Ike Vanden Eykel
Dallas Bar Association
Ike Vanden Eykel
To Be Inaugurated As 101st President
by Jenna P. Wright
[reprinted from January 2010 HEADNOTES]
On Saturday, January 23, 2010, the Dallas Bar Association will inaugurate Ike Vanden Eykel as its 101st president. Ike brings to the Bar not only leadership, years of service and a wealth of experience in law and the DBA, but also an enthusiasm for the Dallas Bar, its members and its programs.
"My plan for the DBA this year will focus on adding strength and definition to the first-class programs the Bar already has in place," says Mr. Vanden Eykel. "I view this as an opportunity to build on what my predecessors have established—to make the DBA stronger and to help direct our association's future."
Mr. Vanden Eykel began his tenure with the Dallas Bar Association in 1998 when close friend and law school buddy W. Mike Baggett, shareholder and chairman emeritus at Winstead, suggested that he would get a lot out of working as a board member of the bar.
Once the decision to become involved was made, Mr. Vanden Eykel assumed various leadership positions in the bar and the community. He was first elected to the Board of Directors of the DBA in 2000, and has served as Vice-Chair, Chair of the Board, as well as Second Vice-President, First Vice-President and President-Elect. He served as President of the Board of Directors of the Community Service Fund and is currently a Trustee and a Fellow of the Dallas Bar Foundation. He was General Chair of the Campaign for Equal Access to Justice. He has been active in both the local and state Family Law Section.
In 1994, when then-president Peter Vogel contacted Koons, Fuller, Vanden Eykel & Robertson, the firm became one of the first six firms in Dallas to underwrite the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program through the Campaign for Equal Access to Justice. To date, Koons Fuller has donated more than $200,000, not including what the firm's individual attorneys have donated personally to the program. "We believe in pro bono and make it a priority from top to bottom," says Mr. Vanden Eykel. The firm also made a sizable contribution to the Mansion Expansion Campaign.
In the community, Mr. Vanden Eykel has served as a member of the Boards of Directors of the Dallas Opera, Heritage Farmstead, Collin County Children's Advocacy Center, Inc., the Child Abuse Prevention Center and the Domestic Violence Legal Help Center.
Born in Slayton, Minnesota, Mr. Vanden Eykel's family moved to Wheaton, a western suburb of Chicago, when he was two years old. Early in life, Ike thought about becoming a minister. However, in seventh grade, he took an aptitude test that recommended he become a lawyer. By the time that Ike had made up his mind to pursue an education in law, he had already obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Drake University and family was on the move again.
Mr. Vanden Eykel's father was a captain with American Airlines and was head of Flight Training when the organization moved its headquarters from New York to Dallas-Fort Worth. The family followed. Now in Texas and ready to embark on the next part of his journey, Mr. Vanden Eykel decided to attend Baylor Law School to become a trial lawyer. He graduated with his JD from Baylor in 1973.
After law school, he settled in Dallas and started practicing business litigation with Stroud & Smith, a firm which ultimately merged with Vial Hamilton. He continued his business litigation practice with Seeligson, Douglass, Falconer & Vanden Eykel and, in January of 1990, he moved a practice group to Koons, Fuller, McCurley & Vanden Eykel. In July of 1992, he became managing partner of the firm that is today Koons, Fuller, Vanden Eykel & Robertson. His firm now consists of 25 attorneys practicing in four different offices and is the Southwest's largest law firm that handles exclusively family law cases.
Mr. Vanden Eykel came to prominence during the 1980s as a champion of fathers' rights. While practicing with the firm of Seeligson, Douglass, he was named one of D Magazine's Best Lawyers in Dallas after successfully representing a number of fathers in child custody cases, a rare feat in those days. And in 2003, Vogue magazine named him one of the Top Lawyers for Women in Texas. Board Certified in Family Law and Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Mr. Vanden Eykel is among the most respected family lawyers in the nation. He recently discussed "Divorce and the Economy" nationally on the Fox Business Network. In addition, he is often a commentator on local television and radio. He recently appeared on Good Day Dallas to explain the changes taking place in divorce, due to the downturn in the economy.
Also among Mr. Vanden Eykel's accolades is being named one of the Top 10 Divorce Lawyers in America. He is often described as the "reigning king" of Texas divorce and the "divorce law jedi" by The Dallas Morning News.
After he represented an area housewife, Mr. Vanden Eykel was depicted in the book, My Husband Is Trying to Kill Me, and a television movie, "Dead Before Dawn."
Mr. Vanden Eykel is a prolific author who has teamed with firm members to write books on how to make the divorce process less painful. He has written a book on Texas family law entitled, Successful Lone Star Divorce, and co-authored the Texas Family Law Practice Guide and a has recently written a new book with fellow Koons Fuller attorney Rick Robertson, titled Protecting Your Assets From A Texas Divorce. In addition, Mr. Vanden Eykel and attorney Sharla Fuller have collaborated on an additional book, Lone Star Divorce: The NEW Edition, which is on the bookstore shelves now. He is also the co-author of a new edition of the assets book with partners Heather King, Charla Conner and Rick Robertson.
Mr. Vanden Eykel and his wife, Cathy, have been married for 31 years and have three children. The eldest, Eric, is 28 years old and in the doctorate program in religious studies at Marquette University. He will marry on January 9, and will give the invocation at Mr. Vanden Eykel's inaugural. Daughter Lindsey, 23 years old, is an accomplished athlete who was on the U.S. National gymnastics team and is a two-time national champion on the uneven bars. Lindsey recently graduated from UCLA, is planning to take the LSAT, and would like to follow in her father's footsteps. Rounding out the family is the Vanden Eykel's youngest son Steven.
While careers and daily obligations take the Vanden Eykel family members in different directions, they regroup at their family home in Wild Rose, Wisconsin, as often as they can—a time cherished by all as they get a chance to catch up and remember what life is all about.
The inauguration of Ike Vanden Eykel is a culmination of more than 10 years of continued service to the Dallas Bar Association and the Dallas community. During his tenure, he will continue to build on the foundation and legacy that is the Dallas Bar Association.
A former co-chair of the Publications Committee, Jenna Wright practices trial advocacy and appellate law through the Law Offices of Jenna Wright, PC.