Slack & Davis LLP Helps DVAP Reach Historic Goal
By Alicia Hernandez
Ladd Sanger and Paula Sweeney of Slack & Davis’ Dallas office played a major role in the 2012 Equal Access to Justice Campaign benefitting the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program (DVAP). Their $15,000 gift to the campaign was the donation that made the campaign reach its historic $750,000 goal.
Slack & Davis, an Austin-based personal injury firm specializing in aviation, catastrophic collisions and other matters, is a first time donor to the Equal Access to Justice Campaign but no stranger to community service. Their gift to the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, a joint program of the Dallas Bar Association and Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, is an extension of their many efforts to support legal aid organizations and other services for the poor, including the Legal Aid Society of Central Texas, Volunteer Legal Services, Habitat for Humanity and Goodwill Industries.
Access to our courthouse has been a constant refrain in the 2012 Equal Access to Justice Campaign and a primary reason many donors support the campaign. Slack & Davis is no different. “The courthouse doors need to be accessible to everyone,” said Mr. Sanger, Managing Partner of the firm’s Dallas office. “Many times those who have the highest need for access to the justice system have the least access. Both contributions to DVAP and our daily practice are geared to helping those in their time of need get access to and navigate the civil justice system.”
Access to justice not only keeps the courthouse doors open, it helps people build trust in a legal system that can oftentimes be intimidating and confusing. It gives DVAP’s clients the legal advice, information and representation they need to understand their rights. It helps them make informed decisions about personal matters that can deeply affect their lives. And it provides the advocates needed to guide people through the legal system. It is also about keeping the promises of our constitution working for all.
“We appreciate that DVAP is one of the forces working to keep the 7th Amendment right to jury trial in civil cases alive and meaningful,” said Ms. Sweeney, Of Counsel at Slack & Davis.
“If everyone does not have an equal opportunity to seek justice at the courthouse it will become a tool for those with the means. If that were ever to happen, it would undermine the integrity of the entire civil justice system,” added Mr. Sanger.
Slack & Davis’ gift also demonstrates the continued influence that our past supporters—those who believed in the cause but are no longer with us—have had on DVAP, the campaign and the Dallas community. “In my first job out of law school, John Howie told me that as lawyers we need to do our part to keep the court house doors open to those without the financial resources to pay a lawyer,” said Mr. Sanger of his mentor, the late John Howie. Ms. Sweeney’s decision to support the Equal Access to Justice Campaign was also influenced by her good friend and former law partner Mr. Howie: “John was a tireless supporter of access to justice for all,” she said. “It is our honor to continue his tradition.”
Alicia Hernandez is the Director of the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program and the DBA Director of Community Services. She can be reached at email@example.com.