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Lawyers often describe practicing law in San Antonio as laid back. It’s easy to get cases heard, easy to talk to other lawyers, and easy to balance life and work. Even taking a legal tour of downtown San Antonio is a breeze — pay 50 cents to hop on the downtown trolley (take the yellow or the brown line) or hoof it. Either way, encountering all things legal — famous and infamous — will complement your experience in San Antonio. Below is a guide, complete with facts, figures and even some of the legends behind the city’s legal landmarks. BEXAR COUNTY JUSTICE CENTER 300 Dolorosa St. This is the home of the 4th Court of Appeals and Phil Hardberger, its chief justice. Last year, Hardberger achieved scholastic notoriety when he penned “Juries Under Siege,” a blistering look at the Texas Supreme Court, for St. Mary’s Law Journal. Through the years, the center has seen its share of excitement. In 1997, a prisoner used his leg irons to knock down a bailiff and grab her gun. Although he did fire the gun, no one was injured. But that claim can’t be made at the Bexar County Courthouse, next door. BEXAR COUNTY COURTHOUSE 100 Dolorosa St. In 1896, the courthouse was built from Texas granite and Pecos red sandstone. The Romanesque revival-style building has conical towers, rounded arches and thick walls. It was designed to be pleasing to the eye and functional: Architects added a place for officials to carry out death penalties. Legend has it that the courthouse’s single red turret was designed specifically as the place to hang those convicted of murder. The courthouse is often called the “Sandstone Twilight Zone” after some of the more bizarre goings-on inside. Lawyers need to go no further than the second floor to experience first-hand how crazy it can get in there. Bexar County is one of two major Texas counties that follows a central docketing system, and in the “presiding judge court,” you can bet on a crowd of lawyers yelling out dispositions or status reports on routine pre-trial motions and nonjury matters. The audience is one of the county’s 11 civil district judges who pulled the month-long duty. The system was challenged in the 1998 appeal of In Re Elena Aguilar Garza, but the 4th Court of Appeals denied the writ. The lawyers aren’t the only ones who can get kind of crazy. In 1976, an assistant district attorney was allegedly stabbed by the boyfriend of the woman he was arraigning. The lawyer was not seriously hurt. Another story tells of an attempted escape in 1982, when a prisoner decided to make a break for it by hurdling himself out a third-floor window. He probably expected to fall a few floors and hit the ground running. Instead, he met a second floor rooftop patio and broke his leg. That made it easier for the judge — who allegedly had pulled his gun — to bring the jumper to justice. CADILLAC BAR & RESTAURANT 212 S. Flores St. A block or so south of the justice center are the inviting red doors of the Cadillac Bar. Last year, San Antonio lawyers rated this watering hole the most popular among their brethren. The jury is still out on whether the reason lies in the cavernous bar’s proximity to the courthouse or its icy cold Shiners. LAW OFFICES OF PAT MALONEY 239 E. Commerce St. Head north on Main Street until Commerce Street. The most charming legal locale on Commerce Street belongs to San Antonio lawyer Pat Maloney Sr. and his family of litigators. Maloney has won his share of jury awards throughout his 50-year career — more than 100 cases weighing in at more than a $1 million — so it seems fitting that he should office in an equally venerable building. The Law Offices of Pat Maloney was originally built as a bank in 1886. The ornate limestone building was the brainchild of prominent banker and philanthropist George W. Brackenridge, who was then president of the First National Bank. Considered one of the more “perfect” banks in Texas at the time, the structure boasts 2-foot-thick walls, concrete floors and a roof garden. Maloney added the adjoining office building to expand the space. ONE ALAMO CENTER 106 S. Saint Mary’s St. When you come to the intersection of Commerce and St. Mary’s, you have reached the street that may host the highest volume of high-dollar lawyers in town. In a building on this street, J. Tullos Wells led a group of lawyers away from the century-old Matthews and Branscomb to form another firm — and repeated the same move again and again. First it was Wells Pinckney & McHugh, then the door said Strasburger & Price. Currently, the office building directory identifies Tulles and company’s suite as Bracewell & Patterson. By the way, the mother of these inventions, Matthews and Branscomb, still resides in the building. TOWER LIFE BUILDING 310 S. Saint Mary’s St. Visible from almost anywhere in the city (and currently undergoing renovation), construction started on the 31-story Tower Life Building in 1928. It was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River until the 1950s. The striking fa�ade screams gothic and gargoyle — and was supposedly the building where unemployed psychologist Peter Venkman battled evil spirits in “Ghostbusters.” At the top of the building (and arguably the profession) is Gerry Goldstein. He’s achieved notoriety for his representation of high-profile and diverse clients, such as convicted drug kingpin Juan Garcia Abrego, gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson and former Texas Attorney General Dan Morales. He is also renowned for his liberal leanings: In the early 1970s, he and San Antonio lawyer Maury Maverick defended conscientious objectors to the Vietnam War. COURTHOUSE VIEW If you continue along Commerce Street, take a minute to track down to the river via the Navarro Street entrance. You’ll get a fantastic view of the old courthouse and enjoy some welcome shade. TEXAS HIGHWAY PATROL MUSEUM 812 S. Alamo St. Continuing east on Commerce, you’ll come to South Alamo Street, just short of the conference center. Sure, you’ll find the Alamo here, but the real jewel is the Texas Highway Patrol Museum. Want to experience the Terry-type pat down? Recite your Miranda rights? This museum is a tribute to police officers. Exhibits include the Medal of Valor and A Day in the Life of a Trooper.

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