Irene Bio

Ms. Reed has been working in the legal secretary/ paralegal industry since before meeting Don Sinex in the 1980’s, but her background and history is as much Texas as boots and buckles. It goes back, literally, to a little farm in a German community outside of Columbus.

Funny thing is that it wasn’t until she was older that it occurred to her that they may not have had an abundance of money. Rather, she had halcyon days that had a value all their own. Playing with her brother under a huge, beautiful oak tree at the end of a lane in green grass glistening with dew. The sweetness and softness of a baby calf just born. A smokehouse filled with sausage and bacon as it cured. Picking cotton and getting it weighed because, hey, one hundred pounds equaled five dollars for her. The huge wooden frame attached to the ceiling in her grandparents’ bedroom that was lowered when it was time for her grandmother and mother to hold the quilting bee. Her grandfather and father cranking the old Model T to get it started to go to town. The farmhouse without running water or electricity, but filled with extended family sharing fresh bread, dewberry pies, and so much goodness that it couldn’t hold it all.

Family that stuck together and gave until it hurt. She remembers that one day when her father left to go to his carpentry job with only two jelly sandwiches on homemade bread, she asked him why that was all he was taking. She remembers his smile and his saying that it was because he liked jelly sandwiches, and realizing only later that he did so to leave leftovers for supper that night. She remembers their sacrifices.

She took that strong belief in family and hard work with her to business school and, upon graduation, to Andrews Kurth in the litigation group. While there, she got to meet James Baker, and at a later firm, Alan Shepherd, which was pretty darned neat, as those guys had a rather good work ethic too. She also took it with her to her subsequent marriage and new family as well. She married and left Andrews Kurth to go to San Diego where her husband was stationed in the Navy. They had their first daughter there, but as every good Texan knows, they needed to be back under the stars of Texas. So, getting back to the Lone Star State as fast as they could, they started another chapter in their life and welcomed two more daughters during this time.

Texas provided new opportunities, and she expanded on her artistic side by painting. She loved expressing herself through art and sold several paintings, but the legal profession had a way of pulling her back in. However, when she got back into the legal profession, she saw that “the times had a changed”. Her next job was with a small law firm which had upgraded to a machine called a “Displaywriter”. Then, at the law firm of Brill & Brooks, she became the first person in that office to get an actual “computer” due to her Displaywriter experience. Good old DOS. So “user friendly”. So “user friendly” in fact that everyone understood to leave it alone and go to her for advice instead of trying to figure it out. That was when she met Don Sinex.

She had been working in litigation, so when the opportunity arose in the mid-1980’s to work in “oil and gas”, she was hesitant. How could it compare to litigation? Was it going to be dull and boring? She quickly discovered that it was anything but, and that Don Sinex was a great mentor, teacher, and friend. Working so closely with Mr. Sinex, she was able to absorb some of his experience through osmosis. As time went on and she became a tad more familiar with oil and gas, she would not hesitate to discuss with him some of the more complicated issues that needed clarification. He appreciated it, and they began working on title opinions together. Back in the day, they did everything manually or with adding machines, and she found love at first sight when years later this thing called “Excel” actually made complicated spreadsheets more legitimately “user friendly”. She continues to learn from Mr. Sinex and continues to help him along the way, both as his assistant and paralegal, at Petry & Sinex.

At home, her children and grandchildren are the pride of her life. She understands the sacrifices her parents made a little better now, and thanks God every day for her family and the joy they have given. She has seen things go all the way from doing homework by kerosene lamp to today’s robot drones and AI. What’s next? Robot pets? She couldn’t help but laugh when she referenced one of her Halloween paintings and her grandson said, “Why would I want a picture when I can have a 3-D of the same thing?” Touché. The ride has been interesting, and she continues to enjoy it. And she might even consider a robot pet one day.