2021-22 president-elect candidates Sara Dysart and Laura Gibson chat with Rocky Dhir about their backgrounds, experience, and goals for the presidency.
State Bar of Texas Podcast
Sara Dysart is a sole practitioner in San Antonio, Texas and is certified in commercial real estate...
Laura Gibson is currently a partner and head of the Labor & Employment Section at Dentons in...
In 1999, Rocky Dhir did the unthinkable: he became a lawyer. In 2021, he did the unforgivable:...
Voting for the State Bar of Texas’ president-elect candidates will take place in the month of April! Podcast host Rocky Dhir welcomes candidates Sara Dysart and Laura Gibson to learn about their backgrounds, discuss a variety of issues from diversity to COVID-19 to access to justice and more, and hear what each hopes to bring to the role of State Bar President. Members can vote either online or by paper ballot from April 1-30. Learn more at: https://www.texasbar.com.
Sara Dysart is a sole practitioner in San Antonio, Texas and is certified in commercial real estate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Laura Gibson is currently a partner and head of the Labor & Employment Section at Dentons in Houston, TX.
State Bar of Texas Podcast
Get to Know Your State Bar President-Elect Candidates!
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.
Rocky Dhir: Hi, and welcome to a very special episode of the State Bar of Texas Podcast. Every month, when we as Texas attorneys open our copy of the Texas Bar Journal we see some familiar categories of content. Let’s get the elephant out of the room and acknowledge that most of us first take a peek at the disciplinary actions. I do that too. Guilty as charged. We then often peruse the on the move section to see what’s been going on or any of our friends in there. Then we eagerly look to see what might come our way in terms of a humor column.
Speaking of humor, the Honorable Jerry Buchmeyer will forever be the chuckle champion of the Texas Bar Journal. I’m putting that out there. There will never be another like him. He’s the best ever. No one can fill his shoes etc. See what I did there? Yeah, you got to have your coffee before tuning into this podcast but no seriously, one of my favorite TBJ columns is the president’s message. It’s filled with nuggets of inspiration and insight into what the State Bar is working on.
For most of us, myself included we see the column, read it and then move on. Oblivious to the mountains of effort involved in leading the State Bar. The effort however is formidable. What I find remarkable however, is that we actually find attorneys who want to undertake the presidency. What’s more those State Bar presidents represent some of the best and brightest among us and if that’s not enough, there’s an actual competition to hold the office. Yes, each year two or more candidates vie for the presidency and all Texas licensed lawyers who are active and in good standing with the State Bar get to cast their votes to determine who will be the next president-elect of the State Bar of Texas.
This year voting will take place from April 1st through April 30, 2021. State Bar members can vote either online or by paper ballot. We’ll be voting for the attorney who will serve as president-elect from June 2021 to June 2022. That person will then assume the presidency from June 2022 until June 2023. We at the podcast figured, you’d like to meet this year’s incredible candidates and they truly are extraordinary individuals.
It is therefore my distinct honor to welcome to the podcast in alphabetical order Sara Dysart of San Antonio and Laura Gibson of Houston. Sarah and Laura, thank you both for being here.
Sara Dysart: Thank you for having us.
Laura Gibson: Thank you for having me. I enjoy the opportunity to speak to your members.
Rocky Dhir: Absolutely. Well, you know let’s start by getting to know a little bit about both of you so let’s have you tell us first, your practice area. What kind of law you practice? Second your bar service and three, why in the world you want to be State Bar president, that’s a lot of work. So Sarah, let’s start with you.
Sara Dysart: Thank you, Rocky. I am a sole practitioner from San Antonio and I am board certified in commercial real estate law. I represent buyers, sellers, borrowers and lenders and developers of commercial property. Often in pretty highly complex transactions. My service to the bar goes back to being a young lawyer from my participation with the women’s bar association in the 80s when we were asked, “Why do you even have to have a women’s bar association?”
