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United Way Tocqueville Society Drives Community Change and Welcomes New Members at Bench & Bar Boo-Ray Tournament

May 24, 2023

The verdict is in, and the First Annual Bench & Bar “Boo-Ray” Tournament hosted by United Way of Metropolitan Dallas was judged guilty—a guilty pleasure that is! Best of all, the event was also a great success that ultimately will benefit the North Texas community by supporting United Way’s mission to improve access to education, income and health.

A Society of Supporters Committed to North Texas

The Bench & Bar event, sponsored by FTI Consulting and held May 16 at the Crow Library, is United Way’s initiative to bring together the North Texas legal community and encourage their support of United Way’s programs, as well as individual membership in the United Way Tocqueville Society.

The North Texas chapter of the Tocqueville Society was founded in 1986 by the late Ruth Sharp Altshuler—a legendary member of the Greatest Generation of community volunteers in Dallas—and includes the most committed and generous supporters of United Way.

Leaving Their Briefs at the Office

The Bench & Bar event was a night for the North Texas legal community to leave their briefs (legal briefs!) at the office and join in some fun and fellowship during a tournament of Boo-Ray (Bourré), an exciting, fast-paced trick-taking card game primarily played in the Acadiana region of Louisiana. Thirteen of North Texas’ largest firms joined in the games, and by the end of the night, United Way’s recruitment efforts added 20 new Tocqueville members, double the goal for the evening!

A Docket of Bold-Faced Names

The chairs of the Dallas Tocqueville Society are legal heavy-hitters Erin Nealy Cox, former U.S. attorney for the Northern District and now partner at Kirkland & Ellis; and her husband, Trey Cox, co-managing partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Co-chairs of the Bench & Bar Cabinet hail from North Texas’ corporate titans: AT&T’s General Counsel David McAtee and Toyota Motor North America’s General Counsel Sandra Phillips Rogers.

This fearsome foursome recruited an all-star host committee that included general counsels ripped from the pages of the Fortune 500 ranking and beyond:

  • Cynthia Trochu, Texas Instruments
  • Leeanne Oliver, PepsiCo Foods
  • Jeff Melucci, Kimberly-Clark Corporation
  • Stephanie Zapata Moore, Vistra Corp.
  • Sarah Decker, McAfee
  • Von Hays, Comerica Bank
  • John Henrich, Sally Beauty
  • Rachel Morgan, Nexstar Media Group
  • Julia Simon, Mary Kay, Inc.
  • Bryan Stevenson, Arcosa
  • Marc Kesselman, Purdue Pharma
  • Sarah Teachout, Trinity Industries
  • Lynne Puckett, Celanese
  • Van Beckwith, Halliburton
  • Rudy Rodriguez, CEC Entertainment
  • Tasha Grinnell, The Container Store
  • Ellen Farrell, Toyota Financial Services

A Three-Year Goal to Beat ‘Bama

Proving that Southern rivalries aren’t only on the football field, the Cox co-chairs have a bold goal for the North Texas Tocqueville Society: to lead the country in the number of donors who live and work here. Those bragging rights are currently held by United Way in Birmingham, Alabama. With a three-year chairmanship, the Coxes used the Bench & Bar event as one way to make progress with their goal, chipping away at Birmingham’s leadership and getting one step closer to earning North Texas its eventual place as the leader of the pack.

What’s Next?

Look for more innovative efforts to grow the Ruth Sharp Altshuler Tocqueville Society across the board in the months to come. The Coxes are joined by Tocqueville $25,000 Circle co-chairs, Laura and Jason Downing, and Women of Tocqueville chair Mandy Austin.

Together, the Tocqueville Team is planning other events during their chairmanship, with nationally recognized speakers, influencers and change-makers highlighting the impact of United Way as the organization marches toward its Centennial celebration in 2025.


Learn More About the Tocqueville Society

The Tocqueville Society includes North Texas’ most dedicated change-seekers who come together to drive meaningful change in our community. Click below to learn more about joining this impactful group of civic and business leaders.

Join Us Today

Ready to become a Tocqueville member? Click below to fill out our pledge form.