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Education Texas Supreme Court, State Bar to award honorary bar license to 2018...

Texas Supreme Court, State Bar to award honorary bar license to 2018 Baylor graduate born in Fort Worth

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A Baylor Law School graduate, born in Fort Worth, who was battling stage IV colon cancer when he took the bar exam, will receive an honorary bar license.

On Jan. 28, the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas State Bar said Ty Drury will be assured a Texas Bar license bearing his full name: Ty Allan Drury.

Drury graduated from Baylor Law School in May 2018 and sat for the July Texas bar exam two months later.

He fell six points shy of passing. His parents say he never cracked a book.

But between graduation and the bar exam Drury battled for his life. Doctors diagnosed his months-long pain as stage IV colon cancer the day before his graduation.

Five months after Drury died last August, his parents will get a a law license for their son. After efforts by a Bridgeport lawyer, together with Drury’s Baylor professors, the Texas State Bar and the Texas Supreme Court will assure a Texas bar license.

A presentation ceremony will be at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 29 in the Supreme Court courtroom.

That, says Baylor Law Professor Jim Wren, is a tribute to a man he says “wanted to do something that mattered.”

“To know Ty was to know a good ole boy,” said Wren, who watched him from when he tried out for Baylor’s mock-trial teams and later as a student in the noted Baylor Practice Court course Wren directs and all Baylor law graduates know so well. “He was the real deal. This is someone whom people would trust.”

Trial law was not in Drury’s plans when he decided to go to law school, his parents, Sheri and James Drury say. “He said, ‘I will never be in a courtroom,’’ his mother recalled. “He was born to be there, but he had to find that for himself.”

Ty Drury was born in Fort Worth, but grew up in the Stephenville area, graduating from Stephenville High School and Tarleton State University. At Tarleton he majored in agriculture science, was on the meat-judging team and was named distinguished graduate in the animal industries department.

He liked problem-solving, his parents said – solving puzzles of all kinds – and employed that in sales as he worked for Saddle Rags Western Apparel, his parents’ store in Stephenville. If a customer had limited money to spend, Ty found a way to sell her what she wanted at a price she could afford.

But law school was another challenge. He almost left the Baylor admission offer on the table because of Baylor’s reputation for training trial lawyers, envisioning instead a legal career in agriculture. But Baylor felt like home when he visited and along his law-school path the people there became like family.

So Baylor was his final choice. Encouraged to try out for the mock-trial team in his second year by its coach, Waco attorney Dave Deaconson, Ty was chosen for the second of Baylor’s two teams. That team won the regional American Association of Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition in Houston in 2017 and went to the national competition. In the spring of 2018, chosen for Baylor’s first team, which again won the regional competition and advanced to the national quarterfinals.

In his preparation for the mock-trial competition Ty battled mysterious pain.

So when his classmates took bar-exam prep courses, Ty was at M.D. Anderson for treatment.

Wren encouraged him to take the bar exam, to see what it involved, to know what to expect when he took it when the pain subsided, when the treatment took effect. Despite no time to prepare, despite sliding his laptop to classmate’s when the classmate’s crashed, Ty came so close to passing the vaunted bar exam, the end game for law students.

On August 23, his brother Zane, seven years younger, wrote on Facebook: “Ty has spent 13 of the last 17 days in the hospital, most of which in ICU. Ty is and always will be a fighter. … However, his liver is reaching a point of no return, and at this point it is causing him more discomfort than whatever benefit he might gain by continuing any form of treatment.’”

Ty Drury died two days later. He was 28. And when the cancer finally won, it took a promising trial lawyer.

His parents and brother survive him and a fiancée, McKenna Skidmore of Stephenville. They were engaged just after his diagnosis, but a wedding would wait until he beat his cancer.

On his headstone his parents had inscribed: Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana, Pro Familia – for church, for state, for family. The first two elements they borrowed from the Baylor University motto. The last represents his life’s focus. – From Texas Supreme Court website 

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