Featured Guests
Kenda Culpepper

Kenda Culpepper is the Rockwall County criminal district attorney and was the first woman to take office as a...

Buck Files

Buck Files practices law with the firm of Bain, Files, Jarrett and Harrison in Tyler, Texas. He is a...

Your Host
Rocky Dhir

Rocky Dhir’s dual interest in innovation and the law prompted him to establish Atlas Legal Research, LP in 2000....

Episode Notes

The Texas Lawyer’s Creed has been a source of aspirational guidance for Texas lawyers for the past thirty years, and when it was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals in 2013, lawyers were reminded of its continued relevance. But how exactly did this document come to be, and how has it helped Texas lawyers? In this edition of the State Bar of Texas Podcast, host Rocky Dhir welcomes Buck Files and Kenda Culpepper to discuss the history of the creed and its aim to help lawyers conduct themselves with the highest degree of professionalism.

Kenda Culpepper is the Rockwall County criminal district attorney.

Buck Files practices law with the firm of Bain, Files, Jarrett and Harrison in Tyler, Texas.

Transcript

State Bar of Texas Podcast

The Texas Lawyer’s Creed: Conduct Above Reproach

11/15/2019

 

[Music]

 

Intro: Welcome to the State Bar of Texas Podcast, your monthly source for conversations and curated content to improve your law practice, with your host Rocky Dhir.

 

[Music]

 

Rocky Dhir: Hi and welcome to the State Bar of Texas Podcast. We are celebrating our birthday today, specifically the big 30. I wish I was talking about myself. Actually I am not sure I ever was 30 in the first place. I sometimes think I went from age 25 and just skipped to being somewhere in my 40s, like a really evil game of Chutes and Ladders, as if to say shoot, I am in my 40s, but I digress.

 

We are recording this episode on November 7, 2019, 30 years ago on this very day, for the lazy among us, that’s November 7, 1989, the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals issued a court order known as the Texas Lawyer’s Creed.

 

If you have never read it, you can find a link to it in the description of this episode. No, it’s not a rule of Professional Conduct. It goes beyond that. But don’t take my word for it, let’s hear instead from a couple of actual experts.

 

We have with us today Buck Files and Kenda Culpepper. They led a successful effort in 2013 to get the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals to reaffirm the Creed. They will help us dig a little deeper and remind ourselves of the, pardon me for saying this, the need for the Creed.

 

First, a little background on Buck and Kenda. Buck Files is a past President of the State Bar of Texas and is also a Hall of Famer, specifically the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Hall of Fame. He practices in Tyler, Texas at the firm of Bain, Files, Jarrett & Harrison.

 

Perhaps, most importantly though, Buck served in the United States military for four years as a US Marine. So we owe Buck a debt of gratitude for his military service. That service will become even more relevant in just a bit.

 

Next we have Kenda Culpepper. Now, full disclosure, Kenda and I have known each other and been friends for almost 20 years, so you will forgive me if I brag about her just a little too much. But there is a lot to brag about. Kenda is the District Attorney for Rockwall County, Texas, and by the way, she is the first woman to take office as a DA in the history of North Texas. Pretty cool, huh?

 

She is also the Former Chair of the State Bar Professionalism Committee. Her work as a lawyer and Bar leader has earned her a Certificate of Merit and a Standing Ovation Award by the State Bar.

 

And remember, the capital murder trial of the former Justice of the Peace who killed a Kaufman County DA a number of years ago? Yeah, Kenda was on the prosecution team of that case. That team won the Lone Star Award for their work on that case as well.

 

So now that you are convinced we have two really heavy hitting guests, let’s talk about the Texas Lawyer’s Creed.

 

Buck and Kenda, welcome to the podcast. Great to have you.

 

Kenda Culpepper: Thanks.

 

Buck Files: Thank you.

 

Rocky Dhir: So Buck, let’s walk back now to 1989, November 7, there was obviously some kind of a need for a Texas Lawyer’s Creed, can you tell us why, I mean take us back to that time and tell us why we have this thing called the Texas Lawyer’s Creed and how it came about?

