Goosebumps at a State Bar Conference

Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

20130621 Tatum swearing inOn Friday, June 21, 2013 I got goosebumps at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting. I have attended quite a number of State Bar conferences and witnessed of the swearing-in of a lot of State Bar Presidents. Frankly, the ceremonies tend to be rather boring affairs that have to offer a free lunch on the conference premises to attract attendance.

I know I wasn’t alone in experiencing the singular sensation, however. The newly installed president had to quell a lengthy standing ovation in order to speak. I hadn’t given much thought to the swearing-in until I witnessed it, and palpably felt its historic significance.

I was there when the first African-American Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas’s swore in the first African-American President of the State Bar of Texas. And the new President is a woman, to boot! As I watched the swearing-in, its significance hit me. I felt compelled to grab my smartphone and snap a picture. It’s not a great photograph, but it captured a great moment.

Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson became the first African-American Justice on the Supreme Court of Texas in 2001. He ascended to the Chief Justice position in 2004, another African-American first. President Lisa Tatum is the first African-American woman and the 133rd lawyer elected as President of the State Bar of Texas.

Following the ceremony, a mixture of pride and hope penetrated me. I don’t even know what I’m hoping for. An expectation of dramatic change in an industry grounded in precedent is too much responsibility to put on one person’s shoulders. I think I’m just hopeful that this is an outward sign of an internal shift that has already taken place.

A Law Firm Associate’s Primer on Law Firm Economics

Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

Law Firm EconomicsSometimes I speak to law students about law firm economics. The schools want me to tell students the financial aspects of law firms that young lawyers need to know, in order to be successful there. Law firm managing partners want me to help students understand how long it takes for a new lawyer to be profitable for the firm. Here’s some information about law firm economics for law students and young lawyers that serves the needs of everyone. Read more «A Law Firm Associate’s Primer on Law Firm Economics»