Allan K. DuBois San Antonio Beverly Bell Godbey Dallas The Texas Bar Journal asked 2014-2015 State Bar of Texas president-elect candidates Allan K. DuBois of San Antonio and Beverly Bell Godbey of Dallas to share their perspectives on issues facing the State Bar of Texas. (Biographical information was included on p. 214 of the March issue and is available at texasbar.com/elections.) Votes for the State Bar of Texas president- elect can be cast by paper ballot or online from April 1 to April 30, 2014. The deadline to cast ballots is April 30, 2014, at 5 p.m. CST. WHY DO YOU WANT TO SERVE AS PRESIDENT OF THE STATE BAR OF TEXAS? DUBOIS I am proud of our profession and fellow lawyers who honor it with their professionalism and their commitment to clients, colleagues, and our Texas Lawyer’s Creed. Service to the State Bar of Texas is important and valuable to each of us— more than many realize. As president, I will acknowledge the many and varied contributions of Texas attorneys to the bar’s mission, while working to engage even more active participation. Having practiced law with a medium-sized firm and as a solo practitioner, I understand the business of running a law practice with all its pressures and challenges. My experience also convinces me of the tangible and intangible benefits of bar involvement and pro bono work. Just as excellent attorneys taught me how to practice law ethically, zealously, and correctly, I want to reach out to Texas attorneys with a message that professional success is attainable through involvement and commitment. There is no one reason why I want to serve as State Bar president, but rather 95,000 reasons. I want to share my experience, strength, and hope that has resulted in a career that not only supported a family but also continues to foster the best in me. GODBEY Seventy-five years ago, Angus G. Wynne became the first president of the State Bar of Texas. A founding member of the law firm I practice for, Gardere Wynne Sewell, Angus embodied the ideal qualities of a State Bar president: he loved the practice of law, he revered professionalism, he rose to every challenge, and he believed that service to the profession and the community defined a great leader. Although some aspects of the practice remain the same, Angus couldn’t have dreamed of the challenges we now face. As president-elect of a 21st-century bar, I pledge: 1) to uphold the rule of law; 2) to lead us through the upcoming Sunset review; 3) to provide assistance and resources to lawyers practicing in these difficult times; 4) to improve the public’s perception of lawyers by emphasizing civility and integrity; 5) to promote diversity; and 6) to make sure that all those in need of legal services have access to the courts. I may not be able to fill the shoes of my estimable firm-founder, but I would like the opportunity to walk in his footsteps. IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT ARE THE THREE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES FACING THE LEGAL PROFESSION, ANDWHAT ROLE DO YOU BELIEVE THE STATE BAR SHOULD PLAY IN ADDRESSING THEM? DUBOIS The public lacks awareness and appreciation of the importance of texasbar.com/tbj Vol. 77, No. 4 • Texas Bar Journal 327 attorneys. The State Bar, with input from sections, should sponsor public service announcements publicizing the value of legal representation for personal, family, and business affairs. Technology dictates today’s practice of law. E-filing and email notices are the norm. The State Bar can assist us in the successful use of technology by enhanced attorney websites, social media communications, and CLE programs on using technology effectively. Partnering young, techsavvy attorneys with experienced attorneys allows them to act as both mentors and mentees for mutual benefit. Attorneys, their families, and their support staff experience health and stress-related challenges. The Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange is a giant step forward in providing affordable health insurance. The Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program needs additional professional resources and should extend services to include family members and paralegals. GODBEY As co-chair of the Nominations and Elections Committee during the year in which Texas lawyers considered three candidates for president-elect, I became aware that some lawyers believe the State Bar is not adequately meeting their needs. I promise to engage those lawyers, directly address their concerns, and determine if there are additional member services or benefits that the State Bar could provide. In addition, I will be a strong advocate for the State Bar as it undergoes Sunset review. Texas lawyers are fiercely independent. We enjoy self-governance, self-regulation, and the ability to handle our own disciplinary system. I will make sure lawyers are not taxed with increased fees, burdened with unnecessary regulations, or encumbered with unmanageable rules. Finally, the State Bar must continue to support legal services to the poor through enhanced fundraising and creative volunteer opportunities. It is our obligation to represent those in need. YOU HAVE SERVED THE PROFESSION IN A NUMBER OF CAPACITIES AT A NUMBER OF LEVELS. WHICH OF THESE EXPERIENCES HAS BEST PREPARED YOU TO LEAD THE STATE BAR? DUBOIS Each has helped me be a better listener and more sensitive to those impacted by the outcome of my actions. Bexar County attorneys voted for me to serve in every elected position on the San Antonio Bar Association Board of Directors, including president. In each of these offices, I developed significant relationships and an understanding of the concerns of our diverse bar. I was also elected to represent District 10 on the State Bar Board of