In this week’s P.S. column, the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas hosts its annual Stories from the HeART fundraiser and honors a group of Texas lawyers for their contributions, a memorial fund set up in the memory of the late Dallas lawyer, Clarence Brown, seeks to raise more funds to benefit students of color at the Lamplighter School, and two nonprofits announce leadership efforts by lawyers.
The Latest Charitable Happenings
— Tonight, the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas will honor Dallas lawyers at Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Vinson & Elkins associate Lindsey Laielli at HRI’s annual storytelling event, Stories from the HeART, an event featuring work by artists at the Pittman Hotel that’s part community engagement opportunity, part fundraiser. HRI aims to raise $35,000 this year and has raised $7,500 so far. Proceeds will directly benefit HRI’s client programs. HRI provides pro bono legal services to people who have suffered human rights abuses, including asylum seekers, those protected by the Violence Against Women Act and Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, immigrants abused by a U.S. citizen or by a green card holder spouse, and immigrant children who are victims of violent crimes, neglect, abuse or abandonment. Weil and Laielli are both recipients of this year’s Angel of Freedom Award for their contributions to HRI’s clients. In the last fiscal year, HRI served more than 600 clients with the help of 310 pro bono attorneys and 104 non-attorney volunteers, who collectively donated more than 9,000 hours valued at approximately $3 million.
**A primarily Dallas-based team from Weil handled roughly 870 hours of the 9,000. Their work won two defensive asylum hearings this past year, and the firm regularly sends its attorneys to HRI’s CLE trainings to learn more about the organization. The Weil lawyers involved include partners Jonathan Macke and Vynessa Nemunaitis, counsel Erin Marie Choi and Brendan Conley and associates Megan Elizabeth Cloud, Kevin Simmons, Libby Vinson, Amanda DeMasi and Angela del Carmen Estrada.
**Laielli, a second-year associate in V&E’s Austin office, is being recognized for her pro bono work that recently gained asylum for a family of six. In June, Laielli led an eight-hour defensive asylum hearing that was scheduled earlier than expected, while the lead attorney, V&E associate Lyndsey Pryor (now an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Texas), was on parental leave. The June hearing followed six weeks after Laielli’s first solo courtroom appearance on the case during a hearing in May. Laielli received assistance on the case from V&E associate Angie Garcia as well as CommScope senior attorney Evan Tilton, a previous Angel of Freedom honoree.
***Purchase tickets here: https://support.hrionline.org/a/stories2022
— Kimberly-Clark Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Shonn Brown and her children, Evan, Ryan and Lily Brown, seek to raise more than $100,000 through the recently established Clarence B. Brown III Memorial Fund benefitting the Lamplighter School, where all three Brown children attended. Launched last fall in honor of Brown’s husband, Clarence Brown, who passed away last September, the memorial fund has already raised more than $44,000. Brown was the general counsel of Kronos Worldwide and was well known and respected in the Texas legal community. Once the funds total $50,000, the school will begin to deploy them to enhance opportunities for prospective and current students of color. According to the Lamplighter website, tuition for the current school year for full-day pre-K to fourth grade-aged students is $28,916.
In an email circulated this week, Michael K. Hurst, a Dallas lawyer and friend of the Brown family, encouraged people to consider donating to the fund in honor of Clarence Brown’s memory, legacy and birthday, which is Dec. 12. “This will ensure that everyone remembers Clarence, and even people he never got to meet will benefit from his and his family’s legacy,” Hurst said.
***To donate: E-mail Elizabeth Selzer at email@example.com or send your contribution to the Advancement Department at 11611 Inwood Road, Dallas, TX 75229.
— Katten partner Kenya Woodruff was recently appointed chair of the YMCA Metropolitan Dallas Association Board’s 2023 annual campaign. The healthcare transactional partner and former deputy general counsel of Parkland Health & Hospital System has been on the Y’s board since 2019. The board’s goal is to raise $4.3 million in the coming year. Two key components of the YMCA’s operations will benefit from the campaign, including:
**The Y’s Safety Around Water program, which combats childhood drowning by enlisting lifeguards to visit various apartment complexes in Dallas to teach basic water safety and assess a child’s ability to swim, and
**Facility improvements as part of a $26 million capital campaign to renovate two Ys in South Dallas: the Moorland Family YMCA in Oak Cliff and the Park South Family YMCA. The Y has secured more than $9 million so far for the project.
— Dallas Polsinelli shareholder Harry Jones has been elected to serve as the treasurer on the board of directors for Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas. His one-year term begins Jan. 1, 2023. WFSDallas is one of the largest nonprofit organizations in Dallas. The quasi-governmental nonprofit’s mission is to provide competitive solutions for greater Dallas area employers and for people through quality jobs. Jones is in Polsinelli’s labor and employment practice group and specializes in bet-the-business cases and investigations in Texas and nationwide.