Random Profile: Vivian Gathright, Houston

For Random Profiles, we randomly pick one of our 93,000-plus attorneys and do a Q&A. We've found that every Texas lawyer has an interesting story. Will yours be next? 

Best thing about being a lawyer: The ability to use my skills to eradicate
injustice - that is, to use my skills as much as possible to keep America as the land of the free and the amazing home for the poor and weary souls.

Bet you didn’t know: I have a strong desire to get more intimately involved with politics. 

Another little known fact: I was the main kicker for my powder puff football team with the FBIHQ. I shoot a mean three-pointer in basketball.  

Born: December 12. I love the fiery and brilliant Blue Topaz that is associated with December.

Family: One son, David

Areas of practice: General Practice

Education: Lamar University - BSW; Thurgood Marshall School of Law - JD

Is not good at: housecleaning

Culinary talent: gourmet chef for special friends

Bad habit: biting my nails

Community Involvement: Trinity Garden Church of Christ, Catholic Church

Pet peeve: Everybody talking at the same time to get their point across. Problem is no one is listening to anyone!

When they do the film about you, what actress should portray you? Oprah Winfrey. She seems to capture the spirit of the person who I know myself to be. She has a huge and generous heart. She’s encountered and conquered many battles without apparent determent. I see myself in this light.

Secret for staying young: Laughing, loving, and living loud! Really being “out here” with the people. Also good wine, good food, and good relationships are right at the top!

Favorite TV program: Criminal Minds. They are highly respectful of each other and are respectfully collaborative with other agencies directly related to the case on which they are working, so that one can clearly distinguish the sovereigns in the playing field. 

Favorite artist: Celine Dion. Her voice is both soothing and exciting at once!

Favorite composers: Johann Sebastian Bach by a landslide! His music just rivets throughout your soul touching nerves you never knew existed. His music wakes you up to the pleasurable sensations of life! One of the pieces I like is Bach French Suite No. 2 in C minor. It’s simply breathtaking!

Favorite magazine: Better Homes and Gardens

Favorite sport: track and bicycling

Favorite food: Italian

Talents (besides law): writing, creating, encouraging others

Hobbies: public speaking anywhere, learning new ways to have fun, playing with children, people watching

Favorite restaurant: Saltgrass and Brady’s Landing

Where to be found on a Saturday night: relaxing with friends

Collects: hearts

Generally likes to read: inspirational books and magazines, i.e. Destined to Reign, Pastor Joseph Prince; Maximized Life, Bishop I. V. Hilliard

Memorable vacation: My journey through the states of Nigeria. What caught my attention were the populous streets, the impoverishment, the sternness of the government, the beauty of the landscapes, the willingness and humility of the peoples, and openness of the marketplaces. The weather was great too!

My favorite weekend retreats are: Catholic retreat centers, as they are very peaceful and open opportunities for self-examination, growth, and vision.

If I had more time, I would: work ceaselessly to close the gaps of poverty in the areas of education, personal and business development, and injustice.

Biggest misconception about me: I’m constrained.

What most people don’t know about me? I have the ferociousness of a LION when I perceive injustice! 

The part of my job I do best is: research and represent.

The best piece of advice ever given to you and by whom: Don’t ever let anyone stop you from doing what you know is right for you. You can be whatever you want to be; just go out there and do it! (These are the very last words my father, Albert Vaughn Stelly, said to me when he was discharged from the hospital. He died the next day on May 12, 1992). 

If you could be anyone else for a day, who would it be? First Lady Michelle Obama. Her life is the picture I painted of my life when I was growing up. I would like to see myself living it even if it were for just one day.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing new attorneys today? The challenge facing new attorneys today is threefold: 1) finding suitable work in the market, 2) learning how to capitalize on the mandatory requirements and expense of working in the field when you have no monetary support, and 3) how to stay afloat when the work is not coming in fast enough and there’s nowhere to turn for assistance.
Seasoned attorneys: change and how it’s going to benefit them in the long term.

If you weren't an attorney, what profession do you think you would be in? The medical field. I have always enjoyed the work of psychiatrists and psychologists. My minor is in psychology.  

What's the turning point that made you decide to become an attorney? Being an unwilling participant in the covert and overt injustice in the world that permeated my life as a child and is still affecting me and millions of others today. The vision that justice will be poured out equally, that innocence continues to be the right of the alleged criminal until he is proven guilty, that all peoples have an opportunity to be heard despite the strategies of the opposing counsel. Injustice appears to be creeping through the unsealed slabs of the foundation of justice as laid out in America’s foundational documents. I want to free peoples and America from the grasps of injustice that threaten the moral decay of our nation and our peoples. I want to awaken the world to the weakening of justice which tears away our concern and care for our most impoverished peoples. Too many people are jailed unreasonably so, losing life and liberty unjustly. This seems to be the rule rather than the exception, and I have a strong desire to represent these peoples who cannot stand for themselves.

When you are not practicing law, what do you like to do? Read about the law. Read cases. Think about the law! I just love it! It energizes me and makes me happy! And then sleep! And I do have a life!

Who are the people you admire most, and why? I really admire First Lady Michelle and President Obama because they seem to understand the plight of those less fortunate than they. I love Senator McCain because of his strong ethics and stoutness. I also admire President George W. Bush for standing forthright on what he believes and not really caring whether or not the world accepted his vision. 

Any words of wisdom or advice for the new president of the State Bar of Texas? Take the State Bar of Texas to another frontier! Your experiences up to this point have well-prepared you for the job! Use your unique creativity, take those ideas out of your head, and follow your hunches. Chances are you will be right on target! Looking forward to seeing your hand at work and working with you to get the job done!

How do you think the practice will change in the next 15 years? More and more middle class people will be handling their own legal affairs, cutting out the attorneys.


Vivian has her own law practice, The STELLY Law Firm, in Houston.

You can also view Vivian's TexasBar.com profile.

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Opinions and statements expressed in these profiles are those of their subjects - not the State Bar of Texas.

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