State Bar President Tom Vick

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

If you haven’t already, you should soon receive a letter in the mail from your State Bar district director(s) on some of the bar’s latest projects and member benefits. The letter is part of a board initiative to better communicate with our members and provide ways for you to contact us with feedback. You’ll receive a similar message—this time by email—from your State Bar director(s) in the spring.

In the meantime, please read below for some other State Bar updates.

Transparency Task Force
President-elect Joe K. Longley has appointed a Transparency Task Force to explore what recommendations, if any, should be made to the State Bar Act, State Bar Rules, and/or the State Bar Board of Directors Policy Manual to improve transparency and openness within the State Bar. Upon completion of its work, the task force will make recommendations, if any, to the board in accordance with Section 1.14.07 of the State Bar Policy Manual.  Click here for a list of task force members.The State Bar is committed to transparency, and I look forward to receiving the task force’s recommendations.

Welcome, New Members
According to the Board of Law Examiners, 2,124 people passed the July 2017 Texas Bar Examination. Some of them have already been sworn in, so if this is your first update from me, welcome to the State Bar of Texas. I’m excited to welcome other members of this new class of Texas lawyers on Monday at the New Lawyer Induction Ceremony in Austin. You can follow the hashtag #NewTXLawyer on social media for updates and photos from the ceremony.

Open Enrollment Ends December 15
Remember that the 2018 health insurance open enrollment period is under way through December 15, 2017. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to explore the offerings listed on the Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange, an online clearinghouse for comparing and purchasing products from leading health insurance providers. Licensed benefits counselors are available to help you choose the best option for your needs. Federal rules shortened open enrollment to just 45 days this year, so please don’t wait to schedule an appointment with a benefits counselor.

Texas Minority Counsel Program
Last week, the State Bar hosted the 25th annual Texas Minority Counsel Program (TMCP) in Austin. To call this program a success is an understatement. Every year, hundreds of attorneys attend this program for its unique format of valuable CLE credit, client development, and networking. This summer, the American Bar Association honored TMCP with a national Partnership Award for exemplary bar association projects that increase the participation and advancement of diverse lawyers. The State Bar leadership is proud of TMCP for its 25 years of success in helping us meet our mission of promoting diversity in the legal profession. Congratulations to the volunteers, staff, law firms, and corporations that make TMCP happen every year—and to 2017 TMCP award winners Abel Martinez, Rodney Ellis, and Lawrence Clifton Morgan.

National Pro Bono Celebration Week
We participated in the National Pro Bono Celebration Week (October 22-28) with a series of communications and events honoring lawyers who do pro bono work and publicizing ways that others can get involved. As part of the celebration, Houston Bar Association President Alistair Dawson and I wrote a column on the continuing need for volunteer attorneys to serve those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Click here to read the column in the (McAllen) Monitor.

Sutherland Springs Shooting
Finally, I applaud the Bexar County legal community for responding to the San Antonio Bar Association’s call for volunteers to provide legal assistance for those affected by the Sutherland Springs church shooting. Thank you to the San Antonio Bar and its Community Justice Program for stepping up to meet this need. The State Bar extends its deepest sympathies to all those affected by the tragedy.


Tom Vick 
President, State Bar of Texas