Best Director, Bar None

Martha Hofmeister is the guiding hand behind the Dallas Bar’s comedic variety show

Published in 2023 Texas Super Lawyers magazine

By Beth Taylor on September 15, 2023

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Martha Hofmeister may have done her job too well when she directed her law school’s annual satirical musical comedy in 1984; she ended up getting typecast. A year later, she was drafted to direct what would come to be known as Bar None.

“As a new lawyer, I’d signed up to participate with the Dallas Bar Association’s Entertainment Committee,” Hofmeister recalls. “I missed an early meeting, but someone who knew I had directed the 1984 production of Assault & Flattery at the University of Texas School of Law said I could probably handle the task.”

And how. For more than 35 years, Hofmeister has continued to direct the show, which, she says, “is composed of skits and songs that poke fun at current events and the practice of law.”

 The show is sponsored by the Dallas Bar Association and the Dallas Bar Foundation, and 98% of its performers are lawyers or judges. Proceeds go to scholarships for minority students at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, UNT Dallas College of Law and Texas A&M University School of Law. During her time at the helm, Bar None has raised more than $2.32 million toward those scholarships.

“The Sarah T. Hughes Diversity Scholarships at our three area law schools ensure that our local legal profession looks more like the Dallas community,” Hofmeister says. “I’m proud of that, and of the quality of our show, which is staffed with volunteers who have incredible talent and commitment.”

She admits that first show was a challenge but a positive one. “Decisions made in 1985-’86 by lawyers who were new to the profession—and strangers to one another—turned out to be really good choices,” she says. “Because I didn’t know if anyone would audition for a show that we were literally making up, I decided to cast anyone who tried out. That is still the case.”

Bar None has even sparked a few romances. At least five couples met during the show, then married—including Hofmeister and her husband, litigator Kent Hofmeister at Brown & Hofmeister.

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