State Bar Director Spotlight
Interview by Eric Quitugua
Photo by Rob Crain
Position: Partner in Crain Brogdon Rogers in Dallas
Board Member: District 6, Place 2 since 2016
I was one of those people who knew early on I wanted to be a lawyer. In middle school I fell in love with the romance and drama of the courtroom after reading books like Anatomy of a Murder and To Kill a Mockingbird. In the process, discovering I could channel my competitive side while helping people at the same time pretty much closed the deal.
I grew up friends with the daughter of former State Bar President Darrell Jordan, who preached the importance of bar service to me since before I attended high school. His wisdom proved itself over and over as I served in the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers and the Dallas Bar Association. At the state level, we have a lot of opportunities and challenges, due in part to our large numbers and vast geography. With the advancement of technology and communication, I believe we have our best days ahead of us.
In 2017, while I was president of the Dallas Bar Association, we partnered with Project Unity and my friend, Pastor Richie Butler, to create Together We Dine. TWD is a program where people have safe conversations about race over dinner. At the onset, volunteer attorneys from the DBA were facilitators for the discussions. Three years later, TWD is a movement with events occurring across the state, including lunch events called “Together We Lunch.” Virtual events via Zoom continue during the pandemic, allowing easy access to thousands of Texans. Though many attorneys still act as facilitators, former attendees now volunteer as facilitators. At a time in our country’s history when we need leadership in race relations, I am beyond thankful for the attorneys who continue to step up to help our communities build stronger relationships.
Communication, communication, communication. The greatest challenge for most bar associations is communicating to its members all the services and opportunities available to them. In today’s technology, we all consume information on different platforms and in different ways. Making it more difficult, the State Bar is competing with every other organization and business trying to get our members’ attention through emails, letters, publications, etc. The key to facing this challenge is making it as personal as possible. That’s a lot easier said than done. As directors, we are working to understand the best ways to communicate, knowing that one size does not fit all. It is a work in progress.
Engaging our members is a challenge. For many attorneys, the bar is the licensing portal that gives them the right to practice law and little more. Educating our members about the substantial benefits available to them will make their practices easier, but if we can engage more of our members to participate in a committee or attend a convention, we can get them involved. Once involved, an attorney is an ambassador and is the first domino for many other attorneys receiving the benefits of membership.
Take a moment to educate yourself. Go to the website. Call one of your directors. Attend a State Bar convention. Email a staff member. This is a short investment that will pay dividends for the remainder of your career.TBJ