New regent brings leadership to Board

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Editor’s note: This is the second story in a two-part series on the two new UT System Board of Regents. A profile on Sara Martinez Tucker ran Wednesday and is available online. 

UT System Regent David Beck will sit on the Board of Regents for the first time Friday.

Beck, a partner at the Beck Redden law firm in Houston, has held multiple leadership roles throughout his career, including president of the State Bar of Texas, International Association of Defense Counsel and American College of Trial Lawyers. Beck graduated from the UT School of Law and served as the president of the Law School Foundation. 

Beck Redden partner Alistair Dawson said Beck is well-recognized by his colleagues for his leadership qualities. 

“Just about every organization in which [Beck] is involved recognizes his leadership skills and asks him to take a leadership role, which he does routinely,” Dawson said.

Beck earned his bachelor’s degree from Lamar University before getting his law degree from UT in 1965. In a video the Texas Exes created in 2010, Beck said his years of studying at UT were crucial in helping him advance his career.

“Frankly, the most interesting part of Austin was being thrown together with a lot of kids from different backgrounds, seeing everyone one of which was very, very smart,” Beck said. “To me, that really made me realize how competitive life was.”

Dawson said Beck and his wife, Judy Beck, are passionate about education.

“David and Judy [Beck] have been big supporters of education at his alma maters, Lamar University and the University of Texas School of Law,” Dawson said. “They have funded several scholarships at each institution to help students achieve their goals.”

Beck said he shaped his career around striving to better society through helping individuals as a lawyer.

“That’s really part of your obligation as a lawyer, that you have got to make your community better — you have got to make your profession better,” Beck said in the video. “I’ve always believed that.”

In the video, Beck said his law professors at UT taught him how to fight for the rights of other people.

“I enjoy what I do so much that I can’t believe they pay us to do this kind of work,” Beck said. “Without the University of Texas law school, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today.”

According to the video, Beck became known for his ability to connect to those around him — most notably, to juries.

“David’s courtroom skills and confidence grew in the 25-plus years he spent with [the Fulbright & Jaworski law firm], and his ability to connect with a jury became legendary,” the video said.

Beck said working to win a jury’s trust influenced other aspects of his life.

“I try to stake out the moral high ground because jurors invariably want to do what’s right,” Beck said.