Albuquerque Attorney Named Baylor Lawyer Of The Year

March 24, 2003
News Photo 1203Turner W. Branch

by Alan Hunt

Leading Albuquerque and New Mexico attorney Turner W. Branch will be honored by Baylor University Law School as its Baylor Lawyer of the Year for 2003. Baylor's Lawyer of the Year award is given annually to an outstanding alumnus who has brought honor and distinction to Baylor Law School and the legal profession.

Branch, a 1965 Baylor law graduate, will be recognized during Baylor's annual Law Day banquet on April 12 in the Ferrell Center. He will receive the recognition from Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. and Bob Barkley of Dallas, president of the Baylor Law Alumni Association. A reception for Branch and his wife, Margaret, will be held earlier on the Ferrell Center concourse.

A native New Mexican, Branch completed his undergraduate degree at the University of New Mexico, where he served as president of the student body and was an accomplished athlete. He served on active duty as an officer in the United States Marine Corps before enrolling in Baylor Law School in 1963. He was a section editor of the Baylor Law Review and received the T.R. McDonald Award as the outstanding student at the Law School.

A nationally known trial attorney who has won recognition for his skills in the courtroom and his legal achievements, Branch is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Outstanding Service Award, American Board of Trial Advocates. He and his wife, Margaret, founded the Branch Law Firm in Albuquerque in 1966. He currently serves as the Out-of-State Lawyer Liaison on the Board of Directors for the Texas State Bar and as Senior Counsel of the American College of Barristers.

Branch is a member of the New Mexico, Colorado and Texas State Bars and the District of Columbia Bar Association. He is a Board Certified Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and as a Civil Trial Specialist by the New Mexico Board of Legal Specialization. He also has served on the Board of Governors for the Western Trial Lawyers Association and is a former trustee for the National College of Advocacy. He is a Diplomate and life member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and served as the New Mexico representative for ATLA for 12 years. He is a former trustee of the National College of Advocacy; a Diplomate of the American Board of Trial Advocates; a director on the National Board of ABOTA; and the former president of the New Mexico chapter of ABOTA, from which he received an outstanding service award. Branch is a Fellow and former director of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.

Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben said Turner and Margaret Branch are universally recognized in the profession as lawyers of the very highest caliber. Describing them as "a class team," Toben said they have consistently achieved impressive results in representing their clients in very complex litigation matters. "Everything they do in their work and in their lives they do with a passion for excellence," he said.

Underscoring their determination to aid prospective members of the legal profession, Turner and Margaret Branch announced a few years ago a seven-figure gift to Baylor Law School to underwrite the construction of a practice courtroom at the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center, which opened for classes in August 2001. The finely appointed courtroom facility is known as the Turner and Margaret Moses Branch Courtroom. The Branch's generous gift also was used to underwrite a student scholarship program at Baylor Law School.

"Turner Branch has said that if you had it in you to be a trial attorney, Baylor Law School would bring it out. Now, the Branch donation is helping to guarantee that," Toben said. "Their philanthropy to Baylor Law School and its students is not only remarkable in size, but also is targeted to assist our students in their trial advocacy training and to assist our students financially to allow them to reach their educational and professional objectives."

Noting that Branch exemplifies the criteria for the Baylor Lawyer of the Year award, Toben said Baylor Law School "is proud to call Turner Branch one of our own. He serves as a true inspiration to all in the legal profession - a thoughtful, talented person who is always ready to assist those in need."

The Baylor Lawyer of the Year presentation will climax a week of Law Day activities, and includes a keynote banquet address by Rep. Chet Edwards. In his 12 years in Congress, Edwards is one of only three Democrats to be named to both the House Budget and Appropriations Committees. A graduate of Texas A&M University and Harvard Business School, Edwards will deliver the law school's annual John William and Florence Dean Minton Endowed Lecture.

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