AUSTIN, Texas—The William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law at The University of Texas School of Law honored three alumni—Judge Barefoot Sanders, Elizabeth "Betsy" Julian and Frederick M. Baron—at its second annual Justice Center Awards Dinner on Thurs., Nov. 3, at the Belo Mansion in Dallas.
The honorees received the "Justice Awards" at the private awards ceremony in recognition of their commitment to public service and equal justice for all. Judge Sanders received the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Julian and Baron each received an Outstanding Service Award.
Judge Sanders, '50, was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in 1979, serving as Chief Judge between 1989 and 1995. During his judicial career, Judge Sanders has presided over the Dallas school desegregation case known as Tasby and over litigation to improve conditions for the mentally ill in state hospitals and the mentally retarded in state schools. Prior to his appointment, Judge Sanders served as a representative in the Texas Legislature, a U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, an Assistant Attorney General in D.C., and as Legislative Counsel to President Lyndon Johnson.
Julian, '73, received an award for her dedication to civil rights, fair housing, and community development. She is executive director of the Inclusive Communities Project, a non-profit organization in Dallas promoting fair housing policies. Julian filed landmark cases that challenged public housing segregation in Texas, and served as the representative for the Southwest Region of HUD. She worked previously as the executive director of Legal Services of North Texas, and helped found the Texas Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
The Justice Center also honored Baron, '71, a toxic tort law attorney and founder of Baron & Budd, one of the largest plaintiffs' firms in the country representing people exposed to toxic substances in their work and living environments. He is a life-long advocate for consumers, the environment, and working people. He was a founder and past president of Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, a public interest law firm in Washington, D.C. Baron and his firm established the Baron & Budd Public Interest Scholarships at UT Law School to support students engaged in pro bono work.
The Law School established the Justice Center in 2004 to promote equal justice for all through legal education, scholarship and public service. The Justice Center was created in honor of Judge William Wayne Justice, '42, and his commitment to public service and equal justice for over fifty years.