Marshall M. Searcy of Kelly Hart & Hallman, long recognized as one of the nation’s leading trial attorneys, received the Tarrant County Bar Association’s Blackstone Award May 3 during the group’s 2016 Law Day Awards Dinner.
Searcy has tried hundreds of cases throughout Texas and across the United States. In 1990, he was elected as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a national organization composed of the leading trial lawyers in the United States whose membership is limited to those invited to join and the American Board of Trial Advocates, a similar organization. His practice focuses mainly on commercial litigation, legal malpractice defense or personal injury defense.
Searcy said he spoke to the attendees at the Law Day Awards about “the importance of words.”
“Kipling said ‘Words are most powerful drug known to man,’ he said. “Given my professions’ role in our democracy, we must carefully consider our discourse least it become coarse and undermine the vital function we perform in our society.”
The importance of words is something Searcy said he has learned over the years. “It’s become increasingly apparent to me as I’ve watched the last year of politics unfold,” he said. “I think we must carefully consider what we say to others.”
Soon to begin his 45th year of practicing law, Searcy said he has seen plenty of changes to the profession since he began. The profession was much smaller and far less diverse, he says.
After graduating from law school at the University of Texas, Searcy began his law practice in Dallas, working for trial lawyer Morris Harrell. He was a partner in one of the largest law firms in the state – Locke Purnell Rain Harrell – for approximately 20 years, moving in 1993 to Fort Worth to work with Dee J. Kelly. He has been a member of Kelly Hart’s Executive Committee since 2002.
He is the 2013 recipient of the Ronald D. Secrest Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award by the Texas Bar Foundation. In 2014, Fort Worth Business awarded him with the Power Attorney Legends Award, only the second attorney to receive such recognition. In 2006, he was named one of the top 10 attorneys in Texas by Texas Monthly’s annual Texas Super Lawyers magazine.
The Blackstone Award is named after Sir William Blackstone, who was a British jurist and legal scholar in the 1700s. Sir William wrote the “Commentaries on the Laws of England” and became the first professor of English law at Oxford in 1758. His writings became the basis for all legal education in both America and Great Britain for the next century.
“Marshall Searcy epitomizes the qualities associated with the Blackstone award – courage, honor, and service to the profession,” said
Dee Kelly Jr., managing partner at Fort Worth’s Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP
Other presented awards at the dinner:
The Silver Gavel Award recipient was Judge Judith Wells. That award is given to a member of the judiciary who has served on the bench for at least 10 years and who has made a substantial and noteworthy contribution as a result of that service. Wells was the first female presiding judge of the Tarrant County district judges and served in that capacity from 2007 to 2009. Wells also received the Eva Barnes Award in 2005 from the Tarrant County Family Law Bar Association.
The Professionalism Award, given to a member of the bar who has displayed outstanding professional conduct, went to Phillip W. McCrury, an attorney with Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff & Miller LLP.
The Outstanding Young Lawyer recipient is given by the Tarrant County Young Lawyers Association and goes to a young lawyer who is recognized for his or her proficiency, service to the profession and service to the community.
Dwayne W. Smith, a member of Gardner & Smith PLLC, received the award this year.
The Outstanding Mentor Award recognizes an attorney or judge for the mentoring of young lawyers. Judge William “Bill” Harris received the award this year. He has been known for his support for young lawyers and provides group lunches each month.