STATE BAR BOARD UPDATE
State Bar Board approves diversity panel rosters, study of model discrimination rule
The State Bar of Texas Board of Directors met September 10 to follow up on items pending from the board’s July 27 special-called meeting.
Task Force and Workgroup Rosters
The board approved rosters for two groups created at the July meeting:
The 15-member Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, chaired by Joe Escobedo of McAllen, will study and propose actions to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the administration of justice and the practice of law.
The 13-member Justice in Leadership Workgroup, chaired by Director Carmen Roe, of Houston, will consider the diversity and inclusion suggestions submitted in the written and oral comments presented to the board in July.
ABA Model Rule 8.4(g)
In a procedural vote, the board referred ABA Model Rule 8.4(g) regarding harassment and discrimination to a board committee for study, an action that was requested by State Bar members at the July 27 meeting.
The board’s Discipline and Client Attorney Assistance Program (DCAAP) Committee will study the model rule—along with the existing Rule 5.08 of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct regarding discrimination and the public input submitted before and during the board meeting—and report back to the board its recommendations, if any, at a future meeting.
Tabled Motion and New Actions
Director Alistair Dawson, of Houston, withdrew his motion, tabled at the July meeting, to limit the spokesperson duties of the State Bar president following the board’s consultation with legal counsel. Dawson then made the following two motions that the board approved.
The board voted to direct its Policy Manual Subcommittee to study options and return at a future meeting with recommendations for:
a code of conduct to be followed by officers and directors, and
changes to the board policy manual or State Bar rules that could enable the board to impeach, remove from office, suspend, or take other disciplinary action against officers and directors.
To review the task force and workgroup rosters and other materials from the July 27 and September 10 meetings, go to texasbar.com/bodmaterials. Watch recordings of both meetings at youtube.com/statebaroftexas. TBJ