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TBJ JANUARY 2022

Allocating State Bar Districts

An apportionment review is underway. Here’s what it means and how you can offer input.

Written by TBJ Staff


The governing body of the State Bar of Texas, its board of directors, is divided into 17 bar districts throughout the state.1 Each district is represented by a specific number of elected board members who represent attorneys in each of these areas. The board reviews its districts from time to time to ensure that attorneys are adequately represented. This year, a task force approved by the board will review the apportionment of districts and consider the purposes of the State Bar as set out by Section 81.012 of the State Bar Act.


This article describes how the bar districts are distributed, how attorneys are represented by their elected directors, and how you can have input in the apportionment process.


The board includes 30 elected directors whose districts are distributed throughout the 17 bar districts. The districts can be categorized in two groups: those that fall in the state’s metropolitan areas, and those that do not. As defined by board policy, districts containing a “Metropolitan County’’ include the counties of Bexar, Dallas, Harris, Tarrant, and Travis. These metropolitan counties represent approximately 70% of the attorney population in the state. Districts containing non-metropolitan counties include all remaining counties throughout the state. Each of the metropolitan districts has multiple directors to account for a higher population of attorneys. These districts have one metropolitan county in them with the exception of Tarrant County, as noted in the chart below. The non-metropolitan districts have one board member and represent larger groupings of counties spread out over a greater distance.


Chart

The board created the current map and apportionment of directors in 1988. In 2012, the board adjusted the map by removing one district position from Harris County and transferring it to Travis County. This was done because the population of Travis County at that time had increased so much over the past decade that it needed an additional director to help reduce the ratio of directors to bar members in the district. The result was that it increased Travis County to three directors and reduced Harris County to six directors.

The board will continue to study the number of bar members in each district to ensure the attorneys in each district have sufficient board representation. Although the non-metropolitan districts have fewer attorneys, it is important that they have access to their district representative to the extent possible. Creating larger districts in non-metropolitan areas has drawbacks because it makes the director have to cover more ground, providing less access for bar members.



STATE BAR OF TEXAS DISTRICT MAP

State District Map
For a more detailed map, or to find your district director, go to texasbar.com/board and click on the link under Board Members.


The State Bar conducts elections for district directors and president-elect candidates every April. District directors serve three-year terms starting in June in the year they were elected. Each year, the terms for 10 of the elected directors expire, and elections are conducted to replace those members. In the metropolitan county districts of Dallas,?Harris, and Travis, each year attorneys in those districts will vote for a new district director since there are three or more directors in those districts. In the metropolitan county districts of Bexar and Tarrant, attorneys will have alternating years to vote for a new district director because there are two directors. In the districts containing non-metropolitan county districts (each with only one director), attorneys will vote every third year to replace the outgoing director for the district. Attorneys interested in running for a district director position must submit a petition to the State Bar containing a specified number of attorney signatures. For more information on running for district director, go to texasbar.com/board. If you would like to submit feedback about district director apportionment or have any other comments or questions, you may send them to ray.cantu@texasbar.com.TBJ

 



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