President’s Opinion As the third consecutive State Bar of Texas president to come from a solo or small-firm environment, I make a point to tell attorneys that it’s possible for these practitioners to serve in leadership roles within the bar—not only on the director level but also the presidential level. It’s important that we continue to have leaders from all backgrounds to ensure we are serving our membership most effectively and getting input from all corners of the profession. About four in 10 licensed Texas lawyers are solo practitioners or work at firms of 10 or fewer attorneys. Immediate Past President Lisa M. Tatum and Executive Director Michelle Hunter understand the key role these attorneys play, and under their leadership, the Solo and Small Firm Outreach Program was born. The idea was to engage solo practitioners and small-firm lawyers by offering practical tips and updates on issues relevant to their daily work. What started in McAllen with 101 attendees has grown to impact more than 600 attorneys in Amarillo, Galveston, Waco, Sugar Land, and El Paso. The speakers are not only experts in their fields but are also leaders—directors, past chairs, presidents—of the State Bar and the Texas Young Lawyers Association. At every seminar, without fail, people tell me how much they appreciate us coming to their town and providing such a tangible benefit. Over the past 11 months, my goal as president has been to improve and expand the State Bar’s communication efforts to better serve you, our members, and the general public. I’m proud to say we’ve made great strides through both traditional means, like the solo and small-firm outreach, and modern tools, like our members-only social network Texas Bar Connect and the redesigned texasbar.com—both of which will be featured during Annual Meeting in June. We released a new mobile version of the State Bar website and increased our engagement on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. We also launched a valuable new benefit—free online legal research through Fastcase, in addition to Casemaker—and continued to grow the Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange. Being president has given me the chance to meet extraordinary people, travel throughout our beautiful state, and collaborate with some of the hardest working lawyers I know. This year has taught me the truth of the words of American writer William Arthur Ward, who said that gratitude can “turn routine jobs into joy and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” My work this year—both the routine and the extraordinary—has truly been a blessing. I want to thank the lawyers across Texas for their support and encouragement, the lawyers I’ve handled cases with throughout the past year, and the judges in front of whom I’ve practiced. Everyone has shown great respect for this office and the time it requires, and I know you will show President-elect Allan DuBois—another solo practitioner— the same consideration. I set out last June to engage, inform, and inspire you to greater service. Whether I’ve succeeded is for you to decide, but one thing is certain: You have inspired me. Thank you for your service to our profession. TREY APFFEL President, State Bar of Texas @ApffelT
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