The son of our co-founder, Ben Powell, Jr. held a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a master of law degree from Harvard. A fourth-generation attorney, Powell joined the firm in 1940. After serving in World War II, Powell, Jr. returned to his practice and ultimately assumed the role of General Counsel for Brown & Root, one of the firm’s earliest clients. In 1955, the construction firm asked Powell, Jr. to join them as a Brown & Root employee. Powell accepted and held their General Counsel position until his retirement in 1980.
A University of Texas and Yale Law School graduate, Robert McGinnis served as a naval intelligence officer during World War II. After the war, he accepted a teaching position at SMU Law School and later worked at a Dallas law firm. His friend, Ben Powell, Jr. invited McGinnis to return to Austin and join the firm. He became one of the state’s leading oil and gas regulatory lawyers and ultimately the firm’s managing partner. His leadership revitalized the firm for a new generation, bringing in key attorneys who expanded our practice areas and reputation throughout the state and country.
Robert McGinnis is particularly remembered for his successful work on the Prudhoe Bay case. McGinnis served as lead counsel representing several Prudhoe Bay field producers in Alaska in a two-year arbitration dispute over the ownership of the largest oil field in North America. With over $2 billion dollars in reserves at stake, the arbitration panel awarded McGinnis's clients all of the reserves they were seeking.
South Texas native Joe Kilgore earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and worked with Alvin Wirtz on Lyndon Johnson’s 1941 Senate campaign. As a combat pilot in the Air Corps during World War II, Kilgore was awarded the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit and the Distinguished Flying Cross. After the war, Kilgore had planned to practice law with John Connally in Austin, but Johnson summoned Connally to work for him. Instead, Kilgore represented his South Texas district in the Texas House of Representatives and later succeeded Lloyd Bentsen in the U.S. Congress. He had a reputation in both houses as a man who could get things done.
After his planned U.S. Senate run was blocked by President Johnson for political reasons, Kilgore decided to return to Texas. Having known Wirtz years before, Kilgore was also well acquainted with Lloyd Lochridge down in the Valley. He joined the firm as a name partner in 1965. Kilgore handled administrative hearings and tried lawsuits, including the Padre Island National Seashore condemnation litigation. He was also active in civic and business affairs, serving on the Boards of Directors of Continental Airlines, Republic Bank and the University of Texas Board of Regents. In 1982, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the University and became President of the Ex-Students Association in 1994.
A graduate of Princeton, Lloyd Lochridge was accepted to both Harvard Medical School and Law School. He ultimately chose a career in law, graduating in 1941. Lochridge then served in the Navy during World War II, leaving active duty as a Lieutenant Commander.
After the war, Lochridge joined his uncle’s law practice in Mission, Texas. In addition to his general practice, he became active in local bar association activities and was elected President of the Hidalgo County Bar in 1954. After 14 years in Mission, Lochridge was invited to join the firm here in Austin at the request of his childhood friend, Robert McGinnis.
Lochridge greatly strengthened the firm with his experience in South Texas, general practice, conservation matters and litigation. He served as President of the State Bar of Texas and held numerous offices in the American Bar Association. In his most notable case, Lochridge represented the Guerra family in a dispute with notorious oilman Clinton Manges, winning a major victory in the trial court as well as the Texas Supreme Court. His representation helped result in a "60 Minutes" expose on Texas' judicial selection, called “Justice for Sale."
The ninth child in a family of nine children, Wade Spilman left Mission, Texas in 1941 at the age of 16 to attend The University of Texas, then volunteered for military service in 1943. During the Battle of the Bulge, he was captured by the Germans and survived being held as a prisoner of war. When World War II was over, Spilman returned to the University and received his law degree in 1949. In 1954, he succeeded his friend Joe Kilgore into the Texas Legislature and in 1961, he ran and barely lost the race to become the Speaker of the Texas House. Spillman left the Legislature at the end of his term and opened his law office in Austin.
Looking to develop a governmental relations practice involving legislative lobbying, the firm sought out Spilman’s services because, as Kilgore said, he was “the most ethical and responsible of all of the legislative…counsel that I knew.” Spilman joined the firm as managing partner, handling and supervising the firm's legislative work. Governor Ann Richards said, “You’ve got a lot of people over there that hold up the pillars of the Capitol building from time to time…Wade Spilman’s real good at that.” He continued to work with the firm until his death in 2000.