Editor’s note: The following message was sent to all members today.

The State Bar of Texas Board of Directors held a special meeting on July 27 to discuss and consider action regarding online commentary made by State Bar of Texas President Larry McDougal and other directors.

The board heard from 61 speakers and accepted hundreds of letters from attorneys and members of the public before approving the following actions:

  • To create President-elect Sylvia Borunda Firth’s State Bar of Texas Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. To view the task force’s purpose and charges, click here. A final roster of task force members will be presented at the board’s next quarterly meeting on September 25.
  • To create a working group that includes interested directors and other parties to consider numerous diversity and inclusion suggestions submitted in the written and oral comments presented to the board.
  • That members of the board must complete implicit bias training by December 31.
  • That the State Bar Minimum Continuing Legal Education Committee consider making implicit bias training an MCLE requirement for Texas attorneys and that the committee return with a recommendation by the board’s January 2021 meeting.
  • Directing the board’s Policy Manual Committee and Nominations and Elections Subcommittee to propose revisions to board policy to provide increased vetting of president-elect candidates and that the committees should review the elections process with regard to how information is received from nominees.
  • Directing legal counsel to review all action items presented in materials from the State Bar African American Lawyers Section to determine which may be implemented in compliance with legal precedents and report that guidance to the board at its September meeting.
  • To require President McDougal to return with a preliminary plan of action for addressing issues related to his online comments by the September board meeting and a final plan by January 2021.
  • To study whether Texas should adopt ABA Model Rule 8.4(g) as part of the Texas Rules of Professional Conduct.
  • To call a special meeting prior to the September quarterly board meeting on a date when President McDougal is available for the board to consider a motion restricting the duties of the State Bar president.

The State Bar of Texas appreciates the many comments submitted by Texas lawyers and members of the public before and during the meeting.

To view the written comments submitted to the board prior to the meeting click here. To watch the recorded meeting, go to the State Bar of Texas Facebook page at facebook.com/statebaroftexas.

Laura Dawn Ouin is the founder of Third Coast Mediation & Communication in Dallas, Texas, and is passionate about conflict resolution in all forms. Equipped with over 20 years of experience in business development, conflict resolution and communication development, she facilitates solutions through strategic mediations as well as developing written communication for web, press releases, and media distribution. When it is critical that your audience needs to understand your message, Laura Dawn helps you be heard.

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