A referendum this year on proposed amendments to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct is looking unlikely. At its meeting today in Houston, the State Bar of Texas board of directors gave thumbs up to recommending to the state Supreme Court a majority of the proposed changes to the disciplinary rules. In September, the State Bar’s Discipline and Client Assistance Program Committee had recommended changes to several of the proposed disciplinary rules. According to State Bar spokeswoman Kim Davey, the Bar board’s 27-8 vote today approved most of that committee’s recommendations, with the exception of those dealing with conflicts of interest -- proposed Rules 1.06, 1.07, 1.08 and 1.09. Kelley Jones King, the State Bar’s deputy executive director, says there were “newfound issues” with the conflicts rules and that Bar board members want to make sure those issues are aired before lawyers vote on the rules. State Bar president Terry Tottenham says, “We’re recommending that the court take no action at this time on the rules until the board makes its final recommendations at the January meeting.” Tottenham, of counsel at Fulbright & Jaworski in Austin, says the Bar board will make its recommendation in a letter to the Supreme Court next week. The court had asked the Bar to submit its recommendations on the rules by Oct. 6. King says the Bar board is scheduled to meet on Jan. 28, 2011, in Austin and wants to consider the conflicts rules at that meeting. King says the board also is recommending that the court set another 30-day period for lawyers and the public to suggest language for the conflicts rules. The Bar board is asking that the referendum on the rules be pushed back to the spring of 2011, King says.
-- Mary Alice Robbins