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Gerald Spedale.

Baker Botts, Akin Gump Do Deal for Valero

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld represents a conflicts committee advising Valero Energy Partners in its pending $325 million acquisition of a terminal services business from a subsidiary of Valero Energy Corp. of San Antonio.

Judge Reed O'Connor.

Why Conservative States Handpicked This Texas Judge for Transgender Bathroom Challenge

Few outside of Texas had ever heard of Fort Worth U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor before this week when he issued a nationwide injunction preventing transgender students in public schools from using bathroom facilities that match their gender identity rather than their sex.

Dallas Woman Sues City Council Member and Atlanta Lawyer for Barratry in Fatal Dog Mauling Case

By John Council |

In a newly filed barratry suit, a Dallas city councilwoman and an Atlanta plaintiff's lawyer face allegations they improperly solicited a woman for representation in a wrongful death suit after a pack of dogs mauled her mother.

Dallas Appeals Court Affirms 'Death Penalty' Sanctions In Civil Case

By Miriam Rozen |

Winning sanctions to terminate a civil lawsuit—so-called death penalty sanctions—may become a little easier in the wake of an Aug. 23 ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas in Dallas.

Lawyers Take Vacations? Twitter Has the (Photographic) Evidence

You hire on as an associate and work 90 hours per week. Make partner and you … work even more? What the heck? Then comes the day you remember life before law and decide to hit the road, or the beach, or Kentucky.

Mikal Watts, partner at Watts Guerra. Photo©Mark Sobhani Photography

Acquitted, Watts to Pursue Criminal Justice Reforms

By Miriam Rozen |

"It is my new goal in life to use every resource available to me to reform a broken justice system," said the San Antonio plaintiffs lawyer who has earned $100s of millions in mass tort litigation during his career.

Houston solo Brian W. Wice

Revisions in Texas Law Lead to Dismissal of Capital Murder Conviction After 18 Years


When Neal Robbins walked out of the Montgomery County Jail on Aug. 18 as a free man after spending almost 18 years in prison on a capital murder conviction, his release was due largely to revisions in Texas law and the dogged determination of Houston criminal defense solo Brian Wice.

Back to (Law) School: The Full Report

About 114,000 attorney-hopefuls are headed to law school this month. has it covered, with details about new courses and educators, and a look back at the school where it all began. In addition, one first-year student explains why he’s entering law school, fully aware of the tough job market. We’ve also queried big-name attorneys about their experiences in law school to prove that, yes, there is life on the other side. Take a look.

$14M Earmarked as Receiver's Attorney Fees in Stanford Litigation

By Miriam Rozen |

If the deal receives approval following a scheduled Oct. 28 hearing before U.S. District Judge David Godbey in Dallas, then the lawyers representing the appointed receiver Ralph S. Janvey may receive as much as $14 million in attorney fees from the $65 million—less than the one-third of any settlement, which is the amount that they had previously agreed upon.

Austin Lawyer Beats Wal-Mart in Liquor Case

By John Council |

Staying the course for an association of retail liquor stores in Texas, Terrill & Waldrop's Alan Waldrop ensured that his client will have a say in Wal-Mart's attempt to challenge liquor regulations in the state.

The Documentary Model for Trial Budgets

By David K. Bissinger |

Everyone knows about the cost of trials. A September 2008 article published in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies concluded that in most of the cases studied, settling would have saved the parties money. But certainly some of those cases that go to trial cannot, will not, and should not settle. In deciding how to draw the line, lawyers should consider the cost in the 2008 study in conjunction with the cost of an analogous type of work: a documentary film.

Mikal Watts, partner at Watts Guerra poses at his office in San Antonio.

Prosecution Case in Watts Trial Left Jurors Wanting, Forewoman Says

In the fraud trial of San Antonio plaintiffs’ attorney Mikal Watts, a Mississippi federal jury listened to five weeks of testimony, heard evidence of allegations against seven defendants about a roster of 40,000 clients and payments of $10 million and was asked 462 questions.

Cycling Lawyers Improve Their Bods and Their Business

Lawyers who want to get fit have a lot of options—running, lifting weights, cross-training, yoga. But for some attorneys, cycling is yielding more benefits than just shedding pounds.

‘I Started Seeing Torts Everywhere!’ Big-Name Attorneys Recall Favorite Law School Classes

As law students head back to school over the coming days, we decided to rewind the clock for a group of prominent attorneys and ask them to share the courses they took that stuck with them. A common thread among their answers was how those classes shaped their mindset and focus down the road.


Wachtell Advises San Antonio's CST in Acquisition by Canadian Retail Giant

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Alimentation Couche-Tard is picking up CST Brands of San Antonio for about $4.4 billion. Fagre Baker Daniels, Willkie Farr & Gallagher and leading Canadian firms Stikeman Elliott and Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg have also landed roles on the deal.

Judge Reed O'Connor.

Texas Federal Judge Blocks Obama's Transgender Bathroom Rules

By John Council |

Siding with a group of states, including Texas, Alabama and Wisconsin, a federal judge imposed a nationwide injunction blocking the Obama administration's rules for bathroom facilities and transgender public school students.

Judge Reed O'Connor.

Judge in Texas Temporarily Blocks Obama’s Transgender Rules

A federal judge in Texas is blocking for now the Obama administration’s directive to U.S. public schools that transgender students must be allowed to use the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity.

Dean Schaner of Holland & Knight. HANDOUT.

Recruiter Sues Holland & Knight Lawyer For Using Competitor

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Cassidy Recruiting of Dallas seeks up to $1 million from Houston lawyer Dean Schaner, alleging he broke a promise to work with it exclusively if pursuing a job at Holland & Knight.

Electronic Notice May Bump Class Actions Into 21st Century

Those postcards you get about a class action settlement might be on their way out under a new proposed rule that would allow class notices to be sent via email and other electronic means rather than U.S. mail.

Judges Orders Lawyer Not to Post Case-Related Prayers on Social Media

By Angela Morris |

While Mark Griffith of Griffith & Associates in Waxahachie claims he's being attacked for practicing his religion, prosecutors counter that it's about preserving fairness in their jury trials.

Judge Ken Starr

Former Baylor President Ken Starr Resigns Faculty Position

By Karen Sloan |

Ken Starr is leaving the faculty of Baylor University School of Law, three months after a campus sexual assault scandal forced him from university leadership.

How Key Energy Got the SEC to Go Easy

When the Securities and Exchange Commission approached Key Energy Services Inc. about bribery allegations in Mexico, the company went into high gear. It launched a major internal investigation and reformed its compliance efforts, including shaking up its legal department.

Judge Throws $84M Uber Deal Into Limbo

A federal judge Thursday rejected an $84 million settlement that would have wiped away a slew of lawsuits facing Uber Technologies Inc. over its treatment of drivers as contractors, bringing renewed uncertainty to a legal fight that has dogged an icon in the gig economy.

Which Law Firms Will Be Hurt Most by Associate Salary Increases?

Cravath’s announcement that the firm would raise associate salaries has dominated water cooler talk around the legal industry for the past two months. The list of firms that immediately followed Cravath’s lead and those that didn’t was closely scrutinized.

Mississippi Jurors Get Oil Spill Fraud Case Against Lawyer

By Jeff Amy |

Texas lawyer Mikal Watts and six other people each had plenty of opportunity to know they had a fake client list and were pursuing bogus claims after 2010's Gulf of Mexico oil spill, prosecutors told Mississippi jurors Wednesday in closing arguments.

Gordon & Rees and Former Clients Settle Suit

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Just three weeks before a trial was set to begin in Houston, Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani and three partners settle a $1.8 million suit filed by former clients.

Mikal Watts, partner at Watts Guerra poses at his office in San Antonio.

Mikal Watts Found Not Guilty of Fraud Over Oil Spill Claims

By John Council |

San Antonio plaintiffs' lawyer Mikal Watts was acquitted by a federal jury Thursday in Mississippi on charges he submitted the names of phony clients seeking recoevery from the 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The Late John M. O'Quinn's Firm Sued Again

By brenda sapino jeffreys |

Nearly seven years after well-known plaintiffs lawyer John M. O'Quinn of Houston died in an auto accident, his firm was sued by an unhappy former client.

Newsmakers: Week of Aug. 17


Exxon Brawls with Massachusetts AG in Texas Over Probe Alleging Climate Change Fraud

By Angela Neville |

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey last week urged a federal trial judge in Texas to dismiss Exxon Mobil Corp.'s challenge to the state's investigation into allegations the oil company misled consumers and investors about climate change.

Canadian Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Lying About His Texas Law Firm

By John Council |

A Texas plaintiff's attorney who is a Canadian citizen faces up to five years in prison after he recently pleaded guilty to making a false statement to federal authorities concerning the ownership of his law firm.

Report: Texas Firms See Greatest Drop in Demand in First Half of 2016

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Citi Private Bank Law Firm Group report finds that while law firm demand increased by 0.3 percent for the first half of the year nationally, it declined by 7.1 percent in Texas.

Austin Technology Lawyer Leaves Wilson Sonsini for Vinson & Elkins

By brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A lawyer who founded the Austin office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in 1999 has moved to Vinson & Elkins.

5th Circuit Ends New Orleans Sno-Ball Fight

According to Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod, there are certain things that residents in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s home base of New Orleans come to expect during the summer — the temperature rises, the days get longer and the lines grow outside the city’s most popular sno-ball shops.

More Than 80 Percent of Partners in U.K. Expect to See Law Firm Job Cuts Because of Brexit

The vast majority of partners in the U.K. expect to see law firm layoffs in the wake of the vote to leave the European Union, while over half say their firms will cut back on recruitment, according to new Legal Week research.

Oils rigs in the Permian Basin, Texas.

V&E, Sidley Advise on $1.625B Permian Basin Deal

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The firms represent two Midland companies in the Texas asset transaction.

Texas Outlines Voter Education Plan on New ID Rules for November Election

By Miriam Rozen |

Texas told a federal court it will spend $2.5 million, retain public relations and advertising firms, launch social media, print and broadcast campaigns, and distribute toolkits to community organizations and elected officials—all to educate voters about new voter identification rules in place for the November. Lawyers for civil rights plaintiffs who successfully challenged the existing Texas voter ID law express skepticism.

