To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:
The State Bar of Texas has so much to offer to its 90,000 members to help our members serve their clients and our citizens more capably. One of my goals this year is to spread the word about what the Bar is doing for its members and ask others to pass the word. After all, we’re all in this together, working together to strengthen our legal profession.
We are committed to helping our state’s newest lawyers, some of whom are entering the private practice of law, with little, if any understanding of what it takes to run a law practice. Others are facing unemployment and underemployment. The State Bar has developed a number of mentoring opportunities and other programs devoted to improving professionalism.
Connecting with young lawyers as early in their careers as possible to ensure they are prepared for the responsible practice of law and are committed to professionalism is a critical role for each of us to play. “Transition to Practice” is a program that matches newly licensed lawyers with more experienced attorneys who volunteer their time and experience to mentor lawyers in their first several years of licensure. The program provides the tools young lawyers need to succeed, helps guide participants to become better advocates for their clients, and encourages engaged participation in the communities we serve.
“After the Bar Exam” is a free educational resource for future members of the profession during the three-month gap between when they take the bar exam and when they become licensed. “After the Bar Exam” provides practical answers, valuable insights, and plenty of “how to’s” from attorneys who’ve been there – many of them among the best in their field statewide.
A project of the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA), “Ten Minute Mentor” is an online collection of video presentations from leading lawyers in their areas of expertise. Each presentation is around 10 minutes or less, free, and offers concise, practical advice to lawyers. There are currently more than 330 “Ten Minute Mentor” videos. The State Bar also serves members through free online research capabilities and free and low-cost CLE through our online Career Center.
TYLA’s “Partnering for Pro Bono” is 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 low-income Texans.
In 2011-2012, the State Bar’s Law Related Education Department created “Oyez, Oyez, Oh Yay! Civics Resources for Texas Students and Teachers” – an award-winning, interactive, web-based project that so far has assisted 6,800 Texas teachers and 450,000 students in preparing for new TEKS standards in social studies.
“Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans” is an initiative that provides pro bono assistance to Texas veterans and their families who otherwise cannot afford or do not have access to the legal services they need. The response from Texas lawyers to serve those who have served our country has been incredible, and since the program’s inception in 2010, more than 5,200 veterans have benefited from this program.
Especially during tough times, it’s important to know that the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program (TLAP) stands ready to assist lawyers, judges and law students struggling with alcohol and drug dependency and mental health issues. TLAP has produced “Practicing from the Shadows” and “Practicing Law and Wellness” to assist members of our profession with this all too common challenge.
I encourage you to visit texasbar.com and tyla.org to learn more about these programs and to take advantage of the many State Bar of Texas resources designed to serve you. Because the life of a lawyer is stressful and demanding, it’s reassuring to know that your State Bar stands ready to assist. Working together, we can achieve much, and strengthen the profession we love.