Chad West:
Best Criminal Defense Attorney

When Chad West isn’t at Dallas City Hall as our current Mayor Pro Tem, you’ll likely find him at his Oak Cliff law practice, where his specialties include personal injury and estate planning and, according to Dallas Voice readers, criminal defense.

West is the fourth gay man to serve as Dallas mayor pro tem, and he is, his fellow council member Omar Narvaez says, “one of the hardest-working council members.”

West describes his style as working “both sides of the aisle” — the divide in the non-partisan city council being North Dallas/South Dallas rather than by political party. That may be part of his success as a criminal defense attorney. Judges and other attorneys who know him and have worked with him know that while he’ll always present a vigorous defense for his clients, he’s even-tempered, fair and honest.

West has been recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association and has been recognized as a best attorney not only multiple years by Dallas Voice readers but also by D magazine. He also is one of the co-founders of Dash for the Beads, an annual Mardi Gras 5K event in Oak Cliff to raise money for area schools.
— David Taffet

Editor’s Choice, Best Family Law Attorneys:
O’Neil Wysocki Law

The LGBTQ community is blessed to have a number of outstanding attorneys standing ready to represent us, whether it be in civil or criminal matters. But when you have a mainstream law firm led by a hetero attorney who has gone out of her way to create an LGBTQ Family Law section in the firm staffed by LGBTQ attorneys who are fighting daily to make sure the state’s changing laws regarding LGBTQ families treat us all fairly, that’s a law firm — and attorneys — who deserve recognition.

That’s the case with O’Neil Wysocki PC.

I first met Michelle O’Neil some 15 years ago when I sat down with her and her client, a woman named Kristine Vowels, who was fighting to get visitation with her daughter. Kristine and her ex, the child’s birth mother, had split up, and her ex had cut off her access to their daughter. This was long before same-sex marriage was legal, especially in Texas, but Michelle fought every inch of the way and only stopped when Kristine decided it was in the best interest of her daughter to end the ongoing legal battle.

But Michelle kept on helping her LGBTQ clients fight their legal battles, and when she joined up with Michael Wysocki to create O’Neil Wysocki PC, she made it a priority not only to keep fighting for LGBTQ clients herself, but to bring on LGBTQ attorneys to help her continue the fight. First Karri Betrand joined the firm, then Jordan Ezell and, most recently, Kassie Hines.

Michelle says it best: “Our firm prides itself on diversity on all fronts — political, racial, gender orientation, even just thoughts/ideas. Michael, as managing partner, emphasizes diversity as an important priority for our firm. That helps each of us be better as individuals and creates synergy for the group as a whole. Having people that think differently provides greater perspective in our process evaluating our cases and developing our clients’ strategies.

“From the infancy of our firm, LGBTQ issues have been an important part of our practice. We started our firm the same month the Obergefell opinion was released, and I was out in front of that issue talking about it from Day 1. Having Karri join us in the infancy of our firm deepened our commitment to the LGBTQ community, especially as family creation and structure issues have become a central issue in the community. Karri is known across the state for her strong advocacy on nonparent custody rights. Adding Kassie and Jordan gave us breadth and depth to provide more people the help they need.”

— Tammye Nash


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