The State Bar of Texas Board of Directors held its quarterly meeting on January 22. Below is a synopsis of reports and updates the board received. To watch the full meeting, please go to the State Bar’s YouTube page. The agenda and meeting materials can be found here.
- The Committee on Disciplinary Rules and Referenda (CDRR) updated the board on the upcoming 2021 rules vote, in which Texas lawyers are 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. To read the proposed amendments, go to texasbar.com/rulesvote. Members can also sign up for a free, one-hour CLE presentation featuring members of the CDRR, followed by a live forum where attendees can ask questions and provide comments regarding the proposed amendments. The final forums are scheduled for 1 p.m. CST today and February 9. Register now.
- The board’s Discipline & Client Attorney Assistance Program (DCAAP) Committee updated directors on its charge to study ABA Model Rule 8.4(g). Committee Chair Stephen Naylor reported that after reviewing many materials—including existing court challenges and scholarly review articles—the committee voted unanimously that no further action should be taken on ABA Model Rule 8.4(g). The committee continues to review existing Rule 5.08 of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct for possible changes. The rule prohibits discriminatory activities in connection with an adjudicatory proceeding. In related action, the board voted to refer a proposal to the Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that, as drafted by director Steve Fischer, would add language to the aspirational Texas Lawyer’s Creed related to ensuring all people have access to competent legal representation, regardless of “ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or physical disability.”
- The bar’s Minimum Continuing Legal Education Committee reported on a board request to consider making implicit bias training a requirement for all Texas attorneys. Committee Chair John Boyce reported that the committee prefers an approach where implicit bias training would count toward an attorney’s ethics MCLE requirement but would not be mandatory. The committee is expected to make its final recommendations to the board in April.
- The board approved the 2021-2022 State Bar of Texas proposed budget for publication in the March 2021 issue of the Texas Bar Journal.
- The board heard updates from the chairs of the Presidential Task Force on Criminal Court Proceedings; Task Force on Public Protection, Grievance Review, and the Client Security Fund; and the Courthouse Access Badge Workgroup.