 

Buck Files: I can’t say that I was really a witness to what was happening back then. I was totally engaged in the practice of criminal law, and in criminal law we just didn’t have the Rambo folks that we hear about in the civil practice. I talked to judges out of Dallas who had been defeated for reelection and they were sitting as visiting judges and were bemoaning the fact that civil lawyers didn’t behave in the courtroom the way that criminal lawyers did. And I am not being critical, that’s just what these judges were saying.

 

So it was obvious a need for some standards, and the Lawyer’s Creed certainly provided the standards for the lawyers who probably needed the advice.

 

Rocky Dhir: Now, what force and effect does this Creed have? Either one of you can jump in on this one, but is it enforceable, why should lawyers pay any attention to this?

 

Kenda Culpepper: Well, I think that the Creed says it best. It is inspirational. There is nothing enforceable necessarily about the Creed, except a lawyer’s own desire to be the best in his profession and I think that actually the Creed even says that it’s not enforceable in court and that sort of thing.

 

But the Creed, it’s a beautiful document. If you haven’t — if the people listening to this cast haven’t read the Creed, I would encourage them to go and pick up this beautiful document and read it for themselves. It is an inspirational document, and the words in it, they go to the very core of our profession and talk about what we should be in this profession as professional lawyers.

 

Rocky Dhir: No, absolutely. And it’s interesting Kenda, you talk about the beauty of the document. I mean it’s not just — it’s not a short document. I mean for those who have read it, it’s broken up into the different sections and one of the ones that kind of caught my eye was saying that lawyers — in fact, I will quote it, I commit myself to an adequate and effective pro bono program.

 

(00:05:05)

 

It also says I am responsible to assure that all persons have access to competent representation regardless of wealth or position in life. It sounds like this is really — this kind of goes back to why a lot of us went to law school in the first place, is that what you find so attractive about it?

 

Kenda Culpepper: Well, I think so and I think that the fact that — I mean there is just so much to this document that when I was thinking about being a lawyer and wanted to enter a profession for which I had a great deal of respect, it certainly echoes the things that I thought about when I wanted to be a lawyer.

 

Certainly the Creed was promulgated and written before I was a lawyer, and so I think that it’s interesting to hear about that history of how the Creed evolved. I was lucky enough to be on a panel with some of the people that created the Creed; Fred Hagans, Blackie Holmes, Lamar McCorkle, and to listen to them speak about what the environment was and what created the need for the Creed, as you said earlier, it’s actually kind of astonishing to hear.

 

And I think that from the perspective of those gentlemen, they had come from a time when the practice of law wasn’t easier, certainly not easier, but it was a simpler time in terms of the profession of law. You didn’t have technology, you didn’t have the email system, you didn’t have the harassing discovery that we hear about. And so they were able to remember that time before the malicious actions that were happening in the 80s, the Rambo litigation or the Rambo tactics that I heard about in law school, they were able to see the time before that period of time and the time that they were in. And I think that that’s what encouraged them or urged them to move forward.

 

Buck, you lived through that period of time, I would imagine that you felt the same.

 

Buck Files: Kenda, one of the differences is the defense lawyers always negotiate from a position of weakness and so consequently you can’t have some of the Rambo tactics in the criminal side of the hall that you do over in the civil. We wind up being aggressive, being zealous, representing our clients, but Rambo just doesn’t work in the criminal justice system. There are a few lawyers who think that’s the way to practice law and normally they are less than totally successful.

 

Kenda Culpepper: Yeah. And you and I have had this conversation before about the difference between civil and criminal law. In criminal law, we practice together every single day. Rocky, we are in the courthouse with the same lawyers every day, day in and day out, whether you are in an urban area or in a rural area. And so if you are that Rambo litigator, that tactician that thinks that being aggressive and malicious is the way to go, the lawyers are going to remember you when you have a case tomorrow. So it is a lot less effective, I think, it’s not even that position of weakness, it’s just less effective for a criminal practitioner to have that kind of Rambo tactics, because everybody in the courthouse is going to know that they were a jerk by the end of the day.

 

Civil litigators on the other hand, and I see it even today, I speak a lot on professionalism and I hear about the tactics in the civil world, they see each other maybe once a year, maybe never, this may be the only case they are ever going to have, and so I think that they feel like there is more of a rationalization to being ugly towards each other. I think that it ends up hindering them to a great degree with judges and other lawyers that know them, but I think definitely the civil and the criminal world are very different.