Directors. Throughout my term, I attended local board and committee meetings and minority and specialty bar functions, which enhanced my relationships and understanding. My service on the State Bar Civil Rules Committee and as TLAP committee chair, combined with my directorship, made me aware of statewide challenges and opportunities. I am committed to building mechanisms for transparency and increased dialogue with as many lawyers as possible prior to making major rules or policy decisions. GODBEY Chair of the Board of the State Bar of Texas. I had the privilege of serving on the State Bar board for five years, including three years on the Executive Committee. In 2011, I was elected chair by my peers. As chair, I worked with the president to fulfill initiatives and carry out the goals and missions of the State Bar. Being chair requires many of the same skills that the president-elect employs: patience, tact, diplomacy, eloquence, humor, enthusiasm, and perseverance. I already bring those skills to the table. President of the Dallas Bar Association. As DBA president in 2007, I developed initiatives and programs for our roughly 10,000-member voluntary bar association. I wrote a monthly column for the DBA newspaper, and I spoke at nearly 100 functions. The DBA received the State Bar Award of Merit and a Star of Achievement for programs under my leadership. ONE OF THE STATE BAR’S CORE MISSIONS IS TO ENSURE ACCESS TO THE JUSTICE SYSTEM. WHAT CAN THE STATE BAR AND INDIVIDUAL LAWYERS DO TO ENSURE ACCESS TO JUSTICE FOR TEXANS? DUBOIS As lawyers, we should use our collective voice and political capital to ensure that people are treated fairly and can access the legal system. Our legal aid and volunteer clinics provide an essential contribution that benefits many disadvantaged Texans. I applaud them and will work with the Texas Legislature to increase funding for these programs. I support the 2014-2015 Strategic Plan, which sets out specific steps to engage attorneys in pro bono legal service. As a trustee of the Texas Bar Foundation, I vote to fund grants for pro bono programs. Bar President Terry Tottenham called on me to assist with his inspired initiative Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans—a program all Texans can be proud of. I personally donate to and participate in Bexar County’s Community Justice Program and Veterans Legal Clinics, and I urge all Texas attorneys to support pro bono legal services in their own way. GODBEY As a member of the Texas Access to Justice Commission from 2009 to 2012, I gained first-hand knowledge of the many programs and initiatives under way or under study to bring more and better legal services to the poor. Some of the most interesting examples included using FaceTime or Skype to connect rural clients with urban lawyers who want to take pro bono cases, and giving lawyers free CLE in exchange for agreeing to take a pro bono case. While on the commission, I created the Bar Leaders for Justice Committee to share concepts for fundraising and develop new opportunities for volunteers. Access to justice is one of my passions, and I welcome the opportunity to explore these and other ideas that will increase volunteerism and provide a stable source of funding. WHAT SHOULD THE BAR DO TO GUIDE AND PREPARE THE NEXT GENERATION OF LAWYERS? DUBOIS Every attorney should have the benefit of being mentored by experienced attorneys. When recent graduates are hired by an organization with more than one attorney, the opportunity for mentoring is built-in. But many new graduates or inexperienced attorneys are not in such a position. How can we assist these lawyers? In addition to excellent and affordable CLE and law office management courses from the State Bar and TYLA, the Transition to Practice and other mentoring programs should be expanded to reach every Texas attorney with fewer than three years of experience. Outreach will include my passionate commitment to pairing tech-savvy young attorneys with experienced senior attorneys. I believe that collaborative relationships between practitioners wishing to scale back and recent graduates interested in learning from seasoned veterans will be mutually beneficial. State Bar efforts should complement and encourage successful mentor programs sponsored by local and specialty bar associations. GODBEY Several years ago, the State Bar encouraged Texas law schools to teach students more practical skills. These discussions have resulted in more law school clinics, internships, clerkships, and an emphasis on writing and public speaking, all of which better prepare students for the practice of law. Another key element is for each new lawyer to find a mentor who can be advocate, cheerleader, adviser, and coach. Both the State Bar and TYLA have excellent mentoring programs. I have been a mentor through the Transition to Practice program, and it is a wonderful life-changing experience. Finally, as a trustee for the Texas Center for Legal Ethics, I have educated newly licensed lawyers in ethics and professionalism, as well as access to justice. These new lawyers learn respect, civility, and the need for serving others. They know where to turn should they have ethical questions. IF A COLLEGE STUDENT SOUGHT YOUR ADVICE ON WHETHER TO PURSUE A LEGAL CAREER, HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER? DUBOIS It might vary, depending on if they would be the first lawyer in their family, like me, or if they have parents who are attorneys. I stress that the profession provides many avenues to be of genuine, often rewarding service. I also caution that it is very stressful with potential personal, health, and family risks as “the law is a jealous mistress,” demanding hard work, long hours, and commitment. I might share my own story of