- Buck Files, who received the Judge John Hannah, Jr. award for public service.
- Magistrate Judge Judith Guthrie, who is retiring after 26 years on the bench.
- Clyde Siebman, for his work chairing the conference committee so successfully.
- Dave Maland, for twenty years of service as the Eastern District's clerk.
The highlight of the evening (well, for everyone but Judge Davis for reasons I will get to shortly) was Judge Gilstrap's presentation to Judge Bryson the first ever "Honorary Trial Judge - Eastern District of Texas" award
, complete with Texas-sized cowboy hat (pictured above) and certificate in thanks for this work stepping in and handling two months of Marshall patent trials earlier this year. Judge Bryson was a welcome guest in the Marshall courthouse throughout the year, and we look forward to seeing him again.
Next up was keynote speaker Baylor President Kenneth Starr, who gave a very informative talk about the Supreme Court. Judge Starr was followed by Baylor Law School dean Brad Toben, who made the surprise announcement that Chief Judge Leonard Davis had been named the 2012 Baylor Lawyer of the Year. Judge Davis follows prior ED bench recipients Judge Ward and the late Judge Sam B. Hall, Jr..