Tom Graves Memorial (1947-2017)

When you walked into Tom Graves’s office, you were immediately greeted by a large black bear. On his walls were a bobcat and pheasants and in the conference room a full-sized mountain lion. Tom’s love of nature and hunting had been ingrained in him since childhood, and it is a love he carried with him the rest of his life.

Tom grew up hunting with his father and grandfather in Houston. When Tom was a boy, Houston wasn’t nearly as big as it is now, and Tom had many opportunities to hunt in areas close to the city. When Tom was older, he managed a lease in South Texas where he pursued trophy whitetail deer.

Tom hunted primarily in his home state of Texas, and over the last dozen years he had a hunting lease in the Hill Country near Mason.  He also hunted black bears and mountain lions in New Mexico, prairie birds in South Dakota, and various species and exotic game in Colorado, Alaska, Michigan, and Louisiana. Tom was also accomplished in field trials, which he participated in for over twenty years.  He and his prized Brittany Spaniels won numerous competitions and awards.

But Tom wasn’t just a hunter and avid outdoorsman. Tom was passionate about game management, conservation, and, of course, safety. Tom invested himself in teaching younger generations about hunting. He began by teaching his two sons, Tom Jr. and John, and eventually taught his grandchildren when they came of age. Tom was a conscientious hunter and would never harvest more than he and his family could consume. His passion and respect for wildlife was always apparent, and Tom instilled this respect in future generations of hunters.

The same focus and dedication that Tom developed as a hunter made him an invaluable attorney and a very successful person. Tom attended Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. Tom then worked as a computer programmer to help pay his tuition to attend the South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. In addition to obtaining a law degree, Tom also became certified as a Professional Landman by the American Association of Professional Landmen.

Tom worked at several oil and gas companies before entering law school, so when he graduated with a his law degree, he was well prepared to serve the energy industry as a lawyer. After law school, Tom worked for the Getty Oil Company as a Landman in its offshore and frontier division. Tom worked negotiating contracts and leases for the company to help expand its oil production.

In 1977, Tom joined The Superior Oil Company as a Division Land Manager where he was responsible for all land and contract functions for the offshore and onshore California and Alaska divisions. During his time at The Superior Oil Company, Tom also managed the land department in the company’s New Orleans office.

In 1981, Tom left The Superior Oil Company to work at Tomlinson Interests, Inc. Working as general counsel for the company, Tom oversaw the legal, insurance, and tax divisions. Tom also supervised multi-million dollar budgets for outside litigation and related legal services in multiple states.

In 1986, Tom joined Adair & Myers, the predecessor of Adair Myers Graves Stevenson and Adair Myers Stevenson Yagi, where he developed a wide ranging practice assisting clients with transactional and business matters, bankruptcy and of course, oil and gas. Tom served as managing partner of the firm for over ten years.

Tom’s oil and gas background allowed the firm to serve its oil and gas clients with the experience and finesse of a much larger law firm, but at an affordable price for clients. Tom worked hard for all of his clients. No matter how small, Tom pursued all legal matters with tenacity.

Clients began to rely on Tom for his outstanding dedication to any legal matter his clients needed help with. His dedication earned him many clients, some of which worked with Tom for over twenty-five years. Tom was known as a dealmaker. When legal matters arose, Tom would work toward the best solution for his clients. Tom understood that all legal matters are different and resolving each one required unique solutions.

This led Tom to join the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of the Houston Bar Association, the Association of Attorney Mediators, the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution, and LawPact, an international non-profit association of business law firms designed to keep its members on the cutting edge of best practices in the legal industry.

To honor Tom’s passion for hunting, the firm made a donation to the Texas Hunter Education Instructors Association (THEIA), a 509(a)(2) non-profit that works with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and its Hunter Education Program to teach and support safe hunting through education and outreach activities. Each year, THEIA holds the Youth Hunter Education Challenge where young hunters from across the state compete in a hunting challenge.

The firm’s donation covered the travel costs for the top five hunters from the Texas Youth Hunter Education Challenge to attend the National Youth Hunter Education Challenge in New Mexico in July 2017. For the past several years, the Texas team has been unable to attend the national conference due to lack of funding. The firm is proud to help pass on the passion Tom had for hunting to the next generation through its donation.