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DAYL President Paul Simon was part of a Habitat for Humanity home build along with his friends in the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers. The non-profit boasts 3,000 members and helps the city through their volunteer work, while building up the members' professional network. The association invites young lawyers from all over the metroplex to attend its first social of the year on January 26 at Stirr in Deep Ellum.

Dallas Association of Young Lawyers Led by a Michigan Transplant

Attorney Paul Simon believes in pay back—that is, paying back the good he’s received by doing good for others.

The new president of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers says he wouldn’t be where he is today without the association.

DAYL provided a career, a network, friends, and resources for this small-town Michigan kid,” he explains. “The truth is, I owe DAYL.”

This “small-town Michigan kid” attended law school in Michigan during the mid-2000’s which did not provide new lawyers many opportunities. “The economy was in the tank and jobs were scarce in the lead up to Detroit’s bankruptcy filing,” he remembers. Simon had proposed to his wife during his second year of law school, and felt the need to get to a city that would allow him to develop as a lawyer and support them both. Julie, his high school sweetheart, agreed to the move.

Ultimately, they decided that Dallas provided a glimmer of hope: a big city, Simon says, “in the great state of Texas. We were optimistic I could find a job here.”

Humble Beginnings

When you meet Paul Simon, he may remind you of someone famous. Not the singer Paul Simon of Simon and Garfunkel Fame, but crooner Harry Connick, Jr. because Paul looks like him, or so say his friends. Even more people tell him he’s a dead ringer for Shooter McGavin, the professional golfer in the movie Happy Gilmore, or “George of the Jungle” actor Brendan Fraser. While one character swings a golf club, the other one swings from the trees in the wild. Neither plays the sport the Paul prefers: basketball.

An avid basketball player, Paul once ran into superstar Michael Jordan at a bar in Washington, D.C. on a night after he’d scored 40-plus points.

While he likes to play basketball, Simon scores most of his wins these days in the courtroom.

A member of the State Bar of Texas, the Dallas Bar Association, and the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, he formerly served as a Co-Chair for several DAYL committees and was a driving force behind the 2009 Leadership Class. Paul is also an active member of DallasHR, a Life Fellow of the DAYL Foundation, a Fellow of the Dallas Bar Foundation, and a former Associate Member of the Patrick E. Higginbotham Inn of Court. He also serves as a director on the boards of the Dallas Bar Association, DAYL, DAYL Foundation, North Texas Community Giving Foundation, and the Stewart Creek Estates HOA.  If you’re counting, he’s a member of five boards.

Born in Bellevue, Washington, outside of Seattle, he was raised in Michigan where he attended school from 1st grade through law school. He attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and then went on to Michigan State University College of Law. His first career choice was on a different court: he wanted to teach high school History and coach high school varsity basketball. He didn’t end up in that career, but he did end up playing on two different DAYL basketball teams.

Dallas—and DAYL--Bound

After graduating law school, Paul loaded his forest green Toyota Rav4 with all his earthly possessions and made the 16-hour drive.  He crammed some clothes, a TV, a card table that would be his makeshift desk for bar exam prep, and an inflatable mattress (that didn’t hold air) into his car and took off for the bright lights of the big city.

Looking back on that time now, he says, “I could write a novel describing that summer, studying for the bar and all the stress that comes with waiting for results.” He passed the bar and started his first job. 

Without any Dallas connections and with  extremely small alumni base in the area--just two classmates at the time living and working in Dallas—Paul knew he had to get connected to the legal community and start building a network.  Fortunately, the small law firm he worked for introduced him to--and encouraged his involvement in--DAYL.

Ties That Bind 

His first co-chair assignment was the Ties That Bind committee, a small group of lawyers travelling to various high schools to speak to students about professionalism and the importance of making a good first impression, replete with demonstrating how to tie a necktie and providing each student with his or her own tie. Paul admits he was hooked.

He replaced the committee’s co-chair, Dustin Paschal, and the two became friends and now are bound by their law firm: Simon | Paschal PLLC. 

In 2009, Paul was accepted into the DAYL Leadership Class, where he quickly met 40 lawyers from many different backgrounds: big law firms to solo practitioners and everyone in between.  He also instantly gained referral sources for almost every type of law imaginable, key to helping him become a go-to resource for prospective clients, because Paul could then refer the right attorney for any job he couldn’t handle. 

In addition to making new important professional connections, Paul also joined two DAYL basketball teams. 

His Monday night team was “retired” DAYL members, veteran lawyers which included Jim and Jay Hartnett of The Hartnett Firm and Peter Krause of Waters, Krause, Paul.  He had no idea at first that these were nationally respected attorneys. On Tuesday nights, he played on the Vinson & Elkins team, which had the reputation of winning “a lot of hardware in that league for several years,” Paul says with a laugh.

Expertise for Entrepreneurs

Like a good basketball game, Paul says he never gets bored at his job, that “Every case I have is interesting for different reasons. Sometimes we have unique legal arguments or bizarre or horrific facts.  Whether my client is the plaintiff or defendant, their case is extremely important and interesting.”

Paul is an experienced litigator who regularly handles a variety of employment matters and business disputes, including discrimination and harassment cases, contractual disputes, and multi-state collective actions involving wage and hour issues. His advice and counseling, however, regularly assists entrepreneurs and startups with their business and entity formation needs and he provides support to existing companies seeking help for a variety of transactional needs.

Entrepreneurs who don’t have an HR department can tap Paul for his advice and counseling regarding a multitude of human resources issues and contractual matters. Anything Paul doesn’t have expertise in, he can refer to his many professional contacts in DAYL.

DAYL’s Future

Now an eight-year veteran of the association, Paul says, “My goal as DAYL president is to leave this organization in a little better place than it was when I was entrusted to lead it.  I owe that to DAYL, and its more than 3,000 members.”

The president with the movie-star good looks says he prefers to work behind the scenes, to help the DAYL members to build their professional networks, gain lifelong friends, and provide the resources to make an impact on the Dallas community and the bar. With hundreds of hours of service in DAYL behind him, he’s willing to do what it takes to achieve these goals.

Just don’t ask him to sing or swing from some trees.

 

To contact Paul e-mail him at: paul@simonpaschal.com

Or see his firm’s website: www.simonpaschal.com

Direct: (972) 893-9342 Cell: (972) 849-0975

For more information about the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers see: http://dayl.com

 Kick off the new year right by attending the DAYL January Social on January 26, 2017. The Social will be held from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Stirr, 2803 Main Street in Deep Ellum. The cost to attend is $3.00 for DAYL members and $5.00 for non-members. Special thanks to HC Legal Search for sponsoring this month’s Social!

Author Judy Porter writes about local heroes and non-profits doing Good Works in the metroplex. judy-porter@sbcglobal.net

 

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