Dr. Eliseo Ruiz Jr., a lecturer in The University of Texas-Pan American's College of Education, has been appointed to the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors.
The Board of Directors is the policy-making body of the State Bar of Texas. Members of the Board of Directors serve staggered three-year terms. Ruiz's term expires in 2014.
The Supreme Court of Texas approved Ruiz, a native of Los Fresnos and a former superintendent of the Los Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District, last month to serve as one of the board's six public members. Overall, the board has 46 members, which includes six public members who are not in the legal profession.
Ruiz, who has been teaching at UTPA since 2004 and served more than 20 years as an educator for the Los Fresnos school system, said he was pleasantly surprised to learn about his appointment and looks forward to working with fellow board members on promoting the bar's educational outreach programs.
"With my background I think I can bring a particular aspect to fellow board members," Ruiz said.
Ruiz said even though his son is a corporate lawyer in Dallas, his knowledge of the legal profession was not much more than the average layperson's before he became a member.
He said he is especially impressed by the initiatives taken on by the bar to educate the public about a variety of issues and to help veterans with their legal concerns, as well as its programs that provide materials to schools to teach children about the legal system.
"I think that through these initiatives the public can start gaining a little bit of an understanding that there can be a closer connection between what attorneys do and what we do as educators," Ruiz said. "They can provide all these services, support and resources that can be useful for the communities and that can, in turn, have an impact on our students and our teachers."
The State Bar of Texas is an administrative agency of the Supreme Court of Texas that provides educational programs for the legal profession and the public, administers the minimum continuing legal education program for attorneys, and manages the attorney discipline system. The State Bar's mission is to "support the administration of the legal system, assure all citizens equal access to justice, foster high standards of ethical conduct for lawyers, enable its members to better serve their clients and the public, educate the public about the rule of law and promote diversity in the administration of justice and the practice of law," according to information the Bar sent.
Read more about the State Bar of Texas.