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The Walking Dead, the Living Dead, and the Legally Dead

By John G. Browning |

Lurking within the dark corners of the legal system, we have our own problems with the "dead" returning to life—the legally dead, that is.

Robert S. 'Bob' Bennett

Robert S. Bennett's Disciplinary Appeal Proceeds

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A mediation between disbarred lawyer Robert S. Bennett and the Commission for Lawyer Discipline was not successful.

Expert Witness Alleges Lawyers, Firms Didn't Pay

By Angela Morris |

Defendant Paul Storm, a partner in Gardere Wynne Sewell in Dallas, said it's a "routine billing dispute," and he denies all of the allegations.

7 Family Law Questions Non-Family Lawyers Get Wrong

By Jonathan J. Bates |

Since quite a bit of time has probably passed since taking the Bar Exam, here is a refresher with seven divorce questions attorneys may encounter at happy hour or an upcoming holiday dinner.

Woman Sues, Claims Lawyers Missed Statute of Limitations

By Angela Morris |

The plaintiff in a new lawsuit claims that four lawyers and a law firm relied on the incorrect Texas law to calculate the statute of limitations, leading them to file her lawsuit four days too late.

Proposed Fees in FLSA Class Action Top $1.2 Million

By Miriam Rozen |

In a joint motion, SuperMedia and FLSA class action plaintiffs ask court to approve $3 million deal with $1.2 million for attorney fees

Oral Arguments in Same-Sex Marriage Case Moved to 2015

By Miriam Rozen |

"A January setting does not look very expedited to me, but we are eager to make our case for marriage equality as soon as the court gives us a chance," according to Daniel "Neel" Lane Jr., a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in San Antonio, who represents plaintiffs who filed against Texas and oppose its ban on same-sex marriages.

Lawyer Disbarred for Sexually Soliciting Minor Client

By Angela Morris |

Incarcerated and disbarred attorney Mark Adrian Clark solicited a 12-year-old client—who had hired Clark for a sexual abuse case—to model lingerie for him in his law office.

Four Tips for Building a Silicon Valley Practice

By Michelle O. Stewart |

The first few years of practice for any lawyer can be daunting. This can seem even more overwhelming in the ever-changing business and technology landscape of Silicon Valley.

Law School Admissions Officers Guardedly Optimistic

By Amanda Bronstad |

Nearly half of law school admissions officers expect applications to increase next year, according to a survey released Tuesday.

To Be a GC Later, Start Planning Now

By Marlisse Silver Sweeney |

What does your in-house future hold? If it’s the thrill of being a general counsel you’re after, there are some steps and decisions to be made that will help you get there.

On Eve of Election, Rep. Reynolds' Barratry Trial Beginning

By Angela Morris |

As both sides prepare for State Rep. Ron Reynolds' criminal trial, court documents provide a window into the evidence and witnesses.

Victoria Sutton, professor of law at Texas Tech University School of Law in Lubbock, serves as the only attorney on the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response.

Q&A with Sole Lawyer on Texas Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Task Force

By Miriam Rozen |

Victoria Sutton serves as the director of Texas Tech's Center for Biodefense, Law and Public Policy. Texas Tech's center is the only one at a law school in the U.S. to focus solely on issues of law and biodefense, biosecurity and bioterrorism.

gavel

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: 'One Shot' to Reverse a Controversial Trial Judge

By John Council |

Matt Waldrop appealed a ruling by former District Court Judge Denise Pratt that his client was "intentionally underemployed" because the decision was "so egregious," he said.

Ex-Clients Sue Lawyers, Allege They 'Abandoned' Them at Trial

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Washington County man and a Houston company seek at least $3 million in actual damages from Houston lawyers Robert Pendergraft and William Haddock.

Court Allows Warrantless Entry Based on Threat Posed to Self

By Miriam Rozen |

For the first time, the Fifth Circuit ruled in an opinion issued Oct. 27 that law enforcement officers may enter a home without a warrant based on a threat an individual poses to himself.

