Executive Director's Report • January 2024

Your TBJ, Post-Boudreaux

Headshot of Trey Apffel

In November, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit held that the Louisiana State Bar Association, a mandatory bar, violated its member’s First Amendment free speech and free association rights by communicating information regarding matters not sufficiently connected to the practice of law.1

The Boudreaux decision expands on the holdings of McDonald and Keller by adding a clarification that State Bar speech, in addition to being germane to the regulation of lawyers, improving the quality of legal services, or the functioning of the state’s courts or legal system, should be connected to the practice of the law.2 Specifically, the decision found the Louisiana Bar’s communications about several topics, including general technology, student loan debt, Pride Month, and some wellness communications, violated the plaintiff ’s rights because they were not germane and sufficiently related to the practice of law.

At the same time, the court reaffirmed that issues related to diversity in the legal profession and the provision of pro bono legal services are germane to a mandatory bar’s purposes. According to the decision, “The germaneness standard therefore requires inherent connection to the practice of law and not mere connection to a personal matter that might impact a person who is practicing law.”

As a mandatory bar in the 5th Circuit, the State Bar of Texas is bound by this decision and has taken immediate steps to comply. The decision does not affect the vast majority of content you are used to reading in the Texas Bar Journal. Providing substantive legal content has always been our primary focus and will continue to be. However, you may notice changes as we work to ensure ongoing compliance, including a move away from some human-interest features and humor-related articles that are not sufficiently connected to regulating the legal profession, improving the quality of legal services, or the functioning of the state’s courts or legal system.

Rest assured, the State Bar of Texas remains committed to providing you with a monthly journal and other publications that educate you in the law and help you become a better lawyer. As always, I welcome your feedback in the form of letters to the editor (tbj@texasbar.com) or personal correspondence (trey.apffel@texasbar.com).


Executive Director, State Bar of Texas
Editor in Chief, Texas Bar Journal


1. Boudreaux v. Louisiana State Bar Association, 86 F.4th 620 (5th Cir. 2023).
2. See McDonald v. Longley (5th Cir. 2021) and Keller v. State Bar of California, 496 U.S. 1 (1990).

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