You Will Be Hit (Figuratively) by a Hurricane!
On June 1 of every year, hurricane season begins for the Gulf Coast.
Our law firm sits on one of Houston’s bayous that will flood during a
hurricane, and we constantly prepare for big storms. While we know that
a storm might knock us down, we have the people, tools, and will to
return our building to an even better state than before.
In the title, I obviously use the term “hurricane” as a metaphor. Without speaking negativity over anyone, there is a strong probability each of us will be hit by some type of storm of life at some point in time. Most of us have experienced unwanted setbacks, natural disasters, man-made disasters, and even self-inflicted harm. Some see it happening to others around them. As professionals who know how to overcome, we all know that we have the ability to not only recover, but also to come back even better. It makes a difference if there are friends and family to help us. When you get caught up in a “hurricane“ of life, know that the State Bar has many resources to help. Let me highlight four:
Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program;
3. Ethics Helpline; and
4. Closing your practice.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas on August 25, 2017, causing
destruction along the coast and massive flooding in Houston and the
southeast portion of the state.
1. The Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program, or TLAP, is completely confidential and attorneys can call anonymously at (800) 343-8527 (TLAP). TLAP helps law students, lawyers of all ages, and judges. TLAP helps with wellness, stress, anxiety, depression, mental health challenges, suicide prevention, substance abuse, and cognitive decline. TLAP helps via support, referrals, peer assistance, CLE, and education. You can call for yourself or for others you may be concerned about. For more information, go to tlaphelps.org.
2. SOLACE is lawyers helping lawyers. SOLACE (Support of Lawyers—All Concern Encouraged) is a program designed to assist attorneys or their families when catastrophic events or health situations take place. The SOLACE program connects those in the Texas legal community who are experiencing a hardship with those willing and able to help. SOLACE is voluntary, simple, and straightforward. SOLACE does not solicit monetary contributions. Instead, it encourages assistance or donations in kind. Gift cards for items needed or direct items, such as wheelchairs or similar equipment, may be provided. For more information, go to texasbar.com/solace.
3. The Ethics Helpline is for Texas lawyers who have questions on ethics issues. The State Bar ethics experts will provide guidance and answers to many questions. They will help access the rules and ethical resources you need to make informed decisions such as ethics opinions and caselaw. Phone calls are promptly returned in the order they are received by three staff ethics attorneys. Call (800) 532-3947 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT. I have found they will return your call within 24 hours or less. For more information, go to texasbar.com/ethics.
4. Closing your practice is not a simple process. Law practices are not immune from the unfortunate and unexpected events and accidents that occur in everyday life. An attorney’s illness, incapacity, or even suspension due to misconduct can result in the temporary or permanent closure of a practice. The State Bar’s Law Practice Management Program will provide those lawyers affected—as well as others involved—information on how to close your office, best practices when selling your practice, how to protect your clients, a checklist for closing another attorney’s office, a guideline for judges, and even direction if one discovers his or her boss or relative is no longer able to practice law. For more information, go to texaslawpracticemanagement.com/closing-practice.
The State Bar is here to help its members in not only these areas, but others as well. Our incoming president-elect, Larry McDougal, and I are committed to a member centric organization that seeks to make lawyers’ lives better. Let us hear from you with your ideas, suggestions, and criticisms. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Larry at email@example.com. We both wish you the very best in your professional and personal lives.
2019-2020 President, State Bar of Texas
Randy Sorrels can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (713) 222-7211 (office) or (713) 582-8005 (cell).