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Dallas Bar Association

Laura Benitez Geisler: DBA's l1l0th

and First Hispanic President

Bill Holston to Receive

2019 MLK Justice Award

   When   Laura Benitez Geisler is sworn in as
the 110th President of the Dallas Bar Association
(DBA)  on January 12, 2019, she will be the first
Hispanic  member   to
assume  the role. Ms.
Geisler, of the Geisler
Law Firm, will lead the
DBA   after more than
a  decade  of  service
to  the  organization,
both  on its Board of
Directors and in other
   Through   the  20
years of watching and
working  with  Laura,
I can tell you that no
one cares more  about
our   profession,  its
leadership, and  suc-
cess. And no one  has
been more prepared to
assume the DBA  presi-
dency, said immediate
past President Michael
Hurst, partner at Lynn
Pinker Cox  &  Hurst,
LLP.  Laura's natural  Laura Benitez Geler
and   practiced lead-
ership qualities include her charisma, passion,
heart, energy, and experience.
   Ms.  Geisler was raised in Corpus  Christi.
Recounting her childhood, she said I always tried
to renegotiate every rule that I found arbitrary-
like bedtime-which  frequently led to the com-
ment  that I would 'make a good lawyer.' I really
took it to heart. After majoring in Criminal Jus-
tice at the University of Texas at San Antonio,
she came  to Dallas to pursue her J.D. at SMU
Dedman  School of Law, serving on the SMU Law
Review  and interning for Judge Jorge Solis and
at the Texas Supreme  Court with Justice Craig
   Ms.  Geisler knew she wanted  to spend her
legal career in the courtroom and, after an uncon-
ventional interview with Ralph Red Dog Jones
in which she attended a meeting with an expert
witness and a client (all the while being evaluated
on her interactions), she was invited to join the
firm-thus  began her career as a personal injury
attorney. Ms. Geisler took on meaningful roles in
significant cases from the very start. And Red Dog
turned into a great mentor (and later partner) to
Ms. Geisler-it was he who convinced her to par-
ticipate in the first Dallas Association of Young
Lawyers (DAYL)  Leadership Class in 1997.
   From  there Ms. Geisler was hooked on active
involvement with the bar. I really enjoyed par-
ticipating in bar association programs and activi-
ties, meeting new people and  fellow practitio-
ners, strengthening my practice and skills, and,
most  importantly, forming lifelong friendships,
said Geisler. She served as President of the Dallas

Women   Lawyers Association (DWLA) in 2003
and  DAYL  President in 2007. She was  elected
to the DBA   Board in 2008 while assisting Jus-
tice Douglas Lang of the Fifth Court of Appeals
with the Transition to Law program to help first
                        year lawyers make the
                        leap from  student to
                        practicing   attorney.
                        Indeed,  one  of  Ms.
                        Geisler's passions  is
                        helping mentor young
                        lawyers to become suc-
                        cessful  practitioners.
                        This year she is work-
                        ing  on  the develop-
                        ment  of a legal incu-
                        bator  program   for
                        new  attorneys to take
                        on modest  means rep-
                        resentations    while
                        learning practical skills
                        about  how  to run  a
                        business as a lawyer.
                           Having  started her
                        own  firm, Ms. Geisler
                        has a first-hand under-
                        standing of the chal-
                        lenges  of  balancing
                        one's practice and cli-
                        ent demands with run-
                        ning  a  business and
everyday life-a balance she appears to have mas-
tered herself: she has been named in numerous
Best Lawyer lists in the field of personal injury
including Best Lawyers in America, Best Attor-
neys in Texas, and Best Lawyers in Dallas and
Texas Super Lawyers among other accolades.
   In addition to her DBA   Board service, Ms.
Geisler was also Co-Chair  for the 2014-2015
Equal Access to Justice Campaign benefitting the
Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, in which she
helped raise over $1.1 million to provide pro bono
legal services to low income Dallas County resi-
   I believe the Dallas Bar Association is truly
unique and among  the strongest and most active
bar associations in the country, she said. I intend
to continue the tradition of preserving the DBA's
unparalleled assets and resources.
   Judge Martin  L. Hoffman,  of the 68th Dis-
trict Court, said of Ms. Geisler Laura has been a
hard working visionary leader in the Dallas legal
community  for a long time. Her role in starting
the DAYL   Judicial Intern program has helped
thousands of law students learn more about our
Dallas judicial system. Laura's program on the
Independence  of the Judiciary will highlight
this important issue. Laura's dedication and lead-
ership makes her well suited for the herculean
task of President of the Dallas Bar.
   Rob  Crain, a partner at Crain, Lewis, Brogdon,
LLP  and past DBA President said Serving others
is Laura's passion; whether directed professionally,