Clients Texting At All Hours? One Lawyer's Solution

By Angela Morris |

The problem is that clients text on weekends or late at night.

Mark Platt, partner, McGuireWoods, Dallas

McGuire Woods Hits 20-Lawyer Count in Dallas

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

With hiring of Mark Platt, McGuireWoods' office, which opened in March, reaches 20 lawyers.

Ken Paxton, Republican candidate for attorney general

Securities Disciplinary Order Against Ken Paxton

By Angela Morris |

Sen. Ken Paxton, the Republican candidate for Texas attorney general, faces consequences after a state agency disciplined him for securities act violations.

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

Who is the King of Closing Complex Cases?

By John Council |

Who's the top trial judge in the nation when it comes to resolving difficult civil cases? U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap of Marshall, according to a recent report.

Ken Paxton, Republican candidate for attorney general

Order Denied to Disclose Investigation Records About AG Candidate

By Angela Morris |

The plaintiffs alleged that without the records, voters can't assess Sen. Ken Paxton's "ability to represent with honesty and integrity the state of Texas as its highest-ranking legal officer."

U.S. District Judge David Hittner of the Southern District of Texas

Inmate Charged With Sending Threatening Letter to Judge

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The indictment alleges that George Yarbrough knowingly caused to be delivered a communication dated Oct. 1 that contains a "threat to injure, namely to kill, Judge Hittner."

Chief Justice Rogelio 'Roy' Valdez

Former Staff Attorney Sues Thirteenth Court of Appeals Chief Justice

By John Council |

Lawrence Morales II alleges his client was wrongfully terminated and refused another position at the Thirteenth Court of Appeals after reporting Chief Justice Rogelio "Roy" Valdez to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Health Law and Policy Institute Revises Book on Public Health Emergencies

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The University of Houston Law Center's Health Law and Policy Institute issues revision of book that compiles laws relating to infectious diseases.

Julie Q. Brush

Will Working for a Lackluster Company Kill My Career?

By Julie Q. Brush |

When assessing a job opportunity, there are two important areas of inquiry and examination to help candidates determine the viability of a new position.

GCs Should Pay Attention to Commercial Contract Managers

By Prashant Dubey |

The people who think contract managers are no fun are likely the same people who still perceive contract managers as the folks who strong-arm you for a purchase order number before allowing you to engage a vendor.

Thomas Wilder, Tarrant County District Clerk

Free Court Records? This Isn't Dallas County

By John Council |

Tarrant County District Clerk Tom Wilder tells an Arlington solo he can't get to see court records for free on the Web because it's an "abuse of the taxpayer."

How Dallas Became Ground Zero for Owning the Ebola Problem

By Bill Chamblee |

A couple of the key lessons that have emerged in the ongoing fight against Ebola are the danger of hubris and the power of apology.

VerdictSearch: Parties Settle for $210,000 Over Age Discrimination Claim

A group of job candidates who claimed they were rejected because they were over age 50 agreed to a $210,000 settlement.

State Bar Ethics Committee To Reconsider Controversial Opinion

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The Professional Ethics Committee for the State Bar of Texas decided on Oct. 15 to reconsider Opinion No. 642.

Kenton Brice, associate with Highland Village's Chirstman Kelley & Clarke

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Winning a Case Before 5th Circuit's Newest Judge

By John Council |

Kenton Brice's clients' case was argued on Fifth Circuit Judge Gregg Costa's first day on the appellate bench. That worked out well for some of Brice's clients.

Case Summaries

By David Popple |
Luis Avila, Dallas solo

Litigator of the Week: Exonoree Wins $2.3 Million, $300,000 in Fees

By Miriam Rozen |

Luis Avila of Dallas and Eddie Lucio of Brownsville have remained dogged and steady representing a former inmate, who, initially, had few odds in his favor.

