Basketball had Michael Jordan. Texas Law had Racehorse Haynes.
When I was in Junior High up in Bryan, a friend of mine's father died, and his wealthy family ended up in a huge legal battle over his estate. When my friend's mother hired Racehorse Haynes, it was the talk of the town. You would have thought that Abraham Lincoln was coming to argue a case. If I recall correctly, the case settled relatively quickly after Mr. Haynes' signing onto the case.
It wasn't until much later that it occurred to me that Mr. Haynes wasn't really known for his experience in Probate and Will cases. I suppose his reputation was all the case actually needed.
His trials across the state were legendary, and he was legendary for winning them. If you haven't read Blood and Money or any of the literature on the Cullen Davis trial, you are truly missing out on understanding the legal system and traditions in Texas.
I can't say that I ever really got to know Mr. Haynes. Although he continued practicing law in the CJC right up until a few years ago, we never had anything together. I would see him in court and on the elevators from time to time, and it always felt like a celebrity sighting. He was a relatively short man, who was pretty quiet. If you didn't know who he was when you saw him, you would never guess that you were in the presence of a Marine who fought at Iwo Jima, or Texas' most famous trial lawyer.
I have often said that the greatest thing about working as a criminal lawyer in Harris County, Texas is that you get to walk amongst Giants. Our prosecutors, our defense attorneys, our crimes, and our stories are simply the best.
Racehorse Haynes was the indisputable King of those Giants.