Executive Director's Report • April 2024

A Busy Month for Self-Governance

It's Time to Vote!

Headshot of Trey Apffel

All month long, active members of the State Bar of Texas have the privilege of voting for president-elect and on 12 proposed disciplinary rule amendments. Some lawyers’ ballots will also include races for State Bar district director, Texas Young Lawyers Association president-elect, and Texas Young Lawyers Association district director.

I use the word “privilege” for a reason. Among all professionals in Texas, lawyers are unique in that our system of self-governance gives us the right and responsibility to vote on the rules that regulate us and the people who represent us. Doctors and dentists don’t have that right. Neither do architects or accountants. Only lawyers. Voting in bar elections is a great way of showing we don’t take this privilege for granted.

In the race for State Bar president-elect, the candidates are Denise Scofield, of Houston, and Santos Vargas, of San Antonio. The winner will be president in the 2025-2026 bar year, serving as an officer of the bar, the bar’s official spokesperson, and as a member of the board of directors.

State Bar directors are elected to the board on a staggered basis from 17 districts throughout the state. Districts with open seats this year are District 1 (Northeast Texas), 4 (Harris County), 5 (Southeast Texas/Gulf Coast), 6 (Dallas County), 7 (Tarrant and nearby counties), 9 (Travis County), 10 (Bexar County), 13 (Panhandle), and 16 (West Texas).

If you are an active Texas lawyer licensed 12 years or less as of June 1, 2023, your ballot will include the TYLA president-elect race and, if your district has an open seat this year, a TYLA district director race. Michael Hanson, of Richmond, and Alyson A. Martinez, of Laredo, are candidates for TYLA president-elect.

The ballot for all active bar members includes a referendum on 11 proposed changes to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct and one proposed change to the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. Between 2021 and 2023, the State Bar Board of Directors approved the 12 rule proposals, which were recommended by the Committee on Disciplinary Rules and Referenda, or CDRR, through a process that included extensive input from Texas lawyers. The Supreme Court of Texas then ordered a referendum on the proposed changes. For detailed information on the proposed amendments, read the March issue of the Texas Bar Journal and elsewhere in this issue or go to texasbar.com/rulesvote.

Paper and digital ballots will be distributed on April 1 for the monthlong voting period that ends at 5 p.m. CDT on April 30. You can find more information on the State Bar and TYLA elections, and cast a ballot during the voting period, at texasbar.com/elections.


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

Get to know the candidates
To help you get to know the State Bar president-elect candidates, bios and a Q&A are provided in this issue. Bios of the TYLA president-elect candidates were featured in March, and a Q&A is included in this issue. Also, Denise Scofield and Santos Vargas participated in a live, virtual candidate forum on March 26, which you can hear as the April episode of the State Bar of Texas Podcast at texasbar.com/podcast.

Trey Apffel can be reached at 512-427-1500, trey.apffel@texasbar.com, or @ApffelT on X (formerly Twitter).

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