State Bar Director Spotlight
Interview by Eric Quitugua
Photo by Illustrative Depictions
Position: Partner in Coffey & Peace in Denton
Board Member: District 14 since 2017
I had a desire to practice law when I was in college; however, I decided to pursue a career as a juvenile probation officer for several years.
This is when I was first exposed to the courtroom. I loved it immediately. The opportunity to attend night school at Texas Wesleyan presented itself, and I decided to pursue my passion for law and still be able to work full time. I have always had a desire to help people, especially children.
I went to work for a large law firm in Denton County, and my goal was to become a partner. This is where my passion for bar service began.
I started with the Greater Denton County Young Lawyers Association, and then progressed to the Denton County Bar Association. I served from 2006 to 2015, and I was president of both organizations. I then served on the State Bar of Texas Local Bar Services Committee for several years until I was elected as a director of the State Bar of Texas. I became a partner in Coffey, Stout & Peace in 2004 and then a partner in Coffey & Peace in 2012. My aha! moment was when I reached my goal of becoming a partner and realized my passion for bar service. I was blessed to work with board-certified family lawyers with years of experience who fostered my love for the law and taught me how to be the best lawyer I can be. My goals have evolved, and with the support of my partner and staff, I have been able to pursue my love of bar service and the practice of law and still have plenty of time to be a mother.
Becoming a director of the State Bar of Texas felt like a natural progression in my service to the State Bar of Texas.
I wanted the opportunity to learn more about the State Bar of Texas and take the message to other lawyers in my district and educate them about all of the amazing programs and benefits that many lawyers do not know are available to them. Serving on the board of directors has been one of the most rewarding things I have done in my career. So many lawyers are focused solely on their practice. We all need to give back to our community and our profession.
I was placed on the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program as the liaison for the board of directors.
I have enjoyed working on this committee to help educate lawyers on what this program can offer. The members of this committee are dedicated to promoting wellness within our profession and helping other lawyers. My goal as a director is to assist the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program to continue to spread the message of what is available to lawyers and to allow continuing legal education credit for wellness.
The challenge is balancing your duties as a director of the State Bar of Texas and maintaining your practice and family life.
You need to be responsive to the lawyers you represent and be able to answer their questions and help them meet the needs of their bar associations. It is also important to be involved in the committees and subcommittees to which you have been assigned. At times the job can be time consuming, and it is imperative that directors are available and present.
I think the State Bar of Texas does an excellent job of serving its members in communicating information to our vast array of members and how they receive information.
I think the biggest challenge that we face is that many lawyers are not reading the information that is being sent to them via email, the Texas Bar Journal, and many other ways. The most common question that I get is “what does the bar do for me?” This tells me that we have to continue to come up with new ways to educate our members on what is available.
I would like to see the directors reach out to the bar associations in their districts to educate lawyers around the state about what the State Bar of Texas is providing to them.
I would like the directors to continue to make informed decisions and changes when needed so that our ability to self-govern is never jeopardized. I would also like us to continue to work on outreach so that we are reaching our members in a way that they will look at the information being provided.TBJ