Bar Turns Over 63,000 Member E-Mail Addresses to Law Student

, Texas Lawyer

Facing allegations that they violated the Texas Public Information Act, on Aug. 16 State Bar of Texas officials released to a member of the public the e-mail addresses of nearly 63,000 lawyers. Joe Crews, who represents Marni von Wilpert in her suit against the State Bar and its executive director Michelle Hunter, says the list of lawyers' e-mail addresses clearly is subject to the Public Information Act. "I don't understand why it was an issue," says Crews, owner of the Crews Law Firm in Austin. On Aug. 14, von Wilpert filed von Wilpert v. State Bar of Texas, et al. in a state district court in Travis County. As noted in the original petition, von Wilpert seeks a declaratory judgment that the defendants violated the Public Information Act and injunctive relief to require release of the information. But the State Bar voluntarily released the e-mail addresses. Despite the suit, one of the lawyers whose e-mail addresses was released to von Wilpert does not believe the Bar should have handed over the list so easily.

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