Thursday, January 26, 2012

SRLs and the Bar Part Three

Well, I learned something important yesterday and it changes my mind about a position I have taken in this debate and on this blog. Pasted below is an excerpt from the State Bar’s strategic plan for FY 2012-2013. This made me realize that I was wrong to resist the idea that the Bar should study the pro se issue, and I trust they will carry out that work as encouraged by Chief Justice Jefferson in his letter back to President Bob Black (reported yesterday by the Texas Tribune). On the other hand, I also read the below to severely undercut the position advanced by the Family Law Section/Foundation that the Access to Justice Commission, as an entity with Bar funding, is illegitimate to the extent that their efforts collaterally benefit anyone but the very poor.

In the same vein, I was also very glad to see that yesterday the Chair of the Family Law Section wrote to the membership: “Neither the Family Law Section nor the Texas Family Law Foundation have ever asked anyone to boycott Legal Aid events or withdraw support from Legal Aid organizations.”


The mission of the State Bar of Texas is to support the administration of the legal system, assure all citizens equal access to justice, foster high standards of ethical conduct for lawyers, enable its members to better serve their clients and the public, educate the public about the rule of law and promote diversity in the administration of justice and the practice of law.



Statement of Purpose

The State Bar of Texas serves the public by: 1) educating the public about the Rule of Law and the role of judges, lawyers, and the public in the justice system; 2) helping lawyers provide the highest quality legal and community service; and 3) working for equitable access and participation in all aspects of the justice system by diverse groups within our society.

Goals . . .

C. Assist in efforts to better focus and increase resources by systematically identifying, prioritizing and timely addressing community needs for service, as well as developing appropriate services and programs to address the needs of under-served populations and low-income Texans. . . .

G. Continue to identify and use new methods and technologies by which pro bono services training can be made accessible to more Texas lawyers.

H. Increase access to consumer legal information for the public, using new technology and media where possible to insure consumers are informed when making decisions regarding legal services.


Statement of Purpose

The State Bar of Texas works to ensure access to justice for all.


A. Augment pro bono services

• Explore new and innovative methods to increase the availability of pro bono legal services to low income Texans in the more remote areas of the state.

B. Build and support partnerships to increase legal services delivery –

• Educate and engage non-legal professionals who can provide relevant resources, including mediators, dispute resolution services, and CPAs.

• Interface and develop collaborative models for service delivery with other agencies providing services for the same populations.

C. Increase efforts for specialty populations –

• Work in collaboration with key partners to increase the availability and utilization of effective high quality pro se information, education, and support materials. . . .

E. Increase the visibility of pro bono efforts and access to justice issues –

• Explore and implement new methods to increase awareness and understanding among Texas lawyers and the public about access to justice issues. . . .


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