State Bar Director Spotlight
Interview by Eric Quitugua
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Simmons.
Position: Chair of the Judicial Committee on Information Technology; former district judge and appellate justice
Board Member: District 10, Place 1 from 2015 to 2018
Both my father and grandfather were lawyers in my small Texas hometown.
Their offices, with rolls of plats, electric typewriters, and dusty books, seemed drab and dull. I preferred the excitement of theater productions in high school and college and fantasized about a career on Broadway. Thankfully, friends and family intervened and gently urged me to use my theater skills as a trial attorney. I will be forever grateful.
My first major goal was to get a job, and the first paycheck was amazing.
Afterward, the next decade sped by with more deadlines and few goals other than to win the next hearing, trial, or appeal and make partner. After making partner, my goals shifted to improving the legal system. My latest efforts focus on implementing criminal case e-filing and providing access to electronic court records across the state.
My involvement with the bar occurred once my practice was more manageable and my three children were out of elementary school.
Once I went on the bench, I was committed to improving the judicial system. Our citizens and their lawyers deserve access to fair and efficient courts, and the State Bar can assist and facilitate systemic changes to improve our legal system.
In addition to improving benefits to our members, I wanted to facilitate initiatives that promote access to justice and efficiency in the courts through the use of technology.
The bar has the resources and talent to effectuate positive change in our legal system and make sure our lawyers are prepared for the future.
The bar is a well-run organization with talented staff
but it needs to hear your voice. Don’t hesitate to jump in and contribute your time and talent. You are the conduit between the bar and its members, and your opinions and actions ensure that the bar remains responsive to its members.
It is important for directors to attend board meetings and liaison with sections,
but it is critical to maintain contact with the lawyers in your district. Talking directly to your colleagues about the bar, its programs, and its issues promotes transparency and confidence that the bar is working for its members.
It is amazing what you can accomplish by just showing up,
rolling up your sleeves, and working hard.TBJ