In a special meeting held on July 27, the State Bar of Texas took the following actions in response to comments made by President Larry McDougal. According to an email sent by SBOT to its members earlier today, the board took the following actions after hearing testimony from 61 members and receiving hundreds of letters from the public and attorneys:
- Establish a State Bar 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.
- 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.
- Require members of the board must complete implicit bias training by December 31.
- Direct the State Bar Minimum Continuing Legal Education Committee to 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.
- Direct the board’s Policy Manual Committee and Nominations and Election 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.
- Direct 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.
- 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.
- Study whether Texas should adopt ABA Model Rule 8.4(g) as part of the Texas Rules of Professional Conduct.
- 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 written comments submitted to the board prior to the meeting may be reviewed here click here. To watch the recorded meeting, go to the State Bar of Texas Facebook page at facebook.com/statebaroftexas.