Executive Director’s Page
Reasons To Be Proud
"I am passionately proud of my profession.”
are not mine, although they do describe my feelings. They are found near
the top of the Texas Lawyer’s Creed, adopted 30 years ago but as vital
as ever as a shared statement of professionalism.
As we survey another year’s passage, there are many reasons for us—as a community of Texas lawyers—to be proud.
We are front-line protectors of the rule of law, entrusted, in the words of the creed, “to preserve and improve our legal system.” Texans look to us to defend them when their rights are denied or threatened. We are leaders across all levels of government and in nonprofit and community groups of every type. We are bound by our common principles of competence and integrity. We are fiercely committed to our clients, from multimillion-dollar corporations to people who can’t afford to pay us but still need an advocate in dire times.
We can be proud of our legal aid organizations and pro bono providers, along with the volunteer attorneys, paralegals, law students, and others who support their work. Organizations like the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, the leading funding source for legal aid in Texas. The foundation marked its 35th anniversary in October with a dinner and keynote speech by bestselling author John Grisham, an outspoken advocate of legal aid. I had the pleasure of attending and celebrating the foundation’s legacy of furthering the vision of equal access to justice for all Texans.
Since its creation in 1984, the foundation has given nearly $770 million to legal aid organizations across our state. In doing so, it has helped to fund free or low-cost legal services for veterans, survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, people with disabilities, and many other Texans. Executive Director Betty Balli Torres and her staff are enthusiastic and dedicated in their quest to increase funding for legal aid for those in need. Texas is better off for their efforts.
We can be proud of lawyers like State Bar of Texas Board Chair Jerry Alexander, of Passman & Jones, and Sherri Alexander, of Polsinelli, who were named “pro bono heroes” by the Dallas Bar Association after contributing $25,500 to this year’s Equal Access to Justice Campaign. The couple has donated more than $138,376 to legal aid for low-income Texans since 2006, but they are hardly alone in their generosity. In total, since 1997 Dallas lawyers have donated almost $14 million to the campaign.
Similar stories of big-heartedness and selfless service happen every day across our state. In cities large and small, regions urban and rural, Texas lawyers are improving lives and strengthening communities.
This holiday season, let’s be proud of who we are and what we do as Texas lawyers—and recommit ourselves to being passionately proud of our profession.
Executive Director, State Bar of Texas
Editor-in-Chief, Texas Bar Journal
@ApffelT on Twitter
The State Bar of Texas Board of Directors will hold its quarterly meeting at 9 a.m. CST January 24, 2020, at the Four Seasons Hotel Houston, 1300 Lamar St. All are welcome to attend. The agenda and background materials will be available at texasbar.com/board at least seven days before the meeting.
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