State Bar Director Spotlight

Robert McKnight

Interview by Eric Quitugua

Robert McKnight

Hometown: Victoria
Position: Of counsel to Marek, Griffin & Knaupp in Victoria
Board Member: District 11 since 2017

AFTER COLLEGE, I WORKED AS A REPORTER. THOUGH I ENJOYED THE WORK, I WANTED A DIFFERENT TYPE OF CHALLENGE—

one that I thought would be more likely to require sustained attention to a particular matter over a longer time horizon than I was accustomed to as a reporter.

MY MAIN AREA OF INTEREST IS EMPLOYMENT LAW.
Fair employment is a key feature of civil rights, which are essential to a society.

I’LL REPRESENT ANYONE IF I THINK I CAN I DO SOMETHING THAT WOULD BENEFIT THEM,
but it’s certainly also true that I particularly like cases that present interesting legal issues.

I LIVE IN A STATE BAR DISTRICT WHERE, ONLY EVERY OTHER TERM, THE DIRECTOR CAN BE FROM THE DISTRICT’S MOST POPULOUS COUNTY.
That incumbent was recruiting candidates from elsewhere in the district and talked to me about it. This was in early 2017, for a term to begin in the middle of 2017. I was scheduled to retire in early 2018 from my military reservist position and knew that I would have time to give to a new venture.

THIS IS THE FIRST, AND PROBABLY THE LAST, ELECTIVE PUBLIC POSITION FOR WHICH I’VE BEEN A CANDIDATE (THOUGH, AS IT TURNS OUT, I WAS THE ONLY CANDIDATE: IT WAS NOT A CONTESTED
ELECTION).

But I have always admired people who are willing to put themselves forward to fill the positions that are necessary to make self-governance a reality at all levels of our democracy and I felt an obligation to do that here.

I’VE BEEN A MEMBER OF THE CLIENT SECURITY FUND COMMITTEE,
which considers applications from members of the public who have suffered a financial loss because of a Texas lawyer’s dishonest conduct and awards appropriate compensation within the fund’s limits. I’ve been very pleased to be part of that work.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR DIRECTORS TO UNDERSTAND IS
that they’re stewards of members’ dues and the bar’s other assets and of the profession’s privilege of self-governance.

THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE
is spending the time to prepare for the meetings: to review the material and to anticipate what are likely to be the flashpoints of debate.

I WOULD LIKE TO SEE CONTINUED PROGRESS IN THE INITIATIVE CURRENTLY AIMED TOWARD A FORM OF LAWYER IDENTIFICATION THAT FACILITATES ENTRY INTO COURTHOUSES
and an emphasis on helping lawyers in solo and smaller firms plan for sudden, practice-ending scenarios so that their clients’ matters are not jeopardized. TBJ

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