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

I’m pleased to update you on our search for a new executive director of the State Bar of Texas. Interest in the job has been high—more than 130 people from across the country submitted expressions of interest. After careful review, our Executive Director Search Committee has selected the following seven candidates, listed in alphabetical order, to interview:

  • E.A. Trey Apffel III, Principal, Apffel Law Firm, League City
  • Deeia Beck, Executive Director and Public Counsel, Office of Public Insurance Counsel (2008-February 2017), Austin
  • Ileana M. Blanco, Partner, DLA Piper, Houston
  • William J. Chriss, Of Counsel, Gravely & Pearson, LLP, Corpus Christi
  • Robert N. Kepple, Executive Director, Texas District and County Attorneys Association, Austin
  • Alicia G. Key, Law Office of Alicia Key, Austin
  • D. Hull Youngblood Jr., Of Counsel, Ford Murray, San Antonio

The search committee will interview these candidates in Austin and recommend a nominee to the State Bar Board of Directors, which elects the executive director by a majority vote. The board will consider the committee’s recommendation at an open meeting on September 22 in Lubbock.

We are following the process that search committee chair Bob Black laid out in an email to all members on June 21, which was also published in the July issue of the Texas Bar Journal. To review: The State Bar board in April appointed the search committee, a diverse group of private citizens, people with significant experience in hiring executive leadership, members of the State Bar board, and other members of the bar. A committee roster is available at texasbar.com/ed-search.

The search committee developed a job description, which was posted on the State Bar website in early May and published in the May issue of the Texas Bar Journal. To ensure a comprehensive search, the committee approved the hiring of a respected national firm, Young Mayden LLC, to conduct the search and recruit potential candidates. Young Mayden has wide-ranging experience conducting executive director searches for bar associations throughout the country, including the Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, New York State, Wisconsin, and American bar associations.

The search committee held meetings this summer to vet potential candidates, from which emerged the seven highly qualified people named above.

Our new executive director will succeed Michelle Hunter, who is retiring August 31 after nearly nine years as executive director and two decades on the State Bar staff. State Bar Legal Counsel John Sirman will serve as interim executive director until the new executive director begins work.

Please contact me if you have any questions or comments on the search process. It is an honor to serve as your State Bar president.


Tom Vick
President, State Bar of Texas