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Bob Gibbins Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Law

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Bob Gibbins in his office, 1990.
Bob Gibbins in his office, 1990.

The Bob Gibbins Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Law was established by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System on October 11, 1991, for the benefit of the School of Law. Gift funds were provided by friends and colleagues of Austin, Texas. The endowment honors Mr. Robert L. Gibbins Jr. of Austin, Texas, a 1961 graduate of The University of Texas at Austin School of Law.

Pamela Reed wanted to honor her husband’s accomplishments with the Bob Gibbins Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Law. She believes Bob to be one of the most outstanding attorneys in the United States, and this endowment honors that belief along with the admiration and love she feels for her husband.

With the help of Mark Yudof, who was dean of the University of Texas School of Law at the time, Pamela wrote letters to many of Bob’s friends and colleagues in the American Trial Lawyers Association and told them about her idea to honor Bob with an endowment. The outpouring of gifts was overwhelming, and the endowment was established in 1991.

Bob Gibbins and Pam Reed.
Bob Gibbins and Pam Reed.

Bob Gibbins attended both undergraduate and law school at The University of Texas. He earned his law degree in 1961. Bob’s son, Steve Gibbins, also attended undergraduate and law school at the University and two of Bob’s grandchildren are as well. Pamela Gail Reed is a native Austinite, a lifelong Longhorn, and a graduate of the Law School. Her father, Lester Reed, was a professor of biochemistry and head of the Clayton Biochemical Institute at the University for many years.

Bob Gibbins and Pamela Reed married in 1982 and have lived in Austin throughout their marriage, but are able to find time to enjoy their vacation home in Vermont. They have been privileged to travel extensively for work and pleasure. Their families and friends are a large part of their lives.

Bob Gibbins cared very much for all of his clients, making sure he got the best recoveries possible for them. His practice always focused on the client, never on what reward he could receive from a client’s case. Because of this work ethic he was respected by his clients and fellow attorneys. Two of Bob’s children, Jennifer Durbin, managing partner of Allen, Stein and Durbin in San Antonio, and Steve Gibbins, a sole practitioner in Austin, chose to become attorneys in large part because of the example their father set with his active and distinguished career. Along with his children and wife, Bob mentored numerous young lawyers.

Bob’s son, Steve, was invited to join Bob’s firm and practiced with him for many years. The two did not always see eye to eye, but Steve grew into a capable attorney and Bob was very proud. 

Bob’s daughter, Jenny, remembers many times when she sought out her father’s advice on handling her own law practice. When she called him to ask how to handle deposing or cross-examining an expert witness, he was careful not to give away all the information in his “arsenal” but, ever the mentor, he led her in the right direction on how to handle the expert. Bob never really thought he knew it all, even though that certainly was the impression he left on many people.

Pamela and Bob’s firms often had cases against each other, and while they ardently avoided discussing specifics of those cases, their general legal discussions made for an interesting home life. Though Bob believed one should practice law if one had a law degree, he supported Pamela’s decision to leave litigation and go into politics.

Bob served as president of the American Trial Lawyers Association from 1991 through 1992, director emeritus of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association since 1992, and president of the Travis County Trial Lawyers Association from 1984 through 1987. He is a fellow of the International Society of Barristers, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and the Texas Bar Foundation. He co-authored “Products Liability Litigation: Trial Strategy and Procedure,” published in 1988 by Callahan and Company, and “Texas Practical Guide: Personal Injury,” two volumes published in 1988 by Callahan and Company. His professional awards include the Annual War Horse Award, 1992, from the Southern Trial Lawyers Association, the first-ever “Lifetime Achievement Award,” 1998, from the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and the Champion of Justice Award, 1999.

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