About William S. Sessions
William S. Sessions, 1930 - 2020
Judge William Steele Sessions was born in Fort Smith Arkansas on May 27, 1930. Following his graduation from Baylor Law School, in 1958, he was admitted to practice law in Texas in 1959, and for the next ten years, he practiced law in Waco, Texas.
In 1969 Judge Sessions left Waco to serve in the United States Department of Justice as Section Chief of the government Operations Section, Criminal Division. After two years in that position, he was appointed to serve as the United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas. Then, in 1974, President Gerald R. Ford appointed him to become United States District Judge of the Western District of Texas, sitting in El Paso, Texas. Judge Sessions served for six years in El Paso, and then was promoted to Chief United States District Judge for the Western District of Texas, whereupon he and his family moved to San Antonio. It was during his service as Chief Judge in 1986, that he initiated the organization of the San Antonio Inn of Court.
In the fall of 1987, President Ronald Reagan appointed Judge Sessions to become the fourth Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and he served in that capacity until the summer of 1993.
In early 1995, Judge Sessions and one of his sons formed the law firm of Sessions & Sessions, in San Antonio, and Judge Sessions began serving as a mediator and arbitrator of legal disputes. The law firm of Sessions and Sessions joined with the firm of Holland & Knight, in 2000. Into retirement, Judge Sessions remained active with the Texas Commission on Judicial Efficiency, the Boy Scouts of America, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
Judge Sessions and his wife, Alice, raised three sons and a daughter, each of whom made them very proud-almost as proud as they were of their eight grandchildren.
A Brief History of the William S. Sessions Inn
As the Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Judge William S. Sessions enthusiastically endorsed the mission of the American Inns of Court. Following the lead of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Warren E. Burger, in the summer of 1986, Judge Sessions assembled an Organizing Committee for the purpose of establishing an Inn of Court in San Antonio, Texas.
The Charter for our Inn was adopted on September 15, 1986. It was originally named the "San Antonio American Inn of Court." Terry S. Bickerton, Esq., was chairman of the Organizing Committee. He was joined by Randy Tower, Esq. and Phil Hardberger, Esq. The first Inn meeting was held on November 3, 1986, at the Plaza Club, atop the downtown Frost Bank Building. Judge Sessions was selected to be the first president.
The initial members of the San Antonio Inn of Court were experienced, well respected judges and attorneys from our community, as well as other judges, younger lawyers, and law students. We are proud that our present membership reflects that same diversity.
In 1987, Judge Sessions accepted the position of Chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and moved to Washington, D.C.. In honor of Judge Sessions the Inn changed its name to 'William S. Sessions American Inn of Court.' In addition to the responsibility of proudly carrying Judge Sessions' name, our Inn continues to uphold the goals he established from the beginning: to encourage professionalism, ethics, and civility among the members of our bar.