Paul K. Stafford, 2012 President of the Dallas Bar Association
by Timothy G. Ackermann
Paul K. Stafford will be inaugurated on January 21, 2012, as the 103rd President of the Dallas Bar Association at the annual Inaugural Dinner-Dance. Mr. Stafford took the reins of our nearly-11,000 member organization on January 1.
Mr. Stafford has enjoyed practicing in a variety of environments and types of law—a variety giving him great perspective in leading an organization as diverse as the Dallas Bar Association. He first practiced law, after graduating from the Texas Tech School of Law in 1994, as an Assistant District Attorney in Denton County, and then in Dallas County. In Dallas, he served as a felony prosecutor, but later changed his practice to general civil litigation. As a civil litigator, he began practicing at Amis & Bell in Arlington in 1998 and later joined Werstein, Smith & Wilson. From 2004 until forming his own firm in 2008, he practiced with Hughes & Luce LLP (now K&L Gates LLP). Mr. Stafford is now the proprietor of The Stafford Law Firm, which focuses on complex commercial litigation, business litigation, and insurance litigation, as well as labor & employment matters.
Mr. Stafford grew up in Prairie View, Texas, as the youngest of five children. He graduated from Waller High School as salutatorian, and lettered in football, tennis and band. He then attended Texas A&M University, earning a B.S. in Political Science in 1990. At A&M, Stafford received the President’s Achievement Award and the Former Students Association Buck Weirus Spirit Award. He was also a Distinguished Student, was active in the Student Government, founded an annual student leadership conference, and served as Secretary of his fraternity—Alpha Phi Alpha. During law school at Texas Tech, he was a founder of the Black Law Students Association, a member of the Board of Barristers, and was Runner-Up for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil Rights Award. Paul left law school hoping to become a successful litigator with criminal and civil experience.
Mr. Stafford is proud that, in addition to reaching several of his professional goals, he has been invited by his alma mater to teach as an Adjunct Professor. Over the years, he has taught Insurance Law, Trial Advocacy and Interviewing & Counseling. In 2007, the Black Law Students Association, an organization he helped establish at Tech Law in 1991, named him as an Outstanding Alumnus. Stafford’s litigation experience has afforded him the chance to try over 200 jury trials over the years, and his experience, both as a prosecutor and in his current practice, has brought him plaudits. He was recognized as a “Texas Super Lawyer” in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and as a Texas Rising Star several times before that. Eclipse Magazine named him one of its “Eight Most Dynamic Lawyers in Dallas” in 2008. Farmers Insurance Group’s Legal Department also named him its “Trial Horse of the Year” two years running based on the number of cases he tried.
Mr. Stafford also has a record of service to the bar and the public. He has served on the Dallas Bar Association’s Board of Directors since 2001, serving as its Chair in 2008, and on the Board of Trustees for the Dallas Bar Foundation since 2005. Before that, he chaired several committees, including Admissions & Membership and Minority Participation. He also headed up the Campaign for Equal Access to Justice in 2007, a year in which the Campaign earned a record-breaking amount.
The Dallas Bar has, moreover, recognized Mr. Stafford for his service. He received the 2004 Jo Anna Moreland Outstanding Committee Award for his service as Co-Chair of the Minority Participation Committee. He was also awarded a Dallas Bar Association Presidential Citation for his work with the Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary Commemoration Committee and a Presidential Achievement Award for his work as Chair of the “A Bar For All” bar-assessment committee. And, in 2006, Stafford was the Outstanding Minority Attorney for the Dallas Bar Association.
Outside the Dallas Bar Association, Mr. Stafford served as president of the J.L. Turner Legal Association, and has just completed five years of service on the Board of Directors of the Texas A&M University Association of Former Students where he most recently served as Legislative Chair. He also currently serves on the Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations, as well as the Board of Trustees of the World Affairs Council of Dallas Fort Worth.
In 2003, he was an American Marshall Memorial Fellow. That fellowship, awarded by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (based in Washington D.C.), gave him the opportunity to travel widely in Europe to meet with political, professional and civic leaders. During his fellowship, Mr. Stafford traveled to several European countries and met with various officials from the European Union, the European Commission, The Hague, The United Nations Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia, the World Court, and NATO to discuss transatlantic and legal issues. He now serves on the Board of Trustees of the German Marshall Fund.
Mr. Stafford is married to Telea Johnson Stafford and has three daughters—Camryn, Kendall and Chelsea.
Tim Ackermann practices patent, trademark and copyright law at The Ackermann Law Firm. He was Co-Chair of the Publications Committee of the Dallas Bar Association from 2009-2011. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.