Presidents Column: Honoring the Profession
Before this year began, I chose “Honoring the Profession” as my theme for 2011. The decision was based upon my experience as a lawyer who has practiced in Dallas for my entire legal career. I believe the right to trial by jury, the right to counsel, and the rule of law are the principles that make our country great. I know that in this city, our lawyers and our judges provide this noble and constitutional service to the community with great skill and passion. I have seen courage in the courtroom in the form of advocacy and decisions. Local businesses grow with sound advice and strong contracts. Families are guided through the process of healing, growing, and preparing for the future. Injured people are made whole. Ideas are protected. We work for the pursuit of justice.
I feel fortunate to have a job which gives me a sense of purpose in my life. I am proud of what it means to be a lawyer in this society, and I am grateful that I can say most of my good friends in this world are lawyers, too. I have always been impressed with the efforts and results of the fine legal practitioners who work in this city.
Although I have been a long time member of the Dallas Bar Association and an officer for the past five years, it was not until I took this position that I realized exactly how much more our lawyers do for Dallas than practice law when we become members of the Dallas Bar Association. As lawyers in Dallas, we work alone, with our partners, or within our firms to serve our clients. As members of the Dallas Bar Association, we work together with the 10,000 other members of the DBA to serve our community and to serve each other.
Japanese poet Ryunosuke Satoro said, “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” We are only halfway through 2011, but I would like for you to know what you and your fellow members have accomplished so far.
- You built an entire house with the DBA Home Project, and a Dallas family is now living there.
- You provided over 240 hours of continuing legal education to your colleagues through your sections and committees.
- You mentored 88 young lawyers in the Transition to Law Program and Minority Participation Program.
- You touched the lives of more than 13,500 DISD students through Law in the Schools, E-Mentoring, Summer Law Intern Program, and the Mock Trial Competition.
- You served over 3,500 people who would otherwise not be able to afford legal representation with free legal counsel and advice through the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program.
- You answered over 720 calls requesting legal advice through Legalline.
- You presented the public with two important political debates through the Public Forum Committee.
- You helped 5,750 people find representation through the Lawyer Referral Service.
- You put on a Golf Tournament and raised over $40,000 for DVAP, and produced the Bar None variety show to raise money for minority scholarships—two great causes that also give our members an opportunity to have some fun.
- You have supported the diversity of our membership and promoted inclusion of all members.
Your list of accomplishments so far this year is simply amazing. It has taken a great commitment of time, money, and effort from so many members to realize these benefits to the community. I wish I could acknowledge and thank each one of you individually, and I hope that you all appreciate how important your contribution is to the Dallas Bar Association, Dallas ISD, and the City of Dallas.
What I find most impressive is that you participate in these activities, charities, programs, and events in addition to what you do as an attorney in this town. First and foremost, we are all individual lawyers with court dates and mediations; clients and opposing counsel; husbands, wives, and children; and many other responsibilities. When you participate in the Dallas Bar Association, whether mentoring a high school student, presenting a CLE to your colleagues, providing legal advice to less fortunate members of our society, or serving on the board of directors, you do it in conjunction with the good work you do in your law practice. I am awed by the extra effort I see from so many of you.
When I took on this position in January, I felt that “Honoring the Profession” was an appropriate theme because of the function we as lawyers serve in our society. I now feel that is an appropriate theme for what we do collectively, in addition to our practice, here at this special place we know as the Dallas Bar Association.
Thank you all for all of your hard work throughout the first half of the year, and I look forward to your energy and participation for the last half of it.