Dallas Bar Association

President's Column

Honoring the Profession

I am delighted to serve the Dallas Bar Association as its 102nd President. From working within the organization for years, I have come to know that the DBA provides us with the ability to develop a strong legal community within our large city, and it also helps us to find ways to effectively serve the larger community.

Welcome to the Dallas Bar Association and the Belo Mansion

The Belo Mansion is an embassy where lawyers are welcome to meet, share stories and experiences and learn from each other. Once they are here, lawyers find camaraderie within the profession, but they also find that there are opportunities to positively impact a variety of people including children, impoverished individuals and families, and young lawyers through our many volunteer initiatives, legal services and mentoring programs. Because of the collective power of so many lawyers working together to achieve these goals, the benefits of their generosity and expertise reverberate throughout the city of Dallas and the surrounding area. The charitable work is rewarding and the results are inspiring. One of my personal goals for 2011 is to encourage your participation in the Dallas Bar Association and illustrate the benefits of participation both to you and to our community at large.

Honoring the Profession

My theme for 2011 is “Honoring the Profession.” I believe that the rule of law is the most important pillar of both our nation and state. Lawyers, judges and legislators have great responsibility to this rule of law, and to the citizens who rely on us, as we represent, protect, interpret and advocate. What we do for a living is important. The DBA is in a very special position as a large, well-organized, non-political, non-partisan, non-profit organization to enable our membership to become outstanding lawyers and to help our membership to contribute to our society. It is my hope that initiatives of the DBA in 2011 will “honor the profession” by providing exceptional services and events to the body of our membership so that our membership may provide exceptional services to the entire community. As our organization continues to grow and improve from within by educating, mentoring, and collaborating with other lawyers, we will continue to find ourselves in the position to collectively affect the quality of life throughout our city as only a group of lawyers can. 

DBA Board of Directors

I am particularly excited to introduce you to the individuals who will comprise the Board of Directors with me during 2011. They have dedicated years of their time and energy to the DBA and its sister organizations; the importance of that contribution cannot be overstated. The Board provides the DBA with insight and understanding as it evolves and changes to meet the needs of its members and the community. In 2011, we will continue our work to enhance the experience of being a member of the DBA. The officers for 2011 are Paul Stafford, President-Elect; Sally Crawford, First Vice President; Scott McElhaney, Second Vice President; Sean Hamada, Secretary-Treasurer; and Ike Vanden Eykel, Immediate Past President. The Members of the Board of Directors are Jerry Alexander, Penny Brobst Blackwell (President, Dallas Association of Young Lawyers), Eric Blue (President, J.L. Turner Legal Association), Frank Carroll, Rob Crain, Laura Benitez Geisler, Honorable Martin Hoffman, Michael K. Hurst, Karen McCloud, Eunice Kim Nakamura (President, Dallas Asian American Bar Association),Mary L. Scott, Hon. Teresa Guerra Snelson (President, Dallas Hispanic Bar Association), Diane Sumoski, Brad C. Weber andMichele Wong Krause. I welcome those of you who are new to the Board, and look forward to professionalism, collegiality and respect as we work together on behalf of this great organization.

My good friend, Executive Director Cathy Maher, and the exceptional DBA staff provide the stability, guidance and hard work which allows the DBA to continue its tradition of excellence. It will be an absolute privilege to work directly with them this year.

Join a Section or Committee

The Sections and Committees are essentially the arms and legs of the DBA. I am thankful to the capable, excellent lawyers who have agreed to chair the Sections and Committees during 2011. I know that it is an enormous commitment, and I appreciate you. I am very proud of the group we have assembled this year, and I am excited to see the results of their work as the year progresses.

The Sections are small groups categorized into specific fields of practice. They provide members with an invaluable service—a CLE program, usually once a month, on a specific and relevant topic area, for free, during lunch, close to home and presented by a local expert. They also have a number of outstanding social activities. Personally, I am a member of the Criminal Law Section. Every time I go to a Section meeting and hear a presentation from one of my colleagues, I learn something new about the law, I meet new lawyers and I leave with an appreciation for the opportunity to have such quality legal education so accessible. If you are not a member of a Section, I would strongly encourage you to find the Section that is right for you and join it. It’s not too late. If you send dues in to the DBA, and state which Section you would like to join, you will be included on that Section’s e-mail list with notices of meetings, CLE’s and social events. The Sections are an excellent, and relatively casual way, to become more involved with the Dallas Bar Association.

The Committees are purely volunteer-oriented groups. The Committees provide diverse services within the Dallas Bar Association and throughout the community. . If you would like to become involved in one of these many Committees, please contact the Chair of the Committee that interests you and tell them you would like to be involved. The success of the Committees is directly proportional to the commitment of its members, so I would encourage you to join a Committee that relates to an issue, group or activity which inspires you.


I hope to see many of you at the Inaugural Celebration on January 15, 2011. I look forward to sharing the evening with you, and I thank you for your involvement with the Dallas Bar Association and your commitment to “Honoring the Profession.”

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