In October of 2021, Lambda Chi Alpha alum Abe Hester became the newest attorney at the Dallas office of Jones Day, the fifth largest law firm in the U.S. and 13th highest grossing law firm in the world. Hester was hired for the job after graduating from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, which ranks 16th in the U.S. overall, according to the U.S. News & World Report.
While Hester’s achievements certainly are a testament to his own talent and determination, the young alum doesn’t hesitate to credit his success to his unique experience with Lambda Chi.
As an undergraduate at the University of North Texas, Hester wasn’t interested in joining a fraternity. In his mind, fraternities harbored all the negative stereotypes reflected by popular culture: drinking, hazing and poor academic performance. So instead of joining, Hester avoided Greek Life, joined the university’s student government association and focused on making friends with like-minded, ambitious students.
A few short years later, Hester’s thoughts on Greek Life were turned upside down when one of his friends was asked to help recolonize a closed chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha. At the time, he learned that the Fraternity was actively working to break from the traditional Greek Life model, eschew common fraternity stereotypes and bring together qualified, high-integrity students.
“I thought it would be cool to start from the ground up,” Hester said. “It was a unique experience because we didn’t have the legacy of older Brothers who had already been there.
“We had alumni and people from Lambda Chi headquarters come in and help which gave us a strong foundation. We avoided the negative aspects of Greek Life and established relationships with people who were mature and professional.”
In Hester’s junior year, the University of North Texas Lambda Chi chapter was resurrected. As Hester and his Brothers organized the new chapter, they sought to put together a fraternity that would help provide a strong network and support professional development. To Hester, this was a major departure from the traditional, coming-of-age fraternal experience that only seeks to help teenagers transition to adults.
“I was already a junior when I joined,” Hester said. “After I graduated from high school, I had already served in the military and the National Guard, so I was looking for professional development more than personal development.
“Lambda Chi helped me in a huge way. I met lots of people in Lambda Chi who took extra steps to help me learn how to adjust to networking with people in different social classes. I also learned how to fit into a professional environment.”
After graduating, Hester served on the executive search committee to find Lambda Chi’s new CEO, Troy Medley. Sitting on the committee, Hester gained faith and confidence in himself as a leader. Despite his relatively young age, the level of respect that the older committee members demonstrated towards him changed the level of respect he had for himself.
“The other committee members treated me like an equal because I was their Brother,” said Hester. “These were wealthy, experienced men in their 70s, but they all respected my opinion.
I’m glad that the Fraternity is trying to be more inclusive to all types of identities.
I wouldn’t be where I am without Lambda Chi Alpha, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to inspire younger members.”
Through serving on the executive search committee, Hester was inspired to apply to law school. To pursue this goal, he reached out to fellow Brothers who guided him through the application and admissions process, which ultimately helped him gain acceptance into the Washington University School of Law.
Now, beginning his career as an attorney at one of the world’s most prestigious law firms, Hester still continues to give back to Lambda Chi by serving on the national Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee.