Baylor Law School to Celebrate Law Day April 5

March 25, 1997

by Alan Hunt

Beaumont judge and 1959 Baylor University law graduate, Judge James Farris, will be honored as Baylor's 1997 Lawyer of the Year at the annual Law Day banquet at 7 p.m., Saturday, April 5, in the Ferrell Special Events Center.

The Baylor Lawyer of the Year presentation will climax a full Law Day program, which includes a keynote banquet address by George J. Mitchell, former majority leader of the U. S. Senate.

Sen. Mitchell, who completed a 14-year career in the Senate, will present the law school's annual John William and Florence Dean Minton Endowed Lecture. He will be introduced by Ambassador Abelardo L. Valdez, a 1970 Baylor law graduate and former Ambassador and Chief of Protocol to the White House under President Jimmy Carter.

The finals of the law school's annual Strasburger & Price Spring Moot Court Contest will also be held at 3 p.m. Saturday in Room 110 at the law school. Other events planned for Saturday include "Race Judicata," a 5K fun run for law students, faculty and alumni, which will start at 10:30 a.m., a softball tournament and a chili cook-off. The annual Law Day Golf Tournament is also scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at Western Oaks Country Club.

Judge Farris, who recently retired from the 317th District Court, Beaumont, served as a judge since 1969 and never faced a political opponent for his job. One of the nation's best-known jurists in the field of juvenile and family law issues, he is a former president of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, a 60-year-old membership organization of the nation's leading juvenile and family jurists.

Raised in the small Liberty County community of Daisetta, Farris graduated from Baylor with a bachelor of business administration degree in 1953 and was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving 17 months in Korea.

Returning to the United States in 1955, he worked for various businesses before deciding to pursue a boyhood dream of entering the legal field. After graduation from Baylor Law School, he worked for the state and county affairs division of the Texas Attorney General's office in Austin, and later he moved to Beaumont to work for the Jefferson County District Attorney. In October 1969, he was appointed as a Judge to the County Court at Law No. 2 in Jefferson County and he served in that capacity until December 1977, when he was named Judge of the 317th District Court.

He is a member of the executive council of Baylor Law Alumni Association and serves on the Law School's advisory board. He is also a member of the Development Council of Baylor University.

For more information about the Law Day program, call 755-1911.

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