Rocky Dhir: Wow.
Sara Dysart: Speaking with the young lawyers at the Leadership Academy through reptile and what I know through all of this is service to the bar defines the profession, and it really has turned my career into a career and not a job. And so why do I want to be State Bar president?
Rocky Dhir: Yeah, why?
Sara Dysart: Yes, yes. I want to make the case for service to the bar. I want to encourage all Texas attorneys to actively participate at the local and State Bar levels. Stressing that, not only does the bar need every Texas attorney but every Texas attorney really will benefit from participation with the bar. I think it enhances our professionalism. It broadens our perspective and it creates a network of friends throughout Texas.
Rocky Dhir: Now Laura, it’s your turn. First, your practice. Second, your bar service and then, three why you want to do this.
Laura Gibson: So Rocky, I’ve been practicing for 36 years. I’ve only worked three places. The first was a mid-sized firm in Texas, where I made partner and then, I had an opportunity to start my own firm in 1993. Did that for almost 23 years before I joined a large law firm, where I work at the Houston office of a large law firm so it’s kind of less support than I got at my own law firm.
Because I’m a small fish in a big organization. I’m at heart a trial lawyer. I was a commercial litigator at Locke Lord, and then when I had my own firm which was Ogden, Gibson, Broocks, Longoria & Hall, I had an opportunity to do a lot of employment work. So I sat for and passed certification exam for the Labor & Employment certification, and have been certified in that since 2001. And so I get more traditional litigation that’s related to employment but at my heart I love all kinds of litigation and that’s where my passion is.
Rocky Dhir: You like the dance? The litigation dance.
Laura Gibson: I like solving problems and fixing problems. I wish people would call me before they got in a lawsuit. I’d be out of a job but I’d be happier. It’s kind of ironic because I’m a really efficient person and the litigation process is the least efficient process known to man, so go figure. In terms of why I’m serving? I think it’s really hard to be a lawyer. I’ve had a super hard day today, I’m practicing and serving my clients in the midst of this remote campaign and I know how hard it is to be a lawyer. And so, I think I have some programs that I can roll out that will help lawyers.
The first one’s called, “All Rise” and is basically a mentorship program for young lawyers who will be paired with people about their same level in their community and they’ll have the opportunity to network with one another and then on a periodic basis the bar will provide programming in their communities where they’ll get to know other members of cohorts so they’ll get to know other young lawyers and they’ll also get to meet seasoned lawyers who can help them in their practice.
The second program I want to have is something called, “We Care,” we’ve got a lot of lawyers struggling. They were struggling before the pandemic and they’re struggling even more with the pandemic, and I feel like if we reached out to some lawyers who we thought might be at risk for death by suicide, to let them know that the bar cared. We could change things. There was a study done and simply by writing we care letters periodically, the death by suicide rate was cut in half.
The final program I’d like to unveil is something I’m calling, “Lean on me Grievance Support Program,” and that would enable our lawyers to designate a grievance support attorney. So Rocky let’s say, I had a grievance filed against me, and I didn’t respond to that grievance. If I designated you as my grievance support attorney the bar could call you and say, “Hey Rocky, Laura’s had a grievance filed against her. Would you call and encourage her to file a response?” And then, I think with your help you would be able to help me through it and confront this issue so that I filed a response with the bar. And literally 50% of the litigation that the State Bar sees in the grievance area is as a result of lawyers who don’t file a response to the grievance. So those are three simple programs that I think we can unveil that would make the lives of the lawyers a lot better in the State of Texas and also help the public.
Rocky Dhir: You mentioned Laura about COVID-19 and the pandemic, and the effect it’s having on people. I think most of us would agree COVID-19 has been kind of a game changer for the legal profession as well. Things going online and all the surrounding things that have come from this pandemic. By the time, either review takes office the COVID lockdowns should hopefully be way, way in our rear-view mirror but what should the State Bar do to help lawyers navigate a post-COVID legal landscape? So Laura will start with you, and then Sara will be your turn.
