Letter From The President Of The State Bar Of Texas

2010-10-04 01:00

To The Readers of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:

Texas is home to mountains, coastline, desert, and forest. We're home to Longhorn football, Willie Nelson, and some of America's finest barbecue. The Lone Star State is also home to more than 80,000 lawyers. Thanks to hardworking individuals and a diversified economy, Texas has weathered the economic downturn better than other states. Still, too many Texans are struggling.

This year, the State Bar of Texas is focusing on three initiatives to help Texas lawyers and the clients they serve work through the hardships they face. We are setting up pro bono legal clinics around the state to assist our military veterans with the basic legal services they need when they return from war. We are pursuing a wellness initiative to ensure that lawyers, judges, and law students know about the resources available to help them with dependency and mental health issues. Finally, we are creating a series of webcasts targeted toward our state's unemployed and underemployed lawyers.

Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans is based on the successful Houston Bar Association program that Mark Kelly wrote about in the July issue of Metropolitan Corporate Counsel . We are partnering with local bar associations, mental health professionals, veterans organizations, and VA hospitals to set up free legal clinics so that veterans have access to the resources they need and receive the attention they deserve. We are making plans to commemorate Veterans Day by coordinating veterans legal clinics across the state. For more information, including a ready-to-go legal clinic toolkit, visit www.texasbar.com/veterans.

Each of us needs a little help from time to time. With the wellness initiative, we are focusing on practical solutions so that each of us can help reduce the stress and anxiety that accompany our chosen profession and that are exacerbated during tough economic times. The wellness initiative has three major components. First, we are creating a video to increase awareness about modern strategies available for dealing with anxiety, addiction, and depression. Second, we have arranged with our in-house continuing legal education provider to have a live speaker to discuss lawyer assistance issues during CLE courses this year. Finally, we are raising funds for a memorial trust that provides financial assistance to colleagues who have hit rock bottom but are committed to undergoing the necessary treatment to once again become productive members of our communities and of our profession.

To help the members of our profession who are out of work or looking for additional work, we have created a series of free webcasts. On the final Thursday of each month, Texas lawyers, no matter where they live, can tune in to hear practical advice from some of the state's top legal presenters.

I urge the readers of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel to become involved in the many outstanding programs that state, local, and specialty bar associations coordinate. As corporate counsel, you are essential not only to building the businesses that energize our economy but to bringing together people and resources to improve our communities.


Terry O. Tottenham