The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 347
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
The author, Darwin Payne, is professor emeritus of communications at South-
ern Methodist University and holds a doctorate in American Civilization. Payne
has written a number of local history works, including one of the best general
histories of Dallas, BigD: Trumphs and Troubles of an American Supercity in the 2oth
Century. In this particular study, Darwin Payne has done an exceptional job of
identifying lawyers who made meaningful contributions to Dallas. Lawyers such
as John C. McCoy, John J. Good, A. B. Norton, John M. McCoy, Nat Burford,
John M. Crockett, as well as many others, are given special recognition for their
leadership during Dallas's formative years.
Following the arrival of the railroads, the Dallas Bar Association was created.
By 1890, Dallas, then the largest city in Texas, had 150 lawyers. Foremost among
the turn of the century lawyers were W. L. Crawford, William B. Gano, John Mar-
tin Stemmons, W. A. Atwell, Robert Seay, Phillip Lindsley, and Sam H. Scott.
By the turn of the century, the author notes the creation of family law firms,
such as the Thompsons and the Cokes, which were often father-son partner-
ships. Many of these firms would later evolve into larger partnerships such as
Thompson & Knight and Coke & Coke and would specialize their practices on
insurance, banking, and oil and gas. Once these firms were established, the
county courthouse, which had been the focal point of the legal profession, was
of limited value. The author devotes ample attention to the rise and fall of the
Ku Klux Klan in Dallas during the early 192os. According to the author, lawyers
played prominent roles on both sides of the Klan issue.
With the Jefferson School of Law (1919) and the Dallas School of Law
(1925), and Southern Methodist University Law School (1938), the legal profes-
sion had ready access to young and talented students. Following World War II
Dallas enjoyed tremendous growth. Among the layers who led their profession
during this era were Rhodes Baker, Henry Strasburger, and Nelson Phillips, and,
later, Will Wilson, Tom C. Clark, and Henry Wade.
The author reveals that the legal profession was not a bed of roses. After admit-
ting its first Hispanic member to the Dallas Bar in 1931, it would not open its
doors to African Americans until after the assassination ofJohn F. Kennedy in late
Since its inception, the Dallas legal community can boast of three presidents
of the American Bar Association and sixteen presidents of the State Bar of
Texas. In addition to tumultuous issues such as housing, civil rights, and a presi-
dential assassination, the author notes that Dallas is also home to Roe v. Wade.
Among those leaders of the legal community during the last half of the twenti-
eth century who are highlighted are Sarah T. Hughes, Robert Storey, Morris
Harrell, Barefoot Sanders, L. A. Bedford Jr., John Johnson, Tom Luce, Robert
Strauss, George Allen, Louise Raggio, and Adelfa B. Callejo.
This work is required reading for anyone interested in Dallas history or the le-
gal history of Texas. With some luck, perhaps this study will open the door to
further studies of lawyers, law firms, and legal issues. For example, the rise and
fall of the Johnson and Swanson law firm would make an ideal monograph.
John W. Crain
Here’s what’s next.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/399/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.