Clyde Siebman (1958-2021)

It is with great sorrow that I report that my partner Clyde M. Siebman of Sherman passed away last night.

Clyde was an amateur Texas historian, loved to travel with his family, and was an avid outdoorsman. He was always proud to explain that the Siebman family is an East Texas pioneer family, and was always happiest when he had at least one and preferably two firearms within easy reach. If there were extra high-capacity magazines as well, it was a good day. We spent many happy afternoons at the shooting range at his farm in Oklahoma, where he enjoyed entertaining family and friends.

No lawyer that has ever entered an Eastern District of Texas courthouse can lay claim to being a greater son of the district. Clyde began his federal practice serving as a law clerk to the late United States District Judge Paul Brown, traveling the district alongside Judge Brown serving in the Sherman, Texarkana and Beaumont Divisions. Clyde’s association with Judge Brown was something he was always grateful for and immensely proud of. We were standing in the hallway of the courthouse in Marshall last Monday looking at Judge Brown’s picture on the wall and I mentioned it was hard to believe it had been over eight years since he passed. That took Clyde by surprise and he started to disagree and say that the plaque had it wrong, and then realized it really had been that long.

Clyde founded the Eastern District of Texas Bar Association under the auspices of presiding U.S. Senior District Judge Richard Schell in 1996 and served as its founding president. As many are aware, for most of the last 25 years he has overseen the planning for the bar association’s annual conferences. He tried to quit once, and that didn’t go over well with anyone, including the Lord, who sent a hurricane causing the cancellation of the event (true story), so he was kept in harness thereafter. He leaves very large boots to fill.

I first met Clyde when I was clerking for Judge Hall in Marshall, and he showed up with a highly questionable case with our mutual friend Mike Miller – but they were both obviously having a lot of fun with it. We eventually hooked up professionally sixteen years later, and have been law partners for the past thirteen years. He was in town last week for a pretrial conference with Judge Gilstrap and we were both surprised it had been that long. But then again, we both thought we were still young lawyers (who obviously can’t add sixteen and thirteen).

Clyde’s legal accomplishments are too numerous to mention, but a few he was proudest of were an “AV” Peer Reviewed ranking for over two decades, 2018 Lawyer of the Year for Patent Litigation and 2020 Lawyer of the Year for Copyright Litigation in Dallas-Fort Worth in The Best Lawyers in America. Clyde was also Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and a member of the East Texas chapter of American Board of Trial Advocates (because I was alert enough to swipe him out from under the Dallas chapter’s nose the year I was president of our chapter).

Clyde also served as Chairman of the Advisory Committee for the Institute for Law and Technology of the Center for American and International Law in Plano (formerly the Southwestern Legal Foundation). Clyde previously served as a member of the Eastern District of Texas’ Local Rules Advisory Committee, Non-Appropriated Fund Committee and U.S. Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Committee.

Clyde was a frequent lecturer on a variety of legal topics, and was regularly called to moderate judicial panels and participate in legal conferences, including those sponsored by the State Bar of Texas, Eastern District of Texas Bar Association, Oregon Patent Law Association, New York Intellectual Property Law Association, Oklahoma Bar Association, Colorado Bar Association, Federal Circuit Bar Association, American Intellectual Property Law Association, the Sedona Conference and the Leahy Institute of Advanced Patent Studies.

One of Clyde’s favorite experiences was when he and Carol were members of a delegation of attorneys and judges from the Eastern District of Texas and other courts that presented the first patent mock trial at Beijing University in China and he delivered a presentation on U.S. trial practices at Southwestern University School of Law and Political Science in Chongqing, China. He was immensely pleased to have been the lawyer who was harassed the most by their good friend U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn who presided over his trial in China, and spoke of it often.

Clyde was active in Texas public affairs, including serving by way of Gubernatorial appointments as Chairman of the Grayson County Regional Mobility Authority, Commissioner of the Red River Interstate Compact Commission, Commissioner of the Red River Boundary Commission and Member of the Board of Directors for the Red River Authority of Texas. Clyde was named Conservator of Texarkana’s Riverbend Water Resources District by the 82nd Texas Legislature.

Interestingly, Clyde was also a former member of the Presidential Electoral College of the United States, in which capacity he cast one of Texas’ electoral votes for president for his fellow Texan George W. Bush in the relatively quiet presidential election of 2000.

Clyde and I shared the honor of serving on the Board of Directors of the State Bar of Texas representing the 24 counties of District 1, and he was later nominated by the Board as a candidate for President-Elect of the State Bar.

Clyde was a graduate of Southern Methodist University. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Cox School of Business and Juris Doctor from the Dedman School of Law, where he graduated as a Hatton W. Sumners Law Scholar. He was a member of SMU’s National Moot Court Team that advanced to nationals in 1983. Clyde also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from SMU, which he earned with distinction.

Clyde is survived by his wife Judge Carol Siebman, their daughter and our law partner Elizabeth Siebman Forrest, and their beloved grandchild Kendall Forrest.

He will be missed.