Attorney Kevin A. Crass was featured in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's High Profile section on Sunday, Oct. 7. The article highlights Kevin's involvement with War Memorial Stadium and his support of the UA Little Rock Trojan Athletics Program.
Excerpt from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
Kevin Crass' career path in law started with success on the basketball court that led to a college education.
"I've always been a big basketball fan," says Crass, a senior partner at Friday, Eldredge & Clark, who played high school hoops in Pine Bluff.
"It was a great community. It had already sort of weathered the integration storms. I recall we were moved to a non-neighborhood school in maybe my fifth- or sixth-grade year so by the time I got to junior high and high school it was an integrated public school."
He and his twin brother, Keith, were adopted as babies by Doris and Arlen Crass, but Doris died of a brain tumor when the boys were 5 years old. Their father remarried three years later to Melba McCombs Crass.
"Melba was technically my stepmother, but I refer to her as my mother. She had a son who was about 10 years older than me, and unfortunately he died in a car wreck," Crass says.
Keith Crass ran for the District 24 seat of the Arkansas House of Representatives in 2009. He died in his Hot Springs office just a week before the election.
"I got a call that you don't ever want, and he had collapsed in his office and he had died in the ER in Hot Springs, the Wednesday before the election. It got a lot of publicity as a result, but he ended up winning the race," he says. "It was tough."
Their father and stepmother didn't pressure the boys to pursue any particular path, whether in politics or in law.
Melba Crass was a hairdresser, and Arlen Crass worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. His father supported him in sports, rarely missing a practice and almost never missing a game.
"But he put no pressure on me to perform," he says.
Crass' high school ball skills helped him land a basketball scholarship to Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia.
"We had a really good year in 1977, and we ended up going 30 and 1 and won the state championship," Crass says. "I would have gone to college, there's no doubt about that, but I probably wouldn't have gone to Ouachita Baptist University if they hadn't offered me a scholarship."
He had met Jay Dickey, who would later become a U.S. congressman, through Dickey's involvement with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Dickey encouraged him to study law.
Basketball remained a passion for him, even as he spent summers working in law offices rather than honing his skills on the court. After starting classes at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law in 1981, he began going to Trojans basketball games, first at Barton Coliseum and then at the Statehouse Convention Center.
His plan was to go into private practice in Pine Bluff, but he was recruited before he started law school by Buddy Sutton, a managing partner at the Friday firm who was at the OBU commencement ceremony where Crass spoke. Sutton was on the college's board of trustees, and he asked the college president about Crass that day.
"He said, 'Tell him when he starts looking for a summer clerkship to give me a call,' and I made note of that because at that time this was the biggest law firm, still is," Crass says of Sutton, who died in 2015.
Sutton hired him in 1982 as a summer law clerk, and he never left the firm.
Kevin serves as head of the Class Action and Business Litigation Practice Group at Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP in Little Rock, Arkansas. He focuses his practice on significant, complex business litigation in federal and state courts including the defense of claims involving class actions, securities fraud, ERISA, business torts, trade secrets, patent and trademark infringement, product liability, environmental and toxic torts and breach of contract, among others. Kevin also provides clients with representation before governmental bodies and counsels them in regulatory matters. Kevin has served as personal counsel to several of the State’s constitutional officers and has represented former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee since 1997.