1971 | Frank Maloney 

On July 2, 1971 an organizational meeting for a statewide criminal defense lawyers association was held at the Dallas State Bar Convention. The association was organized because of a growing concern among criminal defense attorneys over recent administrative and legislative actions and proposals that threatened constitutionally protected rights in criminal cases.

Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA) was chartered on August 12, 1971. An Executive Director and General Counsel, Bill Reid, was hired. The first step to building membership was to identify criminal defense lawyers.

TCDLA sought recommendations of well-qualified defense attorneys from district judges, local bar presidents, and members. By October, 250 chartered members agreed to join TCDLA.

Frank Maloney, first president of TCDLA, decides to make a concentrated effort to close the “skills institute gap” of criminal defense attorneys and offers CLE programs in regions across the state. TCDLA also stressed the need for judicial reform and the need to establish intermediate courts of appeal.