The 1970s
Specialization became a reality; computerized legal research was begun; a client security fund, the lawyer’s credit union, and new law schools were organized. Prepaid legal service was instituted as a program, and standards of admissions and lawyer referral service began. The Texas Law Center was recommended with contributions to commence; it was built and then paid for with a dues assessment. And a new State Bar Act was passed. (Excerpted from Centennial History of the Texas Bar: 1882-1982)

Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section formed

Municipal Judges Section formed

School Law Section formed


SBOT president Harrell sponsors PR campaign Morris Harrell

As State Bar President in 1970-1971, Dallas attorney Morris Harrell sponsored the most intensified public relations campaign of any bar in the United States. He organized a new State Bar section called the Texas Conference of Bar Presidents, and he initiated a Texas legal tapes cassette program. Harrell also presided over a South Texas Bar Assembly at McAllen to further advance the program of bringing the State Bar closer to the local lawyer. (Source: State Bar of Texas)


Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section formed

Dec. 20—Code of Professional Responsibility amended On this day, the Supreme Court of Texas amended the Code of Professional Responsibility, part of the State Bar Rules, adding nine canons of ethics and disciplinary rules to replace the original 43 canons. (Source: Centennial History of the Texas Bar: 1882-1982)


State Bar revises banking, accounting system under Watson James C. Watson

During the 1971-72 State Bar presidency of James C. Watson, extensive revisions were made in the bar’s banking and accounting systems, mailing operations, printing department, dues-billing procedure, and election balloting, all of which revisions were geared to improving the bar’s managerial efficiency. Watson initiated the first use by the State Bar of computerized legal research and succeeded in getting the bar to adopt a new Code of Professional Responsibility to modernize its old Canon of Ethics. (Source: State Bar of Texas)


Josiah I. Wheat named SBOT acting director

H.C. Pittman selected as executive director


Bowmer oversees ‘renaissance of lawyer influence in Texas’ Jim 
D. Bowmer

The 1972-73 State Bar presidency of Jim D. Bowmer was termed “the renaissance of lawyer influence in Texas.” Among the many bar-supported bills enacted by the Legislature were the new Penal Code, Family Code, Auto Reparations Reform Bill, and Prepaid Legal Services authorization. Computerized legal research for Texas moved toward reality with the organization of TexLex, Inc., a State Bar-affiliated corporation to oversee the program; and the State Bar Board of Directors districts were realigned to reflect recent shifts of population. (Source: State Bar of Texas)


Jeffers serves as SBOT president John Jeffers

John L. Jeffers Sr. served as State Bar president in 1973-1974. During that time, the bar passed a referendum increasing the annual dues to $65, and plans for the construction of the Texas Law Center were completed and approved.


Administrative and Public Law Section formed

Corporate Counsel Section formed

Texas Board of Legal Specialization created The Texas Supreme Court signed the order establishing the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1974. The first class of attorneys was certified the following year.

Dec. 16—First SBOT president dies Angus G. Wynne Sr., who became the first president of the new integrated State Bar of Texas in 1939, died on this day in Dallas at age 89.


Texas Law Center financed, built under Lochridge Lloyd P. Lochridge, Jr.

The Texas Law Center was financed and built during the 1974-1975 State Bar presidency of Lloyd P. Lochridge Jr., of Austin. The bar implemented a statewide program of law-focused education in the Texas public schools, and the Client Security Fund was adopted. Also, during 1974-1975 there was a continuation of the statewide lawyer referral system, and improvements were made in the standards of bar admissions. (Source: State Bar of Texas)


International Law Section formed

Client Security Fund created The Client Security Fund was created in 1975 with a contribution from the Texas Bar Foundation to provide a limited indemnity for clients who are injured by a lawyer’s dishonesty. (Source: Centennial History of the Texas Bar: 1882-1982)


State Bar recognized for excellence under Lawrence John M. Lawrence III

During the 1975-1976 State Bar presidency of John M. Lawrence III, the Texas Law Center was completed and dedicated. A Disciplinary Implementation Committee was created with emphasis on self-discipline by local Grievance Committees and a re-emphasis of the professional development programs, including the Continuing Legal Education and PEER Committees. This action by the Bar contributed to an all-time high sales of legal publications and tapes and the participation of 8,000 lawyers in legal institutes, all of which resulted in the State Bar of Texas winning the ABA’s Award of Merit for single project excellence. (Source: State Bar of Texas)


Antitrust and Business Litigation Section formed

James C. Watson Inn of Former Officers and Directors created

Public Utility Law Section formed

October—Texas Law Center completed The $8 million, six-story Texas Law Center opened in October 1976 in Austin as the new headquarters of the State Bar of Texas. (Source: Centennial History of the Texas Bar: 1882-1982)


SBOT president Gayle helps maintain a unified bar Gibson Gayle Jr.

