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Chief Justice Jack Pope Professionalism Award

Texas Center for Legal Ethics Announces 2016 Pope Award for Integrity, Professionalism

The Texas Center for Legal Ethics (TCLE) is proud to announce that attorney William J. Chriss of Corpus Christi will receive the 2016 Chief Justice Jack Pope Professionalism Award.

Each year, TCLE presents the Pope Award to a judge or attorney who personifies the highest standards of professionalism and integrity in the field of law. The Pope Award is named for former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Jack Pope, one of TCLE’s founders and the first recipient of the Award in 2009.

Mr. Chriss practices in the Corpus Christi office of San Antonio-based Gravely & Pearson, L.L.P., and is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law and Personal Injury Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is the author of the acclaimed book The Noble Lawyer, which examines the history and current state of the legal profession.

“Bill Chriss is one of the most recognizable figures in the world of ethics statewide,” said Marc Gravely, a name partner at Gravely & Pearson. “He has devoted a huge amount of time to improving both the profession and its education, ethical and otherwise. In Texas, if you are a lawyer and you want to know what is the right thing to do, Bill Chriss is one of the handful of people that everybody knows to ask.”

The Pope Award will be presented by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht at the Annual Texas Supreme Court Historical Society Dinner on September 9 in Austin.

Founded in 1989 by Chief Justice Pope and two other retired Texas Supreme Court chief justices, TCLE promotes the values contained in the Texas Lawyer’s Creed and is a leading provider of legal ethics and professionalism education in Texas. For more information, visit the Texas Center for Legal Ethics website at http://www.legalethicstexas.com.

Previous Pope Award Recipients

2015:

Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod was appointed to the 5th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2007 by President George W. Bush. Prior to her appointment, she served as Judge of the 190th District Court in Harris County after previously practicing law at Baker Botts in Houston.

2014:

Pictured above are (left to right) Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson and Patti Gearhart Turner, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics.

Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court in 2001 by Gov. Rick Perry before being elevated to Chief Justice in 2004. He worked to increase openness of the judiciary and improve access to justice for the poor while serving as a strong advocate for the judicial branch before the Texas Legislature.

2013:

Pictured above are (left to right) Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, Nina Cortell, Jonathan Smaby, Judge Patrick Higginbotham and Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod.

Judge Patrick Higginbotham was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in 1982 following a distinguished career as a Dallas attorney and federal district judge. The founder and namesake of the Patrick Higginbotham Inn of Court, Judge Higginbotham has earned extensive praise throughout his career based on his integrity and commitment to improving the legal profession.

Nina Cortell is an attorney at Haynes and Boones in Dallas.  She is a longtime leader in the Dallas legal community and the recipient of many accolades from her peers. A widely respected appellate attorney; she has been a leader on issues affecting women lawyers for more than 30 years.

2012:

From left are former Justice Harriet O'Neill; former Chief Justice Jack Pope; and Kevin Dubose.

Justice Harriet O'Neill served with distinction on the Supreme Court of Texas from 1998 until she retired in 2010.  She has long been a champion for pro bono representation of low-income victims of domestic violence in Texas. She founded the Law Office of Harriet O’Neill in Austin, where her practice includes business, personal injury and commercial litigation, and the mediation of complex legal disputes. She frequently writes and lectures for continuing legal education programs.

Kevin Dubose, a Houston-based appellate attorney, conceptualized, initiated, and executed a project that culminated in the creation of the landmark Standards for Appellate Conduct, which, in 1999, became the first set of ethical standards tailored to appellate practice adopted by any jurisdiction in the United States. Mr. Dubose, a partner at Alexander Dubose & Townsend LLP, frequently instructs and writes on a variety of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) subjects, including how lawyers can maintain a healthy work/life balance; advice on improving legal professionalism and ethics; and ways to improve clarity and effectiveness in legal writing.

2011:

From left are Charlie Wilson, former Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics; William Hilgers; former Chief Justice Jack Pope;  Judge Will Garwood of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; and Jonathan Smaby, Executive Director of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics.

William Hilgers is an attorney at the Austin law firm of Hilgers & Langham, where he practices estate planning, probate, business transactions, taxation, and nonprofit formation. He previously served as chairman of the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors and the Texas Bar Foundation. In 1989, he was instrumental in the founding of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and served as chairman of its Board of Trustees.

Judge Will Garwood was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 after serving as an associate justice on the Texas Supreme Court. Prior to his service on the bench, Judge Garwood was in private practice for 20 years and served in the U.S. Army JAG Corps after law school. He also served as a law clerk to Judge John R. Brown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

2010:

From left are Jonathan Smaby, Executive Director of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics; Lloyd Lochridge; former Chief Justice Jack Pope; Judge Thomas Reavley of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; and Charlie Wilson, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics.

Lloyd Lochridge practices law in Austin with the firm McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore, where he has been a member since 1959.  He has a long record of service to the Bar, including serving as the President of the State Bar from 1974-75.  Prior to moving to Austin, Mr. Lochridge practiced in Mission, Texas and throughout the Lower Rio Grande Valley.  He served with United States Navy from 1941-1945.  He is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School.    

Judge Thomas Reavley is a Senior Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  He was appointed to the Fifth Circuit by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.  Prior to that, he served as an Associate Justice on the Texas Supreme Court from 1968 to 1977 and was Texas Secretary of State from 1955 to 1957.  Judge Reavley has served as a prosecutor and adjunct professor and lecturer at a variety of law schools, including the University of Texas, Baylor and Texas Tech.  He is a graduate of the University of Texas and Harvard Law School.

2009

From left are Bill Chriss, Executive Director of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics; former Chief Justice Jack Pope; Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson; and Kelly Frels, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics. 

Justice Jack Pope, a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, pioneered the promulgation of the judicial canons of ethics in Texas and – along with former Chief Justices Robert Calvert and Joe Greenhlill – founded the Texas Center for Legal Ethics in 1989.  He served as a trial judge in Corpus Christi from 1946-1950, as a Justice on the 4th Court of Appeals from 1951-1964, as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas from 1964-1982, and as Chief Justice of the from 1982 until his retirement in 1985.   As a distinguished Texas lawyer and then as a legendary trial and appellate judge, Jack Pope exemplified the highest standards of professional ethics.  
 

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