Laura Gibson: I think it’s all about law practice management, right. I mean, change happens and change is inevitable and all that I see is that change is accelerating and COVID-19 has caused it to accelerate. So it’s causing us all to have to learn new tricks. As a 36-year lawyer it’s hard to learn new tricks, but I think if the State Bar focused on law practice management techniques and training programs we could master the new skills we need to have.
So that we aren’t the cat guy that was on your last podcast where our filters on our Zoom call. I had a hearing recently where there was somebody participating who was a minority shareholder of my client. He apparently was reclining on the couch during the hearing. I couldn’t see him because I had the Zoom on speaker view but the judge called this person out and got very upset because he was disrespecting the importance of a courtroom and our justice system. Maybe we could work on teaching us the tips we need to be facile and resilient in adapting to all of these practices that I think will be with us for a long time.
Rocky Dhir: Okay, so Sara how about you? What do you think the post-COVID landscapes going to look like for lawyers and how do we as a State Bar kind of help lawyers navigate then?
Sara Dysart: Sure, no question.
We have all experienced social isolation and financial challenges and we’ve wrestled with the use of technology as we’ve conferred, mediated and argued before courts facing our computers. I think the State Bar are going to have to really up its (00:10:19) on providing resources to State Bar members. I think TLAP is going to need additional resources, the Texas Lawyers Assistance Program as they reach out to attorneys that have increased issues dealing with depression, stress, addictions.
One of my programs is that I’m talking about is a possibility of providing a financial wisdom program that could be offered through the law office management courses, where I see the opportunity to provide guidance and resources to all Texas attorneys. I even see the possibility of putting together a fund that could be distributed through grants or low-interest loans to help attorneys keep their law offices open.
I also think that we need to be very mindful of working with the Supreme Court to discuss how we go back to in-person appearances versus the continued use of Zoom hearings which in a way certainly have found to be effective. When the pandemic hit I had three cases in Williamson County dealing with restraining of a foreclosure and I had the luxury of arguing those cases sitting here at my computer, where without that I would have had to travel to Williamson County three times, and so I do think we’re going to have the increased use of appearances but we want to be mindful of the effectiveness of in-person gatherings whether it’s a court appearance or mediation or negotiation.
Rocky Dhir: One thing that strikes me about this year’s president-elect candidates, the two of you is we’ve got two very accomplished women candidates going head-to-head, and so this this next question, Sara maybe you want to start us off on this is talk to us about diversity and inclusion in the bar and there was a comment earlier about the 1980s and why do we even need a woman — a women’s bar group back then. And it kind of reminds me of the movie nine to five with Dolly Parton and Lily Tomlin and it’s like – we’ve come so far but yet there’s still this issue of diversity and inclusion that I think people are still kind of struggling with. I think the listeners would love to hear your respective thoughts on that. So Sara start us out with diversity and inclusion. Your thoughts and what the State Bar can and should be doing, in that regard.
Sara Dysart: Okay, I think diversity and inclusion is sort of the elephant in the room and I think we’ve all experienced some discrimination in our lives, in our practice. And one of the stories I talk about as a young lawyer, I was with a law firm and I had gone to a San Antonio Bar Association Luncheon, I’m sitting there and there’s an unknown attorney sitting next to me, a gentleman and he strikes up the conversation and the kind of the short story is he says, “I don’t like women lawyers. I don’t even like women on my juries.” And he actually was more elaborate than that, and I walked away thinking, “Wow. That’s interesting.” But I’ve always sort of kind of snickered. I wonder how this gentleman felt when we had our first all-Female 4th Court of Appeals three times now.
