Susan McCombs Aims to Grow Dallas Lawyers Auxiliary
by Harold D. Jones
Susan McCombs has taken the helm of the Dallas Lawyers Auxiliary for 2011-2012. What is the Dallas Lawyers Auxiliary? The DLA was formed by 93 charter members in 1926, as “The Dallas Lawyers Wives Club.” Still going strong, and as Susan adds, “just having fun,” DLA’s approximately 200 members are a vital part of the civic and philanthropic fabric of our city. DLA faithfully raises scholarship funds, educates our youth on legal rights, acts as docents for Belo tours and is instrumental in bringing Dallas lawyers and their spouses into closer fellowship.
Susan is a delightful 1979 Mississippian transplant to Dallas; the warm dialect of the Deep South came with her. It took a while for her to call North Texas home. “We moved to North Carolina once to get away from Dallas; and after a year, Dallas seemed better, and we moved back,” she said. The mother of two Hockaday graduates now at SMU, Susan volunteers at St. Philip’s School, and serves on the board of ArtReach and Victim’s Outreach. To round out her full schedule, Susan is a member of the Dallas Museum of Art League, Dallas Symphony Orchestra League and Preston Hollow Women’s Club.
Still, DLA has a special spot in her life. Susan loves how the DLA connected her to so many diverse women of all ages, who all understand: what it is like to be married to a Dallas lawyer. Susan values the support that DLA gives to young associates’ wives, and the wisdom she and others can provide to the wives just starting their journey with young lawyers.
She met and married Haynes and Boone, LLP intellectual property attorney David McCombs, about 25 years ago. Like many an IP attorney, the world is David’s marketplace. His practice regularly takes him overseas. This has only deepened the McCombs’ mutual love of travel. At home, they try to exercise together; Susan bicycles while David jogs. However, walking five miles a day and classes at Bar Method is her core fitness regimen. She will need energy for her DLA mission.
She observes that many similar auxiliaries are “closing or on the decline these days.” She is proud of the health of the DLA, which supports one of “most active bar associations in the country.” However, she does not intend to play defense. She sees one of her prime tasks in her role as president as “increasing membership; particularly in attracting younger members.”
“Our group is fun,” said Susan. “We want everyone to know about us. We have wonderful programs throughout the year.” She is right. This year DLA has visited a winery, will tour the Crow Collection of Asian Art, celebrate the holidays at the Belo, view antiquities in a museum, have “Breakfast with Tiffany” at Tiffany & Co., and bestow the prestigious Justinian Award on April 25, 2012, for outstanding volunteer service by a Dallas lawyer, as adjudicated by prominent Dallas civic leaders.
Her challenge is that “most Dallas citizens may not be aware of our group.” Balanced against that is the fact that those who know about DLA have an extremely favorable impression. In addition, DLA is joined to a Dallas Bar Association that “is one of the best in the country.” Susan describes Dallas attorneys’ community involvement as “unparalleled.”
The DLA publishes and distributes Now You Are 18, a 24-page teaching booklet, to high school seniors. The pamphlet can be ordered on the DLA’s website at www.dallaslawyersauxiliary.org.
Members of the DLA are leaders in the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, Girls Inc., Senior Citizens, and Community Partners of Dallas and serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).
Susan’s wish for the year is to increase community awareness, as well as increase membership. She was as good as her word: she did not allow our conversation to end without asking me to tell my wife about DLA and urge her to join. Her membership drive has begun.
Harold D. Jones is a Shareholder at Littler Mendelson, P.C. He can be reached at HDJones@littler.com.