Latest News

Vessels equipped with water cannons try to fight the devastating Deepwater Horizon fire.

Deepwater Horizon Defendant Wins Big Insurance Ruling

By John Council |

In a big insurance decision, the Fifth Circuit ruled recently that an insurer breached a $50 million contract by denying coverage to the manufacturer of the blowout preventer used in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

As Year Ends, These Wacky Episodes Are Proof That Law is Never Dull

By John G. Browning |

These wacky episodes the legal system provides are proof that there's never a dull moment when it comes to law.

How Can Social Media Benefit Non-Celebrity Lawyers?

By Steve Thomas |

Arguably America's best-known attorney, President Barack Obama, has only five million Twitter followers, and the lawyer who is the Democratic front-runner contending for his job—Hillary Clinton—has about that same number.

Richard L. Burleson, managing partner in the Houston office of Burleson

Burleson: Size Made Firm Vulnerable

By John Council |

Houston-based Burleson grew from two lawyers to 140, but this week it announced it would close at the end of the year.

Burleson to Close at End of Year

Texas-based energy boutique Burleson LLP is set to close by year's end, the firm confirmed Monday.

Justice Nathan Hecht

New Commission Aims to Bridge 'Justice Gap'

By Angela Morris |

Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht said that access to justice is a struggle to middle-class people and small businesses that go pro se because the cost of legal services is prohibitive.

State Rep, Lawyer, Convicted and Sentenced for Misdemeanor Barratry

By Angela Morris |

A Montgomery County jury has convicted state Rep. Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City, of five counts of misdemeanor barratry. The punishment phase of his trial began immediately and continues today.

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

Lawyer Beats Hair Care Billionaire at Fifth Circuit

By John Council |

After winning a September ruling against John Paul DeJoria, who built his fortune on the famous John Paul Mitchell hair care line and Patron tequila, Geoffrey Harrison beat the billionaire two more times this month.

Claim Against Insurer Dropped in Well Blowout Case

By Angela Neville |

In the insurance dispute involving damages caused by the rupture of an oil well in Jackson County, the coverage battle originally pitted the oil and gas company Miramar Petroleum Inc. against two insurance companies.

Judge Grants Continuance on Proposed Malpractice Judgment Against Andrews Kurth

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

234th District Judge Wesley Ward asked parties to come back Dec. 14 for a hearing on proposed judgment on a nearly $200 million verdict against Houston-based Andrews Kurth.

Assistant AG by Day, Screenwriter by Night

By Angela Morris |

As the holidays approach, Austin lawyer Hanz Wasserburger can look forward to more than just presents and parties. He'll also see premieres of TV movies that he helped to write.

Law Prof: CLE Accreditation Nixed for Catholic Message

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

St. Mary's University School of Law and a Catholic lawyers group has appealed a notification from a State Bar of Texas CLE accrediting committee that would deny accreditation to a faith-based CLE.

$1.1B Texas Pipeline Projects to Ship Gas to Mexico

By Angela Neville |

The law firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy has advised an international bank syndicate in the more than $1.1 billion limited recourse project financing for a pair of natural gas pipelines that will run from a hub in southwest Texas to locations on the U.S./Mexico border.

Dallas Firm Fights RICO With RICO

By John Council |

Last year a major asbestos defendant leveled RICO allegations against Dallas' Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett in a federal court, alleging that the firm concealed evidence in an effort to drive up settlement values. And now the plaintiffs firm has fired back, alleging that their accusers are the real racketeers, in a recent counterclaim.

New Toolkit Helps Transfer Real Property at Death

By Angela Morris |

The Texas Access to Justice Commission recently announced that it created a transfer on death deed toolkit to help people pass their real property on after death. The toolkit is the next step for a 2015 law.

Ex-Immigration Lawyer Gets 2 Years in Prison

By John Council |

Sherin Thawer pleaded guilty to forging visa documents for her clients by purporting to be a police officer.

VerdictSearch: Teen and Mom Recover for Accident with School Bus

On Oct. 27, a mother and teenager who claimed injuries after an accident with a school bus recovered $12,005.

SPECIAL REPORT: Addiction and Depression in the Legal Profession

According to recent studies, the suicide rate in the lawyer population is six times the rate in the general population, and is the third leading cause of death among lawyers.

How Can Lawyers Get Help?

By Angela Morris |

Alcoholism and depression are widespread problems in the legal profession, but many lawyers lack the willingness to seek help. Those who do enter treatment have a good chance of full recovery.

Darby Dickerson

Tackling Texas Law Students' Substance Use Challenges

By Angela Neville |

Several universities in Texas are working hard to assist law students who have problems with substance use and abuse. The following profiles outline the efforts of two major Texas universities, Texas Tech University in Lubbock and the University of Texas in Austin, to deal with this serious problem.

Tough Love Could Save a Career or a Life

By Miriam Rozen |

After police found Dallas criminal defense lawyer Phillip Patrick Robertson in an East Dallas hotel room, overdosed on drugs and possessing 1.5 grams of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, and transported him to the Dallas County Jail, according to an arrest warrant affidavit, he asked officers: "Can't you guys show me some discretion?"

A Conversation With Dallas' DA About Her Depression, Suicidal Thoughts

By John Council |

Not long after Susan Hawk became Dallas County's district attorney in 2015, she considered quitting the job and committing suicide. Her drastic decision was the result of then undiagnosed mental illness.

State Bar President's Story of Recovery and Hope from Substance Abuse [COLUMN]

By Allan K. DuBois |

I have agreed to share my personal story of recovery and do so freely in every presentation for one reason—to put a face on recovery and to give hope to others (and their loved ones) who suffer from the chronic and potentially terminal disease of alcoholism.

Life or Death: Addiction and Depression in the Legal Profession

By Angela Morris |

Get help, or die. That was the stark choice for two Texas attorneys who suffer from the most common substance abuse and mental health issues in the legal profession: alcoholism and depression.

How Firms Provide Help on the Front End

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Texas firms have ways to identify and deal with lawyer substance abuse and depression problems among lawyers.

Allison Carroll, Cantey Hanger LLP

Newsmakers: Week of November 23

Allison Carroll has joined Cantey Hanger in Fort Worth as an associate.

New App Catalogs Court Contacts, Rules

By Angela Morris |

This month, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan launched a new mobile application, Texas openCourts, which catalogs state and federal courts in Texas to provide access to judge information, local rules and court staff contacts.

Mark Benavides, solo attorney, San Antonio, TX.

Lawyer Arrested for Compelling Prostitution From Clients

By Angela Morris |

San Antonio solo Mark H. Benavides was arrested for compelling prostitution by allegedly making three clients have sex with him to pay for his legal services in their criminal cases.

Andrews Kurth Hit With Nearly $200M Verdict

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Harris County jury returned a verdict in a malpractice suit finding that Andrews Kurth of Houston was negligent and breached its fiduciary duty toward a client.

Are Lawyers Predisposed to Depression, Substance Abuse?

By James Dolan |

The notion that the profession causes illness is inaccurate. This presumes the person entering the field is a blank impressionable screen on which ills are imprinted. Still, we can't ignore the challenging nature of the work.

Claim Against Insurer Dropped in Well Blowout Case

By Angela Neville |

In a new twist in the insurance coverage dispute in which Miramar Petroleum Inc. sued both First Liberty Insurance Corp. and Commerce and Industry Insurance Company, the presiding judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Nancy F. Atlas, recently granted the motion for summary judgment filed by Commerce and determined that Miramar agreed with Commerce's assertion that it does not have a claim under the umbrella policy.

Left to right is Evan Young of Baker Botts, David Botsford of Botsford & Roark, Tony Buzbee of The Buzbee Law Firm and Tom Phillips of Baker Botts.

High Court Hears Arguments in Former Gov. Perry's Felony Case

By Angela Morris |

Lawyers for former Gov. Rick Perry argued today that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals should expand the type of constitutional claims that courts can resolve during a pretrial habeas proceeding, and dismiss Perry's case.

Want to Be Whole? Stop Thinking, Start Listening

By Lisa Blue, Robert B. Hirschhorn, Kellye Raymond |

Tools such as mindfulness and meditation can help you be both a better lawyer, and more importantly, a better person—whether it's to improve focus, or to combat depression or substance abuse.

Thompson & Knight Partners Elect New Managing Partner

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Mark Sloan, a partner in Dallas, will take charge of firm in February.

Ken Paxton

Prosecutors Counter Paxton's Constitutional Arguments

By Angela Morris |

The special prosecutors in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's case have fired back against Paxton's arguments that his prosecution is unconstitutional.

Investor Class Action Filed Over Fracking Software

By Angela Neville |

Following allegations of myriad problems with its fracking analysis software FracMax, Flotek Industries is now facing a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of the Houston-based energy company's investors.

Court Rules Against Church of Scientology in Bizarre Case

By John Council |

Austin's Third Court of Appeals rules that the church doesn't have a constitutional right to harass a woman by stalking her, sending her a sex toy at work and publishing allegations that she'd had a secret sex-change operation.

Ken Paxton

Prosecutors Deny Paxton's Accusations, Defend Judge

By Angela Morris |

The special prosecutors in Ken Paxton's criminal case claim that the attorney general has accused them and the original judge in the case of misconduct in an effort to cast himself as a victim and the prosecutors as the bad guys.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Can Texas, Other States Refuse to Take Syrian Refugees?

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Houston immigration attorney and two law professors question whether the state of Texas can refuse to take any Syrian refugees in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Culhane Meadows Moves Into Houston, Hires Nine Lateral Partners

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Culhane Meadows, a nontraditional firm, hires nine partners in Texas, including eight who came from Phillips & Reiter.

10th Circuit Holds Master Limited Partnership Citizenship Based on Individual Unitholders

By Angela Neville |

Recently, in a case of first impression at the appellate level, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled in "Grynberg v. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners" that the citizenship of a master limited partnership is to be determined by looking to the citizenship of each unitholder.

How Companies Can Staff Projects In Iraq

By Robert F. Loughran |

Woman Alleges Gardere Trust Work Cost Her Millions

By John Council |

A woman has filed a legal malpractice against Gardere Wynne Sewell and four of its attorneys alleging they convinced her to sign trust documents that assigned most of her interest in a multi-million dollar marital estate over to her husband's sons.

Signing of SB 534 Civility Oath, Austin. From left to right, standing: Don Jackson, immediate past president of TEX-ABOTA; Mark Kincaid, TTLA; Justice Phil Johnson, Supreme Court of Texas; Senator Kirk Watson, Senate Sponsor of SB 534; Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, Supreme Court of Texas; Trey Apffel, President of the State Bar of Texas; Pam Madere, TADC; Rep. John Smithee, House Co-sponsor of SB 534, David Chamberlain, President of TEX-ABOTA and 2015-16 Chair of the State Bar Board of Directors. Governor Greg Abbott sits at the desk.

Practicing Lawyers Invited to Take New Oath With New Lawyers

By Angela Morris |

Baby lawyers will take a brand-new lawyer oath on Monday in Austin to promise to be civil and maintain integrity in practicing law. Currently practicing lawyers are also invited to take the oath voluntarily.

Sreve Couch, Kelly Sutter & Kendrick.

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Attorney Gets Defendant Out of Valley, Into ADR

By John Council |

Like most lawyers who defend lawsuits in the Rio Grande Valley, Steve Couch's prime objective is to keep his client away from the regions that have a reputation for having plaintiff-friendly juries, if at all possible. And he recently accomplished that goal in a big way.

Emanuel Grillo, Baker Botts, New York.

Hercules Emerges Quickly From Oil-Bust Bankruptcy

By Angela Neville |

In contrast to most of the other energy companies that recently filed Chapter 11 bankruptcies in response to the ongoing economic slump in oil and gas sector, Hercules was among the first to successfully emerge from the bankruptcy process.

Interpreting Arbitration Agreements: Two Key Points from Recent Texas Supreme Court Decisions

By Stephen Taylor |

The opinion falls in line with prior decisions on two key issues: 1. what amounts to waiver of the right to arbitrate; and 2. can an arbitration agreement be enforced by a party that did not sign the agreement?

Practice Pointers for General Mediation

By Bill Short |

Mediation is the art of balancing interests. Although no template for guaranteed success exists for use in a mediation, certain experience-based suggestions can be offered as practice pointers.

7 Key Steps for Success in Arbitration

By Mark A. Shank |

Many attorneys are comfortable in the courthouse, but those less experienced in arbitration may misread what the arbitrator is looking for and, as a result, may not set the right, persuasive tone in their approach.

Silence In An Arbitration Clause Is Not Golden

By Angela Zambrano and David Sillers |

Many courts have held that arbitration clauses that are silent on class actions—but which incorporate the American Arbitration Association rules—will permit an arbitrator (rather than a court) to decide the critical threshold question of whether a class action can proceed in arbitration.

Derrick Mitchell, Partner Bracewell & Giuliani, Houston.

Bracewell Partner Elected Chair of TSU Board of Regents

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Derrick Mitchell, a public finance partner in Bracewell & Giuliani in Houston, is OK with being considered a "change agent" at the Houston university.

VerdictSearch: Man Recovers $100,815 for Fall From Railing

On Oct. 23, a tenant who claimed head and neck injuries in a fall due to an alleged loose railing was awarded $100,815.

Newsmakers: Week of November 16

Buena Vista Lyonshas rejoined FordHarrison as a partner in Dallas. She focuses on defending management in discrimination and other employment-related actions.

Justin Patrick

Meet the Top Scorer on the July Texas Bar Exam

By John Council |

"She was concerned that I wasn't studying as hard as she did when she took the exam. She was worried that I wasn't applying myself,'' said Justin Patrick, whose mother is the former dean of admissions at the University of Texas School of Law.

David Slayton, administrative director of the Texas Office of Court Administration

Threats Against Judges Are More Common Than Attacks

By Angela Morris |

In fiscal year 2015, there were five threats reported in county courthouses: Three of them were against judges, court staff or jurors, according to data from the Texas Office of Court Administration.

Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht

Criminal Justice Community Reels Over Judge Assassination Attempt

By Angela Morris |

The Austin legal community was reeling over a violent murder attempt against a well-respected criminal district judge. Police were questioning a Houston man, vowing to use all their resources to solve the crime.

Top Rodeo Athletes File Class Action Antitrust Suit

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The newly formed Elite Rodeo Association and three Texas rodeo athletes filed an antitrust complaint against the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

Craft Hughes

Litigator of the Week: Houston Lawyer Wins $5.4M Verdict for Neighbor

By Miriam Rozen |

W. Craft Hughes learned about allegations in a lawsuit four years ago, when his neighbor knocked on the door of his home. This started the chain of events that led to his clients winning a nearly $5.4 million jury verdict against Wells Fargo Bank and a mortgage servicing company on Nov. 6.

Evidence Shows Most Lawyers Continue to Have Profitable, Fulfilling Careers

By Milan Markovic |

Although the economic recession may have stalled some legal careers, lawyers historically make more as they gain experience.

Legal Aid Group Wins Grant to Create Legal Forms

By Angela Morris |

Lone Star Legal Aid has received a $130,000 grant to develop online forms to help self-represented litigants file their court cases.

Ex-Prosecutor Loses Case Against Nueces DA

By Angela Morris |

On jurisdictional grounds, a former prosecutor has lost his case against a district attorney and his office that alleged that the prosecutor was fired for refusing his supervisor's request to withhold exculpatory evidence.

Plaintiff Seeks Reconsideration of Dismissal of Civil Rights Claims Against Judge

By Miriam Rozen |

Following a dismissal by a federal judge in Sherman of a civil rights suit against Collin County Court at Law Judge Barnett Walker, Nathan Burgess, the plaintiff, has filed a motion for reconsideration.

Wilson Elser Adds Beaumont Office and Houston Lateral Group

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A total of 11 lawyers moved to Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker from Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith.

Discovery Fight in Alleged Insurance Kickback Case

By Angela Neville |

Filing a motion to compel document production against opposing parties and nonparties can be a real balancing act when the same parties are involved in multiple lawsuits that essentially revolve around the same core issues.

Police Questioning Man About Judge Kocurek Attack

By Angela Morris |

The Austin Police Department is questioning a person of interest in connection to the attempted murder of Judge Julie Kocurek of Austin. The man is in jail in Houston on an unrelated murder charge.

5th Circuit Judge Carolyn Dineen King

Clock Ticks on Obama Administration Appeal of Ruling in Immigration Case

By Miriam Rozen |

"I have a firm and definite conviction that a mistake has been made. That mistake has been exacerbated by the extended delay that has occurred in deciding this 'expedited' appeal. There is no justification for that delay," Fifth Circuit Judge Carolyn King wrote in her dissent about a majority opinion in immigration case that pits Texas and 25 other states against the Obama administraton. Why would a dissenting judge so starkly scold her peers in the majority as pokey?

Texas State Capitol

House Committees to Study Hot-Button Issues

By Angela Morris |

House Speaker Joe Straus has tasked a House committee with determining the effectiveness of the 4-year-old law that led to new court rules for expedited actions, which stirred controversy in the legal community.

