State Bar of Texas Past President James B. Sales, 88, of Houston, died February 11.

His service with the State Bar of Texas began in the 1980s, when he was a member of the Executive Committee from 1983 to 1987 and was chair of the board of directors from 1985 to 1986. While on the board, Sales chaired the Goals and Implementation Committee and was also a member of the Budget, Audit and Finance, and Professional Development committees. He became president of the bar in 1988 and focused his term on improving the grievance complaint process, supporting the delivery of legal services to the poor, and expanding the concept of alternative dispute resolution.

Sales was also president of the Houston Bar Association from 1980 to 1981, first chair of the board of the Houston Bar Foundation from 1982 to 1983, a sustaining fellow and chair of the board of trustees of the Texas Bar Foundation in 1993, and chair of the Texas Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission from 2003 to 2009, in addition to holding membership in several other legal organizations.

Sales earned many awards, including the State Bar of Texas Gene Cavin Award for Excellence in CLE (1989), Judge Sam Williams Award (1995), and President’s Award (1995); the Houston Bar Association’s Award for Professional Excellence (2000) and James B. Sales Pro Bono Leadership Award (2009); and the J. Chrys Dougherty Good Apple Award from Texas Appleseed (2012).

To listen to an interview with Sales for the State Bar’s Texas Legal Legends series in 2010, go to