 

Rocky Dhir: Let’s go back to 1989, when this Creed was being — when it was being formed and it was being developed and finally it actually came to pass.

 

Buck, you have mentioned that at that time lawyers, and from what you have described as largely on the civil side of the docket, things were getting more Ramboesque, and for those that are not familiar, Rambo was a big movie back in the 1980s so that’s probably where that term comes from.

 

But let’s talk for a moment about when did that transition happen, because we have heard here about there being a time before time when things were civil and lawyers did work well together even on the civil side. But now we are hearing that somewhere in the 1980s that started to change. Do you have a sense of why it changed and what brought that change about to where we had this need to kind of remind everybody about civility and professionalism?

 

Buck Files: In all honesty no. Tyler was small town USA, we had a Bar that had the reputation, if you could try a case in Tyler, you could try a case anyplace in America, because we had federal courts here who required civility. So I never did see the Ramboesque tactics that obviously were around the state and certainly in the larger counties. So Tyler was I am sure not unique, but we just didn’t see that here.

 

(00:10:04)

 

Rocky Dhir: Do you think Tyler sees it now, Buck, we are in 2019, 30 years later, do you think the lack of civility has kind of crept its way into Tyler as well?

 

Buck Files: I don’t believe so. When you address the courts, you stand, you say may it please the court, before you leave the courtroom you say that’s all the business I have before the court, may I be excused. Judges are addressed as Your Honor, clients are told the last two words out of your mouth will be Your Honor; yes Your Honor, no Your Honor, guilty Your Honor, whatever Your Honor.

 

In the criminal courts here that civility is high, high, high up there, and quite honestly, there just aren’t that many civil trials here, and when there are, it’s unusual. So we don’t see the Rambo stuff here in Tyler, Texas.

 

Kenda Culpepper: And I think that there are jurisdictions Rocky that the judiciary takes a more active role in the civility in the court. Tyler may be one of those places. I know that Rockwall County is, I hope it is, but I think that that is so important when you are walking into the courtroom that you know that the judiciary is not going to take kindly to uncivil behavior within the courtroom, that the Creed talks to the fact that you owe the court respect and that you have a duty to show that respect to the court.

 

So I think that the role of the judiciary is important in making sure that the lawyers know, when I walk into this courtroom, if I am uncivil or I am unprofessional or I don’t dignify the court with the respect that it deserves, the judge is going to let me have it and possibly even in front of that jury. So that’s something that we have talked about a lot is that the role of the judiciary is very important in encouraging professionalism within the courtroom and without.

 

Buck Files: When we got the Lawyer’s Creed reaffirmed by the Court of Criminal Appeals and Supreme Court five years ago, at one of the judicial conferences we had copies of the Lawyer’s Creed for any judge who wanted them. It was interesting at the number who did and it was interesting at the number who didn’t, but there are some judges who will send counsel out in the hallway to look at the Lawyer’s Creed and then come back in and behave.

 

I remember one down in Galveston that I talked to, it was Judge Barry, who was the Chief Judge of the Western District, who said that he had a copy of the Lawyer’s Creed under the glass on each counsel table and since he put it there he had never had a problem with lawyers. The rest of the story is Judge Barry never had a problem with a lawyer before he put the Lawyer’s Creed out.

 

Kenda Culpepper: But we also talk about — I have talked to different judges throughout the state too and again, we are doing that now, we are encouraging them to put a copy of the Lawyer’s Creed, not only in their courtroom, but also in the jury room.

 

And Judge Lora Livingston is a judge out of Austin, tells a great story about that the Lawyer’s Creed is posted in the back of her courtroom, and two lawyers came in, they were arguing, they were in front of the bench arguing with each other, it was just ridiculous. It was very unprofessional. And she finally had had it and she said, okay, both of you all, go to the back of the courtroom and read the Lawyer’s Creed, and you just get this visual of these two lawyers just kind of skulking to the back of the courtroom to read the Lawyer’s Creed and then they came back and they worked things out.

 

And I think that sometimes it’s just a matter of reminding lawyers what their duty, not only to their profession, but to themselves are.

