Written by Celeste Villarreal
L to R: Henry, Copeland, Huffman, Peirson, Dean Dickerson. More than three hundred
people, including previous award recipients, attended this year’s event.
Texas Tech School of Law celebrated the accomplishments of distinguished alumni Mar.
2. David W. Copeland (’82) and Chris A. Peirson (‘77) received the Distinguished
Alumnus Award, and Michael J. Henry (’81), and Walter B. (’77) and the late Anne
R. Huffman received the Distinguished Service Award.
More than three hundred people, including previous award recipients, local attorneys
and judges, students, faculty and staff attended this year’s event. The awards recognize
professional and personal commitment to excellence, and contributions to the law
school and legal community.
- Copeland is the senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of
SM Energy Company in Denver. He has enjoyed a long, successful career in the oil and gas business.
During the course of his legal career, he has negotiated more than $15 billion in
merger, acquisition, divestiture and financing transactions in the energy industry.
He serves on the board of trustees of the Texas Tech University School of Law Foundation
and the board of directors of the State Bar of Texas; he is a Sustaining Life Fellow
of the Texas Bar Foundation and a member of the Energy Innovation Initiative Advisory
Board of the University of Colorado Law School.
- Peirson is board certified in residential real estate law in Texas and is a nationally
recognized authority on the law and regulation of residential mortgage lending. She
is a frequent speaker at seminars and conventions, including the Mortgage Banking
Association of America, the American Institute of Banking, the State Bar of Texas and many other professional organizations. Currently a partner in PeirsonPatterson,
LLP, Peirson also authored the legal forms that govern the practice of residential
property transactions and has contributed to legal publications for the State Bar
of Texas, Texas Real Estate Law Reporter, the Texas Land Title Institute and a number
of Texas law schools. In addition, she has written screenplays that have appeared
on national television.
- Henry has provided premier representation in oil and gas disputes, breach of contract,
employment, commercial, personal injury and wrongful death litigation for more than
30 years. He is board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in civil trial law and personal injury law and is a member of the American Board
of Trial Advocates; he has attained the highest rating of professional excellence
by Martindale-Hubbell. Henry has been named a Super Lawyer for 2004 through the present
- Walter B. Huffman, served as dean of the Texas Tech School of Law from August, 2002
through June 2010. He was formerly a senior assistant for law and policy to the
Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and also served as the Judge Advocate General of The
United States Army – the Army’s senior military lawyer. Dean Huffman has been named
a Distinguished Graduate of Texas Tech, a Distinguished Graduate of the College of Education, and a Distinguished Graduate of the School of Law. He also is a member of the
Army Field Artillery Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame. Dean Huffman is a Fellow
of the American Bar Foundation, and the Texas Bar Foundation and is a member of the
American Law Institute. He is a former director of the State Bar of Texas. In 2009,
he was appointed Distinguished Senior Fellow at the National Defense University’s
Institute for National Strategic Studies.
- The late Anne R. Huffman married Walter Burl Huffman, on April 7, 1966 and joined
him on a 33-year Army career, during which she devoted her life to her family and
to helping others. Mrs. Huffman’s selfless devotion to helping others was epitomized
during her second tour in Germany when Walt’s unit was deployed to South West Asia
for Operation Desert Storm leaving many family members behind in Germany. She helped
to pioneer a concept now formalized in the Army as the Family Support Group when
she organized a center to assist the spouses of enlisted soldiers during the soldier’s
combat deployment. She embodied this same spirit of service when she became a mentor
to many and a friend to all during her time as the “First Lady” of the Army JAG Corps and subsequently as “First Lady” and sponsor of the Law Partners organization for
student's spouses at the Texas Tech School of Law. This world lost a very kind soul
when Anne Huffman lost a valiant battle with cancer on Dec. 23, 2011. She is the
first non-alumnus to receive this award.