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W. Mark Lanier

Founder, The Lanier Law Firm
Houston
52

In 2010, plaintiffs attorney and preacher W. Mark Lanier took on a new challenge — acting. Lanier played himself in "Puncture," a movie he says is "very loosely based" on one of his cases, Retractable Technologies Inc. v. Becton, Dickinson and Co.

In 2004, Lanier obtained a multimillion-dollar settlement in the antitrust case for his client, syringe manufacturer Retractable Technologies. Lanier says the case settled on a Saturday, two days before the Monday trial date in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Texarkana.

Lanier's home also appeared in "Puncture," which premiered at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Lanier says his pay for playing himself in three scenes in the movie was $496.

"I'm not saying I was good, but I wasn't horrible," he says.

In January 2010, Lanier represented a worker left paralyzed from the diaphragm down and his wife in the trial of a products liability case in Bexar County's 224th District Court. In Lopez v. Caterpillar Inc., et al., the plaintiffs alleged the husband suffered paralyzing injuries when the Caterpillar scraper he was using began bucking. The jury awarded the couple $56.3 million, with the bulk of the money for the wife's loss of consortium with her husband, Lanier says. The district judge presiding over the case subsequently reduced the jury's award to about $25 million, and the case ended with a confidential settlement in June 2010.

Lanier traveled to Newark, N.J., in 2011 to try Nye, et al. v. Ingersoll-Rand Co. That case, which was tried in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, ended with a confidential settlement two days before it was expected to go to the jury, Lanier says.

As a youth, Lanier aspired to be a lawyer, a preacher or a politician. But after receiving a bachelor's a degree in biblical languages from David Lipscomb College in Nashville, Lanier decided he wanted to pursue a career in the law. Lanier did not give up on his aspiration to be a preacher, however, and he continues to teach a weekly Sunday school class at Champion Forest Baptist Church that he says draws about 750 people. In 2003, he founded the Christian Trial Lawyers Association, a nonprofit organization that advances Christian principles in plaintiffs work. Two years ago, he also opened the Lanier Theological Library in Houston that he says is now used by nine seminaries and graduate schools. "It's one of the largest private libraries in Texas and possibly in the U.S.," Lanier says.

After graduating from Texas Tech University School of Law in 1984, Lanier began his legal career at Fulbright & Jaworski, where he practiced until 1989. He founded his own firm in 1990.


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"Otway is the quintessential professional."

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"Mikal is very smart. There is no fact in a case that he will not know and recall during trial."

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