State Bar Director Spotlight
Stephen J. Naylor
Interview by Eric Quitugua
Photo courtesy of Stephen J. Naylor
Position: Founding partner in Naylor & Naylor in Fort Worth
Board Member: District 7, Place 1 since 2018
I had many careers before becoming a lawyer.
I always looked up to lawyers and thought the profession was an honorable one. After almost 10 years in my last career, I decided it was time to go for it. At that time, I was in my 30s, married with two small children and did not even have a college degree.
More than anything, I wanted to be a trial lawyer.
I wanted to be in court arguing my client’s case as they do on TV and in the movies. Shortly after being hired out of law school, I was given a chance to try my first case. I loved it and knew this was what I was meant to do.
If you’re going into the legal profession just because you think it will make you rich,
you’re in for a big surprise and you’ll be miserable your entire career. You need a much deeper motivation than money.
I wanted to be involved with the State Bar of Texas from the beginning of my legal career.
I truly believe that those of us who had the opportunity to attend law school and become lawyers have been blessed, and we owe something back to the profession for that blessing. Not everyone can become a lawyer and not every lawyer has the opportunity to be active in the State Bar. I consider it an obligation and blessing.
The bar is constantly looking for ways to help lawyers improve their practice and their quality of life.
The bar offers free or greatly reduced programs in such areas as legal research, tech tips, law practice management, attorney wellness, access to mentors, and an ethics helpline. The bar has negotiated reduced rates for car rentals, Vonlane, and hotels. If a lawyer is struggling emotionally or physically, the bar has programs to help such as the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program and the Sheeran-Crowley Memorial Trust.
I believe one of our biggest issues is the decline of pride in our profession.
We have allowed the public and even some in our own profession to rob us of our pride. Not that long ago, lawyers were viewed as community leaders who proudly provided an essential service to the public. I think part of this decline is being fueled by those within the profession who minimize the importance of attorneys to the judicial system. I am proud to be an attorney and proud to represent the approximately 105,000 lawyers in Texas. We need to conduct ourselves in a manner that reflects that pride, and when given the chance, remind everyone that attorneys, judges, and the court system play a very important role in society.
If we can find a way to involve more attorneys from around the state,
then they will see that the bar is truly trying to meet their needs and support them in every way possible. There are so many benefits and resources available to our members if they would only ask. The bar does a great job trying to educate all of its members about those resources and benefits, but unfortunately, too few take advantage of them.TBJ