Sonja and Neal Adams ’68 invest their time and financial resources in Texas A&M’s School of Law.
Sonja and Neal Adams ’68 of Euless, Texas, share a passion for investing in their communities. Inspired to prepare students to be successful in the law profession, the couple committed a $50,000 gift to the Texas A&M Foundation to create scholarships for students at the Texas A&M University School of Law.
Founded in 1989 as a night school in Irving, Texas, the law school became part of Texas Wesleyan University in 1992 and then moved to its current Fort Worth location in 1997. In 2013, Texas A&M University purchased the ongoing operations of the former private law school. Located in downtown Fort Worth, the School of Law sits right in the metroplex’s legal, judicial and business hub.
Neal and Sonja’s gift will double in impact thanks to a 1:1 match provided by Texas A&M, bringing the total value of their scholarship to $100,000. Because their gift is endowed, it will support law students in perpetuity. “Education is so important to us,” Neal said. “We’ve elected that our scholarship support second or third year students who pursue a health or education law track.”
Neal is president of the law firm Adams, Lynch & Loftin, P.C. in Grapevine, Texas. In his 47th year of practice, he’s excited that the law school provides Texas A&M with a unique, legislative influence. He was instrumental in Texas A&M’s acquisition of the school and advocated for adding a law dimension to the university’s repertoire. Recently, he was also invited by the provost to serve on the search committee for the school’s new dean, since its first leader, Andy Morriss, was called away to serve as the founding dean of the university’s new I-School.
“As a tier one university, we already had a well-known veterinary school, the Bush School of Government and Public Service, a medical school, and a dental school,” Neal said. “A law school was the missing piece. Now that we have a law presence, we’ve rounded out the professional education offered at Texas A&M.”
The law school has been incredibly successful since its start. Of the nearly 200 public and private law schools in the country, U.S. News & World Report now ranks the Texas A&M School of Law as No. 92, just four years after it was acquired. Its intellectual property program is currently ranked No. 7 nationwide, and its dispute resolution program is ranked No. 13. No law school has ever moved up in the rankings as quickly as Texas A&M University’s School of Law has done – 100 ranks in three years.
In addition to their financial investment, Neal and Sonja have hosted several get-togethers with friends and acquaintances in their sphere of influence to educate them about the School of Law and its mission. Not all of their guests are involved in the law profession, or even Aggies, but Neal and Sonja feel they are lending their support to a worthy cause.
“Since Texas A&M acquired the law school, we were fearful that people wouldn’t know about it,” said Sonja. “We enjoy shedding light on the school and encouraging others to offer their support.” As a Fort Worth native, Sonja feels particularly invested in seeing the school succeed. “It has been a rewarding process, and we’ve met a lot of great Aggies along the way,” she said.
Neal received his Bachelor’s of Business Administration in marketing from Texas A&M in 1968. While an undergraduate, he was extremely involved on campus as a member of the student senate, a cadet in Companies D3 and D2, and as Head Yell Leader for the 1967-1968 school year.
In 1970, he obtained his Juris Doctor from Baylor University School of Law. He was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army and served as Trial Counsel for Headquarters Command in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, earning the Army Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service. He began his professional career in 1972 as president of Neal W. Adams, P.C. He has been in his current position as president, principal attorney and co-owner of Adams, Lynch & Loftin, P.C. since 1987.
Sonja earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Baylor University. She is a proud third-generation Baylor bear, although she considers herself an Aggie by marriage. She taught third grade for the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District until her retirement. Now, she’s active in the district’s retired teachers organization and serves on the Dean’s Development Council for Texas A&M’s College of Education and Human Development.
The couple recognizes how vital ethical and hard-working lawyers are to society. “Lawyers develop specialized skills to help others advocate for justice,” Neal said. “If they have the right kind of heart, they will go out and serve their communities.” The Adamses hope their gift will help prepare future lawyers who are dedicated to serving the greater good.
“We need to attract high-quality students to compete with other law schools,” Neal added. “We lose good students when they choose a different law school over Texas A&M’s because they are offered more scholarship money. I believe law graduates from across the nation make a difference in our world, but I’m confident that Texas A&M School of Law graduates will pack a bigger punch, wearing that Aggie ring on their finger.”
Despite having only three endowed scholarships in 2013, the School of Law now has nineteen. However, more scholarships are needed to attract the best and brightest law students to Texas A&M.