News From Around the Bar • December 2023

Stevenson receives Dallas Bar Foundation’s highest honor

a headshot of deborah hankinson
Photo courtesy of Dallas Bar Association.

State Bar of Texas Past President Frank Stevenson (2016-2017) received the Dallas Bar Foundation Fellows Justinian Award during an awards luncheon October 25 in Dallas. State Bar Past President Harriet Miers (1992-1993) presented the award. Stevenson, of counsel to Locke Lord, is a former chair of the foundation and a former president of the Dallas Bar Association.


The Texas Access to Justice Foundation, or TAJF, and the Texas Access to Justice Commission honored Texas senators and representatives with the Legislative Hero Award for their contributions to improving access to justice for Texans during the 88th legislative session at a luncheon on October 31. The foundation and the commission launched the Legislative Hero Award program in 2010 to recognize legislators who, through their efforts, significantly advanced access to justice in Texas by assisting with the appropriation of funds or other substantive activities related to the provision of legal aid in the state. The awards were presented by Supreme Court of Texas Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht. This year’s keynote speaker was Ron Flagg, president of the Legal Services Corporation, one of the largest nationwide funders of civil legal aid for low-income Americans, according to a press release. Texas Sen. Judith Zaffirini, of Laredo, and State Rep. Joe Moody, of El Paso, were recognized for their efforts in passing a bill related to the payment of certain court costs associated with interpreters. Texas Sen. Charles Perry, of Lubbock; State Rep. Jeff Leach, of Plano; and State Rep. Lulu Flores, of Austin, were recognized for a bill creating a mechanism for using unclaimed IOLTA funds in lawyers’ accounts for civil legal aid, according to a press release. Arnold & Itkin and the State Bar of Texas Hispanic Issues Section were honored with the Access to Justice Award, which recognizes these organizations for hosting fundraisers this year benefiting legal aid. For more information about the foundation, go to For more information about the commission, go to


The Texas Bar Foundation, or TBF, awarded $807,673 in grants to 51 nonprofit organizations during the fall 2023 grant cycle, according to a press release. “The lives of Texans in need of assistance will be improved thanks to the generosity of the Texas Bar Foundation fellows,” TBF Board of Trustees Chair Geffrey W. Anderson said in a press release. “The foundation looks forward to reporting the great success of these grants in next year’s impact report.”

To date, the foundation has distributed more than $26 million throughout Texas to assist nonprofit organizations with a wide range of justice- related programs and services, according to a press release. More than $1.6 million will be distributed for grants this fiscal year. The spring 2024 grant deadline is 5 p.m. CST January 15, 2024. For more information and to access the online application and qualifications, go to or email Grants Manager Amy Weir at


The State Bar of Texas and the Dallas Bar Association received Luminary Awards during the NABE: The Association for Bar Professionals 2023 Communications Section Workshop held October 3-6. Amy Starnes, director of public affairs for the Supreme Court of Texas, received the Anne Charles Excellence Award at the workshop.
For its coverage of the 2023 State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting in Austin, the State Bar of Texas received the Luminary Award in the category of “Excellence in PR/Marketing/Social Media Campaigns” for large bars. State Bar of Texas Digital Content Specialist Geoffrey Hinkson organized an extensive social media campaign that advertised and showcased the bar’s marquee annual event.

In the “Excellence in Authored Articles” for a medium-sized bar category, the Dallas Bar Association, or DBA, was honored with a Luminary Award for its article titled “The DBA and Dallas During the 1960s—Changes and Challenges,” written by DBA Communications/Media Director Jessica Smith. The article, which appeared in the March 2023 issue of the DBA’s Headnotes, surveys the DBA’s involvement in the legal community amid the racial turbulence of the 1960s, as well as during the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The Anne Charles Excellence Award is presented to a member of the NABE Communications Section who has made a significant contribution to advancing the goals of the section through committee service or other section volunteer efforts. Prior to working for the Supreme Court, Starnes served as public information director for the State Bar of Texas from 2015 to 2022. For more information about NABE, go to

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