In 1882, hundreds of judges and lawyers gathered in Galveston to establish the Texas Bar Association, a volunteer organization. Half a century later, seeking to ensure that lawyers maintain the highest ethical standards, the association proposed legislation that would unify the bar and provide more stringent controls over standards of practice. The Texas Legislature passed the State Bar Act in 1939, mandating that all attorneys licensed to practice law in Texas belong to the State Bar of Texas.
The State Bar functions as an administrative agency of Texas’ judicial branch. The State Bar receives no state appropriations — it is funded primarily through membership dues and continuing legal education fees — but it is subject to sunset review by the Texas Legislature. The Supreme Court of Texas approves the State Bar budget.
A board of directors made up of lawyers and public members from across the state governs the State Bar. Each year, the State Bar membership elects a lawyer to serve as president. An executive director manages day-to-day operations.
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.