I have been in my hometown of Tyler today, attending the Smith County Bar Law Day lunch event. My dad was awarded the Justinian Award, a great and much deserved honor. He has been practicing now for 49 years, all at the Ramey & Flock firm in Tyler, except for his years in the Air Force JAG after he graduated from the University of Texas School of Law. Longtime law partner and friend, Tracy Crawford, presented the award, providing his thoroughly creative touch to tell about my dad’s accomplishments, pointing out how his character and work ethic come from his cowboy roots. He referred to my great-grandfather’s cowboy career with the XIT Ranch, the largest ranch ever under one fence (6,000 miles of fence), taking up about half of the Texas panhandle. He alluded to Joe B. Frantz’s book 6,000 Miles of Fence: the XIT Ranch, which has quotes of my great-grandfather talking about seeing the cattle drives from his house in Lampasas County, TX, giving him the desire to one day be a cowboy. Tracy noted how my dad’s close relationship with his grandfather there in Dalhart transferred that cowboy culture to him, showing still today with his love for riding his horses and being in the country. It also shows up in his integrity, loyalty, and work ethic. This, along with his father’s 27 years as Dallam County Judge, is key to understanding his life and work, making him into the lawyer he is today, “the best civil defense trial lawyer in Texas.”
After accepting the award, my dad gave an inspiring speech on the justice and freedom our law and courts provide; of why it is important to have a Law Day. He shared how he learned a great deal while prosecuting in the Air Force JAG, obtaining the experience and skills for organizing and presenting evidence, all helpful for the career he would begin in civil defense trial work after arriving at Ramey & Flock in Tyler. He also used some great quotes to illustrate his point (I especially loved the one by Margaret Mitchell in her Gone with the Wind, The south produced statesmen and soldiers, planters and doctors and lawyers and poets, but certainly no engineers and mechanics. Let Yankees adopt such low callings.). He also told of how he has known since eighth grade that he wanted to be a lawyer. He has had–and continues to have–an amazing career in the courtroom.
Here is a summary of his career thus far.
Congratulations, Dad! I am so incredibly proud of you.