In law, as in life, education counts. You wouldn’t want your doctor working on that pesky gas leak at your house. You want someone with specialized training. It’s the same when it comes to legal representation. When you are faced with a legal issue, you need someone with the training and experience to step in and solve your problem.

I agree with both the gas leak and lawyer scenarios. According to the Texas State Bar, there are more than 86,000 actively practicing lawyers in Texas. How do you find the right one for your particular situation?

Here in Texas, there is an organization called the Texas Bar College. Described as an “honor society” for attorneys, this body is dedicated to promoting education for members of the legal profession in the state. In fact, it is the only such organization in the U.S. Members believe in high ethical standards and the benefits of continually improving ones self and skills through voluntary classroom studies. To qualify, one must complete double the annual state requirement for continuing education. Currently, this means 30 classroom hours per year.

Only about 5% of practicing attorneys in the state are TBC members. I can tell you one reason why – it’s not easy. The 30 classroom hours are just part of the commitment – there is also the travel time to the facility and back, preparation, etc. But I assure you, the education is invaluable and completely worth the time and expense. Being able to more effectively pursue and obtain legal satisfaction for a client makes it all worthwhile.

There’s yet another reason why continuing legal education is so important here in Texas – the court system. It is complex, with five separate layers featuring overlapping jurisdictions and two top courts of appeal. The five are the Justice of the Peace Courts, Municipal Courts, County Courts, District Courts, and the 14 Courts of Appeals. There is also the Texas Supreme Court (for civil and juvenile matters) and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for all other cases.

The law is constantly changing, and no one can hope to remain current on all of its twists and turns without education. At my firm, I insist on maintaining the highest standards because people’s families, livelihoods, and sometimes lives are at stake. These are responsibilities we take very, very seriously. By maintaining specialty certification and membership in the Texas Bar College, clients know we are always fully prepared to represent them, argue their case, and arrive at an advantageous settlement.

Education does matter. At the Essex Firm, we believe in continuing education, and I do my best to lead by example. Please call us with any questions on our qualifications, recent classwork, or changes in Texas law.