I have extremely mixed feelings about it. I'm studying law and think there is a lot of merit on both sides of the argument. Before starting formal study, I did a lot of reading at a law library on a legal subfield of particular interest to me. After a year of reading, I could probably pass a certification exam on the rules in that area. On the other hand, now that I'm in law school (started last month), doing the basics on contract and criminal law are causing me to think very differently about the rules of that subfield, which are derived from or influenced by other rules of law.
And in turn, a lot of the first-year legal theory is only superficially about the rules, and more about exploring the many different modes of analysis that can be used to interpret those rules. A lawyer friend advised me 18 months ago that the rules are fairly easy, and that it's not unusual for a good paralegal or legal secretary to know the rules better than a lawyer does, but that the skill of an attorney is more about being able to explore the many possible interpretations from a given set of rules, whether to craft a persuasive argument in a dispute or to avert future disputes by anticipating where misunderstandings might arise and pre-empting them by clarifying ambiguities. So the more law I learn, the less I understand, if you see what I mean. At some point this trend will reverse itself...I hope :-)
So I can sort of understand the Texas approach here. Yes, it does involve a certain amount of nest-feathering by lawyers who wish to keep their services positioned at a high price point and use the ABA standards as an exclusionary filter. But on the other hand, you really don't want a lawyer whose only claim on a license is the ability to remember a large number of rules and apply them to straightforward cases, because that sort of lawyer will treat an unfamiliar problem like a legal dartboard and just try to hit as many rule issues as possible in the hope that one of them will score big. That sort of kitchen-sink strategy is good for intimidation or burying someone in paperwork, but it will fail badly against someone with a really strong analytical capability who will be able to weigh the significance of all the different rules in context and guide a court towards a wise decision rather one that is merely superficially correct. The lawyer with an excessively mechanistic, rules-based approach won't do a really good job for the client , and that undermines the standing of the whole profession. It's like the differences between first aid training, the greater skill of a paramedic or nurse, the deeper knowledge of a doctor, and the really expert knowledge of a surgeon or specialist researcher. All kinds of medical expertise have value in different contexts; you don't want to pay a brain surgeon to treat a minor cut, but nor you do want the camp counselor to operate on your subdural hematoma.