As I prepare to roll off the State Bar of Texas (SBOT) Board of Directors on June 25, 2009, I continue to be amazed by the work done by the state bar staff and my fellow board members. The SBOT is governed by the 46 voting board of directors. The board members receive no compensation and 30 members of the board are elected by the lawyers in their districts for three year terms. They serve and vote along with six public members, four minority members, and six executives from the SBOT and Texas Young Lawyers Association. There are also four non-voting judiciary liaisons, as well as one non-voting out-of-state lawyer liaison. Finally, there are six section representatives who are also non-voting. The organization is run by a president and chairman of the board, and its mission is to support the administration of the legal system, assure all citizens equal access to justice, foster high standards of ethical conduct for lawyers, support and provide services to its members, enable its members to better serve their clients and the public, and educate the public about the rule of law and promote diversity in the administration of justice and the practice of law. Its website can be found at www.texasbar.com
The board’s work itself is done through the board committee process, and each committee has a separate responsibility to the governance process and reports back to the board on both informational and action items. A separate committee system is also used to get much of the general work of the bar done. There are 37 standing and special committees, and the board provides advisors and alternate advisors for those committees to allow for better overall communication in the organization. From a substantive standpoint, there are 45 sections and three divisions in the SBOT. These sections range in size from less than 100 to more than 7000 members, with the Litigation Section being the largest section.
One of the best relationships developed by the SBOT is with the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA). This organization consists of roughly 24,000 Texas lawyers who are 36 years old or younger or in their first five years of licensure. The TYLA serves as the “public service arm” of the bar and aims to facilitate the administration of justice, foster respect for the law, and advance the role of the legal profession in serving the public. The energy and work product the TYLA brings to our state cannot be overstated. You can find their website at www.tyla.org
For those who have any interest in becoming involved with the State Bar of Texas, I encourage you to jump in with both feet. There is something in the SBOT that will interest every lawyer in the state of Texas. Call me if you have any questions and I want to thank the SBOT for the opportunity to serve the last three years.