Woman Sues Houston Firm for Fee Refund

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Fort Bend County woman filed a breach of contract suit againt Houston criminal defense firm Schneider & McKinney, alleging that she's owed a $75,000 refund of fees she paid for brother's defense.

Three-Judge Panel Nixes Temporary Injunctive Relief in Redistricting Battle

By Miriam Rozen |

Texas OAG welcomes three-judge panel's denial of civil rights plaintiffs' request for a temporary injunction to stop the use of 2013-enacted maps. Civil rights plaintiffs counsel express disappointment but point to language that may hint that judges will soon issue a ruling on merits in long-running case.

Schlumberger Asks Court to Affirm Attorney Disqualification in Patent Dispute

By Angela Neville |

'"Dynamic 3D Geosolutions v. Schlumberger" is up on appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit from the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Texas, and the appeal centers on the issue of lawyer disqualification related to a patent infringement case.

Michelle K. Lee, Director of the U.S.Patent and Trademark Office, inside the hearing room of the new regional USPTO outpost in Dallas Texas.

New U.S. Patent Office Opens in Dallas

By John Council |

"We chose this region because this region has a lot of technical talent, it has a wealth of intellectual property lawyers, and it has a large number of patent applicants and a large number of patent holders," said Michelle K. Lee, director of the PTO, who presided over a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Dallas office on Nov. 9.

Plaintiff Who Sued Lawyer Indicted for Perjury

By Angela Morris |

A small-town barber who sued a well-known Corpus Christi plaintiffs lawyer for barratry to collect allegedly past-due rent has now been indicted for perjury for allegedly lying in a deposition about a central fact in the lawsuit.

Wilson Sonsini Represents HomeAway in $3.9B Deal

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Lawyers from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, including some from Austin, represent Austin-based HomeAway in its pending acquisition by Expedia.

District Judge Injured in Assassination Attempt

By Angela Morris |

Judge Julie Kocurek of Austin was shot outside her home on Friday night in an assassination attempt. Police have not yet found the shooter.

Bowie County DA Proposes Cameras to Capture Car Insurance Law Violators

By Miriam Rozen |

Big Brother might have just moved a little closer to home in Bowie County. On Oct. 28, the Office of the Texas Attorney General received a request from Bowie County DA Jerry Rochelle. In his letter, Rochelle asked the state's top lawyer to rule on the legality of a plan to roll out a photographic insurance enforcement system.

Lion Oil Scores $71M Jury Verdict in Exxon Pipeline Rupture Case

By Angela Neville |

Lion Oil Co. recently won an extended lawsuit in federal court in Arkansas against its insurers related to claims stemming from a ruptured pipeline owned and operated by an ExxonMobil subsidiary.

Appeals Court Justice David Lewis

Dallas Fifth Court of Appeals Justice Suspended

By John Council |

David Lewis' voluntary agreement to a six-month suspension from the bench with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct "is a consequence of an unfortunate period in his life that included the abuse of alcohol," according to his lawyers.

Sanctions Sought Against McGuire Woods' Client

By Miriam Rozen |

"Whenever attorneys start quoting historians, you know things have started going sideways," said one lawyer in the Dallas federal court battle that began with a motion to quash a supboena and has led to a motion for sanctions and contempt.

Diego Perez

Mayer Brown Hosts Foreign Associates, Trainees in Houston

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

In-house lawyers from international clients have opportunity to learn about U.S. law and transactions while spending time at Houston office.

VerdictSearch: Employee Not to Blame for Tree-Trimming Accident

On Sep. 16, the owner of tree removal company wasn't liable for a worker's hand injury while using a chainsaw, a jury found.

Newsmakers: Week of November 9

James E. Smith has joined Schirrmeister Diaz-Arrastia Brem in Houston as senior counsel.

Women in the Workplace: Sartorial Tips for New Lawyers

By Nicole Knox, Sarah LaFleur and Tory Hoen |

For a lawyer, there are two main criteria to keep in mind when dressing for work. First, do you feel comfortable and confident? Second, does your attire send a message of respect for the court, your client, your colleagues, and yourself?

Trends and Issues with 'DrillCo' Transactions

By Anthony Speier, David Castro and Chris Heasley |

"DrillCo" deals have historically been bespoke, limited only by the collective imagination of the parties. However, within the last six months, common themes have developed with respect to key structural elements.

Results for July Bar Exam Released

By John Council |

Hundreds of people will soon learn if they get to right to call themselves a lawyer as the Texas Board of Law Examiners just released the pass list for the July bar exam.

Legal Mal Suit: Lawyer Filed Wrong Claims

By Angela Morris |

An Austin attorney allegedly admitted that he made mistakes in a client's fraud lawsuit, but now that he's facing a legal malpractice claim, he's denying the allegations and telling "a different story," the client alleged.

How Disruptive Technology Can Provide Money-Making Emissions Reductions

By Scott D. Deatherage |

While environmental protection frequently is called a "job killer," new technologies and financial and business models are turning this view on its head.

Chip Roy, first assistant attorney general, Texas Office of the Attorney General, Austin

First Assistant Texas Attorney General Chip Roy Backs Up His Boss

By Angela Morris |

High-level staff who are the closest to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton feel stressed and worried about his indictments, said first assistant AG Chip Roy. But there's a caveat for Roy. "It's not cancer," he explained.

In the Pursuit of Equality: Hoping for a 'Men's Movement' [COMMENTARY]

By Kathleen J. Wu |

Just when I think things are getting better about the state of gender equity in the legal profession, some new study comes out that makes me lose hope. I'm starting to feel like Michael Corleone in "The Godfather, Part III," when he tries to go straight but the mob won't let him: "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in."

6 Time-Tested Approaches to Negotiation/Conflict Resolution

By Michael P. Maslanka |

Teaching Negotiation/Conflict Resolution at UNT Dallas College of Law illuminates yet again (for me) the challenge new lawyers face when explaining mediation to newly minted litigation clients.

Marvin D. Nathan, president and founding shareholder, Nathan Sommers Jacobs

Houston Lawyer Moves Into Top Role at Anti-Defamation League

By Miriam Rozen |

Marvin Nathan, a well-known Houston lawyer, has juggled for decades his real estate and business practice with his civil rights advocacy. But Nathan significantly upped the amount of time he spends on the latter a month ago, when he assumed the role of national chairman of the Anti-Defamation League.

Patrick Wilson

Prosecutor Selected to Handle Dallas DA's Removal Case

By John Council |

"An uncommon duty has been imposed upon me not by choice, but by the law of the State of Texas," said Ellis County and District Attorney Patrick Wilson. "I intend to perform my due diligence and proceed accordingly."

Heman Marion Sweatt Travis County Courthouse

Voters Reject Travis County Courthouse Bond

By Angela Morris |

Voters narrowly rejected a $287 million bond election to build a new Travis County courts complex. With 73,180 total votes cast, 51 percent were against the bond and 49 percent were for it.

V&E Represents Targa Resources in $6.7 Billion Deal

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Vinson & Elkins represents Targa Resources Corp. (TRC) in the Houston pipeline company's pending acquisition, for about $6.7 billion, of all outstanding units of Targa Resources Partners (TRP) that it doesn't already own.

Lawyer Accuses New Attorney Employee of Taking His Clients

By John Council |

Fort Worth attorney Rick Powell alleges that he hired Justin Griffin 10 years ago to market personal injury claims exclusively for his small law firm. But when Griffin earned a law degree this year, he starting signing up the firm's clients for himself before quitting, according to a lawsuit Powell filed in a Tarrant County district court.

How Parties with Interest May Be Affected By O&G Bankruptcies

By Mitchell Seider, Jeffrey Muñoz, James Robertson and Annemarie Reilly |

With the increasing financial instability in the oil and gas industry, it has become essential for parties in interest to understand how their rights may be affected by a counter-party's bankruptcy.

Meet our 2015 Lifetime Achievement Winners

By Heather D. Nevitt |

This list recognizes lawyers who have made their mark on the legal profession in the Lone Star State.

AkinMears Drops Motion to Seal Petition

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Houston mass tort firm dropped its effort to seal a petition filed against the firm by a former employee who alleges he's owed $4.2 million in commissions and fees for work raising money for the firm.

Sabine O&G Hit With Large Professional Fees in Chapter 11 Case

By Angela Neville |

In its Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, Houston-based Sabine Oil and Gas Corporation was recently presented with large professional bills from Kirkland & Ellis and Porter and Hedges attorneys and the financial advisory firm of Zolfo Cooper Management.

Locke Lord, Wachtell Work on $335M Deal

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Locke Lord represents a Sugar Land industrial services company in its pending acquisition of Houston-based Furmanite Corp.

Ken Paxton

Paxton Alleges Misconduct, Argues for Case Dismissal

By Angela Morris |

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton alleges that the original district judge and the two special prosecutors in his case engaged in misconduct by violating grand jury secrecy, which should nullify the case.

Brett Govett partner Norton Rose Fulbright, Dallas

Litigator of the Week: Norton Rose Fulbright Insulates Patent Case Win With Video of Patent Agent Deposition

By Miriam Rozen |

A straight defense verdict in a patent infringement case in Marshall federal court has halted a potentially monopolistic force in the reflective insulation industry.

Austin Bar Helps Expand Pro Se Clinic

By Angela Morris |

Starting this month, more self-represented litigants in Travis County district courts will get free help from a real lawyer to complete and file their legal forms properly.

RAAM Global Energy Seeks Shelter in Chapter 11 Filing

By Angela Neville |

RAAM Global Energy Company, which like many energy companies has been struggling financially since the decline in oil and natural gas prices in 2014, recently filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.

Lawyer, Home Remodeler Settle Contentious Suit

By Angela Morris |

Litigation has ended between an Austin lawyer who claimed that his home remodeler abandoned his project and stole his money, with the remodeler claiming the lawyer represented her but used his inside knowledge to take advantage.

High Court Again Rules That Slip-and-Fall Cases Aren't Med Mal

By John Council |

The Texas Supreme Court has recently reminded the medical profession once again that they can't use the 2003 Texas Medical Liability Act to defend themselves against the most pedestrian of plaintiff claims—slip-and-fall cases.

Survey Shows Executives Less Optimistic About M&A Growth

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Executives who participated in a law firm survey are a little less optimistic this year about mergers and acquisitions and the U.S. economy than a year ago.

Hillary H. Holmes and James Chenoweth of Baker Botts in Houston

Dealing With Energy MLPs in Today's Volatile Market

By Angela Neville |

Hillary Holmes and James Chenoweth, partners in the Houston office of Baker Botts, discuss how master limited partnerships are being affected by today's low oil prices.

Major Accident Response: Managing the First 96 Hours

By Mark L. Farley |

Crisis management of a major accident occurs at two levels within an organization: the tactical—the site at which the incident occurred— and the strategic—the corporate organization. The role of a lawyer advising a crisis management team spans these levels with two primary responsibilities.

Lynn Garcia, GC, Texas Forensic Science Commission.

GC of Forensic Science Commission Focuses on Collaboration

By Angela Morris |

Lynn Robitaille Garcia is leading the charge for Texas to be at the forefront of a complicated controversy over how crime labs analyze and interpret DNA samples that include genetic material of multiple people.

Lynn Garcia, GC, Texas Forensic Science Commission.

Best Practices: Listen, Collaborate

By Angela Morris |

Lynn Robitaille Garcia, general counsel of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, had a past life in big law helping corporate clients involved in securities and white-collar cases.

Patent Litigation Will Never Be the Same Again

By Lisa Shuchman |

Patent litigation isn't what it used to be. Monumental changes to U.S. patent law have changed the rules of the litigation game.


Lifetime Achiever: Charles L. "Chip" Babcock

The two television stars and the Jackson Walker partner who has represented them often work their way into the same paragraph when someone tries to assess Babcock's lifetime achievements as a Texas lawyer.

Stephen D. Susman

Lifetime Achiever: Steve Susman

"I loved being a lawyer, and I think he figured out we were having fun," Susman recalled recently about his son, who followed him into the profession.

L.Clifford Davis of the Fort Worth firm Johnson Vaughn & Heiskell.

Lifetime Achiever: L. Clifford Davis

When L. Clifford Davis arrived in Fort Worth in 1954 as a young attorney, he was one of only two black lawyers in a segregated city.

Joe Jamail, Houston's Jamail & Kolius, Texas Lawyer Lifetime Achiever, Litigation Department of the Year, 2014

Lifetime Achiever: Joe Jamail

Houston trial lawyer Joe Jamail, best known for winning an $10.5 billion verdict in Pennzoil v. Texaco, is still trying lawsuits at age 90.

Ernest E. Smith

Lifetime Achiever: Ernest Smith

Ernest Smith is the Rex G. Baker Centennial Chair in Natural Resources Law at the University of Texas School of Law and one of the leading scholars on Texas oil and gas law.

Founding partner Dee J. Kelly of the Fort Worth firm Kelly Hart and Hallman.

Lifetime Achiever: Dee J. Kelly

When Dee J. Kelly passed away on Oct. 2 at age 86, he left a legacy of civic leadership and a prominent law firm under the direction of his son Dee Kelly Jr.

Charla Aldous of the Aldous/Walker firm in Dallas.

Lifetime Achiever: Charla Aldous

Charla Aldous appreciates the fact that Aldous\Walker support personnel carefully screen all the folks who arrive at their doorstep seeking her help.

Justice Nathan Hecht

Lifetime Achiever: Nathan Hecht

Nathan Hecht has a long list of accomplishments from his record-breaking tenure as the high court's longest-serving justice. He said he's most proud of his success in opening access to justice to poor people.

T. John Ward Sr.

Lifetime Achiever: T. John Ward

When T. John Ward set up his legendary "rocket docket" while serving as U.S. District Judge in Marshall, he turned the Eastern District of Texas into the nation's leading venue for high-stakes patent litigation.

Jim Harrington

Lifetime Achiever: Jim Harrington

Jim Harrington devoted his career championing civil rights. He's litigated cases that expanded the rights to privacy, access the courts, free speech and free assembly, voting rights and more.

Tony Buzbee accepts Attorney of the Year award on Nov. 2  at Texas Lawyer’s Professional Excellence Awards

Tony Buzbee Wins Texas Lawyer’s 2015 Attorney of the Year Award

In the past 12 months, Buzbee served as lead for three trials that each led to more than $25 million verdicts for his clients, including a $159 million award that a Houston jury issued in negligence case.

Attorney of the Year Finalist: Neel Lane

"I feel privileged to have played a part in an important cause and an important issue," said Neel Lane. "Sometimes you receive a call and it's your duty to step up. I did so enthusiastically and with a lot of joy."

Latinas Face Long Odds in Law

By Jessica Stender |

Latinas’ share of the labor force has nearly doubled over the last 20 years. However, they continue to face a significant wage gap, earning less than Latinos, white women and white men.

The Woodlands Company Selling Nuclear Business

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz represents CB&I in $299 million deal.

Barge Owner Sues Colliding Vessel's Insurer for Oil Spill Expenses

By Angela Neville |

After a collision that occurred in March 22, 2014, that caused a release of about 168,000 gallons of fuel oil in the Houston Ship Channel, Kirby Inland Marine, the owner and operator of the towing vessel M/V MISS SUSAN and its two barges that were involved in the collision, has filed a suit against the Shipowners Insurance and Guaranty Company (SIGCo), which is the insurer for the M/V SUMMER WIND, the bulk carrier owned by Sea Galaxy Marine S.A.

Jerry Scarbrough

Lawyer Hopes Immunity Defense Saves His Career

By John Council |

"I've just been ruined—every way you can do it," said Killeen solo Jerry Scarbrough.

John Minor Wisdom U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit building, New Orleans, LA.

Fifth Circuit Upholds R. Allen Stanford's 110-Year Sentence

By John Council |

The court upheld the prison sentence for the Houston financier who once sat atop a $7 billion Ponzi scheme that bilked investors at a rate of $1 million a day.

Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht

Chief Justice Hecht Settles Campaign Finance Ethics Case

By Miriam Rozen |

In the settlement terms, both Hecht and the TEC agreed that "a written statement concerning legal fees reduces the possibility of a misunderstanding about the fees." In addition, Hecht agreed "to obtain a written fee agreement with any lawyer or law firm he hires to represent him, either before or within a reasonable time after the representation commences."

VerdictSearch: Employees Lose Harassment Claim

On Oct. 6, workers at an oilfield equipment supplier lost their racial harassment claim. Eight workers at National Oilwell Varco sued the company under Title VII for unlawful harassment based on race.

Newsmakers: Week of November 2

Rory Hatch has joined Winstead as an associate in the Houston office. He is in the firm's commercial litigation practice group.

Gaines West, president of West, Webb, Allbritton & Gentry in College Station

Doe Plaintiff Loses Appeal Over Grievance Dismissal Document

By Angela Morris |

Austin's Third Court of Appeals has upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit by a man who unsuccessfully sued for a copy of the dismissal recommendation of his grievance against a Texas attorney.

