Editor’s Note: State Bar of Texas President Randy Sorrels and Executive Director Trey Apffel sent the following message to members on June 9.
As our nation struggles with the events of the day which include the senseless killing of Texan George Floyd, the State Bar of Texas remains committed to the principle that all people are entitled to equal access to justice. This principle includes the commitment to honor the exercise of every American’s Constitutional rights, including the right to freedom of speech and freedom to protest peacefully.
As the administrative arm of the Supreme Court of Texas, the State Bar of Texas is prohibited from taking a stance on specific political or ideological issues outside of the regulation of the legal profession or improvements to the quality of legal services. We understand the reasons behind this prohibition. Still, all lawyers who take the oath to defend the Constitution of this state and of the United States surely share a common pursuit of equality under the law.
We must always work to do better in all we do, as lawyers, but more importantly as people. Where there is inequality, we must work for equality. Where there is injustice, we must work for justice. Where there are shortcomings in the law, we must work to improve those laws. Where there is racism, we must work to end it.
We must preserve and protect the rule of law, and ensure that it is applied equally to all people. While we have made tremendous strides in achieving equal access to justice, we can do so much more. And we must. As lawyers, we are problem solvers, critical thinkers, and community servants. In December 2016 our Supreme Court showed us one way that we, as Texas lawyers and judges, can engage with these issues by hosting the Beyond the Bench: Law, Justice, and Communities Summitto hear diverse viewpoints and hold candid conversations with the goal of strengthening trust in our justice system. Our voices will continue to be needed in the days, weeks, months, and even years ahead as our state and nation form solutions.
Here are a few ways you can help:
- Get involved with the State Bar’s ongoing access to justice and diversity and inclusion efforts.
- Volunteer to help people with legal needs related to the coronavirus pandemic. Research has indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting communities of color.
- Let us know your thoughts on additional actions the State Bar of Texas can take consistent with its statutory purposes by contacting us here.
We support all of our members and stand with you against injustice, racism, and discrimination. Please stand with us as we honor our mission to support equal access to justice, and work with us to fulfill the purpose of State Bar of Texas to serve and protect the people of Texas and improve the administration of justice in our state.
Randy Sorrels, President
Trey Apffel, Executive Director