On July 1, 2020, Richmond, Texas attorney Larry McDougal took office as president of the 105,000 member State Bar of Texas. On Friday, July 10, 2020, Mr. McDougal published a divisive post on social media that an election poll worker in Fort Bend County who was wearing a “Black Lives Matter” t-shirt was violating the law, should have been issued a citation, and removed from the premises. Afterward, a 2015 post by Mr. McDougal was circulated on the internet. In this post, Mr. McDougal referred to Black Lives Matter as a “terrorist group.” On July 11, 2020, certain leaders of the State Bar of Texas and the Texas Young Lawyers Association issued a joint statement “denouncing” Mr. McDougal’s online comments. In a press release dated July 13, 2020, the African American Lawyers Section of the State Bar of Texas issued a “Call to Action” to Mr. McDougal requesting a formal written apology and that he adopt specific policies concerning training and education as his “Presidential Project” in an effort to combat systemic racism.
On July 16, 2020, the board of directors of the San Antonio Bar Association held a special meeting to discuss its response, if any. As a result of that meeting, the San Antonio Bar Association enters the following resolution:
Be it hereby resolved . . . The San Antonio Bar Association affirms and endorses the July 13, 2020 Call to Action (click here to read) issued by the African American Lawyers Section of the State Bar of Texas. President McDougal’s comments have placed in peril the reputation of the State Bar of Texas. We feel that our state’s bar president has an obligation to uphold the values of all Texas lawyers. We believe that Mr. McDougal could restore faith in his leadership by accepting and fulfilling these specific Call to Action steps. The dignity of the office demands a leader with courage, compassion and good judgment. We call upon Mr. McDougal to earn the respect of all of his constituents through thoughtful reflection and the grace of public good works as outlined in the Call to Action steps. If it is not Mr. McDougal’s intention to lead the State Bar of Texas in bringing about meaningful change, then we request that he resign to allow the State Bar of Texas to heal through thoughtful and less divisive leadership.
Issued this 16th day of July, 2020.
Thomas A. Crosley
David M. Evans