About Leila Henderson Gary
Legal Assistant: Stefani Simpson | 972-694-4082 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Leila draws upon her prior experience as a public school teacher and charter school administrator in her work defending and advising schools. Leila’s attention to detail and responsiveness ensures that her clients receive optimal guidance from an attorney who truly understands the challenges that public and private educational institutions face each day.
Leila is Counsel in the Thompson & Horton Dallas and Fort Worth offices. She focuses her practice on the representation of schools, colleges, and universities. She has experience litigating complex matters in state and federal court. Prior to joining T&H, Leila was Assistant General Counsel for the second largest public school district in Texas, where her practice was largely focused on employment matters, grievances, state and federal litigation, policy development, and providing daily legal counsel on any number of issues. Leila was also lead in-house counsel for the district in the successful development, implementation and defense of the district’s landmark teacher appraisal system. Leila’s past experience also includes a wide range of insurance defense and insurance coverage litigation.
Before becoming an attorney, Leila taught in public schools as a history teacher and also worked in administration for a leading national charter school network, and brings her insight as an educator to her practice as an education law attorney.
- J.D., Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law 2008 (Student Attorney, Consumer Advocacy Clinic; President, SMU Women in Law; Comparative Legal Studies UK/EU, SMU at Oxford University)
- M.Ed., University of Texas at Austin, 2001 (Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society)
- B.A., University of Rochester, 1998 (Dean’s List)
Licensing & Court Admissions
- Licensed in the state of Texas
- U.S. District Court for the Northern, Eastern, Western and Southern Districts of Texas
Memberships & Recognitions
- Texas Super Lawyers Rising Star, 2014
- Patrick E. Higginbotham Inn of Court, Associate Member, 2011
- The Barristers, SMU Dedman School of Law
- Texas Association of School Boards – Council of School Attorneys
- State Bar of Texas – School Law Section, Labor and Employment Section
- Vestry, Episcopal Church of the Incarnation
- Sustainer, Junior League of Dallas
- Board of Trustees, St. Philip’s School and Community Center
Selected Client Representations
- Lead in-house counsel for large urban school district’s policy development, implementation and defense of landmark teacher evaluation and merit pay system.
- Obtained directed verdict in federal court for a large public school district in a racial discrimination lawsuit
- Successfully defended large public school district in hundreds of employee grievances on a variety of matters ranging from termination appeals to TEI challenges
Representative Speeches & Presentations
- Thompson & Horton Webinar, March 2023: What You Don’t Know Might Hurt You: Surviving an OCR or DOJ Civil Rights Complaint
- National Association of School Boards, April 2022: School and the Culture Wars: Discrimination, Free Speech, and Discipline
- Region X, December 2022: The Fourth Amendment, Student Searches, and School Safety
- Region X, November 2021: Board Policy Bootcamp for HR Administrators
- Region XI Education Service Center HR Summit, Professional Standards of Conduct and the Use of Social Media
- Region X Education Service Center HR Summit, Conducting Effective Investigations of Reported Employee Misconduct