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Hospital, Nurse Found Responsible

By Jessica Savage

Longtime Lufkin attorney George E. Chandler has been named the 2009 recipient of the Texas Bar Foundation’s Ronald D. Secrest Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award.

Chandler, who has received national attention over the years by obtaining some of the largest verdicts in the United States, accepted the award at a ceremony held in Dallas. “It is a very humbling honor and particularly since I know there are a lot of better trial lawyers than I am,” Chandler said by phone.

The Ronald D. Secrest Award is handed out annually by the Texas Bar Foundation. It was established in 2002 by Houston law firm Beck, Redden & Secrest in memory of the late trial lawyer Ronald Secrest. The award honors an active trial lawyer who, by his or her practice, has demonstrated outstanding trial and advocacy skills, high ethical and moral standards, and exceptional professional conduct, thus enhancing the image of the trial lawyer, according to the Texas Bar Foundation.

Chandler’s law firm is no stranger to state recognition.

In 2003, Chandler and two of his associates, Reich Chandler and Clayton E. Dark Jr., were named Texas Super Lawyers by Law and Politics Media Inc, which surveyed more than 65,000 Texas lawyers for the prestigious title. Every year since then Chandler has been named a Texas Super Lawyer in Texas Monthly magazine.

Over the years, Chandler’s firm has made a name for itself by obtaining multi-million dollar jury verdicts.

The firm won a $143 million verdict in 1996 for 22 Brenham residents whose relatives were killed and/or had property damaged from a liquid gas pipeline explosion in April 1992. In 1999, the firm made local history when a Lufkin jury awarded a $16.7 million verdict to a Livingston man who was severely injured in a 1996 car crash. At the time, the verdict was the largest personal injury verdict in Angelina County.

“Chandler’s numerous significant jury verdicts on behalf of his clients have received nationwide attention,” according to a press release issued by the Texas Bar Foundation. “He is one of the most frequently requested speakers on trial tactics in the state of Texas, and throughout the nation, serving approximately 100 times on continuing legal education faculties around the country.”

Chandler received his bachelor’s and law degrees from Baylor University in 1960 and 1962, respectively. After graduation, Chandler moved to Corpus Christi to practice with the firm Edwards & DeAnda. He returned to East Texas in 1964, and in 1971 he formed Chandler Law Office and began specializing in plaintiff’s personal injury and commercial trial law.

Chandler has served as president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association and currently serves as both a member of the association’s executive committee, as well as director emeritus. He is also a member of the prestigious International Academy of Trial Lawyers and a sustaining life fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. Chandler resides in Lufkin with their wife, Martha. The couple had two children together. Daughter Kelly Michaels is married with two children and lives in Tyler. Son Reich Chandler passed away Oct. 21, 2006, at the age of 39, following a 15-month battle with cancer. He had practiced law with his father in Lufkin.

At 70, Chandler currently practices in Lufkin and Houston with attorneys Kirk Mathis, W. Perry Zivley Jr. and with counsel of Judge Gerald Goodwin.

Chandler said he has no plans of retiring.

“As long as I’ve got my ability, I’ll go on as long as I live,” he said.