personal recovery and success, emphasizing that we are a caring profession with plenty of people willing to reach out and help along the way. I always encourage them by saying three things: “I love being a lawyer and would never trade it,” “We always have room for another good lawyer,” and “If there is ever anything that I can do for you, please give me a call.” GODBEY I would encourage any college student, particularly a minority or a woman, to attend law school, but we need to be realistic about the current economy, the job market, and the long-term prospects for financial independence and freedom from debt. Because law schools have reduced enrollment in response to these factors, we may find that in a few short years Texas actively needs more lawyers, especially in the public sector and among legal aid providers. It would be short-sighted indeed to discourage an enthusiastic future colleague from pursuing the dream of attending law school and joining our noble profession if he or she aspires to public service or seeks employment in an organization that provides legal services to the poor. WHAT CAN THE STATE BAR DO TO ASSIST ATTORNEYS WHO ARE STRUGGLING UNDER THE PRESSURES OF A DIFFICULT ECONOMY? DUBOIS We need to accelerate efforts to inform attorneys about the excellent resources that are now available. Not all lawyers take advantage of them. The State Bar offers a toolbox of options known as member benefits. Increased outreach efforts and improved visibility on the State Bar website explaining the value of the Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange, free legal research powered by Casemaker, member discounts, the Law Practice Management Program, the Career Center, the Ethics Library and opinions, the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program, and the Lawyer Referral and Information Service would be helpful. There are scholarships available for State Bar CLE programs. President Lisa Tatum’s response to struggling attorneys includes free CLE for general practitioners and a seminar offering alternative career information. I am personally committed to supporting and strengthening these programs, with an emphasis on expanding the resources of TLAP and exploring innovative safety nets for Texas attorneys. GODBEY This is a complex and multifaceted issue. For young lawyers, the TYLA website has dozens of links to tool kits, mentoring opportunities, CLE presentations, and job listings. For more experienced lawyers, the State Bar offers referral services, law practice management resources, technology updates, and even seminars regarding alternative career choices. Across the board, lawyers are sensitive to any increase in the cost of practicing law, as well as additional rules, regulations, or requirements that impede the efficient and productive delivery of legal services. I will fight any dues increase and keep TexasBarCLE as one of the preeminent low-cost CLE providers in the country. HOW IMPORTANT ARE YOUR COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES TO BALANCING YOUR LIFE AS A LAWYER? WHICH OF YOUR COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES HAS IMPACTED YOU THE MOST? DUBOIS The San Antonio Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse provides education, youth programs, information resources, and services for the prevention of alcohol and drug abuse to 29 south-central Texas counties. I am committed to SACADA’s hard work to “break the cycle of addiction.” For 15 years, I have served on the SACADA Board of Directors and recruited attorneys to join the board. As president, I led the organization through a significant crisis and the subsequent rebuilding process. My passion for this work dates back to an inspirational presentation by a senior appellate judge who acknowledged that before he recovered from alcoholism, his home was a difficult place for his kids. Part of his story was his pride in knowing that his grandchildren had never seen their Papa drunk. As the years go by, this message remains in my heart, inspiring me to continue working for children. GODBEY Community activities are vital to my work-life balance, but finding this balance can be challenging. Years ago, as a young partner, judge’s wife, and mother of two small children, I struggled to meet the Junior League’s 60-houra- year volunteer requirement. All my angst disappeared, however, when I sang patriotic songs and hymns with the nursing home residents in my musical therapy placement. Although I still lay sod for Habitat for Humanity and scrub bathrooms at Family Gateway, my more recent community service has capitalized on my leadership experience. As chair of Church Council and Staff-Parish Relations at First United Methodist Church of Dallas, I worked to enhance social service ministries. As chair of Lakehill Preparatory School, I participate in strategic planning, academic oversight, and fundraising. I can’t imagine a life devoid of community service, so I embrace the ultimate opportunity to serve the profession and the community as president-elect of the State Bar of Texas. