Shonn Brown and Aaron Tobin Named Co-Chairs of Campaign
Wayne Watts Named Honorary Chair
by Jessica D. Smith
A. Shonn Brown and Aaron Z. Tobin have been named Co-Chairs of the 2013-2014 Equal Access to Justice Campaign benefiting the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program (DVAP) and Wayne Watts, of AT&T,has been named Honorary Chair.
“Shonn and Aaron will make a great team to lead this year’s Equal Access to Justice Campaign and we are really excited to have Wayne as our Honorary Chair. AT&T has long been a strong advocate and major donor to the Campaign and both Shonn and Aaron have been involved in the Campaign for many years. Wayne, AT&T, Shonn and Aaron are all dedicated to the mission of providing legal aid to those less fortunate in our community. I am looking forward to working with all of them and to another successful Campaign,” said DBA President Sally Crawford.
Mr. Watts, Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel of AT&T, is a member of the Texas Access to Justice Commission, which strives to expand civil legal aid resources to low-income Texans. He also received the Business Leaders Award from Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas at the 12th Annual Women’s Advocacy Awards in May 2012. Under his leadership, the legal department of AT&T is a finalist in the Pro Bono category for the General Counsel Forum Magna Stella Award.
In addition, he is a member of the Development Board at the University of Texas at Arlington and the advisory boards of the SMU Dedman School of Law and the Salvation Army’s Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex Command.
“I am happy to be a part of this endeavor,” said Mr.Watts. “It is imperative for our legal community to ensure those who are less fortunate have access to legal services, and the DVAP Campaign for Equal Access to Justice plays a large part in this goal.”
Ms. Brown, a partner with Gruber Hurst Johansen Hail Shank LLP, has been a dynamic supporter for the Campaign for many years, not only donating personally, but also serving as Co-Chair of the Corporate Division in 2012-13. She has been active in the Dallas Bar for many years and currently serves as a Director-At Large on the Board of Directors, Chair of the Pictorial Directory Committee, Vice Chair of the Mentoring Committee, and Board Advisor to the Minority Participation Committee and the Franchise & Distribution Law Section. In 2012, she served on the DBA Board as its Secretary-Treasurer.
In addition to various roles with other service organizations, including DAYL,J.L. Turner Legal Association and the Patrick E. Higginbotham Inn of Court, Ms. Brown has also been recognized as a Super Lawyer in Texas Monthly, and one of the Best Lawyers in Dallas by D Magazine, Ms. Brown also was honored in the statewide “Multicultural Power 100” list published by the Texas Diversity Council in 2010.
“Having the opportunity to co-chair the campaign to financially support legal services to those who need it most combines two of my passions for service: community and the bar,” said Ms. Brown. “Every year the need for legal services to the low-income community increases and I have observed the Dallas Bar rise to the occasion of funding those needs in a grand way, which makes me proud of our Bar. While our efforts have been mighty, there remains a lack of resources, and individuals are still unfortunately turned away. We can’t quantify the satisfaction and reward for giving, but we all know it exists. I hope that Aaron and I can continue to count on our friends, colleagues and supporters to dig deep in supporting this effort and make this year’s campaign at least as equally successful as prior campaigns.”
An accomplished trial lawyer and founding partner of firm Anderson Tobin PLLC, Aaron Z. Tobin has been active in the Dallas Bar for many years. He currently serves on the Board of Directors and is Vice Chair of the Finance, Professionalism and Bench Bar Conference Committees, as well as the Board Advisor to the Appellate Law and Real Property Law Sections. In the past few years, he has Chaired the Media Relations and Public Forum Committees, among others. In 2012 he was awarded a DBA Presidential Citation for his work with the Public Forum Committee.
Mr. Tobin has been named one of the Best Lawyers in Dallas by D Magazine and a Rising Star on multiple occasions in Texas Monthly by Texas Super Lawyers. In addition to his legal service, his Dallas community service includes serving as Co-Chair of the Affair of the Art for the Junior Associates Group of the Dallas Museum of Art and serving on the Junior Associates, Steering Committee, as well as serving as a volunteer with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of North Texas.
“It is a privilege to practice law in Dallas, Texas. Along with that privilege comes a responsibility that we have as practitioners to our profession, our Bar and most importantly our community,” said Mr. Tobin. “Dallas is a community of great strength, character and resources, but we have our challenges. More than a quarter of Dallas County residents qualify for legal aid due to low income. The Dallas Bar’s previous campaigns have made tremendous strides raising millions of dollars for legal aid. There is still more that we can do as nearly eighty percent of those that qualify for legal aid in Dallas County go without assistance.
“Year in and year out this Campaign brings out the best that we have to offer as a profession to our community. I am excited about the opportunity to work with Shonn, our fellow committee members, our colleagues in the Bar and our friends in the community to continue to help those who need it most have the access to justice they without question deserve.”
The Campaign will culminate at the Inaugural of 2014 DBA President Scott McElhaney on January 11, 2014.
Jessica D. Smith is the Communications/Media Director of the Dallas Bar Association. She can be reached at email@example.com.