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First Hispanic Woman Chief Justice Honored

Fourth Court of Appeals Chief Justice Alma Lopez and the late Harold H. “Hal” Walker, Jr., founding partner in the Dallas law firm Rose Walker, L.L.P., will be honored by the St. Mary’s University School of Law as the 2007 Distinguished Law Graduates at an award dinner Friday, Oct. 19 at the Westin Riverwalk Hotel, 402 W. Market Street.


Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Barbara Hervey, president of the St. Mary’s School of Law Alumni Association, will host the evening.


Justice Alma L. López broke ground first as the first Hispanic woman to serve on the Fourth Court of Appeals and again when she was elected chief justice, becoming the first Hispanic woman to be elected chief justice of an appellate court in the United States.


Lopez graduated from St. Mary’s University with a B.B.A. in 1965 and from the School of Law in 1968. She practiced law in private practice for 25 years before being appointed to the Fourth Court of Appeals by Gov. Ann Richards in 1993. She has since been elected and reelected twice,  and was elected as chief justice in 2002.


“Chief Justice Lopez is an outstanding individual. Her energy, drive and enthusiasm for life and her career is phenomenal,” said Charles Cantu, interim dean of the School of Law. “She is one of our most popular graduates and a true friend of the law school.”


She serves on the boards of South Texas Higher Education Agency, Kids Exchange, Dress for Success, Council of Chief Justices and is a member of the St. Mary’s University Board of Trustees. She is also a member of the San Antonio Bar Association, Democratic Women of Texas, Mexican American Bar Association and South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.


Harold H. “Hal” Walker, Jr., a founding partner in the Dallas law firm Rose Walker, L.L.P. received his B.B.A. from Texas Tech University and graduated from St. Mary’s School of Law in 1980. Walker specialized in commercial litigation, with expertise in the areas of business torts, officer and director liability, technology and joint venture liability. He served as president of the St. Mary’s University School of Law Alumni Association from 2000 to 2002.


“Hal was an exceptional law student, a law journal editor at the top of his class, who went on to become a very successful lawyer. He was an exceptional alumnus, who led the board of our law alumni association, and an exceptional friend. We miss him deeply,” said Cantu.


At the time of his death, he held the positions of vice president and director of the St. Mary’s University Law Foundation. Walker’s wife and family, along with his partner Marty Rose, created the “Hal Walker Memorial Scholarship” at St. Mary’s School of Law.