Cravath Lawyer Spotlighted in Book, Movie with Eddie Redmayne

When author and screenwriter Graham Moore set out to write his next novel, he already knew he wanted to tell the story of business giant George Westinghouse’s 1880s battle with Thomas Edison over the patent for the light bulb—but he didn’t know exactly how to tell it.

15 Best Places to Live and Work in Big(gish) Law

Polish those resumes. We’ve matched the best places to live in the country with the largest Big Law offices in those markets. Here’s how: We took The National Law Journal’s NLJ 500 law firm branch offices info and paired it with U.S. News & World Report’s The Best Places to Live. U.S. News’ ranking was based on a strong job market and a high quality of life, among other factors. The ranking by the NLJ, a affiliate, is based on the number of full-time equivalent lawyers in each office.

Digital Transparency Advocates Seek Sanctions Against SF Law Firm

By Miriam Rozen |

The Electronic Frontier Foundation seeks sanctions against Garteiser Honea and its IP client because they wanted to keep documents filed under seal.

KBR Headquarters.

Hogan Lovells, Cravath Advise on KBR's $266M Honeywell Buy

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Hogan Lovells represents Houston-based KBR in its pending acquisition of Honeywell Technology Solutions for $266 million.

Bar Groups Urge Upholding of Sanctions for Attorney's Use of 'Push Poll' to Sway Jury Pool

By John Council |

Four bar groups have asked a Texas appellate court to uphold sanctions leveled against a prominent Dallas attorney who was disciplined for attempting to use a telephone survey to influence a jury pool.

Nissan autonomous car prototype (using a Nissan Leaf electric car) exhibited at the Geneva Motor Show 2014 (photo taken on the first press day) Norbert Aepli, Switzerland Wikimedia

Plaintiffs Lawyers Say Feds 'Asleep at the Wheel' on Driverless Cars

As federal regulators prepare to issue guidelines on autonomous vehicles, plaintiffs attorneys and consumer-safety groups are concerned about confusion and potential harm that could arise from the lack of federal standards.

The American Bar Association's offices in Washington, D.C.

Norton Rose Fulbright Partner To Head ABA Tax Section

By brenda sapino jeffreys |

William Caudill, a former chair of the State Bar of Texas Tax Section, became chair of the American Bar Association's Section on Taxation on Aug. 1.

Tips on How to Get Out of Jury Duty

You are busy, busy. You’re negotiating two super-important matters and your clients are constantly clamoring for your attention. Then bam: You get hit with a summons to show up at 9 a.m. sharp for jury duty. Defer it for another day? Not an option; you’ve already used up your chits. In fact, the summons says that you could be hauled off to jail if you fail to show up this time.

Reddit Refuses Atlantic Records' Request to Turn Over Info on ‘Heathens’ Leak

The social networking and news site Reddit is fighting back against Atlantic Records’ attempt to make it to give up information that would help the music label identify who posted a Twenty One Pilots single more than a week before its planned release.

All work and no pay?

Five Tips for Female Attorneys Entering Law Firm Life

By Emily Leitch and Kate Barrington McGregor |

Entering into a new chapter of your career can be exciting and overwhelming; there is so much to absorb and you want to ensure you start off on the right path. For women entering law firm life, whether from law school, a clerkship or from an in-house position, below are a few career tips we have developed to set you on a path to success.

Raymond Niro, the Original ‘Patent Troll,’ Dies at 73

Raymond Niro Sr., a seminal figure in intellectual property law whose incensed opponents dubbed him the first “patent troll,” died unexpectedly Monday while vacationing in Italy. He was 73.

Hot air balloon rides can provide great views but there may be some safety concerns.

10 Things to Know About Insuring Hot Air Balloons

By Christine G. Barlow, Property Casualty 360 |

Hot air balloons tend to attract attention. They’re large, colorful, and often fairly close to observers, making the encounter a real treat for those on the ground.

Fort Worth Courtroom Showdown in Fight Between Feds and States About Transgender Bathroom Policy

The first courtroom showdown is scheduled for Aug. 12 in the lawsuit pitting Texas and about a dozen other states against the Obama administration about the federal government’s transgender bathroom guidelines for schools.

Edward Vishnevetsky

K&L Gates Lawyer Dies in Tragic White-Water Rafting Accident

By Roy Strom |

Edward Vishnevetsky loved to travel. He had been to Cambodia, South Africa and Thailand. He saw Russia, the homeland of his Jewish immigrant parents. And he trekked to Croatia, Greece, Israel and Turkey. But a month ago, the K&L Gates lawyer died doing what he loved in Costa Rica.

Case Against Arent Fox Partner Highlights Big Law Hiring Risks

A lawyer who was charged with securities fraud for allegedly tipping of the president of an investment firm about a big pharmaceuticals merger was hired by Arent Fox even after he was named, but not charged, in an earlier SEC suit.

Hogan Lovells associate Caetano Altafin ran with the Olympic torch in Rio de Janeiro.

After Crossing Atlantic, Hogan Lovells Associate Carries Olympic Torch

Caetano "Cae" Altafin, an associate at Hogan Lovells in Rio de Janeiro, didn't spend the day of the opening ceremonies for the 2016 Summer Olympics in his office. Thanks to a transatlantic journey a year ago, he was busy running outside the stadium.

Coffee Co. Seeks to Stop Bob Marley's Family From Taking Singer's Name Off Product

In a case of one love shared by two Bob Marley fans that are far from alright, the company behind Marley Coffee says it could shut down within days if a federal judge doesn’t grant a preliminary injunction that would reinstate a licensing agreement terminated by the famed reggae singer’s widow and children.

New Company Aims to Tackle Law Firms’ Alcohol Problem

At least three Am Law 200 firms have already signed up with Krill Strategies, a new consultancy founded by the lead author of a landmark study on substance abuse in the legal profession.


Where Do Houston and Dallas Rank In Size Among BigLaw Cities?

Using exclusive survey data, we rank 11 American cities by their populations of big-firm lawyers. Plus, check out our list of firms that dominate those markets.

At GlaxoSmithKline, Hourly Billing Is All but Dead

GlaxoSmithKline’s long-running campaign to eradicate the billable hour is paying off. An impressive 84 percent of the work GSK assigned to law firms in 2015 was done through an alternative fee arrangement, Bob Harchut, associate general counsel at the pharmaceutical company, said in an interview. In 2011, the number was 68 percent.

DLA Piper in Talks With Chile Firms as Latin America Expansion Drive Continues

DLA Piper plans to continue its international expansion with a move into the Chilean market. The firm, which already has Latin American offices in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, is looking at further expansion in the region, with Chile identified as a key target.

LinkedIn Takes Aim at Fake Profiles Designed to Scrape Data

LinkedIn is seeking to unmask the creators of fake profiles who have been scraping the professional social networking site for data about its 400 million users.

‘Uber of the Sky,’ Challenging the FAA, Gets Business Backing in SCOTUS

A group of pro-business organizations concerned about the future of the sharing economy is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to step into an internet company’s battle with the Federal Aviation Administration.

David Craven and Saichang Xu.

Sandler Travis Hires Two Chicago Attorneys From Newly Shuttered Riggle & Craven

Leading Chicago trade law firm Riggle & Craven is dissolving, and two attorneys including a founding partner have joined the Chicago office of global firm Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg.

UNT Dallas College of Law

University of N. Texas Law School’s Accreditation in Jeopardy

By Karen Sloan |

An American Bar Association committee has recommended against accrediting the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law due to low Law School Admission Test scores of some students.

U.S. Department of Labor building in Washington, D.C.

Fight Brews in Kansas, Texas Courts Over DOL Fiduciary Rule

A fight is brewing in the Kansas and Texas courts over whether to allow advocates and opponents of the U.S. Department of Labor's fiduciary rule to state their case.

ABA Leadership Endorses Rule Against Harassment by Lawyers

The American Bar Association’s policy-making body on Monday adopted a controversial measure that makes harassing or discriminatory conduct by lawyers an ethical violation.

Competition Between Law Firms Conducting On Campus Interviews Heats Up

When Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo’s director of legal recruiting Shannon Davis gave a presentation to the firm’s lawyers who were preparing to interview law school students this summer, she started with a slide that had some ominous facts:

Ted Olson

Gibson Dunn Clinches Win for Chevron in Donziger Saga

An attorney’s fraud in pursuing environmental claims justified an injunction blocking plaintiffs in Ecuador from collecting a $9 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. in the United States, a federal appeals court held Monday.

Fee Request Turned Aside in Led Zeppelin Copyright Case

A federal judge overseeing a copyright trial over Led Zeppelin’s 1971 hit song “Stairway to Heaven” has rejected music publisher Warner/Chappell Music Inc.’s request for attorney fees but chastised the plaintiff’s attorney, Francis Malofiy, about his “tasteless courtroom antics and litigation misconduct.”

Prolific Sperm Donor Was a Schizophrenic, Not a Neuroscientist, Leading to Spate of Suits

A dozen suits have been filed in four U.S. states and Canada against a Georgia sperm bank over a single donor who was allegedly described as a brilliant neuroscientist and musician, but who was actually a diagnosed schizophrenic who had served time for burglary and had no college degree.

Inside OCI: The Scoop on This Year's Law School On-Campus Interviews

On-campus interviews are underway at law schools across the country, as students and partners engage in the summer-associate hiring equivalent of speed-dating. We’re covering the annual ritual with on-scene reaction from students coming out of the interviews and war stories from partners who’ve been in the hiring trenches for years.

Texas Litigator Neel Lane Jumps to Norton Rose Fulbright from Akin Gump

By brenda sapino jeffreys |

Partner Neel Lane is known for handling high-stakes insurance litigation, class actions and arbitrations. Two senior associates are also making the move.

Southwest Firms Defied Legal Demand Drop-Off in Second Quarter, Data Show

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Managing partners said their firms have been busy during first and second quarters of 2016.

Texas Senate is Pushed to Streamline Groundwater Regulations

By Angela Neville |

Several attorneys, a Texas university policy group and a number of water rights groups recently urged a Texas Senate committee to simplify state groundwater regulations, saying the regulatory framework makes it difficult for businesses to carry out projects that involve the use of groundwater.

