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Tommy Townsend Memorial Scholarship
Thomas “Tommy” Cedric Townsend, 1943-2013
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*Thanks to the generosity of NATLE members the Townsend Scholarship is now fully funded. See the list of contributors here.
About the Scholarship

This scholarship awarded for attendance at the NATLE Annual Meeting honors the memory of our Past President Tommy Townsend. Tommy served for 23 years as Executive Director of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. He was president of NATLE in 2010-11.

Tommy was a dedicated professional and committed to helping others succeed. He served as Chairman of the Texas Society of Association Executives and Chairman of the Political Action Committee of the American Society of Association Executives. One of his favorite and lesser-known passions was privately funding educational scholarships for young people who demonstrated a love for public service. Tommy was a voracious reader who never stopped wanting to learn. It’s quite fitting that we honor Tommy this way.

The National Association of Trial Lawyer Executives awards scholarships to Regular or Associate Members of NATLE for furthering their knowledge and professionalism. We view continuing education essential for NATLE members who dedicated to the goals and objectives of NATLE and the preservation of the civil justice system. 

Guidelines and Criteria
  • Scholarships are awarded only to full-time chief staff executives or full-time association staff who are NATLE members. Chief Staff Executives receive priority.
  • Recipients must have been a member for at least one year at the time the application is submitted and be a member in good standing.
  • Recipients must not have received a scholarship within the last three years.
  • The scholarship is for the exclusive use of the recipient and may not be transferred.
  • Scholarships are used for travel-related or other expenses incurred to attend the Annual Meeting in a given year. These expenses are reimbursed up to a designated limit for each scholarship.
  • The recipient must attend the educational programs for which the scholarship is awarded or forfeit the scholarship funds. Requests for modifications to the scholarship must be provided to the Scholarship Committee no less than 45 days before the designated program.
  • The number of scholarships given annually is determined by the availability of funds.
  • The scholarship amounts will have a predetermined dollar limit for each meeting per year in addition to the NATLE registration fee being waived provided funds are available.
  • Each scholarship may have restrictions and limitations not listed here.
  • Recipients are required to set appointments with all Justice Partners and vendor sponsors during the relative program.
A committee of three to five members, appointed by the President, will review all applications and award the scholarships. In determining recipients, the committee will consider such criteria as the dedication to the objectives and goals of NATLE, length of service as chief staff executive, financial need, unusual circumstances such as natural disasters, and prior involvement in NATLE events. If the budget allows, the Executive Committee may award more than one scholarship per meeting.

Interested individuals will provide details to the committee of how their participation in a NATLE educational program will both enhance their professionalism and contribute to the success of their organization. They will demonstrate financial need, as well as any other reason they believe would qualify them to receive the scholarship. We assure all applicants confidentiality about any financial disclosures; however, recipients are announced to the membership as scholarship winners.

Timeline and Process

A call for scholarship applications is issued each year according to the timeline below on the closest business day of each date. The deadline to receive applications is March 29 (or the nearest business day). As applications are accepted, copies are sent by staff to all Scholarship Committee members for review, along with the applicant’s relevant membership participation and activities.

The Scholarship Committee convenes by conference call as often as necessary to discuss applications and determine recipients. Recipients are named no later than the third week of April for the Tommy Townsend Memorial Annual Meeting Scholarship

Last week of February: Call for Tommy Townsend Annual Meeting Scholarship Applications

Last week of March: Deadline for Tommy Townsend Annual Meeting Scholarship Applications

Third week of April: Tommy Townsend Annual Meeting Scholarship Recipient(s) Notified and Announced