                          continued on page 10

   This  January, the  Dallas Bar
Association    will  honor    Bill
Holston,   Executive  Director  of
the  Human   Rights  Initiative of
North  Texas, Inc. (HRI), with the
2019  Martin Luther  King, Jr. Jus-
tice Award, which  recognizes area
leaders whose service to the com-
munity embodies
the example  of Dr.
King.  One  cannot
help   but   notice
the  plight of  the
immigrant  and ref-
ugee  communities
in   today's news.
Among   their many
other concerns and
daily needs,  these
immigrants     and
refugees find them-
selves  attempting
to navigate a com-
plex  legal system.
Bill Holston   and  Bill Holston
HRI   provide  guid-
ance  and aid to help smooth  that
path. HRI  is a nonprofit organiza-
tion that provides legal assistance
to refugees and immigrants  in the
North  Texas area who are the vic-
tims  of human   rights abuses. It
was  founded  in 1999 by  attorney
Elizabeth Betsy Healy and social
worker Serena  Simmons  Connelly.
   An   Alabama   native  sporting
a bow-tie, Bill Holston graduated
high  school in  Texas, where  he
also attended undergrad (UT  Dal-
las) and law school (SMU). Before
joining HRI   in 2012,  his career
had  been focused  on commercial
trial work as a partner of Sullivan
and  Holston Law  Firm. While  he
found  commercial  litigation to be
intellectually stimulating, his pro
bono  immigration work provided  a
more  meaningful reward. Working
in immigration  gives Holston  the
opportunity to change  the lives of
his clients, as well as those whose
lives his clients touch.  Holston
is inspired by the asylum seekers'
stories and their strength to per-
severe through  their tribulations.
Holston  has described the work as
the most fulfilling part of [his] life
outside [his] family.
   Our  clients come to America
with  nothing but  the clothes on
their backs. They  are prohibited
from  working   and  not  entitled
to government   benefits but have
taken  huge  risks so they have  a

chance  at freedom  and  safety in
our country, said Holston.  Our
new  challenges include providing
social services to clients through
our  pro  bono   lawyers, doctors,
and other  volunteers. We need  to
provide  increasing social services
especially given the huge backlog
of cases in Immigration Court.
   Along  with  other members   of
               the DBA,   Holston
               volunteered     his
               services  at DFW
               Airport  when   the
               travel   ban   was
               instituted. He trav-
               eled to Paris, Texas,
               along  with  many
               other legal volun-
               teers and legal ser-
               vice organizations,
               to help immigrants
               affected  by   one
               of the largest ICE
               raids in recent his-
               tory. With his tal-
               ented team at HRI,
               he has been  work-
ing to help the children separated
from  their immigrant  parents  at
the border. Holston also promotes
collaboration  with   other   area
groups  providing related services
through  a  collaborative program
called  the Force  for  Immigrant
Rights  &  Empowerment (FIRE)
Coalition  to help share resources
and  spread  information  through
the community.
   Since  the mid-1980s,  Holston
has been  providing pro bono  ser-
vices  for political and  religious
asylum  applicants from  21 coun-
tries, helping clients navigate the
legal system, and  learning about
human  rights efforts in other coun-
tries. Through his work with HRI,
Holston  has  tried multiple  asy-
lum  trials. In 2005, HRI awarded
Holston  with  the Angel  of Free-
dom  Award.  In 1997, he  received
the  Outstanding   Political Asy-
lum  Lawyer  Award  from the Dal-
las Bar Association, and in 2002,
he  received an award  for Distin-
guished  Pro Bono  Service Award
from  the Dallas Volunteer  Attor-
ney Program.  In 2015 Mr. Holston
was recognized  as a Distinguished
Alumni   for Public Service by the
SMU Dedman School of Law.
Additionally,  he   has  authored
commentaries and editorial on
human  rights issues for KERA 90.1

               continued on page 16

6 Crain Lewis Brogdon Supports Equal Access to Justice

8 DVAP's Chris Reed-Brown Retires

1 8  Lawyers   and Happiness   - A Pragmatic  Discussion

23   A  Case  for Sidelining Dangerous   Doctors

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