Our values stem from our goal to create a positive impact in all that we do.
A deep-rooted commitment to the community is an important part of our culture, as we strive each day to promote altruism and leadership within the Firm and extend those values to communities where we live and work.
Many of our attorneys engage in community service and offer pro bono representation on a regular basis.
From advocating for children and serving at-risk communities to eliminating barriers and promoting inclusion for all, our attorneys and staff are proud to play a key role in helping more than 500 local, regional, and national organizations.
Advocating for the Underrepresented
Community Partners of Dallas
David Schlottman, Board of Directors
For nearly 30 years, Community Partners of Dallas has supported Child Protective Services in its mission to ensure the safety of abused and neglected children in Dallas County. As a Director, David Schlottman helps carry out this mission by encouraging fellow attorneys and staff to support the annual Back-to-School Drive. In partnership with the ORIX Foundation, the Firm collected school supplies, including backpacks, calculators, and notebooks, and gathered on July 27 to fulfill 800 orders to benefit more than 3,500 children living in foster care in Dallas.
Covenant House Texas
Kurt Nondorf, Director
Over 35 years ago, Covenant House Texas opened its doors to provide shelter for homeless, abused, and abandoned youth between the ages of 18 and 24. Through a comprehensive model that includes counseling, training, and living programs, CHT helps young men and women transform their lives and get on a path to independence. Kurt Nondorf served as Chairman of the Board of Directors through May and continues to serve Covenant House as a member of Courtesy Covenant House Texas the Board.
Houston Volunteer Lawyers
James Richardson, Hurricane Harvey Legal Relief Project Volunteer
For some residents of Harris County, the devastation that Hurricane Harvey wreaked on their homes seemed nearly impossible to repair. A year after the Category 4 storm swept through the Upper Gulf Coast, one woman lost all hope of fixing her house after several failed attempts to receive aid from FEMA. That was when James Richardson stepped in to offer his assistance—free of charge—through Houston Volunteer Lawyers, the service arm of the Houston Bar Association.
As part of the organization’s Hurricane Harvey Legal Relief Project, low-income residents of Harris County are connected with volunteer lawyers like James who handle matters pro bono.
When the Courts Step In
Kathleen LaValle, Executive Director & President— Dallas CASA
Nearly 700,000 children endure abuse or neglect each year. To give a voice to America’s most vulnerable children, a Seattle judge founded the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (CASA) in 1977. Since then, the organization has expanded to 49 states and the District of Columbia with over 85,000 volunteers who advocate for children until they find safe, permanent homes.
For 15 years, Kathleen LaValle has dedicated herself to Dallas CASA, one of the largest in the country. In honor of her commitment to Dallas CASA, SMU Dedman School of Law presented Kathleen with the Distinguished Alumni Award for Public Service.
Children's Advocacy Centers of Texas
Denise Rose, Board of Directors & Women of Courage Committee Member
In 2018, more than 58,000 children received services from the 71 children's advocacy centers (CAC) across the state of Texas. Founded in 1994, Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas (CACTX) provides a statewide platform for public-private partnerships within communities, fueling the success of the CAC approach by uniting advocates and giving local CAC communities a statewide voice.
Since joining CACTX in 2015, Denise Rose has grown her involvement in the organization to serve on the Board of Directors and the Women of Courage Committee.
DAYL – Equal Access to Justice
Devanshi Somaya, Committee Co-Chair
The Dallas Association of Young Lawyers’ (DAYL) Equal Access to Justice Committee focuses on providing increased access to the Dallas Courts for traditionally disadvantaged segments of the community. In addition to its own projects, the committee aids the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program and the Dallas Bar Association.
As a Co-Chair, Devanshi Somaya helped to organize a wine tasting held in June to raise over $15,000 to benefit the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, which provides free legal services to impoverished citizens in Dallas.
Breaking the Glass Ceiling
Alisha Mehta, Alumna
Entering the male-dominated STEM field can be intimidating for females. Recognizing this, the Texas-based nonprofit Girlstart launched in 1997 and has since expanded to offer six year-round STEM programs across Texas. Having attended Girlstart as a camper for five years and having interned there prior to attending law school, Alisha Mehta gained the confidence early on to thrive in every stage of her life.
Taking the Bench
Carmen Symes Dusek, 51st District Court Judge
Ten years and eight months after delivering the opening statement in what became the largest child custody case in U.S. history, Carmen Symes Dusek stood before a packed Tom Green County courtroom and took her oath of office from longtime Judge Barbara Walther to become judge of the very court that heard the case.
Leadership San Antonio
Shari Mao, Class of 2018
Organized jointly by the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Leadership San Antonio (LSA) has long been recognized as the city’s premier leadership development program. In December, Shari Mao joined the 44th class, which saw the largest number of nominations in LSA history.
Kathy Silver, Houston Leadership Committee
Lambda Legal works for civil rights for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and those living with HIV, through litigation, education, and public policy efforts.
Jackson Walker supports Lambda Legal through its Dallas Metro Landmark Dinner, and as a sponsor for the signature Houston event, Equality's Night Out.
Equality Texas Foundation
Sam Hildebrand, Director
Founded in 1990, Equality Texas Foundation educates and engages the public about policies and their effect on Texans of all sexual orientations and gender identities/expressions.
As a member of the Board of Directors, Sam Hildebrand supports Equality Texas in its work to fight on the frontlines to protect and advance the rights of LGBTQ Texans.
Texas Minority Counsel Program
Chris Mugica, Steering Committee
To increase opportunities for minority, women, and LGBT attorneys, the State Bar of Texas Diversity in the Profession Committee established the Texas Minority Council Program (TMCP), a client development, networking, and CLE organization. Each year, the TMCP welcomes more than 500 in-house and outside counsel to attend its annual networking and CLE conference.
"Ronald McDonald House Fort Worth is a supportive home-away-from-home for families of children receiving medical treatment. The service they provide the community is truly one of the most important and compassionate endeavors I've ever been a part of."
Joel Heydenburk | Partner, Fort Worth
Diversity Committee Member
2017-18 Ronald McDonald House
Fort Worth Board President
Meet Josh & Patty
Austin partner Josh Romero is a Diversity Committee member and a Board Member of Open Door Preschools, an organization that operates three schools in central Austin serving more than 210 children. Open Door serves children of varied races, nationalities, socioeconomic groups, and developmental abilities.
For over 10 years, Houston partner and former Austin resident Patty Tomasco has volunteered with Caritas of Austin, where she has also served as a Community Action Board Member since 2014. Caritas of Austin is dedicated to ending homelessness and hunger.