Omar J. Alaniz, Managing Partner at Reed Smith LLP’s Dallas office and a board member of the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association, pursued a legal career to create a better life for himself and others. “I come from humble beginnings,” he explains. “My parents were young when they had me and worked multiple jobs to support us.” Alaniz is grateful for his parents’ hard work, but knew he wanted a different life for himself and his family.
As the first member of his family to attend law school, Alaniz didn’t go into the experience with any legal mentors. Instead, he pursued what seemed like the right path: litigation. Despite two clerkships with prominent Houston firms, he didn’t receive post-grad offers from either firm. Instead, he took a job with a boutique bankruptcy firm in Dallas. While bankruptcy law wasn’t his first choice as a graduating law student, he fell in love with the practice. “I had no intention of going into that area of law, but I needed a job,” Alaniz explains. “Fortunately, I quickly learned that I loved it and made a commitment to myself that I would be one the best bankruptcy lawyers in the country.” He kept pushing onwards, and was fortunate to find mentors along the way who, as he puts it, “took a chance on [him].”
After a few years at the boutique firm, a bankruptcy judge invited Alaniz to serve as his judicial law clerk. Alaniz then moved to a large Texas-based law firm where he became partner in 2015. Alaniz moved to Reed Smith LLP in 2020 where he currently serves as Managing Partner of the firm’s Dallas office. In addition to representing companies in out-of-court workouts and chapter 11 restructurings, as well as advising clients developing liability management solutions, he also manages 40 attorneys and 20 staff members. Recently, Alaniz also became the Global Chair of PRISM (Pride, Respect and Inclusion Simply Matter), Reed Smith’s global LGBTQ+ business inclusion group. PRISM supports LGBTQ+ lawyers and staff at Reed Smith through community involvement, advocacy within and outside of the firm, recruitment of LGBTQ+ talent, and professional development of Reed Smith’s existing LGBTQ+ workforce.
Alongside his firm work, Alaniz also serves on the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association’s (LGBTQ+ Bar) Board of Directors. He first engaged with the LGBTQ+ Bar as a recruiter for his previous firm at the LGBTQ+ Bar’s Annual Lavender Law® Conference and Career Fair. At Lavender Law®, he met members of the LGBTQ+ Bar’s staff and board who encouraged him to become more involved in the organization. “Having a sense of community is so important for LGBTQ+ lawyers,” Alaniz says. “The LGBTQ+ Bar provides a network and resources for attorneys practicing around the country. It’s nice to have those connections.” In addition to the networking benefits of the LGBTQ+ Bar, Alaniz is also proud of the collective power of the organization. “In this political climate where we are seeing the regression of LGBTQ+ rights, it’s more important than ever for us to speak up and participate in advocating for our community,” he says.
Alaniz’s service to his community isn’t limited to his work as an LGBTQ+ Bar board member and Chair of PRISM. He also serves on the the DEI Committee of the American College of Bankruptcy, the American Bankruptcy Institute’s DEI Task Force, and serves as a board member for the Dallas Hispanic Law Foundation. He received the Texas Lawyers’ first “Diversity and Inclusion Champion” award in 2022. “Mentorship is important to me,” explains Alaniz. “I feel strongly that those of us who have been practicing for a while and have wisdom to offer should be serving newer members of the profession.” He is dedicated to being the mentor he didn’t have as a first-generation Latino and LGBTQ+ law student.
Another way Alaniz personally wanted to create a better life for himself was to achieve his lifelong dream of being a father. Alaniz is now a proud father of 12-year-old twins, and spends most of his free time helping with school work, attending kids sporting events, and always finding time for his other passion – fitness. Alaniz resides in Dallas with his kids, fiancé (Dave), and two French Bulldogs, Hank and Geo.
The LGBTQ+ Bar is proud to count Omar J. Alaniz amongst our membership and as a board member of our Association. You can learn more about him and about our other board members here.