TCLE annually honors a judge or attorney who personifies the highest standards of legal professionalism and integrity. The Pope Award is named after one of TCLE’s founders, former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Jack Pope, who was the first individual to receive the award in 2009.
Chief Justice Jefferson was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court in 2001 by Gov. Rick Perry before being elevated to Chief Justice in 2004. He worked to increase openness of the judiciary and improve access to justice for the poor while serving as a strong advocate for the judicial branch before the Texas Legislature.
During his tenure, Chief Justice Jefferson presided over many significant changes, including increasing the Court’s transparency by allowing cameras in the courtroom and making oral arguments available online. Former Chief Justice Tom Phillips recently described Chief Justice Jefferson as “a fantastic chief justice in every way” and “flawless in presiding over the official functions of the court.”
“Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Wallace Jefferson is not his numerous accomplishments – and there were many while he served as Chief Justice – it’s that he was able to do so much while maintaining the respect of his colleagues and the state’s lawyers,” says TCLE Executive Director Jonathan Smaby. “The Chief Justice must necessarily deal with controversy and conflict, but Chief Justice Jefferson is widely liked and admired because he always performed his duties with dignity, patience, and a sense of humor. Our state’s lawyers and judges would do well to emulate him.”
The Pope Award will be presented by current Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht at the Annual Texas Supreme Court Historical Society Dinner on June 6 in Austin.
Founded in 1989 by three retired Texas Supreme Court Chief Justices, TCLE promotes the values contained in the Texas Lawyer’s Creed and serves as a leading resource for legal ethics and professionalism in Texas. For more information, visit the Texas Center for Legal Ethics website at http://www.legalethicstexas.com.
For more information, please contact TCLE Executive Director Jonathan Smaby at 512-427-1477 or jonathan.smaby@