Laura Benitez Geisler Elected President-Elect
by Jessica D. Smith
Members of the Dallas Bar Association proudly elected its 2018 officers during the Annual Meeting on November 3.
Laura Benitez Geisler, of The Geisler Law Firm, was elected president-elect and will serve as the Association’s 110th president in 2019.
Ms. Geisler began her service on the DBA Board of Directors in 2007 as President of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers. She was later elected Chair of the Board of Directors in 2015. She currently serves as the Board Advisor to the Lawyer Referral Service Committee and to the Alternative Dispute Resolution and Intellectual Property Law Sections. In addition, Ms. Geisler was the Co-Chair of the 2014-2015 Equal Access to Justice Campaign and she received a DBA Presidential Citation in 2016.
Ms. Geisler is a Fellow of the Dallas Bar Foundation, the Texas Bar Foundation, and the DAYL Foundation. She also served as President of the Dallas Women Lawyers Association in 2003.
Other officers elected at the Annual Meeting were: Robert Tobey, of Johnston Tobey Baruch, elected first vice-president; Aaron Tobin, of Condon Tobin Sladek Thornton, elected second vice-president; and Vicki Blanton, of AT&T, elected secretary-treasurer. Rob Crain, of Crain Lewis Brogdon, will serve as immediate past president and Michael K. Hurst, of Lynn Pinker Cox & Hurst, will serve as president in 2018.
Additionally, on November 8, ballots for director positions were sent to members and six of the following nominees will assume director positions in 2018: Jonathan Childers, Rocío Cristina García Espinoza, Krisi Kastl, Audrey Moorehead, Kathryne (Kate) Morris, Cheryl Camin Murray, Keith Pillers, Kathy Roux, Mary Scott, and Victor Vital. Ballots were due back November 20 and results were not available at press time. The 2018 presidents of the minority bar associations will also serve on the board as Directors, and the president-elects of these associations will serve on the board as Advisory Directors, including the president-elect of the Dallas Women Lawyers Association. The DWLA president will have a director position on the board, in accordance with an amendment to the DBA bylaws that was approved at the meeting.
This year the DBA held a separate Awards Luncheon to honor our DBA award recipients, including the Distinguished Service Award, the Morris Harrell Professionalism Award, the Outstanding Minority Attorney Award, the Jo Anna Moreland Outstanding Committee Chair Award, and the Cathy Maher Special Section Award.
The inaugural DBA Distinguished Service Award recipient was Kim Askew, of K&L Gates. This award, which going forward will be named the Kim Askew Distinguished Service Award, recognizes the DBA member who, through service to the Association and the Dallas community, has shown a lasting dedication to good works—above and beyond the traditional service of DBA members—while promoting good relations among lawyers, the judiciary, and the community.
Each year, the Texas Center for Legal Ethics & Professionalism co-sponsors the presentation of the Morris Harrell Professionalism Award with the DBA. The award was created in 1999 in honor of DBA Past President Morris Harrell to recognize an attorney who best exemplifies, by conduct and character, truly professional traits who others in the bar seek to emulate. This year’s Morris Harrell Professionalism Award recipient was Roy Stacy, of
Stacy Conder Allen LLP.
Kathy Roux, of the Law Office of Kathy E. Roux, Chair of the Minority Participation Committee, and Alex Farr, of Vinson & Elkins LLP, and Keith Pillers, of Bank of Texas, Co-Chairs of the Publications Committee, received the Jo Anna Moreland Outstanding Committee Chair Award. The Intellectual Property Law Section, chaired by Marc Hubbard, of Hubbard Johnston, PLLC, received the Cathy Maher Special Section Award. And, the Outstanding Minority Attorney Award was presented to Jennifer Wang, of Carter Scholer PLLC.
Presidential Citations were also presented to behind-the-scenes members who have faithfully performed often time-consuming tasks for the association. This year’s recipients were Karen McCloud, of Karen D. McCloud, P.C., and David Kent, of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, for their outstanding efforts as Co-Chairs of the 2016-2017 Campaign for Equal Access to Justice benefiting DVAP; Hon. Bonnie Goldstein, of 44th District Court, for her work leading the Jury Appreciation Committee, her help with the Bench Bar Conference, and her dedicated role as the Judicial At-Large Director; Hon. Liz Lang-Miers, of the Fifth District Court of Appeals, for her many years of dedicated service on the DBA Board of Directors as an ABA Delegate; Dena Stroh, of the North Texas Tollway Authority, and Dawn Estes, of Estes Thorne & Carr PLLC, for their work on the Women’s Equality Day Luncheon and Gender Diversity Corporate GC Panel; Erin Nowell, of Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, PC, for her work on the Bench Bar Conference CLE titled “Neuroscience of Decision-Making”; and Robert Tobey, of Johnston Tobey Baruch, P.C., for his work on the DVAP Improvement Committee, Pro Se Assistance, and the DBA Ambassador’s Program; Hon. Karen Gren Scholer, of Carter Scholer PLLC, for her decade of service as the Course Director for the Inspiring Women Program; and Mary Scott, for her six years as Course Director for the Trial Academy and work on the 2017 Bench Bar Conference.
Jessica D. Smith serves as the DBA’s Communications/Media Director. She can be reached at email@example.com.