Leadership Class


Application Deadline: Tuesday, July 9, 2024


The DAYL Leadership Class was created in 1997 and serves as a way to connect young lawyers who want to grow their leadership skills and who want to make a difference in their community and the bar. The DAYL Leadership Class provides opportunities for young lawyers to develop relationships with local city leaders, network with other young lawyers through group activities, and deploy their newly-honed leadership skills. By promoting leadership development within the bar association as well as within Dallas’s nonprofit and civic communities, the DAYL Leadership Class is able to provide a forum for identifying the many ways to give back to North Texas.

Led by a team of experienced Class Facilitators, including Dena DeNooyer Stroh, General Counsel with NTTA; Mark Melton, Partner at Holland & Knight; Rebekah Brooker, Partner at Scheef & Stone; Riqui Bonilla, Principal at Fish & Richardson, Ross Williams, Partner at Bell Nunnally & Martin; and Kandace Walter, Founder of Walter Legal PLLC and SMU Clinical Professor, the DAYL Leadership Class experience will be a unique and beneficial experience for all young lawyers.

Nearly 900 lawyers have participated in the DAYL Leadership Class and have taken what they have learned to advance their careers, serve and lead non-profit and for-profit boards, serve in elected positions, and hold civic positions. Our alumni include judges, general counsels, law school professors, city leaders, and law-firm name partners. The DAYL Leadership Class has been emulated by bar associations across the state and the country and serves as a gateway for leadership among lawyers in the Dallas area.

Direct questions to Cherie Harris.


There is a $550 administrative/enrollment fee. This enrollment fee covers the program materials and all other expenses. If necessary, the $550 fee may be made in installments, with $150 due upon acceptance and the remainder due by October 15.


Stipend Award: We are excited to be able to offer two $300 stipends this year, in honor of DAYL Past President (2008) and former Leadership Class Facilitator Karen D. McCloud, who passed away in 2020. Please indicate your need on an additional page and include it with your application. The stipends will be given to individuals who have the desire to emulate Karen’s zest for life and bar service.


Following an introductory happy hour, the class will meet for a mandatory overnight retreat, a series of lunch meetings, and several class activities over a course of seven months.

Once selected, Leadership Class members will:

Meet each other and Class Facilitators at a Class happy hour;

  • Attend the mandatory two-day DAYL Leadership Class Retreat;
  • Participate in two class activities;
  • Participate in five lunches featuring local and state leaders speaking on their personal experiences in leadership positions; and
  • Organize a Leadership Class community service project.

Applicants must submit: 1) A one-page résumé, 2) a personal statement; and 3) a letter of recommendation from someone who has known you for at least two years.
The 2024 DAYL Leadership Class will meet as follows:

  • Introductory Happy Hour
    • Wednesday, August 14, 2024, 6:30 – 8:00pm
  • Mandatory Class Retreat
    • Friday, August 23, 2024, 8am – 8pm (overnight optional); and
    • Saturday, August 24, 2024, 8am – noon
  • Class Activity
    • Saturday, October 5, 2024, 9am – 2pm; and
    • Saturday, January 25, 2025, 9am – 1pm
  • Class Lunch Schedule (all will be from 11:30 am – 1:00pm)
    • Thursday, September 12, 2024;
    • Wednesday, October 16, 2024;
    • Wednesday, November 13, 2024;
    • Wednesday, January 8, 2025; and
    • Wednesday, February 12, 2025


Fun Facts About Past Leadership Classes and Class Projects

2023 Class –
2022 Class –  Check back to learn more about the 2022 DAYL Leadership Class’s project, Bingo, Baby!, benefiting ilooklikeLOVE.
2021 Class
 – this class organized Hooping for the Community, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament benefiting Educational Opportunities.
2020 Class – this Class was held virtually and their class project consisted of helping those who were facing eviction due to the pandemic crisis. A series of videos and brochures were created to educate tenants about their rights regarding evictions.
2019 Class  – as the COVID-19 pandemic shut most of the country down, the 2019 Leadership Class pivoted and organized an event to help elderly citizens of Dallas, through a card-writing campaign and volunteering with the Senior Source’s “Beat the Heat” air conditioner drive.
2018 Class  – organized Tastes from the Heart, a multi-cultural event featuring ethnic food and entertainment and benefiting Dallas Heart House.
2017 Class – organized Donate-A-Billable-Hour, a fundraiser and mentoring program for Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet. The class raised over $10,000!
2016 Class – organized April Adventures!, a community service project to encourage young Dallas professionals to invest in their community by finding a service organization that they are passionate about.
2015 Class – organized the Dallas Bridge Bash on April 16, 2016.
2014 Class – organized Crawfest: Claws for a Cause on April 25, 2015, benefiting the North Texas Food Bank. 
2013 Class
 – organized the DAYL Charity Ball on November 15, 2014. The event raised $50,000 for Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity and EPIC. They hold the new record of raising the most money of any class project.
2012 Class – had the City of Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings attend its class project to welcome everyone to GrowSouth Jams.
2011 Class – the 2011 class was the first class to have two separate class project activities: a sporting goods supply drive in the spring and an 8-week mentoring session in the fall, which focused on professionalism, interview skills, and etiquette. Both projects benefited the students at KIPP Charter School.
2010 Class – was the first class to attempt to break a Guinness Book of World Records by making over 80,000 pancakes in an 8-hour time period. Near freezing and monsoon-type weather conditions impeded the attempt, but hot pancakes were very much appreciated by White Rock Marathoners!
2009 Class – the 2009 Leadership Class project, Zoo-A-Palooza, helped expose DAYL to the new Dallas Zoo exhibit: Giants of the Savannah. It was the only class project where a giraffe would literally eat right out of your hand!
2008 Class – was the first class to have a website to promote its class project: Food for Thought. Food Network captured the event on live TV!
2007 Class – was the first class to have a competitive class project: DAYLympics. Teams of four participated in dodgeball, relay races, tug-of-war, and a school supply weigh-in.
2006 Class – Was the first class to have an overnight out-of-town retreat. They also organized the largest single day of community involvement in DAYL history. Impacting: DISD had over 300 volunteers who volunteered at five DISD elementary schools.
2005 Class – raised the most money as a class. Big Easy in Big D raised over $24,000.
2004 Class – held Poker for Playgrounds, which raised money to build a playground at a DISD school in East Dallas.
2003 Class – had Beatles tribute band a Hard Night’s Day play for their event, which included organizing post-event activities for Tour Dallas.
2002 Class – had a sitting U.S. Senator and future Presidential hopeful, Bob Dole, speak to hundreds of attendees at a luncheon for Education is Freedom.
2001 Class – holds the record for the quickest class project completion (8 weeks from first scheduled lunch – The Freedom Run. It also holds the record for the longest standing DAYL event that started as a class project.
2000 Class – was the first class to focus on what would become a trend among leadership class projects: Dallas Education. The class focused on tutoring students at a local elementary school, concluding the semester with a field day for the students.
1999 Class – was the first class to organize a class project: A Masquerade Ball Benefiting the Lupus Foundation of North Texas where attendees dined and danced with the dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History in Fair Park.
1998 Class – Robert Witte began his 16 year tenure as class facilitator.
1997 Class – Was the Inaugural Class and consisted of 29 young lawyers.