Student Co-hosts Eminent Domain Workshop for Texas Landowners

October 20, 2017

Jordan Simmons and James BradburyAggie Law student Jordan Simmons with Texas A&M Law Adjunct Professor Jim Bradbury, following their presentation, “Water Rights and Eminent Domain Issues for the Landowner in East Texas.”

Third-year student and Marshall, Texas native Jordan Simmons Hayes (’18) recently co-hosted an eminent domain workshop for the landowners of her hometown. The event, "Water Rights and Eminent Domain Issues for the Landowner in East Texas," was sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, and featured a keynote presentation by property and water rights attorney James D. Bradbury.

Bradbury is also an adjunct professor for Texas A&M University School of Law, where he first worked with Hayes in her study of agricultural law and eminent domain.

“From the first day I met Jim, I told him, ‘I want to be like you,’” Hayes said. “These people are my people, and everything I am doing is so I can get back home and help them.”

The idea originated in the spring, when Harrison County AgriLife Extension agent Matt Garrett, a longtime family friend of Hayes’, approached her asking for an eminent domain expert.

“Matt wanted a lawyer with expertise in this area to come and speak with the landowners of Harrison County, specifically on the topic of landowner rights related to condemned property,” said Hayes, who immediately thought of Bradbury.

Building on the eminent domain white paper they helped produce earlier this year, a document also presented to the 85th Texas Legislature, Bradbury and Hayes conducted additional research this summer, and presented to the Harrison County landowners group in early October.

Before a packed audience of 60 Marshall residents, the two quickly moved from delivering an educational presentation to facilitating an interactive discussion, one that spanned some 90 minutes longer than scheduled.

“It was really a tremendous experience to work together in Marshall explaining the law to landowners,” Bradbury said. “That is what a good lawyer does. Jordan made it more than that, however. This wasn’t just hometown advantage. I saw firsthand how Jordan’s ability and character helped her build rapport and trust with the landowners.”

“People asked lots of questions to the point that it really became more of a conversation,” Hayes said. “It was a timely topic, and one that the people of Marshall really wanted and appreciated.”

That warm reception affirmed for Hayes why she came to Fort Worth in the first place.

“Yes I came to the ‘big city’ to attend law school, but it was to learn things that will benefit the people of Marshall,” Hayes said. “It felt wonderful to take part in this presentation and to show my hometown that when I said I want to return home, practice here, and help our community, I meant every single word.”

For his part, Bradbury said he can’t wait to see what unfolds when Hayes returns to Marshall following law school graduation.

“Landowners and rural Texas have a deep need for attorneys and civic leaders, and Jordan Hayes is going to make that happen.”