Houston Man, Company Sue Lawyer and Firm After Unfavorable Judgment

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Houston man and a real estate company sued Houston lawyer William Underwood III and his firm, alleging that they were negligent when responding to a motion for summary judgment.

Texas Supreme Court May Hear Kountze ISD Cheerleader Case

By Miriam Rozen |

The so-called cheerleader litigation against the Kountze Independent School District moved one step closer to a Texas Supreme Court hearing, after the justices requested that the schools file by a Nov. 10 deadline a response to plaintiff parents' petition for review.

Patrick Juneau

Class Counsel Ask Court to Reject BP's Motion to Disqualify Claims Administrator

By Miriam Rozen |

Counsel to the class plaintiffs in the 2010 multidistrict oil spill litigation want a Louisiana federal judge to deny BP's attempt to remove Patrick Juneau as claims administrator of the Court Supervised Settlement Program (CSSP) because of his alleged conflicts.

Anthony

Tony Buzbee Sues to Recoup $1.5M Investment in Dance Movie

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Anthony "Tony" Buzbee invested $1.5 million in a dance movie he thought would feature Justin Timberlake or Ryan Gosling.

Handling of Handwritten Will Lands Lawyer In Legal-Mal Lawsuit

By Angela Morris |

"My clients disputed it from day one. That should have been examined," said Houston solo William Robertson, who represents 15 relatives embroiled in a probate dispute.

Correction

Large Firms' Offer Rates to Summer Associates

By Jeanne Graham |

Twenty-one of the 25 largest firms in the state participated in Texas Lawyer's 2014 New Associate Hires Survey that gathered information about first-year associate classes and full-time job offers made to the firms' 2014 Texas summer associates.

C. Ray Lees

Deal of the Week: Southwestern Energy to Buy Shale Assets

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Porter Hedges represents Houston-based Southwestern Energy Co. in its pending purchase of shale assets in West Virginia and Pennsylvania for $5.375 billion.

Houston Lawyers, Firm Sued By PR Providers for Over $8 Million in Fees

By Miriam Rozen |

The plaintiffs claim they helped the lawyers get hired by many seafood restaurants and dealers as well as other BP oil spill claimants from eight states.

C. Ray Lees

Porter Hedges Opens First Office Outside Houston

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Porter Hedges hires four energy transactions lawyers from Commercial Law Group and opens an Oklahoma City office.

Paralegals File Class Action Against PI Firm, Claim Overtime Wages Owed

By John Council |

Alfonso Kennard claims law firm worked his clients "like mules" and failed to pay them for working more than 40 hours a week.

business card

Legendary $3M Settlement Fraud Case Gets Another Look

By John Council |

Was a strange jury note that lead to Ford settling a case for $3 million the result of fraud? David Gunn and his clients say 'no.'

Shawn Stephens, a partner in the tort and environmental litigation practice of the Houston office of King & Spalding

Newsmakers: Week of Oct. 27

Shawn Stephens has joined King & Spalding in Houston as a partner in the tort and environmental litigation practice.

Hip Replacement Device Defendants Win Take-Nothing Verdict

By Miriam Rozen |

On Oct. 23, a jury issued a favorable verdict for defendants Depuy Orthopedics, Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, after an almost two-month trial in the first bellwether case in the hip replacement device multidistrict litigation in Dallas federal court.

Voter ID Law Still Effective After 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court Ruling

By Angela Morris |

"The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law," wrote Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in dissent.

Company Sues Lawyers, Firms for Legal Malpractice

By Angela Morris |

"Not only did the underlying defendant breach the settlement agreement, he then filed bankruptcy, trying to discharge the debt entirely," claims the petition in Compensation Sciences Enterprises v. Brothers.

EnergyBuzz: Why an Environmental Law Generalist Won't Fly

By Paul Gosselink |

Each change in environmental law has brought with it an increased need for specialty law practices. Companies looking for guidance need to look at practitioners with a very specific skillset.

