The Dallas Association of Young Lawyers is excited to announce that Jennifer Ryback has been selected as the 2020-2021 DAYL Outstanding Young Lawyer.
After graduating, cum laude, from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, Jennifer joined McGuire, Craddock, & Strother as an associate in 2010. Less than a decade later, in January of 2019, she became the firm’s youngest shareholder. As a business litigator, Jennifer works closely with clients to solve problems of all types and sizes. She has broad experience handling construction disputes, defending employers against wrongful termination and wage claims, pursuing and defending breach of contract cases, and handling a variety of disputes related to commercial real estate transactions.
Jennifer is committed to making her law firm the best it can be. She is conscious to mentor young lawyers and she has served on the firm’s Hiring Committee for over five years, working to recruit lawyers to join the firm who are committed to providing the highest level of legal service to the firm’s clients.
Jennifer’s peers have also recognized her excellence in the profession. She has been regularly named as a Texas Rising Star and was selected to D Magazine’s Best Lawyers Under 40 for the last three years. In 2016, Jennifer received the Dallas Women Lawyers Association’s Rising Raggio Award, which recognizes an outstanding young lawyer who has had significant professional accomplishments and acted as a leader in the Dallas community.
The epitome of a bar leader, Jennifer serves with grace and determination to bring out the best in those around her. While in law school, she served as President of the SMU Student Bar Association. That tradition of leadership continued when Jennifer became involved in DAYL when she began practicing in 2010, and, in 2018, Jennifer served as the President of DAYL. Inspired by the Good, Better, Best poem she learned from her grandmother growing up, Jennifer focused on making young lawyers the good, better, best they can be.
As DAYL President, Jennifer was instrumental in creating several new programs for DAYL. DAYL partnered with the Dallas Bar Association for the Second Chair Program, which gave young civil litigators an opportunity to gain jury trial experience by sitting “second chair” with seasoned criminal lawyers. She also filled a need of DAYL by creating programming unique to lawyers in the 5‐10 year practice range, the Older Wiser Lawyers Roundtables Program, through which older young lawyers met to discuss topics like business development and making partner. Jennifer also led the expansion of the Trial Skills Boot Camp from a one‐day event to a year‐long CLE series. Jennifer championed another important program, Continuing the Conversation: Where Have All the Women Lawyers Gone?, which took shape as an interview series with women lawyers who have made their mark on the Dallas bar, with teachable moments on how to excel in the practice of law as a woman.
Jennifer’s leadership did not stop with DAYL. She has since joined the Board for the Dallas Women Lawyers Association. In her first year on the DWLA Board, Jennifer worked to take Continuing the Conversation to the next level with a series of panels on how women can stay in a law firm environment and develop business necessary to excel while also managing expectations at home. In 2020, Jennifer served as the VP of Awards Reception for DWLA and pivoted to change the format of the event from the traditional in-person gathering to a high-quality virtual production. She currently serves as VP of Programming for DWLA and is working to bring more dynamic programming to DWLA’s members this year.
Jennifer was also selected to participate in the inaugural class of the Dallas Bar Association’s WE LEAD Program, designed to address the challenges of high-performing women who have practiced law for 8 to 15 years. A proud graduate of the WE LEAD Program, Jennifer now serves as an Alumnae Mentor.
Jennifer’s leadership in the bar has, of course, extended to serving the community. After learning of the need for funding for housing in the Dallas area with her classmates in the 2013 DAYL Leadership Class, Jennifer was determined to host a fundraiser to help meet that need. Working with a core group, Jennifer worked to plan and execute the first DAYL Charity Ball, which was held in 2014. In that first year, the DAYL Charity Ball raised over $50,000 (then, a record number raised by a DAYL Leadership Class). Resolved to make it an annual event, Jennifer served as Event Chair in 2015 and led the DAYL Charity Ball Committee to plan and execute another successful event, again raising over $50,000.
As she was among the first generation of college graduates in her family, Jennifer is passionate about giving back to Alpha Phi, the organization that provided such critical support to her in college, to ensure that the next generation of collegiate women have even more opportunities than those who came before. To this end, Jennifer volunteers significant time with Alpha Phi as a Collegiate Chapter Manager, the highest volunteer role for that organization, overseeing a team of volunteers for 11 chapters across Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Florida.
Prior to her service as Collegiate Chapter Manager, Jennifer served as Chapter Advisor for the Alpha Phi Chapter at the University of North Texas for over five years, traveling to Denton once or twice a week to be as hands-on as possible and to cultivate an environment of excellence through philanthropy, community service, and campus involvement. In 2016, in recognition for her outstanding loyalty and continuous devotion to Alpha Phi through her role as Chapter Advisor, she was awarded the prestigious Michaelanean Award. Jennifer has also served on Alpha Phi’s Collegiate Chapter Strategy Committee, through which she had the opportunity to develop programming for collegiate chapters of Alpha Phi in order to continue the organization’s tradition of leadership and character development.
As a decade-long volunteer, Jennifer has mentored dozens of collegiate women and young professionals. Jennifer also regularly provides support to the Alpha Phi Foundation, which supports women’s heart health and provides around $350,000 in scholarships each year. Having received scholarships from the Alpha Phi Foundation both in college and while in law school, Jennifer volunteers each year as a scholarship reader, reviewing scholarship applications to ensure that the most deserving applicants are selected.
Jennifer previously served on the Board for the Family Place Partners, a volunteer and fundraising auxiliary group that supports The Family Place in its mission to eliminate family violence. She was also a Member of the Junior League of Dallas for five years during which time she supported a number of local organizations, including Senior Source and the Perot Museum.
It is for these reasons and more that Jennifer was selected as the DAYL 2020-2021 Outstanding Young Lawyer.