Exxon Sues Roxx Vodka Maker Over Trademark

By Angela Neville |

Exxon recently filed a trademark infringement suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Nielsen Spirits, an Arizona corporation that specializes in liquor sales, and its business operator Angela Nielsen for alledgedly violating Exxon's trademark rights by using a three-stroke interlocking X design in the logo for its new 'Roxx Vodka' beverage.

Managing Client Expectations for a Better Attorney-Client Relationship

By Raymond L. Panneton |

No matter what area of law one practices, managing client expectations is absolutely essential for a harmonious and fruitful attorney-client relationship.

Indictment Against Plaintiffs Lawyer Mikal Watts Unsealed

By Miriam Rozen |

"This indictment against Mikal and others contains a litany of examples of people whose names were included on the client list of his firm but who may have never signed up with him. Obviously, fraud was committed somewhere down the line by others. But as the evidence at trial will show, there was no fraud on the part of Mikal Watts or the people who work in his office," wrote Robert McDuff, who is defending Watts.

Patricia Stanton, with Baker Botts

Baker Botts to Open Second California Office

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The Houston-based firm plans to open an office in San Francisco in January that will work closely with its Palo Alto office.

Use Your 'Off Balance Moment' to Your Advantage

By James Dolan |

The "off balance moment" is that point in an Improv performance or rehearsal when the actor fully experiences not knowing what will happen next. It can cause primal fear, racing heart, scrambled brain, the from-middle school-panic of making a fool of oneself, of failing to provide the thing you are on stage to provide: entertainment, laughs, information, etc.

Cole Ramey, with Dallas-based Crouch & Ramey, will be merging with Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton.

Crouch & Ramey to Merge With Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Crouch & Ramey of Dallas, with 21 lawyers, merging as of Nov. 2 with 620-lawyer Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton.

The 'Timely Disclosure' Requirements of Texas' Responsible Third-Party Statute

By Benny Agosto, Jr. and Eric K. Gerard |

The law of proportionate responsibility in Texas allows a defendant in certain actions to identify other persons not party to the lawsuit as responsible for some or all of the plaintiff's injuries, thereby reducing the defendant's own share of liability.

Houston Lawyer Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Houston criminal defense attorney, convicted of 18 criminal charges, also must forfeit $1.15 million and serve five years of supervised release after his prison term.

Kirkland Advised Pearl Energy Investments on Fund

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Kirkland & Ellis lawyers from San Francisco and Chicago worked on the closing for Dallas private equity fund.

Will Less Money From Banks Lead O&G Players to Hire More Lawyers?

By Miriam Rozen |

A survey of oil and gas industry participants that has drawn press attention may signal more prospective work for transactional and bankruptcy lawyers. Dallas' Haynes and Boone conducted the survey and asked 182 oil and gas professionals about the future borrowing prospects for their industry.

Jeff Edwards, owner, founder and partner, Edwards Law, Austin

$1M Judgment in Prisoner's Wrongful Death Case

By Miriam Rozen |

Jeff Edwards scores the win for the family members of man who died after a short stay in Swisher County jail, where he allegedly received inadequate medical treatment.

Fees in Energy Future Holdings' Bankruptcy to Exceed $200M

By Angela Neville |

In the recent hearing in Texas-based Energy Future Holdings' ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher S. Sontchi approved approximately $90 million in professional fees and expenses accrued during the second and third interim periods.

(l-r) James Sweatt III, attorney Allan Van Fleet, Lester Duplechan, Hemella Sweatt-Duplechan, Heman Duplechan, Noah Duplechan (front w/yellow shirt), and Meszie Duplechan (front). October 10, 2012. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Heman Sweatt's Relatives Return to SCOTUS for UT

By Miriam Rozen |

"The Sweatt family felt it was important to keep Heman Sweatt's story and the lessons of his landmark case before the court in this second round, because this time the court will have to determine whether there is any longer a place for race-conscious diversity in higher education," Allan Van Fleet, a partner in the Houston office of McDermott Will & Emery, who represents the Sweatt relatives, wrote in an email.

Judge Sam Sparks, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division

Defendant Headed to Trial in Judge Sparks Bribe Case

By Angela Morris |

A district court has vacated its conviction of a Mexican national who allegedly conspired to bribe U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks in exchange for a reduced sentence on an earlier conviction.

Texas Supreme Court building

SCOTX to Hear ERG Resources' Case Over Failed $45M Acquisition

By Angela Neville |

ERG Resources' failed acquisition of Ramshorn, an oil and gas company formed with exploration assets in Colombia, has led to a lawsuit on the grounds of tortious interference that is poised to be heard by the Texas Supreme Court.

Prosecutors Don't Have to Review Inmate Calls

By Angela Morris |

Prosecutors don't have to listen to all recorded jail-inmate telephone calls to check if they have exculpatory materials, said a recent opinion by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Ellyn Haikin Josef, pro bono counsel at Vinson & Elkins

New Clinic Provides Pro Bono Advice to Small Business Owners

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Vinson & Elkins is involved in a Virtual Legal Lab, which offers pro bono advice via Skype to small business owners in Houston.

Susan Hawk, newly elected Dallas DA

Experienced Judge Assigned to Dallas DA's Removal Case

By John Council |

David Peeples of San Antonio is assigned to hear the petition filed against Susan Hawk—the same judge who presided over a removal case filed against Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg.

Houston Firm Tops National List as Big Spender on TV Ads

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

According to a report from the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, a Houston plaintiffs firm will spend $25 million in TV ads this year.

Jenny Lee Smith, attorney, Austin, Cobb & Counsel

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Lawyer Sways Fifth Circuit in $1.4M Award

A federal jury awarded Hilda Garza $1.4 million in front pay as an assistant county attorney after she ran for the local school board and was fired, only to have the trial judge erase that part of the verdict because it was "advisory."

An X-ray of a hip replacement

Plaintiffs Claim Johnson & Johnson Violated Stay in Hip Replacement Case

By Miriam Rozen |

In the response, the plaintiff argues that Johnson & Johnson's motion violates a stay order imposed by the court.

Special Court Issues Severe Sanction Against Former Judge Etta Mullin

By Angela Morris |

A special court of review has condemned former Judge Etta Mullin's conduct and sanctioned her with a public reprimand—a higher level of discipline than Mullin's public admonition by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, which she had appealed to the special court.

Flashback to 1983: Texas AG Gets Indicted

By Angela Morris |

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's indictment has prompted his recusal from some duties in his office. The last time a sitting attorney general was indicted, there were no recusals, but it definitely affected the AG's office.

Austin Lawyer Convicted in PEC Scandal Resigns Law License

By Angela Morris |

Walter Demond, an Austin lawyer who was convicted years ago for money laundering and misapplication of fiduciary property, has resigned his law license rather than face disbarment.

O&G Ponzi Scheme Defendants Hit With $35M Payback to SEC

By Angela Neville |

A group of predatory money managers in Austin who promoted scam investments in oil and gas royalty interests and successfully bilked over $31 million from a large number of would-be investors recently were ordered by a federal judge to pay more than $35 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Spirit Airlines Sued Over In-Flight Engine Failure

Two years ago on a Spirit Airlines flight from Dallas to Atlanta, passengers were stunned by a loud explosion that rocked the aircraft.

EU Privacy Update: 5 Stories That Will Impact U.S. Organizations with European Ties

The year 2015 was an active year in the evolution of EU privacy law, and could set the stage for further issues down the line.

C. Wade Cooper

2015 New Associate Survey: More Women, Minorities Among New Texas Associates

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The number of new associates starting work this fall in Texas at the firms with the most lawyers in Texas is flat compared with 2014, but more women and minorities are among them.

Participate Now in Our 2015 Managing Partners Survey

This survey invites managing partners of Texas firms and the partners-in-charge of their firms’ Texas offices to share their opinions about the Texas legal market. The survey closes at 6 p.m., Friday, Oct. 23. This is a confidential survey. Aggregated, not individual, results will be reported in Texas Lawyer’s Nov. 23, edition.

TBLS Adding Construction Law Certification

By Angela Morris |

Construction lawyers will have a new way to wow and dazzle clients starting next year.

Kids of Houston Man File $1M Suit Against Lawyer

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Children of a Houston man who died in 2010 filed a petition against a Houston lawyer and his firm, alleging that the lawyer filed a wrongful death suit for them and then did nothing else on the suit.

Hillary H. Holmes and James Chenoweth of Baker Botts in Houston

Dealing With Energy MLPs in Today's Volatile Market

By Angela Neville |

Hillary Holmes and James Chenoweth, partners in the Houston office of Baker Botts, discuss how master limited partnerships are being affected by today's low oil prices.

Can the State of Texas Deny Birth Certificates To Children of Undocumented Immigrants?

By Karen-Lee Pollak |

The issue before the court is not whether these children are U.S. citizens, but rather, what type of documents must the state of Texas accept from the undocumented immigrant parents to issue a birth certificate.

There May Be a Short-Term Fix for Non-Professional Employees Coming to the U.S.

By David Swaim and Erick Espinoza |

Despite all of these hurdles, there are at least two areas which may be helpful to employers seeking to hire skilled, non-professional/non-degreed employees.

Newsmakers: Week of October 26

Christopher M. Schultz has become executive vice president and general counsel of Dallas-based Level 2 Legal Solutions, an e-discovery and legal services outsourcing firm.

VerdictSearch: Teen Paralyzed in 
Crash Recovers $54.4M

On Sep. 2, a teenage passenger who was paralyzed in a double-impact collision recovered $54.4 million. In 2012, Christopher Arnold, then 19, was in a pickup truck when his driver took a U-turn and collided with a van.

New Visa Streamlining Process Marks Historic Change

By Kathleen Campbell Walker |

The major change evidenced in the October Visa Bulletin is the publication of filing date and final action date charts for employment- and family- based immigrant visa allocation. In the past, only FAD charts were published.

Feds Indict Plaintiffs Lawyer Mikal Watts

By Miriam Rozen |

Mikal Watts' criminal defense lawyer said that federal prosecutors filed a sealed indictment against the San Antonio plaintiffs attorney lawyer. The indictment will be unsealed later this month, said Robert McDuff of McDuff & Bryd in Jackson, Mississippi.

Criminal E-Filing Launches Next Month

By Angela Morris |

Criminal e-filing is launching on Nov. 1 across Texas, although criminal attorneys—unlike civil lawyers, who are subject to an e-filing mandate—will get to choose whether they want to e-file or continue paper filing.

Nelia Robbi

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Lawyer Gets Jurisdiction to Stick in Adhesive Case

By John Council |

Nelia Robbi convinced Austin's Third Court of Appeals that her client's lawsuit against a California corporation that produces floor adhesive deserved to be heard in a Texas court.

5 Tips to Prevent IP Missteps When Hiring

Hiring can be painstaking, particularly when searching for employees with technical expertise.

High-Tech Tools for New World Problems

By Debra L. Innocenti and Kathryne M. Morris |

Resolving new world problems requires new world solutions, which use a combination of existing laws and practical technological tools. Sometimes that means pounding square pegs into round holes.

T. Boone Pickens, chair of BP Capital Management, Dallas

Dallas Judge Bars T. Boone Pickens' Son From Communicating With Dad

By Miriam Rozen |

The father also filed a motion for sanctions against the son and the son's lawyer, Thomas Bowers III. In the pending motion, the father seeks sanctions against the son for alleged perjury and against Bowers for alleged discovery abuse.

BP, Kinder Morgan Partner in $350M Oil Terminal Deal

By Angela Neville |

Kinder Morgan has finalized agreements with BP to acquire 15 refined products terminals and associated infrastructure in the United States in a transaction valued at approximately $350 million.

Total Recall: At What Point Should Manufacturers Be Punished for Producing Imperfect Vehicles?

By Anna Eby |

Most car buyers are not interested in design specifications or in tolerances. They expect to purchase a car that performs flawlessly or that, if not, is repaired under warranty to make it problem-free.

Wallace Jefferson, a partner in Alexander Dubose Jefferson & Townsend

Dallas DA Hires Wallace Jefferson to Fight Her Removal

By John Council |

"These are extraordinary allegations that impact the citizens of Dallas County who elected Susan Hawk," said former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, who is defending the Dallas County district attorney against a removal petition.

Ken Paxton

Paxton Recuses Himself From Some AG's Office Duties

By Angela Morris |

Since he was indicted for alleged securities law violations, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has recused himself from some of his duties and has delegated his authority to his second-in-command.

White House

Since Teen Clockmaker's Arrest, Islamic Advocacy Nonprofit Launches Probe

By Miriam Rozen |

Mohamed's arrest—which triggered outrage on the Web—has prompted the DFW Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations to launch a so far low-key investigation into the school districts in the region, according to Alia Salem, the chapter's executive director.

Fifth Circuit Affirms Lawyer's Long Prison Sentence

By John Council |

The appellate court ruled that the government did not commit reversible error in Marc Rosenthal's racketeering trial after mentioning in closing arguments that the judge he was convicted of bribing had previously pleaded guilty to public corruption.

Texas Supreme Court building

Committee Votes on Judicial Bypass Abortion Rules

By Angela Morris |

New rules guiding how minors seek abortions with judicial permission rather than parental consent are one step closer to finalization. One of the proposed rules might concern some attorneys.

Harris County Not Standing Down in Volkswagen Suit

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

While cooperating with the Texas Office of the Attorney General, Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan's office not relinquishing its role in emissions suit it filed against Volkswagen.

Ex-Employee of AkinMears Sues Firm, Alleges Millions Owed

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A former investment banker who took a job with Houston mass tort firm AkinMears alleges that the firm fired him because it didn't want to pay him for his work raising money for the firm.

Texas AG Offers $7.7M Settlement to Solar Firm Over False Claims of Products "Made in USA"

By Angela Neville |

The Texas attorney general and 1SolTech, a Texas-based company that sells solar panels and was accused of misrepresentations about its products, have entered into a proposed $7.7 million settlement and are waiting for the bankruptcy judge to make a ruling regarding the agreement.

Texas Supreme Court building

High Court Committee Tackles Ex Parte Communication Rule

By Angela Morris |

Ethically speaking, how should judges respond when an email or social campaign targets them, seeking to influence a case? The Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee recently tackled the question.

Marilea Lewis, shareholder, Godwin Lewis, Dallas

Marilea Lewis to Leave Godwin Lewis, Firm Changes Name

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The Dallas civil litigation and appellate firm is changing name to Godwin PC.

Attorney Fees in Sam Wyly Bankruptcy Reach Over $5M

By Miriam Rozen |

On Oct. 19, the one-year anniversary of the former billionaire and Texan Sam Wyly's filing for bankruptcy protection, a Dallas federal court already has approved $5 million in fees and expenses for lawyers working on the case. And those lawyers have also asked for additional money.

TYLA to Educate on Wrongful Convictions

By Angela Morris |

"The project will show how easy it can be to become an attorney involved with [a wrongful conviction], what the personal ramifications can be, and what steps attorneys can take," wrote TYLA president Barrett Thomas.

U.S. Navy Mechanized Landing Craft (LCMs) anchored along the shoreline as Navy and civilian personnel position hoses during oil clean-up efforts on Smith island after the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Prosecutors to Wind Up Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Case After 26 Years

By Angela Neville |

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Alaska Department of Law recently announced that they have decided to withdraw their 2006 request to Texas-based ExxonMobil Corporation to fund biorestoration of subsurface lingering oil patches, and, instead, bring to a close the federal and state judicial actions against Exxon and its corporate predecessors regarding the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

James N. Walker, Austin solo, booking photo

Austin Solo Indicted in Murder-for-Hire Case

By Angela Neville |

James Newton Walker has been in jail since Sept. 18 on a $100,000 bond, and now he'll formally face a first-degree felony charge of criminal solicitation of capital murder, which could bring five to 99 years, or life, in prison.

Halliburton Proposes Deals with Landowners in Alleged Pollution Cases

By Angela Neville |

Recently Houston-based Halliburton has begun offering settlements to a number of the property owners in and near Duncan, Oklahoma, who have sued the company claiming that they had the hazardous waste perchlorate show up in their private wells because of operations conducted by a former Halliburton facility.

Houston Man Seeks Up to $10M in Suit Against Firm, Two Lawyers

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

James C. Stewart seeks up to $10 million from Seyfarth Shaw, a current partner and a former partner, alleging that they mishandled a lawsuit that resulted in a $10 million judgment against him.

Motions Fly After $4.9M Judgment in Patent Litigation

By Miriam Rozen |

"They are taking advantage of Judge [Leonard] Davis being gone," said James L. Etheridge about opposing counsel in the litigation.

Interim Charges Revive Dead Hailstorm, Prompt Pay Bills

By Angela Morris |

Trial lawyers fought and killed two 2015 bills that would have changed how property owners and health care providers sued insurance companies for partial or late claims payments. Get ready for round No. 2 in those fights.

$225M Sale of Crude-to-Rail Facility

By Angela Neville |

Several Texas attorneys were involved in USD Partners' recent acquisition of 100 percent of the equity interests in Casper Crude to Rail loading facility from Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners, Cogent Energy Solutions and The Granite Peak Group for a total consideration of $225 million.

