"I represent and help people to protect, enforce and preserve those precious rights and individual freedoms which were so wisely granted by the founding fathers of our great nation." - Mary Alice McLarty

IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Dallas Attorney Mary Alice McLarty:
Why I Became A Trial Lawyer


Dallas Attorney Mary Alice McLartyI read To Kill a Mockingbird in the summer of 1963. I was seventeen and living in Dalhart, Texas. Also that summer, a white man shot a black man in the back, in cold blood. Four of my friends saw the murder and testified at trial for the prosecution that fall. I talked my way out of most of my classes and attended the week-long trial. The district attorney was a friend of our family and let me discuss the case with him. I got involved with the deceased’s family and sat with them during the trial. The jury rightfully found Henry Bosell guilty. However, my sense of justice was shaken when the jury gave him a pitifully light sentence of only two years! What an insult to the man’s life and to his family. What an embarrassing impeachment of our American justice system. I simply couldn’t believe it. The murderer was out of prison in 18 months.

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I didn’t think too much more about the law and justice as I began college, later married and began raising three children. I earned a degree in social studies and a teaching certificate, but I never taught. I stayed home, ran a house, chauffeured children from one sporting event to another, did the books for my husband’s business, participated in community affairs and wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper. Life was good. It was during this period that I was selected as a juror in a criminal trial, and it was a fascinating experience for me. The district attorney was a family friend. I discussed all facets of the case with him after the trial and he said, “you should go to law school.” However, there wasn’t a law school close enough, so I put the thought aside.

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In January 1978, at the age 30, I threw my hat into the political ring by announcing my Democratic bid for County Treasurer of Randall County, Texas. I didn’t know very much about party politics in those days. In fact, I didn’t even know what party to join until I signed up for the election. I decided that I was more philosophically aligned with the Democratic Party and considered myself a conservative Democrat.

There were many conservative Democrats in Texas in those days, and although I started as a rather lukewarm Democrat, I became a die-hard after running against the Republicans in Randall County. Mine was the only local race won by a Democrat in 1978.

During my tenure as County Treasurer, I really learned, “hands-on,” the County Commission form of government. I also became more closely associated with the prosecutors, lawyers, judges, clerks and the other folks involved in the legal system, in and around the courthouse. The law and our legal system were still significantly intriguing and interesting to me. My tenure as Randall County Treasurer was shortened due to my husband taking a job with Texas Instruments in Lubbock, Texas. I resigned as County Treasurer in 1980 and headed to a town with a law school.

I took the LSAT and applied at Texas Tech School of Law. By the time I was accepted, I was in the middle of a divorce, and I didn’t know how I could possibly afford to go to law school with three kids to care for, without a husband, with a mortgage and only $300 in monthly child support. But, as my fourteen year old son, Brett, astutely told me, “Mom, you can’t afford not to.” What a bright boy! He is now a father of seven. My children, Brett, Melissa and Amanda were, and are still, very important to me, and their love and support was crucial to my decision to actually enter law school.

Commencing law school in September of 1980 was a great adventure, although quite demanding. Most of my family and friends thought that I was simply dreaming. How could I possibly go to school and still care for and support my family all by myself? Well, I sold my house and lived off the equity and student loans, and I worked about 30 hours a week, while still caring for my children and studying into the wee hours of the morning. It was certainly a challenge, but it was also extremely stimulating. I was, and still am, very excited about the law and our American legal system. My grandfather would have called me “eaten up with it.”

I was licensed to practice law in May 1984 and have had an extremely diverse and interesting career. I practiced law in Lubbock for twelve years and then moved to Dallas in January of 1996. After a short stint as a Senior Trial Lawyer with a Dallas firm, I left the firm to go back out on my own.

I have litigated and settled many interesting cases, dealing with very diverse areas of the law. Today, however, I have almost all personal injury cases, with emphasis on trucking and automobile accidents, sexual assault, head and brain injuries, RSD injuries, hazing and assault injuries. I maintain a case load which allows me to give attention to each individual case. The most valuable experience I draw upon, it seems, are the lessons I learned during the years before I became a lawyer.

If someone asks me what kind of lawyer I am, I say: “I’m a trial lawyer.” I believe in America, our form of government, individual freedom and our American legal system. I represent and help people to protect, enforce and preserve those precious rights and individual freedoms which were so wisely granted by the founding fathers of our great nation. The spark that was ignited in me in 1963 has kept me warm for over twenty-six years of trial practice. I’m proud to be an American and a trial lawyer.

MAM-BHO