Posted inAbout The BarMember BenefitsNewsState Bar

Vick: Proposed State Bar budget reduces spending

Editor’s note: State Bar of Texas President Tom Vick sent the following message to members on Monday. 

I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season so far. Please read below for updates on the State Bar budget and other news.

Good Financial Stewards

I’m pleased to report that, under the leadership of our new Executive Director Trey Apffel and his staff, the proposed 2018-2019 State Bar general fund budget reduces overall spending by 5 percent compared with the current budget while adding additional money in reserves. This is a fiscally responsible budget, and I was proud to vote for it as a member of the State Bar Board of Directors’ Budget Committee.

The committee met Thursday at the Texas Law Center and invited the major State Bar departments to present their budget proposals. After hearing detailed reports and asking a number of questions of staff, the committee voted unanimously to approve the proposed budget for presentation to the full Board of Directors. I want to commend our staff and the committee, led by President-elect Joe K. Longley, for their many months of diligent work to get us to this point. The Board of Directors will consider the proposed budget on January 26 and April 27 before submitting it to the Texas Supreme Court for final approval. The State Bar also invites your feedback at a public hearing at 9 a.m. on April 3 at the Texas Law Center in Austin.  Continue Reading

Posted inAmerican Bar AssociationNewsTexas Lawyers' Assistance Program

Upcoming ABA YLD Twitter chat focuses on mental health and addiction

The American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division will host a Twitter Chat focused on mental health and addiction during the holidays. Brian Cuban, author of The Addicted Lawyer, and Bree Buchanan, director of the Texas Lawyers Assistance Program, will be joined by members of the Michigan Bar and Florida Bar as they respond to questions from Twitter users using the hashtag #Fit2Practice. The ABAYLD will then retweet responses. The chat takes place Monday, December 18, and runs from 11:30 a.m. to noon CST.

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Posted inNewsTexas Lawyers' Assistance Program

Lawyer Death by Suicide

The Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program receives calls almost weekly about a lawyer loss by suicide. In fact, 11 percent of lawyers have had suicidal thoughts at some point in their career. Will you make a commitment to help another lawyer and to help yourself? If you are experiencing substance abuse or depression and anxiety, call TLAP right now 24/7. All calls are confidential. You can help another lawyer who might otherwise be in such pain that suicide seems the only option. You can help yourself by fine-tuning your own lawyer wellness program. You can learn how to help a survivor from a loss by suicide, whether it is a colleague or a loved one. TLAP is available to all legal communities to make a one-hour ethics presentation that is designed for your group needs at no charge. Call TLAP at (800) 343-8527 (TLAP) or go to and click on Suicide Prevention under What We Help With for current research to help lawyers. Additional resources include the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-TALK. .

Posted inNews

ABA CoLAP to host live Twitter chat on problem gambling

The ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs is hosting “Problem Gambling in the Legal Profession,” a live Twitter chat that features special guests Christine Anderson, of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, and Keith Whyte, of the National Council on Problem Gambling. They will discuss the consequences of gambling, the signs and symptoms of a person who may have a gambling problem, how to receive assistance or refer someone to help, and how law schools and law firms can address the issue.

The chat will take place from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EST on December 13. Follow along or join the discussion with #GamblingHelp4Lawyers.

Posted inDiversityNews

Culhane Meadows earns Women’s Business Enterprise certification

Culhane Meadows was certified a Women’s Business Enterprise, or WBE, by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Women make up a majority of the management team of this national firm, which has offices in Austin, Dallas, and Houston.

“WBE certification is a welcome acknowledgement of the commitment Culhane Meadows has made to create an environment where inclusion and diversity is at the forefront,” said Kelly Culhane, co-founder and a managing partner in the firm. “From our very beginning, we have sought to create an open and transparent platform where all lawyers can thrive regardless of gender, race, religion, age, or geography.”
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Posted inAbout The BarState Bar

Apffel: It’s Time to Get to Work

Editor’s note: The following column also appears in the December 2017 issue of the Texas Bar Journal.

As I write this column, I’m busy winding down my 35-year practice as a Galveston County trial lawyer. By the time you receive this issue of the Texas Bar Journal, I will have assumed the job as executive director of the State Bar of Texas. I am humbled and honored that the Board of Directors chose me for this position, and I look forward to working with the board, President Tom Vick, President-elect Joe K. Longley, Board Chair Rehan Alimohammad, our staff, and each of you to further the State Bar’s mission.

As I transition from volunteer leader to staff member, I think back on my first Texas Bar Journal column as president of the bar in 2014-2015. In it, I called for a “year of inclusion” to deepen engagement with our members and ensure our bar remained strong and prepared to meet tomorrow’s challenges. That was my commitment then, and that is my commitment today and going forward.

One way I’m demonstrating that commitment is by bringing back this Executive Director’s Page, which was a regular feature in the Bar Journal in the 1990s. I will use this space to update you on developments at the Texas Law Center and as a forum to answer your questions. Continue Reading

Posted inNewsState Bar

State Bar accepting expressions of interest for 2018-2019 committees

The State Bar of Texas is accepting expressions of interest to serve on committees for the upcoming bar year.

Please fill out this form by December 8 to express interest in serving on a State Bar committee beginning in the 2018-2019 bar year, which starts June 1. Information provided in this form will be submitted to the president-elect for consideration when naming committee appointments.

State Bar committees are established by the Board of Directors and appointed by the president-elect to consider matters of interest to the bar membership, update professional materials, recommend changes to policies and procedures, and study legal issues affecting the legal profession and the public.

A list of committees and their roles is available at

Posted inNewsVeterans

Free legal clinic for veterans in Katy

Veterans in Katy can receive free legal advice at a clinic hosted by the Katy Bar Association and Houston Bar Foundation’s Veterans Legal Initiative on Saturday, December 9.

The clinic will offer veterans, or spouses of deceased veterans, one-on-one advice and counsel from volunteer attorneys in areas of law including family law, wills and probate, consumer law, and real estate and tax law, as well as disability and veterans benefits.
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Posted inMust-ReadsNews

Texas Bar Journal Must-Reads for December

Can’t wait for the December issue of the Texas Bar Journal to arrive? Check out our editorial staff’s must-reads for a look at agricultural law and a holiday tradition at the Capitol. And don’t forget Movers and Shakers, Memorials, and Disciplinary Actions.
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Posted inHurricaneNewsPeopleSpecial Event

Texas prosecutors and county attorneys help Harvey-ravaged colleagues

Harris County Administrative Assistant Ruth Cortez, left, speaks to TDCAA Executive Director Robert Kepple and Harris County DA Kim Ogg after receiving a $1,000 check to assist her with her Harvey-damaged home. (Photo credit: Harris County DA’s Office)

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the Texas District & County Attorneys Foundation created a relief fund and asked people to donate to help their struggling peers. As a result, this week the foundation gifted $1,000 per person to 40 prosecutors, investigators, and administrative staff in eight South Texas counties.

“We know this is not a king’s ransom to anyone, but it is love from prosecutors around the country,” Robert Kepple, executive director of the TDCAA, said in a news release.

The foundation is the Texas District & County Attorneys Association’s fundraising 501(c)(3). The individuals who received the funds had to apply and meet certain requirements, including having an uninsured or unreimbursed loss of $5,000 or more as a direct result of Harvey. The recipients are from Harris, Aransas, Victoria, Orange, Jefferson, Montgomery, Refugio, and Fort Bend counties.

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