Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Name and title: P. Allan Port, executive vice president and general counsel Age: 64 Not a small-town banker: Amegy Corp. is the parent company of the Amegy Bank of Texas, a $9 billion concern with some 80 branches in the Houston and Dallas areas. The “A Bank” offers commercial and private banking services, including mortgages and investment management. Once known as Southwest Bankcorp. of Texas, the business has grown dramatically since Port signed on in September 2002, essentially doubling in size. In December 2005, Amegy was acquired by Zions Bankcorp. of Salt Lake City for approximately $1.7 billion, including about $600 million in cash. Amegy continues to operate as a separate entity under the Amegy name with its previous management in place. Daily duties: Given that Amegy has approximately 2,200 employees, human resource issues constitute a sizable component of Port’s job-not controversies so much, but determination of compensation, policies and benefits. Port works on various litigation matters, including employment issues and some vendor disagreements arising in the context of acquisitions. In the aftermath of the merger with Zions, Port-now general counsel of a public company’s subsidiary rather than the public company itself-is no longer responsible for the large array of corporate governance matters. Legal department and outside counsel: Port oversees two in-house attorneys, one handling issues involving other banks and customers, embezzlement or fraud, and commercial paper usage, as well as product development. The other attorney focuses on some of Amegy’s affiliated businesses, such as investment advisory, wealth management, compliance and trust, representing those clients within the organization directly. The bank hires a number of outside law firms to help with its legal work, favoring those that use the bank’s varied services, Port said. “I’m very upfront about that. We have a kind of symbiotic relationship. I favor the law firms who are customers of the bank. I don’t beat them up on their fees terribly, because I’m selling them banking services. We are each serving the other.” Route to present position: Port speaks of his career as having had “distinctly different chapters,” as though he is flipping through a well-loved book. But perhaps his career is more similar to a triathlon, with three primary areas of endeavor: law firm partner, businessman and general counsel. The variety, Port said, has been “a great blessing.” Port grew up in Houston, the son of prominent attorney Paul Port, whom he describes as mentor, role model, close friend and, ultimately, law partner. A 1964 graduate of Yale University with a degree in American studies, Port graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 1967. He then clerked for then-5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge J.C. Hutcheson Jr. Following his clerkship, Port joined Houston-based Baker Botts’ trial department as an associate; it was the firm where his father had started his own practice 30 years before. Several years later, Port joined his father’s firm, Childress, Port & Crady, as a partner. He became involved in the management of the 10-lawyer firm, which handled commercial litigation, real estate, trusts and estates and tax matters. In July 1978, the firm split, with Port and his father among a group that reconfigured as Childress, Port & Pirtle. A year later, the five-lawyer firm merged with Sewell & Riggs, which boasted about 40 attorneys. Port was the firm’s principal tax lawyer during the heady days of Texas’ energy boom, which was stoked in part by federal tax incentives. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 cooled things down considerably, however, and Port shifted his focus to general business law, acquisitions, contract work and entrepreneurial ventures. In 1993, he became managing partner of Sewell & Riggs, which three years later merged with Gardere & Wynne. Port managed the Houston office of the Dallas-based firm, known today as Gardere Wynne Sewell. He left in January 2000 to join Orillion USA, a telecommunications business run by longtime client Jerry Sellers that flourished during the high technology bubble. Port served as executive vice president in charge of corporate development, directing mergers and acquisitions and overseeing corporate communications. By 2001, the tech bubble had burst. Port oversaw the legal details as Orillion cut staff, closed branch offices and ultimately ran out of money. “It was a very painful process . . . a very interesting experience, but not one I’d ever want to put to use again,” he said. Port was still working part-time at Orillion-spending his off hours on travel and athletics, including trekking in Switzerland and mountain-biking in Utah-when a former law partner passed along the information that a golfing buddy, Amegy Chief Executive Officer Paul Murphy, had decided it was time his bank hired its first general counsel. Port joined the bank a few weeks after the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 was enacted. The law required a major revamping of various aspects of the bank’s corporate governance, so Port’s first tasks involved putting new systems in place and revising the bank’s code of ethics. “It was pure serendipity for that to come up at that time,” Port said. “This organization is a wonderful place to work. It’s a lot like a law firm environment: The people are the best and brightest, the culture is energetic [and] hard-working, and the ethical climate is of the highest caliber, with a lot of emphasis on doing the right thing.” Personal: Port and his wife, Peggy Port, an artist, have two children: Paul Hunter Port, 28, a second-year associate at Fulbright & Jaworski; and Maggie Port, 25, a doctoral candidate in mathematics at the University of Houston. When Port isn’t at the bank or engaged in bank-related business, chances are he’s striving to surpass his personal best at the gym, in the pool or on the ski slopes. A dedicated athlete whose interests include triathlon training, running, cycling, swimming, weightlifting, skiing and shooting, Port admits that he thrives on challenge, always looking for the next mountain to climb, not content merely to run laps around the same track again and again. Last book and movie: The China Study, By T. Colin Campbell; and One-Eyed Jacks, “a classic 1960s western,” on DVD.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.