Latham Leads on $980M Permian Basin Play

By brenda sapino jeffreys |

Holland & Hart and Latham & Watkins are advising on private equity firm Riverstone Holdings' sale of Houston-based Rock Oil Holdings to SM Energy Co.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville

Hanen's Sanction Order May Have Been Based on Misunderstanding, DOJ Says

By Miriam Rozen |

U.S. Department of Justice lawyers filed an advisory with evidence about why their shorthand references to immigration programs may have led a Brownsville, Texas, federal judge to conclude, incorrectly, that they lied to him.

A Delta baggage carousel at Hartfield-Jackson International Airport.

How Delta's Legal Dept Can Limit Outage's Fallout

According to former GCs, Delta's in-house lawyers can help minimize the fallout from Monday's computer outage that affected tens of thousands of passengers worldwide.

Deal Watch: Two Firms Behind Bedding Industry Megamerger

A look at the large law firms behind the week's most notable deals, such as the mattress maker behind Sleepy's on its sale to a South African firm; two Elon Musk-backed companies combining forces; and Uber's China exit.

7 Takeaways From James Comey's ABA Talk

FBI Director James Comey has testified on Capitol Hill this year before hostile lawmakers on issues ranging from Hillary Clinton’s emails to the battle over access to information locked on password-protected iPhones.

Second Circuit Rules for Chevron in $9B Environmental Case

A federal judge was right to void a multi-billion dollar environmental judgment against Chevron Corp. because it was tainted by fraud and judicial corruption in Ecuador, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled Monday.

Vuk Vujasinovic, VB Attorneys, Houston.

Baylor Football Stadium Project Drowning Leads to $19M for Ironworker's Family

By Miriam Rozen |

The family of an ironworker who drowned in 2014 won a more than $19 million final judgment, based on a jury verdict against Austin Bridge & Road, a subcontractor that helped erect a football stadium project for Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

From the City by the Bay: The ABA Annual Meeting

We’re on the ground at the American Bar Association’s Annual Meeting in San Francisco Aug. 4-9, where nearly 5,000 legal professionals are expected to gather for networking, policymaking and continuing education.

Diversity and Discrimination Issues Top the Agenda for ABA Leadership

The American Bar Association’s policymaking body will grapple with several proposals on Aug. 8-9, some of them controversial, aimed at promoting diversity and fighting discrimination in the legal profession.

Is It Time for a Better ‘Miranda Warning’—In Spanish?

An estimated 900,000 times a year, law enforcement officers recite some version of the fabled “Miranda warning” to criminal suspects in Spanish.

Dispatches From the ABA: Five Takeaways for Managing Student Debt

When Dan Macklin, co-founder of the student loan refinancing startup SoFi, asked a room full of ABA Annual Meeting attendees “Who feels like the interest rate on their debt is too high?” nearly every hand went up. Macklin and the other participants in “Navigating the Waters of Student Debt” spent an hour on Thursday fielding money questions from a mostly youthful crowd. Here are some key takeaways from their discussion:

Austin Attorney Helps State Lawyers Challenge Their Agencies

By Miriam Rozen |

For lawyers who once worked at Texas state agencies but now want to challenge their terminations, Philip Durst might be an obvious person to call. In practice for 30 years, Durst has represented a number of state lawyers challenging their agencies in employment and whistleblower litigation. One of his victories for such a client has received plenty of attention recently.

Former Vioxx Judge Airlifted to Hospital After Crash

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Police said Judge Ben Hardin of the 23rd District Court was hit by a truck while crossing a street outside the courthouse in Angleton.

Pipeline under construction

Norton Rose Fulbright, Porter Hedges Work on Pipeline Deal

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Houston-based Enbridge Energy Partners is using Norton Rose Fulbright for a joint venture deal to acquire an interest in the Bakken Pipeline System.

Don Godwin's Firm Changes Name Again

By brenda sapino jeffreys |

Dallas trial firm Godwin PC adds two shareholders to its name, marking their contributions to firm.

Newsmakers: Week of August 1


Paralegal Killed in Texas Balloon Crash Mourned by Firm Leader

Attorney John Grubb knew when his paralegal did not return his text message on Saturday morning that something was very wrong. Holly Huckabee never failed to get back to him within minutes.

How to Survive the Corporate Internal Investigation


Quick quiz for the business executive: What is the appropriate reaction to Fox News' termination of Roger "Big Un" Ailes for allegedly fostering a locker room atmosphere?

Defense in Civil Suit Over Sandra Bland's Death Seek Seal on Deposition Testimony


Lawyers for Waller County, Texas, and individually named defendants in the civil rights litigation filed by Sandra Bland's mother have asked the court for a protective order sealing all the deposition testimony and barring plaintiff's counsel from giving discovery material to third parties.

Pemex Loses U.S. Appeal of $406M Arbitration Award

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has upheld a $406 million arbitration award won by a U.S. construction company in a dispute with Pemex, Mexico's state-owned oil company.

Diversity, Consumer Groups at Odds over Tougher Bar-Pass Rule Proposed for Law Schools

Factions are again forming in the battle over the American Bar Association’s bar-passage standard for law schools, with diversity and consumer advocates at odds over a proposal to strengthen the rule.

Jeep Wrangler. Web Photo

Chrysler Seeks Spoliation Sanction Against Widow

By Miriam Rozen |

In product liability litigation targeting Chrysler Group, the heirs of a man who died in an accident with a Jeep Wrangler are battling the automaker's motion to dismiss their claims as a sanction for his widow's alleged spoliation.

Gawker Lesson: How to Stay Enforcement of a Judgment During Appeal

In March, the legal world was jolted by news that Terry Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan, was awarded a $140 million judgment against Gawker Media, the owner of an entertainment gossip blog. The underlying facts were sensational. The lawsuit was grounded in Gawker's decision to post a sex tape of Hogan on its ­website. The woman in the tape was the wife of Hogan's best friend, radio ­personality "Bubba the Love Sponge." If that weren't enough, Hogan's suit was secretly funded by Peter Thiel, a Silicon Valley billionaire who wanted revenge against Gawker for publishing a story about Thiel years earlier.

Uber headquarters in San Francisco

Uber ADR Push Falls Flat in Price-Fixing Suit

Lawyers for Uber Technologies Inc. have lost a bid to force a federal antitrust suit challenging the company’s pricing algorithms into arbitration.

Texas Agrees on Plan to Let Voters Without ID Participate in Election

By John Council and Miriam rozen |

The State of Texas Wednesday filed an agreement in federal court that will allow its citizens to cast regular ballots in the November 8 general election without the documents required by its controversial voter ID law.

Brownsville Federal Judge Will Reconsider Ethics Training Sanctions for DOJ Lawyers

By Miriam Rozen |

In an immigration case in a Brownsville, Texas, federal court, which pits Texas and 25 other states against the Obama administration, U.S. Department of Justice lawyers this week filed, under seal, their submissions responsive to presiding U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen's May 19 sanctions order calling for them to undergo ethics training.

Attorney Immunity Can Protect Lawyers in Divorce Cases From Lawsuits by the Other Side

By Randy Johnston |

Divorce leaves both sides looking for someone to blame, someone to sue, for all the pain they felt through the divorce process and the dissatisfaction they still feel over the result.

Q&A With GC of BMC Software Inc.

By Mary Alice Robbins |

What are some best practices from Patrick Tagtow, the GC of BMC Software?

Will Hutson, left, and Chris Harris, right, partners in the The Waco Law Firm.

Inadmissable: Don't Eat Your Weed

Waco law partners Will Hutson and Chris Harris both like to sing, play guitar and ponder the absurd nature of some of Texas criminal laws. So they created a minor hit—so to speak—when they wrote and uploaded "Don't Eat Your Weed" to YouTube a few months ago.

More Disorder in the Court

By John G. Browning |

Forget about death and taxes being the only certainties in life. It's summertime, and you can count on two more sure things: stifling Texas heat, and enough oddities in the legal system to keep us entertained until the fall. If you don't believe me, just meander through the following examples.

Randy Sabett, of counsel at Cooley in Washington, D.C. July 11, 2016. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM.

Outwitting Hacker Attacks

By Angela Neville |

The U.S. oil and gas sector is now paying attention to cybersecurity threats and working to defend its networks and physical assets. Randy Sabett, special counsel at Cooley in Washington, D.C., who specializes in privacy and data protection practice, discusses trends in protecting the oil and gas sector from cyberattacks.

Holding Trucking Companies Directly Liable

By Quentin Brogdon |

In the super-heated trucking industry, a shortage of qualified drivers and fierce competitive forces motivate carriers and drivers to take short cuts and violate the regulations. All too often, the result is a predictable and preventable tragedy. Each year, about 4,000 people are killed in crashes involving large trucks. This shocking number of deaths is equal to all of the passengers in 10 fully loaded 747s. Yet the carnage on the roads continues unabated, year after year.

Newsmakers: Moves and Honors in the Texas Legal Community

John Arnold has rejoined Locke Lord as a partner in the firm's Houston office and other newsmakers.

The Texas 100: Out-of-State Firms Lead Growth in Texas

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The five big firms that grew the fastest in Texas in 2015 are all based out of state.

3 Things GCs Should Know About Data Privacy Class Actions

By Kristen Rasmussen |

Texas Lawyer spoke to practitioners about what corporate legal departments can do to favorably resolve data breach class actions. Here are three things they say general counsel need to know.

Picking Your PI Jury

By Lisa Blue, Robert Hirschhorn & Kellye Raymond |

When preparing for voir dire in a personal injury case the first thing you must do is take a hard look at your case and determine if you need a liability jury or a damages jury.

Let The Games Begin


Did geographical distance, or the dazzle of his roster of professional baseball and football playing clients--including former New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, San Francisco Giants' Jake Peavy, and former Texas Rangers' Roy Oswalt—allow an investment advisor to hide from his management for more than half a decade an alleged pyramid scheme?

Jury Awards Plaintiff
 Claiming Several Injuries; Plus Other Verdict News

A pilot was awarded $1.49 million for a crash that permanently damaged one of his vocal cords.

Slumping Energy Companies May See IP as Way to Gain Back Profits

By Scott Flaherty |

With slumping commodities prices continuing to strap the energy sector, there's talk among some lawyers experienced in the industry that companies are increasingly looking to their intellectual property to generate income and position themselves ahead of rivals.

Barratry Brawl

By John Council |

What better way to clamp down on the practice than simply giving victims the ability to sue the very lawyers who'd improperly solicited them?

