Walter Umphrey To Address Baylor Law School Grads Nov. 10

Nov. 9, 2001

by Alan Hunt

Legendary Beaumont attorney Walter Umphrey will present the keynote address during commencement ceremonies for 17 graduates of Baylor School of Law at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, in Miller Chapel on the Baylor University campus.

Umphrey, who was selected by the graduating class to deliver the commencement address, is a 1965 graduate of Baylor Law School. In 1999, he was honored as the Baylor Lawyer of the Year. Umphrey led the five-lawyer "Dream Team" that recovered an historic $17.6 billion settlement for the people of Texas from the tobacco industry in 1998. Umphrey and his wife, Sheila, made a $10 million gift towards the law school's highly successful and ongoing capital and endowment campaign. In recognition of their unprecedented commitment, the law school's new state-of-the-art home on the banks of the Brazos River was named the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center.

Umphrey's firm, the Provost*Umphrey Law Firm L.L.P., pioneered labor and personal injury law in the region where the world's petrochemical and refining industry was born, in southeast Texas. Using borrowed money, he and the late David Provost founded the firm in Port Arthur in 1969 with two other lawyers and a staff of five. Today, the Beaumont-based firm has nearly 60 lawyers and a total support staff of 225. Umphrey is managing partner of the organization, which has offices in Beaumont, Port Arthur, Houston, Austin, Washington, D.C., and Nashville, Tenn.

Diplomas will be presented during the commencement program by Law Dean Brad Toben, The Governor Bill and Vara Faye Daniel Professor of Law, assisted by Leah W. Jackson, professor of law and associate dean.

The honor of hooding the graduates will go to Professor David M. Guinn, The Louise L. Morrison Professor of Constitutional Law and Master Teacher, and Professor William D. Underwood, The Leon Jaworski Professor of Practice and Procedure. The invocation will be given by Assistant Professor Mark W. Osler.

After the ceremony, a reception for the graduates and their guests will be hosted by the Baylor Law Alumni Association on the riverside veranda of the student lounge at the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center.

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