David J. Beck, a nationally respected trial attorney, legal scholar and author, will receive The Center for American and International Law’s most prestigious award on April 17, 2019, at the annual Higginbotham Lecture. The Hon. Lee H. Rosenthal, Chief Judge, Southern District of Texas, will present Beck with the Award for Achievement in the Pursuit of Justice for All for his leadership, vision, courage and commitment to the rule of law and equality of justice.
Mr. Beck is the founding partner of the firm Beck Redden LLP. He has earned a stellar reputation for successfully representing clients during his 50 years in practice. The National Law Journal named him as one of the top 10 trial lawyers in the United States and Texas Monthly listed him as one of Texas’ “Top 10 Super Lawyers.”
His exclusive focus is litigation — advocating for clients before juries and judges. His practice areas include energy, insurance, commercial litigation, intellectual property and professional liability.
Mr. Beck has held top leadership roles in the legal community in Texas and at the national level. He served as president of both the State Bar of Texas and the American College of Trial Lawyers. He has been affiliated with CAIL for many years, joining the Board of Trustees in 2005 and serving as the Board’s Chair from 2010 to 2014. He remains on the Board as an active Trustee.
In 2004, United States Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist appointed Mr. Beck to the Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure. The committee’s members include some of the nation’s leading lawyers, judges and academicians. He was reappointed to serve on the committee by Chief Justice John Roberts in 2007.
Mr. Beck is the author of numerous law journal articles and has lectured at many continuing legal education programs. He is currently a member of The University of Texas System Board of Regents and a former chair of the CAIL board of Trustees.
He received his law degree from The University of Texas at Austin Law School in 1965. The University of Texas School of Law has named The David J. Beck Center for Legal Research, Writing, and Appellate Advocacy after him.
He will receive the CAIL Award of Achievement during the 2019 Higginbotham Lecture at the Hyatt Regency, Houston, at 12 p.m. on April 17, 2019. CAIL created the Higginbotham Lecture series in 2013 to honor Judge Patrick E. Higginbotham for the 12 years he served as chair of its Board of Trustees.
CAIL’s Communications Manager, Ellen Beth Levitt, asked Mr. Beck to share some thoughts on career and his involvement with The Center for American and International Law.
What is it about your work that you enjoy most?
- “Being a lawyer is a privilege that most people don’t have, so we should cherish that privilege and make sure that we use it for the advantage of others. I enjoy helping others and solving their problems to the extent I can, and that gives me great satisfaction when I can do so.”
What do you feel are some of your most significant achievements?
- “From a purely professional standpoint, I have to say that serving as President of the State Bar of Texas, President of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and being appointed to the Judicial Conference Standing Committee – first by Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist and then to a second term by Chief Justice John Roberts – were significant highlights.”
How did you first become involved with CAIL?
- “I became aware of CAIL’s predecessor, the Southwestern Legal Foundation, and its good work, as a young lawyer. (The Foundation changed its name to CAIL in 2000). I have always been a supporter of CAIL’s Research Fellows, and interested in the activities of CAIL’s Institutes and activities, especially The Institute for Energy Law because of the nature of my law practice.”
You served on the Board of Trustees of CAIL and then became its chair. What interested you in serving in that leadership capacity?
- “While serving as a trustee, Judge Higginbotham asked if I would be willing to serve on CAIL’s Executive Committee. Of course, it is hard to say “no” to Judge Higginbotham, a person for whom I have a great deal of respect. I agreed to serve, and was eventually was asked to chair the Board of Trustees, which I did for four years (2010-2014). I agreed to serve in that capacity because I believed I could be of assistance in shaping the future direction of the organization.”
What are your thoughts on winning the CAIL Award of Achievement?
- “Given the past recipients, Jim Coleman, Harry Reasoner, and Charles Matthews, all of whom have had very distinguished legal careers, I was quite surprised when I received the call from (CAIL Board of Trustees Chair) Harriet Miers and learned of my selection. My first thought was that there were a lot more qualified persons for this prestigious Award than I. My second thought was one of excitement and gratitude to CAIL for naming me as the recipient.”