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February 28, 2017
Contact: Amy Starnes
Public Information Director, State Bar of Texas
(800) 204-2222, ext. 1706, or (512) 427-1706

State Bar of Texas certifies petition candidate for president-elect race

AUSTIN—Joe K. Longley of Austin will join Chad Baruch of Dallas and Laura Bellegie Sharp of Austin as a candidate for president-elect of the State Bar of Texas.

On February 28, Longley was approved as a petition candidate after submitting 5,332 eligible signatures from State Bar members, gaining him a place on the ballot. Under the State Bar Act, any member of the bar meeting certain eligibility requirements may run for president-elect by submitting a petition signed by at least 5 percent of the State Bar membership.

State Bar members will vote April 3 to May 2, and election results will be announced May 2. The winner will serve as president of the State Bar of Texas from June 2018 to June 2019.

Joe K. Longley is a solo practitioner in Austin, specializing in consumer and policyholder class actions. His Austin office overlooks the UT Tower and the Capitol.

Joe Longley

In 1973, Longley co-authored and nurtured the passage of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act, together with the private remedies sections of Article 21.21 (Now Chapter 541) of the Texas Insurance Code. Since then, he has co-authored Chapters 542 (prompt pay) and 544 (unfair discrimination) of the Insurance Code, the Texas Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, the Texas Home Solicitation Act, and landlord-tenant protections.

Longley has authored numerous seminar papers, taught insurance law at the University of Texas School of Law, and served on the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors, the District 9 Grievance Committee, and as chair of the State Bar Consumer Law Section, now called the Consumer and Commercial Law Section. In 2011, he received the State Bar Insurance Law Section’s Insurance Legend Award.

Longley and his wife, Maggie, have three grown children and have been blessed with five grandchildren.
As previously announced, the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors on January 20 approved the nominations of attorneys Chad Baruch of Dallas and Laura Bellegie Sharp of Austin as candidates for president-elect.

Chad Baruch is certified in civil appellate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. A longtime solo practitioner, Baruch is now a shareholder in Johnston Tobey Baruch in Dallas.

Chad Baruch

Baruch has served as a member of the State Bar Board of Directors and Executive Committee and as chair of the Texas Bar College, Council of Chairs, Consumer and Commercial Law Section, and Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section.

A frequent continuing legal education speaker, Baruch received the 2015 State Bar of Texas Gene Cavin Award for lifetime contributions to CLE and the 2016 Texas Bar Foundation Dan Rugeley Price Memorial Award for excellence in legal writing and commitment to the profession. The Texas Access to Justice Commission has named him a Pro Bono Champion.

Alongside his legal career, Baruch has served as a college and high school head basketball coach and government teacher. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School.

Laura Bellegie Sharp is an AV-rated trial attorney handling all forms of litigation for the Sharp Firm in Austin.

Laura Sharp

Sharp has served on the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors and the State Bar of Texas Insurance Trust Board of Directors and is a current member of the board of the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Sharp was a member of the bar’s Court Rules Committee, the Grievance Committee, and the Women in the Profession Committee. She is a Texas Bar Foundation life fellow and a member of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.

Sharp was the 2003-2004 president of the Austin Bar Association and held director and officer positions from 1998 to 2003. She is a founding fellow of the Austin Bar Foundation, having served twice as chair, and continues to serve as treasurer. She has been a delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates since 2008, is on the board of the National Conference of Bar Foundations, and is an American Bar Foundation life fellow.

Sharp received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and a J.D. from Baylor Law School.

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The State Bar of Texas, created in 1939, is an administrative agency of the Supreme Court of Texas that provides educational programs for the legal profession and the public, administers the minimum continuing legal education program for attorneys, and manages the attorney discipline system. For more information, visit

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