Dallas Bar Association

Honoring the Profession

In this section of Headnotes, I often address the membership to discuss upcoming events, celebrate successful programs, and give credit to the members and staff who make it happen. This month, I am happy to have the opportunity to also address those of you who may not be members of the Dallas Bar Association.

Join the DBA

If you are not a member of the Dallas Bar Association, we want you to become a member. We are proud to have over 10,000 members, and we are proud of how active our members are in the legal community and the community at large, but we want more members. Lunch at the Belo Mansion features high-caliber lawyers presenting free CLEs on advanced legal topics. Our Equal Access to Justice Campaign provides the financial backing for the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program so that our members work together to provide meaningful representation to the poor and disenfranchised. Our programs reach from schoolchildren to elected officials and everything in between. We could not do what we do without the diverse, talented, committed members who make up the Dallas Bar Association.  

When you become a new member, the scope of the Dallas Bar Association can be overwhelming. I would recommend you introduce yourself to the association by attending CLEs tailored to your specific practice area. If you do that, you will immediately realize the benefits of membership while you become aware of the many networking and service opportunities the DBA offers.   

Thank you for taking an interest in the Dallas Bar.  

Appealing to the Public

Appealing to the Public is an excellent program that fulfills every purpose of our DBA mission statement. We invite the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas, Texas, to hear live oral arguments out in the community, and we invite students from local schools to watch the arguments. To supplement the experience, the students are provided resources before the oral argument so they can gain an understanding of the issues that will be addressed. There will also be experienced lawyers, not participating in the case, who will provide an introduction to the legal system before the argument and a question-and-answer session at the close of the argument. This year, the case will be heard at 12:30 p.m., September 29, 2011, in the Pavilion at the Belo Mansion. 

Many people deserve thanks and recognition for their contributions to this event. First and foremost, we thank the Justices of the Fifth District Court of Appeals for accepting our invitation to hear arguments outside of their courtroom. We appreciate the lawyers who consent to present their arguments to a larger audience. The program itself would not exist if not for the hard work of Mark Sales, of Dykema, who coordinated the first event during his year as President of the DBA in 2006. Appealing to the Public continues to thrive with the sponsorship of the Dallas Bar Foundation, chaired by Rob Roby, of Curran Tomko Tarski. Each year, the Law in the Schools Committee, chaired this year by Mark Melton, of Hunton & Williams, organizes the event. Thanks to everyone who makes this special event possible. 

ABA Trial Program

The ABA Trial Practice Committee, through Ladd Hirsch, of Diamond McCarthy, and the Dallas Bar Association Business Litigation Section, chaired by Aimee Fagan, of McKool Smith, are co-sponsoring a CLE program called Great Openings - Great Closings on September 6 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. with a reception to follow.

Mr. Hirsch has assembled an impressive panel which includes seasoned litigators, and a well-known trial consultant. The program will begin with remarks and reflections on what makes an opening statement and closing argument great. Then, the participating lawyers, Tom Melsheimer, of Fish & Richardson; Charla Aldous, of the Aldous Law Firm; and Leon Carter, of Munck Carter, will provide background and context from a specific trial and then perform an excerpt from an actual opening statement or closing argument from that past trial. After what’s sure to be a tremendous display of advocacy skills, Tara Trask will share her perspective from her vast experiences as a trial consultant.

This is the type of star-studded CLE panel we at the Dallas Bar are proud to present to our members. Thanks to those who made it happen, and thanks to those participating. I hope to see you there. If you are a trial lawyer, you will not want to miss this.

Bench Bar

Please join us at the Marriott Horseshoe Bay Resort in the Texas Hill Country September 22-24. This is a great opportunity to get to know your colleagues in an informal setting with great CLEs and fun activities. Thank you to Co-Chairs Andy Payne, of Payne Mitchell Law Group L.L.P.; Dawn Estes, of Taber Estes Thorne & Carr PLLC; Steve Bolden, of Mahomes Bolden Warren Sigmon PC; Hon. Elizabeth Frizell; Deborah M. Perry, of Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, P.C.; and Rudy Rodriguez, of Gruber Hurst Johansen & Hail, LLP, for organizing what is sure to be an exciting event. I am personally looking forward to celebrating this year’s recipient of the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award, Mark Werbner, of Sayles Werbner. I hope to see lawyers from all practice areas and judges from every courthouse, together at Horseshoe Bay, enjoying each other’s company.

Visit the Dallas Bar

If it has been a while since you have come to visit the Dallas Bar Association headquarters, look at the calendar online at www.dallasbar.org, find something that interests you, and come by for lunch. We look forward to seeing you soon at Belo Mansion.   

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