David Chamberlain 2015-11-25 16:31:00
How a new oath is uniting lawyers across the state. During the 84th legislative session, the Texas Legislature added a civility and integrity pledge to the oath administered to all new lawyers. Sen. Kirk Watson and colleagues authored SB 534 while Reps. John Smithee and Todd Hunter sponsored the bill in the House at the urging of the Texas Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates. The bill was co-sponsored by every lawyer in the Senate. SB 534 passed unanimously in both the House and Senate early in the session, and Gov. Greg Abbott signed the measure into law on May 15, 2015. It became effective immediately. Passage of the new law enjoyed broad support from an array of legal groups and other associations, including TEX-ABOTA, the Texas Association of Defense Counsel, the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, the American College of Trial Lawyers, the State Bar of Texas, Texans for Lawsuit Reform, and the Texas Alliance for Patient Access. The bill requires only new lawyers to take the updated oath in order to practice law. Those licensed before May 15 may continue to practice as usual; however, many local and specialty bar associations around the state have been offering events for lawyers to take the oath voluntarily. In the same spirit, the State Bar invited all previously licensed Texas lawyers to attend the induction ceremony in Austin on November 16, 2015, and take the revised oath. It is fitting that we have a civility and integrity pledge added to our oath, especially in light of the recent anniversary of the Texas Lawyer’s Creed. It reminds all of our fellow lawyers and the public that we are a self-regulated profession with a long-term commitment to improving ourselves individually, improving our services, and improving the practice of law in the Lone Star State. DAVID CHAMBERLAIN is the senior partner in the Austin civil trial firm of Chamberlain McHaney and is certified in personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is the chair of the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors and is the 2015 president of the Texas Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Arlington and a J.D. from St. Mary’s University School of Law.
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