Trucking and transportation attorney Steve Laird has been named the recipient of the 2021 Blackstone Award, the Tarrant County Bar Association’s most prestigious honor.
The Blackstone Award is presented annually during the TCBA’s Law Day Celebration to an attorney whose career embodies ethical ideals, courage and service to the legal profession. The award is named after British jurist and judge Sir William Blackstone. His Commentaries on the Laws of England is considered the foundation of legal education in England and North America.
“It gives you a chance to reflect when peers present you with a career-spanning recognition,” said Laird, founder of The Law Offices of Steven C. Laird, PC in Fort Worth. “Law always has been and continues to be a profession to me, rather than a business. I’ve always said, ‘How a lawyer practices is a reflection on the kind of person he or she is.’ It takes years to develop a positive reputation, but that can all be lost overnight. I have been fortunate throughout my career, but I have also worked very hard to maintain my professional integrity.”
Laird started his career in 1980 in the San Antonio office of what was then one of the largest firms in the Southwest.
He litigated and handled appellate arguments in an “extraordinary number of cases for a second-year attorney,” he said. That courtroom experience became the foundation for his career as a trial lawyer now widely considered to be among the nation’s leading truck accident attorneys.
Last year, he was one of a select group of attorneys to be among the first in the nation to earn Board Certification in Truck Accident Law from the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is also Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law and Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board Legal Specialization and as a Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.
Early in his career, Laird’s work spurred General Motors to lift the veil of corporate secrecy surrounding known fire risks associated with defects in one of its popular truck models. GM had kept the defects out of the public eye through an excessive use of confidential settlements. His fight to open the files helped shed light on the defects, putting pressure on GM to resolve the issue.
“The GM case was pro bono. I felt very strongly about allowing the public to have access to crucial information. Lifting the veil of secrecy helped lead to a recall and corrective action by the manufacturer,” he said. “I really can’t imagine being anything other than a trial lawyer. Seeing justice served for a deserving client is always fulfilling.”
Announcement of the Blackstone Award was made during TCBA’s annual Law Day Celebration, held May 3 via Zoom amid ongoing COVID precautions. An in-person presentation will be announced at a later date.