Tom Vick

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

I am writing to update you on yesterday’s State Bar of Texas Board of Directors meeting in Houston that precedes our 2018 Annual Meeting. We have two days of informative CLE sessions starting today. Learn more at

Transparency efforts

The Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve hiring an independent advisory firm, Weaver, to complete an examination of the State Bar’s transparency efforts and to make recommendations for improvement.The findings will be reported to the board and shared publicly.

The board voted unanimously in April to request proposals from qualified firms to conduct a thorough, independent review of transparency at the bar. The Audit and Finance Committee recommended Weaver to the board out of four responses to the RFP.

This is the latest in a series of transparency improvements at the State Bar in recent months, including the launch of the Our Finances webpage and the videotaping of board meetings, which can be found here. Video from yesterday’s meeting will be posted by next week. 

President-elect task forces

The board accepted reports and recommendations from President-elect Joe K. Longley’s Transparency Task Force and Financial Responsibility & Fiscal Control Task Force and voted to allow the terms of the task forces to expire on Friday along with the term of the president-elect, as our policy provides. We thank the members of both task forces for their service to the bar. We will fully consider their recommendations.

You can read the task force reports here.

General counsel election

The board voted unanimously to elect Ross Fischer of Austin as general counsel to the board, under the terms laid out here.

The board voted in January to approve the hiring of a general counsel, a statutory position under the State Bar Act. The General Counsel Search Committee interviewed six Texas lawyers out of 12 respondents for the position before recommending Fischer to the board in May.

Fischer is an attorney with the Gober Group who specializes in legislative and campaign law, professional ethics, and government integrity matters. His clients include elected officials, candidates, trade associations, political committees, local governments, municipalities, and corporations. A graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Fischer is regularly called upon to advise public entities on matters involving legislative law, public integrity, and campaign and election procedures. The board looks forward to working with him.

Leadership changes

Randy Sorrels and Laura Gibson, both of Houston, will be sworn in today as president-elect and board chair, respectively. President-elect Longley will be sworn in as 2018-2019 president of the State Bar on Friday.

It has been my absolute honor to serve you as president over the past year.

Tom Vick 
President, State Bar of Texas