Ending the Tendency to Over-Preserve ESI

By Anna Rotman and Autry Ross |

In the absence of a detailed rule, significant differences have emerged among federal courts in addressing the loss of ESI.

Be the Brand: 5 Tips for Marketing a Practice

By Raymond L. Panneton |

Practicing attorneys, even those not owners of a firm, are one-part lawyer and one-part business owner. Throughout the entirety of their careers, attorneys will have to answer a client's fundamental question: Why you?

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins

Taking on Ebola: Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins Leads the Fight

By Anne Belli Perez |

"This is America's Ebola outbreak, and Dallas County is going to take point. The buck has to stop with somebody, and the buck will stop with me."

McKool Smith's Samuel Baxter

Jury Delivers $175 Million Verdict for Whistleblower

By Miriam Rozen |

In a lawsuit in which opponents had attempted unsuccessfully to disqualify him earlier this year, Sam Baxter cheered when a jury delivered a $175 million verdict for his client.

Texas Prosecutors Discuss Their Novels at Texas Book Festival

By Angela Morris |

At the Texas Book Festival in Austin this weekend, two prosecutors will discuss assassinations, espionage, "blood letters" and terrorist attacks.

Left to right: Randy Evans and Shari Klevens, McKenna Long & Aldridge partners and Suzanne Badawi, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton partner

Four Steps to Take When You're Sued

By Randy Evans, Shari Klevens and Suzanne Y. Badawi |

Over the course of a career, these risks mount.

Office Halloween Parties: Be Afraid of Liability

By Marlisse Silver Sweeney |

Trick or treat or employment law litigation? When celebrating Halloween in the workplace, there are some employment frights to look out for.

Stats Shed Light on Lawyer's Top E-Filing Complaints

By Angela Morris |

"I think it takes us to voice our issues so that maybe they can at some point come up with a little more consistency among the counties, the rejection policies and the providers," said plaintiffs lawyer Laura Tamez.

Ending the Tendency to Over-Preserve ESI

By Anna Rotman and Autry Ross |

In the absence of a detailed rule, significant differences have emerged among federal courts in addressing the loss of ESI.

Luis Avila, left, and Eddie Lucio

Litigator of the Week: Exonoree Wins $2.3 Million, $300,000 in Fees

By Miriam Rozen |

Luis Avila of Dallas and Eddie Lucio of Brownsville have remained dogged and steady representing a former inmate, who, initially, had few odds in his favor.

Houston Man, Company Sue Lawyer and Firm After Unfavorable Judgment

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Houston man and a real estate company sued Houston lawyer William Underwood III and his firm, alleging that they were negligent when responding to a motion for summary judgment.

Nelson Bunker Hunt, Remembered by His Bankruptcy Lawyer

By Miriam Rozen |

Russell Munsch represented the famously wealthy son of the legendary H.L. Hunt in his bankruptcy, which still ranks as the largest personal Chapter 11 filing in history.

Survey: New Associates Want to Make a Big Splash in Smaller Pool

By Jeanne Graham |

According to Texas Lawyer's 2014 New Associate Hires Survey, the 2014 class is 14.1 percent smaller than it was in 2013 at the same 21 firms.

C. Ray Lees

Porter Hedges Opens First Office Outside Houston

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Porter Hedges hires four energy transactions lawyers from Commercial Law Group and opens an Oklahoma City office.

Be the Brand: 5 Tips for Marketing a Practice

By Raymond L. Panneton |

Practicing attorneys, even those not owners of a firm, are one-part lawyer and one-part business owner. Throughout the entirety of their careers, attorneys will have to answer a client's fundamental question: Why you?

Luke Bierman.

Elon School of Law Placing Practical Training ‘On Steroids’

By Amanda Bronstad |

“We really took a very good program—and a program that did put students into real world experiences in a variety of ways—but we ramped it up.”

