The Baylor Law Alumni Association Executive Committee has selected Bill Brian (JD '74) as the 2014 Baylor Lawyer of the Year.
Brian was surprised with the honor at a reception in Amarillo on Jan. 28. Baylor Law School Dean Brad Toben, and Baylor University President and Chancellor Ken Starr were in attendance.
"I could not have been more surprised when Dean Toben announced that I had been selected," Brian said. "It is really a humbling experience because I look at the names of Baylor Lawyers who have received the Baylor Lawyer of the Year designation in prior years and I think, 'What am I doing here among these whom I admire so much?'"
A former regent of Baylor University, Brian has practiced with the Courtney Law Firm in Amarillo and its predecessors for 37 years, and has been certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in the field of Estate Planning and Probate Law since 1984. He also served as briefing attorney for the then Seventh Court of Civil Appeals in Amarillo from 1975-76.
U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Texas the Hon. Ed Kinkeade (JD '74) describes his longtime friend, Brian, as "a quiet giant."
Brian has authored continuing education papers for the State Bar of Texas, South Texas College of Law, Baylor University, Amarillo Area Estate Planning Council and other sponsors. He is a life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and is a past member of the council of the State Bar of Texas Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law Section. He is past editor of the General Practice Section Newsletter (Probate Law portion) and of the Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law Reporter (Estate Tax portion) of the State Bar of Texas. In addition, he has occupied leadership roles in other professional, civic and religious organizations, including the Amarillo Bar Association, Amarillo Area Bar Foundation, Salvation Army, Panhandle-Plains Historical Society, Panhandle Baptist Foundation, Baptist St. Anthony's Foundation, Amarillo Chamber of Commerce, Baptist General Convention of Texas, the Baptist Standard, Baylor University and the Amarillo Chapter of American Red Cross.
The Baylor Law Alumni Association Executive Committee selected the Baylor Lawyer of the Year much earlier than it has done in the past. The selection and announcement are usually made in the fall. Starting in 2014, the selection and announcement will be made earlier in the year so honorees can hold the title throughout the selection year.
The Baylor Lawyer of the Year Award is given annually to an outstanding alumnus/a who has brought honor and distinction to the Law School and to the legal profession. Past recipients include Leon Jaworski, Abner V. McCall, Judge Kinkeade, Judge Leonard E. Davis, Matt Dawson, Walter Umphrey, Rex Houston, Bob Bullock and Baylor Law Professor David Guinn.