Celebrating 50-Year Lawyers

Whether it’s the tireless pursuit of justice, ensuring the well-being of an organization, or advocacy for underserved citizens, a career in law can be fulfilling but often thankless. Dr. William H. Danforth, 13th chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis, may have said it best when he stated, “What we give away always outlasts what we keep.” In that sentiment, I am proud to recognize those who stayed the course in various capacities to achieve the milestone of becoming a 50-year lawyer.

In June, the State Bar honored lawyers who were licensed in Texas in 1972 with a reception and recognition at the 2022 Annual Meeting in Houston. It was a joy to be in that room, hearing the words of congratulations from colleagues and classmates—some of whom they hadn’t seen in years. Their families were so proud of them. An air of appreciation and greatness filled the room.

I remember in 2008 when my own father reached the 50-year mark in his career. Never one to take himself seriously, I recall him saying, “You know, it just means I’m old.” I shook my head and told him, “No, it means more than that, Dad.” To me, it means there were many sacrifices made by loved ones, long nights and early mornings, countless hours researching and strategizing, and an overwhelming sense of accomplishment knowing that you ensured justice for the guilty and the innocent. Or, for some, it means that you utilized your intimate knowledge of the law to hone a skill set and positively impact an organization.

TYLA Pres Page
ABOVE: Sue Mills. Photo courtesy of the State Bar of Texas Archives.

It’s rare that a class of 50-year lawyers includes a State Bar staffer, so Susannah “Sue” R. Mills is worthy of recognition. She began her career at the State Bar of Texas in May 1972 and is best known for her decades of work as the legal editor for the Texas Family Law Practice Manual. Starting as a temporary, as-needed, hourly employee while finishing her law degree, she worked in membership, reception, and even operated the switchboard. In December 1972, Sue graduated from the University of Texas School of Law and, on December 7, received her Texas law license.

On April 1, 1973, Sue became a permanent employee, taking on the role of legal editor. In 1981, she was named editor in chief of what was then known as the Books and Systems Department. Sue became director of the department in June 1985 and served in that capacity until she retired in June 2000, earning the Gene Cavin Award in 2000 for her contribution to educating Texas lawyers.

Fortunately for the State Bar, Sue’s retirement was short-lived as she returned as a publications attorney in February 2001. During her tenure, Sue has also worked on many of the seminal legal publications including the Texas Civil Pattern Jury Charges and the Texas Probate System.

To Sue and the other 904 lawyers licensed in Texas in 1972, cheers to 50 years! Thank you for your commitment to our esteemed profession and may you continue to serve as an inspiration and example for us all.


Executive Director, State Bar of Texas
Editor-in-Chief, Texas Bar Journal

Trey Apffel can be reached at 512-427-1500, trey.apffel@texasbar.com or @ApffelT on Twitter.


{Back to top}

We use cookies to analyze our traffic and enhance functionality. More Information agree