As State Bar president, Waco native Gibson Gayle Jr. helped maintain a unified bar. During this year, the bar acquired videotape and other Continuing Legal Education equipment to permit travelling legal institutes, and there was the virtual completion of work to form a reciprocal insurance exchange to write professional liability insurance for Texas lawyers. (Source: State Bar of Texas)


SBOT president Shelton helps secure funds to pay for Law Center Travis D. Shelton

As president of the State Bar in 1977-1978, Lubbock attorney Travis D. Shelton succeeded in passing a one-time assessment referendum to raise the necessary money to complete payments for the Texas Law Center. During Shelton’s presidency, the bar hired a new executive director, finished the year with a surplus of funds, and submitted guidelines for lawyer advertising to the Supreme Court of Texas. (Source: State Bar of Texas)


President Smith helps secure re-enactment of State Bar Act Curtis C. Smith Jr.

Waco attorney Curtis C. Smith Jr. is credited with many accomplishments as bar president in 1978-1979, including the re-enactment of the State Bar Act under the Sunset Law and a Supreme Court order integrating the bar under the court's inherent power. The new act clarified the State Bar’s purposes, strengthened grievances, and added public members. Smith's presidency also saw greater involvement by women and minority lawyers, the creation of a Law Student Division, and an active program of Citizens Legal Education. (Source: State Bar of Texas)

Tom Hanna named as executive director


Hispanic Issues Section formed

Law Student Division formed

Litigation Section formed


Dougherty takes office as SBOT president John C. Dougherty III

Beeville native J. Chrys Dougherty served as State Bar president in 1979-1980 after serving on numerous committees. As president, Dougherty was a pioneer for pro bono legal services, and his efforts helped build a strong working partnership between the State Bar of Texas and legal services providers. Each year, the State Bar bestows an award in Dougherty’s name to an outstanding legal services staff attorney to honor his commitment. (Source: State Bar of Texas)

Health Law Section formed

Women and the Law Section formed


SBOT president Jones focuses on prepaid legal services Franklin Jones Jr

Franklin Jones Jr., of Marshall was elected State Bar president for 1980-1981 after serving as vice president and on the Board of Directors. His major focus in bar activities was prepaid legal services. He was chair of the State Bar Committee on Prepaid and Group Legal Services from 1971 until 1977 and served as president and chair of the board of directors of the Texas Legal Protection Plan. (Source: State Bar of Texas)

W. Reed Quilliam Jr. named executive director

Paralegal Division formed

Copy of Magna Carta on view as part of “Magna Carta in America”


Fisher serves as SBOT president Wayne Fisher

Wayne Fisher of Houston served as State Bar president in 1981-1982. A former director of the State Bar from 1971 to 1974, Fisher served as president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association from 1974 to 1975 and as a member of the board of governors of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America from 1976 to 1979. (Source: State Bar of Texas)

Edward O. Coultas becomes executive director

Centennial of founding of Texas Bar Association in Galveston


Johnson elected SBOT president Orrin W. Johnson

Orrin W. Johnson of Harlingen served as State Bar president in 1982-1983. Johnson’s presidency saw the creation of Texas Lawyers Care, a statewide program to assist local bar associations in establishing pro bono programs in their communities. He received the Frank J. Scurlock Award for his work promoting pro bono services throughout the State Bar and before the Texas Legislature. (Source: State Bar of Texas)


Tartt serves as SBOT president Blake 


Blake Tartt of Houston served as State Bar president in 1983-1984. Tartt’s priorities as president included professionalism, adequate funding for legal services for the poor, fighting the FTC’s efforts to regulate the legal profession, and defending the judiciary from unfair attacks. His presidential year saw the adoption of a new set of disciplinary procedure rules and a Supreme Court of Texas order establishing the Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts’ (IOLTA) program. (Source: State Bar of Texas)

President Reagan speaks at Annual Meeting President Ronald Reagan addressed the State Bar at the San Antonio Convention Center during the 1984 Annual Meeting. He was introduced by then-State Bar President Blake Tartt. (Source: University of Texas archives)

Justice of the Peace Section formed

Juvenile Law Section formed


Ramey elected SBOT president Tom 
B. Ramey Jr.

