Message from the President of the State Bar on COVID-19

2020-05-15

Dear Member,

We are writing to share recent updates related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy.

Supreme Court of Texas Emergency Orders

The Supreme Court of Texas issued two emergency orders Thursday. The 15th Emergency Order permits residential eviction proceedings to resume on May 19 with deadlines no longer postponed. The order also allows warnings to be posted and possession writs to be executed starting May 26. The 16th Emergency Order allows collection of consumer debt as defined by Texas Finance Code Section 392.001(2) and issuance and service of garnishment writs and turnover orders to resume. The Supreme Court’s other existing emergency orders can be found here.

Texas Judiciary Ransomware Attack

The Office of Court Administration announced that a ransomware attack on May 8 caused it to disable its branch network, including websites and servers, to deal with the attack and prevent further harm. A statement on the security breach reports the network will remain disabled until the breach is remediated. While this incident did not affect the State Bar of Texas website, it did cause some of the links to court resources included with our May 8 membership email to become disabled. As the OCA seeks to repair the issue, it has created a new website—txcourts.net—where it is moving critical information such as court guidance, Supreme Court of Texas emergency orders, and electronic hearings information during the COVID-19 pandemic.

2020 State Bar and TYLA Elections

Remember to vote in the 2020 State Bar and TYLA elections. Voting this year is online only because of uncertainty regarding the ability of the State Bar’s election vendor to receive and process paper ballots during the coronavirus pandemic. Online ballots will be accepted until 5 p.m. CDT May 29. ?You can learn more about the election in the April issue of the Texas Bar Journal; the April episode of the State Bar of Texas Podcast, which features a conversation with State Bar president-elect candidates Pablo Almaguer and Sylvia Borunda Firth; and at texasbar.com/elections. Vote now!

Health Insurance

If you find yourself needing health insurance outside of the annual open enrollment period because of a loss of employment or other qualifying event, the Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange offers several options for State Bar of Texas members, including traditional ACA-compliant health insurance and short-term health insurance.

Take Care of Yourselves

In this challenging time, it’s important to take care of yourselves. We invite you to take advantage of the well-being resources for remote living collected by the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program and to join us at noon CDT on May 20 as part of TLAP’s Remote Well-Being Wednesdays series via Zoom.

Next week’s session, “Lawyers and Trauma: A panel discussion of the impact and solutions,” features special guests:

Open Texas Checklists

Governor Greg Abbott’s task force to oversee the reopening of businesses in Texas has created a number of checklists to guide employers as they reopen their establishments. View the checklist foroffice-based employers here. View all the checklists and guidance here.

Resources to Keep You Informed

The State Bar is regularly updating texasbar.com/coronavirus with the latest resources and information to help you stay informed of and adapt to the changes affecting our profession. You also can sign up for the State Bar’s Daily News Briefing at texasbar.com/dailynews to receive the latest legal news updates in your inbox every weekday morning.

Sincerely,

Randy Sorrels, President

randy.sorrels@texasbar.com

Trey Apffel, Executive Director

trey.apffel@texasbar.com

Posted by: Pat Monks