Executive Director’s Page

Our Report Card

Last month I used this space to highlight the important work of the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors. This month I want to explain the role of State Bar staff in executing the board’s directives and how we’re held accountable through strategic planning and performance measures.

So, how does the State Bar staff decide what to focus on?

The State Bar Act requires the bar to develop and maintain a comprehensive, long-range strategic plan with measurable goals and performance measures.,1 The strategic plan serves as the guidepost for all of the bar’s decisions and activities. In fact, the bar’s annual budget is developed specifically to advance the strategic plan.

Every year, we publish outcomes of the performance measures in the December issue of the Texas Bar Journal and provide them to the Texas Supreme Court. It’s our “report card,” and it’s there for everyone to see and evaluate what we’ve accomplished during the prior year. Every other year, the board holds a work session to revise the strategic plan to make sure it remains relevant to the needs of our members and the general public.

Ultimately, we’re responsible for achieving the purposes set out in the State Bar Act, which is the law that governs the State Bar’s operations. For that reason, our strategic planning goals are tied to these core purposes:

• service to the public;
• service to members;
• protection of the public;
• access to justice;
• sound administration and resources; and
• financial management.

In 2017-2018, the State Bar distributed more than 34,000 pamphlets or other printed materials regarding legal issues of interest to the public. Our Law Related Education department conducted 161 teacher training sessions, reaching more than 6,000 teachers. And our Lawyer Referral & Information Service answered more than 67,000 calls and made nearly 74,000 referrals. These are examples of our service to the public.

During the same period, attendance at classes conducted by TexasBarCLE totaled more than 92,000 for online courses and nearly 16,000 for live events. More than 16,000 members were enrolled in one or more insurance products through the Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange. And the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program answered more than 700 calls for help and made presentations that reached nearly 11,500 people. These are examples of our service to members.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

We couldn’t accomplish what we do without the dedicated work of our professional staff and the guidance and direction of our volunteer board.

I invite you to read our strategic plan, performance measures, and outcomes at texasbar.com/governingdocuments and to let me know what you think.

Note about federal lawsuit
On March 6, 2019, a lawsuit,2 was filed in the Western District of Texas claiming that under Janus v. AFSCME, 138 S. Ct. 2448 (2018), it is unconstitutional for an attorney to be compelled to be a member of the State Bar of Texas in order to practice law. I am confident the State Bar of Texas is fulfilling all statutory responsibilities as the administrative arm of the Texas Supreme Court consistent with the court’s authority to regulate the legal profession. The pending legal action will be addressed accordingly.


Trey Apffel
Executive Director, State Bar of Texas
Editor-in-Chief, Texas Bar Journal
(512) 427-1500
@ApffelT on Twitter

Have a question for Trey? Email it to trey.apffel@texasbar.com and he may answer it in a future column.


Upcoming Board Meetings
The State Bar board’s Executive Committee will meet April 4 at the Texas Law Center in Austin. The full board will hold its next quarterly meeting April 26 in Georgetown. Both meetings are open to the public. The agendas will be posted at texasbar.com/board at least seven days before the meetings.


1. Texas Gov’t Code § 81.0215.

2. McDonald et al v. Longley et al (1:19-cv-00219).


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