State Bar Board Meets in Frisco The State Bar of Texas Board of Directors held its quarterly meeting September 25 in Frisco. The meeting’s highlights appear below. Presidential initiatives update. State Bar President Allan K. DuBois outlined progress on his presidential initiatives in support of the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program and the nonprofit Sheeran-Crowley Memorial Trust. The State Bar has produced a new inspirational video, Courage, Hope, Help—TLAP Is There, designed to inspire lawyers struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues to get the professional, confidential help they need. The video is available at texasbar.com/tlap. DuBois also reported the latest donors to the trust, which provides funds for attorneys who need but cannot otherwise afford treatment. DuBois’s fundraising initiative has collected more than $334,000 for the trust so far, including $250,000 from the State Bar. Online donations may be made at texasbar.com/sheeran-crowley-trust/donate. Election rules revised. Directors approved revisions to the board policyf manual regarding elections, allowing director and president-elect candidates to use all types of social media platforms during their campaigns. Previously, social media use was permitted only in president-elect races and was limited to Facebook. The revisions also allow director candidates to publish campaign websites, which was previously allowed only for president-elect candidates. Performance measures, insurance trust agreement updated. Directors approved updates to the State Bar performance measures based on the bar’s 2016-2017 Strategic Plan. They also approved amendments to the State Bar of Texas Insurance Trust agreement, assigning PlainsCapital Bank as trustee. New directors sworn in. M. Carter Crow, partner-in-charge of Norton Rose Fulbright’s Houston office, and Rebecca Simmons of San Antonio, associate general counsel-litigation for Acelity, were sworn in to the board. Crow represents District 4, Place 5; Simmons holds the District 10, Place 1 position. Both were elected to three-year terms in April 2015. Attorney, State Bar employee honored. The board presented a resolution honoring William “Trey” Dowdy III, of counsel to Strasburger & Price in Dallas. Dowdy has volunteered to assist and mentor attorneys for a quarter-century through Dallas Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers and as a director and, more recently, as president of Texas Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers. Also, State Bar Executive Director Michelle Hunter recognized Bree Buchanan, TLAP director, as the employee of the quarter. THE SUNSET REVIEW OF THE STATE BAR OF TEXAS The mission and performance of the State Bar of Texas are under review by the Legislature as required under the Texas Sunset Act. The Act provides that the Sunset Commission, composed of legislators and public members, periodically evaluate a state agency to determine if the agency is still needed and to explore ways to ensure that the agency's funds are well spent. Based on the recommendations of the Sunset Commission, the Texas Legislature ultimately decides whether an agency continues to operate into the future. The Sunset review involves three steps. First, Sunset Commission staff will evaluate the State Bar of Texas and issue a report in April 2016 recommending solutions to problems found. A month or so later, the Sunset Commission will meet to hear public testimony on the agency and the recommendations of the Sunset staff. Based on public input and the Sunset staff report, the Sunset Commission will adopt recommendations for the full Legislature to consider when it convenes in January 2017. Please refer to the Sunset Commission website or call the office for updated information on specific dates for these meetings. Through the Sunset review, every Texan has the opportunity to suggest ways in which the mission and operations of the State Bar of Texas can be strengthened. If you would like to share your ideas about the State Bar, please send an email to the address below, use the comment form on the Sunset Commission website, or contact Sean Shurtleff of the Sunset staff. Suggestions are preferred by December 18, 2015, so they can be fully considered by the Commission staff. Sunset Advisory Commission P.O. Box 13066 Austin, Texas 78711 (512) 463-1300 Fax: (512) 463-0705 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Information about the Sunset process, Sunset Commission meetings, and how to receive Sunset Commission email updates is available at sunset.texas.gov.
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