B. Lee Ware, Jr., died fighting on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2005. Lee, who was the only son of B. Lee Ware and Roxanne Ware, was born on April 22, 1946 at Okmulgee, Oklahoma and grew up in Pasadena, Texas. He was a lawyer, husband, father, soldier, teacher, mentor and friend. In each of these capacities, he was a bona fide character.
Lee left behind the family he cherished, his wife Kim and children, David R. Ware, Wendy Ware Bishop and her husband Paul Bishop, Katie Bolt Moore and her husband Matt Moore, Natalie Ware and Nicholas L. Ware. He was preceded in death by his father.
Lee was a partner in the trial firm he helped found, Ware, Jackson, Lee, O’Neill, Smith & Barrow, LLP. He enjoyed a long, successful career as a trial and appellate lawyer, culminating with his selection as the 2005 Trial Lawyer of the Year by the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates, Texas Chapter. He was respected for his brilliant mind and known for his exceptional trial skills. In 2004 and 2005, Lee was named a Texas Super Lawyer, a Thomson Reuters service.
After graduating with honors from the University of Texas law school in 1978, Lee joined the firm of Vinson & Elkins as a member of the Insurance Trial Section. He became a partner with the firm in 1985. In 1991, he left Vinson & Elkins to join what became Ware, Snow & Fogel. During his 28-year career, Lee tried over 60 jury trials in cases from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. and Georgia to New York. He tried a wide range of matters involving personal injury, contracts, oil and gas, professional malpractice, probate, insurance coverage, product liability, toxic torts, fraud and partnership disputes. Lee’s clients included chemical companies, pipeline companies, manufacturers, oil companies, insurance companies, construction companies, retail chains, banks, professional associations, trucking companies and individuals. In 2000, he led a group of attorneys who successfully represented Mr. E. Pierce Marshall and his father’s estate against the claims of Anna Nichole Smith. In his last case, securing a $25 million verdict for his client in a partnership dispute involving two major gas companies.
As an appellate lawyer, Lee handled over 25 matters before the state and federal appeals courts, including six arguments before the Supreme Court of Texas, resulting in numerous published opinions on significant legal issues. Despite his busy practice, Lee also helped shape young, future trial lawyers and judges by helping them to hone their trial and appellate skills when he served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Houston Law Center from 1979 through 1984.
Lee was certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas State Board of Legal Specialization. He was a Fellow of the Texas and Houston Bar Foundations, a Fellow of the American Board of Trial Advocates and Association of Defense Trial Attorneys, a Member of the Texas Association of Defense Counsel and the Defense Research Institute. He was a Member of the American, Texas and Houston Bar Associations and was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the United States, the Courts of Appeals for the Fifth, Tenth, Eleventh, and District of Columbia Circuits, and the United States District Courts for the Southern District of Texas, Eastern District of Texas, District of Wyoming, District of Nebraska and Eastern District of Arkansas. He was also a Past Member of the State Bar of Texas Pattern Jury Charge Committee and the State Bar of Texas Administration of Justice Committee. Over the course of his career, Lee authored more than 40 legal papers and presentations.
Before becoming an attorney, Lee was an Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Texas – Arlington from 1973 to 1975. Fortunately for us, the pay was low and Lee decided to return to school and obtain his law degree. Lee, a renowned college debater, majored in Speech at the University of Houston where he obtained a B.A., magna cum laude, in 1968 and a M. A. in 1970. The culmination of his non-legal education was a PhD in Speech Communication from the University of Kansas in 1974. During that course of study, he co-authored and they Spoke in Defense of Themselves: On the Generic Criticism of Apologia, Quarterly Journal of Speech (1973), an article described by rhetoricians as both seminal and purposefully ambiguous. Echoing these comments, many of Lee’s friends characterized him as a wonderful and deliberately exasperating.
His proudest achievement was attaining the rank of Colonel in the United States Army Reserve. Lee, a Distinguished Military Graduate of ROTC, was commissioned in 1970 and served 27 years in the Medical Service Corps. Lee’s assignments included inspector general, battalion executive officer, group commander, and brigade chief of staff. He was selected to attend the prestigious U.S. Army War College in 1997. At the time of his retirement in June 2000, Lee was the Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations HQ, 90th Regional Support Command, North Little Rock, Arkansas.
Lee transformed the lives of the family he loved, the soldiers he lead, the attorneys with and against whom he practiced, the students he taught, and the many friends and acquaintances he collected. His death leaves a space that will never be filled. We miss his keen mind, sharp wit, baffling eccentricities, and loyal heart. But we are able to smile in our sadness because we know that Lee has already found the corner table and befriended the maitre’s.
Lee Ware was born in 1946 at Okmulgee, Oklahoma. He graduated in 1964 from Pasadena High School, Pasadena, Texas. Commissioned in 1970, he served on active duty for training with the United States Army Reserve in 1971. He was an Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Texas – Arlington from 1973 to 1975. Ware was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1978.