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Judge Harlin D. “Cooter” Hale (Ret.) Fellowship

Hon Harlin "Cooter" Hale Headshot

About the Fellowship

The Dallas Bar Association’s Bankruptcy & Commercial Law Section is thrilled to honor Judge Harlin D. (“Cooter”) Hale (Ret.) and celebrate his exceptional character, integrity, and dedication to the future of the bankruptcy bar through the Honorable Harlin Dewayne (“Cooter”) Hale (Ret.) Summer Fellowship. The Fellowship was announced in June 2022 on the occasion of Judge Hale’s retirement.

Judge Hale began his storied career as a Law Clerk for the Honorable James L. Dennis of the Louisiana Supreme Court, after which he moved to Dallas during the oil and gas boom (and later bust) to work for Strasburger & Price, LLP. He then co-founded a firm that later became McGuire, Craddock, Strother & Hale, P.C. and was an International Partner at Baker & McKenzie, LLP prior to his appointment to the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas in 2002.

A champion for young lawyers, Judge Hale is a Founding Member of the John C. Ford American Inn of Court and has been instrumental in the creation and success of several programs designed to promote growth and mentorship within the Bankruptcy Bar, including the Inn’s Breakfast with the Judge, Future Leaders, and William J. Rochelle, Jr. Advanced Chapter 11 Course programs, the State Bar of Texas Bankruptcy Section’s Starting Out Right program, and numerous other programs sponsored by local and national bar associations. Judge Hale has formally mentored more than 150 student externs in his time on the bench, in addition to countless law students, clerks, attorneys, and judges throughout his legal career. He also teaches the Creditors’ Rights course as a Visiting Professor at the SMU Dedman School of Law, enthusiastically introducing a new crop of law students to bankruptcy practice each year.


Inside and outside of the courtroom, Judge Hale is a steadfast proponent of “paying it forward” and has dedicated countless hours to bankruptcy bench-bar and educational programs, focusing not only on the law, but also on character, integrity, civility, fairness, and empathy through programming and by example.

The six-week Honorable Harlin Dewayne (“Cooter”) Hale (Ret.) Summer Fellowship was established by the Dallas Bar Association’s Bankruptcy and Commercial Law Section and funded with generous donations from the greater Bankruptcy Bar in 2022, upon Judge Hale’s retirement from the bench. This fellowship is intended to honor the immense contributions Judge Hale made to the Bankruptcy Bar, and particularly to law students, externs, interns, clerks, and young lawyers, over the course of his career.

2023 Honorable Harlin Dewayne (“Cooter”) Hale (Ret.) Summer Fellowship Recipient 

Romi Geller

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2L, SMU Dedman School of Law

Honorable Harlin Hale and Romi Geller


1 / The Honorable Harlin Dewayne (“Cooter”) Hale (Ret.) Summer Fellowship is awarded annually to one student who will have completed their first or second year of law school and consists of a six-week summer internship with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, rotating among the Judges, and a $5,000.00 stipend.
2 / Successful candidates must meet the following criteria:
  • attend law school in Texas or Louisiana;
  • have an interest in practicing law in Dallas;
  • have a sense of ethics and high moral character;
  • be intelligent, honest, and willing to work hard;
  • have a pleasant personality and an ability to work independently or as part of a team; and have an interest in commercial or bankruptcy law.
3 / To be considered for this scholarship, students who meet the selection criteria should send an e-mail containing a letter of interest, their resume, a current transcript, and a writing sample to the Dallas Bar Foundation by the deadline designated by the Dallas Bar Foundation on the application. The subject line should state: Hon. Harlin Hale Summer Fellowship Application.
4 / The application period will open in January of each year, and the successful applicant will be selected by the Dallas Bar Association’s Bankruptcy & Commercial Law Section, in consultation with the Judges of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. The application will be available through the Career Counseling offices at the law schools in Texas and Louisiana.

Interested in Our Judge Harlin D. “Cooter” Hale (Ret.) Fellowship?

Application will be available through the Career Counseling offices at the law schools Listed Below:

Baylor Law
Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law
St. Mary's University - School of Law
Texas Tech University - School of Law
University of Houston - Law Center
Loyola University, New Orleans, College of Law
South Texas College of Law, Houston
Texas A and M University - School of Law
University of Texas at Austin - School of Law
University of North Texas - College of Law
Louisiana State University - Law School
Southern University Law Center
Thurgood Marshall School of Law
Tulane University - Law School

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This Fellowship is Funded by Donors

We are honored to have a generous community that helps make our giving possible and we want to recognize them.

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Contributions can also be sent to:

Dallas Bar Foundation – Judge Harlin D. "Cooter" Hale Fellowship
2101 Ross Avenue Dallas, TX 75201

If you have any questions please contact Elizabeth Philipp, Executive Director, at 214.220.7487.

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