David Baay.

Lawyer David Baay Takes on Life-Changing Pro Bono Case

By John Council |

Viktor Lim and his family got lucky twice after they were deported from Kazakhstan because of Lim's work as a Baptist missionary.

Since Middle School, BMC Software GC Pat Tagtow Knew His Destiny

By Mary Alice Robbins |

When Pat Tagtow heard the general counsel for a major corporation speak at a Chicago middle school's "Career Day" about his international law career and the traveling he did on the job, Tagtow made the decision to become a lawyer.

The Big Business of Divorce

By John Roach & Laura Roach |

The "business of divorce" should be conducted outside the courtroom to minimize the negative emotional and financial effects. This can be accomplished by embracing alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods and openly discussing the options with the client.


Collaborative Divorce Wanes, But Techniques Alive in Other Settlement Methods

By Jim Mueller |

Collaborative divorce once seemed like the perfect way for litigants to save money on the dissolution of a family, reduce nasty mudslinging, turn important decisions over to financial and mental health experts and unclog court dockets. It was the civilized way to divorce.

02/26/16- Michael P. Maslanka, Assistant Professor of Law, UNT Dallas College of Law.

Hillary vs. The Donald—
What Can We Learn From It?


Five Lessons for Lawyers by Observing Political Pundits

Bo Bregman, the great-grandfather of Alex Bregman, is shown in a Washington Post article discussing his sandlot baseball team.

Baseball Runs Deeper Than Law in Top MLB Prospect Bregman's Family

Major League Baseball's top prospect, 22-year-old infielder Alex Bregman, recently made his debut. While Bregman tries to become a star for the Houston Astros, his late grandfather, a prominent lawyer, already played a dramatic part in the league's story off the field.

Oils rigs in the Permian Basin, Texas.

EEOC Files Race-Bias Claims Against Two Oil-Patch Companies

By Miriam Rozen |

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a race-based employment discrimination complaint in San Antonio federal court against two oil-patch services companies.

NextEra Agrees to Buy Texas Electric Giant Oncor for $18.4B


A Florida-based energy company has announced an $18.4 billion deal that would give it an 80 percent stake in Texas' largest electric utility.

Longtime Texas Political Law Lawyers Start Own Firm

By Gina Passarella |

Two lawyers who have long spent time in the Texas political scene are teaming up to create a new law firm aimed at representing businesses and government entities on public policy and election law issues.

After Feds Pass, Private Lawyers Strike Eight-Figure Accord in Medical Device Qui Tam Case

By John Council |

Even though the federal government took a pass, a whistleblower has secured a settlement in excess of $11 million over a case where artery stents were allegedly marketed improperly by a device maker.

David Sochia.

McKool Smith Steps Back From Nonlawyer Management With New MP

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

After 20 years with a nonlawyer executive director managing the firm, the Dallas-based trial firm has a lawyer as managing principal.

Texas Law Firm Sues Ex-Client Over Bad Yelp Review

By John Council |

A Texas law firm has decided to sue a former auto accident client for defamation after she posted negative comments on Yelp and other social media sites alleging their "pushy" lawyers signed her up while she was sleeping in her underwear.

Houston College of Law Fires Back in Trademark Fight Over Name

In its response to the infringement suit the University of Houston filed June 27, the school formally known as South Texas College of Law denied that its recent name change is an attempt to associate with the University of Houston’s law school or confuse prospective students.

Law May Not Give Miami Rapper’s Sex Tape Suit a ‘Gawker’ Outcome

A Miami rapper suing gossip site Worldstar Hip Hop over a leaked sex tape hopes to replicate wrestler Hulk Hogan’s big win against Gawker Media—but the case may turn on differences in how the law treats sites hosting user-generated content.

How a Reed Smith Lawyer Began Marathon Training With a Gitmo Detainee

How a Reed Smith Lawyer Began Marathon Training With a Gitmo Detainee

Texas Jurist Admonished for ID'ing Himself as Judge During DWI Arrest

By John Council |

The State Commission on Judicial Conduct has issued a public admonition against a Texas jurist who repeatedly identified himself as a judge to a sheriff's deputy who arrested him for driving while intoxicated.

Seeking Equal Pay for Women, Sedgwick Partner Sues Her Firm

A current nonequity partner at Sedgwick has accused the firm of systemic discrimination against women in a class action suit filed Tuesday in a California state court.

Attorneys Newton B. Schwartz, Sr., left, and Benton Musslewhite, right, at Frost National Bank in Houston, Texas. May 31, 2016. Courtesy photo

Lawyers Fight Over Custody of Valuable Rubies

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A state district judge in Houston signed an agreed order for Houston solo Newton Schwartz to turn over custody of two rubies to a receiver.

Judge Ditches $400M Divorce Judgment as Product of Forum Shopping

By Miriam Rozen |

A Galveston, Texas, judge tossed a more than $400 million judgment, which an ex-wife had previously won against her former spouse and his family's business, based in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The judge tossed the judgment after the ex-husband's lawyer alleged she engaged in incessant forum shopping.

Condominium towers in Downtown Miami.

Feds Expand Luxury Real Estate Sale Reporting Requirements to Texas

Six regions of the U.S. face federal scrutiny into luxury cash real estate deals as a cover for money laundering, the Treasury Department announces.

C&J Energy Files for Bankruptcy after Reaching $1.4B Deal with Lenders

By Angela Neville |

A leading provider of well services to the U.S. and Canadian oil and gas industry filed for bankruptcy last week in Houston after reaching a debt-restructuring agreement with its lenders.

Weil Gotshal, Vinson & Elkins Lead on Energy Deal

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Weil, Gotshal & Manges represents Silver Run Acquisition Corp. of Houston in its pending acquisition of a controlling interest in a Denver-based oil and natural gas company that turned to Vinson & Elkins.

Texas Lawyer Announces 2016 Nominees for Attorney of the Year

By Heather D. Nevitt |

Texas Lawyer is proud to announce the nominees for our 2016 Professional Excellence Award: Attorney of the Year.

Dickinson Wright Opens Austin Office With Ex-Greenberg Traurig Lawyers

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Dickinson Wright, based in Detroit, opened an Austin office with three lateral hires from Greenberg Traurig's Austin office.

Will Cybersecurity Costs Force Small Firms to Merge?

Small firms have smaller staffs and smaller budgets, but their cybersecurity risk may not be proportional. One small boutique recently dealt with that problem by merging with a large firm, but industry watchers said there are ways for firms to manage cyberrisk while remaining small.

Mikal Watts, left, and Kenneth Feinberg, right.

At His Criminal Trial, Mikal Watts Counters Ken Feinberg's Testimony

By Miriam Rozen |

San Antonio plaintiffs' lawyer Mikal Watts attempted at his federal criminal trial in Mississippi to marshal evidence to counter the testimony against him provided by well-known claims fund administrator Ken Feinberg on a key point: Did Watts' firm provide Feinberg when asked with client contracts for the BP claimants it purported to represent?

Nelva G. Ramos.

Judge's Order Allowing Wide Range of Voter ID in Bexar Special Election May Foreshadow Future Rules


The federal judge presiding in the case brought by challengers of Texas' voter ID law issued an order allowing Bexar County voters to use a wide range of identification options when casting ballots in a special election for Texas House 120. The orders allows for voters to sign an affidavit with their birthdate and last four digits of their Social Security numbers as a way of identifying themselves before they cast a provisional ballot.

Houston Tort Lawyer Accuses Former Firm of Refusing to Pay Owed Bonuses So Its President Could Buy Private Jet

By John Council |

A Houston mass tort lawyer has sued his former law firm alleging they stiffed him for millions in promised bonus payments because the firm's president had taken out a $20 million loan to purchase multiple condo vacation homes and a jet airplane.

Orrick Grows Latin America Team With Mayer Brown Hire

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Gabriel Salinas, who is licensed in the United States and Mexico, leaves Mayer Brown to join the Houston office of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

Mexico Strengthens Anti-Corruption Laws

Mexico made amendments this week to its anti-corruption laws that will affect those doing business in Mexico and strives to change the way its people, and the world, perceive how business works there.

Taylor Swift, left, arriving at the 2016 Grammy Awards. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, right, arriving at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards.

Kim Kardashian vs. Taylor Swift: The Legal Implications of the Snapchat Recording

On Sunday, Kim Kardashian West posted a recording of a conversation on Snapchat between her husband Kanye West and Taylor Swift that was allegedly recorded without Swift’s consent — a potential violation of California state law requiring both parties to consent to the recording of communications.

Nelva G. Ramos.

Federal Judge to Texas: Aid Voters Without ID Before Presidential Election

By John Council |

A day after handing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit handed Texas a startling defeat over its voter I.D. because it discriminates against minority voters, a trial judge assigned to the case gave the state its marching orders: come up with a plan that allows those without the proper papers to vote before the November general election.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Texas Judge Rules Against Gas Company in Dispute Over FERC Penalty

By Angela Neville |

A gas and power company has no recourse in federal court to interrupt ongoing administrative proceedings as regulators pursue claims of manipulation of the natural gas market, a Texas judge said.

Midland Firm, 2 Lawyers Sued for Alleged Forum Shopping

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Midland landman and his companies seek $1 million or more from Cotton Bledsoe Tighe & Dawson, a current shareholder, and a former shareholder for how they handled lawsuits for them in three Texas counties.

James Burnett.

Neither Side Pays in Law Firm Fee Dispute Accord

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

James Burnett of Sugar Land and his former firm, Whitley LLP Attorneys at Law of Houston, agree to a take-nothing judgment in a fee dispute.

Feinberg Testifies at Watts' Trial Over BP Claim Fraud Allegations

By Miriam Rozen |

Well-known victim funds administrator testified that he sought, but failed to receive, retention agreements showing Watts and his firm represented the 25,000 to 40,000 BP oil spill claimants, which the firm had identified on a spreadsheet as being represented by it.

(l-r) Joshua Rosenkranz, Peter Stris, and Allyson Ho.

Three Supreme Court Insiders From Outside the Beltway

Even with the dominance of Washington-based lawyers at the U.S. Supreme Court lectern, these advocates are familiar faces at the high court.

