In this week’s edition of P.S., lawyers from Southwest Airlines, TIAA and 12 firms receive awards for advancing women, their DEI leadership, and their commitment to advancing society and combatting hatred; Texas RioGrande Legal Aid receives funding in the six-figures for pro bono disaster relief legal work; an upcoming runway show supports low-income residents suffering from HIV and terminal illnesses — plus more dates for future charity events.
For your public service news to be considered in a future P.S. column, email email@example.com.
The Latest in Public Service
— On Aug. 24, the Texas Diversity Council will host its 19th annual North Texas DiversityFirst Awards Luncheon, which will provide an opportunity for members of the North Texas business community to learn and share diversity and inclusion best practices and engage with people who represent a wide array of perspectives, businesses and industries. Created in 2004, the Texas Diversity Council is the first nonprofit to bring together the private, public and nonprofit sectors to discuss the benefits of a multicultural environment.
A handful of awards will be given at the luncheon to individuals and corporate organizations that will recognize their accomplishments and commitment in the promotion and advancement of diversity through inclusion and strong leadership. Two lawyers are recipients of the Individual DiversityFirst Leadership Award — Caren Lock, regional vice president and associate general counsel at TIAA, and Jeronimo Valdez, founder and managing partner of Valdez|Washington, a minority-owned commercial litigation, labor and employment and personal injury firm. Lock serves as a member of the Dallas Mavericks advisory board, the board of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum and the president’s advisory board of UT Southwestern Medical Center. In 2015, she founded the Orchid Giving Circle, which provides community grants to support social change and services to the North Texas Asian Community. Valdez has served as chairman of the board of the Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, volunteered his time to pro bono clients, and advised businesses and other local chambers of commerce as outside general counsel.
The other individual honorees are Dr. Delancey Johnson, senior vice president and associate chief talent officer at Parkland Health, and David Comeaux, assistant vice president of workforce diversity & inclusion at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.
The corporate leadership award will go to three organizations: Children’s Health, the city of Dallas and the city of Lewisville.
The keynote speaker at the luncheon will be Mandy Price, CEO and co-founder of Kanarys, a technology company focused on organizational diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. A Harvard Law School graduate, Price practiced at Barnes & Thornburg and Weil, Gotshal & Manges before launching Kanarys in 2018.
Net proceeds of the luncheon will support Texas Diversity Council’s efforts, future community events and programs scheduled for the rest of the year.
When: Aug. 24 from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Where: Hilton Richardson Dallas (701 E. Campbell Rd., Richardson)
How much: Individual registration is $199. Sponsorships start at $3,000. Register here.
Questions: contact firstname.lastname@example.org
— On Aug. 26, Legal Hospice of Texas will host its annual fundraiser, Fashion Cited, in Dallas. The runway show and charity gala seeks to raise at least $50,000 for the legal needs of low-income individuals living with HIV or terminal illnesses. Legal Hospice of Texas is a nonprofit law firm that provides more than $750,000 in pro bono legal services to more than 400 low-income Texans living with terminal illnesses or HIV each year. The event will feature up-and-coming local clothiers from Dallas.
The co-chairs of the event are Michael Richter, vice chair of Legal Hospice’s board, and Jonathan Mabra, the board’s secretary. Others involved in the planning include board member Chase Crews, honorary chair (and Dallas City Council member) Chad West and Ron Corning, who will be the emcee for the evening.
When: Aug. 26 from 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Where: The Empire Room (1225 N. Riverfront Blvd., Dallas)
Legal sponsors so far: Kastl Law, Chad West, Jackson Walker, Rudner Law, Wick Phillips and the Dallas Bar Association’s family law section.
To attend or donate: Click here to purchase tickets or email Michael Richter at email@example.com for sponsorship opportunities.
— On Oct. 25, the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum will host its annual Hope for Humanity event, which honors local Holocaust survivors and is its largest fundraiser of the year. Proceeds from the event will support the museum, a nonprofit organization, carry out its year-round work of educating the public about the Holocaust and advance human rights to combat prejudice, hatred and indifference.