Newsmakers: Week of October 19

James L Dronehas joined Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz as of counsel in the firm's Houston office.

VerdictSearch: Cook at Convenience Store Claimed Failure to Pay Overtime

On Jul. 8, a cook at a convenience store lost her claim. Starting about July 15, 1999, plaintiff Francisca Hernandez, a cook, worked in the restaurant area of 7-Mart Food Store, a convenience store in Dallas.

Union Pacific train.

Texas Lawyer Who Bribed State Judge Loses Appeal

A federal appeals court has upheld attorney Marc Garrett Rosenthal's criminal conviction for his role in a fraud and bribery scheme that involved a former Texas state lawmaker and a former state judge.

John Keville

Winston & Strawn Delivers $24M Jury Award for Houston Company

By Miriam Rozen |

The jury delivered the award after the presiding federal judge instructed the panel about allegations of defendants' spoliation of evidence.

In Face of Reduced Rights, Here's How to Advise Grandparents on Family Law Issues

By Jonathan J. Bates |

The threshold question in a grandparent case is whether the grandparent has the necessary standing to be able to bring and maintain suit.

The Machines Are Coming, and Litigators Need to Embrace the Imminent Disruption

By David A. Oliver |

The approach that helps a robot make decisions as it tries to make its way through a maze full of traps and helps an oncologist find the best treatment plan for her patient is coming to the practice of law—and that's good news.

Litigator of the Week: Pothole Victory

By Miriam Rozen |

At trial, Lannie, of the Law Offices of Scott C. Lannie in Baytown, said he "faced head-on" the challenge of getting jurors to accept his client's claims, despite a pre-existing condition. "Sometimes all they want to hear is that you had a pre-existing condition, and then that's all they hear," Lannie said about juries in general.

Alleged Spoliation Against Tyson Foods in Worker's Negligence Suit

By Miriam Rozen |

In his sanctions motion, former chicken processing plant worker alleges that after he filed his lawsuit, Tyson Foods removed a "cheater bar" that hurt him, replaced it with an upgraded one, and has not provided the original one for his inspection.

High Court Declines Review of Dispute Over Oil Deed Interpretation

By Angela Neville |

The Texas Supreme Court recently denied the motion for rehearing in Graham v. Prochaska, which involved a warranty deed drafted in 1950 that used ambiguous terms to convey lucrative oil and gas interests.

Texas Supreme Court Justice, M.H.Bonner 1878-1882. Handout Photo 10-14-2015

Peek Into Reconstruction With 1878 Justice's Papers

By Angela Morris |

A Tyler-based historical nonprofit, McLendon House, donated the manuscript collection of former high court justice Micajah Hubbard "Hub" Bonner of Tyler to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.


Judge Dismisses Disciplinary Suits Against DA, Prosecutor

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A specially assigned judge dismisses disciplinary petitions that the Commission for Lawyer Discipline filed against Fort Bend District Attorney John F. Healey and prosecutor Mark H. Hanna.

Appeals Court Approves Jenner & Block's $3M Fee Award

By John Council |

"What is most telling is that the court makes no attempt to defend that which can't be defended: the underlying fee agreement at issue, which Parallel Networks contends clearly violated well-established public policy governing lawyers," said Ron Chapman Jr., who plans to appeal a ruling that forces a client to pay hourly rates to its former law firm as part of a contingency fee contract.

Susan Hawk, newly elected Dallas DA

Petition Seeks to Remove Susan Hawk as Dallas DA

By John Council |

"She's not only incompetent, she has a mental disorder that prevents her from faithfully carrying out the duties of district attorney. She's admitted to psychiatric problems," said Kelly Puls, an attorney who filed the petition to remove Hawk on behalf of a former Dallas DA's Office employee. "I don't think she can decide right from wrong.''

Susan Reed

Former DA Susan Reed to be Visiting Judge

By Angela Morris |

The Texas Supreme Court recently approved former Bexar County Criminal District Attorney Susan Reed's request to become a senior judge. In an interview from Italy, Reed said she's been on a sabbatical she left office.

SEC Slaps Energy Exec With Insider Trading Lawsuit


Recently, the vice president of trading at a subsidiary of Houston-based Cheniere Energy Inc. was accused by the SEC of participating with his college friend in insider trading in Cheniere options.

David J. Beck, co‐founder and partner of Beck Redden in Houston

Ryan O'Neal, Farrah Fawcett, Andy Warhol and UT Saga Continues

By Miriam Rozen |

This time, O'Neal filed a lawsuit against the former trustee of the Farrah Fawcett Foundation, who also previously served as his business manager. O'Neal alleges in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court that the foundation trustee and business manager put his own interests ahead of the actor's.

Efficient Year in Texas Courts of Appeal

By Angela Morris |

The 14 intermediate appellate courts had a very productive year. They ended their fiscal year with 6,749 pending cases, which is the fewest they have carried over since 1990.

George Kurisky, partner in Houston's Johnson DeLuca Kurisky & Gould.

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Defense Lawyer Gets Checkered Flag in Porsche Case

By John Council |

"It was a battle of a forms deal," said George Kurisky, who convinced Houston's First Court of Appeals that a warranty claim filed against his car dealer client over a blown-up Porsche engine should be heard in arbitration. "Clearly this transaction is covered by the arbitration provision."

From left: Joshua Agrons, a partner at the Houston office of Norton Rose Fulbright; Steven Otillar, a partner at the Houston office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; and Jennifer Price, a Houston solo

Legal Strategies for Tough Times in the Energy Sector

By Angela Neville |

Joshua Agrons, a partner in the Houston office of Norton Rose Fulbright; Steven Otillar, a partner in the Houston office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; and Jennifer Price, a solo and former partner in the Houston office of King & Spalding, share their insights about advising energy-related clients in today's volatile economic environment.

Texas State Capitol

Senate Committee to Study Judicial Pay, Voting

By Angela Morris |

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick recently announced that he tasked a Senate committee with studying judicial pay raises and eliminating straight-party voting for judges, among other things.

Dell Plans Acquisition Valued at $67 Billion

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett represents Dell, the Round Rock-based computer manufacturer, in its pending $67B acquisition of EMC Corp., a computer data storage company.

7 Antitrust Concepts that Every Lawyer and Business Person Should Know

By Anna Rotman |

Business people and lawyers can benefit from understanding the basics of antitrust laws. Here are seven essential antitrust concepts to train your team on.

Settlement Reached in Suits Stemming From West Fertilizer Blast

By Miriam Rozen |

Plaintiffs counsel declined to comment on any settlement dollar amounts.

Judge Questions Constitutionality of Ad Litem Appointment Bill

By Angela Morris |

Under Senate Bill 1876, by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, judges must create a list of qualified attorneys. When a case needs an attorney ad litem or guardian ad litem, the judge must rotate through the list and appoint the next lawyer.

Susan Hawk, newly elected Dallas DA

Susan Hawk Opens Up About Depression, Suicide Thoughts in Return as Dallas DA

By John Council |

Susan Hawk's career so far as Dallas County district attorney has been one of personal and professional turmoil.

Health Industry Firm Moves Into Dallas

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Seven lawyers from Dallas' Stewart Courington open Dallas office for Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman.

Receiver Wins $50M Verdict Against Former Stanford Insider

By Miriam Rozen |

For Ralph S. Janvey, the ruling ranks as the first victory in a breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit against a Stanford insider in the long-running litigation stemming from the Stanford Ponzi scheme.

Solo GC Fuels Energy Company OOGC's Growth

By Mary Alice Robbins |

Sean Johnson, managing counsel and assistant secretary at Houston-based OOGC America LLC, said he has had "an itch" to work in-house since his law school days. He has realized that goal for the past several years and, in his current position, is a one-man legal department for a growing oil and gas company.

2015 Legal Departments of the Year

Texas Lawyer’s editorial department is pleased to announce the winners of our 2015 Legal Departments of the Year awards.

Seated, from left: Kevin McDonald and Sylvia Kerrigan. Standing, from left: Deana Uhl, Michol Ecklund, Paul Weeditz, and Bill Peacock

GC Leads Marathon's Legal Team Through Tough Year

By Bill Jeffreys |

These are tough times in the oil patch. The price of oil is down, deeply. After reaching highs greater than $100 a barrel in June of 2014, the price has now fallen below $50. But her ability to manage the legal affairs (and more) of this large company during tough times is one reason Texas Lawyer has named her General Counsel of the Year.

Front row, from left: Cecily Gooch, Stephanie Zapata Moore, Andy Wright and Gabe Vazquez. Back row, from left: Jeff Walker, Stacey Doré and Dan Kelly.

Energy Future Holdings Legal Team: 'See it. Own it. Solve it.'

By Mary Alice Robbins |

Restructuring more than $40 billion in debt in bankruptcy proceedings would be a major undertaking for any company's legal department.

From left: Candice Wells, Holly Anderson, Sasha Vaikhman, Ray Hafner, Benjamin Paul, Rich Frazier and David Wildes.

Linn Energy Walks the Walk for Work-Life Balance

By Mary Alice Robbins |

Sasha Vaikhman, associate general counsel at Linn Energy LLC, had been working at the upstream oil and gas company in Houston for only a few months when her father died in early 2012 and she was reluctant to take time off.

Seated in chairs, from left: Monica Karuturi, Dana O’Brien and Mickey Moon. Seated on chair arms, from left: Jason Ryan, Rachael Compofelice, Judy Liu, Vincent Mercaldi, Stephany Lin-Abney and Pooja Amin. Standing, from left: Alice Adam, Karen Jones, George Hepburn, Shane Kimzey, Stephanie Bundage and Doug Darrow.

CenterPoint Energy Leads By Example

By Bill Jeffreys |

CenterPoint Energy has long had a heritage of community involvement and pro bono activity among its lawyers, assistant corporate general counsel Monica Karuturi said. But it was slipping in 2013.

Corporate Counsel is Cream of the Crop for Brookshire Grocery

By Bill Jeffreys |

Hired five years ago by the Tyler-based Brookshire Grocery Company as corporate counsel, Christopher Massey stepped in to handle legal matters involving real estate. His job description has grown.

First row, from left: Kendal Payne, Alexis Lorick and Annette Lowa Mass. Second row, from left: Les Trobman, Kayne Schulte, Joyce Bourenane and Jessica Kohlrenken. Third row, from left: Kevin Stewart, Joe Reynolds and Connie Sanders.

Texas Water Development Board Maintains Close Bond With Outside Counsel

By Bill Jeffreys |

A big pool of money is at stake for the Texas Water Development Board. This state agency has $2 billion in funds granted it in 2013 with the creation of the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas and aims to leverage it into $25 billion in state water projects over 50 years.

Burleson Sheds MP, Five Associates in Pittsburgh

Houston-based energy law firm Burleson LLP has laid off six attorneys in its Pittsburgh office, including the office managing partner.

Sometimes Trying to Contain This Juror 'Contamination' Actually Ends Up Spreading It

By Mike Maslanka |

Litigators can't be reminded of this tip enough.

Paul F. “Chip” Ferguson Jr.

Partners in Provost Umphrey Battle With Former Partner

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Partners in Provost Umphrey Law Firm allege in lawsuit filed in Jefferson County that former partner Paul "Chip" Ferguson Jr. betrayed the firm and partners by negotiating "side agreement" with Walter Umphrey.

John Zavitsanos, a partner in Houston’s Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing

Oil Field Equipment Supplier Wins Defense Verdict in Race Bias Suit

By Miriam Rozen |

At trial, the defense team showed similarities between the allegations against NOV and those in another earlier discrimination lawsuit against another Houston employer brought by different plaintiffs, but the same plaintiffs counsel.

VerdictSearch: Plaintiff Claiming Considerable Soft-Tissue Injuries Gets $23K

On Aug. 13, A jury awarded $23,000 to a woman who claimed extensive and persistent soft-tissue injuries in a rear-ender.

Newsmakers: Week of October 12

Dara Hegar has been named managing attorney of The Lanier Law Firm. She will be responsible for overseeing and coordinating litigation efforts in the firm's Houston, Los Angeles and New York offices.

Linda Bray Chanow, Executive Director of the Center for Women in Law, University of Texas, School of Law.

Diversity Scorecard for Texas Courts

By Angela Morris |

The face of the Texas judiciary has changed over the past 10 years to include more female judges as well as more judges of color in some—but not all—of the types of courts in the state.

District Attorney Launching In-House Cyber Forensics Unit

By Angela Morris |

"Launching the Cyber Forensics Unit will be a tremendous benefit in handling specific criminal cases within the district attorney's office," Bexar County Criminal DA Nico LaHood said in a statement.

Go Track 'Alice'

By John Council |

Since the U.S. Supreme Court issued Alice v. CLS Bank last year, the decision has hit the intellectual property world like a hurricane, causing federal courts to dismiss a whole host of patent infringement cases in which litigants lay claim to "abstract ideas."

The Texas Legislature uses the state’s vast distances to impede people’s rights.

Sunset Scrutiny Sets on State Bar

By Angela Morris |

In a self-evaluation, the state bar told the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission about issues in the disciplinary system that need changes. It also suggested a change to the rules referendum process, among other things.

Litigator of the Week: Bracewell Partners Get $30M Claims Dismissed for Client

By Miriam Rozen |

Phillip Sampson and Christopher Dodson, two partners in Houston's Bracewell & Giuliani, scored a major defense victory last month for their client Vopak Terminal Deer Park, a bulk liquid terminal operation with a flagship in the Houston Ship Channel, thanks to their discovery findings.

Monica Blacker, Partner, Jackson Walker, Dallas, Texas.

Q&A: A Guide to Bankruptcy Law for O&G Attorneys

By Angela Neville |

Monica Blacker, an experienced bankruptcy attorney and partner with the Dallas firm of Jackson Walker, discusses how oil and gas practitioners can assist their clients who are seeking information about bankruptcy law.

Final Judgment Sought in Bellwether Hip Replacement Case

By Miriam Rozen |

"Entry of judgment in the bellwether cases is important to ensure that any appellate issues are timely resolved and that the bellwether process resolves individual cases rather than just providing advisory verdicts," states the motion, filed on Oct. 5 by Johnson & Johnson.

Brent Walker, a partner in Aldous Walker in Dallas

Nina Pham's Lawyers to Start Depositions in Ebola Case

By Miriam Rozen |

A plaintiffs lawyer who represents the Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a patient, said his team will begin taking depositions in the lawsuit his client filed against the parent company of the hospital where she worked.

Texas State Flag

Toxic Tort Firm Opens Offices in Dallas, Houston

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Maron Marvel Bradley & Anderson hires 32 laterals from a Jackson, Mississippi, litigation firm, and opens offices in Houston and Dallas with the new hires.

How to Train HR to Put Together a Flawless Investigation Report

By Alan Bush and Lee Winkelman |

Emmy red carpets and HR investigation reports: Both put you on display. The red carpet critics will mercilessly pick apart every last detail—from hemline to cuff line, from wing tip to stiletto. No doubt, plaintiff's counsel will play the critic on an HR investigation report. There's no hiding the flaws.

New Hampshire High Court Affirms $236M Verdict Against Exxon

By Angela Neville |

In its recent appellate decision, the New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld the trial court's rulings on the merits, affirmed the $236 million jury verdict for the state of New Hampshire and against Exxon Mobil.

Geoffrey L. Harrison, partner with Susman Godfrey, Houston

Retired Military Leaders File Amicus Brief in KBR Litigation

By Miriam Rozen |

No fewer than 11 retired U.S. generals and admirals, including two former judge advocates general, have marched lockstep into a debate about evaluating in U.S. courts the potential liabilities of KBR Inc. for human trafficking allegations that took place overseas.

Thomas C. Wright, a founding partner in Houston's Wright & Close

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Wealthy Oil Heir's Case

By John Council |

Tom Wright said it's time for Albert Hill III to pay his law firm clients. "We hope that the word from the highest court in the land makes Mr. Hill realize that he owes the judgment,''he said.

Morris Atlas

Remembering McAllen Lawyer Morris Atlas

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Morris Atlas, founder of McAllen firm now known as Atlas, Hall & Rodriguez, passed away at home on Oct. 4.

'Soft Skills' Are What Make Good Lawyers Great

These important skills will help you discover what you want in a career, enable you to learn about unique opportunities that may not be posted anywhere, help you land jobs and clients and, ultimately, become a successful professional in the career path of your choosing.

How to Clinch That 'A' and Not Lose Your Mind

I offer a disclaimer: Take my advice and the advice you receive during your time in law school with a grain of salt.

social media keys

Question No. 1 for the Lawyer on Social Media: What Not to Share?

Attorneys have the option to use social media to enhance their careers and businesses. But each attorney should keep in mind a few precautions before sharing anything. Failure to take these seriously can cost lawyers their jobs, or worse, their bar licenses.

Investor Sues Lawyer For Legal Malpractice

By Angela Morris |

A New Orleans company has sued an Austin solo, alleging that he committed malpractice and cost the company a $925,000 investment in one matter and caused it to get sued in another.

