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The beginning of the new term at the University of Texas School of Law last week held a special meaning for Pat Hazel. This will be the last year that Hazel, a law professor and director of UT’s trial advocacy program, will teach full time. It’s a job he’s enjoyed for more than a quarter century. “I like teaching law,” Hazel says. But Hazel didn’t follow a typical route to become the law professor he is today. Before he went to law school, he was ordained as a Catholic priest and holds a license as an exorcist. By his own estimates, Hazel has taught trial advocacy and advanced civil litigation to thousands of students since he first became associated with the law school in 1975. When the students start off, they “don’t know beans” about how to prepare for a trial, conduct voir dire or examine a witness, he says. “I get to see the students grow,” Hazel says. “From where they start off to when they do the mock trial — it’s a beautiful transition.” His love for the job kept Hazel working throughout the summer break despite having his left leg amputated below the knee in June and cataract surgery in August. Hazel, who was diagnosed with diabetes 42 years ago, says he works at home when he can’t make it to the office. “He’s not a quitter,” says Hazel’s friend and colleague, Mike Sharlot, a professor and former dean of the UT law school. Sharlot says Hazel’s two greatest contributions to the institution have been teaching the intricacies of civil procedure and designing, administering and teaching the trial advocacy course. The trial advocacy program has been successful, he says, because Hazel has found so many practicing attorneys who have been willing to volunteer their time to work with students. One former student says the lessons he’s learned from Hazel have served him well. “Everything I know about being a practicing lawyer, I learned from Pat Hazel, but he taught me only a small fraction of what he knows,” says attorney Craig D. Ball, a 1982 graduate of the UT law school. Ball says the civil procedures courses he took under Hazel were “the one truly practical, useful curriculum that I had.” One of Hazel’s strong points, Ball says, was teaching students practical shortcuts in the law. For example, Hazel uses what he calls the “MIAO rule” to help his students remember what to do when presenting evidence. Ball says MIAO stands for mark, identify, authenticate and offer. “To this day, I still tick off MIAO in my mind” before introducing evidence, Ball says. Austin, Texas, attorney Dicky Grigg says Hazel’s experiences before he became a law school professor are what made him a successful teacher. “Pat lived a long time in the real world. I think that’s the reason he’s a good teacher. He tried cases and had experience before he went to the ivory tower,” says Grigg, one of Hazel’s former law partners. ‘BOARD CERTIFIED IN EXORCISM’ Hazel was in his late 30s when he began his law career in 1971. His first career as a priest took him to the Vatican. The Kilgore, Texas, native grew up in the East Texas town of White Oak, where he played high school football. Hazel says he and fellow White Oak team member Max McGee — who went on to a pro career with the Green Bay Packers — won football scholarships to New Orleans’ Tulane University in 1950. While in New Orleans, Hazel says he picked up brochures on the Catholic faith, began attending classes and became interested in becoming a priest. He left Tulane during his junior year after suffering a shoulder injury and enrolled in St. Edward’s University in Austin, where he studied Latin. The next several years of his life were spent preparing to become a priest. Hazel attended LaSalette Seminary in Altamont, N.Y., in the fall of 1953 but came to San Antonio in the spring of 1954, first attending St. John’s Seminary and ultimately receiving a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Assumption Seminary. His next stop was Rome, where he spent four years studying at the Gregorian University. Hazel says he was in Rome when Pope John XXIII was selected as the pope. Hazel’s ordination as a priest came on July 12, 1959. Grigg likes to tease Hazel that he’s “board certified” in exorcism, but his teasing is close to the truth. Hazel says at the time he was ordained, priests went through several stages in the ordination process, including one on exorcism. “I am a licensed, ordained exorcist, but I’ve never done one,” he says. Although, he adds, “I’ve run into some people who I thought needed it.” While a priest, Hazel taught at Catholic schools in Fort Worth, Garland and Dallas. But finding himself at odds with the Catholic church over