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Houston Attorney To Receive Law Alumni Merit Award

Houston Attorney To Receive Creighton’s Alumni Merit Award

Walter J. Smith, J. D., Houston, will receive the 2008 Alumni Merit Award from the Creighton University School of Law during a May 9 hooding and awards ceremony.

Smith, who graduated from the school summa cum laude in 1972, was selected for the award because of his practice of the Jesuit ideal of being men and women for others through his advocacy for individuals with disabilities. As managing partner of Baker Botts, LLP, Houston, he has been the driving force behind the firm’s development of a nationally recognized program for employing individuals with cognitive disabilities in each of its offices throughout the United States. Botts recently received the Employer of the Year Award from the Disability Services Board of Fairfax County, Va., and the National Disability Employer Recognition Regional Award from the New York State Educational Office.

Smith has practiced corporate and securities law at Baker Botts, LLP for more than 27 years. Following his graduation from Creighton, he clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and earned a master’s of law degree from Harvard Law School. He moved to Houston, corporate headquarters for Baker Botts, LLP, in 1975.

He has been involved in numerous civic and charitable activities. Currently, he serves on the Board of Trustees of Riverview School, Inc., a school for students with special needs in East Sandwich, Mass.; the Boards of Directors of Fund for Teachers, Inc. Houston; Central Houston Inc., Houston; the Greater Houston Partnership; the University of Houston Law Foundation; and the Development Board of the University of Texas Health Science Center.

In 2007, Smith was honored as a Houston “Father of the Year” by Community Partners of Houston and as Riverview School’s “Dream Maker Award” for his leadership in employing individuals with disabilities.

The School of Law’s Alumni Merit Award is presented annually to an outstanding alumnus who has provided distinguished service to the University or his or her community in a way that exemplifies the University credo. Recipients must have a personal quality that marks them as cultured and of high moral principles guided by the Jesuit ideal of being men and women for others.