To promote and recruit qualified local Democrats in seeking positions of public office, to educate the Democratic Bar in ways in which it can promote Democratic ideas and candidates, and to assist the Harris County Democratic Party in all ways consistent with Democratic values.
Organizational Profile and Activities
Harris County Democratic Lawyers Association [HCDLA], was formed in 2003 by local lawyers who are affiliated with the Democratic Party. This group is committed to furthering the administration of fair justice and intends to advance that goal by making Harris County, once again, a Democratic county. Most founding members are veteran candidates from previous Harris County judicial, legislative, and administrative elections. However, membership is open to all committed Democrats, including non-lawyers. Dues are nominal.
HCDLA believes that the most effective way to win local elections is to recruit the best qualified candidates possible and to educate our base Democratic voters of the importance of voting “down ballot” in local elections. To that end, HCDLA works every election cycle with various groups and candidates to organize an effective Get Out The Vote (GOTV) effort.
HCDLA holds a monthly luncheon on the first Thursday of every month, from September through May, with a variety of speakers of interest to the legal community. Currently, meetings are held at Theo’s, 812 Westheimer Road. The meetings are always lively, informative, and fun events. The presentations are approved for Continuing Legal Education purposes for Texas lawyers. The cost is low, if reserved and paid in advance, $25 for the meal for members, CLE free, or $35 if paid at the door. Click here for information on future monthly luncheons. To reserve your place for the next monthly luncheon, just click here. You can pay in advance by Mastercard or Visa, or just register for the event and pay at the door.
Every year, HCDLA sponsors the annual Clarence Darrow Award. This award recognizes the contribution of a member of our community, legal or otherwise, who has made a significant contribution to advancement of the ideals of the Democratic Party:
- In 2005, the first award was presented to Jim Mac Perdue, Sr. For more than 40 years, Mr. Perdue has been a driving force in the advancement of the rights of ordinary citizens in seeking legal redress in civil courts.
- In 2006, the award was presented to George Parnham, who has been a leading force advancing the rights of individuals in the criminal court system.
- The 2007 award was presented to Professor David Dow, for his work on Project Innocence, freeing innocent prisoners from death row.
- On December 4, 2008, HCDLA presented the coveted Clarence Darrow Award to Craig Watkins, District Attorney of Dallas County, for his actions ensuring that criminal defendants who had previously been convicted wrongfully had their cases fairly reviewed.
- On August 31, 2009, HCDLA presented the Clarence Darrow Award to Frances “Sissy” Farenthold. Ms. Farenthold has a lifetime of service to the citizens of Texas for progressive and humanitarian causes.
- The 2010 Clarence Darrow Award was awarded to Anthony Griffin, famed civil rights attorney.
- The 2011 award went to Richard Mithoff, noted philanthropist and Houston legal giant.
- In 2012, the award was presented to another civil rights pioneer, Frumencio Reyes, Jr.
- In 2013, the award was presented to State Sen. Wendy Davis
- In 2014, HCDLA presented the Clarence Darrow Award to former Texas Governor Mark White
- In 2016, the award was presented to Texas Civil Rights Hero Jim Harrington
Suggestions for future deserving award nominees are welcome.
For more information contact Dinesh Singhal, President, at 713-222-8500, or contact us through our contact page by clicking here.