the requirement that priests remain celibate and unmarried as well as the restrictions on birth control, Hazel left the priesthood in October 1967, he says. Hazel says he married his first wife, Lisa, about a month later and took her to Oklahoma City for a honeymoon. At the time, it was relatively rare for someone to leave the priesthood and get married. Hazel’s marriage caused a stir in the Dallas area. “We came back to find ourselves on television,” he recalls. The couple divorced in May 1997, and Hazel married his second wife, Nanneska, a year later. The two met eight days after his divorce was final, Hazel says. LEGAL CALLING Hazel decided to try a career in law and enrolled in the UT law school in 1968, shortly after completing a master’s degree in education from Loyola University in Chicago. Following his graduation from law school in 1971, Hazel spent a year as a briefing clerk for Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Leon Douglas before becoming an associate with the former Austin firm of Gibbins & Spivey. The firm provided him his first experience as a plaintiffs’ attorney. Retired attorney Bob Gibbins, who was a partner in the firm, says Hazel accompanied him on several trials. The clients “really liked him” because he was always polite, Gibbins says. Hazel met Grigg while with Gibbins & Spivey, and the two hit it off. “He was sort of like a grandfather figure to me and still is,” Grigg says. In 1971, Grigg asked Hazel to perform the marriage ceremony for him and his bride-to-be, Mary Gay. Hazel says Texas law provides that marriages can be performed by an ordained priest. “I had never rejected or renounced my ordination.” Grigg says that Hazel was late for the wedding but had a good excuse — albeit an unusual one. Hazel says he already had dressed for the wedding when he and Broadus Spivey, the other partner in Gibbins & Spivey, visited a farm because the farmer, their client, had alleged that his cows had eaten plants that had been sprayed with a poison, causing them to develop the “scours.” At the time, Hazel didn’t know what was wrong with the animals, but he soon found out. As Hazel recalls, one of the cows suffered a bout of diarrhea and defecated as he and Spivey were walking by. “It splattered all over Broadus and myself,” he says. The two lawyers had to rush home to change clothes for the wedding. Gibbins says Hazel also performed the marriage ceremony for him and his wife, Pam, in 1982. Hazel didn’t visit a herd of cattle before officiating at that ceremony. When Gibbins and Spivey dissolved their firm, Hazel became a partner in Spivey, Hazel & Grigg, which formed in 1976 — the year before Hazel began his career at the UT law school as a lecturer. “I started teaching a course one night a week,” he says. It soon grew into a vocation. In 1978, Hazel decided to teach full time and became of counsel at Spivey, Grigg, Kelly & Knisely, Hazel says. When Hazel became the director of the trial advocacy program in 1983, he was granted tenure. Hazel’s trial advocacy program takes students step by step through what a lawyer must do to prepare for and try a case and concludes with a mock jury trial. But Hazel says the most important advice he can give his students is: “Don’t lose human contact.” It’s OK to use computers and answering machines, but the clients, witnesses and jurors in a case are people, and a lawyer has to be able to develop a rapport with them, he says. When the assigned case involves an ultralight aircraft, for example, Hazel says he encourages students to talk with someone who has flown a craft of that type. “Talk to someone who knows about it and flies it,” he says. “Don’t just go on the Internet and read about it.” Grigg says Hazel has endeared himself to jurors by doing little things. Once during a trial in Lockhart, Grigg says, Hazel began speaking Spanish to a potential juror who was Hispanic. The opposing counsel and judge “just went crazy,” Grigg says, because the court reporter couldn’t take down the Spanish words, but the juror was impressed. The priest-turned-lawyer-turned-law professor has come full circle in his life. On July 12 — the 46th anniversary of his ordination as a Catholic priest — Hazel was accepted as an Episcopalian priest during a ceremony at St. David’s Episcopal Church. “He’s doing that for free,” says Grigg, who was among the friends who attended the ceremony. “Like they say in Lubbock where I grew up, this is a dog that will hunt.” Hazel says he will serve as a volunteer priest for St. David’s Episcopal Church in Austin. “I will help out at St. David’s as much as St. David’s can stand me,” he says.

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