The event is being co-chaired by Sidley Austin senior counsel Gil Friedlander and his wife Lynn, as well as Ken Wimberly, a consultant and former deputy general counsel of American Airlines and his wife, Linda. At the dinner, Foley & Lardner of counsel Larry Schoenbrun will be honored with the Hope for Humanity award, which recognizes an individual who demonstrates a dedication to the improvement of society and embodiment of the museum’s mission. Schoenbrun has supported numerous nonprofit organizations in North Texas and dedicates pro bono hours to asylum seekers facing persecution — which he does in memory of his grandmother and other family members who died in the Holocaust. He also played an integral role in raising funds for the museum’s multimillion-dollar campaign to build a new facility.
“In a time when we still find ourselves battling antisemitism and racially motivated hatred, the museum’s exhibitions and programs remind us that hatred is a learned behavior and, as such, it can be unlearned,” Gil Friedlander said.
When: Wednesday, Oct. 25. Registration and cocktails at 5:30 p.m.; dinner at 7 p.m.; program at 8 p.m.
Where: Hyatt Regency Dallas (300 Reunion Blvd., Dallas)
How much: Tables of 10 start at $6,000, and single tickets are $600 each.
For questions or more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (469) 399-5202.
— Nonprofit Lawyers of Color recently named 11 Texas-based attorneys on its 2023 Hot List, which recognizes junior and midlevel attorneys who show promise in their careers and dedication to advancing diversity in their field. Lawyers of Color is committed to promoting diversity in the legal profession and advancing democracy and equality in marginalized communities. The Texas attorneys are:
- Adrianne Waddell, an associate in Holland & Knight’s Austin office;
- Alicia Grant, a senior associate in Norton Rose Fulbright’s San Antonio office;
- Anna Chong, a senior associate in Alston & Bird’s Dallas office;
- Artessia “Tess” House, the owner/managing attorney of Tess House Law in San Antonio;
- Dominique D. Calhoun, an attorney at Calhoun Meredith in Houston;
- Janet Landry Smith, a Dallas-based in-house labor and employment lawyer for Southwest Airlines;
- Nishi Kothari, a partner at The Brasher Law Firm in Houston;
- Princess Rogers, an associate in White & Case’s Houston office;
- Reginald Wilson, a senior associate in Norton Rose Fulbright’s Houston office;
- Simone R. Bray, an assistant public defender in the Harris County public defender’s office; and
- Sophia George, an associate in Husch Blackwell’s Houston office.
— Dallas lawyer Jennifer Ryback is one of 34 women nationwide recently named on the National Association of Women Lawyers’ rising list. Ryback — a shareholder at McGuire, Craddock & Strother who heads the firm’s litigation practice — and the other lawyers were singled out for advancing in their careers, helping others advance in their career and/or fighting to advance women under the law.
— Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) has received $678,606 from Legal Services Corporation, the independent nonprofit established by Congress in the 1970s to provide financial support for civil legal aid serving low-income Americans. The funding is part of a $19.8 million package LSC announced earlier this week that is going to legal aid organizations across the country to support civil legal needs tied to natural disasters. LSC awarded this money after receiving $20 million in supplemental funding as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 that Congress passed to support widespread natural disaster response.
Over the past six years, TRLA staff has helped low-income Texans navigate legal needs caused by Hurricane Harvey, the El Paso Walmart shooting, Hurricane Hanna and Winter Storm Uri. The disaster team continues to serve clients affected by the pandemic and last year’s Uvalde school shooting.
In collaboration with Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma and Iowa Legal Aid, TRLA plans to use the LSC funding to develop digital informational materials and virtual training sessions for recipients of LSC disaster funding. Dubbed the “Disaster University,” the legal aid organizations intend for these materials to directly address gaps in knowledge present among various legal aid disaster programs across the country.