The Legacy of Lubbock Lawyers from the Past

Compiled by Chuck Lanehart

100+ Years Ago

Walter F. Schenck (1870-1941) graduated from UT Law School in 1896 and came to Lubbock in 1909. He was the second mayor of Lubbock (1914-1918) and the first lawyer to serve as mayor. (Photo courtesy of the Southwest Collection.)

Attorney W.F. Schenck went to Amarillo Tuesday to look after legal matters. Attorney Sam Merrell was here last week attending court.

-The Lubbock Avalanche, June 27, 1912

75 Years Ago

Judge Dillard gets a great kick out of thinking and talking about Mr. Tubbs, “the man who furnished the money along with his partners brains” to establish the paper. The two have always been close friends. The judge remembers his early day partner as one of the best self-educated men he has ever known.

J.J. Dillard (1869-1949) was a pioneer Lubbock lawyer and entrepreneur. He served as Justice of the Peace from 1936-1941. On May 4, 1900, Dillard and Thad Tubbs established a weekly newspaper, The Lubbock Avalanche. (Photo courtesy of the Southwest Collection.)

“Thad had spent a lot of time herding sheep,” he recalls, “and having nothing else to do through the long, lonesome days he read a lot. And he read a lot of heavy stuff, too—and remembered it all.

“We used to take our meals over at the old Nicolette hotel (famed, early day hostelry which stood at what is now Avenue H and Broadway) and all the traveling men and outside lawyers with business here used to eat there, too. Thad would listen to their conversation and from time to time put in a shrewd comment or statement and his broad knowledge never failed to surprise—often to their discomfort—the wise and sometimes highly educated out-of-towners in the dining-room.”

-Lubbock Morning Avalanche, May 8, 1941

50 Years Ago

Area Voter Sign-Up Plan Studied Carr Moves to Counter U.S. Action 1,800 Registered in Lubbock County

Waggoner Carr (1918-2004) and his brother Warlick Carr established a law office in Lubbock in 1948. Waggoner Carr was county attorney for Lubbock County from 1949-1951, later served in the Texas Legislature, and was Attorney General of Texas from 1963-1967. (Photo courtesy of the Carr family.)

Lubbock and area counties voter registration procedures are being observed by the state attorney general’s office as part of a statewide fact-finding mission designed to combat moves by federal government officials challenging the effectiveness of the state’s emergency sign-up period. Sam Kelley of Austin, assistant attorney general in the enforcement division, is currently assessing the situation in Lubbock and in 15 other area counties and will report his findings to Atty. Gen. Waggoner Carr at the end of the special 15-day period which ends March 17.

Kelly, former assistant district attorney here, said his primary purpose for being in the area was to help advise tax assessors-collectors in matters pertaining to the registration period and procedures. He indicated other aides were assigned similar tasks across the state.

-Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, March 12, 1966

25 Years Ago

Pomp & Ceremony

By Warlick Carr

Rule 10.11 of our Local Rules of Court reads as follows:

  1. All lawyers shall dress in keeping with proper courtroom decorum, and all male lawyers shall wear coats and ties while in the attendance of the Court.

  2. While the Court is in session all remarks of counsel shall be addressed to the Court and not to opposing counsel or the judge as an individual.

  3. In addressing the judges, lawyers shall at all times rise and remain stancling to address the judge from their position at the counsel table, unless permission has been granted to approach the bench.

  4. Counsel shall remain seated at the counsel table while interrogating witnesses, except as may be necessary in handling or displaying of exhibits or demonstrating evidence.

  5. Lawyers shall advise their clients and witnesses of proper courtroom decorum and seek their full cooperation therewith.

I suppose one could belittle this rule as being one of pomp and ceremony. I submit to you that this is not the case at all; rather, it is a rule of respect. This is a time in which lawyers and the legal profession have reached an all-time low in terms of the respect in which we are held by the non-lawyer public. We can hardly attend a public meeting at which some belittling or caustic remark is not made about lawyers. Too many people view us as trouble-making, money-grabbing, non-caring people. This is unfortunate, because I know, and you know, that that is not true of most lawyers. We do care for our clients and we do seek to resolve troubles rather than to create them. Unfortunately, we oftentimes do not conduct ourselves in a way that causes the public to recognize these facts.

Warlick Carr (1921-2008) was a prominent Lubbock lawyer for more than 60 years. He served on the State Board of Legal Examiners for 20 years. Warlick was meticulous in the practice of law and in his personal appearance: he was never seen without a suit and tie and never removed his jacket in the office. (Photo courtesy of the Carr family.)

Actors in a play not only play the part; they also dress for the part. Lawyers are not actors in a play—or maybe we are, except that the play is real life, not fiction. In any event, if we want to gain respect, we must show respect, and we must dress and act in a respectful way. In the courtroom, lawyers are supposed to be leaders. A leader gains meaningful respect only by acting in a respectful way—and by dressing as a leader. If we dress in an improper manner, treat the  judge and our opposing counsel in a disrespectful way, and are more concerned with creating sound and fury in the courtroom than in respecting the rights of  all, we gain for ourselves and our profession the amount—exactly none—of respect to which we are entitled. On the other hand, if we follow the guidelines of Rule 10.11 and by our dress and our demeanor show the respect we should, not only for other lawyers but the judge presiding and, most of all, for the profession of law, maybe we can over a period of time raise the legal  profession back to the ranking that it once had among the citizenry when they looked upon the legal profession as one of high calling and respect. Dress and decorum in the courtroom may be little things in the whole picture, but, as the song goes, little things mean a lot.

-Lubbock Law Notes, March 1991

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