Frank G. Evans III, a former chief justice of the 1st Court of Appeals in Houston and often called the “father of alternative dispute resolution,” died November 9, 2019, in Bastrop.
Evans served as a justice on the 1st Court of Appeals in Houston from 1973 to 1980 and served as chief justice from 1980 to 1990.
During his career, Evans pioneered successful alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, programs in 15 Texas communities. He developed the first appellate settlement conference program in the Texas court system and the first juvenile justice peer mediation programs in Texas elementary and middle schools. Evans sponsored and helped to draft the first ADR financing and court referral statute in Texas. He was a principal draftsman of the 1987 Texas Alternative Dispute Resolution Disputes Act, which established a new policy encouraging the voluntary and peaceable resolution of civil disputes and mandated all Texas courts have the responsibility to carry out that policy. Evans helped champion and implement conflict resolution concepts in several other states as well through nationwide conferences. He also spread the concept and methods of dispute resolution at programs in Argentina, Guyana, Jamaica, Malta, Mexico, Panama, and Turkey.
Evans was a visiting professor at South Texas College of Law Houston where he taught ADR-related courses, such as mediation and arbitration. He was the founding director of the Center for Legal Responsibility at South Texas College of Law Houston, which later was renamed in his honor as the Frank Evans Center for Conflict Resolution.
Evans was a member of the original American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Committee, founding chair of the Houston Bar Association and State Bar of Texas Dispute Resolution committees, founding president of the HBA Dispute Resolution Center, and founding president of the A. White Dispute Resolution Institute at the University of Houston.
The public is invited to attend a memorial service at South Texas College of Law Houston at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, November 19, in Joe Green Auditorium. The burial will be held at noon on Thursday, November 21, at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, with family members and invited guests in attendance.