State Bar of Texas Blog
Random Profile - Alia Derrick, Dallas
For Random Profiles, we randomly pick one of our 80,000-plus attorneys, call them, and do a Q&A. We've found that every Texas lawyer has an interesting story. Will yours be next?
Family: Single, 5 nieces and 2 nephews.
Areas of practice: Civil Litigation & Labor and Employment.
Education: B.A., Rice University (2003); J.D., University of Texas School of Law (2007).
Secret for staying young: Worrying less, laughing often, and walking in faith.
Best thing about being a lawyer: Volunteering your services to those who cannot afford it. To borrow from DVAP’s tagline: “It [truly is] like billable hours for the soul.”
Latest pursuit: Funding a child whose parents have succumbed to Aids/HIV.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing attorneys today? Time: An uncertain economic time and its effect on the practice.
Bet you didn’t know: I have delivered a Sunday sermon at church.
Another little known fact: I like to sew and decorate.
Culinary talent: Hawaiian Stuffed Chicken.
Community Involvement: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dallas, Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, JL Turner Legal Association Co-Chair of Community Outreach Committee, Dallas Bar Association, Law in the Schools Committee, the Dallas Women's Foundation.
Mentors/heroes: high school mentors --Ron Kirk (current US Trade Representative and former mayor of Dallas, TX) and Amy Yeager (current in house counsel for Baylor Hospital) .
Most important career lesson: As a young associate, I have learned that tenacious persistence and people truly are your best resources because both are a tremendous help that ensure you survive, and (eventually) thrive in a legal career where clients depend on you to know the practice even though you may lack first hand experience.
Current Project: Turning an extra room into a proper study/office.
Favorite saying/quote: “I want young men and young women who are not alive today, but who will come into this world with new privileges and opportunities –I want them to know that these new privileges and opportunities did not come without someone suffering and sacrificing for them.” - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Favorite TV program: The Cosby Show.
Favorite music/musician: Gospel/Christian.
The last movie: The Blind Side.
Favorite magazine: The Economist.
Favorite sport: Kickball.
Favorite food: Lamb chops.
Favorite restaurant: Carraba’s Italian Grill.
Talents (besides law): Singing and acting.
Generally likes to read/ Current reading material: Bible.
Memorable vacation: Cancun, Mexico with good friends.
My favorite weekend retreats are: Quick flights to anywhere friends are.
If I had more time, I would: Help save the world.
The part of my job I do best is: To advocate on my client’s behalf.
The best piece of advice ever given to you and by whom: The best advice ever given to me was not given in the form of advice but was communicated as an observation by my high school Chemistry AP teacher, Dr. Charles Tuttle. Dr. Tuttle witnessed the huge crocodile tears that spiraled slowly, then uncontrollably, down my cheeks. My many failed attempts to do well on his quizzes and exams had finally gotten to me - not because I was failing but because I was truly trying as hard as I could, even attending tutoring sessions. Noting all of this, Dr. Tuttle looked at me and encouraged me saying “Alia, you will do well because you are ‘tenacious.’ Tenacious means that you never give up when challenged and with that tenacity you will get it, it will click for you. Well, soon thereafter it "clicked," and I made a 103 on the next Chemistry AP exam (even answering the bonus question correctly). Although Dr. Tuttle may not realize it, when faced with challenges, I have repeatedly referred back to his "advice" and it has carried me far!
Who is your favorite on-screen or literary attorney, and why? John Travolta in “A Civil Action,” because he sought to right a huge injustice despite this stand costing him his legal practice. Attorneys should strive to have a legal practice built on justice which at times may require a huge sacrifice to do the right thing, nevertheless, the sacrifice must be made. Afterall, in the words of Justice Douglas S. Lang, each attorney’s career should be built on “deeds, not words.” Joe Pesci in "My Cousin Vinny" is a close second because of its huge lesson to new attorneys. First year attorney Vinny Gambini (Joe Pesci) wins his first case but not before experiencing great humiliation and uncertainy! New attorneys inevitably will experience some embarrassing moments in the practice, but true client advocacy means enduring and quickly learning from those humbling experiences to deliver the favorable results clients seek.
If you weren't an attorney, what profession do you think you would be in? Educator: High School History and/or Spanish Teacher because I love attempting to make an impact on society.
What's the turning point that made you decide to become an attorney? The turning point that made me restart my journey to becoming an attorney was a good college friend of mine. She called me one evening, gave me a good “talking to,” and the next thing I knew I was applying to law schools.
When you are not practicing law, what do you like to do? Relax, catch up with friends, and enjoy my nieces and nephews.
Who are the people you admire most, and why? My Parents (Randall & Alice Dozier) who taught me and my siblings the value of education, the devotion and sacrifice of parenting, and the peace and joy of serving Jesus Christ.
What has changed the most technologically or practice wise since you have been licensed? The use of the internet by the courts. Who would have ever thought you could watch oral arguments for the Texas Supreme Court live; or file pleadings electronically?
How do you think the practice will change in the next 15 years? Video-conferencing voir dire and trials perhaps?
Alia is an associate in the Dallas office of Jackson Walker, L.L.P.
You can also view Alia's TexasBar.com profile
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