So, I do think you know, we’ve had some major steps. We’ve gone from a gentleman thinking it was just fine to tell this young woman lawyer that there really wasn’t a place for her at the table to having an All-Female 4th Court of Appeals. And I think that right now, St. Mary’s Law School was 51% women. A third of my class were women, there was a big uptick of female law students in the late 1970s. But there’s still challenges and — women attorneys we act differently, we practice law differently at some levels, we market differently and that’s a whole other set of topics. And then, we get into minorities ethnics other forms of differences that all deserve a place at the table, and I have a lot of respect for the State Bar in addressing this issue through the years. The council minority affairs, the different SBOT leadership –
An emphasis of let’s bring more people to the table and I really think that is the answer. The answer is more participation, more interaction because as people interact they not only come to understand each other, they come to appreciate each other and that’s really what I’m all about is just let’s have that conversation, let’s work together, let’s identify issues and let’s work for positive responses.
Rocky Dhir: Laura, how about you. What are your thoughts on diversity and inclusion and what the State Bar can or should be doing in that regard?
Laura Gibson: I was so fortunate. I was invited to talk at the Texas Minority Council Program when I was a committee member on the advertising review committee and I hadn’t heard of the TMCP before that time, this was many years ago, maybe even 30 years ago. But I attended the event in Houston and I was so amazed because it was unlike any CLE I’d ever been to. Instead of people sitting at rows of tables looking forward or in their cellphone, people sit at round tables and their networking breaks and there’s a networking opportunity on the Wednesday of the event and they’re great CLEs, all day Thursday we get to go out, we created – I actually suggested the dine around program because after I was a speaker there I volunteered to be on the steering committee, I guess between that I actually attended just as an attendee a couple of times. And what I found was that at the end of the day on Thursday everybody that was in the know went out with other people, who knew other people to dinner and I went back to my hotel room because I didn’t know a lot of people and I thought that’s just such a waste that we have people going back to their hotel room because they don’t know others.
So at my first meeting on the steering committee, I suggested we create a dine around which involved the steering committee finding restaurants close to the hotel putting out signup sheets where everybody signed up. You had 8 to 10 people everybody responsible for their own meal and after the CLE was over, the groups met in the hotel Uber’d or shared cars and went over to the restaurant. Got to meet people they didn’t know came back to the hotel about the same time and everybody wanted to participate in the casino party because now everyone was arriving at the same time so there was none of that awkwardness of being the only person there waiting for the popular kids to show up.
I just think that TMCP is the best program in the country and a lot of places model it, but I think there are other way. When I was president of the Houston Bar Association, I was able to select 20 ambassadors and so I selected diverse lawyers to have an opportunity to go out and reach the people in our membership and welcome them to our group. I just think this summer when we had the marathon meeting, where we had so many people speak. I watched it, I was on vacation but I listened and watched the entire thing and I identified 32 people, who I thought would be excellent bar leaders who were very diverse and I contacted them. And I said, “Hey, I’d like for you to get involved.” Because a lot of times somebody thinks that if they’re qualified to do something somebody’s going to tap them on the shoulder and say, “Hey, run for the board.” Well, I’ll dispel you of that notion. No one does that because everybody’s too busy thinking about themselves. But I think it’s incumbent upon leaders to see who has the time and the energy and the talent who is diverse that can add to our profession and I’ll end by saying my woman’s story which I think you can use to your advantage is that a lot of times when people don’t think I’m a lawyer because I’m a woman.
And I remember taking a deposition on a Saturday, in a case where we arrived before trial and they brought in a partner who had not been in any of the other depositions. I wheeled my briefcase in on my wheelies I sat down at the end of the conference table near – I mean, where I would take the deposition and the lawyer kept preparing his expert witness and I thought that’s so odd. Doesn’t he think I can do something with that but I sat there and I listened I thought that’s just so bold.
And after about eight minutes, he yelled out, I won’t say the person’s name I’ll give you a different name. Mindy call Laura, find out why she’s late and I said that would be me. He turned bright red and he was never on his game for the rest of the deposition because he’d been sitting there for eight minutes thinking I was the court reporter. So sometimes it works to your advantage but as you said, we’ve got two women running for State Bar president-elect and we can’t go wrong with either of us, the bar is going to be in good hands.
