DBA State Bar President’s Update
by Lisa Tatum
One of the highlights of summer at the State Bar of Texas is Annual Meeting, which was held this year at the Dallas Anatole June 20-21. The conference was quite a success in large part due to the contributions and participation of the Dallas legal community. In a short amount of time, we covered massive amounts of ground, from networking with old colleagues and learning 10 things we didn’t know about the U.S. Supreme Court (thank you, Justice Samuel Alito) to swearing in new officers and directors and witnessing a mock trial of Lee Harvey Oswald for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (which ended in a hung jury). We had two intense days full of CLE programming and celebrated one of the largest 50-Year Lawyer groups in recent history. I want to thank the Dallas-based Annual Meeting Committee Chairs Beverly Godbey and Robert Witte along with each you for your valuable time and ongoing support. I hope that you will continue to be involved with the bar throughout the year.
As we look toward the fall and the start of a new academic year, I would like to bring to your attention one of my presidential initiatives focused on civics education. I was first. Vote for me! is a remarkable tool for Texas elementary school educators and students. The two-pronged multimedia project brings to light firsts in U.S. history that are part of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards for social studies in kindergarten through fifth grade. The website component features historic figures talking about their significance and contributions to society via 30-second animated spots. Students learn about U.S. presidents, judges and other consequential people who are role models, and they get to vote on which character they want their fictional school to be named after. E-reader books in both English and Spanish are also available. Following the TEKS curriculum, teachers can actually use this book over and over again—Constitution Day, Fourth of July, Black History Month, Women’s History Month—whatever the focus. Enabling teachers to talk about those characters with students means that we are constantly reinforcing this aspect of civics and giving them something that truly fills a void. To access the education tools, go to TexasBar.com/iwasthefirst.
In addition to providing information, tools, and educational programs for the public, the bar also provides benefits and resources for attorneys. For example, to help lawyers searching for new career opportunities, the bar offers the Texas Bar Career Center, which provides a searchable database of job opportunities, distributes an electronic Job Flash highlighting new job postings, and allows users to post their résumés and sign up for job alerts. The State Bar of Texas also provides free tools to make the business of practicing law more manageable. Casemaker, a free legal research engine, was enhanced in 2013 and now features a faster search engine, a more user-friendly interface, and a customizable way to save searches. Law Practice Management and Office in a Flash provide support for attorneys on how to start and maintain a law office. TexasBarCLE is the state’s premiere CLE provider and offers many ways for attorneys to fulfill their MCLE requirements and continue learning, including live courses tailored for new attorneys as well as seasoned lawyers; online classes, webcasts, and MP3s approved for MCLE credit; reference works and practice manuals developed by TexasBarBooks; and showcase seminars at the State Bar Annual Meeting. Visit TexasBarCLE.com or contact TexasBarCLE to learn more about free online classes and articles as well as reduced cost CLE and scholarships. Often forgotten is the Member Discount Program, which offers bargains and discounts on services and goods, including clothing, computers, gifts, and professional liability insurance providers. The bar really is here to serve you.
We are in a place and time where increased member investment and greater engagement can have a significant and positive impact on our association and community. It is up to each of us to make our profession and our association better. Together we can address the issues facing us as lawyers, meet the legal needs of Texas citizens, and take care of our clients. Join the conversations. Together, let’s make a difference. I look forward to hearing from you.