January 17, 2023

Coming from a family with three generations of judges, David L. Evans ’71 faced high expectations when he decided to embark on a legal career. But Evans shattered those expectations through hard work and an unwavering commitment to serving the legal profession for over four decades. In recognition of Evans’ contributions, his friends and colleagues, especially organizers Neal W. Adams ’68 and U. S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman ’97, undertook a grassroots effort to create the Honorable David L. Evans ’71 Dean’s Endowed Scholarship at Texas A&M University School of Law.

Deep Aggie Roots

Evans’ journey to success began at Texas A&M, following the footsteps of his great-uncle, Class of 1908, and father, Class of 1940 (and a survivor of the Bataan Death March during World War II). As a high school senior, however, Evans did not intend on following his Aggie roots and looked to attend college elsewhere. “But I was persuaded by something my father said: Not only would I receive a first-class education at Texas A&M, but I would make the closest friends I’d ever have and gain a network that would be helpful to me throughout my life. There also would be Aggies whom I would never meet—but because of what they had done, I would benefit from being an Aggie.”

Evans quickly learned that his father was right as he left Aggieland with deep friendships and an education that provided a strong foundation for a successful career.

Occupying Berlin

After graduating from Texas A&M during the height of the Cold War, Evans was commissioned as an Army infantry officer in West Berlin, Germany. “At the time, the city was an occupied zone,” said Evans. “I was the only Aggie junior officer in the Berlin Brigade at that time—and I served for four years with soldiers who had fought in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.”

Evans then moved to Fort Worth, practicing civil law from 1979-2003. Many young lawyers in Fort Worth, including Judge Mark Pittman, were immediately taken by Evans’ prodigious work ethic and commitment to the legal profession, noting that the Aggie’s car was always the first in the firm’s parking lot well before 6 a.m.

"David understood our lawyer’s creed and the respect lawyers and judges are supposed to show one another."
Neal W. Adams ’68


While in Fort Worth, Evans became active in the State Bar of Texas, serving in numerous state and local positions and chairing the Commission for Lawyer Discipline that prosecuted lawyers accused of misconduct.  “I always believed it was important for the legal profession to work in areas where professionalism could be enhanced,” he explained.

His ethical approach, sound judgment and deep knowledge of the law led to his appointment as a state district judge of the 48th District Court—the same bench that Evans’ great-great-uncle, Raymond Buck, had served on as a judge. “We both have the same facial expression—a scowl,” Evans laughingly noted, adding that the 48th District Court was next door to the court where both his grandfather and uncle served.

Evans’ success as a state district judge then led Gov. Rick Perry ’72 to appoint Evans to a second judicial position as presiding judge of the 18-county 8th Administrative Judicial Region of Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott reappointed him to the role two more times. And while the positions Evans has held are a testament to his success as a lawyer and judge, he will be most remembered for his commitment to service and mentorship of numerous lawyers and judges.