Dr. Brian Stacy, NOAA veterinarian, prepares to clean an oiled Kemp's Ridley turtle, as part of ongoing animal rescue and rehabilitation efforts.

BP Gets 'Punishment it Deserves,' Feds Say in Record $20B Settlement

BP PLC has agreed to pay $20 billion in fines—the largest in U.S. history—for the Deepwater Horizon disaster spill and cleanup of 3.1 million barrels of oil that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico and onto the shores of coastal states, the U.S. Justice Department announced Monday.

Big Texas Law Firms Face New Competitors at Home

Texas firms are having to work even harder to compete in their own backyard. In the latest sign that Vinson & Elkins, Baker Botts and others are being forced to respond to the influx of out-of-town firms in the state, compensation for associates at Texas-based firms shot up in the first half of this year.

Texas Energy Firm Scores One Mexican Oil Block in Recent Auction

By Angela Neville |

Houston-based Fieldwood Energy and its partner Petrobal were one of three successful bidders in the recent auction for oil blocks put on by the Mexican government.

Amy Hancock, director of Professional Development, Andrews Kurth, Houston

Andrews Kurth Helps Houston Law School with Career Development Program

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The University of Houston Law Center launches a mandatory career development program for first-year students with help from Andrews Kurth.

Dee Kelly, founder of Kelly Hart & Hallman, Fort Worth

Remembering Fort Worth Lawyer Dee Kelly

By John Council |

Dee Kelly, who founded Kelly Hart & Hallman in 1979 and became Fort Worth's most recognizable and politically-influential lawyer, died on Oct. 2. He was 86.

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.

Jack Ayres, attorney with Ayres Law Office, Addison, TX

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Lawyer Wins Ruling for Teen Shot By Police

By John Council |

"The Fifth Circuit has taken the moral and legal high ground that conduct like this is not going to be tolerated," Jack Ayres said of a Fifth Circuit decision that allows the majority of his clients' case against three police officers to go to trial. "We hope this opinion will save lives."

Newsmakers: Week of October 5

Vianei Lopez Braunhas joined Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff & Miller as a partner in the firm's labor and employment group.

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?

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.

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.

David T. Schubauer

Immigrant Investors Program Up for Renewal

By BY Rebekah Mintzer |

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.

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.

Conoco Fights Medical Center, Alleges Insurance Kickbacks

By Angela Neville |

In July, ConocoPhillips responded to a lawsuit filed against it by North Cypress Medical Center Operating Co. by filing its original counterclaim against the medical center in which it stated that "this is a fraudulent medical billing and illegal 'kickback' case."

Dietary Supplement Maker Gets Another Bite at Texas AG

By Miriam Rozen |

A Utah-based dietary supplement maker may pursue constitutional claims against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in his official capacity, according to a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Lee Wallace

Defense Contractor Pays $4.6 Million to Settle Whistleblower Suit

One of the nation's largest defense contractors has agreed to pay $4.63 million to settle a whistleblower's claims that for six years it overbilled the federal government.

Sanchez Energy to Sell Eagle Ford Assets to Sanchez Production Partners

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld represents Houston-based Sanchez Energy Corp. in sale of assets for about $345 million.

Deadline Extended: Apply Today for NU's Excellence in Cyber Security Risk Management Award

Three winners will receive feature profiles in our December issue and be flown to New York City to take part in a special panel at ALM's CyberSecure conference.

VerdictSearch: Plaintiff With Alleged Back And Neck Injuries Awarded

On Aug. 4, a driver who claimed back and neck injuries in a collision was awarded $10,000. On July 3, 2013, Cecilia Tangoma, then 62, was driving a 2003 Ford Taurus in Dallas.

Volkswagen diesels are shown on a storage lot near a VW dealership Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, in Salt Lake City.

VW Hit with Onslaught of Class Actions Across 31 States

Volkswagen’s legal problems jumped into overdrive this week. More than 175 class actions in 31 states have been filed over an emissions scandal that erupted last month.

Texas AG Launches Website Showing Detail, Demographics of Police Shootings

By Miriam Rozen |

According to the OAG's website, since Sept. 1, when the OAG's site launched, Houston, Freeport, El Paso and Balch Springs police departments have each reported one shooting by police officers; no police departments statewide have reported shootings of police officers during the same time period.

Judge Michelle Slaughter (center) and Charles

Court: Judge Not Guilty of Ethics Violations for Facebook Posts

By Angela Morris |

A special court of review found that 405th District Judge Michelle Slaughter's Facebook activity amounted to "errors of judgment," not willful ethical violations. The opinion gives guidance for other judges' social media use.

William R. Schlecht

Retired AT&T Lawyer Files Civil Rights Claim for Hairstylist's Son

By Miriam Rozen |

William Schlecht, who, after retiring from the telecommunications giant, began a part-time business law practice in San Antonio, filed the lawsuit in San Antonio federal court. Schlecht filed it as a proposed class action on behalf of Marcus Barroso, his hairstylist's son, and unnamed others who allegedly also were unconstitutionally confined beyond their sentences.

Uber iPhone app.

Hearing Officer: Uber Drivers Aren't Employees

Uber is on the road to defeating a state decision that its drivers should be considered employees, not independent contractors.

Energy Express Hit With Class Action Claiming It Failed to Pay Proper Wages

By Angela Neville |

Energy Express Services, a Houston-based oil field services company, recently got hammered with a federal class action suit in Pennsylvania brought by former employees who allege that the company carried out illegal pay practices.

clocking system

Turbulent Time in the Oil Patch: What to Know When Facing RIFs

By Derek J. Anchondo and Shira R. Yoshor |

As companies deal with the many implications of low oil prices on their revenues, they will invariably consider employee cuts as a way to deal with decreasing budgets.

Richard Warren Mithoff, founder, Mithoff Law, Houston

Mithoff to Represent Harris County in Emissions Suit Against Volkswagen

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The county's lead attorney, Richard Mithoff of Mithoff Law Firm, secured a $2.2 billion settlement in 1998 for Texas counties against tobacco companies.

Family Sues Firm for Barratry, Seeks Fee Forfeiture

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Louisiana family who hired Houston's Arnold & Itkin for negligence suit related to a train crossing accident files suit alleging contingency fee contract was "barratrous."

Ninth Circuit Rejects Pay for Student-Athletes

Judge Jay Bybee's decision says colleges can cover the full cost of attendance, but scraps compensation for use of players' names, images and likenesses.

Steve DeWolf and his 1942 AT-6 Texan, which was used to train U.S. Navy pilots for WWII

Solo Defends His Love for Noisy Old Airplanes

By John Council |

Solo lawyer and amateur pilot Steve DeWolf is in love with WW II-era training planes—especially the distinctive yellow 1942 AT-6 Texan that he stores and flies from Dallas' Executive Airport.

4 Firms Work on $37.7B Energy Deal

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Energy Transfer Equity of Dallas turned to Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Latham & Watkins for $37.7 billion pending acquisition of The Williams Companies of Tulsa.

5 Tips for Defending Immigrants in Criminal Court

By Gordon Quan and Alexandre I. Afanassiev |

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals this summer, in a precedent-setting decision in U.S. v. Batamula, defined in more detail what the court expected of criminal defense attorneys in advising their immigrant clients of the legal ramifications, notwithstanding the warnings given by any criminal court judge.

In a Global Marketplace, What Are the Rules for International Production of Electronic Records?

By Julie Machal-Fulks |

Recently, the Second Circuit heard oral arguments between Microsoft and federal prosecutors regarding whether officers can use the SCA to compel an email hosting company to produce the secured email records of one of its customers that are stored solely in Ireland.

Akin Gump Advises Valero in $465M Purchase of Oil Terminals

By Angela Neville |

With the legal assistance of the Houston firm of Akin Gump, Valero Energy Partners is in the process of buying the Corpus Christi Terminal Services Business from a subsidiary of Valero Energy Corp. for $465 million.

District Attorney Drops Lawyer's Assault Case, Files Drug Charge

By Angela Morris |

The motion to dismiss Robert "Bob" Thomas Jr.'s charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon said Thomas was "to participate in drug court on a new case."

John Minor Wisdom U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit building, New Orleans, LA.

Fifth Circuit Upholds Trustee's Removal After He Expenses Hotel Stay with Family

By Miriam Rozen |

A court ordered to have W. Steve Smith removed as Chapter 7 trustee from bankruptcy cases, basing that ruling in part on allegations that for oral arguments Smith traveled in 2011 to New Orleans with his wife, who served as his appellate counsel, and his two children. The family arrived three days early, stayed one night afterwards, and then Smith submitted an un-itemized bill that included a request to distribute $3,486 in estate funds to his firm for the trip costs.

Rule 11 Sanctions Motion: Opposing Counsel on 'Fraud Crusade'

By Miriam Rozen |

Andrews Kurth's clients filed a Rule 11 sanctions motion in San Antonio federal court that targets plaintiffs counsel William H. Oliver of San Antonio's Pipkin & Oliver. The motion argues that the plaintiffs counsel flouted procedures that he "and everyone who has completed first-semester civil procedure knows."

James Rodney Gilstrap, U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall

Gilstrap Dismisses 168 Patent Cases, Considers Attorney Fees

By John Council |

The nation's busiest patent judge recently eliminated nearly 10 percent of his docket by ruling that a serial plaintiff's claims were not eligible for a patent. He will now consider whether the litigation amounts to an "exceptional case," which allows parties to receive attorney fees for defending baseless claims.

Seven Texas-Based Firms Among Nation's Most Fearsome

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Two Houston firms are listed in "Awesome Opponents" category in BTI Litigation Outlook 2016 survey of in-house lawyers.

Carey Gunn Venditti, a shareholder in Greenberg Traurig

Three Real Estate Lawyers Leave Winstead for Greenberg Traurig

By Miriam Rozen |

Despite the firm's international reach, Greenberg's management honors local autonomy, she said. "It's not a New York firm coming along and telling us what to do," Venditti said.

League City solo Trey Apffel

New Rules OK Social Media for State Bar Candidates

By Angela Morris |

The State Bar of Texas board of directors on Sept. 25 approved a change in the bar's election rules that opens the floodgates on social media campaigning. It's a significant change in the rules over the past five years.

Unitholders Settle With Crestwood in Breach of Fiduciary Duty Case

By Angela Neville |

The Crestwood Midstream unitholders who filed a suit in May against the company's board of directors alleging breaches of fiduciary duty by the company's board of directors in connection with a proposed merger with Crestwood Equity now have announced that they have reached a settlement with the company.

Edward Valdespino

Judge OKs $40 Million Stanford Settlement

By John Council |

Lawyer Denies He Represented Plaintiff Who Wants $670,000 in Damages

By John Council |

A real estate company recently sued Adam Schiffer and his Houston law firm, claiming that they unjustly paid themselves $225,000 as part a settlement of a shareholder dispute and refused to return its client files.

Dispute Over Asbestos Docket Fees Spills Over to Courthouse

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

James C. Dean and Ron Hundley seek up to $1 million in fees they allege they are due from joint venture partners.

Halliburton Settles With Workers by Paying $18.2 M in Overtime Pay

By Angela Neville |

In one of the largest Department of Labor recoveries of overtime wages in recent years, Halliburton has agreed to pay $18,293,557 to 1,016 employees nationwide.

Ken Paxton

Additions to Paxton's Legal Team Speaks to Case's Complexity

By Angela Morris |

Philip Hilder will become co-lead counsel, Heather Barbieri will serve as local counsel and Bill Mateja will consult the team on securities law issues. The new additions join the defense team of Dan Cogdell and Terri Moore.

Enterprise Fights Energy Transfer Partners $535M Jury Award in Pipeline Case

By Angela Neville |

After losing at the trial court level over a business disagreement and being hit with a $535 million jury verdict, Enterprise Products Partners, along with its affiliate Enterprise Products Operating, went on the offensive with its appeal to the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas, seeking to overthrow the judgment awarded to Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) and its affiliate Energy Transfer Fuel.

Businessman rolling large concrete gears another hold coin, in concrete wall background.

Tech Pros Commanding Higher Salaries at Law Firms

Specialized tech pros can achieve 'lucrative' salaries at firms, but the number of the highest-paying positions is limited.

VerdictSearch: Plaintiff & Garbage Truck Driver Disputed Who Changed Lanes

On Aug. 18, A driver who claimed cervical, thoracic, lumbar, left knee and right elbow sprains and strains, as well as loose teeth, lost his case.

Newsmakers: Week of September 28

Jeff M. Petersonhas joined McGuire Woods as a partner in Dallas. In his practice, Peterson represents hospitals and health care systems in a wide range of transactions.

Justice Nathan Hecht

Zero Hour: Texas Supreme Court Eliminates Backlog

By John Council |

"We've wanted for years to finish by the end of June like the U.S. Supreme Court does,'' said Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht of the court's 2014-2015 term which ended with no pending cases for the first time in modern history.

Wallace B. Jefferson, a partner in Alexander Dubose Jefferson & Townsend in Austin

Texas Supreme Court Hears Argument on Indigent Court Costs

By Angela Morris |

Wallace Jefferson returned to the Texas Supreme Court—now standing before the bench—to argue that a district clerk acted against the law and his duty by charging court costs to indigent litigants.

While Rules Evolve Telemedicine is Alive and Well in Texas

By Todd P. Kelly, Elizabeth G. Myers, Eric D. Jackson |

The eyes of the nation are focused on Texas, this time in relation to telemedicine—healthcare services that use the telephone, Internet and mobile technology to offer patients prompt, real-time access to medical professionals located elsewhere.

Jetta Diesel Owner Files Class Action Against Volkswagen

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Robert Hilliard of Corpus Christi represents a woman who alleges the German carmaker violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act when selling vehicles with device that overrides emission controls.

Judge Refuses to Throw out $8M Suit Against Lawyers

By Angela Neville |

Defendant Michael Pohl, individually and d/b/a the Law Office of Michael Pohl and defendant Jimmy Williamson and Jimmy Williamson P.C. recently failed to convince a Mississippi federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought against them by a group of public relations professionals whom the attorneys had enlisted to round up possible clients in Mississippi after the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion.

Seismic Data Producer Targets Three O&G Companies With Copyright Claims

By Miriam Rozen |

Geophysical Service Inc., a Calgary, Canada-based producer of seismic data, filed lawsuits in Texas federal courts against Hunt Oil Co., ConocoPhillips, and Anadarko Petroleum. In three complaints, GSI alleges the three oil & gas exploration companies infringed on its copyrights by obtaining its valuable seismic data from a Canadian regulatory agency.

Recent Texas Energy Law in 5 Minutes or Less

By Scott D. Marrs and Brian T. Bagley |

There have been a number of recent developments in Texas energy law. Those developments are synthesized for readers to come up to speed in 5 minutes or less.

Law School Admissions Officers Bracing for Influx of Applications

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Law school admiissions officers who participated in a survey expect to see more applications over the 2015-2016 application cycle than the previous year, according to a 2015 Kaplan Test Prep survey.

Brewery Crowdfunds Over $25,000 to Sue TABC

By Angela Morris |

A Dallas brewery has crowdfunded over $25,000 to pay for a federal lawsuit against the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission that makes constitutional claims about Texas alcohol laws.

Wooden gavel barrister, justice concept, legal system

Federal Judge Dismisses Civil Rights Claim Against County Judge

By Miriam Rozen |

A federal judge in Sherman dismissed a civil-rights suit filed by a plaintiff who alleged that Collin County Court at Law Judge Barnett Walker violated his protections under the 4th and 14th Amendments when he detained him for two hours because he "disrespectfully" asked for a copy of a court transcript.

How to Determine the Value of Business Ownership Interest

By Jeff Compton |

Unlike publicly traded companies, closely-held businesses have few if any transactions in their stock so a valuation expert will be needed who will follow the concepts described here.

Thomas Wilson

International Law Section Launches Human Rights Committee

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Committee may recommended amendments to Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct in regards to giving advice to clients doing business in countries with civil rights issues.

Houston Firm Faces Class Action Lawsuit

By John Council |

The Kovach Law Firm failed to identify itself as a third-party debt collector when contacting consumer plaintiffs and operated without a bond on file with the Texas Secretary of State's Office, according to allegations in a federal complaint.

Texas Considers Creating PACER-like System

By Angela Morris |

In advance of a final deadline, all 254 Texas counties have gone live on The state is now turning an eye to next-generation efiling projects like creating a statewide court document viewer.

State Launching Online Pro Se Tool

By Angela Morris |

"I hope [lawyers] think it's a good thing because we are working in areas we know there are a lot of self-represented litigants," said David Slayton, administrative director of the Texas Office of Court Administration.

Benjamin Torres-Barron

Mexico's Upcoming Oil Auction Offers Opportunities for Lawyers, U.S. Companies

By Angela Neville |

Due to take place Sept. 30, the second auction for offshore oil blocks will offer five groups of shallow water fields in Mexico, according to the Mexico's energy department, the National Hydrocarbons Commission.

