C. Vernon Hartline, Jr., a long time-time Dallas lawyer, went home to be with the Lord on Monday, July 13, 2020 at the age of 75. Vernon was born November 5, 1944 in Dallas, Texas to Clyde Vernon Hartline and Betty Angel Hartline. After graduating from Plano Senior High School in 1963, he attended Baylor University and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1968. Vernon married Lynne Thompson on September 3, 1966. During his first year of law school at Baylor Law, Vernon was drafted and served in the U.S. Army as a First Lieutenant in Vietnam. After being injured in combat in early 1971, he was medevaced to the Air Force Military Hospital in Okinawa, Japan, where he recuperated for several months. He was discharged and came back to Texas in April of 1971, and just days after arriving home, he returned to Baylor Law to finish his law degree.
During law school he was a member of the Order of the Barristers. After Vernon was graduated from Baylor Law in 1973, he joined Gardere, Porter & DeHay, where he began his career as a trial lawyer. After a merger in 1979, Vernon and several of his colleagues formed DeHay & Blanchard. Vernon continued his career as a trial lawyer with Strasburger & Price beginning in 1984. In 1994, he and several colleagues in the firm’s product liability group decided to form their own firm, Hartline, Dacus, Dreyer, & Kern, L.L.P., to provide services to their clients more efficiently and effectively. At the prior firm they had been told, “Big ships turn slowly,” so Vernon and his colleagues vowed be nimble, able to adjust their sails to meet their clients’ needs while providing the highest quality legal services. It was that commitment that carried Vernon through to his last day with his colleagues at Hartline Barger, LLP, on July 13, 2020.
Vernon loved practicing law and being in the courtroom. His distinguished career as a product liability defense lawyer was highlighted by successes in the automotive and tire industry, which led to the firm’s representation of several major automotive and tire manufacturers on a regional and national basis. He also selflessly trained young lawyers, many of which started their careers at Hartline Barger LLP and have become his partners. He genuinely cared about the firm and its people, and he took time each day to reach out to his partners, colleagues, and staff.
Vernon served as President of the Baylor Law Alumni Association from 1993-1994, and was frequently designated a “Best Lawyer,” “Lawyer of the Year,” and “Texas Super Lawyer” during his career. He also received the Bridgestone Firestone General Counsel Award. Among Vernon’s many honors and awards are the National Defense Service Medal; the Vietnam Service Medal; the Vietnam Campaign Medal; and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
“Our firm has lost one of its original founders,” says managing partner, Larry Grayson. “Vernon Hartline’s clients will remember him as a tenacious advocate. His partners will remember him as a loyal colleague and mentor. His family and acquaintances will remember him as a caring and compassionate soul. All will remember him as a friend.”
Hartline Barger invites those wishing contribute to Vernon’s memory and legacy, to visit the Baylor Memorial Funds page and learn more about the C. Vernon Hartline, Jr. Memorial Endowed Scholarship in Law.