Legal Blogging as Relationship Building

By Marlisse Silver Sweeney |

Kevin O’Keefe questions whether general counsel understand the intersection between social media, blogging and relationship building.

Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht

Group Seeks to Remove Abbott from Hecht Fine Case

By John Council |

Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice, wants someone to enforce a $29,000 fine against Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht.

Anthony

Tony Buzbee Sues to Recoup $1.5M Investment in Dance Movie

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Anthony "Tony" Buzbee invested $1.5 million in a dance movie he thought would feature Justin Timberlake or Ryan Gosling.

Texas Supreme Court May Hear Kountze ISD Cheerleader Case

By Miriam Rozen |

The so-called cheerleader litigation against the Kountze Independent School District moved one step closer to a Texas Supreme Court hearing, after the justices requested that the schools file by a Nov. 10 deadline a response to plaintiff parents' petition for review.

Company Sues Lawyers, Firms for Legal Malpractice

By Angela Morris |

"Not only did the underlying defendant breach the settlement agreement, he then filed bankruptcy, trying to discharge the debt entirely," claims the petition in Compensation Sciences Enterprises v. Brothers.

Paralegals File Class Action Against PI Firm, Claim Overtime Wages Owed

By John Council |

Alfonso Kennard claims law firm worked his paralegals "like mules" and failed to pay them for working more than 40 hours a week.

Voter ID Law Still Effective After 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court Ruling

By Angela Morris |

"The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law," wrote Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in dissent.

Viewpoint: Want to Learn to Think Like a Lawyer? It's 'Elementary'!

By Rachel Van Cleave |

Maria Konnikova's book, "Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes," effectively captures what it means to think like a lawyer in a way that is both meaningful and relevant to the transformations occurring in legal education and in the practice of law.

Reports Show Playing Team Sports Benefits Women's Careers

By Frank Michael D'Amore |

The benefits associated with playing sports have been extolled in this column over the years.

When They Leave You in a Lurch

By Nicholas A. Sarokhanian and Victor D. Vital |

You walk into the office Monday morning, and the first thing you hear is that on Friday, Jones left the company and joined the competition.

Patrick Juneau

Class Counsel Ask Court to Reject BP's Motion to Disqualify Claims Administrator

By Miriam Rozen |

Counsel to the class plaintiffs in the 2010 multidistrict oil spill litigation want a Louisiana federal judge to deny BP's attempt to remove Patrick Juneau as claims administrator of the Court Supervised Settlement Program (CSSP) because of his alleged conflicts.

Edith Jones

DC Council Dismisses Judge Edith Jones Misconduct Complaint

By John Council |

Frmer Fifth Circuit Chief said she never said some races are more prone to crime. "I have never felt, much less stated, that some groups are prone or predisposed toward crime," Edith Jones said according to the order.

SCOTUS Order in Abortion Litigation: AG Undeterred, Plaintiffs Heartened

By Tony Mauro and Miriam Rozen |

The Texas Office of the Attorney General Greg Abbott remains undeterred in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling late Oct. 14, halting enforcement of several parts of a federal appeals court ruling that would allow a Texas law to become effective.

Ken Paxton, left, and Sam Houston

As AG Election Nears, 725 Government Lawyers Brace For Change

By Angela Morris |

As a new Texas Attorney General takes office, top management might lose their jobs while the work of rank-and-file assistant A.G.s might transform from structural changes and reorganization.

Maximizing the Return on a Demand Letter

By Anthony H. Lowenberg |

There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to crafting the perfect demand letter, but there are many tools at your disposal to help maximize the letter's effectiveness.

Crowded Court in Jury Selection Lands Woman New Murder Trial

By Angela Morris |

Gerald "Gerry" Goldstein, who represented Cameron before the CCA, said that the case is "a model for lawyers to look at."

Harley Clark flashes the 'Hook 'Em Horns' in front of the Tower at UT Austin in 2001.

