A new president of the State Bar of Texas was sworn into office during the annual meeting in Austin last week. Cindy V. Tisdale, a partner at Goranson Bain Ausley in Granbury who practices family law, will helm the organization until June 2024, when president-elect W. Stephen Benesh of Bracewell will take over the role.
Tisdale recently answered questions from The Lawbook about why she was interested in a leadership role and what her goals are during her tenure.
Q: What inspired you to seek a leadership role in the State Bar of Texas?
A: I love being a lawyer and the practice of law. If I have the opportunity to help lawyers, I want to do so! Our bar is here to help so that we may, in turn, help our clients.
Q: Have you learned any lessons from prior presidents of the state bar? If so, what are they and how will they inform your turn as the organization’s leader?
A: I am the 143rd president, the ninth woman, and the second exclusive family law attorney to hold this position. I can learn from everyone who has come before. I started listing past presidents and their lessons, but it took up the entire page! Each past president has offered me their advice, friendship and encouragement. I treasure each one.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish during your tenure?
A: I have already assembled a work group to study artificial intelligence and the impact on our profession and judiciary as well as the ethics of using AI in our practice. We are also looking at creating a portal for attorneys to upload vacation letters for the courts. Courts and court personnel will have access to the portals.
Civility is going to be a recurring theme during my tenure as president. We can disagree without being disagreeable. For those of you who now me, I am a huge fan of Ted Lasso. We can all learn from some of the lessons Ted teaches his team, the owner, the fans and the viewers. Every decision I make during my presidency will be based on the Ted Lasso lesson of “every choice is a chance.” Every choice I make is the opportunity to do the right thing. Every choice I make is the opportunity to learn. Every choice I make is the opportunity to lift others up.
Q: What should other lawyers in Texas know about you and your approach to your work?
A: I have been a lawyer for 28 years and practiced family law in some capacity my entire career. I began as an assistant district attorney handling all of the CPS cases. I then moved to a small firm before beginning my own firm. My approach to work is preparedness. I need to be prepared for every meeting, every hearing and every mediation. On the flipside of that, I am an attorney, but I am also a mom, daughter and friend. Balance to all aspects is key for my well-being.
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges facing the legal profession in Texas right now and in the short term?
A: There are some who want to dismantle the bar. Self-governance is key, and I will do everything in my power to ensure we remain so. Apathy amongst lawyers is the opposite extreme, but it is just as concerning. As I stated before, this is all of our bar, and we need to be involved in the matters of our bar and profession.
Q: Do you see ways the state bar can alleviate those challenges? Or do you see any solutions?
A: Education and communication are the keys. The bar does a tremendous job in these two areas, but some members choose not to engage. The bar needs to continue these efforts to make sure our members know their voices can and should be heard.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?
A: I was a solo practitioner for many years. I understand the hardship of practicing law, making payroll, hiring IT help, being a mom, and being a daughter — all at the same time. Life is difficult enough. We, as attorneys, should be lifting each other up and having each other’s backs. We are all in this together, and I welcome anyone to contact me with their questions and ideas.