Legends Scholarship honors Buddy Low

Marilyn Tennissen Dec. 8, 2009, 9:41am

Gilbert "Buddy" Low at the Dec. 3 press conference at Lamar University.

A partner at one of Beaumont's oldest law firms has been honored through another of Lamar University's Southeast Texas Legends Scholarships.

The $100,000 gift to the university from the Beaumont Foundation of America is named in honor of Gilbert I. "Buddy" Low, a partner at Orgain, Bell & Tucker. Low's legal career as both a plaintiff and defense lawyer has spanned more than 30 years.

The scholarship was formally announced by Lamar University President James Simmons at a press conference on Dec. 3 at the University Reception Center.

This is the 14th Southeast Texas Legends Scholarship awarded to Lamar to help under-served individuals pursue higher education.

The Beaumont Foundation of America is a non-profit organization that grew out of the historic $2.1 billion settlement of a nationwide class action suit against Toshiba over allegedly defective floppy disk drives.

Low has litigated nearly every type of case, including personal injury, antitrust, patents, environmental issues, class actions and contract disputes.

Some notable clients have been General Motors Corp., the famous Oklahoma oil entrepreneur, T. Boone Pickens, and billionaire financier, Warren Buffet.

"Buddy Low is a terrific lawyer, and someone I have admired and respected for many years," said Lamar supporter David J. Beck, founder of Houston law firm Beck, Redden & Secrest, "He is not only a formidable opponent, but also he is a great colleague and friend."

According to a press release from Lamar University, Low was born in Geneva, Texas, near San Augustine, the son of a local grocer. Born at the height of the Depression, he and his two sisters grew up in a house with no electricity or running water.

His earliest schooling was in a small country school house; one room for first through fourth grades and one room for fifth through eighth grades. He caught rides with cotton buyers or hitchhiked the 13 miles to and from San Augustine where he attended high school.

"Everybody was in pretty bad shape back in those days," Low said of his childhood. "My father nearly went broke because people couldn't pay for their groceries, but he'd let them have the food anyway."

He worked as a pipe layer to save up money for college, and graduated from Stephen F. Austin College (now State University) in 1954. He served in the army and used the G.I. Bill to help pay for law school at the University of Texas.

Throughout his three-decade legal career, Low has served the profession in many ways.

He was chairman of the Texas Supreme Court Professional Ethics Committee for more than 25 years and is currently vice-chairman of the Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee.

Low is also a former president of the Jefferson County Bar Association and a fellow of the International Society of Barristers, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the American Board of Trial Advocates.

In 1999, Texas Lawyer magazine named him the Best Plaintiff's Lawyer as well as Best Defense Lawyer in Beaumont. He has been selected as a Texas Super Lawyer each year from 2003-2009 by Super Lawyer magazine.

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