The Honorable Scott Brister, former Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, will serve as commencement speaker at Baylor University Law School's winter commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, in Waco Hall on the Baylor campus. Additionally, Christopher K. Rusek, the highest ranking student in the graduating class, will deliver student remarks.
Baylor President Ken Starr and Baylor Law School Dean Brad Toben also will participate in the program and will award juris doctor degrees to the 38 graduates.
A native of Waco, Justice Brister is a summa cum laude graduate of Duke University, and a cum laude graduate of the Harvard Law School. After law school he was a briefing attorney for Chief Justice Joe Greenhill at the Texas Supreme Court in 1980-1981, then practiced law with Andrews Kurth LLP in Houston.
In 1989, Gov. Bill Clements appointed him judge of the 234th District Court in Harris County, to which he was re-elected in 1990, 1994 and 1998. In November 2000, Justice Brister was elected to the First District Court of Appeals in Houston, where he served until Gov. Rick Perry appointed him chief justice of the 14th Court of Appeals in 2001. Justice Brister was appointed to the Supreme Court of Texas in November 2003 by Gov. Perry and was elected to a six-year term in November 2004. During his years in the judiciary, Justice Brister presided over 670 trials to verdict, and authored more than 600 appellate opinions, including 122 opinions of the Texas Supreme Court.
In 2009, Justice Brister returned to Andrews Kurth and heads the firm's appellate section. He is board-certified in civil appellate, civil trial, and personal injury trial law. He previously served on the Supreme Court Advisory Committee and on the Supreme Court Jury Task Force. He is a fellow of the Houston and Texas Bar foundations and a member of the College of the State Bar of Texas. He is a co-author of "Texas Pretrial Practice" and has written law review articles in the Baylor, Oak Brook, South Texas, and St. Mary's law reviews.
Justice Brister and his wife, Julia Upton Brister, have four daughters, one of whom is a freshman at Baylor in the University Scholars program. Justice Brister's parents are Baylor graduates, both having received undergraduate as well as masters degrees from the university. Though raised a Southern Baptist, he and his family are now members of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Austin. They reside in Georgetown.
Assisting Starr and Toben in awarding degrees during the commencement program will be Leah W. Jackson, professor of law and associate dean.
Hooding the graduates will be Matt Cordon, director of legal research, associate director of the law library and professor of law, and David Guinn, The Lyndon L. Olson and William A. Olson Professor of Local Government and Constitutional Law and Master Teacher. Douglas Alan Ritcheson, who will receive his law degree during commencement, will deliver the invocation.
A reception for graduates and their guests will take place immediately after commencement at the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center.