State Bar of Texas board member Steve Fischer (pictured), a petition candidate who lost this year’s election for State Bar president-elect, wants to reform the State Bar’s election rules by requiring fewer signatures from future petition candidates.
This Thursday, he’ll present his ideas to the State Bar’s Nominations and Elections Subcommittee.
Meanwhile, the subcommittee is looking for lawyers to nominate to be next year’s board-approved president-elect candidates. The subcommittee wants lawyers to apply if they are interested.
Fischer collected more than 5,000 signatures to become a petition candidate, as required under the State Bar Act. His proposal doesn’t change the act. Instead, it would create a new “mechanism” in the State Bar election rules for someone to become a petition candidate.
He proposes adding a new rule that would allow an attorney to become a candidate by collecting 1,000 signatures. The candidate also would need to have a clean record with the State Bar and two years’ experience on a committee, board or section. If more than one attorney tried to become a petition candidate, only the first to submit his petition would be a candidate that year. Others could keep their signatures for a future election.
Dan Horowitz, a member of the subcommittee, says perhaps there should be a discussion about lowering the signature requirement. But he adds that he has some problems with Fischer’s proposal.
Horowitz says he’s unsure whether 1,000 signatures is the right number; he has a problem with the limitation to just one petition candidate per year; and he disagrees with allowing other petition candidates to keep their signatures for future elections.
“I just want to get more information from him before I make up my mind on anything,” says Horowitz, a partner in Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend in Houston.
Subcommittee members Larry McDougal and Susan Nelson also say they haven’t made up their minds about Fischer’s proposal. They both decline further comment.
Buck Files and Frank Stevenson, both co-chairmen of the subcommittee, each didn’t return a telephone call seeking comment.
— Angela Morris