FRIDAY, SEPT. 20, 2013 SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, TEXAS The State Bar of Texas Board of Directors met Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, at the Pearl Hotel in South Padre Island. Texas Supreme Court Justice Phil Johnson administered the oath to two new board members, public member Ford Sasser and section representative Grant Scheiner. State Bar President Lisa M. Tatum updated the board on Alternative Careers for Lawyers, a free full-day seminar planned for Nov. 1 at Norris Conference CityCentre in Houston. More than 300 attorneys registered within two days of the State Bar announcing the program, and registration is now closed because of space constraints. However, the video version will be available for free starting Feb. 1, and the bar is planning to hold additional free seminars in San Marcos and Dallas in early 2014. President Tatum also provided an update on the Task Force on Aging Lawyer Issues, which was created this summer to look at matters associated with aging lawyers as they relate to the practice of law and interaction with the public. More attorneys are practicing law well past typical retirement age. Unfortunately, some attorneys are finding themselves in the disciplinary system because of a decline in cognitive abilities and other health issues. The task force, chaired by Terry Tottenham, will look at potential alternatives to address these types of problems. The task force hopes to present recommendations to the board in April. President-elect Trey Apffel provided an update on the budget process, saying State Bar department heads will be completing their budget worksheets in October. The Budget Subcommittee will hold a conference in November and a meeting in December to discuss and finalize the budget ahead of an expected vote by the board in January. The board approved the nomination of Demetrius Bivins of Houston for a term on the State Commission on Judicial Conduct beginning Nov. 1, 2013, and ending Oct. 31, 2019. Immediate Past President Buck Files presented an update from the Nominations and Elections Subcommittee, which is soliciting candidates for the 2014 president-elect race. The board will consider potential nominees’ involvement in State Bar committee work, knowledge of State Bar operations, participation in local and specialty bar associations, and other activities demonstrating leadership ability. Although prior membership on the State Bar Board of Directors is not a prerequisite for nomination, it is important in determining whether a lawyer is a qualified nominee. Nominees should submit a resume and a statement of views of the key issues facing the bar, the role they would play in dealing with those issues, and what they would seek to accomplish during their tenure as president, all within the State Bar’s overall strategic plan. Potential candidates may be asked to make presentations to the subcommittee at a December meeting. The subcommittee will update the board on the nominations process at the January meeting. The election will begin on April 1. The board approved revisions to the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure and the Commission for Lawyer Discipline’s internal operating rules, in accordance with Senate Bill 825, passed in the 83rd Legislative Session. The bill amended Texas Government Code 81.072 to address the statute of limitations in cases of alleged prosecutorial misconduct and to prohibit the imposition of a private reprimand in these cases. To accomplish the legislative enactment, revisions were required to Rule 15.06 of the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure as well as the Commission for Lawyer Discipline’s internal operating rules governing the use of private reprimands in attorney discipline proceedings. The board approved adding the following language to Rule 15.06: “In addition to the tolling of limitations for fraud or concealment, an alleged violation of Rule 3.09(d) of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct is timely if brought to the attention of the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel within four years from the date on which a wrongfully imprisoned person is released from a penal institution.” The board also approved amending CFLD internal operating rules to prevent the use of private reprimands in cases where “the misconduct involves the failure of a prosecutor to make timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigate the offense.” Board member Tim Kelly, chair of the Insurance/Member Benefits Subcommittee, offered an update on the Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange, the bar’s new insurance exchange. The bar had issued a request for proposals for a third-party administrator to run the exchange and selected Member Benefits Inc., which also administers insurance exchanges for the State Bars of Georgia and Florida. The planned enrollment date is Nov. 1, and policies will be effective Jan. 1. The bar issued an email blast to members announcing the exchange on Sept. 19. By the next morning, Member Benefits, Inc. had received about 1,000 responses indicating interest. The Client Security Fund Subcommittee reported that it had provisionally approved 28 applications for a total of $319,027.33. The board approved changing the name of two State Bar sections. The American Indian Law Section is now called the Native American Law Section; the Military Law Section was changed to the Military and Veterans Law Section. The board approved a resolution honoring C.J. Sanchez, executive director of the Hidalgo County Bar Association and the Hidalgo County Bar Foundation, for his work with the State Bar on programs such as Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans and the Solo and Small Firm CLE held in McAllen in September. Also, Debbie Cummings, of the TexasBarCLE Department, received the State Bar of Texas Employee of the Quarter Award.
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