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UH Law Center alumnus Scott Chase ’71 to retire in December after practicing law for five decades

Bethany Bonsu

Scott Chase '71

June 21, 2021 - Scott Chase, a 1971 graduate of the University of Houston Law Center, will close out a 50-year legal career at the end of this year, a career marked by military service and health law expertise

Chase will retire from Dallas-based firm Farrow-Gillespie Heath Witter LLP, where he leads the firm’s healthcare practice, on Dec. 31.

A Distinguished Military Graduate from UH’s ROTC program, Chase began his legal career in the midst of the Vietnam War as a U.S. Army “utility” Legal Officer at Fort Lee in Virginia, where he wrote wills, processed administrative discharges, and most notably, served as general counsel to the army agency that privatized kitchen police duty. 

“What I really discovered was, I had an ability to be flexible,” Chase said. 

Chase said he counts his military training and education at the Law Center as key experiences that gave him the dexterity to pivot throughout his career.

After graduating from the Law Center in 1971, Chase went to infantry officer school where he was routinely placed into different situations. 

“They try to make it hard on you, to make you think, and to make you be more flexible,” Chase recalled.

Chase said he thought of himself as a “mediocre” law student, but when he started serving in the Army and interacting with lawyers from around the country, he discovered he was holding his own. 

“Out of that, I figured out that my education was pretty good, that I could figure out how to do something different almost on a daily basis,” Chase said. “It’s worked very well for my law practice, too.” 

Following his two years of service in the Army as a First Lieutenant, Chase joined Campbell Taggart Inc., a Dallas-based company that was once the nation’s second-largest producer of baked goods, as an in-house attorney. His first boss was the company’s General Counsel Donald Mackaman, whom Chase considers a mentor because of his analytical skills and relationships with colleagues and clients. 

As someone who has worn various hats throughout his legal career – from in-house and general counsel roles at Campbell Taggart Inc., Dr Pepper Company and Republic Health Corporation, to working as a solo practitioner – Chase said he emphasizes the importance of being flexible to aspiring attorneys.

“In one sense my time at Republic Health was the best part because it led to me being Board Certified in Health Law,” Chase said. “It’s been a really good specialty in my career, and I’ve gotten a lot of accolades from being a health lawyer.”

In 2002, Chase became one of the state’s first attorneys to be Board Certified in Health Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, which he maintains to this day. Chase was a is the founding member of the Dallas Bar Association’s Health Law section, and from 2018 to 2020, the Scott Chase Scholarship in Health Law granted $10,000 each year to three Law Center students.

Chase said it was “always known” that he would attend UH. His father, Donald Chase, was in the first graduating class of the University of Houston’s College of Pharmacy in 1954, and some of his earliest memories are of UH. In the mornings, his father would hop on his bicycle from their home two miles from the University and pedal through MacGregor Park on his commute to the pharmacy school.

Given his family’s connections with the university, and his siblings later attending UH as well, Chase said he’s come to be “very attached” to both UH and the Law Center.

“I just had a good career, so I have to give UH credit for that in terms of my education,” he said.

Following his retirement from Farrow-Gillespie Heath Witter LLP, Chase plans to continue engaging the community through his work on various boards, mentorship, travel, and genealogical research.

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