James L. Branton, 83, of San Antonio, died July 19, 2021. He served as president of the State Bar of Texas from 1994 to 1995.
Branton was co-founder of Branton, Hall, Rodriguez, Cruz, where he focused primarily on personal injury litigation. He served on the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors from 1984 to 1987, was on the Texas Bar Foundation Board of Trustees from 1987 to 1990 and served as its chair from 1989 to 1990. Branton also served as treasurer for the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism. He was a Texas Board of Legal Specialization director from 1990 to 1993.
During Branton’s term as president, he focused on attorney image and professionalism, with an emphasis on implementing the Texas Lawyer’s Creed on its fifth anniversary. He also advocated for a higher level of professionalism between attorneys that would “reduce acrimony and increase communication between lawyers.”
Branton served on the State Bar of Texas Grievance Committee, State Bar of Texas Professionalism Committee, the State Bar of Texas Pattern Jury Charge Committee, and the State Bar of Texas Administration of Justice Committee.
He served on the Texas Supreme Court committees that drafted the Texas Evidence Code and the Texas Lawyer’s Creed. Branton was a Texas Lawyers Insurance Exchange director and member of the Executive Committee. He was a Texas Bar Foundation life fellow and chair of the board of trustees from 1989 to 1990.
In 1994, Branton was named Trial Lawyer of the Year by the eight Texas Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and in 2017, the State Bar of Texas Litigation Section awarded him the Luther Soules III Award for Outstanding Service to the Practice of Law.
Branton was a past president of the San Antonio Bar Association, San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association, Texas Trial Lawyers Association, International Society of Barristers, and American Board of Trial Advocates San Antonio Chapter. He was a founding member of the Texas-Mexico Bar Association in 1994.
Branton was certified in personal injury trial law and civil trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and certified as a civil trial advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.