Edward V. Smith, III is the 2012 recipient of the Distinguished Probate Attorney Lifetime Achievement Award given by the Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law Section (REPTL) of the State Bar of Texas. The REPTL Distinguished Probate Lawyer Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes distinguished Texas probate lawyers who have made significant and sustained contributions to the Texas probate, estate and trust law bar throughout their careers.
Smith is a fifth generation Texan and a native of Dallas. He received a B.A. from the University of North Texas in 1960 and a J.D. from SMU Dedman School of Law in 1963. In 1977, the first year certification was offered in the field of Estate Planning and Probate Law, he was certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
First elected to the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel in 1981, Smith has served as Membership Chairman for Texas and as a Regent of the College. He has served as Chairman of the Probate, Trusts & Estate Section of the Dallas Bar Association and was the recipient of their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.
He has written and presented numerous papers for the State Bar of Texas, the American Bar Association, the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, the Dallas Bar Association, the Tarrant County Probate Section, the Dallas Estate Planning Council and the North Dallas Estate Planning Council.
In addition to his Bar related activities, he has devoted thirty-five years to higher education, having been a Regent of the University of North Texas and a Trustee of the University of the Ozarks, where he served two terms as Chairman of the Board. He has served on the University of North Texas Foundation for 32 years and Chairman for two terms. Smith has been named a Distinguished Alumnus by both UNT and SMU Dedman School of Law.
Smith is a passionate proponent of professionalism, as demonstrated by his frequent talks on that subject. In 2006, the Texas Center for Legal Ethics recognized him with the Morris Harrell Award. He has been named as a “Best Lawyer in America” every year since 1987, as well as a “Super Lawyer” and “Best Lawyer” in Dallas.
He has been a member of the same Presbyterian Church since the age of six months and currently serves as Clerk of the Session and a Ruling Elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Dallas.
A veteran traveler, Smith has drawn from his experiences abroad and the law to author two novels about foreign intrigue under his pen name Hawthorne Vance. He continues to enjoy traveling with his wife of 25 years, Nikki DeShazo.
Smith will be honored at an awards ceremony at the State Bar Annual Meeting. Since 2001, he is the second SMU Dedman School of Law alumnus to receive this distinction.