Rocky Dhir: Well, let me ask you both this question.
And since we do have this very fortuitous situation of two incredible women running for the same position, what do you think is – well, first of all is there something unique? I mean, I think Sara you’d said earlier that women bring a different type of leadership in a different view. So Laura this would be your chance to kind of weigh in, do you agree with that but the really the question is, if there is something distinct about female leadership versus male leadership and I understand there’s a lot of generalizations in that dichotomy. But if there is something unique what do you think that is? What do you think is different about the way women approach leadership versus men? So Laura, let’s start with you and then Sara you can kind of pick up from there.
Laura Gibson: So I think women are more empathetic. Women think about how people feel. So when I chaired the HVA Labor & Employment Section what I had noticed before I was the chair was that, people would walk in and the people who knew everybody would talk to one another and they wouldn’t talk to anybody else in the room. And the people who were on the council would put their bags or their purses or their coats on the center table in the middle of the room as though they were they anointed and that no one meant anything bad by it but I just saw people who were looking around the room trying to figure out a place to sit. Trying to find somebody they could talk to and not feel uncomfortable, and so when I became the chair what I said to the council members is I want you to treat this like it’s an event at your home. That you are hosting a luncheon at your home and I want you not to sit with other council members but I want you to go and introduce yourself to somebody you don’t know and then introduce that person to everybody else you do know.
So I guess in my view, the strongest thing I hope to accomplish if I’m elected as president-elect is to create a sense of community among our members. There is no firm that’s — a lawyer that’s better than one another. The grass is always greener on the other side of the street. No matter where you practice, your job is hard but you’re all welcome. We are all welcome and I think if women are thinking about how to get other people involved and how to make them feel more welcome people are going to be more excited about and interested in being part of that community so I think that we’re just empathetic. I think that’s what it boils down to.
Rocky Dhir: Sara, how about you? What’s your view on that topic? I’d be interested in your thoughts as well.
Sara Dysart: Sure. I as a follow-up, I think another way of saying that, is that women are more supportive of others. And the example I have is I play a little bit of golf not great but I’ve been hacking on the golf course for years and I’ve played with women, I’ve played with men. And my experience is when I play with women we stand there and we say, “Great shot. Oh that was the best shot ever.” When you get out with there with guys then this is a generality, it’s like a (00:23:00) on the first hole. And so it’s that competitiveness that kind of just steps in and I really think that’s reflective in leadership.
I think women can be as competitive and combative as she needs to be for the circumstances but I think we generally are looking for a way to support others and bring them along with us and we’ve been trained for that because that’s how we’ve gotten here to be quite honest.
Rocky Dhir: It’s funny because I mean, as a guy I’ll tell you that when we do that whole thing — first of all I don’t play golf because I played golf once and I had this great swing and I was looking to see how far my ball went and it was still on the ground. I mean, I didn’t even hit it. The golf gods do not like me, but whenever I do that kind of stuff it’s really more of like a bonding thing. It’s just the way we kind of relate and bond, but it never occurred that, oh wait that’s not supportive so it’s interesting when you guys talk about empathy and supporting.
Let’s switch gears for a moment and maybe, now that we’re on the topic of empathy and support let’s maybe talk about access to justice. I know you both have very strong views on that so Laura let’s start with you and talk about this topic of access to justice, why do you think it’s important and what do we as a State Bar and as Texas lawyers need to do to address it.
Laura Gibson: Well our democracy and our sense of justice won’t continue if people who can’t afford a lawyer don’t have access to justice and we go to law school for three years to be trained as a lawyer and we can’t expect someone else to know how to deal with the justice system. When Frank Stevenson was president of the State Bar, he created TOJI, which stands for the Texas Opportunity and Justice Incubator Program and it’s just wonderful idea of providing young lawyers something they need which is training, mentorship, access to forms, and technology.
