David Houghton is a partner at Lieben, Whitted, Houghton, Slowiaczek & Cavanagh, P.C. He is a previous Chair of The Fellows. Mr. Houghton has 37 years of experience as a business and trial lawyer. He has an extensive background in both jury and non-jury cases involving construction, claims involving design professionals, taxes, and corporate and general commercial transactions.
There are many membership organizations to join in the legal field. What makes the ABF stand out among the rest for you?
The American Bar Foundation provides Fellows opportunities to support important, cutting edge research on issues which are at the intersection of public policy, law, society as a whole and individuals. The breadth and quality
of the research is astounding. We have learned, and are continuing to learn more about how young lawyers are progressing in the profession. We have learned about the effectiveness of laws as well as the unintended consequences of laws passed by our legislatures in important substantive areas of law like: discrimination law, criminal law, and tort reform. We have learned the truth about what was happening in Darfur–and the truth was a powerful force in changing the way the world reacted to that travesty. There are many other important findings which have had a drastic impact on how we think about and understand issues– and those impacts are manifested globally as we as nationally and locally.
What inspired you to make such a substantial commitment to the Foundation?
I cannot think of a better use of resources than to advance our understanding of the law’s impact. I am grateful to the ABF for the opportunity to be a part of this important effort.
Is there a particular research area the ABF works in that you find especially important to support?
We recently embarked on an effort to fund an endowed Char in Diversity and Law at the ABF. Thanks to the generosity of many (and special thanks to William Hubbard for his leadership and William Neukom for his very generous gift, as well as to Fellows across the nation and internationally) we will have a fully endowed chair, to be known as the Fellows’ William H. Neukom Chair in Diversity and Law, in the near future.
Empirical research is desperately need in this area. As my good friend, David Tang, remarked at the beginning of the campaign: “If good faith and the best of intentions were sufficient, we would have made a lot more progress on the issue of diversity in the profession and in our society over the last half century.”
We need focused research to assist in bringing together a community of scholars to grapples with the issue. Only with empirical research will we gain a better understanding of how to make “Justice for All” more than just an aspiration. It is my fervent belief that this new Chair will be a catalyst for change on this critical issue.
What is your favorite Fellows event memory?
My favorite memory is one I make every time the Fellows meet. Through the Fellows I have been blessed with friendships which will last the rest of my lifetime. Working in common cause, getting to know these marvelous people who become Fellows, and breaking bread with them is the most important personal reward of professional service. Debra and I are blessed to have many friends, first introduced to us through the work of the ABF. Those memories are living memories–and a living memory is the very best kind.