(AUSTIN and DALLAS) October 6, 2020 – Texas Lawyer has selected Cynthia Bast, a member of Locke Lord's Board of Directors and Leader of the Firm's Affordable Housing and Community Development Section, Don Glendenning, Partner in Charge of Corporate Responsibility and Charitable Giving and Co-Chair of Locke Lord's Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and Whit Roberts, Dallas Office Deputy Managing Partner, as 2020 Texas Trailblazers. They are featured in the publication's October/November issue, which showcases their pioneer spirits, trails blazed in their respective areas of practice and outlooks for the future.
Bast, a Partner in the Firm's Austin office, has spent 29 years working in affordable housing law and is one of the leading practitioners in the state. Through her years advising developers, investors, financial institutions and governmental agencies on complex affordable housing transactions, Bast has helped shape the Texas laws and regulations that impact the industry. She is at the forefront of implementing new affordable housing financing initiatives at the local, state and federal level, while working to improve the efficacy of long-standing programs. Bast is a leading advocate before the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, representing clients for rulemaking and competitive processes. During the Legislative Session, she educates and advises legislators and their staffs on affordable housing policy issues and statutory changes that can improve the programs.
Bast notes there has been an explosion of activity in her practice and believes that the affordable housing industry is at an exciting crossroads filled with possibility. “We are finally part of the local and national conversation.” The economic recovery post-COVID will take time and part of the way out of it will be to provide jobs to build affordable housing then provide affordable housing to people so they can get back on their feet,” she said.
Glendenning, a former Managing Partner of Locke Lord's Dallas office, served as the architect of the public-private partnership that established the Dallas Zoo's charitable arm and Co-Chaired an effort that raised $150 million in private gifts for the indigent-care Parkland Hospital. He has been at the forefront of some of Dallas' largest community projects while also maintaining a corporate M&A practice representing high-net-worth families and family offices. Through the years, he has struck a successful balance between negotiating deals and his passion for charitable endeavors and social justice causes. Among many other commitments, he served as the first President of the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas and has worked tirelessly to help rethink the country's criminal justice system. Glendenning commented on his various efforts, “It’s so gratifying to have a small hand in building great wealth when one knows the magnificent use it will be put to.”
Highly optimistic for the future of collaboration with charities and private philanthropies, Glendenning spoke about his commitment to a passion project involving a partnership with the Dallas Police Department to provide life skills and job training for young men and women released from juvenile detention. “It’s wonderful to be positioned to help people get in the right room with the right people at the right time,” he added.
Roberts, a lawyer driven by his core value of loyalty, has guided his many clients in the tech sector through entire company life cycles. He has seen his work evolve in Dallas, building a diverse practice working on M&A and corporate matters for oil and gas companies, tech founders and startups and private equity and venture capital firms. Roberts has advised an online hotel reservation company through its IPO and an SaaS event and meeting management company in its eventual sale to a private equity fund, exemplifying his commitment to his clients every step of the way as they grow and evolve. “It’s immensely gratifying to complete transactions that allow people to focus on their families for generations to come and to advise clients on equity and debt financing transactions that get them to the next stage of growth, either organically or through acquisitions,” he said.
He reflected, “There's been a huge change in the way companies grow, generate value and exit, and it's been a great way to spend a career.” Looking to the future, Roberts observes the rise of representation and warranty insurance, which he believes will have a vast impact on M&A lawyers and their negotiations. He noted, “The more insurance covers those risks, which still need to be identified and properly allocated, the less lawyers will need to focus on it.”
About Locke Lord LLP
Locke Lord is a full-service law firm with global reach and 21 offices designed to meet clients’ needs in the United States and around the world. The Firm has a history that spans more than 130 years and is a leader in the middle market arena. Locke Lord focuses on providing the highest levels of commitment, quality and service to clients across its five Key Sectors: Energy and Infrastructure; Finance and Financial Services; Insurance and Reinsurance; Pharmaceutical; and Private Equity. In addition, the Firm advises clients across a broad spectrum of other industries, including fund formation, venture capital, health care, public finance, real estate, technology, cybersecurity and white collar, while providing a wealth of experience through its complex litigation, intellectual property, tax, regulatory and transactional teams.