Partners in his firm, Hogan Lovells in Houston, remember Walton as a great lawyer who fought hard for his clients, a caring partner who counseled colleagues and mentored younger lawyers, and a public servant who took leadership roles in community and legal organizations. He deeply loved his wife, Martha, and his children, Cole and Emily, says Thad Dameris, managing partner in Hogan Lovells’ Houston office.
“I never met a man in my life who had a truer moral compass than Gib Walton,” says Dameris. He adds, “It’s really hard to think of him not being there at the office, especially when you need to sound something off him.”
Dameris says he doesn’t know Walton’s cause of death, and details on funeral services are pending.
Bruce Oakley, a Hogan Lovells partner who worked with Walton, explains that Walton, the co-leader of the firm’s energy group, was giving a presentation yesterday on a conference call with lawyers from the firm’s London, Washington and New York offices. Walton collapsed, and other Hogan Lovell staff administered CPR while waiting for an ambulance.
Expressing sadness, Oakley says people at the firm are shocked.
“He is just so vibrant and full of life and caring. I think it is a shock to all of us who knew him and loved him and worked with him,” says Oakley. He notes about Walton, “He’s a wonderful, wonderful man who really cares about service to clients, and partners, and the community and his family. He’s really lived a remarkable life of service.”
Dameris says Walton earned an undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia and earned his law degree from The University of Texas at Austin School of Law. He clerked for U.S. District Judge Malcolm Wilkey of the D.C. U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Walton worked at Vinson & Elkins in Houston from the mid-1970s to 2008 before he joined Hogan Lovells in 2009, Dameris says.
Walton was active in the Houston community. Dameris explains that Walton served on the board of directors for Houston’s Methodist Hospital and Brookwood Community, which provides services for people with disabilities, among other organizations.
Walton also served as State Bar president from 2007 to 2008, says Bar spokeswoman Kim Davey. Previously, he had served as chair of the State Bar Sunset Review Commission and chair of the finance committee.
He had many other leadership roles in the Texas legal community.
“It’s a tragedy, for not only his family but the lawyers of Texas. . . . He was a great lawyer, an enthusiastic leader of the Bar and a perfect gentleman,” says Buck Files, president of the State Bar.
John Holstead, a retired partner in Vinson & Elkins in Houston, says he worked in the firm’s commercial litigation section with Walton for more than 20 years. Walton was well organized, a good listener, polite, professional and “a natural leader,” says Holstead.
“If he gave you his word on something, you could put it in the bank,” Holstead says, adding about Walton’s public service, “It’s hard to imagine how he got so much done, and still had any time for himself.”
Dameris says, although Walton devoted so much time to volunteering, he also maintained a “very successful trial practice.”
Walton tried at least 40 suits to verdict and took 15 to 20 appeals to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Dameris says. He also was an important man in the office, counseling other partners and focusing time on developing the law practices of young associates.
“It’s a tragic loss for them, because he was so committed to it,” Dameris says. “He was a great lawyer, he was a great partner and he was a great husband and father.”
UPDATE: Dameris says the visitation with Walton’s family will occur Tuesday, Feb. 12 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at George H. Lewis & Sons, which is located 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.
The public is invited to the memorial service on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 3 p.m. at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 3471 Westheimer Road in Houston. A reception will follow.
-- Angela Morris