Joe K. Longley

Editor’s Note: State Bar of Texas President Joe K. Longley sent the following message to members Wednesday. 

As we celebrate the holiday season and prepare for 2019, I offer this update on some recent happenings at the State Bar of Texas.

2019-2020 Budget Update
The State Bar Board’s Budget Committee met December 13 to hear presentations from department and division heads on their proposed budgets for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. After a full day of reports and deliberation, the committee voted to advance the proposed budget to the full Board of Directors. I am pleased to report that for the second straight year, the proposed budget adopted by the Budget Committee will hold total general fund expenditures to under $44 million without a reduction in State Bar programs or services. The proposed budget includes a contribution to reserves of approximately $1.2 million, increasing the amount in reserves to a level equal to three months’ operating expenditures. This is in line with auditor recommendations to have between two and four months of operating reserves available. 

Committee Review Update
The board’s Committee Review Subcommittee met December 14 to continue its review of State Bar standing committees to determine whether there is a continued need for each committee and whether there is any unnecessary overlap of activities. The subcommittee will make its report to the State Bar in January on recommended changes to the committee structure.

Upcoming Meetings 
State Bar Board meetings are open to the public. The next quarterly board meeting will take place at 9 a.m. Friday, January 18 at the Texas Law Center, 1414 Colorado St., in Austin. The public is also welcome to attend the board’s Executive Committee meetings, which typically occur prior to the quarterly board meeting. The next Executive Committee meeting is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday, January 10 at the Texas Law Center. Agendas and related materials are posted at at least seven days before each meeting.

New San Antonio Director
At the January meeting, I will ask the board to approve my nomination of San Antonio attorney Marc E. Gravely as State Bar director for District 10 (Bexar County), Place 1. Gravely is nominated to replace San Antonio director Tom Keyser, who is resigning from the board next month. Gravely is a partner in Gravely & Pearson, LLP whose practice includes complex commercial and business litigation. Among his many qualifications, he has served as special counsel to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct and for the Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

TLAP Staff Changes
I want to introduce you to the new team at the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program, or TLAP. Staff attorney Chris Ritter has been promoted to TLAP director following the retirement of Bree Buchanan in October. Austin attorney Erica Grigg has been hired as a new TLAP staff attorney, joining clinical professional Shawna Storey-Lovin and administrative assistant Penni Wood as members of the caring and professional TLAP staff. Also, since August, TLAP has been partnering with College Station Municipal Judge Edward J. Spillane III as part of a renewed outreach to the judiciary.

Help is Available
Finally, the holiday season can be difficult for many people. If you are struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues—or know someone who is—you can call TLAP’s confidential hotline at 1-800-343-8527(TLAP), which provides assistance to lawyers, judges, and law students. TLAP also operates the American Bar Association’s National Helpline for Judges Helping Judges at 1-800-219-6474. Find more wellness resources on the TLAP website.

I wish you joy and peace this holiday season. If you have any comments or questions about the work of the State Bar, please feel free to contact me.


With kindest regards,

Joe K. Longley 
President, State Bar of Texas 2018-2019