STATE BAR BOARD UPDATE

State Bar Board Takes Action on Diversity and Inclusion issues
at Special Meeting


The State Bar of Texas Board of Directors held a special meeting on July 27 to discuss and consider action regarding online commentary made by State Bar of Texas President Larry McDougal and other directors.

The board heard from 61 speakers and accepted hundreds of letters from attorneys and members of the public before approving the following actions:

  • Create President-elect Sylvia Borunda Firth’s task force to study and propose actions to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the administration of justice and the practice of law. A final roster of task force members will be presented at the board’s next quarterly meeting on September 25.

  • Create a working group that includes interested directors and other parties to consider diversity and inclusion suggestions submitted to the board.

  • Require board members to complete implicit bias training by December 31.

  • Direct the State Bar Minimum Continuing Legal Education Committee to consider making implicit bias training an MCLE requirement for Texas attorneys and that the committee return with a recommendation by the board’s January 2021 meeting.

  • Direct the board’s Policy Manual Committee and Nominations and Elections Subcommittee to propose revisions to board policy to provide increased vetting of president-elect candidates.

  • Direct legal counsel to review all action items presented in materials from the State Bar of Texas African-American Lawyers Section to determine which may be implemented in compliance with legal precedents and report that guidance to the board at its September meeting.

  • Require President McDougal to return with a preliminary plan of action for addressing issues related to his online comments by the September board meeting and a final plan by January 2021.

  • Study whether Texas should adopt American Bar Association Model Rule 8.4(g)1 as part of the Texas Rules of Professional Conduct.

  • Call a special meeting prior to the September quarterly board meeting on a date when President McDougal is available for the board to consider a motion restricting the duties of the State Bar president.

Go to texasbar.com/bodmaterials and follow the links to the July 27 meeting to see the board packet materials, which include McDougal’s online commentary; a video-recorded apology from McDougal; joint statements issued by bar officers, committees, and sections; and comments submitted by bar members and the public. To watch the recorded meeting, go to youtube.com/statebaroftexas. To submit comments to the State Bar board, email boardofdirectors@texasbar.com.TBJ

 

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