And those are offered to them if they participate in the TOJI program and agree to provide services to those citizens who may be above the income level to qualify for legal aid but not wealthy enough to be able to get legal services and so TOJI is just an incredible program at the beginning of last year it’s gone into a digital community and so now it has the power to reach even more lawyers and even more members of the public in remote geographic areas. So in my view TOJI is a win-win. Lawyers get training, lawyers get experience.
Malcolm Gladwell says, you need to just need to have 10,000 hours of experience in order to be accomplished at anything and so people say, “Well, how do I get experience? When I don’t have any clients. How do I get experience if I can’t get a job with a big firm?” TOJI is the way you get that experience and you’ve got a clientele that you’re helping who’s not going to be ragging on you at every moment and requesting that you return the call in three seconds. They’re going to be grateful that they’re getting legal services at a reduced cost and so everybody’s going to be happy and those young lawyers grow up to be better lawyers and we just need to keep filling the pipeline with the TOJI participants so that we can provide services to those who can’t afford them. Because I mean, I’ve had clients who are lawyers. Very wealthy lawyers and it’s interesting that when they start seeing the hourly rates that add up they’re starting to question whether they can afford it. That goes back to the empathy. Walk a mile in the public shoes. Would we be willing to pay? What we have to pay for what a lawyer does.
I mean, I think we’re pricing ourselves out of the market and it’s a difficult situation but we’ve got to keep our eyes on the importance of serving the public and pro bono work is definitely something the bar should be behind and lawyers should be behind.
Rocky Dhir: It’s interesting you say that because I recalled the Honorable Barefoot Sanders in Dallas had once addressed the Dallas Bar Association, and he had said the very same thing. And this was in the1990s. He said the problem with our profession is that most of us in this room cannot afford to hire ourselves, and so it kind of goes back.
Laura Gibson: That’s really accurate.
Rocky Dhir: It goes back to that same thing and Judge Sanders is he’s one of my faves, so I always remember then. So now Sara, how about you? Talk to us about access to justice, your thoughts on it and what do we as a State Bar need to do to advance that?
Sara Dysart: Well, first of all it’s a constitutional right and its part of our mission statement to provide access to justice and I’m a strong proponent of it, I have supported it financially, I have supported it through my efforts. And in fact, last summer the San Antonio Legal Services Association put together a remote wills clinic, where over 300 attorneys volunteered to provide wills and directives to first responders. And I was part of the committee that put that together and made the phone calls and sent the emails over the weekend to help recruit those 300 Texas attorneys and so when I think about access to justice, I think attorneys are uniquely qualified to provide that service. We are licensed attorneys and have the knowledge and the skill set to meet these needs.
And I think that every attorney should find their own way to do that and in fact, I was doing some research and I came across of 2000 resolution of the State Bar Board of Directors that basically very generally defined the providing of pro bono legal services that included providing the work and also contributing financially and they put together an aspirational goal of 50 hours for attorneys to give every year. Well, when I think about that – most Texas attorneys do not know about that resolution but I think most Texas attorneys exceed that aspirational standard and I believe that because every bar association that I’ve worked with has provided not only an emphasis for access to justice but also ways to participate and contribute.
Not to mention what we just do on our own giving people a hand up. And think about the Texas bar foundation. All the members who contribute year in and year out knowing that grants will be made to provide access to justice, and so my belief is the State Bar should really publicize the outstanding work Texas attorneys do year in and year out.
And in fact in the words of Chief Justice Hardberger on another matter, I think what Texas lawyers do providing access to justice is the perfect antidote for every lawyer joke.
Rocky Dhir: Let’s pretend it’s the year 2041. Now that requires some quick math that’s 20 years in the future, right. It’s like, I got a JD so I wouldn’t have to do that but it’s the year 2041. Where do you see the practice of law at that point and what should our State Bar do now to make your vision a reality. Sara why don’t you start us off on that one.
