In the Spirit of Helping Others

Cindy Tisdale Wearing a Read Suit Jacket

On June 23, I had the privilege of being sworn in as the 143rd president of the State Bar of Texas.1 I am honored to be the ninth (and third consecutive) woman to serve in this role and look forward to building on the efforts of my most recent predecessors, Laura Gibson and Sylvia Borunda Firth, as we work together to strengthen the bar and the legal profession.

I also want to congratulate our new president-elect, Steve Benesh, and chair of the board of directors, Kennon Wooten, along with all the new directors who were sworn in last month. We have a tremendous leadership team and much to accomplish for our bar this year.

This month, I will use this space to share what I hope to accomplish as your bar president. In a nutshell, I want to support you, our nearly 112,000 active members, in your lives and practices as you serve your clients.

I ran for State Bar president-elect in 2022 because I like helping lawyers. If you look at my record, I have served in just about every role that you can within the State Bar. I love practicing law, and I want our bar to do everything it can to help ensure other attorneys love practicing law too. As an agency of the judicial branch, the State Bar is tasked with important regulatory duties, but it also exists to provide services to lawyers because in doing so we improve the quality of legal services available to our fellow Texans.

So, in the spirit of helping lawyers, I plan to pursue the following initiatives:

  • Vacation letter portal—I plan to explore the creation of a centralized, online portal—accessible to all courts—where Texas lawyers can upload their vacation letters. This would save us the trouble of sending letters to multiple places every time we want to take a vacation. I have heard from all types of lawyers—in firms big and small—that this is a problem. While I can’t force judges to change local rules or promise that every court would use a centralized portal, I believe most court personnel would find it useful and make it easier on them and lawyers alike.

  • “What Would Ted Lasso Do?”—If you have seen my traveling CLE presentation, you know I believe that Ted Lasso, the lead character from the Apple TV+ series, has much to teach lawyers about civility and how we can “disagree without being disagreeable.”2 My favorite quote from the show is “every choice is a chance”—to do the right thing, to treat opposing counsel with respect, to take on a difficult client, to be the lawyer you truly want to be. During my 28 years of practice, I’ve noticed that somewhere along the way our profession has lost the spirit of congeniality. By focusing on the Texas Lawyer’s Creed and, yes, Ted Lasso, I hope to bring it back.

  • Lawyer wellness—Through the work of the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program, our State Bar is a national leader in supporting lawyers’ mental health and well-being. I hope to supplement those efforts with additional tools such as a wellness app or possible expanded member benefits regarding counseling. Stay tuned for more details.

Additionally, I am appointing a work group to study the implications of artificial intelligence on the legal profession, and I will continue Laura Gibson’s efforts to educate our membership on the attorney discipline system and the importance of succession planning.

President, 2023-2024
State Bar of Texas

1. This tally includes presidents of the State Bar of Texas and its predecessor, the Texas Bar Association.
2. Texas Lawyer’s Creed: A Mandate for Professionalism.

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