The UPLC was organized in 1952 as a standing committee of the State Bar of Texas. In 1979, the Texas legislature amended the State Bar Act to require that the UPLC be appointed by the Texas Supreme Court. The UPLC is comprised of nine lawyers and lay persons who are appointed for three year terms. The UPLC is authorized to investigate and eliminate the unauthorized practice of law. The UPLC is not authorized to issue advisory opinions regarding what constitutes UPL. Members of the UPLC provide their time and service free of charge as a public service.
The UPLC has divided the state of Texas into five regions, Northern, Central, Southern, Eastern and Western. The UPLC has created 37 district subcommittees within such regions. The UPLC appoints chairpersons for the regions and the district subcommittees. The busiest district subcommittees in the state are Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi. As of May 2002, the UPLC was investigating around 350 complaints of UPL across the state.
The district subcommittees are comprised of lawyers and lay persons. The subcommittee members investigate UPL complaints and make recommendations to the subcommittee. The subcommittee either resolves the complaint or makes a recommendation to the UPLC regarding whether to file suit to enjoin the unauthorized practice of law. The lawyers who represent the UPLC in lawsuits do so pro bono, meaning as a public service free of charge.