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Dallas Bar Foundation – Making a Difference

Tue, 11/20/2018 - 10:59 -- admin25

Staff Report

Victor Corpuz, of Jackson Lewis P.C., Chair of the Dallas Bar Foundation, began the year with a grant presentation, on behalf of the DBF Trustees, to the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program Endowment. The $50,000 board-directed grant aligns with the mission of the DBF to support legal aid for the underserved and will help ensure the long term mission of DVAP. Mr. Corpuz announced this significant grant award at the 27th Annual Fellows Luncheon where Tom Leatherbury, of Vinson & Elkins LLP, was presented with the 2018 Fellows Justinian Award.

As is the tradition at the Annual Fellows Luncheon, the Justice James A. Baker Clerkship recipient was announced by David Luther, of K&L Gates LLP, who serves as the Chair of the selection committee. The six-week clerkship at the Supreme Court of Texas with Chief Justice Nathan Hecht was awarded to Klayton Hiland, 2L SMU Dedman School of Law. The recipient of the 2018 Collins Clerkship at the Supreme Court of Texas with Justice Eva Guzman was Kevin Hernandez, 2L Texas A&M University School of Law. Kim Askew, of K&L Gates, and DBF Trustee, introduced Jordan Curry, 2L, Texas A&M University School of Law, who was selected for the Bob Mow Judicial Internship at the U.S. District Court with Judge David Godbey.

In September, the recipient of the Stephen Philbin Media Law Fellowship was introduced at the Philbin Awards Luncheon by Russ Coleman, of Dean Foods, and Chair of the selection committee. Jenna Johnson, 2L, Texas A&M University School of Law, was selected for the six-week fellowship which is the only media law fellowship offered in Texas. Christine Larkin, of The Dallas Morning News, and Paul Watler, of Jackson Walker LLP served as mentors for Jenna during the fellowship.

Additionally, nine students were selected to receive the Judge Nikki DeShazo and Edward Smith Probate Clerkships while an additional seven Collins Clerkships were awarded to minority law students.

Several DBF Fellows serve on the various selection committees. They include Steve Russell, of Russell &Wright, PLLC; Trisha DeLeon, of Holland & Knight LLP; Greg Taylor, of Diamond McCarthy, LLP; and Bobby Rubarts, of Koning Rubarts LLP. Steve Bolden, of Mahomes Bolden PC, serves as the Collins Clerkship Chair and is joined on the committee by Mr. Corpuz and Gabe Vazquez, of Vistra Energy.

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 and six Hughes Scholars are enrolled for the Fall semester. For the past 33 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 November October, Tom Mighell, of Contoural, Inc., and Martha Hofmeister, of Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP, announced that Bar None XXXIII had raised over $85,000 for the scholarships this year bringing the cumulative total for Bar None to $2.03 million. The new Hughes Scholars, Maia Bartee, Semaj Garrett, and Ashleigh Williams were introduced. Ken Mighell, of Cowles & Thompson, was presented with this year’s recognition award for his long-term commitment to the success of Bar None, having worked on the fund-raising committee for over 20 years.

For the eighth consecutive year, the DBF hosted the “Evening With” program to benefit the Sarah T. Hughes Diversity Scholarships. This year’s speaker was Ron Chernow. DBF Trustee, Talmage Boston, of Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP, served as Chair of the event, in addition to leading the on-stage interview with Mr. Chernow in front of the sold-out audience. Toyota was the Presenting Sponsor for this year’s event. Ellen Farrell, of Toyota Motor North America, Inc., spoke about the importance of supporting these outstanding Hughes Scholars after graduation from law school.

The 2018 Grants Committee was chaired by Mr. Boston, with Brad Weber, of Locke Lord LLP, serving as Vice-Chair. They were joined on the committee by Aubrey Connatser, Connatser Family Law, and Wei Wei Jeang, of Grable Martin Fulton PLLC and. 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 grant awards.

A partial list of grant awards this year include:

  • DBA Diversity Summit – Shaping Agents of Change, a one day summit focused on increasing the diversity of the legal profession in Dallas
  • 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.
  • Genesis Women’s Shelter Client Legal Assistance Program, which provides for the cost of legal expenses associated with their clients’ legal battles to leave their abuser.
  • IGNITE, for the expansion of an after-school civics program at DISD Kathlyn Joy Academy for high school girls. The program encourages the students’ understanding of the political process, and the importance of having women involved in leadership positions as elected officials.
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