Beck Redden LLP is pleased to announce that Partner Alistair B. Dawson will serve as the Houston Bar Association (HBA) President for the 2017-2018 year.

Mr. Dawson succeeded Neil Kelly of Andrews Kurth.  In addition to serving as President-elect last year, Mr. Dawson has previously served on the HBA Board of Directors for the past nine years.

“I am honored and excited to be the HBA President this year and I consider it a distinct privilege to be the leader of this wonderful organization,” Dawson said.  “I look forward with great anticipation to all that we will accomplish this year.”

Mr. Dawson has pledged to continue the HBA’s tradition of promoting community service and intends to continue this practice in three unique and unprecedented approaches, relating to individuals with special needs.

Addressing the Special Needs of Pro Se Litigants

  • Thousands of pro se litigants are forced to try and navigate our court system without the benefit of a lawyer. The Houston Volunteer Lawyers currently provides assistance to pro se litigants but is not able to do this full time every day.
  • The assisted pro se program will be expanded and be staffed every day by a lawyer so that we can help more pro se litigants.
  • A program is being examined that pairs young lawyers with pro se litigants where cases are ready for trial – providing young lawyers valuable trial experience and giving pro se litigants a lawyer to try his or her case.

Expanding Community Services for Children and Young Adults with Special Needs

  • Help parents to ensure that within our education system the legal rights and accommodations for special needs children are recognized and adhered to.
  • Educate parents about their rights and the opportunities available to them to ensure their children’s success.
  • Provide pro bono legal representation to parents when schools are not providing the legally entitled accommodations to children with special needs.
  • Provide pro bono guardianship representation to families with special needs children. Guardianship is complicated, expensive and requires a lawyer’s assistance.

Assist Differently Abled Adults Gain Training and Opportunity for Integrated Employment

  • There are many jobs for which special individuals are well suited and for which they can be employed if the time is dedicated and people are educated to create an inclusive environment and provide necessary training for both staff and these individuals.
  • Law firms and corporations are ideal places for individuals with varying cognitive or physical abilities. In our local firms and companies and with our influence, we can be leaders in setting the example for inclusive environments where talents are recognized at many levels and contribution to community sustained.
  • This year, HBA will launch Project TRAIN – Training, Readiness and Inclusion Network. Project TRAIN will assimilate training materials for employers to help them train staff and promote inclusive environments. These training materials will provide the employer with suggestions and solutions to create a successful cooperation between the worksite needs and the employee needs.  Project TRAIN will reach out to law firms and corporate legal departments and encourage them to join our exemplary Inclusion Network and consider interviewing individuals with special needs for jobs at their firm or company.

“I am passionate about this project and I have been blessed to be surrounded by special needs people my entire life,” Mr. Dawson said. “I have seen their challenges and I have seen them work hard to overcome those challenges.  I have seen what these special people can do and what they can accomplish.  I know that if we join in this project together, we can make a profound difference in the lives of these very special people who have so much to offer our community.”

Mr. Dawson is an acclaimed trial lawyer and has handled and tried a variety of challenging commercial lawsuits.  As a result of his skills and hard work, he has earned widespread praise from clients and colleagues as a “go to” trial lawyer. He is recognized by Best Lawyers in America (2012-2017) for commercial litigation, Benchmark Litigation as a Local Litigation Star – Texas (2014-2017) for antitrust and commercial litigation, and by Chambers USA (2005-2017) as a leading trial lawyer in Texas.  Mr. Dawson is also a member of the nationally acclaimed American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).

Mr. Dawson matches his trial skills with active civic involvement and leadership positions such as the HBA and with the State Bar of Texas. He is often sought after as a presenter and speaker at various legal events and symposiums, and devotes significant time to pro bono matters, serving on the Board of Directors for the Houston Volunteer Lawyers and Lone Star Legal Aid.

He earned his J.D. in 1989, with honors, from The University of Texas School of Law where he was Editor of the Texas Law Review and a Member of the Chancellor’s Society. He earned his B.A. from Vanderbilt University, International Economics and Business, magna cum laude, in 1986.

About the Houston Bar Association

Established in 1870, the HBA’s purpose was to maintain high standards in the legal profession and provide legal education for Harris County attorneys. Today, the HBA, the fifth largest metropolitan bar association in the nation, still adheres to those basic principles, but has expanded its goals to include public service and better access to legal services for all citizens in the Greater Houston area. Continuing Legal Education and professional development programs for attorneys are second to none. HBA members contribute over 45,000 volunteer hours to community service projects each year. With 11,300 members, the HBA is the fifth largest metropolitan bar association in the nation.