Allan K. Dubois 2016-01-23 14:24:33
New Year’s Resources A month into 2016, I would like to reflect on New Year’s resolutions and the significance of Valentine’s Day to me. Being a better husband, father, and grandfather and committing to a healthier diet and exercise program always top my New Year’s resolution list. I also focus on balancing professional accomplishments with personal time, and if you share the same goal, consider how being involved with state, local, and specialty bar associations will improve your life. I can make the case for using bar associations’ resources to assist in better serving our clients and enjoying the practice of law. From the moment we take our oath as attorneys until the day we pack our briefcases for the last time, we face challenges. Throughout our careers, the State Bar of Texas staff and many dedicated volunteer attorneys tirelessly assist us on our paths. The Law Practice Management Program, TexasBarCLE, the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program, and solo and small-firm resources offer programs to address important issues. The Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange provides an array of products compliant with the Affordable Care Act, and the State Bar offers member benefits from numerous vendors that provide services for our law practices as well as for our households. The 47 sections of the State Bar bring together members who share common practice and professional service interests. Each section selects its own leadership council and agenda to further its mission. Each section has a website maintained by its membership featuring newsletters, legislative and case updates, CLE offerings, and often humor. I believe that active participation in a section is critical to professional development, networking, sharing information, and employment opportunities. Many sections assist their members in accessing Texas Bar Connect, the State Bar’s membersonly social networking platform; offer free memberships to lawyers who have been licensed two years or fewer; and provide discounts to members for section-sponsored CLE programs. To join, log in to your My Bar Page at texasbar.com and click on the Sections tab. In the spring of each year, the president-elect appoints members to fill openings on our standing committees. Committee work advances matters of interest to bar membership. Members oversee programs, implement and recommend policies and procedures, and study issues affecting the legal profession and the public. Practice-oriented committees, such as the Real Estate Forms Committee and the many Pattern Jury Charges committees, draft and update professional materials for publication by TexasBarBooks. My experience as chair of the TLAP committee and as a member of the Court Rules Committee was invaluable to me. Learn more about committee opportunities at texasbar.com/committees. Local and specialty bar associations bring attorneys together as a community to address common goals and further the State Bar’s commitment to the public. My wife, Pam, and I began local bar service 40 years ago with the San Antonio Young Lawyers Association board and its auxiliary. I continue to be involved in my local bar association, which includes being a member of committees and volunteering at Community Justice Program pro bono legal and veterans’ clinics. Local bars are always looking to increase member involvement, including participation at legal lines, community clinics, and especially when responding to a crisis caused by natural disasters or social welfare issues. To learn how to become more active, go to texasbar.com/localbars. On a personal note, this Valentine’s Day, I ask you to make a special effort to let your loved ones know how important they are to you. On February 14, 1991, my wife, children, and friends left on a nightstand at a treatment hospital Valentine’s Day cards telling me how much they cared. This February 14, my family plans to celebrate my 25th year of sobriety, a milestone directly achieved due to help from TLAP and the fellowship of our Texas Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers Thursday night peer support group. I am truly grateful. ALLAN K. DUBIOIS President, State Bar of Texas
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