Sara Dysart: Okay, so to go back in time about 20 years ago I was at a State Bar CLE and there was a luncheon speaker and he was a professor, and he talked about the internet and emails, and chat rooms and he dared to tell this audience that in 10 years we would not be taking phone calls that we would be communicating by email and even going beyond that in chat rooms.
Rocky Dhir: Fax machines, oh my goodness.
Sara Dysart: While fax machines were already in place but this was a whole idea of the internet right but he wasn’t so clairvoyant to talk about Zoom as we said here today and so no question, I mean, the advancement in technology since I became a lawyer in 1981 to today is just breathtaking. I mean, I got my job on the 4th Court of Appeals fulfilling at least one condition and that was that I could type on this electric typewriter, my memos because I didn’t have staff to do it for us. It was 1992, when I got on a notebook computer and now, today here I am talking to you and Laura on my computer and so it’s really kind of scary to think about what the practice of law is going to look like in 20 years.
I mean, as it is our clients expect us pretty much to push a button and deliver the document so I am not that clairvoyant either but no question, one of the main things the State Bar can do is keep up with technology and provide assistance to all Texas attorneys and we’ve done that. I am so impressed like by Casemaker and Fastcase, I can sit at my computer and do research by logging into the State Bar website. I mean, that is just great and who knows what else that we’ll be able to provide to Texas attorneys by staying up with technology.
Rocky Dhir: Laura, how about you? 2041 where are we and what do we do now to make your vision a reality?
Laura Gibson: It will be different. In 2041, it will be very different than what we are doing right now. I guarantee you that.
Rocky Dhir: First of all, hopefully we’re all retired by then. That’s I mean, hopefully we’re not in the thick of it.
Laura Gibson: But if you’ve looked at the timelines of how rapidly change is occurring, we know it’s going to change and it would be impossible for us to predict what’s going to be happening in 2021 but we can all be comforted by the fact that the State Bar already has the tools that we as lawyers need to be prepared for that. I kind of like to think about, what did I do when I went from being able to work at the office which is where I was most comfortable. I’m I kind of think of myself as an all on or an all-off person. So that doesn’t mean, I don’t and didn’t work weekends at the office but I always went to the office to do that and so when a year ago literally this week, we got banished to stay home during COVID-19 and I thought how am I going to do this. This is really, I don’t know how I’m going to do it and I thought, okay but I do know. I need my rest, I need to exercise, I need to eat good food, I need to keep my faith, I need to surround myself whether it’s remotely by phone obviously it’s not in person with people who make me feel better about things and make me realize that with the support of all those things I can accomplish it.
And so in my view it’s a continuation of the wellness programs that the State Bar has. I mean, I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention but Chris Ritter and his team have done an excellent job putting on programs to help lawyers address wellness issues. We just have to not drink too much, not eat too much, not do things that are bad for us and get rest and we’re going to be fine but the wellness programs, the law practice management programs. I remember one time when I was on a committee at the State Bar, we put on a CLE program. I think it was in2010 or 11 after the financial crisis, where a lot of jobs were going away.
And so we put on a coach who talked about how you can transfer the skills you have as a lawyer to doing other things and it involved one-on-one coaching with this coach. I mean, the program sold out in something like 30 minutes. It was offered in three cities in the State of Texas. I mean, we’ve got really smart people as lawyers and the people that are on the leadership team of the state bar in terms of our executive director and all of the other fine lawyers who find people who help support the Texas bar. They’re constantly striving and thinking about what can we do to make the lawyers in our state have a better job and easier life. So the State Bar will continue to do that and we just all have to know that we’re resilient and that no matter what comes our way we can deal with it and the State Bar will support us all in doing so.