'You Don't Get Any Breaks': Tales of Pregnant Litigators

The demands of parenthood are intense for all working mothers and fathers, but litigators have the extra pressures of mandatory court appearances despite pregnancy or new-parent responsibilities. As reported on July 20, a rule under consideration in Florida would require judges to grant motions for continuance for parental leave, barring exceptional circumstances.

New Data Shows Texas Law Enforcement Shootings Led to Deaths in 29% of the Incidents

By Miriam Rozen |

New Texas data on law enforcement shootings reflects a national trend that could help plaintiff lawyers who pursue civil rights claims against law enforcement. Specifically, there are a growing number data banks that make it possible to compare police shootings by specific police departments, as well as by the race of the injured and killed. Such information could ultimately help such lawyers develop litigation strategies based on patterns and practices of police departments.

Fifth Circuit Rules Texas Voter ID Discriminates

In a split decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a trial court in part and found it discriminates against minority voters. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on a 9-5 vote asked for a fix of Texas' voter ID law.

Tony Buzbee.

Houston Firm Sued for Representing Son, Then Father

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Houston man seeks more than $1 million from a firm that once represented him, alleging it is negligent for representing his father in a lawsuit the son filed.

Texas Supreme Court building.

Latino Voters Challenge Voting Method for Texas Jurists

By John Council |

A group of Latino voters is challenging the way Texas selects members of its Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals, aiming to establish single-member districts that would represent a broader range of Texans.

Mikal Watts, partner at Watts Guerra poses at his office in San Antonio.

Criminal Trial Over Oil Spill Claims Opens

By Miriam Rozen |

The prosecution's arguments took less than 20 minutes and Mike McCrum, a San Antonio criminal defense lawyer who represents Mikal Watts' co-defendant, his brother David Watts, spoke for 90 minutes--presenting the two Watts brothers' case.

Sunoco Settles with EPA Over Oil Spills in Texas and Oklahoma

By Angela Neville |

Sunoco Pipeline will pay the U.S. government $850,000 in civil penalties to resolve environmental claims tied to crude oil spills from the company's Barbers Hill, Texas facility and from the Cromwell, Oklahoma, facility. Sunoco Pipeline is a subsidiary of Sunoco Logistics Partners Operations.

A Waco Police SWAT vehicle is parked behind the Twin Peaks restaurant following a May 17, 2015, shootout between three rival motorcycle gangs earlier in the day. Gunfire erupted leaving  nine people dead.

Move to Recuse in Bikers-Melee Criminal Case 'Flattering' Waco DA Says

By Miriam Rozen |

What's McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna's reaction to defendants' attempt to have the courts remove him from Waco biker melee criminal cases? Reyna denies the allegations upon which the motions are based, but adds about the efforts: "I find it quite flattering."

Obama Still Has Shot to Fill Half of Texas' U.S. Judicial Vacancies

By John Council |

The window is quickly closing for President Barack Obama to fill 12 judicial vacancies in Texas—a state which leads the nation in empty seats on the bench and faces judicial emergencies in all four of its federal district.

Univ. of Texas in Austin Made the List of Nine of the Cheapest Cities with Law Schools

Want to attend law school in a city that will go easy on your bank account? We’ve identified the highest-ranked law schools in nine of the cheapest cities in the United States.

Baylor University Matter is One of 5 Cases That Could Shape Campus Sexual Assault Investigations

After Yale University expelled Jack Montague, a former basketball team captain determined by school officials to have sexually assaulted a female student, his lawyers went out on the offensive.

Should Judges Delay Trials for Pregnant Lawyers?

As his wife went into labor last year, it never occurred to attorney Marc Daffner that the judge might deny his motion for continuance of a preliminary hearing. Daffner even took a humorous approach to the motion, joking that “defense counsel will be killed by his wife if he does not get to the hospital immediately.”

Delegates celebrate as the New York state puts Donald Trump over the top in delegate votes to secure the nomination for president on Tuesday, Day Two of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

Austin Lawyer Defused Bid to Derail Trump Nomination

By John Council |

When chaos broke out on the floor on the opening day of the Republican National Convention as anti-Trump delegates attempted to force a vote to break the binding pledges of delegates to vote for Donald Trump, an Austin lawyer was at the center of the storm.

Mikal Watts, partner at Watts Guerra. Photo©Mark Sobhani Photography

Counts Dropped in Gulf Oil Spill Fraud Case Against Lawyer

A Texas lawyer and six co-defendants are now facing a reduced indictment of 73 charges, instead of 95, at federal trial on accusations that they faked more than 40,000 damage claims after the BP oil spill in 2010.

Attorneys Newton B. Schwartz, Sr., left, and Benton Musslewhite, right, at Frost National Bank in Houston, Texas. May 31, 2016. Courtesy photo

Battle Over Giant Rubies Spawns $25 Million Negligence Suit

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

"The lawyers have each served only their own interests, fighting amongst each other like Indiana Jones and his French nemesis Rene Belloq," the plaintiffs allege in a lawsuit against Houston solos Newton Schwartz and Benton Musslewhite.

In Tight Job Market, New Law Grads Boldly Hang a Shingle

In talking to young lawyers who went into business for themselves during the past few years, found that some had no choice:


Defense Lawyers Seek to Remove DA in Waco from Biker Cases


The prosecutor has a personal and financial interest in the prosecutions of the bikers because if those succeed, the convictions will bolster his arguments against court awarding damages against him for his alleged violations of civil rights, a motion filed by criminal defense counsel argues.

Andrew Smulian, left, and Martin Beirne, right.

Akerman Expands in Four Cities as Houston's Beirne Maynard Shuts Its Doors

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Houston litigation shop Beirne, Maynard & Parsons is dissolving after nearly 30 years, with 30 trial lawyers joining Florida's Akerman and 10 others forming a new boutique.

The high court split 4-4 in June on the Obama administration's immigration policies, leaving in place a nationwide injunction.

Justice Dept. Urges the Supreme Court to Rehear Immigration Case

The U.S. Justice Department on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rehear a challenge to the Obama administration's plan to delay the deportation of nearly five million undocumented immigrants.

Professor Susan Fortney of Texas A&M University School of Law.

Texas A&M Launches Solo and Small-Firm Incubator

By Miriam Rozen |

Texas A&M University School of Law has joined a national trend by providing an incubator program to help graduates transition into solo and small-firm practices.

Dallas Lawyer Gets Back $16.9M Client Had Paid in Arbitration

By John Council |

The arbitration process has been a thorough nightmare for Tom Loose's energy company client. But Loose recently convinced Dallas Fifth Court of Appeals that his clients had a legal right to have their money back — including a finding that opposing counsel was jointly and severally liable for pre- and post-judgment interest in the case.

Prosecutors Violated Brady Rule, Mikal Watts Alleges

By Miriam Rozen |

On the first day of what is expected to unfold as his lengthy criminal trial, Mikal Watts, a well-known San Antonio, Texas, plaintiffs lawyer, filed a motion seeking to halt the prosecutors from presenting testimony and witnesses.

Texas Lawyer Announces 2016 Lifetime Achievement Honorees

By Heather D. Nevitt |

Texas Lawyer is proud to announce the winners of our 2016 Professional Excellence Award: Lifetime Achievers.

Lynn Hughes.

Ex-Baseball Exec Gets 46 Months for Hacking Into Astros Data

By John Council |

A Houston federal judge has sentenced a former high-ranking official with Major League Baseball's St. Louis Cardinals to a 46-month prison sentence after he pleaded to five counts stemming from his hacking into computer accounts of the Houston Astros.

U.S. Associate Salary Landscape

When Cravath, Swaine & Moore announced in June that it was increasing starting salaries for first-year associates to $180,000, firms around the country began to follow suit, either matching Cravath or increasing associate compensation by a lower amount, impacting markets across the country in unique ways. Not all firms jumped on the bandwagon, however.

FERC Hits BP With $20M Fine for Alleged Texas Gas-Market Manipulation

By Angela Neville |

Federal energy regulators this week fined BP America Inc. more than $20 million for allegedly manipulating the natural gas market in Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike in 2008.

Will Hutson, left, and Chris Harris, right, partners in the The Waco Law Firm.

Advice from Texas Singing Lawyers: 'Don't Eat Your Weed'

By John Council |

Waco law partners Will Hutson and Chris Harris both like to sing, play guitar and ponder the absurd nature of some of Texas criminal laws. So they created a minor hit—so to speak—when they wrote and uploaded "Don't Eat Your Weed" to YouTube a few months ago.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ginsburg, in Apology, Says Her Donald Trump Remarks Were ‘Ill-Advised’

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Thursday said she regretted her recent comments about the candidacy of presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump and vowed to be “more circumspect” in the future.

What's Behind the Fewer Civil Rights Lawsuits Against Law Enforcement in Texas and Florida?

By Miriam Rozen |

Fewer Texas and Florida plaintiffs and their counsel attempt to pursue civil rights cases against law enforcement officers when compared with their counterparts in other populous states such as California, New York and New Jersey. Plaintiffs and defense counsel offer a long list of reasons for the differences.

NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

NY Attorney General, Responding to Texas Lawmaker, Warns of 'Constitutional Conflict'

The New York attorney general's office on Wednesday, responding to Republican U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith's demand for information about a state investigation of Exxon Mobil and climate change, said the use of congressional subpoena power is "courting constitutional conflict." Smith's office issued subpoenas to New York AG Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts AG Maura Healey on Wednesday after the two offices refused to turn over the requested information.

Cell phone video screen shots of the police shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling.

Why Police-Shooting Videos Sizzle on Social Media But Fizzle in Court

Lawyers who deal with videos as evidence say that often a case rises or falls on what the camera didn’t capture.

U.S. House Republicans Clash With State AGs Over Exxon, Climate-Change Inquiries

Texas Republican Lamar Smith has set up a rare clash on Capitol Hill between conservative lawmakers and Democratic state attorneys general, including New York’s Eric Schneiderman, who face a noon deadline Wednesday to disclose information about their investigations of Exxon Mobil Corp.’s statements to investors about climate change.

Jim Harrington.

What's in a Word: Attorneys Tangle Over Whether Civil Rights Lawyer Used Slur or 'Border Slang'

By Miriam Rozen |

A plaintiffs attorney doubled down on his allegations with a filing in Austin federal court this week that Jim Harrington, a 43-year veteran civil rights lawyer, used a racial slur against him and should therefore be sanctioned.

