Past Presidents

Cullen Smith, Jr.
(May 31, 1925 – April 16, 2022)

State Bar President, 1978-1979

Cullen Smith, Jr., was born in Waco in 1925. After first practicing law in Welasco, Texas, in 1950-53, he moved to Waco and was a member of the law firm of Naman, Howell, Smith, Lee & Muldrow. In 1948 he married Laura "Mickey" Dossett. They had three daughters, one of whom, Risher Smith Gilbert, became an El Paso attorney. Smith attended Baylor University. He received his B.B.A. degree in 1948 and his J.D. in 1950. During 1964-1973 he served as a lecturer at the Baylor law school and was the 1980 Baylor Lawyer of the Year. He was a member of Phi Delta Phi and an honorary member of the Texas Tech Order of the Coif. During 1943-46, Smith served as a first lieutenant in the Marine Corps.

He was a member of the Episcopal Church, Rotary Club, Philosophers Club, and Ridgewood Country Club. Smith was president of the Waco-McLennan County Bar in 1956-57 and president of the Junior Bar (now the Texas Young Lawyers Association) in 1957-58. Before serving as president of the State Bar of Texas in 1978-1979 he sat on the Board of Directors (1971-1974), was chair of the board of the Texas Bar Foundation (1973-1974), and was chair of the Special Committee on Revision of Canons of Ethics (1969-1971). He was a fellow of the Texas and American Bar Foundations and a state chair of the latter in 1978-1981. He was a member of the American Bar and the House of Delegates, a nonresident member of the Dallas Bar, and an honorary member of the Montana Bar.

Smith's outstanding accomplishments as bar president included the reenactment of the State Bar Act as part of the Sunset review process, along with a Supreme Court order integrating the bar under the court's inherent power. This new act clarified the State Bar’s purposes, strengthened grievances, and added public members. Smith’s presidency also saw greater involvement by women and minority lawyers, the creation of a Law Student Division, and an active program of Citizens Legal Education. Smith published legal articles for the Texas Bar Journal, Baylor Law Review, American Bar Journal, Mississippi Bar Journal, The Practical Lawyer, Law Office Economics, and The Lawyer's Handbook.


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