Executive Director’s Page

November Potluck: Continued Cost-Savings, Books in Courthouses, Bar Honors

As we head into November, and ultimately the holiday season, I want to update you about some State Bar happenings, changes, and a wonderful new program from the Texas Young Lawyers Association.


Dues Payment Process Changes
In continued efforts to reduce State Bar operating expenses, the bar will require all membership dues and fees for 2019-2020 to be paid online through the State Bar website.

A majority of our members already pays dues online. By implementing a 100 percent online dues collection process, we estimate that the bar will save approximately $100,000 in printing and postage costs related to producing paper dues statements in fiscal year 2019-2020.

Members will be able to pay dues and fees online on their My Bar Page at texasbar.com using a credit card. Checks will no longer be accepted. Law firms using the State Bar’s “Firm Billing Process” may continue to use this process to pay for multiple dues payments.


Bookshelves in Courtrooms
The Texas Young Lawyers Association has taken on a fantastic new project to promote literacy and at the same time ease what may be difficult days for children in courtrooms across Texas.

The new program Bookshelves in Courtrooms has already installed bookshelves full of donated books in courthouses in Fort Bend, Dallas, and Collin counties, with plans for expansion into Smith, Tom Green, Menard, Anderson, Austin, Bexar, Howard, El Paso, and Harris counties.

TYLA President Sally Pretorius, who notes she once had an unpleasant childhood experience in a Texas courthouse, said Bookshelves in Courtrooms was inspired by a similar project started in 2016 by Judge Karin Crump, of the 250th District Court in Austin.

TYLA District Director Kaylan Dunn spoke to Eric Quitugua, assistant editor of the Texas Bar Journal, for an article about the new program on the Texas Bar Blog. In it, Dunn said, “The project’s goal is to facilitate the availability of books in areas frequented by children in courthouses across the state of Texas to promote literacy, provide meaningful activity during a potential time of stress, and allow continued access to books even after a child’s visit has concluded.”

Dunn said TYLA and its local affiliates are reaching out to judges who may be interested in supporting Bookshelves in Courtrooms.

“If you see a bookshelf in your local courthouse, please feel free to add books or donate them to the court to add when needed,” Dunn said.

New or gently used books can be mailed to the TYLA office, 1414 Colorado St., 4th Fl., Austin 78701. TYLA also has an Amazon wish list of books that can be purchased and donated. For more information on the program or introducing/expanding it in your area, contact Dunn at kaylandunn@huntonak.com.


The State Bar of Texas and its programs recently received three prestigious awards.

First, the State Bar was awarded a 2018 Harrison Tweed Award at the American Bar Association Annual Meeting in August. The award recognizes bar associations for extraordinary efforts to improve the availability of civil legal services or indigent defense services to people living in poverty. The bar was honored for the sum of its legal services efforts, including disaster response efforts after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in August 2017, several pro bono assistance programs, and the creation of the Texas Opportunity & Justice Incubator under the leadership of Past President Frank Stevenson.

Second, TexasBarCLE received an Outstanding Achievement award in the Best Programming category from the Association for Continuing Legal Education, or ACLEA. TexasBarCLE was honored for its “CLE Fifteen” and “Best of” online classes. ACLEA members are professionals in the fields of continuing legal education and legal publishing. You can check out the “CLE Fifteen” and “Best of” online offerings at TexasBarCLE.com.

Finally, the Texas Bar Journal Board of Editors received a 2018 Luminary Award from the National Association of Bar Executives Communications Section for excellence in authored articles for “Surviving the War Within” (November 2017), a story about veterans living with post-traumatic stress written by editorial board member and TYLA President-elect Victor A. Flores.

The State Bar of Texas continues to be a national leader in pro bono, continuing legal education, and legal publications. Congratulations to all of those whose efforts contributed to these award-winning programs.


Trey Apffel
Executive Director, State Bar of Texas
Editor-in-Chief, Texas Bar Journal
(512) 427-1500
@ApffelT on Twitter

Have a question for Trey? Email it to trey.apffel@texasbar.com and he may answer it in a future column.


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