Bill Holston

"Pay attention to the world. Learn how to give back and don't wait until you graduate to begin thinking about what to do after school."

Home: Dallas, Texas

UT Dallas Degree: BA. '78 - Political Science
Profession: Executive Director of Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, Inc.

My Work

Before becoming Executive Director, I was a very active pro bono volunteer lawyer for Human Rights Initiative (HRI) of North Texas. I was awarded the Angel of Freedom Award by HRI because of my commitment to provide pro bono services to clients. In 2012, I left my law practice to become the Executive Director of HRI. Before this, I was a partner in the Dallas law firm of Sullivan and Holston. In 1997, I received the Outstanding Political Asylum Lawyer Award from the Dallas Bar Association and in 2002, was the award recipient for Distinguished Pro Bono Service by the Dallas Bar Associations' Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program. Since 2008, I have been an avid mentor to young lawyers in the Dallas Bar Association's Transition to Law Committee.

Human Rights Initiative is a small agency. With a staff of 11, our pro bono lawyers gave almost $4 million of free legal services to immigrant survivors of violence. I lead the team of our great staff. I speak and write frequently about human rights issues.

The Value of My Degree

We see immigrant survivors of human rights abuses from all over the world. My studies at UT Dallas were very helpful in understanding the political realities and background of these human rights abuses. As an example, I studied Zaire in a Foreign Policy course taught by Stephen Weisman, who was an expert on Congo. We see many people fleeing persecution in the Democratic Republic of Congo and this background has been specifically useful.

The excellent instructors and small class sizes were integral in my education. I took courses at UT Dallas that were more intellectually challenging than law school. My instructors were first-rate. Also, this was an affordable education for someone like me who was paying for college.

Advice for EPPS Students

Learn to write. Pay attention to the world. Learn how to give back and don't wait until you graduate to begin thinking about what to do after school.

Other Interests

I am an Eagle Scout and Certified Master Naturalist. I am the author of an article for D Magazine, Ten Best Hiking Trails in Dallas, as well as the online column, Law Man Walking. I lead nature hikes in Dallas' Buckeye Trail in the Great Trinity Forest. I am a frequent hiker and explorer of natural beauty in North Texas.


Posted November 2013