DAYL President’s Page

To Whom Much is Given

by Justin R. Gobert

I’ve had the great fortune of working as an in-house attorney my entire ten-year (yikes!) legal career. One question I have been asked throughout my many years of involvement in DAYL is what motivated me to get involved when I wasn’t going to be developing business or getting clients out of it. There are many great reasons to be involved in DAYL: the people, an opportunity to further develop leadership skills, CLEs, and the list goes on and on. But, the reason that has always been the most compelling to me is that DAYL provides an incredible opportunity to give back. To borrow a phrase from our wonderful 2018 DAYL President, Jennifer Ryback, lawyers are great people who do great things and DAYL is fortunate to have so many great people that are doing extraordinary things to serve our community.

A few examples include:

Our Aid to the Homeless Committee, led by Mitchell Garrett, Maria Garrett, Cory Eden, Michael Debnam, Sydnie Shimkus, Sara Schretenthaler, Mary Durbin, Mario Lamar, and Maddie Brunner, and Barbara Pelaez has hit the ground running in 2020. Last month they organized over 30 volunteers to drive the neighborhoods of Dallas to distribute care packages to area homeless and to help provide an accurate count of the homeless population in Dallas as part of the annual Dallas homeless count. Additionally, the committee is organizing a volunteer effort with the Birthday Party Project, which provides birthday parties to children in homeless and transitional living facilities, for February 20th. They also have plans for a shoe donation drive and to serve food to the Dallas-area homeless later this year.

Our Lawyers Serving Children Committee, under the leadership of Dwayne Lewis, Alexis Swanzy, Sarah-Michelle Stearns, Meredith Tavallaee, and Jenna Jabara, is coordinating a stuffed animal donation drive to provide to Dallas police and fire departments so that when our first responders are called to a scene where children are present, they will have stuffed animals to provide to comfort the children. The committee is also working on a project entitled, Be The Example, which will tell the stories of individuals that are the first in their generation to receive a high-school diploma or a post-secondary education or certification of some kind. The video series will focus on telling the stories of individuals from a diverse background and of diverse professions, from lawyer to blue-collar professions, to show children that individuals that came from similar backgrounds have achieved success and done it in a variety of ways.

Our Elder Law Committee, led by Heather Bell, John Van Buskirk, James Snyder, Jack Fan, and Aubrey Boswell is focused on substantive issues impacting the elderly, but also organizes service projects throughout the year, such as an ice cream and bingo social for citizens of the Dallas Rehabilitation and Wellness Center. The Animal Welfare Committee, led by Vu Le, Whitney Green, Rachael Gearing, Shaun Hassett, Hailey Hughes, and Adam Villanueva, also provides several service opportunities each year, including their annual pet food donation drive.

These committees are just a few among many within DAYL that are doing great work in our community. They are always looking for additional volunteers to join them. Bookmark the page to check back throughout the year for more service opportunities and to sign up to give back.

I am a believer that to whom much is given, much is expected. Lawyers are looked to as leaders and are expected to serve. We should all be proud that DAYL, and our members, continue to answer that call for service in so many impactful ways.