May 14, 2019
Contact: Amy Starnes
Public Information Director, State Bar of Texas
(800) 204-2222, ext. 1706, or (512) 427-1706


State Bar of Texas responds to lawsuit with strong constitutional defense

AUSTIN — On Monday, the State Bar of Texas laid out almost six decades of U.S. Supreme Court precedent establishing the constitutionality of its structure in response to a lawsuit filed against the bar. The State Bar’s filings explain that the bar — as an arm of the government — has a statutory obligation to regulate the legal profession and to improve the quality of legal services in Texas. As the State Bar points out, it has been fulfilling this requirement since 1939.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, McDonald v. Longley, claim in part that a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding public sector labor unions makes it unconstitutional for an attorney to be required to be a member of the State Bar of Texas in order to practice law.

“As we have explained in our court filings, we believe the State Bar is fulfilling all of its statutory and constitutional obligations. The plaintiffs’ efforts to change decades of law is without merit,” said Trey Apffel, executive director of the State Bar of Texas.

The State Bar’s cross-motion for summary judgment can be found online here. All documents filed in the case can be viewed online at

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The State Bar of Texas 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, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @statebaroftexas, like us on Facebook at, or visit

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