Legal Briefs: Endowed chair at SMU law to focus on women’s equality

Endowed chair at SMU law to focus on women’s equality

A new endowed chair in the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University is aimed at advancing equality for all women.

Ellen Karelsen Solender, a 1971 graduate of the law school and emeritus faculty member, has made a $2 million gift to fund the Ellen K. Solender Endowed Chair in Women and the Law.

The Solender Chair will support a law faculty member to encourage research, teaching and advocacy in legal education and the legal profession. The gift provides $1.5 million for endowment and $500,000 in operating funds until the endowment matures, which allows the university to fill the chair immediately.

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“Professor Solender’s decision to endow a chair in women and the law could not come at a better time,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “This faculty position underscores Dedman Law’s commitment to empowering women to assume positions of influence in their professions. Hers is a gift that will have continuing impact.”

Solender entered what was then known as SMU School of Law in 1968 at the age of 44. She had earned a bachelor’s degree at Oberlin College and worked for AT&T’s Bell Labs and the Wall Street Journal after she and her husband, the late Robert L. Solender, moved to Dallas. Active with the League of Women Voters, Solender believed government officials were not taking her questions seriously, and she enrolled in law school to improve her credentials.

She joined the faculty in 1973 and in 1977 became the second woman in the history of the law school to receive tenure. She retired in 1994 as professor emeritus of law.

Jennifer Collins, the Judge James Noel Dean and professor of law, called Solender a trailblazer in legal education.

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“She has dedicated her career to promoting equity and mentored countless women along the way. This gift will allow the law school to continue Professor Solender’s important work on issues that will advance the rights of women, ensure gender equality and train lawyers to pursue these goals,” Collins said.

Solender cites several significant events over the last century that raised hopes for gender equality, including the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote in 1920, women gaining the right to serve on Texas juries in 1954, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.

“My mother worked for the passage of the 19th Amendment and thought she would see equality in her lifetime. I thought I would see it in mine,” Solender said. “Now I worry whether my granddaughter and my great-great nieces will see equality in their lifetimes. I now realize these were only milestones on a longer journey to equality. These issues are so important to me, it is my hope that this endowed chair could be a catalyst and, hopefully, speed up the journey to equality for women.”

Solender previously has made donations to the Ellen K. Solender Institute in Free Speech and Mass Media Law Fund and to the law library book fund. She has been active on boards and commissions throughout SMU and was vice president and acting president of the Faculty Senate.

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In 2011. She received the League of Women Voters’ Susan B. Anthony Award. She also has supported the Dallas Museum of Art, Educational First Steps, Legal Aid of Northwest Texas, the North Texas Food Bank, Oberlin College and Parkland Foundation, and she has been an adviser to the city of Dallas’ Domestic Violence Task Force since its inception in 1987.

Attorney Barkley appointed

to Bar Journal’s editors panel

Mary Hazelwood Barkley, a partner with Cantey Hanger LLP, has been appointed to the Texas Bar Journal Board of Editors Committee for the 2015-2018 term, which begins after the annual convention in June.

The Texas Bar Journal is the official publication of the State Bar of Texas and the only legal publication reaching every attorney in Texas. The 20-person committee advises and assists the editor with matters of policy, content and substance.

Barkley joined Cantey Hanger in 2007 and focuses her practice on eminent domain/property rights, litigation and appellate work.

A&M law school grads set

high passing rate on bar exam

Texas A&M School of Law, based in Fort Worth, had the third-highest pass rate of the nine Texas law schools for first-time examinees on the February Texas Bar Exam, according to the Board of Law Examiners.

The school had a pass rate of 79.59 percent. Thirty-nine Aggie law examinees passed the exam out of 49 who took the test for the first time in February. The state average pass rate for first-time examinee was 70.39 percent.

“We’re happy for our graduates’ success on the February bar exam and look forward to their success as members of the Texas Bar,” said Andrew Morriss, dean and holder of the Anthony G. Buzbee Dean’s Endowed Chair. “As I recall all too well, the bar exam is a real challenge and our graduates turned in an impressive performance that reflects their hard work in law school. Going forward, we’re working to help our graduates do even better in the future.”

Boone re-elected chairman

of SMU board of trustees

Michael M. Boone, co-founder of the law firm of Haynes and Boone, has been re-elected chairman of Southern Methodist University’s board of trustees.

Boone has been an SMU trustee since 1996 and a member of numerous committees, among them finance, audit and trusteeship. A former adjunct professor of corporate securities law at the Dedman School of Law, he currently is vice chairman of Dedman’s executive board.

In leading the board of trustees, Boone is a co-chairman of SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign, which seeks to raise $1 billion for scholarships, faculty and academic excellence and the campus experience.

In addition, Robert Dedman Jr. was re-elected vice chairman of the board and David Miller was re-elected secretary.

Dedman is the general partner of Putterboy Ltd. and president of the Dedman family enterprise, DFI Management Ltd. He was elected to the board of trustees in 2004 and has served as secretary since 2010. He also is on the executive boards of Dedman College and Dedman School of Law and on The Second Century Campaign Leadership Council. He previously was on the board of the John G. Tower Center for Political Studies in Dedman College, the 21st Century Council and the Texas Campaign Committee for The Campaign for SMU.

Miller is co-founder of EnCap Investments LP, a private equity firm based in Houston and Dallas, where he is a partner. He also is president of the David B. Miller Family Foundation. Miller has been on the SMU board of trustees since 2008 and is a member of the Second Century Campaign Leadership Council. He is chairman of the executive board for the Edwin L. Cox School of Business, co-chairman of The Second Century Campaign Steering Committee for Cox School of Business and a member of the Campaign Steering Committee for Athletics.

Underwood Law Firm

adds Moses to FW office

Attorney Mitchell Moses has joined Underwood Law Firm as a shareholder in the Fort Worth office, which has grown to six attorneys in just over a year.

Moses’ practice focus is commercial transactions and business litigation, mostly related to real estate, energy, mergers and acquisitions and corporate law as well as school and education law.

He previously worked with Barlow, Garsek & Simon and before that was in-house counsel for a Dallas-Fort Worth-based private equity firm.

Moses earned his undergraduate degree in finance from Texas Tech University, an MBA in entrepreneurship from Acton School of Business and his law degree from Pepperdine University School of Law.

He is licensed to practice with the State Bar of Texas and has memberships with the AT&T Cotton Bowl Council, Fort Worth Stock Show Syndicate and Tarrant County Bar Association.