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36 Headnotes 1 (2011)

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Dallas Bar Association

Leon Carter to Receive 2011 MLK Justice Award

   Each January, Americans celebrate the
memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
whose aspiration was that one day our
nation would realize true equality for all
people. On January 17, 2011, the Dallas
Bar Association honors Dr. King's legacy
by presenting the Martin Luther King, Jr.
Justice Award to a local leader who epito-
mizes the values and ideals of Dr. King.
   This year's recipient is E. Leon Carter,
an outstanding lawyer and community
leader. Mr. Carter was 11 years old when
he decided to become a lawyer, and he
remembers the day clearly. He was with
his mother, and she stopped the car at a
service station for gas. He got out for a
drink and was puzzled by a sign over the
water fountain. It had been painted over,
but the letters were visible through the
paint-colored only. He questioned his
mother, and at first she replied that he
wouldn't understand. But he pressed her,
and she explained this relic was from the
Jim Crow Laws. He wanted to know more:
How were these laws changed? How are
such wrongs righted? She speculated that
it had to do with lawyers, and young Leon
made his decision: Then I'm going to be
a lawyer.
   Born in Galveston, Mr. Carter is one of
five children. He lost his father at the age
of four, and his widowed mother moved
the family to east Texas to be closer to
family. Their circumstances were modest,
but Mr. Carter speaks with pride of his
mother's success in raising her children.
   After graduating from Carthage High
School, Mr. Carter attended East Texas
Baptist College in Marshall. He played
basketball on scholarship and earned a
degree in history and pre-law. He then
taught school for a year, before pursuing
his law degree at Texas Southern Univer-
sity's Thurgood Marshall School of Law,
which he received in 1986.
   Mr. Carter began his legal career as an
Assistant District Attorney and then As-
sistant Attorney General. Later, he joined
Jackson Walker, L.L.P. and became a part-
ner in the litigation section. Eventually,
he founded his own firm, and five years
ago, he merged his small firm into what is
now Munck Carter, LLP, a mid-sized busi-
ness, technology and litigation firm.
   Throughout his career, Mr. Carter
has given generously of his time to both
the Dallas Bar Association and the Dal-
las community. He has co-chaired the
Judiciary Committee, served as a DBA
Director, been a board member of the
local subcommittee on the unauthorized
practice of law, and is a member of the
Committee for a Qualified Judiciary. He is
also a fellow of the Dallas Bar Foundation
and a member of the executive committee
of the Litigation Council of the State Bar
of Texas.
   His contributions to the community at
large are equally impressive. He is a board

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member of Camp John Marc and the
Vickery Meadow Learning Center, and has
served on the boards of the Martin Luther
King Center, the Volunteer Center of Dal-
las and Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
   Mr. Carter has served as an adjunct
professor at SMU law school and often
speaks on litigation topics. Texas Monthly
has named him a Super Lawyer numer-
ous times, and he is included in The
Best Lawyers in America, and the Dallas
Business Journal's selection of the Top 15
Business Defense Lawyers in the metro-
plex. He is a member of the American
Board of Trial Advocates and a fellow of
the American College of Trial Lawyers, an
honor reserved for no more than 1 percent
of the lawyers of any state.
   Mr. Carter and his wife, Deborah, have
been married for 28 years and have a son
and daughter. When he has some time
away from his practice and volunteer ac-
tivities, Mr. Carter enjoys reading, work-
ing out and watching classic movies with
his wife.
   Although his list of honors and acco-
lades is long, Mr. Carter says family and
faith keep him grounded. He makes time
for church on Sunday and bible study dur-
ing the week. With respect to the various
best lawyer lists to which he has been
named, he says, I've been blessed. I can't
say I'm one of the best lawyers in America
or Dallas. All I can do is be the best law-
yer I can be, and the best person I can be,
every day. That's my philosophy.
   Members of the DBA and the
community are invited to attend the
Martin Luther King, Jr. Justice Award
luncheon on January 17 to honor Mr.
Carter. To make reservations for the
luncheon contact Biri Avina at
bavina@dallasbar.org. A plated lunch will
be served ($12.76).                   HN

Anne Pohli practices estate planning and probate law and is a past chair
of the DBA Committee. She can be reached at lapohli@sbcglobal net.

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