Fort Worth lawyer Art Brender has made a career of standing up for others. And, on May 5, a room full of his peers stood up for him as he was presented the 2015 Blackstone Award during the Tarrant County Bar Association’s annual Law Day dinner. The most prestigious award given by the TCBA, the Blackstone award recognizes an individual with professional success, integrity and courage.
“I have been involved in litigation in 43 states, and my peers at the Bar of Tarrant County are, without question, the most gifted, honest, and respectful attorneys anywhere in this country,” said Brender. “To be honored by those that I hold in such high regard is a special honor.”
The Blackstone Award is named after Sir William Blackstone who was a British Jurist and legal scholar in the 1700s. Sir William wrote the “Commentaries on the Laws of England” and became the first Professor of English Law at Oxford in 1758. His writings became the basis for all legal education in both America and Great Britain for the next century.
Brender’s 43-year career has been awash with high-profile and Blackstone-worthy moments. He has been committed to representing citizens’ rights against insurance companies, hospitals, banks and railroads. He says his high points have always been the representation of those who lack the ability and resources to stand up for their constitutional and legal rights, whether it be against large corporations or overreaching government.
“The two cases I argued before the Supreme Court were such causes. Watson v. Fort Worth Bank & Trust and Trevino v. Texas, both vindicated statutory and constitutional rights for my clients; one, employment rights, the other, the right to a fair jury trial,” said Brender.
A Blackstone Award recipient must be a member of the TCBA, be 65 years of age or older, and have practiced law in Tarrant County for at least 15 years, and continuously for the five years immediately preceding the award. The Award Committee is made up of an anonymous group of individuals.
A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Brender’s other awards include the NAACP’s “Outstanding Service in the Field of Civil Rights Award” and the Texas Woman’s Political Caucus “Good Guy Award.”
Recently, Brender’s firm obtained a settlement after a seven-year battle with the manufacturers of a vitamin E supplement called E-Ferol which resulted in infant deaths and brain damage.
The settlement resulted in $110 million for the victims’ families. But, Brender knows that the accomplishment is so much more. “More than the monetary settlement, the class action brought peace of mind to the mothers of these E-Ferol victims…” said Brender.
It was another win for the good guy.