2022-2023 State Bar of Texas President Laura Gibson
Gibson is a Houston-based partner in Dentons US and head of the
Texas Employment & Labor Group. She earned her J.D. from the
University of Houston Law Center in December 1984 and joined Locke
Lord in 1985. She made partner in the firm in 1992. In 1993, she
co-founded a four-lawyer firm last known as Ogden, Gibson, Broocks,
Longoria & Hall where she practiced until 2016.
Gibson was 2018-2019 chair of the State Bar Board of Directors. She was a director for District 4, 2016-2020, and served on numerous committees including the Executive Committee and Nominations and Elections Subcommittee. She is a past co-chair of the Texas Minority Counsel Program Steering Committee.
Gibson served as 2011-2012 president of the Association of Women Attorneys and founded the Premier Women in Law luncheon during her term. She served as 2015-2016 president of the Houston Bar Association. In 2013, she received the Trailblazer Outside Counsel Award from the Texas Minority Counsel Program for her commitment to diversity. In early June 2020, Gibson founded the Liberty & Justice For All Task Force.
President Gibson's Initiative
As this year’s State Bar president, Gibson will work to promote succession planning to encourage solo practitioner lawyers to designate a custodian attorney. In 2018-2019, the bar created a Succession Planning Workgroup that developed an online custodian designation portal on the bar’s website. The new Texas Rule of Disciplinary Procedure 13.04, which was approved by referendum, adopted by the Texas Supreme Court, and became effective July 1, 2021, enables lawyers to name a custodian to wind up and close their practice in the event of sudden cessation. Rule 13.04 provides the custodian attorney with the same protection as a court appointed custodian, which protects her from liability except for intentional misconduct or gross negligence.
The State Bar Law Practice Management Committee continues to work on the creation and promotion of succession planning materials, which are available at texasbarpractice.com. Gibson plans to work hard to prioritize that project this year. While the bar has promoted the designation of a custodian attorney process, less than 700 of the nearly 109,000 active Texas lawyers have designated a custodian attorney through the bar’s portal. In 2019, the number of Texas lawyers over age 66 totaled 19,085. Last year, in 2021, they totaled 21,137. The number of lawyers who are dying, becoming disabled, or disappearing without taking steps to close their practices has increased substantially. In fact, the State Bar has a cessations docket pilot project. The information the State Bar has obtained in working on this issue has led to the realization that this is a critical problem that will only grow worse unless the bar works to proactively address it and make sure its lawyers are taking the appropriate steps in returning their client files in advance of their retirement. For more information about succession planning resources or to designate a custodian attorney, go to texasbar.com/succession.
Various projects and programs cultivated by State Bar presidents to provide lawyers with tools and resources to educate the public about the legal system.
The Presidents’ Award is presented at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting each year and honors exceptional service to the public and the legal profession.
State Bar members elect the president, who serves a one-year term as president-elect before taking office. Many distinguished women and men have committed countless hours of service and shared their wisdom while leading the bar.