Class Notes

Dring Needham

Harold Williams

Robert Benson

Eugene Grisanti

Robert Mundheim

Mary Mullarky

Bill Bailey

Sandra Froman

Rafael Vargas Hidalgo

Franklin Raines

Lawrence Bacow

Jack Downey

Martha Samuelson

Brian Leary

Gary Culliss

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Lonestar Lawyer
Robert Benson ’54

Although he works out of Dallas, Texas, and deals frequently with international matters, Robert Benson ’54 nevertheless thinks of himself as a small-town lawyer. Beginning with his first hitch in the army, he says, he has for the last 35 years studied Southern ways and used his knowledge to his advantage in rural courtrooms across Texas and the South.

Well-funded court systems — in New York City, for instance, where Benson spent time on Wall Street early in his career—maintain uniformity in legal procedures, he says. But big-city lawyers better beware of the procedural minefields of small-town judges, who, he claims, are less encumbered by regulations and unenthusiastic about outsiders.

"Judge, your honor," Benson said to one such judge in West Texas who informed him he would have to "stick around" for four days to argue a motion for summary judgment. "That is the best news short of a favorable ruling that I could get from this honorable court, and I’ll tell you why," he continued, angling for a reprieve. "I promised my army buddy Billy Badger, who has a li’l ol’ spread out near Hereford, that if I could get out of Dallas, I would stop in and help him fix pumps and ride fence." Delivered with an unimpeachable accent, Benson’s comments prompted the judge to hear and grant his motion and send him on his way.

Janet Hawkins