State Bar Director Spotlight
Interview by Eric Quitugua
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Hamilton
Hometown: Fairfield, Iowa
Position: Partner in Locke Lord in Dallas and Washington, D.C.
Board Member: District 6, Place 1 since 2016
After my freshman year of engineering classes at Iowa State, I decided that a career in law or business might better suit my personality.
I scored well on the LSAT exam, began applying to law schools, and eventually decided to attend the University of Michigan. I went on to complete my undergraduate degree in engineering science at Iowa State, and that math and science background has been very beneficial in my law practice over the past 31 years.
When I first joined Locke Purnell in 1987, the firm included among its partners several great bar leaders, such as Morris Harrell, Harriet Miers, and Frank Stevenson,
who each had either served or would serve as president of both the Dallas Bar Association and the State Bar of Texas. Other DBA presidents in the firm at that time were John Estes, Orrin Harrison, Elizabeth Lang-Miers, and Tim Mountz. The firm’s culture encouraged bar service, and these lawyers (who became my mentors) went out of their way to get me involved in both local and state bar organizations. After working through the ranks, I eventually served as president of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers in 1998 and president of the Dallas Bar Association in 2015. I also served as a director on the board of the Texas Young Lawyers Association from 1995 to 1999 and as co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Litigation Antitrust Committee from 2008 to 2011.
After serving as president of the Dallas Bar Association in 2015, I was encouraged by two of my partners—Harriet Miers and Frank Stevenson—
to run for one of the open State Bar Director positions from Dallas. Their encouragement and the examples they provided as past State Bar presidents were some of the primary reasons I decided to become a director.
The experience I obtained from my past bar leadership positions has had an enormous impact on how I now approach my role as a State Bar director.
Having served as a director and/or officer of several local, state, and national bar organizations over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of great bar leaders and have tried to emulate their leadership skills that match well with my personality.
During my service as a State Bar director, there have been issues presented to the board that did not have an easy or obvious solution.
Deciding those issues wasn’t really tough, but it did require me to gather information and give thoughtful consideration as to how the decision would impact those affected by it.
Many of my decisions are based on the work, analysis, and research performed by the various committees that consider the issues before the board meeting.
If these committees make strong recommendations, I generally will base my decisions on their guidance. If the members of a committee have differing views on an issue, then I try to consider both sides of the issue with an open mind and vote in favor of the proposal that seems best for our members.
On the day after my term as a State Bar director ends, I will begin my duties as the new chair of the State Bar’s Antitrust and Business Litigation section for the 2019-2020 bar year.
In addition to my work with that section, it’s likely I will continue to stay involved with other sections and committees within the State Bar.TBJ