Philosophy of the Firm from an Out-of-Firm Viewpoint

The philosophy, the purpose, the mission statement of the Albritton law firm of Rockwall, Texas, was not hammered out in a series of conference table discussions or brainstorming sessions. The Genesis of this firm and its philosophy was in place long before - as the very life pattern of two distinctly different and yet highly similar families. The partnership was forged when two people met at Baylor University, each newly re-entering formal education and each determined to reach potential.

The philosophy exists today in separate entities. First in the firm itself, the principals of which are plaintiff’s lawyers, John A. Albritton and Gayle Miller Albritton. And in each of the individuals themselves, who are bound as husband and wife, together because of their love for one another as well as for their love of the law and their shared spirit of advocacy for human rights. It is this strong sense of compassion for their fellow man that has been their drumbeat for forty years of life together.

John's father, John Louis Albritton, was in the food business for most of of his work life, ultimately owning and operating a series of neighborhood grocery stores in and about Dallas and Fort Worth. Generally the stores were in low income areas, and, naturally, that meant a credit business (many times pro bono). As a boy and young man, John spent long hours helping his father "at the store". John was a keen observer and it was in this environment that he gained his wonderful and intuitive knowledge of human nature and his interest in the lives of the less fortunate. So caring was he that he considered and embarked on an early career in the ministry. His mother’s abiding faith and encouragement toward the Lord nurtured his desires.

Gayle Miller grew up in Amarillo, Texas, the only child of Aubrey L. Miller and Hazel Lou Miller. Her father was a long time employee of the AT&SF Railway system (interestingly enough having come from a farming and grocery background). But it was as an advocate for his fellow railroad employees that Aubrey achieved his own manifest destiny. So entrusted and revered was Mr. Miller that he rose to an elected position in the BLF&E as Chairman of the General Grievance Commitee for the AT&SF Proper, Western Lines. In that capacity he was entrusted with the representation of his men in grievance matters as well involvement in collective bargaining negotiations. Although I knew him only casually, I believe that I can safely say that no gentler nor kinder man ever lived than Aubrey Miller.

The protection and preservation of human dignity and human rights was not a mere slogan in the Miller household. Rather, it was a way of life and dinner conversation. Aubrey was a strong believer that a man who was willing to work was entitled to an honest wage and a safe working environment. He liked to say that individuals should be able to disagree with no loss of dignity, or as he put it: "Disagree without being disagreeable". Gayle's mother shared her husband's beliefs and was an early and strong advocate of women's rights. She lived them. She considered them not merely as matters of procedure, but as matters of substance. These two peaceful people were literal believers in the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God, and they fostered those beliefs in an already independent and compassionate daughter. This is the woman John was destined to meet in 1965.

But, make no mistake about it, it is John who has always been the standard bearer of the law practice. He is a masterful negotiator with a keen knowledge of the letter of the law. I have observed John in court on many occasions and am always moved by his manners, his courtesy with all the parties and officers of the court, his unfailing respect for the Court itself, and, most especially, by his sense of complete fairness.

Looking back over the thirty-five years that this particular Albritton law firm has been in existence brings to mind John’s very first law office. It was located in the upper floors of 1500 Jackson Street in Dallas. The lower floors housed the Continental Trailways bus system. Could one imagine a more focal point for the underdog, for individuals displaced, wronged, out of work, cheated, and hurting? For needing a strong voice? In retrospect, the choice seems only natural.

From a longtime friend of the Albritton family.

- Robert M. Anderson

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