In-House Texas

Employment Lawyers: Bask in Trio of Fifth Circuit's Summer Cases

By Michael P. Maslanka |

These pro-employee cases should prove to lift the spirits of employment lawyers.

Best Practices: Be Responsive and Efficient With Resources

By Anthony C. Williams |

Freelance reporter Anthony C. Williams emailed Nadalo some questions about best practices. Below are his answers edited for length and style.

What to Tell a Client Who Wants to Sell His Company

By James D. Shields |

How does the lawyer advise him? What should he be concerned about and how long will this process take?

David T. Schubauer

Immigrant Investors Program Up for Renewal

By BY Rebekah Mintzer |
Jeff Nadalo

Buc-ee's GC Jeff Nadalo: A Busy Beaver

By Anthony C. Williams |

Many Texans who tire of the weekday hustle and bustle and ache to get away from the city might find themselves at one of the famed Buc-ee's fuel centers while on their way to fish or enjoy any other leisure activity. But for Buc-ee's general counsel Jeff Nadalo, he relaxes by volunteering as a sheriff's deputy. Seriously.

Understanding the Rules for Estate Taxes and Non-Citizens

By Olivia Carbajal de Garcia |

Legal and illegal immigrants make up a growing portion of the population of this country and as such it is important to be familiar with the general rules that may impact the estate planning approach when non-U.S. citizens are involved.

How The 'Obergefell' Decision Affects Texas Same-Sex Couples and Everyone Who Practices Law

By J. Daryl Hinze |

Essentially, after Obergefell, once the legal impediment to recognition was lifted on same-sex couples based on its holding, thousands of people became instantaneously married the moment the opinion was issued.

Avoid Costly Litigation by Staying Up to Date on Slurs

By Alan Bush and Lee Winkelman |

Falling behind the times in vernacular could cost a company a six-figure discrimination lawsuit—along with all the disruption of defending against it. Let's get up to speed.

Airline Seats Antitrust Case Heads for Takeoff

By Sue Reisinger |

More than 75 class action lawsuits have been filed across the country so far against the four major airlines that are the targets of an antitrust investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, which is exploring whether the airlines kept ticket prices high by limiting the number of available seats.

Michael Donley

Best Practices: Have a Plan and Have Business Sense

By Anthony C. Williams |

Michael Donley is university counsel at the University of Texas at Tyler. Freelance reporter Anthony C. Williams emailed Donley some questions about best practices. Below are his answers edited for length and style.

Michael Donley

GC for UT Tyler Embraces Learning and the Law

By Anthony C. Williams |

In a two-room schoolhouse in Bassett, Nebraska, a young Michael Donley was able to learn at his own pace as he started his education. It is an experience he remembers fondly, and part of the reason he went on to earn three college degrees and is now working in education.

3 Essentials for Successfully Managing Business Litigation

By Doug Brothers |

While litigation often follows a predictable and routine pattern, it is generally an inefficient way to resolve a business dispute. The answer lies in a plan that is laser-focused on the business solution rather than the litigation process.

Who Made the List of the Highest Paid GCs in Texas? [CHART]

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

These Texas general counsel are among the five highest-paid executives at their companies.

Big Texas Companies Reward GCs With Hefty Compensation Increase

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Good times are back for general counsel at large Texas companies, with average total pay packages for GCs increasing by 17.8 percent in 2014 compared with 2013.

“Getting to Yes ” by Way of “I’m Sorry”: Settling Employment Discrimination Claims with Apologies

Apologies are difficult. By expressing regret and accepting responsibility for a harmful act, the person apologizing transfers “power” from him- or herself to the person receiving the apology. Parties negotiating settlement want all the “power” they can muster, and many fear they’ll convey weakness by apologizing. Experienced negotiators, however, use apologies to help settle cases.

Microsoft GC Ups Bonus for More Diverse Outside Counsel

By Sue Reisinger |

Brad Smith, general counsel of Microsoft Corp., says law firms must add diverse attorneys in leadership positions in order to earn an increased annual bonus.

How to Prepare Your Executives to Testify

By Anna Rotman and Autry Ross |

If an executive comes across as combative or arrogant, or even worse, provides damaging testimony in the form of embarrassing "sound-bites," the best-laid case strategies can be torpedoed.

Liz Bonesio

Top of Her Game: Lawyer Gets Hole-in-One with In-House Job

By Anne Belli Perez |

For Liz Bonesio, corporate counsel at Dallas-based Topgolf International Inc., every day is a hole-in-one.

We All Eventually Stumble Into Dark Times—These Books Will Help Find the Way Out

By Michael P. Maslanka |

Each and every one of us suffers loss. We all lose our way. Dante instructs us on how to return to the path, and leave the dark wood wherein we all will— sooner or later—find ourselves.

