Law School Alumni Association announces 2011 distinguished alumni award recipients

The University of Texas Law Alumni Association has announced the recipients of its 2011 distinguished alumni awards. Thomas M. Susman, ’67, received the Outstanding Alumnus Award; The Honorable Sam Sparks, ’63, received the Lifetime Achievement Award; Ann Barnett Stern, ’82, received the Distinguished Alumnus Award for Community Service; and Wayne A. Reaud received the Honorary Order of the Coif.

Thomas M. Susman, ’67

Thomas M. Susman, ’67
Outstanding Alumnus Award

Thomas M. Susman heads the lobbying office for the American Bar Association, the world’s largest professional association serving over 400,000 lawyers across the country and the world. He and the Governmental Affairs office staff advocate before Congress and federal agencies to advance the policies adopted by the ABA. Before joining the ABA in May 2008, he served for more than twenty-seven years as partner in the Washington office of Ropes & Gray LLP.

Before joining Ropes & Gray, Susman served on Capitol Hill for more than eleven years. He was chief counsel to the Senate Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure and general counsel to the Antitrust Subcommittee and to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Prior to that he clerked for Judge John Minor Wisdom on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and was special assistant to the assistant attorney general in the office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice. He graduated from Yale University and received his JD with high honors from the University of Texas School of Law, where he was editor in chief of the Texas Law Review.

Susman served on the Board of Governors and in the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association; was President of the D.C. Public Library Foundation; chaired the board of trustees of the National Judicial College; and served on advisory boards of the National Security Archives, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. He is currently a life member of both the American Law Institute and the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation; a member of the boards of the National Conference on Citizenship and the National Freedom of Information Center; and president of the District of Columbia Open Government Coalition. He is chair of the Ethics Committee of the American League of Lobbyists and is coeditor of and a contributor to The Lobbying Manual. Susman has frequently written, testified before Congress, and lectured in the U.S. and abroad on legislative process, open government, and politics. He was a visiting professor at the University of Texas School of Law (teaching information law and policy) and an adjunct professor at the American University’s Washington College of Law (teaching lobbying and legislative process).

Susman lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Susan Braden, a judge on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. He has four children and five grandchildren.

The Honorable Sam Sparks, '63


The Honorable Sam Sparks, ’63
Lifetime Achievement Award
The Honorable Sam Sparks received an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas in 1961. In 1963 he received his LLB degree from the University of Texas School of Law and began the practice of law as clerk to Federal District Court Judge Homer Thornberry. In 1965, Sparks entered private practice with the firm of Hardie, Grambling, Sims & Galatzan, where he practiced trial law for twenty-six years throughout Texas and other states, trying over 300 cases to verdict.

He was nominated to the federal bench by President George H.W. Bush on October 1, 1991, was confirmed by the Senate on November 21, 1991, and received his commission on November 25, 1991. Since that time, Sparks has presided over one of the busiest dockets in the country, disposing of approximately 400 civil cases and sentencing 300 defendants annually.

Since 1978, Sparks has been certified in the fields of civil trial law and personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. His professional associations include the American College of Trial Lawyers (judicial fellow); the American Board of Trial Advocates (advocate); Texas Bar Foundation (life fellow); and membership in the State Bar of Texas and the Fifth Circuit District Judges Association. In 2005, Sparks was named “Trial Judge of the Year” by the Texas Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates. In 2007, Judge Sparks was selected to serve as federal judicial liaison to the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors. In 2010, he was honored by the American College of Trial Lawyers with its prestigious Sandra Day O’Connor Jurist Award in recognition of his independence, courage, and commitment to the Rule of Law.

Sparks married Melinda Echols of Fort Worth in 1995. His marriage to Arden Reed of Houston from 1962 until her death in 1990 produced four sons. Judge and Mrs. Sparks now enjoy a blended family of six children and seven grandchildren.

Ann Barnett Stern, ’82

Ann Barnett Stern, ’82
Distinguished Alumnus Award for Community Service

Ann Barnett Stern is a 1982 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law. She began work at Texas Children’s Hospital in 2003 as vice president and general counsel and was promoted to executive vice president in 2008. Currently, Stern is vice chair of the Board of Trustees at St. John’s School, and will step in as board chair in June 2011. She is also currently on the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Houston Branch, and the Board of Directors of Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative. Among her many volunteer achievements, she is a past president of the Junior League of Houston Inc. and has served on the Board of Trustees at Texas Children’s Hospital; the Minority Task Force of Greater Houston Partnership; the Board of Directors of Park People; the Board of Trustees of St. Luke’s Episcopal Health Charities; and on the Board of Directors of the Phi Beta Kappa Houston Chapter. Her husband, Karl Stern, is also an attorney and the couple have two children.

Wayne A. Reaud

Wayne A. Reaud
Honorary Order of the Coif

Wayne A. Reaud is a trial lawyer and the founder of the law firm of Reaud, Morgan & Quinn. For more than thirty years, he has represented clients in significant cases involving personal injury, product and premises liability, toxic torts, and business litigation. He is known throughout the legal community as a champion of working men and women. He received his law degree from Texas Tech University in 1974, and his undergraduate degree from Lamar University. Reaud is a former member of the Lamar University Board of Regents.

Reaud has handled the largest asbestos product liability class-action lawsuit in the history of Texas courts, and represented the State of Texas in its landmark litigation against the tobacco industry.

Reaud currently serves as chairman of the Board of the Beaumont Foundation of America and is a director of the Reaud Charitable Foundation. In those capacities he has directly or indirectly given nearly $5 million to the University of Texas School of Law. In 2006, the Reaud Charitable Foundation began funding the Reaud Public Interest Scholars Program.

A life fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and a fellow of the International Society of Barristers, Reaud is also a former director of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. He is a member of the Philosophical Society and a member of the State Bar of Texas Grievance Committee. Reaud was chosen as the “Most Distinguished Alumni” of Texas Tech University Law School in 1998 and also chosen as the “Most Distinguished Alumni” of Lamar University in 2006. He is listed in Best Lawyers in America.

Reaud has served as a director of Huntsman Corp., the nation’s fourth-largest chemical company, since March 2005.

Reaud’s son, Reagan, and his daughter, Ryann, graduated from UT Law in 2004 and 2008, respectively.