Stephen Zamora.

Houston Law Center Mourns Former Dean's Death

By Karen Sloan |

Law school faculty and students swapped memories and condolences this week upon learning of Stephen Zamora's death at 72. He joined the law faculty in 1978 and served as dean from 1995 to 2000. He retired from teaching in 2014 but remained involved in the law school's Center for U.S. and Mexican Law.

A well drilling rig works in the eastern plains of Colorado to reach the Niobrara Shale formation.

Predictions on Fallout from the Fracking Ruling in Wyoming

By Angela Neville |

Texas Lawyer recently spoke separately to Mark Barron, a Denver partner at BakerHostetler, and with Jeffrey Reeser, a member at Sherman & Howard in Denver who practices in the firm's energy and natural resources group, about a recent Wyoming federal court ruling that struck federal fracking regulations.

'I Could No Longer Live with Myself': Lawyers Reveal Their Struggles with Alcohol

Alcoholism is rampant in the legal profession. One in three lawyers struggles with a drinking problem, and that rate is worse than for physicians and other highly educated workers.

Emergency responder vehicles sit outside of the emergency room at Baylor University Medical Center, Friday, July 8, 2016, in Dallas.

‘A Bill That’s Come Due’: Lawyers Who Wore Badges Lament Shootings

In the wake of five police officers being shot to death in Dallas Thursday night and two years worth of mounting outrage and social unrest over the deaths of black civilians at the hands of police, attorneys with law enforcement backgrounds expressed dismay and sadness at recent events, lamented it could get worse after the Dallas shootings, and chalked up many of the deaths to a combination of stress, blind spots in training and for some, racial bias.

Jones Day, Bracewell and Others Advise $4B Pipeline Deal

By Lizzy McLellan |

A group of attorneys from Jones Day, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Troutman Sanders and Balch & Bingham are representing Southern Co. in the planned acquisition from Kinder Morgan of a 50 percent equity interest in the Southern Natural Gas pipeline system.

U.S. District Judge Walter Smith.

Fifth Circuit to Look Again at Judge Walter Smith's Punishment for Sexual Harassment

By John Council |

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is set to take another look at sexual harassment allegations against U.S. District Judge Walter Smith of Waco after his chief accuser complained that the jurist's one-year suspension of new case assignments was far too lenient a punishment. The second look was ordered last Friday by the Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability of the Judicial Conference of the United States.

The Black, Gun-Toting Man in Dallas PD's Tweet Seeks Answers, Exoneration

By Miriam Rozen |

Two criminal defense lawyers from Fort Worth and Dallas who represent Mark Hughes, an African-American man identified initially in a Dallas police department tweet as a suspect in the shootings that led to the deaths of five officers this month, want answers from Dallas police officials to multiple questions.

Texas Lawyer Announces 2016 Lawyers on the Rise

By Heather D. Nevitt |

Our editorial department reviewed more than 100 nominations of attorneys 40 and under who have established a record of accomplishments and demonstrated that they are top contributors to the practice of law and their communities.

DOL Fiduciary Hearing in Texas Set for Nov. 17

The federal judge in Texas overseeing the three lawsuits filed in the state against the rule sets a date to hear oral arguments

Obama Water-Rule Opponents Clash with Feds Over Wave of Suits

This fall, the U.S. Supreme Court may become the next front for contentious and costly litigation over where challenges to the Obama administration’s Clean Water Rule should be fought.

Police Officer Killings by Snipers Called Dallas’ Worst Tragedy Since JFK Assassination

Dallas criminal defense attorney Pete Schulte was out for dinner with friends last night when he learned that a police officer friend, Jesus Retana, had been shot in a downtown sniper ambush Thursday evening.

Dallas police move to detain a driver after several police officers were shot in downtown Dallas, Thursday, July 7, 2016. At least two snipers opened fire on police officers during protests Thursday night; some of the officers were killed, police said. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Dallas Attack Breaks Pattern Shown in New AG Data

By Miriam Rozen |

Until the shooting deaths this week of five Dallas police officers, and the wounding of seven others, there had been 14 shootings of law enforcement officers in Texas in 2016. None of those shootings led to deaths. And none involved officers from the Dallas Police Department, according to data that the Texas attorney general's office began collecting from police departments statewide Sept. 1, 2015.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn

DOL Fiduciary Hearing in Texas Set for Nov. 17

By Melanie Waddell |

The federal judge in Texas overseeing the three lawsuits filed in the state against the rule sets a date to hear oral arguments.

IRS Investigating Facebook Over Ireland Asset Transfer

The U.S. Department of Justice is asking for a court order forcing Facebook Inc. to provide information to the IRS related to its transfer of many of its global assets to its Irish holding company.

Prosecutor Gets Front-Cover Attention Tracking Down Wrongful Drug Convictions

By Miriam Rozen |

Marie Munier, a former assistant district attorney in Harris County, Texas, earned the dubious distinction of having a 2014 letter she wrote informing a woman she had been erroneously prosecuted and convicted of a drug offense appear on the front cover for The New York Times Magazine issued this week.

Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, left, walks out of the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse after the jury deliberated for a fifth full day in his trial, in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015.

Mining Industry Groups Question Conspiracy Conviction of Ex-Massey CEO

By Angela Neville |

Three coal mining trade associations are raising concerns about the criminal conviction of ex-Massey Energy Chief Executive Officer Donald Blankenship for conspiracy to willfully violate mine health and safety regulations.

(l-r) Alan Loewinsohn, Jim Flegle, David Deary, Craig Simon, Matt Ray, and Dan Winikka of Loewinsohn Flegle Deary Simon.

Two Small Dallas Firms Merge

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Dallas lawyers who have known each other for years merged their firms on July 1, forming Loewinsohn Flegle Deary Simon.

Old Post Office in Washington, D.C., future home of Trump International Hotel.

Allegedly Bilked Athletes May Recoup Losses From Inauguration Reservations at Trump's DC Hotel—Even if Clinton Wins

By Miriam Rozen |

Option buyers only get to stay in a hotel—then pay room rates—if they guess the Oval Office winner correctly. The SEC has filed an unrelated complaint against two executives and the former director of the ticket-selling company.

Justice Carol Hunstein

Georgia High Court OKs Ban on Online Sex Talk With Children

Justice Carol Hunstein, writing for the unanimous court, rejected arguments that the law interferes with constitutionally protected speech.

NRG GC: Energy Industry Faces a Challenging But Exciting Time

By Kristen Rasmussen |

When David Hill joined NRG Energy Inc. as the company's executive vice president and general counsel in September 2012, it was right in the middle of a big merger, and so Hill says he immediately "had to figure out how to put together two legal departments, both of which were composed of lawyers I didn't know."

Stephen Breyer.

Texas Abortion Data Disclosed 3 Days After SCOTUS Ruling

By Miriam Rozen |

Texas health agency released data on the number of abortions taking place in that state, notably, three days after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling striking the Lone Star State's law restricting where and how abortions could take place.

The Arnold & Itkin trial team stands with Terry Yount, center, Andrew Yount's father.  July 1, 2016.

Janssen Hit With $70M Verdict in Latest Risperdal Trial

A unanimous Philadelphia jury today handed down a $70 million verdict against Janssen Pharmaceuticals in the latest trial over the antipsychotic drug Risperdal.

Text Mining For Lawyers

By David Oliver |

Parsing legal opinions, testimony, documents and arguments for themes, patterns and premises that might otherwise go unnoticed is one of the few things learned in law school that I still find myself doing.

Jury Awards Plaintiff
 Claiming Several Injuries; Plus Other Verdict News

A driver who claimed a wide range of injuries—from neck and back pain to anxiety and nervousness—was awarded $5,211.

Know Your Cybersecurity Options

By Rick Anderson & Amy VanHoose |

Just about any organization using technology to do business faces potentially devastating cybersecurity risk and data breaches.

How GCs Can Help Mitigate Fraud and Corruption

By Kristen Rasmussen |

In 2014, Joel Squadrito's company incurred $3 million in losses from economic crime. By 2015, Squadrito and his security team at Steel Dynamics Inc. had reduced that figure to less than $50,000.

The Main Chorus: Accountability

By Gene R. Besen |

The days of individual executives avoiding responsibility for corporate fraud through the payment of massive corporate penalties (paid with shareholder dollars) are ending.

Larry Macon, partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, San Antonio & Dallas, runs marathons all over the country.

Guinness World Record Holder Larry Macon Knows How to Go the Distance

By Miriam Rozen |

If you want to catch Larry Macon, try looking for the San Antonio lawyer at the finish line of a marathon race.

Michael Abcarian

Dallas Lawyer Mike Abcarian Has Won 97 Suits Over the Last 20 Years

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Dallas lawyer Mike Abcarian, who does employment litigation, has secured a win for his clients in 97 suits over the last 20 years.

Heather Nevitt. Editor-in-Chief, Texas Lawyer

Editor's Note: The Trump Effect

By Heather D. Nevitt, Esq. |

To be honest, the idea putting an image of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on the cover seemed a bit cliche and overdone in our current media environment.

Will Donald Trump's Candidacy Impact Texas Judicial Races?

By John Council |

Maybe there will be no moment in the Donald Trump presidential campaign that is outrageous enough to sully the Republican Party's brand in Texas or harm its candidates' chances at the ballot box.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville

The Judge Who Tried to School the Feds

By Miriam Rozen |

Hanen issued a sanctions order calling for five years of ethics training for a broad swath of DOJ lawyers May 19, after he concluded that the DOJ lawyers had made intentional misrepresentations to his court in bad faith. But that has not been the only Hanen ruling to generate national press attention.

David DeVeau is VP and GC, for Kinder Morgan in Houston, Tx.

Q&A with David DeVeau, VP and GC, for Kinder Morgan

What criteria do you consider most important when selecting outside counsel? Subject matter expertise, familiarity with the particular jurisdiction (especially in litigation matters), performance in past KM engagements...

James Ruiz, Winstead, Austin Texas

Austin Shareholder Appointed Chair of Firm's Litigation Department; Plus Other 'On The Move' News

James Ruiz, an Austin shareholder in Winstead, has been appointed chair of the firm's litigation and dispute resolution department. The department has more than six practice groups with more than 100 attorneys.

David DeVeau is VP and GC, for Kinder Morgan in Houston, Tx.

