Leroy G. Denman Jr. was born Feb. 18, 1918, to Leroy G. Denman and Mary Louise Carter Denman in San Antonio. During his formative years, Denman sought to be trilingual. He studied Spanish in Mexico City in his youth, then in later years at the Complutense University of Madrid in Spain and the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City. He also studied French at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. In 1936, Denman graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and the T-Association, an organization for former student-athletes. He then chose the path of a legal career, continuing the Denman legacy before him. At the University of Texas School of Law, Denman was a member of the Chancellors Honorary Society and the Phi Delta Phi law fraternity. Upon receiving his law degree in 1939, he joined and practiced with his father and cousin, focusing on civil, real property, tax, and corporate areas of law. The Leroy G. Denman Jr. Regents Professorship in Real Property Law, established in 1985, remains today at the University of Texas School of Law. In August 2014, the Texas Bar Journal spoke with Denman’s wife, Diana Denman, who assisted with the following interview. Why did you decide to become a lawyer? My decision to practice law was perhaps one of the easiest decisions of my life: to be able to follow in the footsteps of my grandfather, Judge Leroy G. Denman Sr., father, Leroy G. Denman, and uncle, Gilbert M. Denman Sr. Following law school, in June 1939, I joined Denman, Franklin, and Denman, a San Antonio firm founded in 1886 by my grandfather, a lawyer, jurist, banker, and businessman who served as an associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court. I practiced there until March 1942, then again from September 1946 until its closing in 2010. Where did you practice in addition to Denman, Franklin, and Denman? During the years of March 1942 to September 1946, I served on special assignment as an assistant in economic matters to the American Embassy in Guatemala and later, as same, to the American Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and then, to the Judge Advocate General’s Department of the United States Army in Washington, D.C. What was most difficult about being a lawyer? For more than 50 years, I served as counsel to the King Ranch. Perhaps the most demanding cases I served on during my time were the legal cases against the King Ranch. What have you found most interesting about the law? The practice of law, starting with graduation from law school some 75 years ago and being a lawyer ever since, has blessed me with wonderful clients that had things for me to do that were interesting, and they entrusted me with their dreams—whether it be a ranch, a survey business, a publishing company, scientific research, or land and wildlife resources. What has been the most significant change in the profession during the past 75 years? The biggest change that I see in the practice of law today is the great advancement in technology. What have been your greatest accomplishments as a lawyer? Being associated with successful people is as good as a law practice can get. With all of these, my work has been to pursue the things that the testator who named me thought worthy of pursuit. I have done the best I can and it has been an honor. Alongside the practice of law, I have felt a commitment to public service. During my years, I have served as trustee of the Caesar Kleberg Foundation for Wildlife Conservation, trustee of the Tobin Endowment, chairman of the Ewing Halsell Foundation, and founding trustee of the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, among others. What advice would you give to new lawyers? I believe the greatest challenge to young lawyers today is to read the law as it was written. The rule of law is the beacon of hope to all of the free world. As Texas Governor James S. Hogg told my grandfather, “So long as the bench keeps pure, the government will be safe.”
Published by State Bar of Texas. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://mydigimag.rrd.com/article/Leroy+G.+Denman+Jr./1797232/223061/article.html.