Lawyers and Leadership – Trust is more important now than ever

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Cory D. Halliburton

Cory D. Halliburton



Cory Halliburton serves as general counsel and business adviser to a nationwide nonprofit / tax-exempt client base, as well as for multi-state professional service companies. He is a results-oriented attorney, with executive-level strategy and an understanding of the intersection of law and business judgment. With a practical upbringing, he pushes for process-driven results in internal governance, strategy and compliance with employment law, and complex or unique contracts and business relationships.

He dedicated the first ten years of his practice to mainly commercial litigation matters in West Texas and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. During that experience, Mr. Halliburton transitioned his practice to a more general counsel role, with an emphasis on nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations, advising those organizations through formation, dissolution, litigation, governance, leadership succession, employment law, contracts, intellectual property, tax exemption issues, policy creation, mergers and other. He has served as borrower’s counsel for tax-exempt bond and loan transactions near $100 million aggregate; some with complex pre-issue construction, debt payoff and other debt financing challenges.

Mr. Halliburton also serves as outside legal and business advisor for executive professionals in multi-state engineering firms, with a focus on drafting and counsel on significant service agreements, employment law matters, and protection of trade secrets.

Lawyers and Leadership – Trust is more important now than ever.

In November 2003, I (along with a few thousand of my closest colleagues) was sworn in as a lawyer licensed by the State of Texas. The swearing-in required that I recite the following:

I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitutions of the United States, and of this state; that I will honestly demean myself in the practice of law; that I will discharge my duties to my clients to the best of my ability; and that I will conduct myself with integrity and civility in dealing and communicating with the court and all parties. So help me God.

Since that ceremonious event, I have pulled many a client’s wagon out of the legal ditch in an effort to honor that solemn vow. I have been relied upon for guidance, counsel, and get-it-right legal in some extremely challenging situations. With a general counsel practice focus, the range of challenges that come across my desk is a mile wide and, after nearly 15 years in this effort, a mile or more deep. It has never been “easy,” and if it were, I suppose no one would have a need to engage my services.

According to the Texas Lawyer’s Creed—which is designed to be read in the first person—“. . . I know that professionalism requires more than merely avoiding the violation of laws and rules.”

While the vow I took nearly 20 years ago specifically mentions core qualities of Honesty, Integrity, Civility, and Best of Ability, I attribute much of my success to essentially a word: Leadership.

Depending on the point of view, the quality of Leadership encompasses all other characteristics of professionalism and is a quality that must be continually honed and re-evaluated. There is no end to its development, and perfection is unattainable.

For the last 3,012 days (but, who’s counting…), I have served as outside General Counsel to the Promotional Products Association International (a publicly available fact). PPAI is a trade association with a board of leaders from across the U.S. and Canada and a membership base of near 15,000 that is innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial. On August 15-17, 2022, PPAI hosted its North American Leadership Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I was fortunate to attend the event, and from the event, I took note of the few “nuggets” below the topic of innovation and leadership:

Insights: Leadership is a journey. Through that journey, I have at times stood with arms raised in the shape of a V for victory, and I have fallen. But, I remain humble in successes, and I always get up in my failures. As a lawyer poised and seasoned to address a wide range of legal issues, trusted leadership is a key quality for discharging legal duties to the best of my ability. If I incorporate my personalization, experience, Honesty, Integrity, and Civility into every matter, no other attorney on the planet can duplicate that—those traits are mine, developed by me over nearly 20 years. That approach can and should be applied by every attorney, for themselves, and so that, as a profession, the common vow and Creed are continually fortified. The path of the bold leader—especially one who sits in the role of trusted consigliere—is usually riddled with tremendous hurdles and challenges. With continual honing of Leadership, Honesty, Integrity, and Civility, those professional hurdles can be cleared and the challenges overcome. So help me God.


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