David DeVeau Had to Dabble in Family Law for a $3 Billion Deal

By Mary Alice Robbins |

When Houston-based Kinder Morgan Inc. was trying to acquire Hiland Partners in 2015, David R. DeVeau, the company's vice president and general counsel, had to bone up on an area of law that previously had been unfamiliar to him.

Corporate Counsel Checklist for International Arbitrations

By Nancy Geenen |

International arbitration proceedings share many key characteristics with arbitrations held in the United States, yet they require very different preparation efforts.

The Impact of New Overtime Rules on the Texas Oil and Gas Sector

By Angela Neville |

Laura Gibson, a partner with the firm of Dentons, explains what impact the new federal overtime rules will have on the Texas oil and gas sector.

Mike Maslanka

5 Insights to Help You Be the Best Version of Yourself

By Mike Maslanka |

Let's cue up some MÖtley CrÜe: "All bad things must end/all bad things must die."True enough, and it's our job as lawyers to speed along the process when it comes to inculcating the clause of honesty and ethical conduct in our firms and companies.

Harmonizing Soriano, Citgo, and Patterson

By J. Price Collins & Ashley F. Gilmore |

In Texas, an insurer owes a duty of ordinary care in handling a demand to settle a third-party liability claim against its insured—known as the Stowers duty, derived from the 1929 case by that name.

Grounds for Measured Optimism on Job Prospects

By James Leipold |

Despite the endless publicity about the poor job market for law school graduates since the recession, the entry-level legal job market has actually been improving for the past three years.

Selecting The Arbitrator

By Penny P. Reid & Tiffanie N. Limbrick |

The ability to select the ultimate decision-maker is one of the key advantages of arbitration. Unlike trial, where the decision-maker is an assigned judge or an unknown jury, in arbitration the parties get to choose the arbitrator.

Tim McConn, Yetter Coleman, Houston Texas. Handout Photo 6-30-2016

Newsmakers: Week on July 4

By Mary Alice Robbins |

Tim McConn has joined Yetter Coleman as a partner in Houston. He is a commercial trial lawyer who represents plaintiffs and defendants in disputes in the upstream and midstream sectors of the oil and gas industry.

Commentary: Texas Legislature's Sunset Showdown

By Rich Robins |

On June 23, in Austin, the Texas Legislature's Sunset Advisory Commission held a hearing on the state agencies that are currently under Sunset review.

Richard Mithoff, Houston Texas. Climbing Mount Olympus.

Scaling New Heights: Richard Mithoff

By Miriam Rozen |

Houston litigator went to Mount Olympus in Greece for spring, but got snow.

Texas entrepreneur Sam Wyly walks into U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Tuesday, May 6, 2014, in New York, for closing arguments in the civil trial of Wyly and his late brother Charles. The pair are accused of earning more than $500 million through fraud and deception by secretly trading the securities of public companies they controlled.

Bankruptcy Judge Curtails Sam Wyly's Homestead Exemption to $155K

By Miriam Rozen |

Two days after a Dallas federal bankruptcy judge ordered former billionaire and Texan Sam Wyly to pay the Internal Revenue Service $1.1 billion, the same judge issued a memorandum allowing him to claim only a $155,000 homestead exemption on his home. Wyly values the home at $12 million and the local tax appraisal district values it at $9 million.

Haynes and Boone managing partner Timothy Powers.

Haynes and Boone to Bolt on UK Boutique Post-Brexit

Haynes and Boone announced Thursday that it has agreed merge with Curtis Davis Garrard, a 20-lawyer London firm that has clients in the shipbuilding and offshore oil and gas industries and handles both transactional work and litigation.

Hillary H. Holmes, Corporate Partner, Tax Partner, at Baker Botts in Houston.

Akin Gump Leads Texas Firms in National Pro Bono Rankings

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld ranked the highest among Texas Am Law 200 firms on The American Lawyer's Pro Bono report.

Convictions Upheld for Married San Antonio Lawyers Who Demanded Payments From Wife's Sexual Partners

By John Council |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has declined to overturn the convictions of formerly married San Antonio lawyers who were convicted of theft after the wife had sexual liaisons with four men whom the husband subsequently threatened with litigation unless they compensated him for his emotional distress.

South Texas College of Law in Houston, TX.

Houston College of Law Leaders Say New Name Not Confusing

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The board of directors and administrators of newly-named Houston College of Law maintain law school on "firm legal ground" in name change, despite infringement suit filed by University of Houston.

Justices to Hear From Hearing-Impaired Texans Over Roadblocks to Drivers' Licenses

By Miriam Rozen |

In Texas, hearing-impaired persons under the age of 25, who use sign language to communicate, face special obstacles to obtaining a driver's license and therefore from equal access to public benefits, according to plaintiffs who won on June 28 the right to argue their case before the U.S. Supreme Court during its next term.

Text Message About Johnny Football Benches Local Counsel

By Miriam Rozen |

If lawyers are going to make a mistake and send a text message to a reporter with attorney-client privileged information, the scenario may play out better for them in disciplinary terms when the client is as famous as ex-pro football player Johnny "Football" Manziel.

Houston Lawyer Convinces Supreme Court That Railroad Has No Responsibility For West Nile Mosquito Bite

By John Council |

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Kent Rutter recently convinced the Texas Supreme Court that a railroad had no liability to a worker who contracted the West Nile virus while repairing track on a mosquito-infested worksite.

SEC: GC Part of "Egregious Fraud" at Dallas Energy Company

By kristen rasmussen |

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has accused executives at a Dallas oil and gas energy company, including the CEO and general counsel, of a "long-lasting and egregious fraud" that included spending investors' money at gentlemen's clubs.

Texas and Volkswagen Shake Hands on $50M Partial Settlement

By Miriam Rozen |

Shortly after Volkswagen announced a $14.7 billion deal to settle claims in the United States with consumers and the federal government related to its alleged diesel emissions deceptions, Texas unveiled a partial settlement, calling for the German carmaker to pour some $50 million into state coffers.

Goodwill: Corporate or Personal?

By Jeff Compton |

We use the term "goodwill" to identify the intangible but valuable asset of a business arising from its reputation and customer relationships.

Energy Transfer Can Escape Merger Over Tax Consequences

Energy Transfer Equity may escape its merger agreement with Williams Companies, Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock III ruled in a closely watched case June 24, finding Energy Transfer’s desire to avoid potential tax liability was genuine and not a malicious effort to sandbag the deal, once valued at over $30 billion.

Protesters gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, June 27, the day the justices stuck down a Texas abortion clinic law.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Abortion Restrictions in Texas

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday ruled 5-3 in favor of abortion rights, striking down restrictions imposed by Texas on abortion clinics that the court said posed an “undue burden” on a woman’s access to abortion.

Anthony 'Tony' Buzbee of The Buzbee Law Firm in Houston

University of Houston Regents Sue Houston College of Law

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The University of Houston board of regents filed a federal infringement suit against the newly named Houston College of Law.

Demonstrators for and against abortion rights demonstrate outside the U.S. Supreme Court on the day of arguments in the Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt case. March 2, 2016. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Row Over Texas Health Officials' Data Delays Highlighted by Abortion Decision

By Miriam Rozen |

In abortion ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court majority's reliance on that data throws into high relief a pending controversy: Did the state agency's general counsel delay release of additional, updated data from the same sources?

Thompson & Knight Ups Associate Base Pay

By Brenda sapino jeffreys |

Dallas-based Thompson & Knight is the latest large Texas firm to increase base salaries for its U.S. associates.

Scott Keller

Abortion, Immigration Capped Active Supreme Court Term for Keller

By Miriam Rozen |

Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller, who spent his recent Mondays and Thursdays like most other Supreme Court watchers — glued to social media — reflects on his first year as Texas' top advocate before the U.S. Supreme Court, which was capped Tuesday by a defeat on abortion restrictions but was also marked by an effective victory that stopped enforcement of the Obama administration's executive actions on immigration.

Jim Harrington, director and attorney for the Texas Civil Rights Project, an Austin nonprofit

Sanctions for Slang? Prominent Civil Rights Lawyer Fights Racism Allegations In Federal Court

By John Council |

In 43 years of fighting on behalf of minority voters, farm workers and people with disabilities, Austin civil rights lawyer Jim Harrington says he's been called plenty of derogatory names, but never this one: Racist.

'I Ate Burritos Virtually Every Day': How Big-Name Lawyers Coped with Bar-Study Stress

By Leigh Jones |

Remember studying for the bar exam? Flashcards, prep courses, outlines. So fun! As thousands of law graduates across the country are preparing for the test this summer, we asked prominent lawyers who made it through to the other side to share their quirky rituals or behaviors that helped them succeed.

Law Firms Face Uncertain Future as Brexit Result Hits Markets

By Chris Johnson |

Law firms across the U.K. and beyond are facing an uncertain future after Britain voted to leave the European Union. Clifford Chance senior partner Malcolm Sweeting said the so-called Brexit will have "serious implications," while K&L Gates' European managing partner Martin Lane said it will "create shockwaves across the globe."

VW Settlement Tops $10 Billion, WSJ Reports

By Staff |

Volkswagen AG will pay more than $10 billion dollars to settle a wave of consumer litigation that has enveloped the company since its emissions cheating scandal erupted, and a further $4 billion to address the environmental impact it has caused, according to news reports.

Seven Ways Brexit Will Impact Big Law

By Chris Johnson |

Earlier this morning, the U.K. took the unprecedented step of voting to leave the European Union. The so-called Brexit will not happen for at least two years, but the shock result has already resulted in widespread market turmoil.

South Texas College of Law in Houston, TX.

Another Fracas Over Law School Name Change, Now In Houston

By Karen Sloan and Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Just three months after George Mason University faced a barrage of criticism for renaming its law school in honor of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, the South Texas College of Law has raised the ire of the nearby University of Houston Law Center by renaming itself the Houston College of Law.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville

SCOTUS Ruling Trains Eyes on Federal Judge in Brownsville, TX

By Miriam Rozen |

As a result of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued today in an immigration case, many more eyes will be trained on U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen who will preside at trial. At that trial, which the high court ruled may now take place, Texas and 25 other states will be pitted against the Obama administration's proposed immigration reforms. A portrait below, scheduled for print publication in the July issue of Texas Lawyer, shows Hanen's performance last month as he wrestled from the bench with arguments that he had overstepped his authority by issuing sanctions requiring ethics training for U.S. Department of Justice lawyers. At the hearing, Hanen reversed his own sanctions order, but his expressions from the bench before doing so, may shed light on how he will preside at the scheduled trial.