Government to Pay $1.5M in Attorney Fees in FLSA Suit

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The U.S. Department of Labor has agreed to pay $1.5 million to a Corpus Christi company and its owner after the Fifth Circuit sanctioned the federal government for bad faith in suit alleging the company violated overtime laws.

David Slayton, administrative director of the Texas Office of Court Administration

Texas to Revamp Data on Court Cases

By Angela Morris |

Texas recently won a national award for collecting high-quality data about court cases. But the state is not stopping there.

From left: Sara Burgin, Kevin Collins, Matt Paulson and Whit Swift, all partners in the Austin office of Bracewell & Giuliani

Bracewell Adds Four Environmental Partners in Austin

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A group of four left Katten Muchin Rosenman's office to join Bracewell & Giuliani in Austin.

Lawyer Sued Over Ponzi Scheme Resigns

By John Council |

The high court order concluded that Gregory G. Jones decision to resign in lieu of discipline by the State Bar of Texas was in the best interest of the public and the legal profession. The Sept. 8 order cancels Jones' law license, orders him to surrender his bar card, and requires him to pay $30,000 in restitution to two former clients before he can seek reinstatement as an attorney.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn

Federal Judge Grants Sanctions Due to Spoliation in Golf Cart Dispute

By Miriam Rozen |

In a dispute about a six-passenger golf cart, a Dallas federal judge granted in part a Florida couple's motion for sanctions due to spoliation against Rosewood Hotels & Resorts.

Texas Supreme Court Axes Whistleblower Suit Against AG

By John Council |

"Based on the law, I cannot even fathom how the Texas Supreme Court would come down with their ruling," said Ginger Weatherspoon who alleges she was fired from her job as an assistant Texas Attorney General after refusing to sign a false affidavit concerning a state district judge.

Justice Samuel Alito speaking during the Federalist Society’s 2015 Texas Chapters Conference in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday, September 19.

Justice Alito Critiques Supreme Court Colleagues

"Last term was a term in which the court followed what Humpty Dumpty famously said: 'When I use a word ... it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less,'" Justice Samuel Alito Jr. said at a recent Federalist Society event in Texas. Alito said the term was a "very bad term for textualism," referring mainly to the 6-3 ruling that rescued the Affordable Care Act from an interpretation that might have wrecked it.

Austin Lawyer Arrested in Murder-for-Hire Plot

By Angela Morris |

An Austin solo who was selling heroin to a man tried to get the man to kill someone, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. The lawyer, James N. Walker, was arrested and charged on Sept. 18 with solicitation of capital murder.

U.S. Internal Revenue Service building in Washington, D.C.

Baker Hughes Sues IRS for $17.6M in Restitution

By Angela Neville |

Baker Hughes recently sued the IRS in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas (Houston Division) seeking a $17.65 million refund in taxes.

Litigants Spar Over Attorney Grievance Dismissals

By Angela Morris |

A man whose grievance against a lawyer was dismissed argued that attorney discipline administrators misinterpreted rules and acted outside of their authority when they denied giving him a dismissal recommendation.

Texas Lawyer Announces Its 2015 Legal Departments of the Year

By Heather D. Nevitt |

Energy Tech Company Loses $71M Patent Case

By Angela Neville |

TDE Petroleum Data Solutions,recently a patent infringement lawsuit that it brought against AKM Enterprise d/b/a Moblize involving its patent on its technology for monitoring oil wells.

Ralph S. Janvey, a partner in Dallas’ Krage & Janvey

Fifth Circuit Refuses Stanford Litigation Stay

By John Council |

For the second time, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Firth Circuit have refused to lift a federal litigation stay which would allow plaintiffs to sue convicted financier R. Allen Stanford in Texas state courts.

Kim Koopersmith, partner and chairperson, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Meet the Women in Charge in Big Law in Texas

At Texas' largest firms, 18 women are either at the head of their firm or one of their firm's Texas offices.

Newsmakers: Week of September 21

Esmeralda Tinajero has joined the Dallas office of Winstead as an associate in the firm's real estate development and investment practice.

Mary-Olga Lovett

2015 Women in the Law Survey: Can Big Law Get to 50 Percent Women Lawyers?

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

At three of the 17 firms with the most lawyers in Texas, more than a third of lawyers are women.


Avvo: The Good, the Bad, and the Bottom Line

By Raymond L. Panneton |

In the digital age, online marketing and branding revolves around creating and maintaining a web presence. As attorneys, ethical rules and other professional considerations make this task easier said than done. Recently, an online community specifically targeting attorneys has popped up to assist with this task: Avvo.

Want to Retain Women Attorneys? There's No All-Inclusive Checklist

By Alyson Blatney and Ginny Webb |

While the easy answer is to assume they have prioritized family obligations over work, the real question is what part law firms play in pushing women attorneys out the door.

VerdictSearch: Walker Loses Claim For Fall On Grass

A woman who claimed that she fell in a deep hole that was hidden in the grass lost her claim on July 29. Irma Torres fell while walking from the parking lot of her apartment complex in Lewisville to her apartment.

Then-U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller waits for his case to be called in Fulton County Court on Sept. 5, 2014 to face charges of misdemeanor battery, in Atlanta.

Alabama Federal Judge Lied About Abuse Allegations, Judiciary Reports

Former Alabama federal judge Mark Fuller, who resigned in August amid an ethics investigation into domestic violence allegations, abused his wife on many occasions and lied to investigators about the assaults, according to a letter the Judicial Conference sent this month to Congress.

Fifth Circuit: Companies Might Have to Pay Workers for Lunch Breaks

By Miriam Rozen |

In a Sept. 15 ruling hailed as extremely consequential by plaintiffs counsel, the Fifth Circuit ruled that a jury could review if an employer that scheduled 30-minute breaks for workers' lunch, but imposed traveling obligations that ate into the employees' time for meals, should have to pay for that break time.

Christopher K. Gilbert

Lawyer Offering Motorcycle Tours in Cuba

By Angela Morris |

"I'm essentially making up my mind to not be chained to my desk for the rest of my life," said Chris Gilbert, a former State Bar of Texas board member.

Bankruptcy Battle Brews Between Energy Companies

By Angela Neville |

EnerVest Energy, the creditor, and Chevron USA, the interested party, are fighting the efforts of debtor Dune Energy and its affiliates to obtain a release from the bankruptcy judge of all claims against them and their estate property, including their remaining assets.

'Pop' Goes the Culture With These Judges

By John G. Browning |

Pop culture has communicated some valuable legal concepts. A law review article once analyzed the Jay-Z song "99 Problems" and the lessons it imparted about the Fourth Amendment.

Judge Reprimanded for Eleven Violations of Conduct

By John Council |

Eric Clifford attended a local Kiwanis Club meeting in which he expressed his opinions about a murder case pending before him by saying some people "need to be killed."

Why Attorney Gender Diversity is Imperative

By Michael K. Hurst |

We better serve our clients and our communities with diversity of thought and input, diversity of appearance, diversity of style, and diversity of experiences.

Jarrett Ellzey (left) and Craft Hughes, partners in Hughes Ellzey, Houston

Litigator of the Week: Rare RESPA Win for Plaintiffs

By Miriam Rozen |

Federal judge has also ordered mortgage company defendant to pay attorney fees to Hughes Ellzey partners' clients.

EPA Proposed Rule Could Resurrect Confusing Test for Air Permitting

By George C. Hopkins, Eric Groten and Jay Rothrock |

The principal question is whether "adjacent" should have its ordinary meaning of "nearby" or proximate, or if it should include consideration of "functional interrelatedness." This definition would be used in EPA's Prevention of Significant Deterioration, Nonattainment New Source Review, and Title V permit program regulations.

Robert S. Bennett, managing partner of Bob Bennett & Associates in Houston

Court Hears Argument in High-Profile Disbarment of Robert S. Bennett

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Robert S. Bennett of Houston, who was disbarred in 2014, said he is "very pleased" with how the argument went before a panel of the Fourteenth Court of Appeals in Houston.

Second DA Requests Handgun Opinion

By Angela Morris |

For the second time in two months, a district attorney has asked the Texas Office of the Attorney General whether a county is allowed to ban handguns in a justice center that houses courts and other departments.

Company Files Bankruptcy After Suits Allege 'Unauthorized Practice of Law'

By Angela Morris |

A trustee has begun the work of liquidating the assets of a bankrupt Austin company that was accused of duping indebted clients into thinking lawyers were helping to settle their debt.

Teens File Texas Supreme Court Brief in School Finance Litigation

By Miriam Rozen |

They have yet to bid goodbye to their teen years. But Zaakir Tameez and Amy Fan have already filed pro se an amicus brief with the Texas Supreme Court. The two filed their brief this month in the school finance litigation.

Criminal District Court No. 6 Judge Jeanine Howard

Judge Warned Over Young Rape Victim Comments

By John Council |

Jeanine Howard was disciplined by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct after she said a 14-year-old sexual assault victim "was not the victim she claimed to be," and sentenced her attacker to probation.

Practice-Specific Gender Gaps: Building Up Women in Law

By Amy Emerson |

Here are some lessons that the legal professional at large can borrow from the construction law field for attracting and retaining women.

Robert S. Bennett, managing partner of Bob Bennett & Associates in Houston

What Texas Lawyers Support Robert S. Bennett's Appeal?

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A number of Texas lawyers filed amicus curiae briefs supporting Robert S. Bennett in his appeal of his disbarment.

Retaining Women Means More Than Feel-Good Groups

By Gemma Descoteaux |

The affinity groups may have made people feel better, provided the illusion of progress, provided an opportunity for similarly situated women lawyers to commiserate; but they haven't yielded results.

bayway refinery rahway, nj

Judge OKs Controversial $225M Exxon Accord, $44M in Fees

A New Jersey judge on Aug. 25 upheld the controversial $225 million settlement reached by the administration of Gov. Chris Christie and ExxonMobil over contamination claims, including about $44.4 million in fees for the state's outside counsel.

King & Spalding Managing Partner Robert Hays

King & Spalding's Tokyo Office Opens

King & Spalding opened a Tokyo office on Friday with four partners from London-based Ashurst who handle energy and resources projects. The launch came after receiving requisite approvals from the Japanese Ministry of Justice.

21 Complaints, Indictment Prompts Lawyer Resignation

By John Council |

A Texas Supreme Court order likely ends the legal career of Irving immigration attorney Sherin Thawer, who allegedly once told an immigration client facing a deportation hearing that she "could not deal with the matter right now" left the courthouse and told the client to do the same.

Kinder Morgan Pipeline, Cheniere Energy Agree to New Gas Transportation Project

By Angela Neville |

In light of the increase in natural gas production, it's not surprising that a Kinder Morgan pipeline division, Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America, recently agreed to partner up with a Cheniere Energy affiliate, Corpus Christi Liquefaction, to move natural gas to the Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project in South Texas.

Chubby Checker files trademark law suit over the Knotz, Chubby Checker cufflinks.

An 8-Figure Twist? Chubby Checker Sues Over Cufflinks

"The Twist" singer Chubby Checker is suing Amazon, Macy's and Nordstrom for allegedly selling cufflinks using his name.

Tort Reformers: Texas Ranks 40th For Lawsuit Climate

By Angela Morris |

The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform has ranked Texas as No. 40 among the 50 states for its legal system and litigation environment. East Texas was the worst jurisdiction in the U.S., said 26 percent of respondents.

Lawyer, Client Take Duplex Battle to Court

By Angela Morris |

A client alleges his former lawyer took advantage of him by trying to acquire his duplex while representing him in a foreclosure. The Austin lawyer counters that the client agreed to exchange the property for legal services.

Three Firms on Pending $6.5B Acquisition of Texas Company

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Kirkland & Ellis represents Solera Holdings of Westlake in its pending acquistiion for $6.5 billiion, including assumed debt, by an affiliate of Vista Equity Partners.

Congressman Joe Barton

House Energy Panel Approves Barton's Bill to Lift Crude Oil Export Ban

By Angela Neville |

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, recently delivered the attached opening statement at the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Power's markup of HR 702, a bill to adapt to changing crude oil markets.

Lisa Blue of Baron and Blue

Lisa Blue Wants Former Client's Indictments to Stand

By John Council |

"Repeatedly, Hill has conjured a conspiracy from absolutely nothing at all," Lisa Blue said in an amicus brief she filed against former client, wealthy Dallas oil heir Albert Hill III.

Judge Tim Wright of Georgetown

Convicted Judge Resigns Law License

By Angela Morris |

Former judge Tim Wright of Georgetown has resigned his law license, as he promised after he pleaded guilty in May to two federal criminal charges.

Group Leaves Burleson to Form Firm in Midland

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Four lawyers left the Midland office of energy firm Burleson to form Long-Weaver, Manning, Antus & Antus.

Dallas Judge Hits Credit Suisse With $287M Judgment

By John Council |

A Dallas-based hedge fund that hit Credit Suisse with a $40 million fraud jury verdict last year, recently tacked on $287 million more to their victory after a trial judge signed a final judgment which also found the banking giant committed breach of contract and civil conspiracy.

Chesapeake Settles Oil Royalty Clash With Bass Brother, Other Plaintiffs

By Angela Neville |

A drawn-out squabble over millions of dollars in oil royalties fought out in a Dallas federal court recently concluded with Chesapeake Exploration and a large group of mineral rights owners, including oil billionaire Edward Bass.

Texas to Celebrate Constitution Day

By Miriam Rozen |

"As criminal defense lawyers, HCCLA members fight daily to protect the Constitution and its safeguards, many of which are set forth in amendments to this cherished document," the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association wrrote about its commemorative event.

VerdictSearch: Handcuffed Inmate Awarded $1,000 for Alleged Beating

On July 15, a jury awarded $1,000 to an inmate who claimed a fractured left finger and a boot print on his forehead.

Newsmakers: Week of September 14

Brent Alan Helms has joined Jones Walker as special counsel in the Houston office. He is in the firm's business and commerce transactions practice group.

When Companies Go Roque, In-House Lawyers Must Protect Themselves

By Randy Johnston |

Will GCs be punished for speaking out against an announced strategy they believe to be wrong, unethical, or illegal? And if they do speak out but the company refuses to change, what do they do?

Ethical and Malpractice Considerations in Use of Email

By Jett Hanna |

As email has become ubiquitous, lawyers have found themselves enmeshed in a number of new concerns regarding ethics and liability. This article reviews a few of the concerns lawyers must consider in their use of email.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville

DOJ to Judge Hanen: 'Miscommunication' Should Not Lead to Punitive Sanctions

By Miriam Rozen |

In immigration litigation pitting Texas and 25 other states against the Obama administration, DOJ lawyers filed a memorandum arguing that the federal judge should not impose punitive sanctions against the federal government, or reduce the length of time allowed on work permits issued to some 108,000 immigrants.

Hospital OKs Same-Sex Benefits After Discrimination Charge

By Angela Morris |

A Catholic health care system changed its policy on providing health insurance to employees' same-sex spouses after one employee alleged that the system was discriminating against him by denying benefits to his husband.

Dan Cogdell, principal and founder of the Cogdell Law Firm in Houston, left, and Fort Worth criminal-defense solo Terri Moore

AG Ken Paxton Names New Legal Team

By Angela Morris |

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton named a new legal team to replace Joe Kendall, who quit unexpectedly in late August just after Paxton pleaded not guilty to three felony charges.

DLA Piper's Role in Truancy System Reform

By Angela Morris |

"I think the constitution's protections apply to every individual regardless of age and we wanted to help vulnerable children facing these life-altering circumstances ensure their rights were respected," said Courtney Stewart.

PI Lawyers Dissolving Firm at Impasse Over Lease

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Houston lawyer Michael Doyle sued former partner Jeffrey Raizner, alleging they are at an impasse in wind down of Doyle Raizner because of disagreement over lease of the firm's office building.

Heir Seeks Judge Recusal for 'Shocking' Comment

By John Council |

"You know, I am from limited means. All this was new to me. Even in families like mine where people don't have much, they get into disputes," U.S. Magistrate Renee Toliver said during a hearing involving wealthy Dallas oil heir Albert G. Hill III.

A Guide to Experts and Inadmissible Underlying Data

By Quentin Brogdon |

If the underlying facts or data are otherwise inadmissible, should the jury be made aware of the facts or data, simply because the expert relied upon them?

Baker Botts, Norton Rose Fulbright on $1.75B Angola Deal

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Baker Botts represents Houston's Cobalt International Energy in its pending $1.75 billion sale of blocks offshore Angola to Sonangol, Angola's national oil company.

From left: David Fielding, Frank Parker and Laura Hallmon

Cantey Hanger Picks Up Labor and Employment Group

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The three lawyers from Fort Worth's Fielding, Parker & Hallmon joined Cantey Hanger on Sept. 1.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Abbott To Establish Energy Task Force Between Texas and Mexico

By Angela Neville |

During his recent visit to Mexico, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Texas and Mexico's intent to establish an energy task force, which will foster discussions on energy reform as developments in the energy industry proliferate at home and across the border.

