Member Spotlight: Jay C. English

1. What type of law do you practice now and why do you like it?

I am board-certified in Personal Injury Trial law, and English Law Group, PLLC specializes in the full gamut of Plaintiffs’ claims. Most of what I do involves serious-injury “high stakes” lawsuits wherein my clients have suffered a life-changing or fatal injury as a result of an incident on the roadway, in a workplace setting, or anywhere else in the world. My firm has represented groups of up to 700 mass tort victims in complex multi-jurisdictional litigation pitted against the largest national firms as adversaries. Right now, our firm is a candidate to act as national MDL counsel for pharmaceutical mass-tort case.  I love being a lawyer on the Plaintiff’s side because typically it’s the “right” side. Because we work on contingency fees, there are typically no upfront fees for my clients.

2. What do you like most about being a lawyer?

Because I’ve owned my own firm since 1998, and because we’ve lived through all the cycles of a business, it’s been a wild and difficult ride. I don’t quit thinking about my firm at the close of the business day, or ever. When we do well, I’ve done well, but when we do poorly, I’m the one who’s the poorest. I just keep getting up and going. Doing a good job for the clients is still a rush.

3. Free time hobbies, community service, etc. that you enjoy and why?

My partner and I are more than just “avid golfers.” Not only do we spend a large part of our free time playing and practicing at our home club, Gleneagles CC in Plano, we are pretty good! Together we were the 2014 Gay Games Championship Flight Team Silver Medalists and he was the overall Silver Medalist.

4. Last book you read, why you did or did not like it?

The last book I read (just finished) was the Good Lord Bird, about a young male slave who joined John Brown’s abolitionist movement by posing as a female. A fascinating read if you like historical fiction, which I do, and at a time when I have been picking up speed on my own spiritual journey. John Brown’s fierce commitment to do God’s work in the face of tremendous odds (virtually single-handedly commandeering the United States’ armory, where it kept its stockpile of pre-Civil War weapons) was made even better by the transvestite twist! Shout-out to fellow LGBT attorney Julie Johnson for this recommendation.

5. Famous person or persons you’d most like to meet and why and if you could pick their brains over dinner, what would you ask?

Jordan Speith, he is my favorite golf professional and he is so representative of our home town that I just call him “Dallas” for short;

Our next POTUS, Hillary Clinton;

And for fun, any of the Kardashians. I’d want to see what Hillary and Jordan said to the Kardashian, and I’d probably just ask “Why are you famous?”

6. If you could travel to any place on earth what would it be and why would you want to go there?

Right now, we are planning a vacation for next year to the Concours d’Elegance, which is probably the coolest car show in the nation in Carmel, California. While we are there we are planning to play golf at Pebble Beach and Cypress Point. I literally cannot wait!

7. Favorite thing to do when you have time to relax?

Relax? What’s that? I am typically on the treadmill at 7:00AM and stay in motion ‘till bedtime, 9:45pm.

8. Favorite food and why?

The winner of the Masters’ golf tournament plans a meal for other previous winners the next year. When I win, here’s my menu:

  • Caesar Salad with just a touch of extra dressing, and the amazing hand-made croutons at Resto Gastro Bistro (hard to say) in Trinity Grove.
  • Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, Filet Mignon Oscar.
  • The baked potato bar at the old Dunston’s Steakhouse on Lovers Lane.
  • Any vegetable preparation from Celebration.
  • Stephen Pyles’ Heaven and Hell Cake, from wherever he’s cooking it.
  • Steak and Potatoes…… I’m old school!

9. Place you went on your last vacation and what you did?

We went on a long weekend to play golf at Hot Springs Village, AR, which is a hidden gem with inexpensive lodging and world-class golf, located close to the quirky old mineral baths from the roaring twenties. Our last “real” vacation was ten days in the Hamptons last fall.

10. What you would most like people to know about you?

Probably that I’ve grown up a lot in the last few years. Like a lot of gay men, I had a lot of “self-parenting” to do in my thirties and forties. It has only been after my partner came into my life (we are on our fifth year) that things really came together for me, and I began to see that happiness might actually be in the cards for me.
11. What volunteer organizations do you belong to? Are you involved in?

We are active members of Oak Lawn United Methodist Church, which sits right on the gayest corner in Texas. I’ve been on almost every leadership board in the church, and currently I chair a capital improvement committee. My firm also actively supports the mission and work of the Dallas Legal Hospice.

12. Favorite wine? Favorite beer? Favorite drink?

If I drink, which is rare, I stick to one glass of Pinot Grigio. I’m allergic in my old age to hangovers.

13. What was one of the things you have done in your life that was a big rush? Like white water rafting, jumping out of an airplane, singing on stage, acting in a play, driving a race car, piloting a plane, etc.? Why did you or did you now like it?

I have been a very lucky boy. I grew up poor and by the time I graduated from college, both my parents had passed away. But in spite of that, I’ve checked off nearly everything on my bucket list. I was a snobby frat rat in college. Between school and law school I was a ski instructor at Vail, and I’ve partied like (and yes WITH) rock stars (remind me to tell you the one about when I was the opening act for REM, no kidding!); I’ve piloted and owned my own aircraft, sailed my own yacht in seagoing regattas, had a giant Mercedes and a little-bitty convertible Porsche, argued before the Texas Supreme Court, and had my name in the paper for bad, and for good reasons. None of the hard-charging life I led brought me anywhere near the happiness that my partner brings me now by just waking up with me.

14. Secret passion/secret wish—be a rock star? Be a chef? Be a teacher?

My secret wish is for my partner to do really really well in his career at commercial real estate, and let me retire to write the great American novel, coincidentally about a lawyer on a spiritual journey!

15. Where did you meet your partner?

He must’ve clicked the wrong personal ad. He still hasn’t gone home from our first date.

16. Where did you go undergrad? What did you major in?

Rice University, Architecture (84-86)
University of Texas at Austin (BA, History of Architecture, with high honors, 1987)

17. Where did you go to law school?

The University of Texas School of Law (JD, with honors, 1991)

18. What would you like to see from the DGLBA this year? Vision for DGLBA in the future?

It feels like a long time since I’ve been as gay as I might want to be. Quite frankly, I feel like I am from a past era, when gay people were not allowed to be out, whose very existence was somehow exotic and vaguely threatening. I’m from an era when we had to congregate in a certain area of town to dance and hopefully other people “like us.”

These days I’m just another married guy living in the suburbs. I miss some of the feeling of “community” that I am able to recapture through groups like the DGLBA.

19. How long have you been a member of DGLBA? What is it that you like the most about being a member of DGLBA?

I joined the DGLBA shortly after I went to Kim Stovall’s firm in the late 90s. I’ve been going when I can ever since. I’ve met some of my best friends through the GLBT legal community.

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