 

Rocky Dhir: Well, let’s maybe talk for a second about this process of getting the Lawyer’s Creed reaffirmed in 2013. I think Kenda you and Buck were both kind of spearheading that effort. Can you guys tell us all a little bit about why you felt the need to get it reaffirmed and kind of how you went about the process of getting it reaffirmed?

 

Buck Files: When I came in as State Bar President, it had been 25 years since the Creed was promulgated. We had had about 30,000 lawyers admitted to practice since then and many of them were not familiar with the Lawyer’s Creed. So one of my goals was to go around the state, talk to judges, talk to my liaisons, from the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Supreme Court. I talked to 372 judges, either in chambers or at the bench about the importance of the Lawyer’s Creed. I only had five who were opposed to it and they said they just didn’t want to be told to do something that they should be doing on their own.

 

Working with Judge Keasler, my liaison to the Court of Criminal Appeals, Judge Phil Johnson, my liaison to the Supreme Court, and also with Chief Justice Jim Worthen of the Council of Chief Judges, I was really happy when the courts and the Council of Chief Judges agreed to reaffirm the importance of it.

 

One of my favorite things in my hall is a picture of the Lawyer’s Creed that was printed and it has my picture with Jefferson and Keller and it’s real special to me.

 

(00:15:11)

 

Rocky Dhir: And Kenda, tell us your perspective.

 

Kenda Culpepper: So I think that my experience stems off of that of Buck’s. Buck did me the honor in 2012 of appointing me as the Chair of the State Bar Professionalism Committee and he and I had been friends for a long time. I can tell you that Buck Files is one of my personal mentors and heroes within the profession of law.

 

And so when he asked me to be the Chair of the Professionalism Committee, I took that very seriously and I wanted to make an impact with my service on the Professionalism Committee. So he and I had long talks about how we could impact the State Bar and the profession of law within the State of Texas.

 

And that was one of the things that he had thought about, and I can tell you that in 2012 I had been a prosecutor in Dallas and I was a defense lawyer; I had been a defense lawyer in the Dallas area until 2008 when I was elected as the DA, and until 2012 I had never heard of the Texas Lawyer’s Creed.

 

Now, I came in, I was licensed to practice in 1992, three years after the Texas Lawyer’s Creed was promulgated, and in that time when I was a prosecutor, defense lawyer, I had never heard of the Texas Lawyer’s Creed.

 

So when he was talking about his desire to revamp and re-promulgate and kind of reenergize this Texas Lawyer’s Creed, that was exciting to me, because it was a document I had never read. When I went and read it I thought, how is it possible that I never have heard of this document, let alone read it. It’s truly a beautiful document in my mind, and it really goes to the things that I have always thought about, but never been able to say.

 

And so I was excited to join him in that effort to re-promulgate that and take it to the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court. And seriously I was just a support for him. He was the go-getter of the group certainly, but we lent our strength and in our Committee we had some very strong members in the Professionalism Committee, they still do, and so I was just there to lend support to that effort. And incredibly proud of the work that Buck did to re-promulgate that and to get the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to realize that the Texas Lawyer’s Creed had kind of fallen into disuse among so many segments of the Bar.

 

And I think that that’s one thing that the Professionalism Committee has done a great job of is getting out there, speaking about the Texas Lawyer’s Creed and reminding people about this document. But it all started with Buck Files.

 

Buck Files: The Professionalism Committee of the State Bar had not met for a year when I asked Kenda to take that role and I told her I wanted it to function as a task force more than just as a Committee, and I went to several of the presidents who followed me asking that they continue to appoint her as the Professionalism Chair. So I had the ear of seeking the courts — the two court’s support and reaffirming the Lawyer’s Creed, but when I went away Kenda stayed there pushing the importance of the Lawyer’s Creed and has done so during the time that she was a Chair.

 

So I came and went, but she continued what was there.

 

Rocky Dhir: And Buck, if I could follow that up with kind of a personal question, if you don’t mind, it sounds like you have had this commitment to professionalism far before you became State Bar President, was that influenced at all by your time in the Marine Corps?

