Throughout this past year, Frank Stevenson, Chair of the Dallas Bar Foundation, spoke on several occasions to DBF Fellows, scholarship and clerkship donors, and law student mentors about their true mission—“the believing in people business.” He commented that their generosity of time and financial resources allowed the Dallas Bar Foundation to award a record number of clerkships and scholarships to area law students this year. He noted that as a result of their beneficence, the law students who were selected to receive these clerkships and scholarships developed a sense of confidence they would not otherwise have, except for the fact that people believed in them. At the annual Clerkship Luncheon in August, Mr. Stevenson acknowledged that the clerkships would not have been possible without the willingness of judges and attorneys to mentor the law students and he thanked the mentors in attendance.
The Justice James A. Baker Clerkship at the Supreme Court of Texas with Chief Justice Nathan Hecht was awarded to Henrik Strand, 2L Texas A&M University School of Law. At the conclusion of his clerkship, Mr. Strand was selected for a one-year, post-graduation clerkship with Texas Supreme Court Justice John Devine. The recipient of the Collins Clerkship at the Supreme Court of Texas with Justice Eva Guzman was Cyndy MacMahon, 2L SMU Dedman School of Law. Both Mr. Strand and Ms. MacMahon were named Coleman Scholars with the Higginbotham Inn of Court for 2017. The DBF also awarded the Bob Mow Judicial Internship at the U.S. District Court and the Stephen Philbin Media Law Clerkship, which is the only one of its kind offered in Texas. Additionally, nine students were selected to receive the Judge Nikki DeShazo and Edward Smith Probate Clerkships and seven other Collins Clerkships were awarded to minority law students.
The Baker Clerkship selection committee members are all DBF Fellows and included: David Luther, of K&L Gates LLP; Steve Russell, of Russell &Wright, PLLC; and Trisha DeLeon, of Gruber Hail Johansen Shank LLP. The Bob Mow Judicial Internship Committee was chaired by Kim Askew, of K&L Gates LLP, who was joined by Greg Taylor, of Diamond McCarthy, LLP, and Bobby Rubarts, of Koning Rubarts LLP, all of whom are DBF Fellows. Susan Philbin was able to personally thank the DBF Fellows serving on the Stephen Philbin Media Law Clerkship Committee. Russ Coleman, of Dean Foods, served as chair, and was joined for the second year by Christine Larkin, of The Dallas Morning News, and Paul Watler, of Jackson Walker, L.L.P. DBF Trustees, Victor Corpuz, of Jackson Lewis P.C., and Steve Bolden, from Mahomes Bolden PC, were joined on the Collins Clerkship Committee by Hughes Scholar, Elisabeth Wilson.
The Judge Sarah T. Hughes Diversity Scholarship remains the signature program for the DBF. There were a total of seven Hughes Scholars attending law school at the three area law schools in Spring 2017. For the past 32 years, the DBA Bar None Company has raised funds to support the Sarah T. Hughes Diversity Scholarship through their annual variety show. At the Bar None/Hughes Scholar luncheon in October, Tom Mighell, of Contoural, Inc. and Martha Hofmeister, of Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP, announced that Bar None XXXII, Law Law Land, had raised over $85,000 for the scholarships this year bringing the cumulative total for Bar None to almost $2 million. The new Hughes Scholar, Collin Phillips, who started at SMU Dedman School of Law this fall, was introduced.
For the seventh consecutive year, the DBF hosted “An Evening With” program, which benefits the Sarah T. Hughes Diversity Scholarships. This year, DBF Trustee, Talmage Boston, of Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP served as Chair of the event. In addition, he led the on-stage interview for An Evening with Jon Meacham.
The 2017 Grants Committee was chaired by Ms. Askew, with Mr. Boston serving as Vice-Chair. They were joined on the committee by Wei Wei Jeang, of Grable Martin Fulton PLLC, and Brad Weber, of Locke Lord LLP. Grant requests are thoroughly evaluated to determine that the requests are aligned with the mission of the Dallas Bar Foundation. The Board of Trustees were able to meet several beneficiaries of the grant awards to learn about the positive impact of the programs that were selected.
A partial list of grant awards this year include:
· DBA High School Mock Trial program, which is organized and supported by DBA members. Local attorneys and judges volunteer many hours each year to host and judge the state-wide high school competition. The winning school advances to the national competition.
· Dallas Urban Debate Alliance, which provides debate instruction, debate competition, and attorney mentors to DISD students who would not otherwise have had an opportunity to participate on a debate team.
· Dallas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) in support of their initiative to recruit volunteers who are approved with a background check to represent the children’s best interests in court proceedings.
· Family Law Clinic at SMU Dedman School of Law, which provides pro bono legal services for complex family law cases and which also provides practical training for law students.
· IGNITE, an after-school civics program for high school girls, which encourages their understanding of the political process, and the importance of having women involved in leadership positions as elected officials.