, Mari Flores, Craig Hattersley, have all done an incredible job and deserve a huge thank you for making this beach event shine.
I’m looking forward to the sand castle–building class we have scheduled later today. Playing in the sand and the feeling of sand on my feet and between my toes is one of those connection experiences for me, connecting me with childhood, family, friends, and life. After dinner at Louie’s Backyard tonight, there will be a fireworks display over the Laguna Madre, and my President’s Fiesta dinner and Conjunto dance party is set for Saturday evening on the hotel patio overlooking the beach.
TCDLA members have an impromptu and occasionally extensive “happy hour” at the hotel bar here in the evening. Members unwind and share their professional and personal experiences—it’s a storyteller’s master class! Shots of Fireball rule, but you are welcome to participate even if you’re drinking sparkling water.
I treasure this SPI event because it’s so rewarding to seminar and socialize with our TCDLA members and their families, especially the children. Over the years at our SPI seminar I have met toddlers, met them again as grammar and high school students, and again on summer break from college. Today is Friday. My daughter will arrive soon from Austin to spend the weekend with Mom and Dad and TCDLA members she has known since she could walk. I’m thrilled that she is looking forward to the visit.
If you missed SPI this year, plan ahead now and join us at the beach next year! We are also sponsoring another great opportunity for continuing legal education and family fun on the President’s Trip, a cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas leaving Galveston on February 12 for seven days, with stops in Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. The cruise is surprisingly affordable, especially when you consider there will be 10 hours of outstanding continuing legal education. Bring the family. Invite friends. Leave the cold behind and join us on this TCDLA cruise adventure.