 

Buck Files: Oh, you better believe it was. I checked into the Legal Office for the first Marine Brigade FMF in 1964, my boss was Lieutenant Colonel Hanthorn. Here we had three young lieutenants, none of us had ever tried a case, and the first thing he told us was you will never leave a courtroom without shaking hands with your opposing counsel. And to this day I have never failed to shake hands, without regard to whether I won, loss, got killed, was on top, it was just something that was ingrained.

 

I had the same attitude when I was in the Legal Office in Okinawa, same thing in Vietnam. We tried cases hard, but we tried them as gentlemen and I was impacted significantly by my experience as a Marine Corps lawyer.

 

Rocky Dhir: Well, let’s talk for a second about lawyer to lawyer civility, because at least in my experience I think that’s where the system seems to need the most help. Certainly I think lawyers, lawyers understand the need to be respectful of judges, at least we hope they do, but lawyer to lawyer, I mean you talked about shaking hands and treating your opposing counsel with respect and dignity.

 

(00:19:57)

 

What do you do when you get the “Rambo lawyer” on the other side of a case? How do you deal with the person like that? Do you guys have any experience, either anecdotal or personal, and how do you maintain your own dignity, in your own commitment to civility when you’re dealing with somebody on the other side who maybe doesn’t share that same view?

 

Buck Files: Let me give you an example. We were at oral argument at the 00:20:21 Court for the Fifth Circuit on a case it wind up going to the Supreme Court. The other side was represented by a law professor up at Utah who used to be a Federal District Judge, he clearly misrepresented the facts in the case, and of course, you can’t stand up during oral argument and object and I was very angry, but I went over and shook hands with him and said, I guess, we’ll see each other at Supreme Court, and he looks over and said, we really want to go to Supreme Court too and if you have any difficulty we’ll help you with your briefs —

 

Rocky Dhir: Oh wow.

 

Buck Files: — knowing his obligation to his client, actually he assisted us in responding to the government’s response to our petition for Cert, but that was an example where we got a tremendous benefit by my following a room and shaking hands with opposing counsel, even someone who had clearly misrepresented facts to an appellate court.

 

Kenda Culpepper: Well, from my perspective, again I have the honor of being the District Attorney over in Rockwall County, and as the DA, I get to have a lot of prosecutors that I can have some influence over, and many of them are younger, coming out of law school, and so we use this as an opportunity to have mentoring within our own office.

 

And I spend a lot of time talking to these young lawyers especially about the fact that you can spend your entire life creating a reputation and in five minutes you can lose that. And I think that it’s important, when you have somebody on the other side, we talk about the fact of you will be professional every time you walk into the courtroom even when somebody makes you angry, you will remain professional because that’s your duty as a lawyer, is to be professional, and I think that one of the things that they struggle with is when you have a lawyer that is so unprofessional and feels like they’re going to gain some advantage by being so aggressive or so malicious in the courtroom or just ugly, and they see the examples of how that does not work for opposing counsel and if they engage in it, it doesn’t work for them, and I think from the perspective of watching a judge that reacts negatively to someone that’s being unprofessional in the courtroom, again maybe in front of that jury I’ve seen example after example where juries see someone being unprofessional in the courtroom and negatively react to that lawyer to the detriment of their case.

 

I remember Fred Hagen’s told an example one time about he had a really vitriolic lawyer on the other side and during deliberations one of the jurors sent out a message that said, I don’t appreciate the fact that you are so aggressive and so mean to not only opposing counsel but also to your own associates, and that lawyer knew from that moment on that his case was going sideways.

 

And so I tell those examples to young lawyers so that they can understand that it is a benefit in my mind, it is a benefit to being professional, not only in the courtroom but also in your interaction with other lawyers outside the courtroom, because again, we’re in the criminal practicing world but if you’re unprofessional to a lawyer, if they’re unprofessional to us they are less likely to be able to sit down and have a good conversation about their case to someone that wants to listen to them and I think lawyers across the State feel that way that a professional lawyer is someone that is going to gain by their professionalism; the best lawyers that I know the best lawyers in the State that I know, and Buck files is among those.

 

Our people that are professional, that get along, that they’re going to get along outside the courtroom, inside the courtroom and when they have to throw the gloves off and go to battle, I respect that, I respect the fact that we battle in the courtroom as long as it’s done ethically and professionally.

