2012 Baylor Lawyer of the Year: Judge Leonard E. Davis
WACO, Texas (Oct. 30, 2012) -- Leonard E. Davis, chief judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, has been named the 2012 Baylor Lawyer of the Year.
A committee of the Baylor Law Alumni Association recently selected Davis, a long-time friend of Baylor Law School, for the honor.
"I've had the pleasure of knowing Chief Judge Davis for more than 35 years, both professionally and as a friend," said Baylor Law School Dean Brad Toben. "He is a paradigm of what we all want to see on the bench in our courtrooms -- a judge who is bright, discerning, hard-working, prepared, fair, courteous to all and decisive. And, of course, Judge Davis is a person of pristine character and integrity. He was nominated by an entire array of high profile and respected lawyers and judges ... and the selection committee indeed chose well and wisely."
Davis was presented with his award at the 16th Annual Eastern District of Texas Bench/Bar Conference on Oct. 24-26 in Plano. Davis was nominated to the Eastern District of Texas by President George W. Bush on Jan. 23, 2002, and was sworn in on May 15, 2002. Prior to his appointment to the federal bench, Davis served as chief justice of the Twelfth Court of Appeals of the State of Texas. Prior to becoming a judge, Davis was a practicing civil trial attorney in East Texas for 23 years, handling cases at all levels of state and federal courts involving all types of major civil litigation.
"He is universally respected by both the bench and bar," wrote Judge James Rodney Gilstrap of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in a letter nominating Davis for Baylor Lawyer of the Year. "His judicial service in the area of intellectual property has established him as one of the nation's premier jurists in this important field."
Davis attended Baylor Law School and graduated cum laude and first in his class in 1976. While at Baylor, he served as editor-in-chief of the Baylor Law Review and was a member of Baylor's Interscholastic Moot Court and Mock Trial Teams, winning first place in the State Moot Court Competition in 1976. He also received the American Jurisprudence Awards for Excellence in Contracts and Federal Courts.
Davis received his undergraduate degree in mathematics from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1970, and his Master of Management Science from Texas Christian University in 1974. Before entering law school he worked as a computer programmer and systems analyst.
Davis joins dozens of Baylor Law School alums that have been named Baylor Lawyer of the Year since 1963. Past honorees include Leon Jaworski, Abner V. McCall, Angus S. McSwain Jr., R. Matt Dawson, William S. Sessions, Bob Bullock, Jack Hightower, Walter Umphrey and John Eddie Williams.
Baylor Law School will host a luncheon in Davis' honor in the spring 2013.