EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S PAGE APRIL 2022
A Balanced Budget to
Serve the Legal Profession
The State Bar of Texas’ proposed 2022-2023 fiscal year budget continues our commitment to serving Texas lawyers, protecting the public, and improving the quality of legal services in our state. It’s a balanced budget that includes no dues increase, meaning Texas lawyers will continue to pay the same dues rate—$235 or less depending on years of practice—they’ve paid since 1991.
The proposed budget would enhance the Law Practice Management Program with an additional employee and increased resources for its top-notch website, texasbarpractice.com. The budget also would devote $500,000 to the Sheeran-Crowley Trust to continue providing financial help to Texas lawyers, judges, and law students who need treatment for substance use, depression, and other mental health issues. (If you’re interested in donating to the trust, go to sheerancrowley.org.)
Additionally, the budget would allocate $1.5 million to bolster the Client Security Fund, which provides financial relief to clients who can demonstrate through the grievance process that a Texas lawyer stole their money or failed to refund an unearned fee. This program is a vital part of Texas lawyers’ system of self-governance and helps maintain public confidence in lawyers and the legal system.
These are just a few highlights from the proposed budget, which appeared in the March 2022 issue (pages 182-187) and is available online at texasbar.com/finances. Everyone is invited to a public hearing at 10 a.m. April 11 at the Texas Law Center in Austin. Even if you can’t make the hearing, we still want your feedback. Please email your comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. After considering all comments, the State Bar board is expected to vote on April 29 to present a proposed budget to the Texas Supreme Court for approval.
New Information This Year
The traditional budget, as published in the Texas Bar Journal, includes revenue and expenditure breakdowns by category type. Starting this year, the online version of the budget provides more detailed budget breakdowns and brief narrative descriptions for each department of the State Bar. Also new this year is the dues allocation breakdown, a document that shows (1) what expenditures are funded by member dues and (2) exactly how much of each lawyer’s dues goes to these expenditures. These changes are part of a new budgeting process the State Bar Board of Directors approved in September 2021 in response to the McDonald v. Firth litigation.
Thanks are due to the board’s Budget Committee, chaired by President-elect Laura Gibson, which met six times and spent many hours reviewing financial documents and interviewing State Bar staff to ensure we produced a fiscally responsible budget that complied with the bar’s spending limitations under applicable law. I also want to acknowledge the work of the State Bar staff, which spent over 400 hours detailing their budgets’ programs and activities and documenting how those expenditures further the State Bar’s statutory purposes.
We look forward to hearing your input.
Executive Director, State Bar of Texas
Editor-in-Chief, Texas Bar Journal
Trey Apffel can be reached at 512-427-1500, email@example.com or @ApffelT on Twitter.
BUDGET PUBLIC HEARING
When: 10 a.m. CDT April 11
Where: Room 101, Texas Law Center, 1414 Colorado St., Austin, or watch the livestream at youtube.com/statebaroftexas
Why: The State Bar of Texas will accept public comments on its proposed 2022-2023 budget. Comments also can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online: View the proposed budget, including departmental expenditure and revenue breakdowns and dues allocation information, at texasbar.com/finances