Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm taking my ball and going home

After a referendum in which the State Bar's proposed disciplinary rules changes were defeated by about an 4-1 margin across the board, those behind the proposed changes still don't get the message that Texas lawyers made abundantly clear over the past month.

Wallace B. Jefferson, the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court is so put out that he issued the following statement:
The Court is grateful to the many lawyers who contributed their time and wisdom to proposing revisions to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. The current rules are outdated, and must be amended to account for changes in the practice and in the law that have occurred since the bar last adopted comprehensive revisions 21 years ago. We intend to ask the Bar’s Board of Directors to make prompt recommendations about a timeline for future proceedings relating to the rules. In the meantime, the Court will consider what action, if any, may be necessary to carry out its responsibility to maintain standards of professional conduct that protect our justice system and the people it serves.
Much like the intellectually bankrupt leaders of the State Bar, the Chief Justice is unable to give a cogent answer as to why the rules need to be changed. Same theme, second verse -- if you can't come up with a better reason than how long it's been since the rules were last changed, then you don't have a good reason. The Bill of Rights seems to have worked (more or less) pretty well and the first ten amendments were written some 220 years ago.

Here's a hint for you, Mr. Jefferson, if you want a rule prohibiting sex between lawyers and their clients -- put it out for adoption on its own. I guarantee that had that rule change been put to a vote on its own, it would have passed overwhelmingly.

As to Mr. Jefferson's wanting to protect "our justice system," might I remind him that the Supreme Court's primary duty is to determine who gets whose money. I'm sure that's important to insurance companies and municipalities, but it has very little consequence on our citizens who find themselves the subject of a criminal prosecution.

Finally, the leadership of the State Bar wastes no opportunity to tell us we need to preserve self-governance in the profession. Well, Mr. Tottenham, if the State Bar is our form of self-governance, why is the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court saying the Court will do what it wants to do, regardless of how we feel about it?

No comments: