SMU Dedman School of Law honors five distinguished professionals

Dedman School of Law honors five highly accomplished legal, business and public service professionals.

Law Quad at SMU's Dedman School of Law

DALLAS (SMU) — SMU Dedman School of Law honored five highly accomplished legal, business and public service professionals at its 29th Distinguished Alumni Awards event Feb. 4.

Dedman School of Law’s Distinguished Alumni Award is the most prestigious award bestowed by the school. Recipients are selected for being highly respected in the legal field; an honorary award also acknowledges outstanding service to the law school.

This year’s awards and recipients were:


Jim BaldwinJim Baldwin ’86
Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc.

Award for Corporate Service

James “Jim” Baldwin is executive vice president and general counsel for Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS) Group, Inc., where he oversees all legal issues for the global, Plano-based company.

Baldwin has played a key strategic role in the company’s major acquisitions and restructurings. He was involved in the DPS Group’s spin-off from London-based Cadbury Schweppes PLC as a publicly traded company in 2008. Previously, he played a central role in consolidating the operations of Snapple Beverage Corp., Mott’s Inc. and Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc., into Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages, as well as the subsequent acquisition of Dr Pepper/Seven-Up Bottling Group and several other bottling and distribution businesses. He also helped lead the acquisition of several of DPS Group’s leading brands.

Baldwin joined the company in 1997 as assistant general counsel, where he supported company initiatives to strengthen the company’s bottling network and route to market. The following year, he was promoted to general counsel for Mott’s, Inc. in Stamford, Conn., where he oversaw all legal aspects of Mott’s business. In June 2002, he relocated to Dallas to head the legal department at Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc., as senior vice president and general counsel. A year later he was promoted to his current role.

Prior to his work with the DPS Group and Cadbury Schweppes, Baldwin was a partner in the Dallas office of the Houston-based law firm Hutcheson & Grundy. He began his law career in the firm of Berman, Mitchell, Yeager and Gerber.

Baldwin graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English from Washington & Lee University and earned a Juris Doctor degree from SMU Dedman School of Law.

A Shonn BrownA. Shonn Evans Brown ’98
Partner, LynnPinkerCoxHurst LLP

Emerging Leader Award

Shonn Brown is a respected trial lawyer and leader in both the legal and greater Dallas community. She has a sterling reputation among her professional colleagues, clients, members of the judiciary and community leaders.

Before earning a bachelor of science degree in sociology from SMU in 1995, she was an active student leader and accordingly honored with the coveted SMU “M” Award. She then attended SMU Dedman School of Law, continuing to lead by serving as secretary to the Student Bar Association and Board of Advocates. Upon graduation, Brown was one of 10 of the Class of 1998’s top advocates to be inducted into the Order of the Barristers.

Brown began her practice in Dallas at Locke Purnell Rain Harrell (now Locke Lord), where after seven years she was elected to serve as partner. She credits her 14 years at Locke Lord for having helped shape her foundation as a trial lawyer and foster her passion for community service.

In May 2012, Brown became a partner with Gruber Hurst Elrod Johansen Hail Shank LLP, where she has won a number of significant jury-trial verdicts representing both plaintiffs and defendants. She recently became a partner with LynnPinkerCoxHurst LLP.

In support of SMU and the legal and greater Dallas communities, Brown has served on the SMU Alumni Board and is now a SMU Dedman Law Alumni Community Fellow for the Inns of Court Program and a mentor in the Mustang Exchange Flash Mentorship Program. Currently she also serves as a trustee of the Dallas Museum of Art and The Lamplighter School and as a director of the Dallas Women’s Foundation, the Dallas Bar Association, Big Thought and Dallas Black Dance Theatre.

CeCe CoxCece Cox ’04
Chief Executive Officer, Resource Center

Award for Public Service

Recognized for her longtime leadership and advocacy in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights movement, Cece Cox serves as CEO of Resource Center, one of the nation’s largest LGBT community centers. Resource Center, which provides health services and programs to individuals with HIV/AIDS, serves more than 60,000 people annually with a staff of more than 50 employees and 1,100 volunteers. 

Having advocated on behalf of the LGBT and HIV communities for nearly 30 years, Cox was instrumental in the passage of the City of Dallas’ sexual orientation nondiscrimination policy, and the Dallas Independent School District’s first anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies. Since June 2010, more than 50,000 public sector employees and a quarter-million students in the Dallas area have new or expanded LGBT nondiscrimination protections thanks to the Center’s advocacy.

Cox joined the Center in 2007 as associate executive director and three years later became CEO. Previously, she practiced commercial law and provided pro bono legal services to individuals with HIV. She is a member of the executive committee for SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development and the Board of Visitors for UNT-Dallas College of Law. She also serves on the board of the Dallas Women’s Foundation and is co-chair of the national organization CenterLink.

