by Meyling Ly, President
December 2014 Dicta

“The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.” – Kalu Ndukwe Kalu

A a marathon runner, I can’t help but compare my life experiences to running – and being president of DAYL is no different. For me, having the role of president was not about winning an individual race; rather, it was much more like a marathon relay. My goal was to run my leg of the race as well as I could – so that our team could ultimately share the victory at the finish line. My most important thought? Don’t drop the torch.
As I near the end of my leg, despite feeling a little like I’m running on empty, I also feel overwhelmingly fulfilled by all the good that we have accomplished together. Through the hard work of our committee chairs and committee members, through the leadership of our board members and Executive Director, and through the support of our members, I’m proud to report to you that we have completed over 140 projects and programs this year with about 40 of them being completely new.

Together we packed backpacks for abused and neglected children, provided free legal advice for hundreds of Dallas citizens, served lunch to the homeless, created crafts with Senior Citizens and helped build a home for Habitat. We served children, the elderly, veterans, the homeless, victims of domestic violence, animals and one another – including law students and those in transition. Together, we have raised thousands of dollars for Equal Access to Justice, Assist the Officer Foundation, and EPIC. We challenged one another’s ideas on diversity in the workplace, collaborated on ways to combat stress and depression in the profession and raised our awareness for the importance of wellness within our practice. Not only did we provide each other with continuing legal education, but we also provided each other with leadership education and opportunities, a seminar on financial literacy, networking training and opportunities, and nuts and bolts workshops. We also had some fun and developed friendships along the way – through our sports leagues (winning kickball!), socials, Leadership Class Reunion and Past President’s Dinner.

None of this would have been possible without each of you – and while I can’t recognize everyone for their contributions, I would be remiss not to try.

To our members, thank you for your membership and attendance at our events. Without you, we would not exist! To the extent you have not been as active as you like, there’s always next year. To the extent you are not engaged because there’s nothing of interest to you, please let us know what’s missing – we truly want this to be your bar association.

To our sponsors, I can’t thank you enough for your financial support. Many of our programs literally could not happen without you.

To the Dallas Bar Association, thank you just doesn’t seem like enough. Your financial support and leadership is priceless. Shoutout to President Scott McElhaney for such a successful and inspirational year!

To my sister bars – especially the sister bar presidents: Elisabeth Wilson, Alyson Blatney, Sakina Rasheed and Tatiana Waits – our sisterhood was such an amazing support for me. I loved our collaboration and can’t wait to see more in future years to come.

To the Dallas Judiciary – thank you for taking time on and off the bench to teach, guide and mentor us. We are going to be better lawyers when we grow up because of you.

To the DAYL Leadership Class facilitators, we are already better leaders because of you.

To this year’s committee chairs and committee members, thank you for making DAYL look so good. I say all the time that DAYL is good people doing great things. You are the good people I’m talking about.

To my board, I was humbled this year by your unwavering support, generosity of time, and kindness. I really do think you’re the best board any president could have. I wish there was some way our members could witness all that you do – from attending numerous DAYL events to helping the committees bring their ideas to fruition, from your thoughtful contributions at our monthly board meetings over tough issues to making sure new members feel welcome and are engaged – thank you for all that you do.

To our Executive Director and my friend Cherie Harris, you are the constant behind all of DAYL’s success. You are the first friendly face for our new members, the dispenser of historical knowledge, the voice of reason, the most organized and responsive person I know. With you as our Executive Director, I knew that I could never really drop the torch. In a way, I think you’ve been the one who has really been carrying it all along.

Last but not least – thank you to my family – Littler & Jason. For those that follow me on Twitter, I’m sure they’re sick of my shoutouts to my firm, but I really mean it – I work with incredibly talented lawyers who are also great people. And as for my Jason, he is the sole reason why I’ve been able to devote so much time to DAYL. I’m so lucky that he decided to marry me this year despite all the times I left the house/laundry/pups/delivering dinner to my office on his lap.
As I pass the torch to Jonathan Childers, his board, his committee chairs and the Leadership Class of 2014, I wanted to share a couple of final thoughts:

First, I know firsthand that being a young lawyer is hard. Sometimes it seems like there are too many obstacles: economy/stress/billing/discovery/deadlines/depression/studentloans – all of which can really make us lose sight of what being a lawyer means but I submit to you that this is where DAYL can come in. Certainly, it’s not a panacea for the more difficult aspects of our practice, but for me personally, DAYL has provided me a lifeline – not only support by way of lifelong friends but also inspiration and a higher calling. DAYL reminds me of what being a lawyer should mean. It is more than just a job. It is a noble profession, where we have the privilege (and duty) to serve others. I sincerely believe that I am a better person and lawyer from being in DAYL. #Winning

Second, I found this quote that I found to be a fitting ending to my last presidential article: “We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own.” To the future leaders of DAYL, I hope that you will continue to light others’ paths and most importantly, pass the torch. It’s such an incredible legacy to be a part of. #YOLO