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Order in the Court

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

This Austin trial lawyer takes the David and Goliath approach to ensuring justice is served, raising the bar in courtrooms across the country.

by Donna Parker

Daniel King received a bachelor's in business from Trinity in 1977 followed by a degree from the South Texas College of Law, but it is perhaps his Ph.D. in philosophy and seminary degree as an ordained minister that set the tone for his law practice.

He is a gifted attorney in Austin, recently receiving dual honors from the State Bar of Texas: the President's Award and the Presidential Citation. It is extremely rare to receive both in the same year - only seven others have achieved this status, but it takes only moments to see the real shining light in Dan - his desire to serve.

"These awards are both honoring and humbling," says Dan.

"However, I remain committed to public sector litigation and assisting the underdog against big corporate America."

On the record, it's a promise that he has kept for more than three decades, having worked on behalf of the plaintiffs in the Enron case, many who lost their life savings when the energy firm went bankrupt.

"That was emotionally satisfying to stand in their behalf as the Co-lead trial lawyer in the class action suit. It was very disconcerting to realize these honorable people had lost billions of dollars in retirement programs - all money they invested in Enron."

These days, Dan served as the first chairman of "Texas Lawyers For Texas Veterans" of the State Bar of Texas, rewarding the efforts of U.S. servicemen and women, many of whom are disenfranchised and suffering post traumatic stress disorder after they return home from fighting.

"We believe we're creating a footprint for programs helping our soldiers assimilate back into their day-to-day lives. The program sets up clinics across the state, offering the ‘clinic in a box' which helps determine the needs of each particular veteran so they actually receive benefits, financial support and medical attention."

"It's also an unusual opportunity for attorneys - a subgroup generally vilified - to get engaged and help people who might otherwise end up homeless," finishes Dan.

He recently gave a speech in El Paso to a group including high-ranking military officers and several dozen vets huddled together in the middle of the audience - the ‘huddled masses,' if you will, seeking assistance as they make their way back into society, fresh off the battlefields of the Middle East.

"I saw that they were weeping so I bypassed the brass telling them I'd be right back," explains Dan.

"When I reached out to the vets to shake hands and direct them to the right people to help them, they saluted me and I'll tell you - that led me to tears."

Dan also brought the effort home last winter by buying 400 solar blankets to distribute to the homeless. He even gave his ski jacket to one man who ran after him in pants and a T-shirt who did not even have a pair of shoes in the freezing weather.

"People want food, shelter, work, and to be happy. That's all they want."

"Trinity really moved me in this direction. The professors and staff were diverse, eclectic and cutting edge. Dr. Peter Terwey, department of math, was retired military. He patiently explained the intricacies of solving problems to me. He was highly intelligent and really couldn't understand my math challenges, but he gave me a decent grade!" jokes Dan.

Dan spent a lot of time in the library but also was Co-Captain of the football team, playing in the last class of scholarship athletes.

"Now, my life is great. I have two successful children and want to spend the rest of my time living in integrity, speaking the truth, and being able to forgive myself and others as we all pass together as travelers on this journey through life."

You may contact Dan at dan [at] danielkingtriallaw.com or through his website at www.danielkingtriallaw.com