Allan K. Dubois 2015-06-01 21:00:40
Service “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you— ask what you can do for your country.” President John F. Kennedy Inaugural Address January 20, 1961 In this issue of the Texas Bar Journal, we can all be inspired by remarkable stories of recovery from attorneys. They have benefited from the resources available through our State Bar of Texas and are now “paying it forward” by sharing their journeys with you. Like every Texas attorney, they continue to successfully face daily obstacles, personally and professionally. Empathy and understanding exist if we look for the similarities, not the differences, in our own life ventures. With help from the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program, it has been my honor and privilege to serve Texas attorneys over the past two decades, which has included sharing my own story of recovery. I’ve found rewarding experiences through involvement with Texas Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers volunteers, assignments with the Professional Enhancement Panel of the District 10 Grievance Committee, attorney monitoring for the Texas Board of Law Examiners, and working on task force groups addressing alternative discipline and mental health initiatives. You may have heard me speak from the heart at one of the CLE presentations on impairment, ethics, and professionalism. Time constraints imposed by the office of president will temporarily alter some of my “in-the-trenches” volunteer work. I remain committed to local community justice and veterans legal clinics. I will continue to share publicly my personal experience, and I’m optimistic that my message will motivate and inspire. My goal is for all Texas attorneys to embrace the value of pro bono service passionately, and to make it a priority. Over a half-century ago, President Kennedy forcefully addressed his generation’s obligation to defend freedom by challenging all citizens to become engaged. This principle applies to us today and is embodied in many avenues of “service” unique to our profession. Texas lawyers are involved in mentoring, pro bono representation, presenting at legal programs, and giving time to charitable nonprofits. State Bar and local bar programs assist our overwhelmed and understaffed legal aid attorneys who represent poor Texans, including deserving veterans; engage in one-on-one law practice guidance for struggling young law graduates; conduct pro bono mediations for pro se litigants; and ensure due process while representing immigrant children and criminal defendants. The list goes on. The Texas Center for Legal Ethics and the Texas Bar College each have pledged $30,000 to the Sheeran-Crowley Memorial Trust, which supports lifesaving treatment, counseling, and prescriptions for uninsured attorneys who cannot afford medical care. Similarly, the Texas Access to Justice Foundation and Texas Bar Foundation help fund legal clinics and law-related and innovative nonprofit volunteer programs. Texas attorneys continue to give of their time, talent, and treasure. They reap significant intangible benefits— just ask those who serve. The inspirational prayer of St. Francis comes to mind: For it is in giving that we receive. Imagine the impact on communities throughout Texas when all of the nearly 100,000 attorneys accept this challenge to be engaged. Everyone can benefit—those who are deserving of our service, the legal profession, and most certainly, you. Let’s make it happen together! ALLAN K. DUBOIS President, State Bar of Texas
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