District Judge Harley Clark, Who Popularized UT's 'Hook 'Em' Sign, Dies at 78

By John Council |

Clark was judge of the 250th District Court in Travis County who was most noted for issuing a ruling in 1987 declaring Texas' public education financing system unconstitutional. But Clark is more famous amongst UT supporters as the man credited with inventing Hook 'Em during the 1950s.

ConocoPhillips Files For Arbitration Against Venezuela National Oil Company

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Houston-based ConocoPhillips wants compensation for investment in heavy oil projects in Venezuela.

Firm Sues Ex-Client, Lawyer, to Recover Contingency Fee

By Angela Morris |

"It's so petty and sad that some plaintiffs lawyers just don't get the big picture," said defendant-lawyer Carl Barry of Austin. "They would literally risk malpractice litigation."

Lawyer Sues After Inmate-Client's Threats

By Angela Morris |

It must be a blow for an inmate to be denied parole despite spending thousands to hire a lawyer to help with the process. But what should a lawyer do when that inmate threatens to strike back with a grievance and lawsuit?

VerdictSearch: Mom and Daughter Passengers Awarded $28.4 Million in Collision

A mother and adult daughter who claimed spinal injuries when they were in a medical transport van involved in a collision were awarded $28.4 million.

Judge Larry Meyers of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

Voters Must Show ID, But Law Still Under Attack On Two Fronts

By Angela Morris |

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Lawrence "Larry" Meyers is the plaintiff in this new lawsuit over Senate Bill 14, the voter ID law which is codified in Texas Election Code Ch. 63.

Samantha A. Fant, associate, Kelly Hart, Fort Worth

Newsmakers: Week of Oct. 20

Samantha A. Fant has joined Kelly Hart & Hallman in Fort Worth as an associate.

Lisa Blue Baron, partner, Baron and Blue in Dallas

Federal Prosecutors Cleared in Lisa Blue Case

By John Council |

Both Malcolm Bales, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, and Shamoil Shipchandler, a then assistant U.S. Attorney assigned to handle Blue's case, said they were not previously aware Blue had filed a complaint against the office.

The Need for Judicial Engagement in All Constitutional Cases

By Arif Panju |

Judicial abdication has transformed the Constitution from a charter of liberty into a nearly limitless source of government power. The only effective remedy for this epidemic is judicial engagement.

Case Summaries

By David Popple |
Jerusalem

AG Enters Fray in Debate About Jerusalem and U.S. Passports

By Miriam Rozen |

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott distinguished his office as the only state agency nationwide to weigh in on a Supreme Court battle about what U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem may ask to have stamped on their U.S. passports.

'I Apologize' Helps Judge Edith Jones in Complaint

By John Council |

DC Judicial Council finds Fifth Circuit Judge Edith Jones apologized to fellow judge immediately after telling him to "shut up"—an apology that was accepted with grace.

GeoTag Takes Two Steps Back in Patent Battles, One Step Forward in Fee Fight

By Miriam Rozen |

In a patent battle, Domino's Pizza Inc. won on Oct. 7 a summary judgment motion for non-infringement against store-locator technology company GeoTag, Inc., which has filed claims against more than 400 corporate defendants.

Handling of Handwritten Will Lands Lawyer In Legal-Mal Lawsuit

By Angela Morris |

"My clients disputed it from day one. That should have been examined," said Houston solo William Robertson, who represents 15 relatives embroiled in a probate dispute.

Matthew Penn, Director, Public Health Law Program, Office for State Tribal, Local and Territorial Support for the CDC.

CDC Lawyer Urges Looking at the Law as Ebola Emotion Swirls

By Alyson M. Palmer |

Several attendees at a public health law conference in Atlanta gathered early Friday to drink coffee and talk about responses to the Ebola outbreak.

State Bar Ethics Committee To Reconsider Controversial Opinion

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The Professional Ethics Committee for the State Bar of Texas decided on Oct. 15 to reconsider Opinion No. 642.