On July 15, 1882, a volunteer organization of Texas attorneys known as the Texas Bar Association was established in Galveston, with Judge Thomas J. Devine as the first president. The forerunner of the State Bar of Texas, the group met annually to address common concerns such as the uniformity of jurisprudence, legislation, the regulation of the conduct of lawyers, and other statewide legal matters.
An act of the State Legislature signed by Governor W. Lee O'Daniel in 1939 created the State Bar of Texas. Its purpose was to place all persons practicing law in the state under uniform rules and regulations. After the Texas Bar Association merged with the new state agency in 1940, members of the state bar, under the direction of fir president Angus Wynne, continued to carry out the association's traditions and goals.
While the agency's first office was located in the Littlefield Building at Sixth and Congress, it has been at this site since 1953. Guided by an elected board of directors, a president, and president elect, the state bar is operated on a daily basis by an executive director and a full staff.
For over 100 years these professional organizations have played unique roles in the state's legal history.