“Life is a journey not a destination.” Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous quote frames my commitment to the State Bar of Texas. Twenty-five years ago, I was struggling. The solution required an emergency family “intervention” and hospitalization for chronic alcohol dependence. As a successful, fiercely competitive trial lawyer, I had reached bottom. My firm helped my family with health insurance and continued my salary while I fought the disease. Initially, my attitude was negative and stubborn: “I am fine, leave me alone.” Thank God, early in treatment, encouraging letters provided hope and resolve. Secretly, I doubted my ability to succeed “outside” the facility, but a trip to a 12-step recovery meeting brought me face-to-face with a colleague from my young lawyer days. He immediately offered his hand and help upon my release. True to his word, he introduced me to great attorneys in recovery: Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers. They confidentially assisted me through our newly formed peer-to-peer State Bar of Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program. A brighter phase of my journey began in earnest “one day at a time.” I took on service work that provided opportunities to “pay it forward” with incalculable benefits. My recovery became more public as I served as president of the San Antonio Bar Association, as a State Bar director, and as I spoke at CLE events. I wanted to help TLAP expand its outreach to members suffering from depression and stressrelated issues, and this was realized through two State Bar task force groups. Fortunately, my personal and confidential connection to colleagues continues daily—and is strongly supported by my local LCL Thursday Night Group. (If you or a colleague need help, please contact TLAP at (800) 343-8527 for confidential support.) Over the past year, I have continued the journey as State Bar presidentelect, traveling Texas with my wife, Pam, to meet lawyers and learn about their lives and issues. We spent quality time with Lisa M. Tatum and Trey and Karen Apffel, learning how to step into the presidential role and embrace the tremendous support from attorneys throughout the state. Guidance on how to best assist lawyers emerges daily from interaction with State Bar staff members, section and committee leaders, and various social media platforms. My current duties include chairing the Budget Committee, the work of which resulted in an additional $250,000 to help fund the Patrick Sheeran & Michael J. Crowley Memorial Trust. This trust helps to pay health care providers assisting attorneys who are unable to afford the lifesaving treatment made available to me. Following the lead of past presidents, I am committed, through personal interaction, to educate all members about important benefits available to them for free or at a reasonable cost. My special emphasis is on TLAP’s mission, aggressively promoting affordable mental health and wellness funding and assistance for struggling lawyers, law students, and judges. We are planning an inspirational high-quality video featuring people who have witnessed and experienced TLAP’s services with positive results. We will also address recent professional concerns reported by the Task Force on Aging Lawyer Issues. Currently, more than 7,500 of our active members are over the age of 70. I am advocating for an emeritus section, with outreach to senior lawyers. We must all encourage this tremendous “human resource” asset to be re-engaged via mentoring young lawyers and taking advantage of pro bono opportunities while keeping current through CLE. It is truly a time of great opportunity for all Texas lawyers. Join me on my journey. ALLAN K. DUBOIS President-elect, State Bar of Texas
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