In Memoriam: Buford P. Berry

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October 02, 2017

Buford Preston Berry Jr. (1935-2017)

On October 2, Thompson & Knight’s former Managing Partner Buford P. Berry passed away.

Mr. Berry began his legal career in 1963 at Thompson & Knight in the Firm’s Dallas office, and he served as the Firm's Managing Partner from 1986-1998. Mr. Berry established a national reputation as one of the top oil and gas tax lawyers and tax litigation lawyers in the country. During his career, he represented large corporate taxpayers, including Texaco Inc., Sun Oil Co., Gulf Oil Corporation, Hamilton Brothers, Hermes, Mapco, and Texas Instruments, Inc. He was involved in a number of tax cases which involved precedent-setting issues in the petroleum industry and other areas of tax law; examples include Sun Company Inc. v. Commissioner, which established for the oil and gas industry that the costs of drilling offshore exploratory oil wells are deductible as intangible drilling costs; and Texas Inc. v. Commissioner, which involved the transfer pricing of Saudi Arabian crude oil over the period 1979-1981 and was the largest alleged tax deficiency ever before the Tax Court at the time. At the time of his passing, he served as Of Counsel at the Firm.

Additionally, Mr. Berry was a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel, the American Bar Foundation, and the Texas Bar Foundation. He was very active in the American Bar Association Tax Section and served as Chair of the Natural Resources Committee. He also served as Chair of the Southwest Legal Foundation Oil and Gas Institute and as the Vice Chair of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Energy Law of the Center for American and International Law. Throughout his life, Mr. Berry was actively involved with numerous civic and charitable organizations, including Dallas Citizens Counsel, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Symphony, Goodwill Industries of Dallas, Kent Waldrep National Paralysis Foundation, Annual U.S. Savings Bond Campaign, and the Thompson & Knight Foundation.

Mr. Berry was an excellent leader for the Firm, a trusted counselor to his clients, and a friend to many. He will be greatly missed.

To read Mr. Berry's obituary, please click here.