As president of the State Bar of Texas, one of my great privileges is being able to travel the state and witness firsthand all of the work attorneys are doing to facilitate justice, advance the profession, and support and improve the bar.
As I took office, I challenged every member—individually or in small or large groups—to educate themselves about the bar, suggest improvements, and work to achieve those improvements. For those willing to take me up on this proposal, let me suggest a few ways you can get involved.
Millions of low-income Texans cannot afford the legal services they need. That is why the State Bar of Texas is launching the Care Campaign (texasbar.com/care) to help foster a culture of increased pro bono service across the state. As part of the campaign, the bar has developed a Care Kit to enable local bar associations and legal organizations to easily hold legal advice clinics. The Care Kit contains all of the resources you need to publicize and conduct a clinic, and an accompanying tool kit offers additional resources and includes a video that provides insights and perspectives of everyone involved in the clinic process.
The State Bar continues to support our military servicemen and -women through Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans, an effort to develop and assist pro bono legal clinics throughout the state which are customized to meet the needs of military members who cannot afford or lack access to legal services. Learn more at texasbar.com/veterans.
The Texas Young Lawyers Association continues to shine light on important social issues with its latest project, Slavery Out of the Shadows, a film and multi-media program designed to increase public awareness about the reality of human trafficking. Visit tyla.org to watch the film and read brochures to learn how you can help fight this problem.
Part of our responsibility as lawyers is to ensure future generations understand and appreciate the rule of law and the people whose work led the way to where we are today. The State Bar’s Law Related Education Department offers a number of resources to support this goal, including the new I was the first. Vote for Me! curriculum.
I was the first. Vote for Me! brings to life the important firsts in United States and Texas history who are part of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards for Texas elementary students. The website allows students to explore animated historical figures who made significant contributions. The curriculum is a fun way to help students learn about civics, citizenship, and other important topics.
Finally, the bar offers multiple programs aimed at helping attorneys succeed at every stage of their career, from After the Bar Exam and Transition to Practice, to Law Practice Management and the Lawyer Referral Information Service.
I invite readers of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel to explore these and other bar-related programs as you continue to consider ways to serve the public, improve your practice, and strengthen our profession.
Lisa M. Tatum