Lufkin Lawyer George Chandler Named Baylor Lawyer of the Year

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George Chandler learned he had been selected Baylor Lawyer of the Year while he entertained some fellow Baylor Lawyers at his ranch in Wimberly. Pictured left to right are Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben, Noley Bice, former Texas Gov. Mark White, Chandler, Baylor Law Professor David Guinn and Ray Stoker.
Dec. 17, 2009

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Renowned trial lawyer George Chandler, founder and chairman of Chandler, Mathis & Zivley in Lufkin, Texas, has been named the 2009 Baylor Lawyer of the Year by Baylor Law School. Chandler will be honored at a luncheon on Jan. 15 at the Crown Colony Country Club in Lufkin.

"George has, in his life and in his career, set a mark that provides each of us with aspirational goals of the loftiest sort," said Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben. "He has attained the pinnacle of achievement as a trial lawyer. He has been honored time and time again for his work in the courtroom. He has a passion for vindicating the rights of those who have lost loved ones, suffered grievous injury or otherwise been tread upon wrongfully. For George, his trial work is about reaching out to serve others in the courtroom and in the profession, a profession in which he has been a consistent, strong voice of leadership.

"George looks back to his Baylor experience, and especially so his experience at Baylor Law School, as one that equipped him to fully be a servant to others," Toben added. "He is a consistent cheerleader and supporter of the Law School and my colleagues and me, and few can claim that they love the Green and Gold more than George and his team mate in life, his beloved Martha.

"I am delighted in my heart to see George receive this accolade from the Baylor Law Alumni Association. He joins company in this with a 'who's who' of Baylor lawyers who have used their gifts and talents to make a difference in the lives of so many."

Chandler graduated from Baylor University in 1960 with a bachelor's degree in history. He attended Baylor on a tennis scholarship, and was the MVP of the Bears' 1960 tennis team. Upon completing his undergraduate work, he attended Baylor Law School, graduating in 1962. Chandler was a member of the Baylor Law Review, and in 1962, he authored the law review article "Exhibition of Injuries of Plaintiff in a Civil Case."

Noley Bice, who was a Baylor Law classmate of Chandler, had nothing but praise in his nomination letter. "He was the kind of person who all wanted to like and enjoyed being around. This has not changed. George is liked and respected by those who have battled against him in the pits. He is the consummate professional and is the poster child for what Baylor Law graduates wish to see in all Baylor lawyers," wrote Bice, who served as General Counsel for Baylor University.

David Guinn, Professor of Law, echoed Bice. "George Chandler is one of the finest graduates Baylor Law School has ever produced," he said.

After graduation, Chandler began work with the Corpus Christi personal injury firm of Edwards & DeAnda, where he practiced until 1964. He then moved back home to East Texas, where he has practiced ever since. In 1971, Chandler formed his own firm, specializing in plaintiff's personal injury and commercial trial law, and has operated that firm for almost 40 years.

Chandler's numerous significant jury verdicts on behalf of his clients have received nationwide attention. He is a one of the most frequently requested speakers on trial tactics in Texas and throughout the nation, serving approximately 100 times on continuing legal education faculties around the country.

He was elected by his fellow statewide trial lawyers as the 2003 President of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, an organization he has been involved with since 1974. He has served as director and director emeritus of the TTLA and has sat on the TTLA Executive Committee since 1999. Additionally, Chandler is a member of the prestigious International Academy of Trial Lawyers, limited by invitation to 400 trial lawyers worldwide. He is a Diplomate of both the American Board of Trial Advocates and the National Board of Trial Advocacy and has served by appointment on various committees of the State Bar of Texas.

In addition to these many accomplishments and honors, Chandler has served a four-year term with the Association of Trial Lawyers of America as a state committeeman from Texas, and was president of the Angelina County Bar Association in 1984. Chandler has been Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1978, the very first year that certification was available.

Chandler received the 2009 Texas Bar Foundation Ronald D. Secrest Award of the Texas Bar Foundation for the Outstanding Trial lawyer in Texas for 2009. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2009 of the Texas Trial Lawyer's Association for contributions to the justice system. George and his wife of 50 years, Martha, are both active in the First Baptist Church and both have taught adult Sunday School for many years.

Chandler is AV rated by the legal publication Martindale-Hubbell (that directory's highest rating) and was a founding member of the Tonahill Society, a group of trial lawyers and judges dedicated to the preservation of trial by jury and the betterment of the legal profession.

"As long as I can remember, the name George Chandler has been associated with what is good in our profession, and what is great about Baylor lawyers," wrote JoAl Cannon Sheridan, president of the Baylor Law Alumni Association. "George not only is an excellent trial lawyer with a creative, academic mind, he is a good person. He is kind and respectful to opposing counsel and always will to take time to mentor young lawyers. His awards and honors are too numerous to mention, however, given his dedication to Baylor University and the Law School in particular, I believe this award would be his most treasured."

Chandler and Martha have two children -- daughter, Kelly Michaels, and son, Reich Chandler, who passed away in 2006 and was also a Baylor lawyer. The couple also has three grandchildren.

The 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. Past recipients include Watergate Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski, former Texas Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock, former F.B.I. director William Sessions, former U.S. Rep. Jack Hightower and Gov. Price Daniel Sr., among others. The award has been presented by Baylor Law School since 1963.

Contact: Julie Carlson, Baylor Law School, 254-710-6681

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