NLRB's Redefinition of Joint-Employment May be the Beginning of a Slippery Slope

By Stephen J. Roppolo |

This decision may be looked upon one day as the beginning of a slippery and dangerous slope for many employers, even those in states like Texas, where unions have had historically had a difficult time gaining a foothold.

Thomas J. Henry (left) and J. Thomas Rhodes

Litigator of the Week: High-Low Agreement + $67M Verdict=$9M for Plaintiff

By Miriam Rozen |

An accident victim wins a $67 million verdict, including $33 million in punitive damages, represented by co-counsel Tom Rhodes of San Antonio and Thomas J. Henry of Corpus Christi.

Firm Scores Pre-Suit Deposition of

By Angela Morris |

Eberstein & Witherite recently won approval from a district judge to depose Indeed Inc. prior to filing suit against a person who posted an allegedly defamatory resume on about the firm.

Former Continental GC Steps Down From Big United Airlines Job

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Jeffery Smisek, once the senior vice president and general counsel of Houston-based Continental Airlines, gets severance package from United Airlines including $4.875 million cash payment.

Vessels equipped with water cannons try to fight the devastating Deepwater Horizon fire.

Fifth Circuit Certifies BP Class, Rejects Another

By John Council |

"In this case, our court returns—not for the first time, and likely not for the last—to the events related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill," wrote Fifth Circuit Senior Judge Patrick Higginbotham.

Firms, Lawyer Deny Legal Malpractice Allegations

By Angela Morris |

Two law firms and an attorney have denied all of the allegations in a legal malpractice lawsuit that former clients hit them with this summer.

Texas Supreme Court Declines to Hear Drilling Rights Case

By Angela Neville |

In the wake of a recent decision handed down by the Fourth Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of Texas recently rejected hearing a petition for injunctive relief related to a lawsuit concerning a subsurface trespass case between Lightning Oil Company and Anadarko E&P Onshore.

Partners L. Bradley Hancock (left) and Christopher D. Johnsen are joining Holland & Knight to establish the firm's new office in Houston

Holland & Knight Opens Houston Office

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Miami-based firm opens its third office in Texas and hires two litigators.

Nominate an In-House Department for Legal Department of the Year

Texas Lawyer is seeking nominations for our Legal Departments of the Year award which recognizes the Lone Star State's top in-house departments. The deadline for nominations is 5 p.m., Sept, 11, 2015.

Texas Same-Sex Marriage Plaintiffs Seek $740K in Attorney Fees

By Miriam Rozen |

The plaintiffs' fee request, filed Sept. 4, follows SCOTUS historic June 26 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which determined same-sex marriage bans violated couples' constitutional rights and refers to Akin Gump partners' hourly rates of $825-980.

Are You a 'Lever Monkey?'

By Mike Maslanka |

Over Labor Day, I re-read a great (but overlooked) book "Law v. Life: What Lawyers Are Afraid to Say About The Legal Profession," by Walt Bachman. The book is a short meditation upon the labor of lawyering.

Title Attorneys Face Layoffs, Furloughs After Low Gas Prices

With the height of the initial Marcellus Shale bonanza several years out and gas prices remaining low, oil-and-gas-related title work has dropped off significantly, leaving some firms and companies facing cutbacks, furloughs and layoffs.

Wooden gavel barrister, justice concept, legal system

Suspensions Sought Against Three Convicted Lawyers

By Angela Morris |

Rodrigo Martinez Jr. of Edinburg was convicted of theft over $200,000; Susan Marie Sciacca of Houston was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; and William Topp Maxwell was convicted of 22 charges.

Quentin Brogdon

Newsmakers: Week of September 7

Quentin Brogdon has joined Crain Lewis Brogdon in Dallas as a partner. He represents plaintiffs in catastrophic personal injury litigation.

VerdictSearch: Sales Rep Awarded $225,062 on Age Discrimination Claim

On Aug. 7, a jury awarded $225,062 to a sales representantive who claimed she was fired because of her age. In 2011,

Ex-Client Alleges Lawyer Used IOLTA as 'Piggy Bank'

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Texicali seeks more than $1 million from Houston lawyer James Mulder and his firm, alleging in petition filed on Sept. 2 that Mulder "stole" money from his client trust account.

Lawyer Arrested for Conspiracy Against Nationwide Law Firms

By Angela Morris |

A Texas attorney was arrested and removed to Florida after being charged in a case that alleges that he conspired to defraud lawyers and law firms across the nation out of at least $8.8 million.

Hospital OKs Same-Sex Benefits After Discrimination Charge

By Angela Morris |

A Catholic health care system changed its policy on providing health insurance to employees' same-sex spouses after one employee alleged the system was discriminating against him by denying benefits to his husband.

A fracking operation in southwestern Pennsylvania

Suit Claims Landowners' Injuries From Blast Due to Fracking

By Angela Neville |

Cody Murray and members of his family, who were injured in a severe water well explosion in August 2014, recently filed a lawsuit in Dallas County alleging that two oil and gas companies' drilling and extraction activities near their home in Jack County, Texas, caused the explosion.

Voter ID Battle: Texas Seeks Rehearing, DOJ Seeks Injunction

By Miriam Rozen |

Texas has asked the full bench of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to rehear civil rights plaintiffs' case against the state's voter ID law after a three-judge panel from the same court ruled that the law discriminates.

Westport to Enter Into $351M Merger With Fuel Systems

By Angela Neville |

Canadian-based Westport Innovations' pending merger with Fuel Systems Solutions, which is headquartered in New York, will create a premier alternative fuel vehicle and engine company.

Trang Q. Tran

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Lawyer Wins Ruling Concerning Coffee and Tips

By John Council |

Trang Tran's recent win from the Fifth Circuit means that his waiter clients might not have to share their tips with a fine-dining restaurant's resident "coffeeman."

FedEx Freight Seeks Sanctions in Spoliation Battle

By Miriam Rozen |

A spoliation battle in Beaumont federal court pits FedEx Freight against Stevens Transport. The two transportation companies are co-defendants in litigation that arose following a 2012 highway accident in Jefferson County involving more than 100 vehicles.

No-Show at Trial Gets Lawyer, Firm Sued

By John Council |

A property tax loan company alleges that a Fort Worth lawyer and his law firm failed to show up at a trial and refused to turn over money it was due from a foreclosure sale.

Lawyer Who Bribed Judge Resigns Law License

By Angela Morris |

Convicted San Antonio attorney Alberto Acevedo Jr., who admitted to bribing a judge with car repairs in exchange for favorable rulings, has resigned his law license rather than facing attorney discipline.

Gaines West, president of West, Webb, Allbritton & Gentry in College Station

Court Denies Lawyer Disqualification Effort

By Angela Morris |

Waco's 10th Court of Appeals recently denied a group of litigants' effort to have College Station lawyer Gaines West, his firm and another lawyer disqualified for allegedly switching sides to represent an opponent.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Chairman Christi Craddick, Railroad Commission of Texas, Austin

Railroad Commissioner Outlines Energy Policy Trends

By Angela Neville |

Texas railroad commissioner Christi Craddick recently spoke at the State Bar of Texas Public Utility Law Section's annual meeting and seminar in Austin about emerging policy initiatives impacting the Texas oil and gas sector.

CCA Orders Judge to Explain Attorney Removal

By John Council |

"I did what I thought was right, and if they say otherwise, I'm OK with that," said Evan Stubbs, judge of the 424th District Court in Burnet County. "I'm not going to have my feelings hurt.''

Joanne Du and Phillip Georgiou, partners, Baker Botts, Hong Kong

Baker Botts Hires Three Lateral Partners in Asia

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Three lawyers leave Jones Day's Hong Kong office to join Baker Botts' Hong Kong office.

Will Supreme Court Ruling in School Finance Case Lead to a Special Session?

By Miriam Rozen |

Will a Texas Supreme Court ruling in the historic school finance case that the justices heard arguments for on Sept. 1 lead to a special session for state lawmakers? The plaintiffs in the litigation forecast such an outcome as likely, but that's not what the Texas solicitor general wants.

Three Firms Work on $376M Permian Basin Deal

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

For $376.1 million Permian Basin asset sale, Houston-based W&T Offshore handles transaction in-house.

Tips for Developing Self-Confidence So You Can Flourish

I turn to "The Sound of Music" for an assist in addressing another competency of emotional intelligence: self-confidence.

From Deputy GC to NHL Commish? It Could Happen

Jessica Berman, deputy general counsel of the National Hockey League, might just become the first female commissioner of a men’s professional sports league—at least one media outlet says so.

11th Circuit Revives Miami's Case Against Mortgage Lenders; Similar Case Pending in Atlanta

A federal appeals court panel has revived what it called an "ambitious" set of lawsuits brought by the city of Miami against mortgage lenders under the federal Fair Housing Act.

Disciplinary Case: Lawyer Lied That Prosecutors Smoked Pot

By Angela Morris |

Beaumont solo John S. Morgan faces a disciplinary lawsuit after he pleaded no contest in a case that accused him of lying to police by saying that people in the district attorney's office smoked pot and "skimmed" it from drug cases.

Carol and Martin Chitwood were married in 2009 but are now fighting in court over a prenuptial agreement and her claims that he physically assaulted her. (Inset) Carol Chitwood claims her husband caused these injuries in 2011. He said she has fabricated her allegations of abuse.

Atlanta Lawyer's Divorce Reveals Abuse Allegations

The wife of a prominent Atlanta securities litigator active in Democratic Party politics has claimed in court papers stemming from the couple's divorce that he attacked her violently multiple times during their five-year-marriage.

Suit Alleges Lawyers Failed to Seek Venue Change

By Miriam Rozen |

In a petition, El Expreso alleges that the lawyers and insurer failed to have a change of venue motion filed to transfer from Cameron County another lawsuit targeting the bus company. As a result, the lawyers and insurer subjected the bus company to a potentially five times larger jury verdict than what El Expreso might have faced in Harris or another county, according to the petition El Expreso filed in Harris County this month.

Litigation Support Company Sues Firm, Alleges Millions in Unpaid Fees

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Houston litigation support company sued Houston lawyers James Lee Jr. and Clayton Clark and their firms and a litigation support company, alleging that it is owed more than $10 million in unpaid fees.

Judge Affirms $3.7M Overtime Award for Native Oilfield Drivers

By Angela Neville |

U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle upheld a jury's $3.7 million verdict awarded to former company drivers for Native Oilfield Services for disputed overtime wages under the FLSA to its employees.

Lawsuit: False Allegations of Anthrax Research Led to Discriminatory Firing

By Miriam Rozen |

A former University of Texas at San Antonio biology professor, who is a Chinese native, filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against the school. In her complaint, professor Ruoting Pei alleges that school officials falsely accused her of faking data and attempting to help the Chinese government with anthrax terrorist research.

Texas Supreme Court: Accelerate Appeals of Juveniles' Adult Certifications

By Miriam Rozen |

The Supreme Court of Texas issued an order requiring juvenile court judges to tell youths whom they have certified to be tried in adult criminal courts that they may immediately appeal those rulings.

Why Bother With Mailers When Attorney Can Text Solicitations to Get Clients?

Florida is second state to allow lawyers to solicit potential clients by text. The proposal that was pushed by a group of young lawyers and approved by the Florida Bar board of governors.

Could Crude Oil Exports Become a Reality?

By Natalie Regoli and Brian Polley |

Why all the attention? In a word: shale. The shale revolution, driven largely by rapid technological advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques over the past decade, has increased U.S. oil production to record levels.

Everything a Juror Needs to Decide a Case They Learned in Kindergarten

By Lisa Blue, Robert Hirschhorn and Kellye Raymond |

In kindergarten, children learn to work through problems. Serving on a jury requires a parallel process: Jurors come together with all different life experiences and they must work together to reach a verdict.

Facing Discipline, Judge Alleges Lawyers Conspired Against Her

By Angela Morris |

Former judge Etta Mullin of Dallas appealed a judicial disciplinary sanction. New allegations came out in her trial de novo, including a claim that she once asked a bailiff handcuff an eight-months-pregnant prosecutor into her chair.

Judge Seeks to Wind Up Energy Future's Bankruptcy

By Angela Neville |

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Sontchi recently signed an order setting the confirmation hearing in Energy Future Holdings' marathon Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Gaylord Hughey

The Eastern District Gets a Lobbyist

By John Council |

"Obviously we want the Eastern District to be treated fairly with other districts and not be singled out for purposes of venue," said Gaylord Hughey, who will serve as the Eastern District of Texas Bar Association's lobbyist in front of Congress. "That's an issue that I'm focused on.''

Meet Our Top 20 Extraordinary Minorities

There is no doubt that the 20 attorneys profiled have made significant contributions to law and lawyering in Texas. They stand up for the powerless, guide powerful corporations and extend a helping hand to the next generation of attorneys. Congratulations to these amazing lawyers.

Hoang “Quan” Vu

Hoang "Quan" Vu | 45

Hoang "Quan" Vu and his family were among the 130,000 refugees who fled South Vietnam when Saigon fell to communist North Vietnamese forces on April 30, 1975.

Tiffany Burks

Tiffany Burks | 44

"It's a judgment call every day. We have to use our best judgment and put our best foot forward," said Tiffany Burks, assistant district attorney in the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney's office.

Ernest Gonzalez

Ernest Gonzalez | 52

Ernest Gonzalez knows what it means to confront on-the-job security risks. An assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Texas in Plano, Gonzalez has served as a federal prosecutor in Texas for two decades.

Lisa M. Tatum

Lisa Tatum | 46

It was surreal for Lisa Tatum to be the very first African-American president of the State Bar of Texas. More than a year after she completed the job, she's still reflecting on her presidency.

A. Shonn Brown

A. Shonn Brown | 42

A. Shonn Brown knew as a young girl growing up in the Dallas area that she would practice law one day.

Jas S. Braich

Jas S. Braich | 40

Shortly after an oilfield client's rig exploded in the Midland-Odessa area in February 2014, Jas S. Braich headed for the site to assess the situation and preserve evidence. His efforts likely saved his client thousands of dollars.

Brent Goudarzi

Brent Goudarzi | 46

Brent Goudarzi's desire to help accident victims who have suffered catastrophic injuries and the survivors of accident victims led him to become a plaintiffs lawyer.

Arnold Shokouhi

Arnold Shokouhi | 34

Born in Iran not long after the 1979 Revolution, Arnold Shokouhi said he owed his future to his mother, Mahin Resapour, who fled the repressive regime because she wanted a better life for her three boys.

Lacy L. Durham

Lacy Durham | 35

Lacy Durham juggles taxing job at Deloitte Tax in Dallas and a full plate of community work focused on solving problems that impact children and youth.

Albert J. Li

Albert J. Li | 44

When Albert J. Li was 12 years old, his parents made the comment that he liked to argue so much that he ought to become a lawyer.

Manuel G. Berrelez

Manuel Berrelez | 37

A lawyer's belief in him as a client is one of the reasons Manuel Berrelez wanted to become an attorney.

Edward Valdespino

Edward Valdespino | 58

Edward Valdespino decided to become a lawyer in part because of the example set by his uncle, the late Henry Valdespino, an assistant U.S. attorney in the 1960s for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio who helped implement civil rights laws.

Veronica S. Lewis

Veronica Lewis | 53

Dallas litigator Veronica Lewis does such as good job for clients that one in-house lawyer would like to clone her.

Mimi Coffey

Mimi Coffey | 46

It's surprising to hear DWI defense attorney Mimi Coffey—of all lawyers—make a prediction that driving under the influence will become an obsolete offense in the future. But she predicts exactly that.

Gordon Quan

Gordon Quan | 67

A photo in Gordon Quan's office shows a large group of skydivers in free fall with the inscription: "Dealing with immigration law is a lot like skydiving: you better know what you are doing and you better succeed on the first time!"

Phyllis Y. Young

Phyllis Young | 39

Phyllis Young helps big companies with billion-dollar finances, but also did extensive pro bono work to help an Austin non-profit set up loan programs that are an alternate to payday loans.

Tahira Khan Merritt

Tahira Khan Merritt | 51

Dallas attorney Tahira Khan Merritt has represented more than 200 sexual abuse victims in civil suits against their alleged abusers since 1996. Many of her clients were abused as children.

Dilen Kumar

Dilen Kumar | 32

Dilen Kumar could have sat on a beach for over a year with full pay from his law firm. Instead, he took a job in the White House and helped choose, vet and usher a U.S. Supreme Court justice through confirmation.

Judge Ravi Sandill

Ravi K. Sandill | 39

At the urging of the Harris County Democratic Party in 2008, Ravi K. Sandill challenged a longtime Houston judge to become the first person of South Asian descent elected to a district court bench in Texas.

James E. Payne

James Payne | 47

James Payne said his curiosity about attorneys developed after a television tube blew up in his hand when he was 10.

Fort Worth Courthouse Gives Defense Lawyers Security Bypass

By John Council |

"Just because it gets me in doesn't mean it gets me to a courtroom any faster," said Fort Worth criminal defense attorney Kenny Mullen, who said a badge will get him past the courthouse's security line, but not into its busy elevators.