Ex Parte Communications with Putative Class Members in an FLSA Collective Action

By Mark D. Temple and Peter J. Stuhldreher |

It is important to develop a fair, consistent message to be communicated with employees who are potential class members.

Best Practices: Expertise and Responsiveness

By Anne Belli Perez |

NLRB Further Extends Its Reach Into Non-Unionized Workplaces with Guidance About Company Handbooks

By Steve Fox and Jonathan Clark |

While the standards and suggestions in the memorandum are often imprecise, employers and their counsel should take heed of the recommendations when reviewing and drafting rules.

Impacts of Marriage Equality on Benefits

By Rebekah Mintzer |

After the U.S. Supreme Court's 'Obergefell' decision, employers should go back and take a fresh look at how their policies treat same-sex married couples.

Mark Shaw, vice president and general counsel at Southwest Airlines

Best Practices: Choose Top Talent, Keep Costs Low

By Anne Belli Perez |

Mark Shaw, is vice president and general counsel of Southwest Airlines. Freelance reporter Anne Belli Perez emailed Shaw some questions about best practices. His answers are below edited for length and style.

Texas' Top Deals of 2014

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The following deals, involving at least one Texas-based company, were announced in 2014. Sources include Texas Lawyer, The Am Law Daily, Thomson Reuters and corporate press releases.

Mark Shaw, vice president and general counsel at Southwest Airlines

Flying High: GC Mark Shaw Captains Southwest Airlines' Legal Department

By Anne Belli Perez |

Mark Shaw, the vice president and general counsel of Southwest Airlines since February 2013, has had his hands full this past year at the low-cost airline.

Relief For Oppressed Minority Shareholders In Texas

By Samuel S. Nicholls |

Recent Texas Supreme Court rulings may invite repercussions for business valuation, dispute resolution, access to capital, and public policy in Texas insofar as the business climate is concerned.

Four Texas Firms Make Mark For Deal Work

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Texas firms Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Andrews Kurth, Baker Botts and Vinson & Elkins among leading dealmaking firms on The American Lawyer's Corporate Scorecard 2015.

John Minor Wisdom, U. S. Court of Appeals Building, Fifth Circuit, New Orleans, LA.

Fifth Circuit And Employment Law: Not What You Think

By Michael P. Maslanka |

There is a widespread belief that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is uniformly hostile to employment law claims. But, like Mark Twain's death, this rumor has been widely exaggerated.

Changes From the 'Whistleblower' Enforcement Action

By Jonathan Newton and Heath Trisdale |

While the SEC's enforcement action focused on the alleged wrongdoings of a single company, in our view the more novel issue presented is whether the SEC's order and related guidance could impact other types of NDAs used outside an internal investigation context, such as standard employee NDAs.

"Hack" Your Way Through Challenges

By Michael P. Maslanka |

Once upon a time, the word "hack" was a term of derision. No more. Now, it is gaining an elevated place as a word meaning a shortcut to fixing a challenge, a way to get a quick flash solution. So, let's dip these following problems into the fryer and see the "hacks" emerging, hopefully, crisp and tasty.

Contempt for Taylor Swift's Trademark Portfolio Misplaced?

By Bill Munck and Amanda Greenspon |

The contempt in the coverage of Taylor Swift's trademark portfolio was especially misplaced given the context of the administrative approval needed for registration.

New USPTO Guidelines Clarify Software Patent Eligibility

By Adam Sanderson |

The recently revised USPTO guidelines for subject matter eligibility offer an effective summary of the case law post-Alice, and should be closely considered by any attorney representing patent owners.

Lance C. Balk, executive vice president and general counsel at Six Flags Entertainment Corporation

Best Practices: Expertise and Responsiveness

By Lindsey Juarez |

Lance Balk is general counsel of Six Flags Entertainment Corp. Freelancer reporter Lindsey Juarez emailed Balk some questions about best practices. His answers are below edited for length and style.

Texas State Flag

Federal Patent Reform: Some Proposals Follow Texas' Lead

By Chad Ennis |

Some reforms actually move in the direction that judges in the Eastern District have already taken and also adopt procedures used in Texas' Western District.

Bill to Curb Patent Trolls is Superfluous

By Christopher A. Shield and Sanjay Bapat |

As written, SB 1187 appears to be directed at certain prolific NPEs, but its provisions are likely untenable.

Lance C. Balk, executive vice president and general counsel at Six Flags Entertainment Corporation

Ride to the Top: Six Flags’ GC Successfully Navigates the Twists and Turns from Firm to In-House

By Lindsey Juarez |

Seeing the joy and excitement in a customer's face is not something many general counsels get to experience. But as the general counsel for Six Flags Entertainment Corp., Lance Balk said he gets to see screaming visitors every time he tours one of the company's amusement parks.

Climate Change Risk Disclosure on the Rise

By Sue Reisinger |

Significantly more U.S. companies are disclosing risks associated with climate change in their annual reports, especially in the energy sector.