Texas Tech University

School of Law Announces 2020 Alumni Association Awards

George Watson

October 23, 2020


Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the award recipients will be honored both virtually and in person when safe.

Six outstanding alumni and friends have been selected by Texas Tech University's School of Law Alumni Association for the 2020 Alumni Association Awards.

The Alumni Association Awards traditionally have been presented at the annual Texas Tech Law School Alumni Reception at the State Bar of Texas annual meeting. The reception was canceled this year due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, but recipients will be honored virtually throughout the year and in person when it is safe to do so.

Alumni Association Award recipients are selected for their personal accomplishments, professional achievements, community or public service involvement, and/or contributions made to the Texas Tech School of Law.

These six award winners are individuals who embrace and support the law school's spirit and mission. This year's award winners are:

Hershell L. Barnes Ambassador Award

The Honorable Rob Hofmann ('95) from Mason exemplifies the characteristics of a goodwill ambassador through his public and private service to the citizens of his communities as well as the state and nation, especially through his work on behalf of children. He serves as judge of the 452nd Judicial District in five Hill Country counties and was appointed by the Supreme Court of Texas to serve as Jurist in Residence for the Children's Commission, where he is chairman of both the System Improvement and Foster Care & Education committees. He is a board member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and has served as a judicial representative at several national summits related to child welfare. He works on numerous projects related to improving the child welfare system and was named the 2011 Big Voices for Little Texans Texas CASA Judge of the Year.

Daniel H. Benson Public Service Award

Steven R. Miears ('83) of Grapevine has worked tirelessly to represent indigent persons in death penalty cases. Board certified in criminal law and criminal appellate law, he has handled more than 100 cases on appeal and has helped shape the scope of protections of individual liberties protected by the Texas Constitution.

Graduates of the Last Decade (G.O.L.D.) Award

Whitney S. Ellis ('12) from Midland is a leader within her firm and community, a supporter of the law school's Estate Planning and Community Property Law Journal and one of Midland's top 20 under 40. Leading the estate group at Midland's oldest firm, she makes a huge impact for her clients while supporting and mentoring other female attorneys.

Konstantin N. Parkhomenko ('10) from Wylie has made significant achievements in the field of environmental law and sustainability, including litigating one of the largest environmental lawsuits in U.S. history and serving as the most senior dedicated environmental counsel for a Fortune 500 public utility company. In addition to his professional achievements, he upholds the Texas Tech School of Law's tradition of service to others by giving back to the community through pro bono work.

Rising Star Award

The Honorable C. Michael Davis ('08) from Palestine was appointed to the 369th District Court of Texas by Gov. Greg Abbott in 2017 and elected in 2018. Following his appointment, he immediately implemented a docket-management system to provide efficient administration and access to justice. He was selected as a member of the 2013 State Bar of Texas (SBOT) leadership class and tapped to attend the 2012 American Board of Trial Advocates National Trial College at Harvard Law School. He currently chairs the SBOT Local Bar Services Committee and is a member of the SBOT Administration of the Rules of Evidence Committee. He volunteers his time with many local community organizations, serving as a board member for the Crisis Center of Anderson and Cherokee County, board member of the Palestine YMCA, past-president of the Rotary Club of Palestine and as a mentor to local high school students.

Outstanding Service Award

The Honorable James Wesley Hendrix of Lubbock has demonstrated his commitment to supporting Texas Tech Law students by hiring judicial clerks and summer interns and by presenting the judicial clerkship workshop. He also will soon present "Federal Criminal Practice in the Northern District of Texas" to Texas Tech School of Law's Criminal Law Association and International Law Association. An active member of his community, he has volunteered as a youth baseball coach, is a member of the Texas Tech School of Law American Inn of Court and serves on the board of directors for Partners Seeking a Cure (PSC), a medical non-profit organization.