To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel :
Every day, Texas lawyers are hard at work to protect the rights of their fellow Texans. We also give back to our communities and schools by volunteering and serving in leadership roles. One of my goals during the year ahead is to foster greater awareness of our service to our profession and our communities and to educate the public on the central role of lawyers in our democratic society.
Service - Making the Case
There are numerous examples of how the members of our profession are serving their communities or providing pro bono work for those in need of legal assistance - from helping towns recover from natural disasters to bringing new families together through adoption days and ensuring veterans receive the benefits they deserve.
The State Bar of Texas has created an online portal - www.texasbar.com/makingthecase - that contains resources to help members lead a conversation with community groups about the role of lawyers and the judicial system in our society. This website includes ideas for speaking to community groups, tools to help with presentations, and inspirational profiles and videos about trailblazing Texas lawyers who have contributed to the legal landscape of our state and nation.
The Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) is addressing the needs of low-income Texans with Partnering for Pro Bono - a web-based matching program that pairs in-house attorneys with private practice attorneys so that, together, they can make a difference in the lives of people who need, but cannot afford, legal services.
The State Bar of Texas this year is continuing its focus on serving members through free online research capabilities, significant opportunities for free and low-cost CLE, assistance with mental health and dependency issues through the Texas Lawyers Assistance Program, and our revamped Career Center to assist those looking for a job or seeking change.
Civics education is critical to fostering engaged citizens who understand our democracy and the liberties it protects. Ensuring our students receive a comprehensive groundwork in civics is essential to producing the next generation of responsible, engaged citizens. To accomplish this, we need to connect with students via technology in an entertaining and thought-provoking manner.
We must also ensure that teachers have a full array of educational resources available to help them prepare our children for the future. I have been working with the State Bar's Law-Related Education department on Oyez, Oyez, Oh Yay! Civics Resources for Texas Students and Teachers , an interactive, web-based project to assist Texas teachers and students in preparing for new TEKS (state-mandated standardized curriculum) standards in social studies. Oyez, Oyez, Oh Yay! focuses on landmark court decisions and includes links to case summaries, videos and curriculum materials and strategies for teachers. For more information on this exciting project, visit www.texasbar.com.
I invite readers of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel to take a look at these and the other many worthwhile programs offered by state, local and specialty bars - and get involved!