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Texas Legal Legends

Past State Bar of Texas President Harper Estes created the Texas Legal Legends series in 2008-09. The purpose of the series is to preserve and share the perspectives of legendary Texas lawyers through their backgrounds, interesting stories, and thoughts on the changes in and the future of our profession.

Adelfa Callejo

Adelfa Callejo, was the first Hispanic to graduate from SMU Dedman School of Law and was one of the first Hispanic women in the country to receive a law degree. She has earned a reputation throughout Texas as a tireless advocate for equality of the underprivileged. A leader of the Hispanic legal community, she served on the board of the State Bar of Texas, and is the past President of the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas, and the Dallas County Criminal Bar Association. Adelfa Callejo has won countless honors and awards throughout her career. Among them, the Sandra Day O’Connor Award, which celebrates the accomplishments of outstanding women lawyers who have not only reached a level of professionalism excellence in their field, but who have actively made the way easier for future women in the profession.

Gibson Gayle

Gibson Gayle, a partner with Fulbright and Jaworski since 1961, has been a trial attorney since 1950. After serving on the Board of Directors and as Vice-President, Mr. Gayle became the 96th  President of the State Bar of Texas in 1976. As President, he presided over the opening of the Texas Law Center. In addition to receiving numerous professional honors throughout his career, Gibson Gayle was recognized by the State Bar for his more than 50 years of outstanding service to his profession, to his fellow attorneys, and to the State of Texas.

Raul Gonzalez

Raul A. Gonzalez, Jr. was the first Hispanic appointed or elected to statewide office in Texas. Before he was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court by Governor Mark White in 1984, Justice Gonzalez sat for the 13th Court of Appeals and the 103rd District Court. He served on the Texas Supreme Court until 1998. Justice Gonzalez received his J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center in 1966, graduated from the National Judicial College in Reno, and earned a Master of Laws in judicial process from the University of Virginia Law School in 1986. He is a recipient of the prestigious St. Thomas More Society Lifetime Achievement Award and was granted an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from St. Edwards University.

David Hall

David Hall, is the executive director of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (formerly Texas Rural Legal Aid), a nonprofit organization specializing in legal services to indigent Texas residents. He serves on several State Bar of Texas Committees and is on the board of the Texas Access to Equal Justice Commission. Prior to joining Texas RioGrande Aid in 1975, Mr. Hall was the director of the ACLU Foundation and a staff attorney with the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee, AFL­-CIO. 

James Blackie Holmes

James H. "Blackie" Holmes III, a partner with the Dallas firm Burford and Ryburn, has been a successful trial attorney since 1962. Mr. Holmes co-authored The Texas Lawyer's Creed, the "code of honor" that inspires attorneys to adhere to the highest principles of professionalism. Mr. Holmes has won numerous honors and awards, including the prestigious Lola Wright Foundation Award. He also served as Mayor of the City of University Park.

Lloyd Lochridge

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 of Texas 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.

Kleber Miller

Kleber C. Miller, a senior partner with the firm Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff and Miller L.L.P., was elected chair of the Board of the State Bar of Texas in 1967. While serving as chair, Miller guided the Bar through Sunset Review and such controversial issues as legal specialization and appointment of lay members to the Board. Miller received the Texas Bar Foundation Outstanding Fifty-Year Lawyer Award in 2005.

Morris L. Overstreet

Judge Morris L. Overstreet, was the first African-American elected to a statewide office in the State of Texas. He served on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals from 1990 to 1998. Prior to taking the bench, Judge Overstreet was a prosecutor with 47th Judicial District at the District Attorney’s Office in Amarillo, where he advanced to First Assistant District Attorney. In 1999 Judge Overstreet became a certified contract advisor with the National Football League Players Club and negotiated contracts between players and NFL clubs. Judge Overstreet currently is the Presiding Judge at the City of Prairie View Municipal Court.

Joe Reynolds

Joe Reynolds, a highly respected Houston litigator, began his practice in 1947. While attending law school at Baylor, he volunteered for the U.S. Marine Corps and fought in two of the fiercest battles ever fought by the Marines: the Battle of Iwo Jima (WWII) and the Battle of Chosin Reservoir (Korean War.) In 2001, he was selected as one of the five outstanding Texas lawyers who had practiced 50 years or more. In addition to his numerous professional accomplishments, Reynolds served on the Board of Regents of Texas A&M for 16 years. Reynolds, age 88, died on Dec. 19. 2009.

James B. Sales

James B. Sales, former senior partner and head of the litigation department at Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. for 20 years, currently serves as of-counsel in the Houston office. Sales graduated from the UT undergrad in 1956, following which he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the USMC. Graduated from UT Law School in 1960. Former President of the Houston Bar Association and former and President of the State Bar of Texas. Sales served as Chair of the Texas Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission from 2003 through 2009.

Charles Smith

Charles L. Smith, of counsel to Jackson Walker, has more than 50 years of litigation experience. Smith served as both chair of the Board and president of the State Bar of Texas and was instrumental in implementing the IOLTA program and mandatory continuing legal education. Smith was the recipient of the prestigious Lola Wright Foundation Award by the Texas Bar Foundation for Outstanding Public Service in the Enhancement of Legal Ethics in Texas.

Sarah Weddington

At the age of 26, Sarah Weddington argued the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which she ultimately won. She was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1972 and was the first woman elected to represent Austin, Texas in that capacity. She was the first woman appointed as General Counsel to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1977. From 1979-1981, Sarah Weddington was special White House Advisor to President Jimmy Carter. Sarah currently serves as an adjunct-professor at the University of Texas, and is a well-known author and lecturer.


To read more about the Legal Legends series, read the Texas Bar Journal article [PDF].

Read details on the Let's Do Justice for Texas initiative.

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