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46 Headnotes 1 (2021)

handle is hein.barjournals/hdba0046 and id is 1 raw text is: Dallas Bar Association




Focus Government Law/Tort & Insurance Pradice
Judge Tonya Parker to Receive
2021 MLK Justice Award

Malor EAJ Campaign Donors
Make an Impact During Crisis

As the pandemic rages on, the demand for
pro bono legal services in Dallas County contin-
ues unabated. The Dallas Volunteer Attorney
Program (DVAP) stands ready to assist, with vir-
tual clinics implemented last year to allow for safe
social distancing. Back in April, Ramona applied
with DVAP after she lost her job as a preschool
teacher. Attorney Brian Morrow volunteered
to take her case and explained, We were able to
help Ramona by discharging over $60,000 worth of
medical and personal debt that was incurred over
the past two decades. She was laid off from her job
due to COVID-19 and no longer had the means
to resolve her debts. She was screening her phone
calls and ignoring past due and collection notices.
Since filing bankruptcy, Ramona feels relieved
that she has an opportunity to begin her life again
without the crushing debt. She gets a fresh start,
which was the intent of the Chapter 7 filing pro-
cess. Ramona can continue her search for gainful
employment without worrying whether her wages
would be garnished because of decades-old medical
debt. As a result, Ramona is able to face her future
with renewed optimism.
DVAP relies not only on the pro bono attor-
neys who represent clients, but also the major
donors who provide the funding to keep the pro-
gram thriving. Margaret and Jaime Spellings are
proud to continue their steadfast support in the
amount of $20,000 to this year's Campaign. In a
year that has brought many challenges, DVAP's
services are vital to ensuring that all members of
the Dallas community have access to the legal sys-
tem. We are pleased to support the pro bono ser-
vices of the Dallas Bar that DVAP makes possible,
said Margaret.
The Witherite Law Group also stepped up to
support DVAP at the $20,000 level. Amy With-
erite stated, DVAP is such a critical resource for
those who lack the financial means to obtain legal

services. Wherever we can, we do our best to help
these folks through our legal expertise. Sadly, there
is a high need for the services DVAP provides,
particularly in this pandemic year, whether it's a
victim of an eviction case or unfair bill collection
practice. Free legal services are critical to the com-
munity to ensure everyone has a fighting chance in
these situations.
Corporate citizens AT&T and Kimberly-
Clark Corporation have committed their support
at the $15,500 level this year. Now more than ever,
access to legal counsel cannot be a luxury enjoyed
by some, but unattainable to others. AT&T is
proud to support DVAP's fight to bring greater
equality to the provision of legal services, stated
David R. McAtee II, Senior Executive Vice Presi-
dent and General Counsel of AT&T.
Jeff Melucci, Chief Transformation, Business
Development & Legal Officer of Kimberly-Clark,
and Honorary Chair of this year's Campaign,
agreed. The opposite of poverty isn't wealth, it
is justice. This is where DVAP comes in, assisting
those in need with access to the courts.
The Haynes and Boone Foundation also
pledged their support at the $15,500 level this
year. DVAP exemplifies one of the core values
of Haynes and Boone: that lawyers have a duty to
serve their communities and help level the playing
field for those who cannot afford legal services. The
rule of law hinges on the ability of citizens to vindi-
cate their legal rights, regardless of their economic
circumstances. We are particularly proud to partner
with DVAP this year, both financially and through
the provision of many virtual hours of Haynes and
Boone lawyers' time, to help DVAP make sure that
same access to justice has been maintained through
the ongoing pandemic, said Tun Powers, Manag-
ing Partner of Haynes and Boone, LLP.
The   Spellings, Witherite  Law   Group,
AT&T, the Haynes and Boone Foundation, and
continued on page 10

An unexamined life is not worth liv-
It is not surprising that this quote
from Socrates is a favorite of Judge
Tonya Parker.
Her own professional and personal
mantra is Shrink from making no sac-
rifice in service of God, family, and com-
Judge Parker consistently surpasses
her mantra, and is constantly seeking
new ways to examine life and justice.
She firmly believes that people do not
want to be labeled; they want to be
known-truthfully,  completely,  and
precisely. Although she abhors labels,
she jokes that a friend reminds her that
she really likes being called Judge. She
explains that is different; Judge is an
earned title.
Judge Parker has served as Judge of
the 116th Judicial District Court since
2010. She receives among the high-
est ratings in DBA Judicial Evaluation
Polls. She was named Trial Judge of the
Year by the American Board of Trial
Advocates, Dallas Chapter; and twice
awarded the Distinguished Jurist Award
from State Bar of Texas, African-Amer-
ican Lawyers' Section. She has served
as President of the Texas Association of
District Judges.
On January 18, 2021, Judge Parker
will receive another well-earned title
and recognition-Recipient of the 2021
Martin Luther King Justice Award from
the Dallas Bar Association, an award
recognizing area leaders whose service to
the community embodies the example
of Dr. King.
Aaron Tobin, 2021 DBA President,
stated: Without question, Dr. King was
a once in a lifetime talent. Part of what
made him so influential was his relent-
less dedication to focusing his tremen-
dous talent on helping others and bring-
ing about social change. I hope everyone
in the Dallas community understands
that we are witnessing firsthand a simi-
lar talent and pursuit. Judge Parker has
the intellect, judgment, drive, and com-
mitment to accomplish anything she
sets out to do. Fortunately for us, she
has unselfishly chosen to focus her tre-
mendous talent and skill on serving our
local community. Judge Parker is incred-
ibly deserving of the DBA's MLK Justice
Judge Parker's service and recogni-
tion started early, A 1998 graduate of
SMU Dedman School of Law, her peers
selected her to receive the JFK Memo-
rial Scholarship. Shonn Brown, a friend
and classmate, shared that it was imme-
diately evident that Judge Parker was

on a quest to be impactful in the legal
profession, and she vividly remembers
a speech about the Constitution where
Judge Parker's focus on the text any
means any, and all means all, empha-
sized her commitment to protect every
person who is seeking the benefit and
protection of the law. Her North Star
is excellence and justice, stated Mrs.
Prior to taking the bench, Judge
Parker was a trial attorney handling
complex commercial and tort litigation
for individuals and corporations. She
was a partner at White & Wiggins; and
Gruber Hurst Johansen Hail, a 4-time
Texas Super Lawyer Rising Star.
In 2005, she served as an Ameri-
can Marshall Fellow, traveling through
Europe to promote transatlantic rela-
tions and learn about European social,
political, and economic systems. With
time for reflection, she experienced a
sea change and began to wonder will
people accept the whole me?
From the mentorship of H. Ron
White and Kevin B. Wiggins, she
became a total lawyer by honing her
legal skills and actively participating in
bar and community service. She reached
goals that she previously thought would
be unattainable due to her sex and color.
Judge Parker emphasized that this award
is even more special because H. Ron
White is a prior recipient. Her decision
to leave the firm was very difficult, but
she heard about the opportunity to push
further through the glass ceiling.
Judge Parker's time with Michael
K. Hurst provided invaluable trial
experiences, and further advanced her
opportunities for service and education.
And significantly, for the first time in
her career, she found the courage to be
unapologetically authentic and honor
continued on page 24

8    Texas Supreme Court Puts the Eight-Corners Rule to the Test

1 4 Meet Aaron Tobin, 2021 DBA President
1 9 Rule 202 Sneak Peak: Pre-suit Discovery

21 DBA Golf Tournament

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