Tom B. Ramey Jr., a Tyler attorney, served as State Bar president in 1984-1985. Ramey’s priorities as president included professionalism, improving public understanding of the legal profession, and implementing the Supreme Court of Texas order authorizing a voluntary Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program and the Texas Access to Justice Foundation. (Source: State Bar of Texas)


Smith serves as SBOT president Charles L. Smith

San Antonio attorney Charles L. Smith served as State Bar president in 1985-1986. As president, Smith’s priorities included encouraging professionalism and promoting pro bono services. His presidential year saw the passage of a referendum requiring Texas lawyers to complete at least 15 hours of minimum continuing legal education each year. (Source: State Bar of Texas)


Larry Montgomery named executive director


Whitehurst elected president William W. Whitehurst

Austin attorney Bill Whitehurst served as State Bar president in 1986-1987 after serving on the State Bar Board of Directors and Executive Committee and as Texas Young Lawyers Association president. He is also a former president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. Whitehurst’s priorities as president included supporting adequate funding for the judiciary, fighting taxation of legal services, implementing the minimum continuing legal education program, and expanding the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program. (Source: State Bar of Texas)


Appellate Section formed

First Hispanic TYLA president elected Alejandro “Alex” Acosta was the first Hispanic president of the Texas Young Lawyers Association when he assumed the title in 1987.


Nagy serves as SBOT president Joe H. 


Lubbock attorney Joe H. Nagy served as State Bar president in 1987-1988. As president, Nagy’s worked to reach out to all types of practitioners from across the state as the State Bar confronted issues including judicial funding, professionalism, grievance procedures, CLE, and legal services for the poor. (Source: State Bar of Texas)

Construction Law Section formed


Sales elected SBOT president James 

B. Sales

James B. Sales of Houston was elected president for 1988-1989. As president of the State Bar, Sales worked to improve the grievance complaint process, support the delivery of legal services to the poor, and expand the concept of alternative dispute resolution, among other accomplishments. (Source: State Bar of Texas)

Entertainment and Sports Law Section formed

Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program created The State Bar of Texas created the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program in 1989. The program provides confidential help for lawyers, law students, and judges who have problems with substance abuse and/or mental health issues.


Jordan serves as SBOT president Darrell E. Jordan

Dallas attorney Darrell E. Jordan served as State Bar president in 1989-1990. Jordan’s priorities as president included increasing involvement and opportunities for minority and women attorneys, educating the public on the adversary system and other aspects of the legal profession, and reviewing the rules for lawyer advertising. (Source: State Bar of Texas)

Computer and Technology Section formed

Karen R. Johnson serves as first woman executive director


Parsons elected to lead SBOT James N. Parsons III

James N. Parsons III served as State Bar president in 1990-1991. Parsons successfully led the bar through a sunset review as well as a referendum on dues and grievance procedures. He also promoted a “year of inclusion” to reach out to groups of lawyers who previously had not participated in the State Bar’s operation and leadership. (Source: State Bar of Texas)

SBOT undergoes successful sunset review

New Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct implemented

Government Law Section formed

Aviation Law Section formed

New dues structure takes effect In a referendum held in November and December of 1990, State Bar members voted overwhelmingly in favor of changes in the dues structure. The changes went into effect on June 1, 1991. (Source: Texas Bar Journal)


Dunn serves as SBOT president Charles Dunn

Houston attorney Charles R. “Bob” Dunn served as State Bar president in 1991-1992. As president, Dunn’s priorities included continuing efforts toward professionalism and inclusion, creating an effective voluntary pro bono system, implementing new Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, increasing the membership’s understanding of the State Bar, and improving the public’s perception of lawyers. (Source: State Bar of Texas)

African-American Lawyers Section formed

Alternative Dispute Resolution Section formed

Colleen McHugh serves as first woman chair of Board of Directors

Pro Bono College created


Miers first woman elected SBOT president Harriet Miers

Dallas attorney Harriet Miers made history in 1992 when she became the first woman elected president of the State Bar of Texas. As president, Miers’s priorities included helping to implement the State Bar’s new grievance procedures, ensuring the continued production of quality continuing legal education programming, and encouraging more lawyers to participate in pro bono activities.

