Life’s Too Precious to Be a Bystander

Linda Addison in the daughter of two Holocaust survivors

Published in 2006 Texas Super Lawyers — October 2006

Linda Addison rarely stops long enough to think about the amazing twists her life has taken, but when she does she knows what’s most amazing is that she’s here at all. Addison, 54, a partner at Fulbright & Jaworski in Houston, is the daughter of two Holocaust survivors who eventually immigrated to America and moved to Houston when Linda was 7.
 
“Fewer than 75,000 survived Nazi concentration camps,” Addison says. “To think that two of them were reunited and that’s the reason I’m here …” Her voice trails off in amazement all these years later.
 
Her gratitude is reflected in her efforts as a longtime board member of Holocaust Museum Houston.
 
“One thing we teach is that the Holocaust could not have occurred without bystanders. That fundamental lesson has always resonated with me. I’ve tried to teach my daughter the importance of not being a bystander,” she says. Addison recently presented Holocaust Museum Houston’s 2006 Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award to global humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Sir Bob Geldof in recognition of his refusal to be a bystander.
 
Indeed, Addison embraces 18th-century Irish statesman Edmund Burke’s statement that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Testament to her living that philosophy, Addison was named Woman of the Year earlier this year by the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast for her tireless efforts with that organization.
 
She also was appointed this year by President George Bush to the United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, an independent government agency that works with foreign governments to preserve historic sites and artifacts of Eastern Europe because of their significance to many U.S. citizens.
 
Her family history and volunteer work blend nicely with her professional life, where she handles complex commercial litigation and intellectual property litigation or, as she describes it, “big, hard cases involving lots of money.”
 
“Because the people in my life have overcome great odds and persevered, I’ve always had an intuitive sense of the ability of people to survive insurmountable odds and accomplish great things. When a case is challenging or the odds are against my client, that’s never dissuaded me.
 
“We each have a limited amount of time and a limited amount of energy,” she continues. “The challenge is to put them to work where you think they will do the most good.”

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