Cox is a former president of the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance (DGLA), former co-chair of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation/Dallas and a former officer of the LGBT Section of the State Bar of Texas. She is an alumna of Leadership Dallas and Leadership Lambda & was recognized with the Kuchling Humanitarian Award from Black Tie Dinner in 1999.

As a former professional photographer, Cox co-authored a book chronicling the 1993 March on Washington for gay and lesbian rights. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a Juris Doctor degree from SMU’s Dedman School of Law. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas.

Windle TurleyWindle Turley ’65
Founder, Turley Law Firm

Award for Private Practice

Preeminent Dallas lawyer Windle Turley’s record-breaking jury verdicts, innovative legal techniques and compassionate efforts have influenced some of North Texas’ best trial lawyers—many of whom he trained.

After earning his undergraduate degree from Oklahoma City University in 1962, he attended SMU Dedman School of Law and graduated in 1965. Five years later, the young attorney challenged a Texas law enabling unmarried fathers to avoid child support obligations. He ultimately argued the case before the Supreme Court of the United States, which held the Texas law unconstitutional.

In 1973, Turley opened his own firm, where he developed innovative litigation techniques and established new legal theories. Soon he would be overseeing one of the country’s largest plaintiff-focused firms. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Turley frequently takes cases few others would, and as a result, a hallmark of his career is his success in a wide array of personal injury cases. 

A foremost expert in tort litigation, Turley continually challenges companies to make safer products. He was the first to apply the crashworthiness doctrine in aviation litigation in Smith v. Cessna Aircraft, which helped spark industry changes. In 1979, he obtained an injunction that grounded DC-10 aircraft worldwide due to a safety defect that resulted in a Chicago crash. Additionally, his “Firearms Project” attracted national attention as he filed lawsuits pursuing strict product liability on firearm manufacturers and sellers. He also tried the first tractor-trailer post-crash fire case and first airbag case.     

Turley has represented hundreds of child abuse victims and continues to do so. After receiving a historic $120 million judgment for 11 boys sexually abused by Father Rudy Kos of the Dallas Catholic Diocese, the highly publicized verdict brought to light crimes previously concealed in confidential settlements. The landmark case empowered other victims to come forward, forcing the National Council of Catholic Bishops to create new diocese standards to protect children from abusive priests. 

Turley helped pioneer video and demonstrative evidence in the courtroom, and he was the first to use video settlement documentaries. And while he has written numerous legal books and papers on litigation involving aviation and firearms, in 2010 he published The Amazing Monarch, featuring Monarch butterfly photographs and scientific information.

Turley has been honored as a “Texas Trial Legend” by both the Dallas Bar Association and the Higginbotham Inn of Court. He also received the 2006 Distinguished Alumni in Arts and Science Award from Oklahoma City University. 

Catharina HaynesCatharina Haynes
Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Honorary Alumna Award

Judge Catharina Haynes was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in April 2008 by then-President George W. Bush. Before taking the federal bench, she served eight years as a Texas state district judge in Dallas. She also spent 13 years in private practice, first as an associate at Thompson & Knight LLP and then as an associate and partner at Baker Botts LLP. She is certified in consumer and commercial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Currently chair-elect of the Appellate Judges Conference of the American Bar Association’s Judicial Division, Haynes also chaired the 2014 Appellate Judges Education Institute Summit co-hosted by SMU Dedman School of Law. Additionally, she served 11 years as a member of the Council of the State Bar of Texas Insurance Section and as an at-large director of the Dallas Bar Association for one year.

Haynes recently received the 2014 Award of Distinction from Florida Tech—where she also received its alumni association’s Outstanding Achievement Award—and is a two-time recipient of the Dallas Bar Association’s Jo Anna Moreland Outstanding Committee Chair Award. She also has been honored with the Outstanding Board Member Award and Louise B. Raggio Award from the Dallas Women Lawyers Association, the Award of Excellence from the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers Foundation, and while at Baker Botts, the Thomas Gibbs Gee Award for pro bono efforts.

From 2003 to 2011, Haynes was a volunteer teacher of pre-GED English-as-a-second-language classes for adults at Vickery Meadow Learning Center (now known as VMLC), for which she has been a board member for six years.

Haynes earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the Florida Institute of Technology and a Juris Doctor degree from Emory University School of Law.

Southern Methodist University is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls approximately 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.

The School of Law at SMU was founded in 1925. It was named Dedman School of Law in 2001 in honor of Dallas benefactors Nancy and Robert H. Dedman, Sr., and their family. SMU Dedman Law enjoys a national and international reputation of distinction. It is among the most competitive law schools in the country for admission, as well as one of the most successful in the placement of its graduates.

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