Frequently Asked Questions

We've answered some common questions asked by people across Texas.

What Does the State Bar of Texas Do for the Public?

The State Bar of Texas has a statutory obligation to regulate the legal profession and improve the quality of legal services in Texas. Therefore, the State Bar serves the public by: 1) educating the public about the rule of law and the role of judges, lawyers, and the public in the justice system; 2) helping lawyers provide the highest quality legal and community service; and 3) working for equitable access and participation in all aspects of the justice system by diverse groups within our society.

Learn more about the mission of the State Bar of Texas here.

Can You Help Me with a Legal Issue?

The State Bar of Texas cannot provide direct legal assistance. However, the bar does provide limited free legal resources and a referral service to help you find a lawyer.

Can You Help Me Find a Lawyer?

Yes. You can search our online directory of all Texas attorneys by location, practice area, specialty certification, and more.

You can also take advantage of our Lawyer Referral & Information Service. Get the details and let us help you find a lawyer.
The State Bar of Texas and the American Bar Association work together to provide a free website, Texas Legal Answers, where people can get answers to common civil (non-criminal) legal questions. Learn more at texaslegalanswers.org.

How Can I Find an Inexpensive Lawyer, or a Lawyer Who Will Work for Free?

Please see this Referral Directory of Legal Services and Other Resources for Low-Income Texans. This directory includes a county-by-county searchable database of resources available to you. Find additional resources at texasbar.com/legal-services.

Texas Legal Answers: The State Bar of Texas and the American Bar Association work together to provide a free website where people can get answers to common civil (non-criminal) legal questions. Learn more at texaslegalanswers.org.

How Do I Become a Lawyer?

Click here to read answers to frequently asked questions about becoming a lawyer.
Also, take a look at the web-based project What Do Lawyers Do? created by the Texas Young Lawyers Association.

Does the State Bar of Texas Administer the Bar Exam?

No. The Texas Board of Law Examiners, an agency of the Texas Supreme Court, is responsible for qualifying applicants for admission to the State Bar of Texas and administering the bar exam. Learn more about the Board of Law Examiners here.

Do My Taxes Pay for the State Bar of Texas?

No. The State Bar receives no tax dollars and is not a part of the state appropriations process. The State Bar is completely funded through membership dues, continuing legal education fees, sales of books and legal forms, advertising income from the Texas Bar Journal, advertising income from our website, texasbar.com, and other sources. 

What Do I Do If I Believe a Lawyer Has Behaved Unethically?

If you believe a lawyer has engaged in unethical conduct, you may report the conduct to the State Bar of Texas by filing a grievance with the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel. You do not have to be a client to file a grievance. Anyone can report allegations of professional misconduct or problems with a lawyer.

Filing a Grievance: Visit this page for details on how the grievance process works and how to file a grievance against a lawyer. This process is designed to ensure that members of the legal profession comply with ethical standards prescribed by the Texas Supreme Court.

What Do I Do If I Believe a Judge Has Behaved Unethically?

The State Commission on Judicial Conduct, an independent Texas state agency, is responsible for investigating allegations of judicial misconduct and disciplining judges. Go to scjc.texas.gov to learn how to file a complaint against a judge.

What Information Is Available About a Lawyer's Disciplinary History?

What Do I Do If My Lawyer Is Not Returning My Calls?

If you have trouble communicating with your lawyer, the Client-Attorney Assistance Program (CAAP) can provide assistance. Please call 800-932-1900.

What Do I Do If My Lawyer Dies, Disappears, Becomes Disabled, or Is Suspended or Disbarred?

Here is a checklist of the steps you should take.

How Can I Request State Bar Records Subject to the Public Information Act?

The State Bar of Texas is committed to upholding the Texas Public Information Act and ensuring public access to its records. All State Bar of Texas records are available to the public unless an exception to disclosure listed in the Public Information Act (Texas Government Code Chapter 552) or other law applies. Go here to learn how to request records from the State Bar of Texas.

Do Texas Lawyers Do Free (Pro Bono) Legal Work?

Texas lawyers engage voluntarily in pro bono work on a case-by-case basis. It is not required.

The State Bar of Texas periodically surveys attorneys about their pro bono work. To learn more about the survey, go to texasbar.com/research.

How Can I Get Help with Legal Problems After a Natural or Man-Made Disaster?

When disasters strike Texas, the State Bar of Texas serves as a clearinghouse for disaster response resources for the public and attorneys. Texasbar.com/disaster has information for the public about the bar’s Disaster Legal Hotline, materials about replacing lost documents, tips to avoid scams and price gouging, and resources for reporting improper solicitation by an attorney.

Who Manages the State Bar of Texas?

The State Bar of Texas is administered by a board of directors with 46 voting members from across the state who volunteer their time and professional experience. The voting members include 30 attorneys elected from 17 geographical districts, six public (non-attorney) members appointed by the Texas Supreme Court, four at-large directors appointed by the State Bar president, three officers (president, president-elect, and immediate past president) elected statewide by State Bar members, and three officers (president, president-elect, and immediate past president) elected statewide by Texas Young Lawyers Association members.

A president-elect is elected by the State Bar membership each year, and an executive director oversees day-to-day operations. Approximately 270 employees comprise the State Bar staff.

How Can I Contact the State Bar of Texas?

Call us at 512-427-1463 or toll-free 800-204-2222, or click here to complete the online Contact Us form.

The State Bar of Texas is headquartered in the Texas Law Center, 1414 Colorado St., Austin, Texas 78701.

Is the State Bar of Texas Subject to Outside Oversight?

Yes. The mission and performance of the State Bar of Texas is reviewed every 12 years by the Legislature as required under the Texas Sunset Act. The act provides that the Sunset Commission, composed of legislators and public members, periodically evaluates a state agency to determine if the agency is still needed and to explore ways to ensure that the agency’s funds are spent appropriately.

The State Bar of Texas successfully underwent the Sunset review process for the fourth time in 2017. Click here to read the 2016-2017 Sunset Staff Report with Final Results. Learn more on the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission’s web page dedicated to the State Bar of Texas.

What Does “Bar” Mean?

“Bar” means “whole body of lawyers ... the legal profession.”
It also means the place where the business of court is done. “Bar” in this sense had become synonymous with “court” by 1330.
In 1559, “bar” literally meant the railing that separated people on the bench from those conducting law on the other side.
After 1600, “bar” was popularly assumed to mean the bar in a courtroom, which was the wooden railing marking off the area around the judge's seat and where a barrister stood to plead his prisoner’s case.

Can I Access the Texas Bar Journal Online?

Yes. Read the current issue at texasbar.com/tbj (or texasbar.com/digitaltbj for the digital magazine format). Search the complete Texas Bar Journal archives, from 1938 to the present, here.

The Texas Bar Journal is the official publication of the State Bar of Texas. Every month, except for August, the Texas Bar Journal publishes legal articles relevant to practicing attorneys, features on people and topics of interest, State Bar information, technology trends, and much more. The Client Page, a regular column, offers useful information for the public, including material on everything from how to raise money through crowdfunding to what to wear in the courtroom. 

Click here to learn more about advertising opportunities with the State Bar of Texas.

{Back to top}