Dallas Bar Association

High-Profile Criminal Defense Attorney Thomas Mesereau, Jr. to be Keynote Speaker at Philbin Awards

by Jessica D. Smith

Celebrating its 28th year, the Stephen Philbin Awards Luncheon will be held Monday, October 17, 2011 at the Belo Mansion. The Philbin Awards, started in 1983 by the Dallas Bar Association, recognizes local news journalists for their excellence in legal reporting.

This luncheon is a way to honor not only the local media, but also the memory of Stephen Philbin who lost his battle with leukemia in 1982. A long-time member of the Dallas Bar Association and a partner with the firm of Locke, Purnell, Boren, Laney & Neely, at the time of his death, Mr. Philbin was a leading authority on media law in Texas. He advised major publications and broadcast companies on libel law, regulations and licensing of broadcast properties, and fair comment rulings.

In honor of his contributions to media law in the Dallas area, the Philbin and Brock families, acting through the Dallas Bar Foundation, fund the annual Philbin Awards, with the DBA Media Relations Committee coordinating the event.

Numerous entries have been received for the 2011 competition, including TV news reports from major network affiliates, radio stations and both print and on-line news and feature articles from the area’s large metro newspapers, magazines and suburban publications.

The winners will be announced at the Stephen Philbin Awards Luncheon on Monday, October 17, at the Pavilion at the Belo Mansion. The luncheon is open to judges and lawyers and all members of the media

The keynote speaker for this year’s luncheon will be Thomas A. Mesereau, Jr., of Mesereau & Yu, LLP, a high-profile Los Angeles criminal defense attorney best known for acquitting the late music legend, Michael Jackson, in the most-watched trial in legal history.

Mr. Mesereau is widely recognized as one of the best trial lawyers in the country. He has been selected as one of “The Best Lawyers in America” and has been listed as one of the “One Hundred Most Influential Attorneys in California” by the Los Angeles Daily Journal. He was also named “Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year”by the Century City Bar Association.

Barbara Walters named Mr. Mesereau one of the year’s “Ten Most Fascinating People,” for his trial excellence and commitment to representing the underprivileged. He is widely recognized for his 25 years of pro bono service to the poor and underrepresented. Mr. Mesereau is a well-known presence in the African-American community where he operates a free legal clinic and assists local organizations and churches in drug recovery and youth counseling. For the past 12 years, he has defended at least one death penalty case on a pro bono basis. Additionally, Mr. Mesereau founded and helps operate a free legal clinic for the poor in south central Los Angeles.

Mr. Mesereau has received numerous awards and commendations from bar associations, law schools, the city of Los Angeles, the county of Los Angeles, churches, secondary schools, colleges, businesses and civil rights organizations for his excellence as a trial lawyer and devotion to equal justice for all.

 DBA members can reserve their seats now for the 2011 Stephen Philbin Awards Luncheon on Monday, October 17. Tickets are $40; or tables of 10 can be purchased for $400. No walk-ins will be allowed. Don’t miss this exciting event! Purchase your ticket by logging on to www.dallasbar.org/philbins or by contacting Judi Smalling at 214-220-7452 (or at jsmalling@dallasbar.org).


Jessica D. Smith is the DBA’s Communications/Media Director. She can be reached at jsmith@dallasbar.org.

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