Carmen McTaggart: Dallas Lawyers Auxiliary President
by Elisabeth A. Wilson
Carmen McTaggart’s warm, gracious personality is being put to good use as she leads the Dallas Lawyers Auxiliary (DLA) in the organization’s service to the bar and the community. She is the 85th president of the DLA, a civic, philanthropic and social organization with more than 100 members that enjoys a rich history and treasured relationship with the Dallas Bar Association. The DLA strives to promote public awareness and appreciation for the American legal system and lends its support to educational and civic enterprises, particularly those that are law-related. The organization seeks to bring Dallas lawyers and their spouses into closer fellowship with one another.
Carmen is the wife of Robert McTaggart, an attorney with McTaggart & Associates in Dallas, who practices real estate law and is board certified in Commercial Real Estate. Carmen is a flight attendant with Southwest Airlines and the proud mother of a 9-year-old son. She enjoys cooking, gardening and decorating. She has been a devoted member of the DLA for 23 years and has served on the organization’s Board of Directors several times.
Carmen is looking forward to her year as President of the DLA and has chosen “friendship” as her theme. She envisions the DLA members creating new friendships—and rekindling old ones—as they work together to encourage each other and serve the community with a positive spirit. Her own positive outlook is captured in her explanation of her favorite accessory. “I always wear pearls,” she said. “Pearls were little aggravations that turned out to be very beautiful. It’s a reminder of how going through difficult life experiences can make you grow into something beautiful.” Carmen’s upbeat personality will set the tone for the DLA membership and the year will surely be peppered with her favorite inspirational quotes.
The DLA hosts many events and projects in which Carmen enjoys participating. Carmen is most proud of the “Now You Are 18” pamphlet, which the DLA has published since 1987. “Now You Are 18” is a copyrighted legal education pamphlet that explains some of the new rights acquired as an adult, areas of the law that all adults should know about, as well as the legal obligations that accompany reaching legal age in the state of Texas. The pamphlet is distributed to high school seniors throughout Texas. Approximately 1.75 million free pamphlets have been distributed since the inception of the project in 1987.Carmen is proud to note that women from around the state who have gone on to become members of the DLA recall receiving the pamphlet in their youth. The pamphlet can be ordered on the DLA’s website at www.dallaslawyersauxiliary.org.
Each fall, the DLA awards law school scholarships funded by the DLA’s Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law Endowed Scholarship Fund. This year at the September general meeting, two students were awarded scholarships based on academic excellence. Carmen relishes the DLA’s long-standing spring tradition of presenting the prestigious Justinian Award, which honors a member of the Dallas Bar Association for his or her superior volunteer commitment to the Dallas community. The 2011 recipient will be honored at a luncheon on April 27, 2011.
Each year the DLA President chooses two charities as the focus of their philanthropic work. This year, Carmen has chosen the Ronald McDonald House and the SPCA. Members of the DLA are involved in many philanthropic activities and non-profit organizations, including Dallas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, Girl’s Inc. and Community Partners of Dallas.
One of the DLA activities that Carmen looks forward to the most is decorating the Belo Mansion in November for the holiday season. Her eyes shine with anticipation at the joy of applying her creative flair to the task of adding festive holiday cheer to the Belo Mansion, beloved home of our Dallas Bar Association. The DLA also hosted the Dallas Bar Association’s Family Christmas Party at the Belo Mansion this year.
Carmen is a warm and welcoming leader with a heart of gold whose year of service to the DLA will surely be marked with camaraderie and excitement as each project unfolds.
Elisabeth A. Wilson is an Associate at Winstead PC in the Business Restructuring/Bankruptcy group and is a member of the DBA Publications Committee. She can be reached at email@example.com.