Executive Director’s Page

Following Our Mission

The lawsuit challenging the mandatory bar in Texas reached a key moment on August 1 as both sides presented their cases for summary judgment inside an Austin federal district courtroom.

As I explained in my May column, three plaintiffs are claiming that under Janus v. AFSCME (2018), it is unconstitutional for an attorney to be required to join the State Bar of Texas to practice law. The plaintiffs also challenge certain bar programs that they claim exceed the bar’s “core regulatory functions.”

The State Bar argues that binding U.S. Supreme Court precedent—Lathrop v. Donohue (1961) and Keller v. State Bar of California (1990)—forecloses the plaintiffs’ challenge to membership. The bar also argues that the plaintiffs’ challenge to specific programs fails because all bar expenditures are consistent with Keller as they relate to regulating the legal profession and improving the quality of legal services.

We remain confident in our case as we await the judge’s decision. In the meantime, the State Bar continues to fulfill its statutory and constitutional obligations. I invite you to go to texasbar.com/mcdonaldvsorrels for case updates and to read the filings.


Honoring 50-Year Lawyers
Last month I briefly mentioned our 50-year lawyer celebration at the 2019 State Bar Annual Meeting, but I want to elaborate on this special event. At the general session luncheon, we recognized 655 lawyers who achieved their 50-year milestone as practicing attorneys in Texas. Ninety of these lawyers appeared at the reception and luncheon honoring them. This was a record in both the number of lawyers reaching the milestone and in those attending the luncheon.

We set up a room for the lawyers and their families to meet, renew old acquaintances, and share stories of their respective journeys. They gathered immediately before the luncheon for a group photo. They were then recognized during the luncheon, with each lawyer being called by name and asked to stand.

As a son and a nephew of 50-year Texas lawyers, I know what an accomplishment this is and how much it means to these lawyers and their families to be recognized for their contributions to our profession. Once again, I extend my congratulations to these 50-year lawyers. For coverage of this and other Annual Meeting events, see Page 586.


Celebrate Freedom Week
Part of the State Bar’s mission is to educate the public about the rule of law. This month, Texas schools will observe Celebrate Freedom Week, which includes Constitution Day (September 17), and our Law Related Education department has developed a number of resources to assist them. These videos, games, and quizzes—available at texaslre.org—are designed to help students learn and prepare for the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS, assessments in eigth grade American history and high school U.S. history. Texas lawyers can be proud of the role the State Bar plays in providing civics education to our country’s future leaders.


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


The State Bar of Texas Board of Directors will hold its quarterly meeting September 20 in Corpus Christi. Any member of the bar or the public is welcome to attend. The agenda and meeting materials will be posted to texasbar.com/board at least seven days before the meeting. As usual, the State Bar will host a free CLE program the week of the board meeting in the meeting’s host city. The program, Updates for Solo Practitioners and Small Firms, will take place from 2 to 4:30 p.m. September 18 at the Holiday Inn Corpus Christi Downtown Marina. Go to texasbarcle.com to register for the free CLE.

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


{Back to top}

We use cookies to analyze our traffic and enhance functionality. More Information agree