Rocky Dhir: We are running to the last few minutes that we’re going to have here and I wanted to squeeze in a question and this is one of those funky questions so I’m letting you know ahead of time, so that way you’re not surprised and Laura, you get to go first — and you need to take a second to think about it. That’s totally fine but I think this will be an easy question but I think it’s a fun question. So let’s pretend for a moment, that you’re not running for State Bar president-elect. If you had to campaign for your opponent what would you say about her.
Laura Gibson: I would say that Sara, I don’t take it just doesn’t take me any time.
Rocky Dhir: It didn’t take you at all. I’m impressed you just you jump right into that. You go, all right.
Laura Gibson: Yes, Sara is a super hard worker. She’s people and the reptile community loves Sara. She has taught so many CLE programs. She’s kind-hearted, she’s generous, she’s nice, she’s authentic, she’s strong, she’s articulate. As I said earlier, no matter who wins this campaign the State Bar and the lawyers of the State of Texas are in good shape because we cannot go wrong with Sara Dysart.
Rocky Dhir: Wow, okay. Well, Sara that’s a tall order to fill. What would you say about Laura, if you were campaigning for her?
Sara Dysart: I would say everything the same except for maybe she’s not so well known with reptile. Okay, which is the real estate probate and trust section but I will also add that Laura is a leader and Laura has been at the helm of the State Bar and her capacity as a chair and she and I served together as director and we’re very congenial. I think she has a lot to offer the bar and I love that she values her family so much. I love the postings of your grandkids Laura and I agree with Laura, the State Bar is only going to win this year and if Laura wins, I will be there to support her and I know that if I should win she will be there to support me. And the nice thing about both of us running it gets us the both the opportunity to tell our stories. So that especially women attorneys can say, I can do that too. And that’s the example that both of us are setting and we will continue to work together because that’s what we’ve done in the past.
Rocky Dhir: Well, it’s so nice to hear you both full of nice words for your opponent. It reminds me of a U.S Presidential election, no. No, absolute not. Never.
Laura Gibson: No, it’s like two women on the golf course.
Rocky Dhir: Hey, there you go. I like that, okay. You guys are bringing up these golf analogies that I have no experience in. I mean have some empathy for crying out loud.
Sara Dysart: Have you heard me mention the word golf?
Rocky Dhir: It sounds like Laura maybe you and I need to play together because we can build some –
Laura Gibson: No, maybe we’ll have to go have a beer and watch somebody else play.
Rocky Dhir: We’ll just watch the rest of these people in their golf carts. It’ll be great, but unfortunately we are at that point. I wish we could keep talking. This has been a lot of fun but Sara Dysart, Laura Gibson, thank you both. Not only for your bar service but for stepping up and being willing to make this year’s choice for president-elect. Such a difficult one for all of us. Thank you both for being here.
Laura Gibson: Thank you for having me.
Sara Dysart: Thank you Rocky. It’s been a pleasure. Laura good to see you.
Laura Gibson: Great to see you Sara.
Sara Dysart: Thank you.
Rocky Dhir: And of course remember folks, the voting will take place from April 1st through April 30, 2021. You can do it online. You can do it in paper ballot. You have to choose one, you don’t get to have two votes. So let’s make that very clear upfront but of course, I do want to thank you for tuning in and I want to encourage you to stay safe and make sure you follow all applicable orders and customs for dealing with COVID-19 and please advise your clients and loved ones to do the same. This situation is changing fluidly and quickly as we all know so please seek out legal counsel if you have a question. If you like what you heard today, please rate and review us in Apple podcast, Google podcast or your favorite podcast app. Until next time, remember life’s a journey folks, I’m Rocky Dhir, signing off.
Outro: If you’d like more information about today’s show, please visit legaltalknetwork.com.
Go to texasbar.com/podcast subscribe via Apple podcast 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.
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|Published:||April 1, 2021|
|Podcast:||State Bar of Texas Podcast|
|Category:||News & Current Events|
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.