McDonald et al v. Sorrels et al

Quick Facts

  • In March 2019, three Texas lawyers sued the State Bar of Texas claiming that under Janus v. AFSCME (2018), it is unconstitutional for an attorney to be required to join the State Bar of Texas in order to practice law. The plaintiffs also challenge Bar programs that they claim exceed the Bar’s “core regulatory functions.”

  • The State Bar of Texas will vigorously defend its existing statutory structure, which was established by the Texas Legislature in aid of the Texas Supreme Court’s inherent authority to regulate the practice of law.

  • Mandatory membership in a state bar and payment of compulsory fees are constitutional. Under U.S. Supreme Court precedent, the state has an interest in regulating the legal profession and improving the quality of legal services.

  • All State Bar of Texas programs further the state’s interests in regulating the legal profession or improving the quality of legal services. Through these activities, the State Bar protects the public, serves its members, and supports the administration of the legal system.

Timeline

March 6

Plaintiffs filed complaint

March 25

Plaintiffs filed motion for preliminary injunction and motion for partial summary judgment on liability

April 25 – May 17

Amicus briefs filed in support of Plaintiffs:

Amicus briefs filed in support of the State Bar:

May 13

State Bar filed responsive briefs, cross-motion for summary judgment, and motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction

May 23

Status conference held; Court scheduled summary-judgment merits hearing for August 1. Plaintiffs agreed to pay their 2019- 2020 State Bar dues.

May 31

Plaintiffs filed responses and replies. Plaintiffs amended the complaint in response to the State Bar’s motion to dismiss, and added the Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the State Bar and the members of the State Bar Commission for Lawyer Discipline as defendants to the case.

June 4

Court dismissed without prejudice the State Bar’s motion to dismiss

June 18

State Bar filed reply in support of cross-motion for summary judgment

August 1

Summary-judgment merits hearing held; motion for preliminary injunction dismissed

For a list of all of the filings, please visit this page.


Other Matters

Opinion Request to the Texas Attorney General by Joe K. Longley (RQ-0265-KP)

Fleck v. Wetch (Regarding State Bar Association of North Dakota) 

Other Mandatory Bar Challenges

Louisiana State Bar

Oklahoma Bar Association

Oregon State Bar

State Bar of Wisconsin

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