State Bar Director Spotlight • December 2023

Lori M. Kern

Interview by Will Korn

Photo courtesy of Lori M. Kern.

Hometown: Richmond
Owner of Kern Law in Richmond
Board Member: District 5 since 2021

From a young age, i was one of those stereotypical “you argue so much you should become a lawyer” children.
I read To Kill a Mockingbird in junior high, and it fueled my passion for the law and for helping others through the legal system. In college, I pursued a legal assistant/paralegal job to learn more about the practice of law, and I never looked back. I worked as a paralegal all through college and law school and transitioned into the role of attorney after law school. Those years as a paralegal provided invaluable experience in developing my skills as an attorney.

I think it is vitally important for the State Bar of Texas to be diverse in its makeup and to have directors willing to bring new ideas and insights to the board.
I enjoy being a State Bar of Texas director because I have met so many wonderful attorneys from my district that I would not otherwise have met. Originally, I was interested in serving as a director because I wanted to bring my perspective and voice, as a solo practitioner, as a family law attorney, and as a woman, to the State Bar. However, through my service, learning about and sharing the perspective of my fellow practitioners in my district has become even more important.

I am privileged to serve on the nominations and elections subcommittee this term.
It has been a rewarding experience to assist in vetting the candidates running for the president- elect position for next year. I have learned so much about the election process, the efforts the candidates undertake to campaign, and the incredible commitment to the State Bar of Texas that each candidate possesses. It has increased my awareness of the importance of our election process within the State Bar, how much the State Bar does for attorneys across the state, and how critical self-governance is to our profession. I encourage every attorney to vote in the State Bar of Texas election!

Being a State Bar of Texas director is such a personally and professionally fulfilling role.
I have met incredible attorneys from varied backgrounds, locations, firms, and legal practices across the state. Serving on the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors is humbling. I am often in awe of the knowledge and skills of my colleagues, especially in those areas of law that I do not practice.

During the pandemic, we all had to learn a “different” way to practice law, utilizing remote access, participating in Zoom hearings, and managing our practices while protecting the health and safety of the public, our clients, and our staff. I believe one of our biggest challenges is learning to strike a balance between going back to the way we did things pre- pandemic and the way we were forced to do them during the pandemic. It has made hiring associates and staff more difficult. It has made training more difficult. It has made law practice management more difficult. As the next generation of attorneys begins to practice law, I think new lawyers and seasoned professionals have much to learn from one another to bridge that remote-versus-in-person gap.

I am proud of the work we have done, and continue to do, to increase attorney awareness of the benefits of State Bar of Texas membership.
We have so many resources available to our attorneys—insurance benefits, discounts on services, information for succession planning, the Ethics Helpline, the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program, etc. Many attorneys have questions regarding these issues and do not always realize the State Bar of Texas already has answers and resources for them.

My husband, Chris, and i have been married for 18 years.
I am a fur-mom to two very beloved and spoiled rescue dogs. Chris and I love to travel, and between trips, I enjoy quilting, cooking, and performing arts. We are die-hard Houston Astros fans!

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