Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht joined former chief justices, state political leaders, and UNT Dallas College of Law faculty on Monday to celebrate retired Chief Justice Jack Pope’s gift of more than 300 books to the school.

Pope, who turned 100 this year, donated his personal law library to the new law school, which will seat its first class in fall 2014.

The collection includes signed copies of his personal set of South Western Reporters covering 1950 to 1985, when he served on the San Antonio Court of Civil Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court, the college announced at a luncheon in Austin.

“I was proud of my library before I started giving it away,” Pope told the assembled group, which included retired Chief Justices Wallace B. Jefferson and Thomas Phillips and UNT Dallas College of Law Founding Dean Royal Furgeson.


Among others attending the event were state Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, who worked as a law clerk to Pope in 1983-1984, and state Sen. Royce West, who wrote the bill that created the Dallas law school.

Branch said the donation would help “extend Pope’s legacy to the young North Texas law students of the next generation.” The donation will also help future students appreciate what a South Western Reporter looked like, he said, “because at some point they are going to think it was all digital."

Austin attorney Stephen McConnico, who was a briefing attorney to Pope from 1976 to 1977, said some of the donated books even have Pope’s handwritten notes in the margins.

“This personal and signed collection from Justice Pope has special meaning for a new, 21st-century law school library,” said Edward Hart, assistant professor and assistant dean for the law library, in a statement.

“While technological and digital advancements have greatly altered tools and techniques for finding and using information, this collection represents what remains essential to law and lawyering, including the common law process, the civil justice system, and principled judging.”

Pope served as an associate justice on the Texas Supreme Court from 1964 to 1982 and as chief justice from 1982 to 1985.

Pictured: Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht, second from left, joins former Chief Justices Wallace B. Jefferson, Jack Pope, and Thomas Phillips, from left, to celebrate Pope’s donation of his personal law library to the new UNT Dallas College of Law.