JACK PAUL LEON was born October 17, 1930, in Harlingen, Texas. Prior to pursuing an education, he served in the United States Air Force and fought in the Korean War. Throughout his career, Leon specialized in the fields of litigation, trial and appeals, civil law, and criminal in state and federal courts.

Leon received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Texas Arts & Industries University in 1956 and his doctorate in jurisprudence from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 1959. After law school, Leon became an Assistant District Attorney in Leon, Amberson & Carroll, L.L.P. in San Antonio, where he practiced in 1959-1962. In 1963, he began service in the Northern, Southern and Western District Courts of Texas. Then, Leon was appointed to the Fifth Circuit of Appeals in 1965, where he served until 1974 when he began serving on the Supreme Court.

During his career as a lawyer, Leon served as the president of the 3020 Club from l959-62, a chairman of the Criminal Law and Procedure Committee in 1966, was a prosecutor on the Grievance Committee (1966 and 1967), a chairman of the Criminal Law and Procedures Committee from l967 to 1968, a trustee member for the St. Mary’s School of Law, and an active member of the Bexar County Democratic Committee.

Leon was associated with the San Antonio Association of Trial Lawyers, the Texas Association of Trial Lawyers, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association where he was one of the board directors from l982 until 1983, and the San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, where he was one of the board directors in l978. Leon was also a member of the American Bar Association, the Texas Bar Association where he was also an instructor, and the San Antonio Bar Association. In 1985, Leon was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the St. Mary’s School of Law.

As a lawyer, Jack Leon was a member of both the Argyle club and Plaza Club. He was also a member of Delta Theta Phi.

Prior to losing his battle with pancreatic cancer on February 9, 2011, Leon served in private practice at the Law Office of Jack Paul Leon in San Antonio, Texas.

By John Cadena, St. Mary’s University Law Fellows in Public History (2019).