State Bar Director Spotlight
David C. Kent
Interview by Eric Quitugua
Photo courtesy of David C. Kent
Hometown: Shreveport, Louisiana
Position: Counsel to Drinker Biddle & Reath in Dallas
Board Member: District 6, Place 4
I decided on law while contemplating what comes next during my senior year in college.
Inspiration came from young lawyers in my hometown church who had been influential mentors, and encouragement came from close friends in college who were planning to attend or were already enrolled in law school.
I am certified in civil trial law and personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and principally focus on defending engineering companies in disputes arising from construction projects.
Trial work was a natural outgrowth of my experiences in high school and college in interscholastic debate competitions and my involvement in moot court and mock trial competitions in law school.
Work hard to be a good lawyer, but work harder to be a good person.
Remember: There’s more to life than being a lawyer, and there’s more to being a lawyer than billable hours.
The judge for whom I clerked after law school and the older lawyers in my first law firm treated it as a given that involvement in the organized bar was an integral part of being a lawyer.
It was never a matter for question or doubt to me. To my understanding, being active in the bar was part of the job description.
The greatest challenge in being a director is recognizing the undercurrent of discontent among some members of the bar,
understanding the reason for it, and finding solutions for it. The key to facing this challenge is to listen, understand, respect, and relate to these views.
The Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program is a vital, important crisis counseling, peer assistance, and referral program for attorneys encountering substance use and mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and stress.
The stories of support and redemption achieved through TLAP are truly inspiring. The numerous member benefits programs and resources (insurance programs, discounts, practice management tools, etc.) provide substantive and financial benefits that more than pay for our annual dues.
Opportunities abound at all levels. The value received will far outstrip the value given.
One way the board improved the legal profession in Texas was by supporting an independent review of the bar’s communications and transparency processes in the summer of 2018.
The accounting firm of Weaver & Tidwell reviewed the bar’s procedures, surveyed the bar membership, and used the results to make certain recommendations for improvements, which the bar has begun implementing. Transparency is a matter of interest and concern for many members, to which the board has responded.
The bar probably can never do “enough” for its members, because there are always ways to improve.
But as long as the bar keeps looking for those ways to improve, it will move ever closer toward that goal of doing “enough.”TBJ