Native American Law Section formed


Morrison serves as president of State Bar Lonny D. Morrison

Lonny D. Morrison of Wichita Falls served as State Bar president in 1993-1994. During his presidency, Texas attorneys approved referendum measures amending the MCLE rules, the Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, and the Rules of Professional Conduct, including restrictions on certain advertisements and direct mail solicitation practices. Morrison urged Texas lawyers to approve the measures to make a statement for self-regulation. (Source: State Bar of Texas)
1994 New advertising, solicitation rules approved by referendum


Branton serves as SBOT president James L. Branton

San Antonio lawyer James L. Branton served as State Bar president in 1994-1995. As president, Branton’s priorities included supporting and strengthening legal ethics, professionalism, and mentoring for young lawyers. (Source: State Bar of Texas)

Antonio Alvarado named executive director

Asian Pacific Interest Section formed


Beck leads State Bar David 
J. Beck

David J. Beck served as State Bar president in 1995-1996. As president, Beck focused on making the State Bar as responsive and cost-effective as possible. He also challenged State Bar sections to establish pro bono programs for section members, resulting in a number of new programs. (Source: State Bar of Texas)


Animal Law Section formed


McHugh serves as SBOT president M. 
Colleen McHugh

Corpus Christi solo practitioner M. Colleen McHugh served as State Bar president in 1996-1997. As president, McHugh made access to the justice system one of her priorities, appointing an ad hoc Committee on Legal Services to the Poor. The committee’s work resulted in the State Bar Board of Directors adopting a three-year pro bono plan. (Source: State Bar of Texas)


Newton elected SBOT president W. Frank Newton

W. Frank Newton, who served as dean and professor of law at the Texas Tech University School of Law in Lubbock from 1985 to 2001, was State Bar president in 1997-1998. As president, Newton helped implement the State Bar’s three-year pro bono plan and worked to develop benchmarks to help the bar evaluate its strengths and potential weaknesses, among other accomplishments. (Source: State Bar of Texas)

Insurance Law Section formed

LGBT Law Section created
In April 1998, the Board of Directors approved the creation as the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification Issues Section, the first of its kind for a bar association in the U.S. The name was changed in 2010 upon the unanimous vote of section members. (Source: LGBT Law Section)


Pena first Hispanic to serve as State Bar president Richard Pena

Austin attorney Richard Pena served as State Bar president in 1998-1999. He was the first Hispanic to hold the title. As president, Pena focused on restoring public trust and confidence in the legal profession, protecting judicial independence, making sure the State Bar was relevant to Texas attorneys, and planning for the future. (Source: State Bar of Texas)


Aycock leads State Bar as president Charles F. Aycock

Amarillo solo practitioner Charles F. “Charlie” Aycock served as State Bar president in 1999-2000. As president, Aycock focused on making sure the State Bar was running efficiently and effectively to best serve lawyers in the new century. (Source: State Bar of Texas)

1868-1970 | 2000-2013

Online Resources

* 1970-71—Morris Harrell
* 1971-72—James C. Watson
* 1972-73—Jim D. Bowmer
* 1973-74—John L. Jeffers Sr.
* 1974-75— Lloyd P. Lochridge Jr.
* 1975-76—John M. Lawrence III
* 1976-77—Gibson Gayle Jr.
* 1977-78—Travis D. Shelton
* 1978-79—Curtis C. Smith Jr.
* 1979-80—J. Chrys Dougherty
* 1980-81—Franklin Jones Jr.
* 1981-82—Wayne Fisher
* 1982-83—Orrin W. Johnson
* 1983-84—Blake Tartt
* 1984—Remarks of President Reagan
* 1984-85—Tom B. Ramey, Jr.
* 1985-86—Charles L. Smith
* 1986-87—Bill Whitehurst
* 1987-88—Joe H. Nagy
* 1988-89—James B. Sales
* 1989-90—Darrell E. Jordan
* 1990-91—James N. Parsons III
* 1991-92—Charles R. "Bob" Dunn
* 1992-93—Harriet Miers
* 1993-94—Lonny D. Morrison
* 1994-95—James L. Branton
* 1995-96—David J. Beck
* 1996-97—M. Colleen McHugh
* 1997-98—W. Frank Newton
* 1998—LGBT Law Section
* 1998-99—Richard Pena
* 1999-2000—Charles F. "Charlie" Aycock

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