Kathleen LaValle Named Executive Director and President of Dallas CASA

July 2, 2014 | Attorney News



Kathleen McElroy LaValle, a partner at Jackson Walker, has been selected to serve as Executive Director and President of Dallas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), a nonprofit organization that provides advocacy for children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect.

“I have been involved with Dallas CASA for many years and am deeply honored to have this opportunity to play an expanded role in helping the organization achieve its important mission on behalf of children,” said Ms. LaValle.

Ms. LaValle will continue to be associated with Jackson Walker in an advisory role as Of Counsel with the firm, providing occasional consultation on client matters as well as coaching and mentoring of women associates and partners. Among her many contributions at Jackson Walker, Ms. LaValle founded and led the firm’s women’s initiative, jw2 (Jackson Walker Women), which has helped to make Jackson Walker one of the top law firms in the state in promoting women to partnership. She also served as a member of the firm’s statewide Diversity Steering Committee, and is especially proud of Jackson Walker’s recognition as a 2014 recipient of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s Sager Award, a distinction given to only one law firm per year in each of its five regions nationally for dedication to diversity and inclusiveness.

“We fully support Kathleen as she begins a new chapter with Dallas CASA,” said firmwide managing partner Wade Cooper. “As a firm, we have a culture that encourages and supports our attorneys in their work in the community, and Kathleen fully embodies those values through the leadership she has demonstrated both within the firm and in the community.”

Ms. LaValle’s career has been marked by excellence in legal practice and a deep commitment to community involvement. Since 2004, she has served on the Dallas CASA Board, including a term as President in 2006 and her current role as Board Vice President of Community Outreach. During her tenure as President, a new auxiliary group was formed, the Dallas CASA Children’s Council, which has contributed both increased awareness and funding for Dallas CASA. The event she chaired for a number of years – “Justice is Served” – has evolved to become the annual Champion of Children dinner, celebrating the work that Dallas CASA does. Today, Dallas CASA serves more than 2,000 children who are in protective care, less than three out of five children who could benefit from having a volunteer advocate. Dallas CASA hopes to double the number of children served by 2016 with the aim to serve every child by 2019. (If you would like to help, please click here: http://www.dallascasa.org/.)

Thanks to an ambitious $37 million campaign well underway, Ms. LaValle joins Dallas CASA as it has the opportunity to become the first major metropolitan area in the country to have a volunteer advocate assigned to every child in protective care. Key contributions have come from The Rees-Jones Foundation, as well as many other individual, foundation, and corporate donors.

As a partner at Jackson Walker, Ms. LaValle has dedicated her legal practice to achieving successful results for clients in high-stakes legal disputes and complex litigation. She has handled a wide range of complex litigation at the trial and appellate level. She was Chair of the Texas State Bar Antitrust and Business Litigation Section and an adjunct professor at SMU Law School, teaching Pre-Trial and Trial Procedure. Among the highlights of her distinguished legal career was the central role she played in high-profile state regulatory proceedings affecting the expansion of competition in the telecommunications industry. More recently, she has been recognized by Chambers USA as a top-ranked practitioner in state electric power regulatory proceedings.