President's Column: Honoring the Profession
Summer is here, and school is out in Dallas. To those of you who participated in the 2010-2011 school year as a mock trial judge, mentor, law in the schools presenter, or any other type of volunteer for Dallas Independent School District, thank you. It is very important that our youth have positive experiences with attorneys. I appreciate our members who devoted their time to helping our local students and who have shown these kids what it means to be a lawyer in our community.
One of our very successful programs is the E-Mentoring Program. This program is a joint initiative of the Dallas Bar Association, Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, and Dallas Independent School District administered by five directors and 15 committee members. The five directors are Allen Butler, Bria Smith-Hofland, Everett New, Mary Goodrich-Nix, Tracy Wolf and Stephanie Zaleskin, and they work this program year in and year out. We are very lucky to have such passionate and involved directors. Thank you for your hard work.
In this program, students from 10 different Dallas ISD high schools are paired with local attorneys. Generally, the students involved in the program are seeking to become the first members of their family to go to college, and the purpose of the program is to provide the students with adult resource who will encourage them to stay in school, graduate, and go on to college. Whenever possible, the E-Mentoring program tries to keep mentors with the same students from year to year.
Right now, we have 275 lawyers mentoring 455 students. The primary form of communication between mentors and their students is email, but the best results occur when the mentors take the time to go out to the school periodically to meet with their kids face to face. These positive and well-developed relationships make a difference. For example, at W.W. Samuell High School this year, each and every one of the 24 graduating seniors who participated in the E-Mentoring Program will be attending college in the fall. This is quite an accomplishment for the students and for the mentors who committed themselves to these young men and women.
If you would like to join the program and become an E-Mentor or if you are a mentor and would like to serve on the committee, please log on to www. dbamentor.org. The summer is a great time to get on board for the next school year.
Law Students and Summer Clerks
As schools close their doors for the summer, we members of the Dallas Bar will open ours and invite high school and law school students into our offices for summer clerkships and into the Belo Mansion for a number of special summer events. First, the Pro Bono Activities Committee, Chaired by Amanda Todd, of Cash America International, Inc., will host the Law Student Pro Bono Luncheon on June 3, 2011 to introduce summer clerks to the pro bono opportunities in Dallas. Then, the Morris Harrell Professionalism Committee, co-chaired by Rhonda Hunter of the Law Office of Rhonda Hunter, and Hon. Douglas Lang of the Fifth District Court of Appeals, will put on the Law Student Professionalism Program on June 9, 2011, to discuss professionalism issues and expose future lawyers to the expectations of the Dallas legal community. On June 17, the Minority Participation Committee, chaired by Tino Ramirez, will host the first of two Minority Clerkship Luncheons to welcome our summer clerks to the Dallas and encourage them to return to Dallas to practice law. Thank you to all our members who have put time into these events for our summer clerks and law students.
On a personal level, I really like these programs. I enjoy making contact with law students before they enter the workforce, inviting them to practice law in Dallas, and teaching them how we practice law in Dallas. I want them to will feel welcome here, and I hope they will want to work here when they become lawyers. As the Dallas Bar lays out the welcome mat at Belo for the youth of our profession, I encourage you to do the same thing at your offices and to bring your clerks for these important events.
2011 Academy of American and International Lawyers Reception
I must extend a special thank you to Tino Ramirez of Ramirez & Associates, chair of the DBA International Law Section, all the members of the International Law Section, and Dedman School of Law for hosting a reception on May 19, 2011, for the lawyers participating in the 2011 Academy of American and International Law of the Center for American and International Law in Plano. The reception was attended by a number of our members, law students, and an elite group of international lawyers who are in town for a six-week course which serves as an introduction into American law and process.
I am thrilled we were able to co-host this event and bring together lawyers from around the globe and let them know they are welcome in Dallas, Texas, and that the Dallas Bar wants to be a part of the global legal community.
Thank you all for your hard work in 2011 to make this year special and successful.