Texas Bar Foundation gives Roy L. Barrett statewide recognition

  Texas Bar Foundation
  Tuesday, May 23, 2023 9:33 AM
  General Events

Hillsboro, TX

Roy-L.-BarrettRoy L. Barrett of Waco has been selected as one of six recipients of the 2023 Texas Bar Foundation’s Outstanding 50-Year Lawyer Award. The award recognizes attorneys whose practice has spanned 50 years or more and who adhere to the highest principles and traditions of the legal profession and service to the public.  

Roy Barrett was raised in the small Hill County, Texas farm community of Bynum, where his father was a farmer, ran a feed store, had a hay bailing business, and his mother taught in public schools for over 40 years.  From age 12 until graduation from law school at age 24, Roy worked on the farm during the school year and bailed hay in the summer.

He graduated from Bynum High School as valedictorian of his small class, received an Associate of Arts degree as valedictorian of his class from Hill College, a Bachelor of Arts, magnum cum laude, from Baylor University, and a JD, cum laude from Baylor Law School where he served as Editor in Chief of the Baylor Law Review and graduated first in his law school class.

After graduation from law school, Roy began what to date is an almost 54-year career as a trial lawyer with Naman Howell Smith & Lee, PLLC.  In 1969 when Roy joined the firm, it had 13 lawyers and an office only in Waco.  Roy has served for over four decades on management committees of his firm which now has 84 lawyers and offices in Waco, Austin, San Antonio, and Fort Worth.  He served six years as President of the firm and serves currently as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the firm.

His trial practice has included defending medical malpractice cases against Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center and Central Texas doctors, and also representing as outside litigation counsel Baylor University, the Brazos River Authority, and numerous central Texas cities including Killeen, Waco, Temple, Hillsboro, Belton, Gatesville, and others.

In the 1970s, Roy successfully represented approximately 230 Coryell County farm and ranch families opposing before committees of the United States Congress the expansion of Ft. Hood.

In the 1990s, Roy served on the team of lawyers who changed the charter of Baylor University to prevent it from being taken over by any special interest group. In 1997, he received the prestigious W.R. White Meritorious Service Award from the Baylor Alumni Association.

Roy’s recognition as a trial lawyer is best exemplified by his admission in 1987 as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, for which he served as Texas State Chair from 2000-2002.  He is also a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and of the American Bar Foundation.

He has been married to Kem for 45 years.  They have three daughters, Elizabeth Barrett Crownover, Sarah Barrett, and Dr. Ashley Barrett Bratcher.  They have been blessed with four grandchildren: Catherine (age 5), Charlotte (age 3), Sloane (age 2), and George (age 1).

Roy’s main hobbies are spending time with his grandchildren, watching crops and cattle grow on his Hill County farm located between Bynum and Abbott, Texas, and collecting antique Colt revolvers.  He is still engaged in the full-time practice of law probably because being a trial lawyer is not just what he does, it is to a significant extent what he is.

The Bar Foundation commissioned an oral history to recognize and preserve the accomplishments of Mr. Barrett’s legal career.  Additionally, he will be publicly recognized at the Texas Bar Foundation Annual Dinner held on June 23, 2023, at the JW Marriott Austin.  

Founded in 1965 by attorneys determined to assist the public and improve the profession, the Texas Bar Foundation has become the largest charitably-funded bar foundation in the country. The Texas Bar Foundation relies on the contributions of its Fellows to improve the lives of Texans. To date, through the generosity of the Fellows, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $24 million in grants to numerous organizations across the state.

Election to the Fellows of the Texas Bar Foundation is one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a member of the State Bar of Texas, representing one-third of one percent of Texas attorneys. Selection is based on an outstanding record in the legal profession as well as a proven commitment to support the community at large. For more information about the Texas Bar Foundation, please visit www.txbf.org.