Tim Mountz Selected for Professionalism Award
by Timothy G. Ackermann
Tim Mountz was not the first President of the Dallas Bar Association to give away the keys to a Habitat for Humanity home built by members of our bar, nor the last. He wasn’t the first to get his hands dirty (I have pictures), nor the last. But he was our President the year that I co-chaired the Home Project Committee and had the honor of standing next to him.
We were proud of our profession that day. We presented a four-bedroom house built and paid for by our members and other members of the legal community to a family who had worked and sweated alongside Tim and other members of the bar. And as the bar’s President, he was proud of what we had accomplished. We now recognize Timothy W. Mountz for his own considerable talents, accomplishments and character.
A former Dallas Bar Association President, Mountz is the 2011 recipient of the Morris Harrell Professionalism Award. The Dallas Bar Association and the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism present this award annually to the “attorney who best exemplifies, by conduct and character, truly professional traits who others seek to emulate and who all in the bar admire.” Mountz will receive the award at the DBA’s Annual Meeting on Friday afternoon, November 4, 2011, at the Belo Mansion.
Mountz first practiced law, after graduating law school in 1979, with Morris Harrell, the namesake and first recipient of this award. For 18 years, at Rain Harrell Emory Young & Doke, and at the firm’s successor, Locke Purnell Rain Harrell, P.C., Mountz was proud to represent clients and practice law with Harrell. Doing so, Mountz has said, “left an indelible stamp on me, and made me feel good about the practice of law at the end of every day.”
Colleagues of Mountz and Harrell certainly appreciate the symbolism in Mountz winning an award named for his mentor. Brad C. Weber, the Chair of Board of Directors of the Dallas Bar Association, noted that Mountz “learned how to be a true professional from practicing law with Mr. Harrell.” Weber added: “This award will mean so much to Tim, in part because it’s named after Tim’s great mentor, Morris Harrell.” “Morris Harrell certainly would agree that Tim is deserving of this award,” said former Dallas Bar Association President Harriet Miers. “He would be thrilled that Tim is receiving it, as am I.” Ambassador Robert W. Jordan remarked that “Tim displays the same devotion to professionalism that we admired so much in Morris, in both his advocacy for clients and in his bar leadership. I know Morris would be tremendously proud of Tim for receiving this honor bearing his name.”
Mountz was born in Louisville, Kentucky and graduated from high school there in 1973 where he was elected president of his senior class and voted “Most Likely to Succeed.” He came to Dallas to attend Southern Methodist University and received a B.A., with high honors. At Duke Law School, he enjoyed the trial advocacy and moot court programs, and worked for two years on the Duke Law Journal’s Editorial Board.
While in law school, Mountz formed what he has called “his first equity partnership”—marrying Janet Lee Taylor. They have two daughters, Christina and Taylor Anne. Although Mountz was the first lawyer in his immediate family, Mountz had the benefit of sound counsel of another lawyer, his father-in-law, Robert C. Taylor, who suggested he consider Harrell’s firmwhen Mountz was interviewing.
And when it comes to service, Mountz recognizes the example set by his own father. Wade Mountz is the former CEO of a large hospital system who served as president of the American Hospital Association, and was recently inducted into the Health Care Hall of Fame. Mountz’s own record of service and bar leadership, moreover, is extensive.
He is a former President of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers and was also Chair of the Board of the Texas Young Lawyers Association, serving on that board for five years. Mountz joined Baker Botts L.L.P. in 1997, where his practice focuses on professional liability litigation, securities litigation, SEC investigations and enforcement proceedings and complex business litigation. While practicing there, he has been recognized many times as a “Texas Super Lawyer,” and been included many times in The Best Lawyers in America.
After joining Baker Botts, Mountz continued his service to the bar. In 1997, he began over 10 years of service on the Dallas Bar Association’s Board of Directors, and served as its Chair in 2001. He also recently served for five years on the Board of Directors of the State Bar of Texas, receiving a Presidential Citation for his service.
He was also, of course, the 2005 President of the Dallas Bar Association. Mountz focused his presidency on the core values of professionalism and service. To promote those values, the Dallas Bar Association sponsored two key programs.
The first program, described by Weber “one of Tim's greatest accomplishments as DBA President,” focused on new lawyers and included discussion groups in which law students were presented with legal situations involving professionalism issues. The second program, for the Dallas legal community generally, included judicial panels and an interactive ethics program sponsored by the Texas Center for Legal Ethics & Professionalism.
“I can’t think of a person more deserving than Tim Mountz to receive the Morris Harrell Professionalism Award,” said Weber. We congratulate him on this well-deserved award.
Tim Ackermann practices patent, trademark and copyright law at The Ackermann Law Firm. He is Co-Chair of the Publications Committee of the Dallas Bar Association. He can be contacted at email@example.com.