The roots of the organization can be traced back to 1868. In 1939, the State Bar Act officially created the State Bar of Texas as a mandatory bar association. Today, the State Bar Act (Texas Government Code, Chapter 81) continues to govern specific ongoing compliance requirements.
Lawyers in Texas must be a member of the State Bar of Texas. Membership is mandatory because each person licensed to practice law in Texas is required to, not later than the 10th day after the person's admission to practice, enroll in the state bar by registering with the clerk of the Texas Supreme Court. The bar membership classes include active, inactive, emeritus, or associate. Bar members are subject to bar rules adopted by the Texas Supreme Court.
The mission of the State Bar of Texas includes educating the public about the rule of law, promoting diversity in the administration of justice, enabling its members to better serve their clients, fostering high standards of ethical conduct for lawyers, and supporting the administration of the legal system.
Sec. 81.002 defines the role of the Executive Directory, General Counsel, Board of Directors. The Commission for Lawyer Discipline is described by Section 81.076 and as provided in the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure adopted by the Supreme Court of Texas.
Under those rules, the "Chief Disciplinary Counsel" is defined as the attorney selected under Section 81.076 who performs disciplinary functions for the state bar under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct and the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. The officers of the Texas State Bar include the president, president-elect, and immediate past president.
Promulgated by the Texas Supreme Court, the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct set forth "principles to which attorneys should aspire and rules to which they must conform." Visit the Texas Judiciary's website to find the latest version of the disciplinary rules.
As explained in Sec. 81.073, the State Bar of Texas handles grievances. Complains are received by the chief disciplinary counsel's office and then classified as either:
The bar rules in Texas are enforced by the Commission for Lawyer Discipline (CLD) and the Chief Disciplinary Counsel. Allegations of misconduct are prosecuted in the district courts or in the district grievance committees throughout Texas,
Penalties for a violation might include disbarment or time-limited suspensions. The suspensions might be probated or probated in part. Any conviction for a serious crime requires mandatory discipline. Decisions are appealed to the Board of Disciplinary Appeals (BODA) and the Texas Supreme Court.
Last year, the Commission for Lawyer Discipline resolved more than 500 complaints, imposed more than 414 sanctions, and collected more than $400,000 in attorneys’ fees.
The bar rules that apply to attorney advertising include Rules 7.01 through 7.07 of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct ("TDRPC"). The Texas State Bar promulgates the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct under the authority of the Texas Supreme Court.
The State Bar of Texas Lawyer Advertisement and Solicitation Review Committee (Advertising Review Committee) can report to the appropriate grievance committee any lawyer whom it finds has disseminated an advertisement or writing that violates any portion of Part 7.
The Texas Advertising Review Committee in Texas could forward the advertisement to the Texas Bar's Chief Disciplinary Counsel for possible disciplinary action by the Texas Bar. Read more about the bar rules in Texas for attorney advertisements.
The State Bar of Texas maintains a list of Certified Lawyer Referral Services in Texas. These services are operated by local bar associations and other non-profit public service organizations. If you need an attorney in Texas, consider contacting one of the services listed below by calling the phone number or clicking on the website link provided.
Additionally, the State Bar of Texas also maintains a Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) at https://www.texasbar.com/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Lawyer_Referral_Service_LRIS.
The LRIS of the State Bar of Texas services 240 counties in Texas. Each year it helps more than 70,000 callers. The service does not serve Bexar County, Dallas County, El Paso County, Harris County, Jefferson County, Nueces County, Tarrant County or Travis County.
In Texas, the Texas Board of Legal Specialization ("TBLS") certifies attorneys as a specialist in one of 24 different areas of practice. Approximately 10% of licensed attorneys in Texas are board certified.
TBLS has certified more than 7,300 Texas attorneys. More than 990 attorneys have multiple certifications. TBLS has issued more than 8,300 Certificates of Special Competence. More than half of the board certified attorneys in Texas have been certified for more than 10 years.
The Texas Board of Legal Specialization is the largest single-state certification program for lawyers in the United States. TBLS also has the greatest percentage of board certified specialists in the United States.
The Bar Rules in Texas prohibit any attorney from advertising as a "specialist" unless she or he has earned certification from the Texas Board of Legal Specialists. TBLS also accredits several national organizations approved by the American Bar Association to certify attorneys as specialists.
Board-certified lawyers in Texas must attend ongoing continuing legal education (CLE) and show continuing involvement within the field of practice.