Board Chooses New Executive Director The State Bar of Texas Board of Directors voted on September 22 to elect E.A. “Trey” Apffel III, of League City, as the next State Bar executive director. Apffel was elected with 42 votes out of 44 voting members present at the board’s quarterly meeting in Lubbock. President-elect Joe K. Longley voted for another candidate, D. Hull Youngblood Jr., of San Antonio. District 11 Director Robert E. McKnight Jr., of Victoria, voted “neither.” “Our search committee overwhelmingly believed Trey was the right choice for the position at the right time, and our board overwhelmingly agreed,” State Bar President Tom Vick said. “He has extensive knowledge of the workings of the bar and will work productively with our members and staff to advance our mission of serving Texas attorneys and the people of our state.” A former State Bar of Texas president, Apffel is the owner and principal of the Apffel Law Firm, where he focuses on personal injury litigation, toxic torts, and medical malpractice. His practice also includes family law and divorce. He has practiced in Galveston County for more than 30 years. Apffel will close his law practice and is expected to start his new position in early December. “I am honored to be elected executive director of the State Bar of Texas,” he said. “Serving as State Bar president was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I look forward to working with President Tom Vick, President-elect Joe Longley, Chair Rehan Alimohammad, and the entire board to further the bar’s mission. I will work to develop a culture of transparency and trust, and I will do my best to represent all lawyers.” The State Bar’s Executive Director Search Committee nominated Apffel after an extensive search that included more than 140 expressions of interest from individuals across the country. The committee nominated Apffel after in-person interviews with seven finalists. More information about the process is available at texasbar.com/ed-search. Apffel has served as State Bar of Texas president (2014-2015), on the State Bar board of directors, as a member of the board’s Executive Committee, and as chair of the bar’s Legislative Policy and Sunset Review committees. He is a former member of the Commission for Lawyer Discipline. He is a member of the Texas Bar College, a Texas Bar Foundation Life Fellow, and served on the Texas Bar Foundation Board of Trustees. Apffel is a member of the Galveston County Bar Association and served as the organization’s president from 1996 to 1997. He is an associate of the American Board of Trial Advocates and a director of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. Hurricane Harvey update. The board approved a $50,000 donation to the Texas Bar Foundation Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund. All donations to the fund will go directly to nonprofit organizations providing aid to Hurricane Harvey victims, including Lone Star Legal Aid, local bars, and other legal aid and volunteer legal service organizations in affected counties. Vick also reported on the State Bar’s efforts, saying multiple disaster relief resources are available for the public at texasbar.com/disasters (or texasbar.com/desastre for Spanish-language resources) and for attorneys at texasbar.com/attorneyresources. The Texas Young Lawyers Association has also produced disaster relief resources in English and Spanish, including guides related to employment, enrolling children in another school, and hiring a contractor, TYLA President-elect Sally Pretorius said. Director qualifications. The board endorsed changes to the State Bar Rules that would allow an attorney with a previous disciplinary suspension from the practice of law to serve as a State Bar director if at least 10 years had passed between his or her full reinstatement and the start of the term as director. The proposed changes now go to the Texas Supreme Court for consideration. Currently, attorneys with prior suspensions are ineligible to serve as a director. Proponents of the changes said attorneys who rehabilitate them-selves should not be permanently disqualified from service on the State Bar board because of a prior suspension. Even with the changes, attorneys would remain ineligible to serve as directors if they were ever disbarred or resigned in lieu of discipline, and those with suspensions or disbarments would still be ineligible to serve in a State Bar officer position, such as president. At-large directors. Directors approved revisions to the State Bar Board Policy Manual related to the position of at-large director, created this year by the Texas Legislature. Senate Bill 416 provides that the State Bar president will appoint four at-large directors, subject to confirmation by the board. In making appointments, the president will select directors “who demonstrate knowledge gained from experience in the legal profession and community necessary to ensure the board represents the interests of attorneys from varied backgrounds that compose the membership of the State Bar,” according to the law. The new at-large directors will replace the board’s minority director positions over time as current minority directors’ terms expire. A lawsuit was filed in December 2016 in the Western District of Texas challenging a 1991 state law that provided for minority director positions on the board. With the new law in place, Judge Robert L. Pitman of the Western District dismissed the lawsuit against the State Bar as moot. The board approved an At-large Directors Nomination Committee composed of directors Angelica Hernandez, of Houston; Amie Peace, of Denton; Dinesh Singhal, of Houston; Sam Houston, of San Antonio; and Audrey Moorehead, of Dallas. Hernandez will chair the committee, which will review applicants and recommend finalists for appointment. Amicus requests. The board also approved policy manual revisions designed to prevent any appearance of impropriety or conflicts of interest related to requests for amicus curiae briefs. Under the new policy, amicus briefs may be filed only “in matters involving substantive or procedural law on major issues of importance to the practice of law or the administration of justice.” The State Bar may not file an amicus brief in a case if any voting board member represents any party in that case. Similarly, State Bar sections may not file an amicus brief in a case if a member of the section’s council represents one of the parties. The new policy also prohibits the State Bar and its sections from filing an amicus brief that “purports to resolve or take a position with regard to factual disputes in a case.” Recognitions. The board approved resolutions honoring Lubbock attorneys C. Richard “Dick” Baker and Carolyn F. Moore for exceptional service to the legal profession and community. Baker is a trial advocacy adjunct professor at Texas Tech University School of Law and a former federal prosecutor. He is dedicated to bettering the lives of veterans, often taking pro bono cases or providing legal help they could not afford. He is also mock trial coach at Texas Tech and helped coach the team that won the 2017 American Bar Association Arbitration National Championship. Moore has worked with Child Protective Services to assist attorneys with abuse and neglect cases. She became board certified in workers’ compensation law while working with the Texas Department of Insurance. Moore has been a member of Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas since 2011 and maintains an active role in Lubbock-area bar associations. She also mentors Texas Tech undergrads and law students. Also, Interim Executive Director John Sirman presented a Staff Excellence Award to Jennifer Reames. In addition to being executive assistant since 2005, Reames also serves on the employee events committee and facilitates the LeadershipSBOT leadership development program.
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