 

Rocky Dhir: Well, it’s interesting that you talk about that because one of the edicts in the Creed is to say, “I will not quarrel over matters of form or style, but I will concentrate on matters of substance”, and so Kenda seems like both of you guys are effectively saying fight about the substance, fight about the law, fight over the facts and how the law should be applied, but let’s not quibble over the form issues.

 

(00:24:55)

 

But what happens — let’s add another element into this mix that we’re talking about, so you get a Rambo lawyer on the other side who clearly thinks a lack of civility and professionalism will get him or her some kind of advantage in the case but now what happens if you have a judge, I’m sure it’s rare, but what happens when you have a judge who won’t step in and admonish that other lawyer? And it’s getting to the point where it’s creating too many distractions not only in the courtroom but even out of the courtroom with Discovery or setting deadlines or what have you.

 

Do you guys have any advice or any insight into what to do when you are the only one who’s noticing the lack of civility and you’re trying to maintain your professionalism but you might be the only one in the room who’s doing so, what do you do then?

 

Buck Files: Lawyers can be inappropriate in the courtroom. They can be personal, accusatory and uncomplimentary, and I think that you just maintain your dignity and behave the way you always do. This is not to say that you can’t make your thoughts known to the lawyer outside of the courtroom when it’s a one-on-one situation, you don’t have an audience, you’re not embarrassing him in front of someone, but you can make it crystal clear that you do not appreciate his conduct and do not intend for it to continue, I have seen that and I think it works.

 

Kenda Culpepper: When we were talking to Fred Hagan’s and Blackie Holmes and Lamar McCorkle about when they first started talking about creating the Texas Lawyer’s Creed. They had a wonderful taskforce that was led by Justice Cook and they talked a lot about these issues, about the desire to have this professionalism and have something written down that was inspirational to lawyers and their professions, and one of the big arguments that they came up against was that people were concerned that having a Texas Lawyer’s Creed would sterilize the process in some way, would make the practice of law less fun but also less about advocacy because we can’t just go in and everybody shake hands and everybody be sweet and natural, we’re advocates, we’re advocating our position and it is in many times in direct opposition to the person on the other side.

 

Rocky Dhir: It’s an adversarial process.

 

Kenda Culpepper: It’s an adversarial process, and quite frankly, as a trial lawyer, I appreciate that adversarial process. I appreciate the opportunity to be passionate and zealous about the position that I’m taking in the courtroom and I think that that argument fell flat after we saw the Texas Lawyer’s Creed come about, because we did not see lawyers be any less zealous, any less passionate, any less advocates in the courtroom, but there is a way, like the Lawyer’s Creed talks about, there’s a way to disagree without being disagreeable.

 

There is a way to be advocates, and zealous and passionate about our cause without being malicious and ugly, and outside the courtroom there is a way to advocate on behalf of your client without burying your opposing counsel in Discovery that’s irrelevant to the case or without pretending or misleading them about a deposition date or not telling them about a deposition date. That is adverse to my, what I believe being a lawyer and my profession is, and I think that absolutely, I love the fact that lawyers are able to go and be passionate about their cause in the courtroom, but the Texas Lawyer’s Creed is not opposite to that, it supplements us being passionate, zealous advocates.

 

Buck Files: I have a Court TV story. We’re in trial in Dallas, in case it took 63 days it was a son who was accused of murdering his mother and a jury found that the state was right in its accusation. A lawyer and I were involved in a hotly contested morning session, he wanted to have me held in contempt. I wanted to have him held in contempt, we take a break, we get coffee and we’re standing out talking, and the TV camera is on us and they’re getting calls from all over America about how can these people be the way they are in the courtroom and be visiting during a break and we simply said, for Texas lawyers we turn it on, we turn it off.

 

Rocky Dhir: And how was that received?

 

Buck Files: Very well.

 

Rocky Dhir: Well, good, good. Glad to hear that so as we start to wrap up, any final thoughts? Buck, let’s start with you.

 

Buck Files: I go back to the old test. What can you tell a young lawyer about how he ought to behave in the courtroom and whether he should be aggressive and whether he should be a Rambo, and the simplest of all advice is, just imagine your mother sitting on the front row and what she believed at what you’re doing was appropriate. If she would, your conduct is good. If she wouldn’t, you ought to take a second look at how you’re behaving.

