by Kim J. Askew
Beverly B. Godbey is a worthy recipient of the 2017 Fellows Justinian Award. Indeed, few lawyers can match her tremendous volunteer service while maintaining the highest principles and traditions of the legal profession. From advising clients in complex lawsuits and boardrooms to leading the Dallas Bar Association or State Bar of Texas in some of its most important work, Beverly is virtually everywhere in the legal profession and community. She combines an outstanding reputation for excellence as a lawyer with a strong commitment to pro bono, bar and community service. And she does it all with a grace and exuberance that is an example for all.
Beverly is the consummate advisor and counselor to her clients. She has long represented clients in complex commercial litigation and insurance coverage issues. David Brickman, General Counsel for Capital Senior Living Corporation with whom she has worked for over 15 years, spoke of her "wise counsel" and described her as "one of the best in her field." Frank Risch, another long-time client, praised Beverly's "depth of knowledge” and the confidence she gives her clients as they make tough decisions. Holland O'Neil, Chair of the Board of Directors of Gardere, spoke of the tremendous contributions Beverly has made to Gardere over the course of her career. "Beverly consistently demonstrates the best values of our profession. Her character is the highest. She is dedicated to serving our clients while being committed to the community and pro bono service."
Beverly has been a leader from the moment she came into the profession. She began her leadership as President of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers and was one of the Founding Fellows of the DAYL Foundation. She later became President of the Dallas Bar Association and served as Chair of the Board of the State Bar of Texas. She is effective because she understands people and the institutions she serves. Cathy Maher, recently retired Executive Director of the Dallas Bar Association spoke effusively of Beverly's service. "She has led the Dallas Bar Association, Dallas Bar Foundation, DBA Equal Access to Justice Commission and the Texas Equal Access to Justice Commission. She works to improve the profession."
As Chair of the Dallas Bar Foundation, Beverly helped to expand the reach of the Foundation, especially through the Sarah T. Hughes Diversity scholarships. Rhonda Hunter, former Dallas Bar President and current Chief of the Juvenile Division of the Dallas District Attorney's Office, describes Beverly "as an ardent supporter of Bar None and the scholarship program. This diversity program is near and dear to Bev’s heart and you see it through her commitment.” Beverly also helped to develop the Foundation’s "Evening With" program, which supports the scholarships.
Beverly has always found time for pro bono work and she undertakes challenging representations. She currently represents five unaccompanied minors from Central America as part of her work with the Human Rights Initiative. These siblings, ages 3 to 12, are seeking asylum in the United States as they flee gang violence and murder. Beverly undertook this representation because she believes that "children should grow up in a place where they can play and go to school without fear of losing their lives." Another recent pro bono representation is for the Elder Financial Safety Center of Senior Source, where she represents senior adults who have been victims of scams and fraud.
She has long been committed to issues involving children. All of us have seen her as she represents the lawyers of Gardere in honoring young students with the MLK Oratory award. She cheers them on and proudly assists them in explaining their winning essays. There is a budding future lawyer or community leader who will one day walk into the Belo and recall their memories of a lawyer named Beverly Godbey and their MLK Day at the Belo.
The community and profession have long honored Beverly. She is listed among our state’s top lawyers as a Best Lawyer and Super Lawyer. In 2011, The Anti-Defamation League honored her with its Larry Schoenbrun Jurisprudence Award. She has also received the Pro Bono Appreciation Award and Equal Access to Justice Rainmaker Award.
Beverly is especially proud of her family. She has been married for 26 years to Judge David Godbey, United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. They are the proud parents of John and Ruth, both graduates of Duke University. John works as an electrical engineer and Ruth as a biomedical engineer.
Beverly sets the standards for excellence and professionalism in all she does. She now joins the ranks of stellar lawyers who define the standards of the Fellows Justinian Award.
Join us as we honor Beverly at the Fellows Justinian Luncheon on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, noon at the Belo Mansion. For tickets, contact Elizabeth Philipp at (214) 220-7487.
Kim J. Askew is a partner at K&L Gates, LLP. She is the recipient of the DBA's Martin Luther King Justice Award and the Morris Harrell Professionalism Award. She can be reached at email@example.com.