Daniel J. Sheehan

Lawyer Found Not in Contempt for Client’s Actions

By John Council |

"She ordered me taken hostage for my client failing to comply to what she wanted done. I don't know that any judge has the power to jail a client's lawyer until the client does what they want them to do," said Dan Sheehan.

Ken Paxton

Paxton Pleads Not Guilty, Loses Lawyer

By John Council |

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's not-guilty plea was not a surprise. The withdrawal of his lead lawyer, Joe Kendall, was.

Kimbra Kathryn Ogg

Plaintiffs' Catnip: Fifth Circuit's Cat's Paw Ruling

By Miriam Rozen |

Texas plaintiffs counsel welcomed a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruling upholding employees' use of a "cat's paw" theory of liability when they allege that their employers retaliated against them for complaining about discrimination.

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Winning a Bad-Luck Case

By John Council |

"Judge Atlas actually said the case had bad luck," Robert McKnight said. "That's in the transcript when they're talking about the chalkboard. But some of the luck was good."

Glenn Ballard

Newsmakers: Week of August 31

Glenn A. Ballard Jr. has joined Dentons as managing partner of the firm's Houston office and a member of the litigation and dispute practice.

VerdictSearch: Female Factory Worker Who Claimed Pay Disparity Gets $72,500 Settlement

A factory worker who claimed sex-based wage discrimination, disability discrimination and retaliation, agreed to a $72,500 settlement on July 31.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider

Judge Michael Schneider Takes Senior Status

By John Council |

U.S. District Judge Michael Schneider of Tyler, who is the Eastern District of Texas' most mobile jurist, will take senior status on Jan. 7, 2016.

10 Tips for Negotiating Pipelines Deals for Landowners

By Mary Barkley |

The following includes a list of factors every landowner and his or her attorney should consider when negotiating with a pipeline company.

The Age of the Vanishing Jury Trial Leaves Some Litigators Underprepared for Closing Arguments

By David Bissinger |

In the age of the vanishing jury trial, seasoned trial lawyers arguing well within the rules increasingly find themselves under attack from litigators unfamiliar with the line between proper and improper closing argument.

Free and Inexpensive Ways to Locate Information on People

By Mary Ann Wacker and Margaret Bartlett |

Often, going beyond a simple Google search and taking the time to visit various websites may yield rich results.

Judge Approves $225M Settlement With Exxon in Pollution Case

By Angela Neville |

N.J. Judge Michael J. Hogan recently approved New Jersey's $225 million settlement with Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp. that resolves the state's claims for natural resource damage against Exxon.

Breach-of-Contract Suit Against Former In-House Lawyer Will Proceed

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

An opinion from the First Court of Appeals in Houston affirms a trial judge's ruling that denies Charlotte Rutherford's request to dismiss the cause of action with Texas' Anti-SLAPP statute.

Advertisement promoting high fructose corn syrup, part of a campaign by the Corn Refiners Association  to convince people that high fructose corn syrup isn't dangerous.

Sanctions Sought Against Ex-Squire Patton Boggs Lawyer in Sugar Case

Two corn refining companies that booted Squire Patton Boggs from its high stakes lawsuit against the sugar industry are claiming one the law firm’s former attorneys is still on the case—in violation of a judge’s disqualification order.

Houston Energy Companies in $14.8B Acquisition

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Baker Botts and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher represent Schlumberger in planned $14.8 billion acquisition of Houston-based Cameron International.

Cade Bernsen, left, and David Bernsen of the Bernsen Law Firm, Beaumont.

Litigator of the Week: Case Involving Sperm Bank, Ex-Girlfriends and Rare Mental Anguish Damages

By Miriam Rozen |

Layne Hardin and Katherine LeBlanc alleged that Tobie Devall retrieved vials of Hardin's sperm from a sperm bank, had herself inseminated and gave birth to his child, all without his permission.

Susan Hawk, newly elected Dallas DA

Dallas DA Takes Leave Over Depression

By John Council |

"I want, and fully expect, to be able to resume my duties as district attorney once I've recovered from this illness—the extra time I am requesting is simply in an effort to assure that I'm healthy, and to give me the opportunity to make changes so this does not happen in the future," Dallas DA Susan Hawk said in a statement.

Uber headquarters in San Francisco

Uber Subsidiary Sues to Keep Records Secret

By Angela Morris |

"Rasier is compelled to bring this action because the attorney general ruled that highly sensitive trade secrets and personal identifying information regarding its driver partners must be disclosed in response to an open records request."

Business man and business women walk among large screens displaying information. These screens forming a labyrinth.

How Sound Information Governance Can Protect Your Organization from Risk

While most business leaders now recognize the importance of their business data, few have taken adequate steps to properly control it and manage its inherent risk.

Three Firms Work on Shale Asset Purchase

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Kirkland & Ellis and Thompson & Knight represent GEP Haynesville in joint venture's $850 million purchase of shale assets.

Fifth Circuit Allows $46M Energy Contract Dispute to Continue

By Miriam Rozen |

The Fifth Circuit reversed a Houston trial judge and allowed Houston-based International Energy Ventures Management to continue to pursue a $46.5 million breach-of-contract dispute against Hong Kong-based United Energy Group, which purchased BP's Pakistani oil and gas assets in 2011.

Jones Day's Atlanta Office Led M&A Team for Southern Co.'s $12B AGL Deal

Jones Day's 140-lawyer Atlanta office led the mergers and acquisitions team in the deal for Southern Co. to acquire AGL Resources for $12 billion, including $8 billion in debt.

Jury Awards $70M Verdict in O&G Fraud Case

By Angela Neville |

A jury in Fisher County handed down a $70 million verdict in connection with a case involving allegations by two groups of investors, including Lowry Hunt of Mansfield's L.W. Hunt Resources and Richard Raughton of Fort Worth, who claimed that they were conned out of sizable profits from West Texas oil and gas production leases.

Fish & Richardson Wants $1.36M From Ex-Clients

By John Council |

Lawyers from the large law firm are seeking to collect on an arbitration award in a big fee dispute—one the former clients won't pay because their new attorney believes it is "not meritorious at all."

Increased E-Filing Fee Effective Sept. 1

By Angela Morris |

Lawyers who use e-filing in civil cases will notice higher bills in September, when the e-filing fee increases to $30 from $20. That's just one of the changes in store for Sept. 1, when many new laws become effective.

Ray Lewis

Negligence Trial Begins for Ray Lewis, Santana Moss and Other Football Players Suing BB&T

Jury selection began Tuesday in Miami federal court in the negligence trial against BB&T Bank brought by six current and former NFL players—and it quickly became clear that seating a jury would take more time than usual.

Mitratech Acquires CaseTrack from Economic Analysis Group

The purchase expands Mitratech’s client base to over 750 clients, including more than half of the Fortune 50 and almost 40 percent of the Fortune 500.

Superlitigious Fight Continues Over Super Bowl Seating

By Miriam Rozen |

With their appeal, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the plaintiffs seek to overturn a Dallas federal judge's pretrial rulings and to schedule a new trial.

Austin Pays $480K to Settle Pregnancy Centers Suit

By Angela Morris |

The city of Austin will pay $461,000 in attorney fees to settle a case by religious-based pregnancy resource centers that won a ruling that a city ordinance was unconstitutional.

Texas Divorce Firm Accused of Discrimination

By John Council |

Hal Gillespie, a partner in Dallas' Gillespie Sanford, said his client's allegations are a familiar age discrimination story with an unusual twist.

Bankrupt Prompt Pay Company Sues Lawyer, Firm

By Angela Morris |

A bankrupt company that analyzed data for firms in prompt pay litigation alleged that before bankruptcy, the Austin lawyer and firm that represented it in a sale whisked its assets away for "zero consideration."

Fourth Court OKs Drilling Through Rival's Mineral Estate

By Angela Neville |

The Fourth Court of Appeals recently ruled in favor of Anadarko E&P Onshore LLC in a subsurface trespass case brought by Lightning Oil Co.

Disrupted: Exploring the Five Forces Changing the Legal Landscape

Futurists and e-discovery experts talk changing legal processes, new e-discovery technologies and more at Legaltech West panel.

Texas Lawyer Announces 2015 Lifetime Achievement Awards

By Heather D. Nevitt |

This list recognizes lawyers who have made their mark on the legal profession in the Lone Star State. In addition, we have named three nominees for Attorney of the Year. The winner of that award will be announced at an event in Houston on Nov. 2.

Fifth Circuit Resurrects Nuisance Case for O&G Drilling

By Angela Neville |

The Fifth Circuit recently dealt with an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas involving a nuisance suit brought by several homeowners in Parker County, Texas, claiming that Devon Energy Corp. carried out oil and gas drilling activities in their neighborhood that were noisy and disruptive and inhibited their use of their land.

Lawyer Faces Legal Malpractice for Suing Too Late

By Angela Morris |

The underlying lawsuit would have succeeded if Austin attorney Frank B. Lyon filed it on time, but instead the claims "have been forever lost," claimed plaintiff Thomas Hoskins in a legal malpractice lawsuit.

Kayla Kupcakes

South Florida Judge Gets Eyeful from Porn Star in Court

A Broward judge got an unexpected show Thursday from a porn star appearing in bond court.

Despite SCOTUS Ruling, Texas Must Pay Voting Rights Plaintiffs' Fees

By Miriam Rozen |

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is disappointed and evaluating options after a federal appeals court ruled that the state must pay roughly $1 million in attorney fees to plaintiffs who intervened in Voting Rights Act litigation, according to Cynthia Meyer, an Office of the Attorney General spokeswoman.

Brian White (booking photo)

Lawyer Faces Felony Indictment for Hit-and-Run

By Angela Morris |

Michael M. White faces a charge of failure to stop and render aid, a third-degree felony, for allegedly striking a pedestrian, seriously injuring him and leaving the scene without helping the victim.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville

Brownsville Courtroom No Fun for DOJ Defending Immigration Reforms

By Miriam Rozen |

U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen in Brownsville stopped short of ordering the federal government to unwind work permits it issued to 108,000 immigrants under an immigration reform program.

William Powers Jr.

Newsmakers: Week of August 24

William Powers Jr., former University of Texas at Austin president and a former dean of the University of Texas School of Law, has joined the Austin office of Jackson Walker as of counsel.

VerdictSearch: Car Owner Awarded $4,878 for Escalade That She Claims is a Total Loss

On May 19, 2011, the husband of plaintiff Crissy Stephens was driving a 2006 Cadillac Escalade on the exit ramp connecting North West Freeway to the Sam Houston Tollway in Houston when he was involved in a collision with a 2007 Mercedes Benz C230 driven by Michael Shipes.

Texas Attorneys Discuss Newly Adopted SEC Pay Ratio Disclosure Rules and Address O&G Clients' Concerns

By Miriam Rozen |

The Securities and Exchange Commission finally adopted this month long-debated pay ratio disclosure rules. Texas Lawyer asked three Texas lawyers, David Kirkland of Baker Botts, Amy Curtis of Thompson & Knight and Stephen Jacobson of Vinson & Elkins, all of whom advise the O&G industry, to respond to questions about the SEC's new rules.

New Statutory Changes in Family Code Improve Uniformity in Evaluations

By Ryan Kirkham |

The new statutory scheme found in Chapter 107 of the Texas Family Code has the potential to make Texas a leader on child custody evaluations.

Former Dallas Lawyer Gets One Year in Prison

By John Council |

Andrew Lee Siegel took $410,000 from a client and investors for starting a vodka business but used it to support his expensive lifestyle.

What 'Obergefell' Means for Same-Sex Surrogacy in Texas

By David W. Dummer |

Before the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges earlier this year, same-sex couples were treated differently under Texas law if they chose to move forward with a pregnancy via surrogacy.

Judge Sanctions State Fair in Open Records Tiff

By Angela Morris |

"It was an act of intimidation for someone to never ask for their records again, and I'm glad it failed," said Austin solo Bill Aleshire, who represented defendant law firm Riggs & Ray.

Yodit Tewolde

Is She Dallas' Most Beautiful Lawyer?

By John Council |

"It's about my building a brand," Yodit Tewolde said of being a semifinalist for D Magazine's 2015 10 Most Beautiful Women contest.

Class Action Alleges Jail Policy Unconstitutional

By Angela Morris |

"The defendants' actual intent [is] to regulate and limit the ability of [Pamela] McGraw, and other attorneys, to practice law and to provide legal advice when solicited to the detainees," said the "McGraw v. Gary" complaint.

Paul R. Bessette

Third Circuit Rules on Behalf of Former O&G CEO in Investor Fraud Case

By Angela Neville |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit entered a permanent injunction forbidding the group of former limited partners of SemCrude from proceeding in state court in their shareholder derivative lawsuit against SemCrude.

Two Grand Juries Likely to Investigate Biker Shootings in Waco

By Miriam Rozen |

Two separate grand juries will conduct investigations into the shootings that occurred outside a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco in May, according to McLennan County District Attorney Abelino "Abel" Reyna.

Commentary: Jared Fogle's Case Reminds Us, How Should We Deal With Those Caught With Child Porn?

By Neal Davis |

Society understandably abhors the growing epidemic of child pornography, but is the way the criminal justice system deals with these offenders disproportionate in severity to the offender's psychological behavior?

Plains Hit With Shareholders' Class Action Over Pipeline Spill

By Angela Neville |

Plaintiff Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund and other members of the class brought the shareholders' lawsuit against Plains in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in the wake of the May 19, 2015, oil spill that occurred after an onshore pipeline operated by Plains ruptured.

Family Law Litigants: Your Smartphone Might Be Betraying You

By Cindy Diggs |

The very features that make smartphones useful for users' daily lives also make them vulnerable to prying eyes.

Judge Sued for Alleged Sexual Harassment

By John Council |

The woman, a 22-year county employee, alleges in a graphic 26-page petition filed in a Fort Worth U.S. district court on Aug. 16 that she was sexually harassed for five years by Russ Casey, a Tarrant County justice of the peace.

Ken Paxton

Prosecutors Reword Paxton Charges in New Indictments

By Angela Morris |

The reindictments include the same basic allegations, but use new wording that Paxton "unlawfully and intentionally" sold securities fraudulently by intentionally not disclosing facts so that investors would buy stock.

Arnold & Itkin, Two Partners Settle Negligence Suit

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Days before trial, Arnold & Itkin and partners Kurt Arnold and Jason Itkin settled a suit filed by Dallas businessman Thomas P. Muse, who was seeking more than $2 million in damages.

Fifth Circuit Decision Fails to End Huge Fee Case

By John Council |

"Both sides implore us to decide this appeal. While we sympathize with their desire for resolution, we lack the power to do so," wrote Fifth Circuit Senior Judge Patrick Higginbotham.

Donald Trump

Is Fear of Losing to a Woman the Root of Trump's Misogyny?

By Kathleen J. Wu |

The world always provides ample opportunity to witness vile, sexist treatment of women in the public sphere, but the kick-off of the 2016 presidential campaign reminds us that women are never so threatening as when they play a part in the political process.

Trial by Combat: Truly An Alternative Dispute Resolution

By John G. Browning |

Even though modern trials evolved from the trial by combat of the Middle Ages, today our chosen champions wear suits instead of armor, wield laptops instead of swords, and face off in courtrooms rather than courtyards. Recently, however, a "Game of Thrones"-inspired lawyer from New York actually filed a motion in court seeking trial by combat.

Sally Evans Lockwood

Georgia Doesn't Plan Changes in Wake of ABA Push Against Mental Health Inquiries on Bar Applications

A resolution passed by the American Bar Association's House of Delegates asking bar admissions authorities to steer away from questions about applicants' mental health does not call for a re-evaluation of Georgia's bar admissions procedures, according to Georgia Office of Bar Admissions Director Sally Lockwood.

From left: Austin Kaplan, Pat O'Connell, Jan Soifer, Jim Cato, Jody

County Settles Same-Sex Marriage License Lawsuit

By Angela Morris |

Hood County paid nearly $43,900 in attorney fees—half covered by insurance—to settle a lawsuit by a gay couple that sued County Clerk Katie Lang for repeatedly refusing to issue them a marriage license.

Timothy Lee

$400M Fraud Case Against JPMorgan Remanded

By Angela Neville |

Orca Assets is suing JPMorgan Chase Bank, alleging fraud, negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract in relation to six oil and gas leases and seeking approximately $400 million in lost profits.


Ex-Client Nonsuits Houston Lawyer in Suit Filed Over Divorce

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A woman nonsuited Houston lawyer James Patrick Smith in suit alleging that he mishandled her divorce, but a related suit against Houston lawyer Paul Nugent set for trial in 2016.

Rally on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, on the day of oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, a case challenging Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.  February 27, 2013.

Texas Ordered to Pay $1M in Legal Fees in Voting Rights Case

Texas must pay more than $1 million in legal fees to groups that challenged the state’s redistricting plans, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., ruled Tuesday. Perkins Coie, among the firms involved in the litigation, will receive $597,715, according to the fee award.