Virtual [to] Reality

A transitional—and successful—year for LeadershipSBOT.

Written by Andrew D. Tingan

ABOVE LEFT: Texas Young Lawyers Association Immediate Past President Britney E. Harrison (Dallas), center, with LSBOT members, from left, Mark Altman (Spring), Samantha Frazier (Houston), Glenda Duru (Houston), and Hunter Lewis (Dallas). ABOVE RIGHT: LSBOT members during an event hosted by Tran Singh in Houston; from left, Samantha Frazier, Emilio Longoria (Houston), Glenda Duru, Brendan Singh (Houston), and Andrew Tingan (Austin). PHOTOS COURTESY OF ANDREW D. TINGAN.

As we all know too well by now, our new normal has forced us all to adapt. The most recent LeadershipSBOT class was no exception. Created in 2008 under the leadership of then-State Bar President Harper Estes, LeadershipSBOT, or LSBOT, was designed to increase the quality of leadership within the legal community through the nomination of lawyers who possess both the desire and the potential to assume leadership roles. Central to the program’s mission is ensuring that participant demographics represent the diversity of the state of Texas.

The yearlong program equips approximately 20 carefully selected attorneys with the tools to develop and transition into leadership roles in their firms, communities, and the State Bar of Texas. Until 2020, the program’s quarterly meetings took place in a live setting in various locations throughout the state. These meetings served as an opportunity for the class to foster meaningful relationships as a group, interact with current leaders, and discover how to best engage in public involvement to be effective in the profession and in the community.

2020 ushered in the first all-virtual LSBOT class, and with it the uncertainty of whether the class would be able to connect in the same manner as years past. Throughout their Zoom-filled year, members of the 2020-2021 class found ways to both connect and make a lasting impact around the state. For their capstone project, members leveraged their virtual reach by presenting the Texas Young Lawyers Association-sponsored program Your Voice Now! to at least one school in each of Texas’ 20 Education Service Center districts. Through the presentations, elementary school students were introduced to the concept of student speech and the general protections provided by the Bill of Rights. For many of the students, some of whom had never met a lawyer before, these presentations provided a unique opportunity to engage with a diverse group of attorneys.

ABOVE TOP: LSBOT members and SBOT staff during a training session. ABOVE BOTTOM: LSBOT members Tim Adams (Houston) and Brendon Singh.

For a class that accomplished so much, surprisingly none of the members had met in person. With restrictions slowly easing, recent months have provided opportunities for in-person meetings, and the 2020-2021 class has taken advantage of opportunities to support each other in real life. Most recently, several members of the class were able to convene in Houston to attend an annual barbecue hosted by Tran Singh, where fellow classmate, Brendon Singh, is a founding partner.

Resilience may have been the true lesson during what was a trying year for the entire world. Fortunately, this year’s LSBOT class rose to the occasion with innovation and left no doubt that a virtual alternative could be just as successful as its live counterpart, albeit not quite as enjoyable.TBJ


is an attorney with Butler Snow. He is a member of the
firm’s Commercial Litigation Practice Group.

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