Gilbert Vara, Jr.Attorney at Law
Mr. Vara has successfully represented clients in cases involving remarkable complexity and that demand his competence, experience, and forthright communication. Martindale-Hubbell honored Mr. Vara by designating him as an AV peer-rated preeminent attorney. This designation is awarded only to attorneys who have achieved the highest level of professional excellence and legal ethics, a distinction held by less than 5% of all lawyers and law firms in the United States.
A native of San Antonio, Mr. Vara graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1974. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a corresponding emphasis in English at the University of Texas at Austin in 1974 after only 3 years of study. In 1979, Mr. Vara attended graduate school in the Government Department at UT Austin where he studied under Professor Lawrence Dodd. In 1985, Mr. Vara earned his Juris Doctorate from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio where he was honored with the Order of the Barristers and was Chairman of the Board of Advocates.
He is admitted to practice before Texas state courts, the United States District Courts for the Western, Southern, and Northern Districts of Texas, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Vara is an active member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas, the San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association, and the San Antonio Bar Association, where he actively participates in the Elder Law, Litigation, and Appellate Practice sections.
In conjunction with Bexar County Legal Aid, Mr. Vara earned the American Bar Association Award for development of the 1987 Amnesty Aid Immigration Law Project directed at aiding immigrants to matriculate legally through the federal amnesty immigration program.
From 1988 to the present, Mr. Vara has served as a Member of the San Antonio Bar Association Fee Dispute Committee, an panel of almost 30 attorneys and public members who arbitrate disputes brought by to the Committee by the courts, the general public or attorneys who are dissatisfied with a fee arrangement. The Committee provides a creative dispute resolution alternative where clients and attorneys voluntarily accept binding arbitration before the Committee and which results in an efficient and professional environment to resolve fee disputes. Since 2000, Mr. Vara has been the Chairperson.
From 1994-1999, Mr. Vara served as a Director of the St. Mary’s University School of Law Alumni Association. In 1998, Mr. Vara was elected President of the Alumni Association.
From 1997-2003, Mr. Vara served on the Division 10, State Bar of Texas Grievance Committee where he helped administer the fair and equal enforcement of the Texas Disciplinary Rules. During that term of service, he also served on the State Bar of Texas Performance Enhancement Committee where he mentored other attorneys and prescribed remedies to correct behavior that violated the Texas Disciplinary Rules where behavior could be corrected and improved. Mr. Vara was commended for his service by the State Bar.
From 1999-2003, Mr. Vara was elected to serve as Trustee of St. Mary’s University.
From 1999-2003, Mr. Vara served on the Pastoral Council of St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church.
From 2001-2009, Mr. Vara served as Trustee of the San Antonio Bar Foundation, a non-profit Foundation that supports the endeavors of the San Antonio Bar Association legal community. In 2008, Mr. Vara served as the Chairperson of the Foundation helping to raise and protect almost $1 million dollars in assets for use in the community at large.
From 2006-2009, Mr. Vara was selected to the William Sessions Inn of Court whose propose is to increase professionalism among attorneys.
From 1977-1979, Mr. Vara taught undergraduate students at the University of Texas.
From 2010-2012, Mr. Vara taught legal research and writing as an adjunct instructor at the University of Texas Law School at Austin, Paralegal Professional Development Program.
Throughout his career, Mr. Vara has served the community at large by providing significant leadership in the San Antonio Bar Association Will’s Clinic and the Community Justice Program. Both programs gather the legal resources of San Antonio to aid those unable to access justice due to their financial circumstances. In conjunction with Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, citizens who are financially qualified to receive voluntary pro bon counseling and legal representation can access the courts or provide for the protection of their families via competent estate planning. Mr. Vara is proud of continuing to help meet that need in San Antonio.