Eminent Family Lawyer Ike Vanden Eykel Named 2020 Baylor Lawyer of the Year

May 11, 2020

Eminent Family Lawyer Ike Vanden Eykel Named 2020 Baylor Lawyer of the Year

Ike Vanden Eykel, speaking at Baylor Law in 2019
2020 Baylor Lawyer of the Year, Ike Vanden Eykel, speaking at Baylor Law in 2019


Ike Vanden Eykel (JD ’73), has been selected as the 2020 Baylor Lawyer of the Year by the Executive Committee of the Baylor Law Alumni Association.

Vanden Eykel is one of the most respected family lawyers in the country. He has been featured repeatedly among the Top 10 Attorneys in Texas and has been consistently listed among Texas Super Lawyers and one of the Best Lawyers in Dallas. He is one of only 28 recipients of the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists’ Sam Emison Award, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a Texas family law attorney. As CEO and Managing Partner of KoonsFuller, he has grown the firm into one of the largest family law firms in the country.

Candid shot of Vanden Eykel

Baylor Lawyer of the Year Ike Vanden Eykel leads Baylor Law students in the Oath of Professionalism during new student orientation.

“I am honored to be named the recipient of this award,” stated Vanden Eykel after hearing he had been named Baylor Lawyer of the Year, “To be added to the list of remarkable individuals who have received this recognition is truly a humbling experience,” he added.

“Ike has given himself to the family law community like few others. His standing in the community could quite legitimately be described as iconic,” stated Fred Adams, Jr. (JD ‘81), fellow partner at KoonsFuller, who added, “Family law in the state of Texas has been substantially improved as a result of Ike Vanden Eykel’s efforts.”

Family law in the state of Texas has been substantially improved as a result of Ike Vanden Eykel’s efforts." Fred Adams, Jr. (JD ‘81), Partner, KoonsFuller

Vanden Eykel authored the book on Texas family law, Successful Lone Star Divorce, and co-authored the Texas Family Law Practice Guide and Protecting Your Assets from A Texas Divorce. He and law partner Sharla Fuller have collaborated on another book, Lone Star Divorce: The NEW Edition. In addition, he was portrayed in the book, My Husband Is Trying to Kill Me, and the made-for-TV movie, Dead Before Dawn, for his representation of abuse victim Linda Edelman.

“Ike’s universally admired abilities in the courtroom and in the conference room, and his personal and professional accomplishments are unrivaled. He can make the complex simple and has a unique ability to diffuse even the most confrontational situation,” stated Baylor Law’s Dean Brad Toben, who added, “Most important, Ike understands the obligations of a lawyer and a person of faith to serve, and he daily lives out that dedication to service."

He is also a member of the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists, a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and a Diplomate in the American College of Family Trial Lawyers, and is the immediate past-president of the Baylor Law Alumni Association.

Vanden Eykel has served on multiple boards including the Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Center of Dallas, Collin County Children’s Advocacy Center, the Exchange Club Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse of DFW, Family Compass, and the Dallas Bar Foundation, among many others. He is presently on the Board of Trustees for Drake University, where he received his undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree in 1971.

Vanden Eykel and his wife, Cathy, have been married for over 40 years and have three children: Eric, Lindsey (JD ’14) and Steven. A private luncheon in Vanden Eykel’s honor will be hosted by Baylor Law.

About the Baylor Lawyer of the Year Award

The Baylor Lawyer of the Year Award is given annually to an outstanding alumnus/a who has brought honor and distinction to the Law School and to the legal profession. Recipients are selected based upon the following criteria:

    1. The nominee's legal ability and achievements as a lawyer;
    2. The nominee's contributions to the legal profession;
    3. The nominee's standing in the profession;
    4. The nominee's Christian character;
    5. The nominee's civic, religious and other attainments; and
    6. The nominee's active interest in Baylor Law.

Past Recipients

2019 - Lewis R. Sifford

2018 - J. Rodney Gilstrap

2017 - Murray Watson Jr.

2016 - T. Albert Witcher

2015 - Jerry K. Clements

2014 - Bill Brian

2013 - David M. Guinn

2012 - Leonard E. Davis

2011 - Steve McConnico

2010 - Ed Kinkeade

2009 - George Chandler

2008 - Joe E. Coleman

2007 - Sam R. Cummings

2006 - Noley R. Bice, Jr.

2005 - Wyatt H. Heard

2004 - T. John Ward

2003 - Turner W. Branch

2002 - John Eddie Williams

2001 - Harold Nix

2000 - Louis Muldrow

1999 - Walter Umphrey

1998 - Gordon L. Hollon

1997 - James M. "Jim" Farris

1996 - Jack Hightower

1995 - John T. Boyd

1994 - Bob Bullock

1993 - Bill Logue

1992 - Rex Houston

1991 - Sam B. Hall, Jr.

1990 - Edwin P. Horner

1989 - George M. Cowden

1988 - William S. Sessions

1987 - R. Matt Dawson

1986 - Robert Maurice Campbell

1985 - Bill D. Daniel

1984 - Angus S. McSwain, Jr.

1983 - Wayne Fisher

1982 - Clarence A. Guittard

1981 - John H. Minton, Jr.

1980 - Cullen Smith

1979 - Howard F. Saunders

1978 - Connally McKay

1977 - William J. Boswell

1976 - Claude Williams

1975 - Gibson Gayle, Jr.

1974 - Jim D. Bowner

1973 - Truman E. Roberts

1972 - Charles W. Barrow

1971 - W.R. "Bob" Poage

1970 - Morris Harrell

1969 - Thomas C. Mann

1968 - Frank M. Wilson

1967 - Victor W. Bouldin

1966 - Abner V. McCall

1965 - M. Price Daniel

1964 - Leon Jaworski

1963 - A.J. Folley


Baylor Law will accept nominations for the 2021 Baylor Lawyer of the Year through December 1, 2020. The Executive Committee of the Baylor Law Alumni Association will review all materials received for each nominee.

To submit a nomination for the 2021 Baylor Lawyer of the Year, please send a nomination letter describing why the nominee meets the below criteria to:

Dean Brad Toben
Baylor Law
One Bear Place #97288
Waco, Texas 76798

MEDIA CONTACT: Ed Nelson, Director of Marketing & Communications
EMAIL: Ed_Nelson@Baylor.edu
PHONE: 254-710-6681

Established in 1857, Baylor Law was one of the first law schools in Texas and one of the first west of the Mississippi River. Today, the school has more than 7,500 living alumni. Accredited by the American Bar Association and a member of the Association of American Law Schools, Baylor Law has a record of producing outstanding lawyers, many of whom decide upon a career in public service. Baylor Law boasts among its notable alumni two governors, members or former members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, two former directors of the FBI, U.S. ambassadors, federal judges, justices of the Texas Supreme Court and members of the Texas Legislature. In its law specialties rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked Baylor Law’s trial advocacy program as among the best in the nation at No. 2. Baylor Law School also is ranked No. 48 in the magazine’s 2020 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools.” The National Jurist ranks Baylor Law as one of the “Best School for Practical Training” and No. 4 in the nation in its most recent “Best Law School Facilities” listing. Business Insider places Baylor Law among the top 50 law schools in the nation. Baylor Law School received the 2015 American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award, making it only the third law school in the nation to be honored with the award since its inception in 1984. Learn more at baylor.edu/law

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Learn more at baylor.edu

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