Lord honored with Legends scholarship

Marilyn Tennissen May 15, 2007, 7:00am

Helen Lord spoke about her late husband Everett Lord at the announcement of the Southeast Texas Legends Scholarship from Lamar University named in his honor.

Another legal legend from Southeast Texas is the latest to be honored with a Lamar University scholarship.

The fifth of nine Southeast Texas Legends Scholarships has been named in memory of attorney Everett Lord. The $100,000 endowed scholarship through Lamar University and the Beaumont Foundation will assist underserved students who attend Lamar.

The announcement was made May 10 by LU President Jimmy Simmons at the University Reception Center of the Mary and John Gray Library.

According to a university press release, Lord was born in Port Arthur, and raised in Beaumont. With a father who served as a criminal district court judge, Everett Lord was introduced to the legal profession at a young age and received a law degree himself in 1941 from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law.

After serving in the Pacific Theater during World War II, Lord established a practice as a family law attorney.

Throughout his career he was described as a colorful character, a straight talker and a man of his word, in addition to be the kind of man that believed in serving others.

"Everett Lord is described as a man who was always willing to go the extra mile to help someone," Simmons said at the press conference. "Although he was a family law attorney litigating divorces and custody battles for a fee, he never passed on an opportunity to move a couple toward reconciliation when he saw it was possible. We'll never know all the people he helped along the way, because he never wanted recognition or fanfare for a good deed. That, in my opinion, is the mark of a true legend."

In 1976, Lord's peers chose him to serve as interim judge for the Jefferson County Family District Court, filling in for a judge with an extended illness. To commemorate 44 years as an outstanding family and domestic lawyer, the State Bar of Texas hung a plaque in 1995 bearing Lord's name in the State Bar of Texas building in Austin. Lord was among 23 lawyers in Texas recognized in the 1983 edition of The Best Lawyers in America published by Harvard Law. He was an author of many articles for the Texas Bar Journal, taught family law at Lamar University and assisted in preparing the state exam for board certification in family law in Texas. He was a member of the Jefferson County Bar Association, Texas Bar Association, State Bar of Texas and Texas Bar Foundation.

"I'll never forget one case Everett had in which he had a client who had lied to him and she even had her witnesses lie for her telling them her attorney said it was okay," said Helen Lord, his wife and legal secretary for 15 years.. "He told the woman he was going to put her on the stand and she would have to tell the judge and jury she had lied. She refused at first, but he told her she would have to get another attorney if she didn't go on the stand and recant; which she eventually did. And, as a matter of fact, she did get custody of her children in that case. Everett Lord was a man of principle."

Walter Sekaly, a friend and business associate, recalled his first memories of Lord. As a new attorney in Beaumont, Sekaly went to the Jefferson County courthouse where he saw Everett Lord for the first time. "He looked, to me, to be the epitome of what a lawyer should look like, so I decided I would go and meet him," Sekaly said. He went to get a haircut before going to Lord's office and, coincidentally, there Lord sat in the barber's chair.

"I introduced myself, and he said if I'd wait a few minutes, he'd take me to the courthouse and introduce me around," Sekaly continued. "He spent most of that day with me, and it really helped get me started in my law career. He was a very special kind of guy."

Lord, who died in 1994, was the father of four children; Penny Williams of Austin, David Lord of Lexington, Kentucky; Lisa Pederson of Beaumont and Michele Bertrand of Beaumont. He retired from the U.S. Navy as a commander, and had 28 years in active and inactive military service.

The Southeast Texas Legends – Everett Lord Scholarship will be awarded beginning fall 2007.

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