Civil trial lawyer Terry Gardner works at his own law firm, Gardner and Smith. While he has experience working a wide range of civil cases, his specialties include commercial litigation and personal injury trial law.
Raised in Austin, Gardner decided to stay in town for college. He became a Longhorn, earning both his undergraduate and law degree from the University of Texas. While studying at Texas, he was elected to join the honorary legal fraternity, Phi Delta Phi. He graduated law school with honors and took his first job at the Supreme Court of Texas, where he worked as one of nine briefing attorneys.
He later moved on to work for a Fort Worth law firm, and within five years, he became a partner. Gardner would spend the next ten years in that firm, learning to try civil cases.
Soon, he started his own firm along with a partner. He continues to work at Gardner and Smith in Fort Worth, alongside fellow attorneys Dwayne Smith and Susan Flynt Smith.
Gardner has also been a member of several boards, foundations and associations, including the Tarrant County Bar Association, State Bar of Texas Committees and the American Bar Association. Between 1991-1992, he served as the president of the Tarrant County Bar Association.
Gardner has also received multiple awards for his work. In 2008, the Tarrant County Bar Association presented him with the Blackstone Award, which is given to a person who has accomplished exceptional work in the legal profession.
He also has a commitment to mentoring young lawyers, earning the Outstanding Mentor Award from the Tarrant County Young Lawyers Association in 2014.
His wife, Anne, is quite familiar with law field as well, serving as a justice on the Court of Appeals. The couple lives with two Cavalier rescue dogs. Their only son, Travis, lives in Austin.
Which legal case in American history do you see as the most influential? Why?
In my lifetime, the most influential case was Brown v. Board of Education (U.S. Supreme Court, 1954) which ruled that it was unconstitutional to segregate school children based upon their race. This triggered the integration of public schools and was the catalyst for the civil rights movement in this country which really got started in the 1960s.
What inspired you to become an attorney?
I was raised in Austin and beginning at about the age of 12, I worked in the legislature when it was in session. In those days, the vast majority of the members were lawyers, and I would watch them debate on the floor of the House or Senate. I was enthralled and wanted to be like them when I grew up. I would also attend interesting or well publicized trials after school and just loved that life. Those things inspired me at an early age.
What is your most significant professional achievement?
My most significant professional achievement was being the recipient in 2008 of the Blackstone Award. The recipient is chosen by his peers who are members of a secret committee.
What motivates you?
I suppose what motivates me is working in a calling that inspired me when I was a child, and it still does.
What are the major challenges facing young attorneys?
As I see it, the major challenges of a young lawyer is to survive in a world where there seems to be too many lawyers and, more importantly remembering that we are members of an old and noble profession that places being of service to others ahead of just making money.
Do you have a specialty area of practice?
My specialties are: family law, commercial litigation (Board Certified 1978-2014) and personal injury trial law (Board Certified 1988-2014).
– Samantha Calimbahin