The State Bar of Texas Board of Directors held its quarterly meeting Jan. 16 at Baylor Law School in Waco. Candidates approved. The board approved the nomination of Randy Howry of Austin and Frank Stevenson of Dallas as candidates for 2015-2016 president-elect of the State Bar of Texas. Voting is open to all active State Bar members in good standing and will begin April 1 and end at 5 p.m. CST April 30. The winner will serve as president-elect from June 2015 to June 2016 and as president from June 2016 to June 2017. The board also heard comments from the two candidates for 2015-2016 chair of the board, David E. Chamberlain of Austin and Florentino A. Ramirez of Dallas. The election for chair will take place at the April board meeting. Strategic Plan updates. The board approved updates to the State Bar of Texas Strategic Plan, a comprehensive long-range blueprint that guides the bar’s decisions and activities. Finance and budget. The State Bar received an unqualified opinion, or “clean audit,” for its 2014 fiscal year financial audit. The board approved for publication in the Texas Bar Journal the State Bar fiscal year 2015-2016 budget. (See Page 218.) Advertising review fee increase. The board approved a proposal from the State Bar Advertising Review Committee to increase application fees for reviewing lawyer advertisements to help cover rising operational costs. The review fee, which has been $75 since 2001, will increase to $100. Also, the “non-filer” fee charged to attorneys who fail to submit their advertisements for review will increase from $300 to $325. The changes will be effective June 1, 2015. Insurance exchange update. The board heard an update on the Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange (texasbar.com/ insurance), a multi-carrier private exchange created in 2013 for State Bar of Texas members, their staffs, and their dependents. As of Dec. 31, the exchange had seen more than 2,800 total major medical enrollments and 3,450 individual members enrolled in one or more health or insurance products. College of the State Bar of Texas name change. The board approved a request from the College of the State Bar of Texas to change its name to the Texas Bar College. The update makes the name consistent with other bar-related entities and State Bar services, such as the Texas Bar Foundation and TexasBarCLE, and mirrors the college’s website, texasbarcollege.com. Resolutions. The board approved a resolution honoring the late Kenneth D. Fuller, who practiced law for nearly 52 years before his death in 2014. Fuller helped shape and improve the field of family law in Texas through his practice and volunteer work, including thousands of hours of service to the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program. The board also approved a resolution stating support for legislative initiatives concerning the allocation of sufficient resources to provide for the administration of justice. Employee of the Quarter. State Bar Executive Director Michelle Hunter presented the Employee of the Quarter Award to Michael Dobbs, advertising review program coordinator. A State Bar employee since 2004, Dobbs is one of three employees in the Advertising Review Department, which examines approximately 3,500 advertisements each year. He frequently presents at CLE courses and local and specialty bar associations to help educate members on the rules that apply to attorney advertising.
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