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE? DUBOIS As the oldest of nine children in a military family, I was always expected to take care of and set a good example for my siblings. I learned from my father that a good officer should never expect the troops to do more than he or she is willing to do. Throughout my life, in leadership positions in Boy Scouts, college ROTC, Army JAG, and various bar organizations, I have led from the front by setting an example of dedicated service. I’m tireless in my efforts, making it a practice to be the first to show up and the last to leave. I delegate authority, consciously encourage others to be actively involved and to do the best job possible, and acknowledge their contributions. My leadership is successful when it inspires and empowers others to succeed. GODBEY Both clients and colleagues tell me that I am an excellent listener, so I would characterize my leadership style as thoughtful and inclusive, yet decisive. I value input from all sources, and I strive to build consensus. When I counsel my clients, I consider all of the options, and I research all of the alternatives. But in the end, they want my judgment. This formula has worked well in my other leadership positions, so I would employ it as president-elect of the State Bar of Texas. DESCRIBE YOUR MOST SATISFYING LEGAL EXPERIENCE. DUBOIS One was representing a disabled Vietnam veteran whose truck was stolen from a repair shop. He represented himself in JP court and received little relief. He appealed to county court. Insurance defense counsel sent discovery that went unanswered. He faced a summary judgment. A young attorney served as my clinic co-counsel, doing the heavy lifting. Defense counsel agreed to extensions. Discovery was completed and exchanged. Both sides agreed to mediate, and the mediator waived part of his fees. The settlement paid our client the fair market value for his truck plus court costs. This pro bono case presents a legal drama that features 1) attorney good guys (i.e., the young lawyer, the mediator, and the defense counsel), 2) the merits of mediation, 3) the value of collaboration between a young and an experienced attorney, and 4) pro bono service. Our client’s emotional thank you was priceless. GODBEY My first pro bono case involved a doctor—yes, anyone can fall on hard times. His license to practice medicine had been suspended when he was caught with illegal drugs. He had exhausted his savings on treatment, and he had no income. After being clean and sober for a year, he asked me to help him get his license back. With no experience in administrative law and being before the Internet age, I was concerned about representing him at the State Board of Medical Examiners. I researched the law and the board’s procedures, I consulted with administrative lawyers, and I prepared my client to tell his story. All of the diligence and hard work paid off. The board reinstated his license, and he turned his life around. It was unbelievably satisfying to learn a new skill, use it effectively, and obtain a life-changing result for a pro bono client. WHAT CAN THE STATE BAR DO TO PROMOTE DIVERSITY WITHIN THE LEGAL PROFESSION? DUBOIS President Lisa Tatum’s I Was the First program provides an inspirational message for schoolchildren and welcomes them to join our legal profession. It is important for young people to see successful professionals and leaders of varying backgrounds and circumstances. This encourages them to consider law and leadership as a possibility for themselves. LeadershipSBOT and local bar outreach programs encourage our best and brightest young lawyers to become the leaders of tomorrow. By casting a wide net to encompass talent representative of all lawyers throughout our state and by providing essential guidance, encouragement, and opportunities, we will succeed in achieving greater diversity in all levels of leadership. The future of our legal profession is strengthened when we attract and prepare leaders of tomorrow from a broadly diverse talent pool of young lawyers. GODBEY The State Bar has many programs that promote diversity, including the appointment of minority directors to the State Bar Board and LeadershipSBOT. Nevertheless, the pipeline—encouraging minorities to attend law school— remains one of our greatest challenges. As vice-chair of the Dallas Bar Foundation, I help raise money to fund scholarships that allow minorities to attend law school. I would like to see a similar program at the state level. The more minorities in law school, the more diversity we will have as Texas lawyers. Also, the president has the opportunity to appoint minorities to leadership positions throughout the State Bar. I would continue that tradition as president-elect. WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN? DUBOIS Fun in the sun! We love the water. My wife, Pam, and I met at the Fort Sam Houston pool where I worked summers as a lifeguard and Red Cross water safety instructor. Swimming and relaxing at the neighborhood pool, South Padre Island, and an occasional trip to the Caribbean where we snorkel, scuba dive, and parasail are our favorite activities. Tennis is a year-round passion, and we both play in separate leagues. I enjoy playing in charity golf scrambles, hunting, and fishing. Pam and I love dancing, especially to rock ’n’ roll. The folding stadium seats we received for Christmas are being put to good use at our 12 grandchildren’s activities—soccer, football, baseball, wrestling, gymnastics, basketball, and choir. With my competitive spirit, I am learning what it means to be a “good” fan in my grandchildren’s world. GODBEY My favorite activity outside of practicing law is playing tennis. I have played in a working woman’s night league for countless years. The league is interesting because most of the women are not lawyers. Although I love talking with lawyers, these women provide a different perspective on social issues, politics, work-life balance, popular culture, and current events. In addition to playing tennis, I love to cook, read, needlepoint, play with our two shelter kitties and one aging diva cat, and Skype with our kids, both of whom are in college. As a recent empty nester, I have more time for bar activities, so with the encouragement of my husband and the support of my firm, I am proud to be a nominee for the office of president-elect of the State Bar of Texas.
Published by State Bar of Texas. View All Articles.