Editor’s Note: The following message was sent to all members on Friday, January 15.
This message includes updated information related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other State Bar of Texas information. We hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy.
Supreme Court of Texas Emergency Order and OCA Guidance
The Texas Supreme Court issued its 33rd Emergency Order of the coronavirus pandemic on January 14. The order extends the court’s omnibus judicial proceedings emergency order for two months, to April 1, requiring courts to continue to use all reasonable efforts to hold proceedings remotely and to follow the Office of Court Administration’s guidance for all court proceedings.
In December, the Office of Court Administration reiterated that trial judges in district, county, justice, and municipal courts must not hold in-person proceedings in any matter unless the trial judge has used all reasonable efforts to conduct the proceeding remotely. Details on the instructions, other court guidance, and local operating plans are on the OCA’s website.
If you have a complaint about a judge not following the Supreme Court order, OCA guidance, or the county/city operating plan for in-person proceedings, please contact the regional presiding judge in your area:
COVID-19 Vaccine Information
The Texas Department of State Health Services is overseeing the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in Texas. For information on eligibility and protocol, please go here.
Register Now for Rules Vote Informational Forums
Texas lawyers have been called upon to exercise their right of self-governance by voting on proposed amendments to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct and Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. Voting will take place from February 2 to March 4 by paper and electronic ballot.
The remaining public forums for the 2021 rules vote will take place via webinar on the following dates:
- January 26, 2021 (1 p.m. CST) – Register now
- February 9, 2021 (1 p.m. CST) – Register now
Each event will include a one-hour CLE presentation on the proposed disciplinary rule amendments (approved for one hour of MCLE ethics credit) featuring members of the Committee on Disciplinary Rules and Referenda, followed by a live forum where attendees can ask questions and provide comments regarding the proposed amendments.
Registration is free and open now. If you can’t make it to a live event, a recorded version will be available on demand. Go to texasbar.com/rulesvote to learn more.
Stay Up to Date on State Legislation
The 87th Session of the Texas Legislature opened on January 12 and will run to May 31. During each legislative session, the State Bar of Texas offers the Friday Update e-newsletter to keep members up to date on legislation of interest to the legal profession. The newsletter includes links to relevant bills with status information. Subscribe at texasbar.com/fridayupdate.
Take Care of Yourselves
In this challenging time, it’s important to take care of yourselves. We invite you to take advantage of the well-being resources for remote living collected by the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program and to attend TLAP’s monthly Remote Well-Being Wednesday program. The next program, on Making Healthy Habits Happen, is scheduled for noon CST on January 27 with the following panelists:
- Vance Hinds, Texas attorney
- Erica Grigg, TLAP attorney
- Chris Ritter, TLAP director
State Bar of Texas
Resources to Keep You Informed: The State Bar of Texas continues to update texasbar.com/coronavirus with the latest resources and information to help you stay informed of the changes affecting our profession. You can also sign up for the State Bar’s Daily News Briefing at texasbar.com/dailynews to receive the latest legal news updates in your inbox every weekday.