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The Most Important Substantive Law Developments of 2016

JOHN COUNCIL | January 1, 2017

Donald Trump's election and the continuing energy industry slump in Texas will change how many attorney practice law in the state.

Editor's Note

Heather Nevitt. Editor-in-Chief, Texas Lawyer

An 'Interesting' Year


Securities Litigation in The Trump Era— Now What?

By Bradley W. Foster |

Even prior to the presidential election, this was an interesting and tumultuous year for securities litigators.

New York City, NY, USA - October 14, 2015: Apple store. Apple won numerous architectural awards for store design, particularly for this store on 5th Ave in Midtown, Manhattan, whose glass cube was designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson.

Texas Law Firms Among Most Frequently Retained in Litigation Against Apple

By Miriam Rozen |

Apple Inc., known worldwide for its iPhones, holds another, less favorable distinction: The company ranks as one of the most popular targets for patent infringement plaintiffs nationwide and particularly in the Eastern District of Texas, where more of these cases have been filed than in any other federal district, and where courts, lawyers and even former judges have big stakes in the litigation.

L.O. Daniel house. Built in 1905 by Lark Owen Daniel, a prominent millenary company owner (his company made hats) who served as president of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce. Daniel named the home Cedar Crest and it is one of the few surviving Victorian-era mansions in Dallas.

Law Partners Invest in Piece of Dallas History by Restoring One of City's Last Remaining Victorian Mansions

By John Council |

Ten years ago, Leighton Durham, Kirk Pittard and Thad Spalding gladly left their downtown Dallas office buildings behind and headed due west across the Trinity River to set up their law practice a mile and a half away in a cozy Oak Cliff rent house.

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor Distances Himself From the Pack in His Rulings Against LGBTQ Issues

By Miriam Rozen |

Perhaps no federal judge has ruled more often to stall the recent pace of acceptance of the LGBTQ community than O'Connor.

In-House Texas

Jack Balagia.

Starting a New Chapter

By Kristen Rasmussen |

After 18 years at the energy giant, Jack Balagia retires as general counsel with respect and admiration.

How to Assist Clients with Estimating Expenses in Annual Budgets and Corporate Transactions

By Julie Machal-Fulks |

For many corporations, the end of the year signifies that it is time to look to the coming year and identify a corporate or department budget for technology expenditures.

Michael P. Maslanka

Recent Cases Moves Sexual Orientation Closer Than Ever to Protected Classification Status Under Title VII


Is sexual orientation a protected classification under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? The answer was once a "no." But there were two November surprises that will likely start to change the answer to "yes."

Legal Tech Skills Are No Longer Optional

By Steve Thomas |

If you are relying on your teenager to help you, the time is now to learn.


Verdicts: Jury Awards Worker Nearly Hit by Cement Truck

A jury awarded $46,240 to a paving worker who injured his knee when he jumped out of the way of a runaway cement truck.

Baylor University Law School in Waco Texas.

Inadmissible: Month of January

Local law school makes good on job placement.

Rob Crain, partner in Crain Lewis Brogdon.

Newmakers: Month of January

Rob Crain, partner in Crain Lewis Brogdon, is serving as the 108th president of the Dallas Bar Association.


The Facebook Follies

By John G. Browning |

With over 1.7 billion people worldwide using Facebook, roughly a billion tweets processed every 48 hours, and folks Snapchatting, Instagramming, and YouTubing away, it's hardly surprising that law enforcement has found social media to be a rich treasure trove of people incriminating themselves.

Derek Mergele.

Leaving an LGBT Law Legacy

By Angela Morris |

Derek Mergele was already out of the closet for 20 years when he moved to Lubbock to study at Texas Tech University School of Law. The openly gay, married law student's mission was to knock down LGBT stereotypes in the conservative West Texas community and to be so visible that anyone questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity knew that Mergele was a friend and available to talk.

Texas Family Code Chapter—Post Divorce Proceedings

By Jonathan J. Bates |

When the divorce decree is signed, most litigants assume the legal process is finally over. Unfortunately, that is not the case when one party fails to comply with the decree's property terms.

John Grand of Vinson & Elkins in Dallas.

Firms Finding Work in Distress

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Texas firms with energy transactional and bankruptcy/restructuring practices are reaping business from the sales of distressed assets both inside and outside of bankruptcy court.

How to Manage a High-Stakes Divorce

By R. Scott Downing |

By nature, divorces are traumatic for spouses. However, with the introduction of litigation involving questions such as whether property will be characterized as separate or community, valuing that property, litigating which parent will provide the primary residence for the child, and whether the parent may move away with the child, the proceedings will quickly take on a very high-stakes tenor.