 

(00:30:00)

 

Rocky Dhir: Kenda, how about you?

 

Kenda Culpepper: I think that it is, and again, I started in 1992, but it seems to me like it is more difficult to practice law with the professionalism than it was in the past, and the reason I think it is, is because of technology and emails and e-filing and the fact that in the 1950s, 60s, 70s, you had a secretary that you would dictate a letter to and it got really ugly, she’d look at you like seriously, and you wouldn’t send that letter.

 

And now it’s just so easy to get ramped up about a case, get angry about something that somebody has done and hit that Send and you can’t take it back, and now you’re going to have to deal with the consequences, which is why I think that it is even more important than it ever has been before for lawyers who have been in this profession for a longer period of time to mentor younger lawyers.

 

Younger lawyers are coming out of law school. There are not the government jobs that they are used to be, there’s not the placement in big law firms like they are used to be, and so many lawyers are coming out of law school and hanging up their own shingle and going into solo practice.

 

And I think as law organizations whether it’s the State Bar or local bar associations, we have to do more in the mentoring realm. We have to seek out those young lawyers and find good mentors to attach them to so that they can learn what it is to be a professional lawyer, because you’re absolutely right, Rocky, when you brought up the fact that when we decide that we want to go to law school, we were inspired to go into this profession, and you want to build on that young lawyer’s inspiration to do something that makes our world a better place and put them with a lawyer that can cultivate that feeling that they have, rather than sending them out forth into the world to be malicious, to be unprofessional, to be ugly.

 

Rocky Dhir: Well, that’s great advice all around. That is unfortunately though all the time we have for today. I want to thank my guests, Buck Files and Kenda Culpepper, for joining us. So, thank you both, it’s been great having you on.

 

Kenda Culpepper: Thank you.

 

Buck Files: Thank you.

 

Rocky Dhir: And of course, I want to thank you for tuning into our discussion on the Texas Lawyer’s Creed and the need for civility in the legal profession. If you like what you heard today, please rate us and review us in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or your favorite podcast app. Until next time, remember, life’s a journey, folks. I’m Rocky Dhir, signing off.

 

Outro: If you would like more information about today’s show, please visit legaltalknetwork.com. Go to texasbar.com/podcast. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts and RSS.

 

Find both the State Bar of Texas and Legal Talk Network on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn or download the free app from Legal Talk Network in Google Play and iTunes.

 

The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by the State Bar of Texas, Legal Talk Network, or their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders, or subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.

 

[Music]

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Episode Details
Published: November 15, 2019
Podcast: State Bar of Texas Podcast
Category: Legal News
Podcast
State Bar of Texas Podcast
State Bar of Texas Podcast

The State Bar of Texas Podcast invites thought leaders and innovators to share their insight and knowledge on what matters to legal professionals.

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Recent Episodes
11/15/19
The Texas Lawyer’s Creed: Conduct Above Reproach

Buck Files and Kenda Culpepper discuss the history of the Texas Lawyer’s Creed.

10/11/19
Branding for Lawyers: What You Should and Shouldn’t Do

Amy Boardman Hunt and Gene Major offer lawyers pro perspectives on how to market your practice effectively AND responsibly.

09/25/19
Suicide in the Law: A Problem We Can’t Keep Ignoring

Terry Bentley Hill and Chris Ritter share their passion for helping attorneys learn how to recognize depression and get help for those at risk...

08/16/19
Bar Leaders Conference 2019: Q&A with Leaders of TYLA

In this State Bar of Texas Podcast, TYLA leaders Victor Flores, Britney Harrison, and Sally Pretorius answer questions submitted at the State Bar of...

07/11/19
State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting 2019: Forms of Address with Judge Roy Ferguson

394th Judicial District Judge Roy Ferguson discusses the unanticipated social changes that judges have to contend with after ascending to the bench.

06/21/19
State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting 2019: Josh Team and the Adaptable Lawyer

Josh Team, president of Keller Williams, addresses how lawyers can play an integral role in helping companies keep pace with the rapid pace of...