Tyler, TX (FOX51) — The Smith County Bar Association and Smith County Bar Foundation join together to announce the local attorneys and students who will be honored at the upcoming Law Day 2013 luncheon.
The attorneys to be honored for outstanding service to the community include Richard Grainger, Shannon Dacus, Austin Reeve Jackson, and Mike Lentz.
Grainger is set to receive the 2013 Justinian Award, which is a lifetime achievement award presented annually to an attorney who exemplifies truly professional traits – a “role model of the bar.” Licensed to practice law in Texas in 1959, Grainger is a solo practitioner for the Law Offices of Richard Grainger. He is admitted to argue in the United States Supreme Court.
Attorney Shannon Dacus has been named recipient of the Smith County Bar Association Award of Excellence. This award, presented to an attorney who has significantly contributed to the community while at the same time raising the profile of the profession, was first presented in 2007. Dacus is a founding partner of The Dacus Firm. She gives tirelessly to the community, serving on the boards of the Hispanic Business Alliance, Leadership Tyler, The Women’s Fund, Tyler Economic Development Council, and the Smith County Bar Foundation. She also represents our community statewide by serving as a Trustee and Grants Chair on the Texas Bar Foundation Board.
The 2013 Smith County Young Lawyer of the Year is Austin Reeve Jackson. Jackson is being honored for his professional proficiency, service to the profession, and service to the community. He is a third generation Smith County attorney who returned to Tyler to open his own practice. Jackson is one of the youngest criminal attorneys in the state to achieve double board certification, and he has three times been named a Texas Super Lawyers Rising Star – an honor reserved for the top 2.5% of the attorneys in the state.
The Liberty Bell Award, given to an outstanding non-lawyer in Smith County for their selfless contribution to strengthen the effectiveness of the justice system in our community, will be presented to Mike Lantz. Lantz teaches government and American history at Tyler Junior College and Kilgore College. He is widely respected for his knowledge of Judge William M. Stegar, for whom the Tyler Federal Courthouse is named. He has published articles and presented at conferences on Judge Stegar and the Federal Courthouse.
In addition to honoring outstanding members of the legal community, Law Day 2013 is also intended to inform and educate local students about the importance of the justice system. The Smith County Bar Foundation, in partnership with the State Bar of Texas, sponsored a poster contest for students in grades Kindergarten – 5 and an essay contest for students in grades 9 – 12. The theme for the posters and the essays was: Realizing the Dream: Equality for All.
Poster winners include: NAMES AND SCHOOLS. A $25 Toys R Us gift card will be awarded to the top three posters from grades Kindergarten – 2 and the top three in grades 3 – 5. The winning poster in each age group has been entered by the Smith County Bar Foundation in the State Bar of Texas poster contest.
All three of the winners of the essay contest are Robert E. Lee High School students who participate in the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program. They are: Jonathan Barena, first place; Abraham Pineda, second place; and John Jones, third place. Barena, the first place winner, will receive a $200 cash prize and has been entered into the State Bar of Texas essay contest, which awards prizes of $1,000, $500, and $250. Second-place winner Pineda will receive $150 prize, and Jones will be awarded $100 for his third place finish.
The 2013 Law Day Luncheon will be held on Friday, May 3 at the Tyler Rose Garden Center.