Majed Nachawati Talks with Law360 About Texas Bar Mandatory Membership Dispute
As a constitutional challenge to the State Bar of Texas’ mandatory membership challenge percolates through the courts, Law360 reporter Michelle Casady recently talked with Fears Nachawati cofounder Majed Nachawati for an observer’s perspective of the dispute.
Texas is one of five states in which lawyers are challenging mandatory bar membership dues following a U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Janus v AFSCME. That closely watched opinion held that public workers have a First Amendment right to decline to join their unions and cannot be forced to pay fees that cover the cost of collective bargaining.
Texas is the first state where the attorney general has jumped into the fray on the side of the challengers.
The unusual move has brought more attention to the fight and drawn criticism of Attorney General Ken Paxton for engaging in a politically charged dispute. The State Bar of Texas, which has hired a team of Vinson & Elkins LLP attorneys to defend against the challenge, argues that its use of the mandatory dues furthers the goal of improving the quality of legal services in the state.
But that stance goes against both Paxton’s duty to defend state institutions and the oath he took upon becoming licensed as a lawyer in Texas to ensure that all people have access to adequate legal representation, according to Majed Nachawati of the Fears Nachawati Law Firm. Nachawati serves on the state bar’s professionalism committee and is a district chairman of the bar’s grievance committee, but he spoke to Law360 in his capacity as a licensed Texas attorney and not on behalf of the bar.
“You should resign your license and go work for Empower Texans as a lobbyist and call it a day,” he said, referring to a conservative organization. “But don’t take an oath and receive the privilege to practice law and then take a position that is in direct contravention of the oath you took when you received that law license.”
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