Newsmakers: Week of June 27

By Mary Alice Robbins |

Fault Lines Sharpen After Judge Voids Federal Fracking Rules

By Ben Seal and Marcia Coyle |

A Wyoming federal judge's decision Tuesday striking down the Obama administration's hydraulic fracturing rules was a significant victory for the oil and gas industry as federal, state and local governments clash over the authority to impose regulations.

Plaintiff Abigail Fisher after arguments in <i>Fisher v. University of Texas</i> at Austin. December 9, 2015.

Justices Split Over Race in University Admissions

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court’s surprise ruling on Thursday upholding the affirmative action program at the University of Texas may bring a pause—but not an end—to decades of attacks on race-conscious admissions policies nationwide.

Abid Qureshi of Latham & Watkins.

White House Eyes Latham Partner for Federal Bench in DC

By Zoe Tillman |

Abid Qureshi, a partner at Latham & Watkins and the global chairman of the firm’s pro bono practice, is being vetted by the White House for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, according to four sources familiar with the process.

As Big Firms Up Associate Pay, Regional Firms See an Opening

Midsize and regional firms are eyeing a wave of salary increases for associates at big law firms as a way to reinforce their long-touted message: We're in tune with the economic realities facing clients and do high-quality work for less money.

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court on the day of arguments in the immigration case United States v. Texas. April 18, 2016. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Supreme Court Deadlocks on Immigration, Keeping Injunction in Place

By Marcia Coyle and Zoe Tillman |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday deadlocked in a challenge to an Obama administration program that would defer deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants, issuing a 4-4 ruling that keeps in place an injunction blocking the immigration directives.

Anthony Kennedy.

Divided Supreme Court Upholds UT Affirmative Action Program

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a controversial race-conscious admissions program at the University of Texas, in a 4-3 ruling written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Fracking operation in Texas.

Wyoming Judge Strikes Federal Agency's Fracking Rule

A Wyoming judge on Tuesday struck down as unlawful a set of federal rules that regulate the extraction of oil and gas by hydraulic fracturing, delivering a setback to the Obama administration and environmental advocates.

States Get Failing Grades for Judicial Diversity

By Katheryn Hayes Tucker |

A report released Wednesday by the American Constitution Society confirmed what anyone who has set foot in a courtroom may have noticed: judges are mostly white men, while the people appearing before them are much more diverse.

American Ninja Warrior Season 8 Submission Video of Brian Burkhardt, Texas Tech 2L

For TV Gig, Law Student Becomes Ninja Warrior

By Karen Sloan |

Call him the American Ninja Law Student. Brian Burkhardt, who just completed his first year at Texas Tech University School of Law, made his debut Monday on American Ninja Warrior—the supersized obstacle-course TV show that sends buff and nimble contestants scurrying up walls, shimmying across balance beams, and swinging from a Rube Goldberg-esque lineup of ropes, poles and moving contraptions.

Bert Rein of Wiley Rein, who represented Abigail Fisher (right) in Fisher v University of Texas, addresses the media after arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court in October 2012.

In Fisher, Affirmative Action Advocates See Means to Preserve Campus Diversity

By John Council |

Affirmative action advocates applauded the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Fisher v. University of Texas — a decision they believe that will go a long way in preserving racially diverse student bodies on college campuses across the United States.

Ex-Judicial Conduct Commissioner Suspended From Bench Over Transparency Charge

By John Council |

The Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct was forced to suspend one of its former memebrs from the bench without pay after he was indicted for allegedly violating open meetings laws.

Longtime Big Law Trial Lawyer Opens Own Litigation Shop

By Brenda sapino jeffreys |

Looking for some "fun cases," trial lawyer James Edward "Jim" Maloney left Andrews Kurth to open a solo practice in Houston.

Haynes and Boone Increases Associate Salaries

By brenda sapino jeffreys |

Dallas-based Haynes and Boone announced raises for U.S. associates effective July 1, ranging from a $180,000 starting base salary to $325,000.

Local Link With Jurors Helped Underpin $34M Car Seat Verdict, Lawyer Says

By Miriam Rozen |

A four-day trial in federal court in Tyler,Texas, this month led to a $34.4 million verdict for a young mother from nearby Marshall and her toddler son, who suffered life-altering head and back injuries while in a front-facing car seat during a crash.

South Texas College of Law in Houston, TX.

Houston Law School Changes Name in Brand Awareness Bid

By brenda sapino jeffreys |

As of June 22, the 93-year-old South Texas College of Law is rebranded as Houston College of Law.

Open Letter to a Data Thief (Turned Federal Defendant)

By Alan Bush and Lee Winkelman |

Dear Ex-Employee: Remember that job you left a couple weeks back, downloading the company's product designs and customer list and bringing them to its hottest competitor? Congratulations, here's a federal lawsuit.

Commentary: The Supreme Court's New Whistleblower Decision Is Huge


As someone famously said, "We live in a material world." After the Universal Health Services, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Escobar decision, this is particularly true in at least two ways.

Baker Botts Reporting Triggers SEC's Probe into Investment Adviser with NFL & MLB Clients

By Miriam Rozen |

Shortly after the Super Bowl last February, two partners in Houston's Baker Botts and principals with their client, a Dallas-based investment advisory firm, reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission concerns about likely problems with investments in a ticket-selling business that an adviser had initiated for a number of clients, including major league sports stars. This week, prompted by that reporting, the SEC announced it had filed a complaint against Ash Narayan, an adviser who previously worked from a Newport Coast, California, office of RGT Capital Management, the Dallas-based firm and others.

Attorney Acting in Nonlegal Role Still Owes Fiduciary Duty, Court Rules

By John Council |

Even though a lawyer acted as an escrow agent — and not in the role of an attorney — in a business deal gone sour, Dallas' Fifth Court of Appeals reversed a take-nothing judgment against him and his firm after finding they had a fiduciary duty to a client who paid $250,000 for a beer store that turned out to have $260,000 in tax liens looming over it.

Texas Supreme Court building

Texas High Court Split Decision Halts Homeowners Who Claimed Harris Cty's Inaction Led to Flood Damages

By Miriam Rozen |

Some 400 Houston-area homeowners who claimed their properties suffered flood damages because of upstream development allowed by the local government officials won no relief from the Texas Supreme Court. In a 5-4 ruling, the court's majority determined that local officials would not have known that particular properties downstream would flood.

U.S. Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Turns Back Challenge to Post-Sandy Hook Gun Ban

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned away challenges to assault weapons bans in Connecticut and New York which were enacted after the mass shooting of 26 children and staff at Sandy Hook elementary school.

Brazil’s Pre-Olympics Emergency Declaration Raises Legal Questions

A Brazilian state governor’s declaration of a state of emergency and request for federal money to meet obligations in hosting the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro is being questioned on constitutional grounds and may lead to lawsuits, attorneys say.

Locke Lord Opens Office in Ohio

By brenda sapino jeffreys |

Dallas-based Locke Lord opens an office in Cincinnati on June 20, which is staffed by two public finance laterals.

Dallas Lawyer Convinces Supreme Court to Toss Defamation Case with Shocking Allegation

By John Council |

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Dallas Lawyer Convinces Supreme Court to Toss Defamation Case with Shocking Allegation.

Lawsuit Targets Austin Short-Term Rental Ordinance

By Miriam Rozen |

The gig economy — specifically, the short-term rental industry that includes HomeAway, Airbnb, and VRBO — is under attack by the city of Austin, Texas, according to a lawsuit filed in state court June 20, which was sponsored by the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Donald Trump

Pensive Trump at Buzbee Home: "I Can Live Either Way"

By Miriam Rozen |

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, appeared at a fundraising party in Houston lawyer Tony Buzbee's home.

Andrews Kurth managing partner Bob Jewell

Andrews Kurth Jumps on Salary Bandwagon

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Houston-based Andrews Kurth is the latest large Texas firm to raise associate salaries to the new, higher market rate set by Cravath, Swaine & Moore.

Houston Attorney Sues Starbucks Over Hot Coffee


In a case that may be a replay of one of the most notorious tort cases in American history, a Houston attorney recently filed a case against Starbucks alleging that she was seriously burned by hot coffee that was served to her from a drive-thru window.

Newsmakers: Week of June 20


Oil Exploration Company's Demand for Tax Refund Fails in Texas Supreme Court

By Angela Neville |

The Texas Supreme Court on Friday turned down an oil company's bid for a large tax exemption and held that Southwest Royalties Inc.'s purchases of casing, tubing, other well equipment and associated services were not exempt from sales taxes available to certain manufacturers.

Mexico Agrees to API Worker-Safety Standards


Mexico, as part of the country's initiative to attract outside investors, recently agreed to use the American Petroleum Institute's safety standards in its energy programs to promote worker safety at offshore drilling sites.

Law Firms Brace for Brexit as EU Referendum Vote Looms

By Chris Johnson |

In exactly a week’s time, the U.K. public will undertake arguably its most important vote in generations, on whether the country will remain within the European Union. The repercussions of Brexit, as it is called, could resonate at a global level. Even the mere possibility of a U.K. withdrawal has already taken a toll on law firms and the financial markets.

Supreme Court Tweaks Rules for Attorney Fees in Copyright Cases

By Scott Graham |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday recalibrated the law of copyright fee shifting, telling the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that it was placing too much weight on the objective reasonableness of parties’ litigation positions.

Ex-Uber, Lyft Drivers Must Identify Worksite to Win Lawsuits

By Miriam Rozen |

Labor lawyers on both the employer and employee side of the aisle predict some heavy lifting for Austin, Texas-based former Uber and Lyft drivers targeting the ride-hailing companies with twin class-action lawsuits.

Rudy Giuliani

Giuliani to Officiate His First Same-Sex Wedding

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will officiate his first same-sex wedding this weekend, marrying his former law partner Scott Segal, who leads Bracewell's policy resolution group in its Washington, D.C. office, to Travis Hatch, an interior designer.

Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of the Liberty Institute

Trump's Bluster on Muslims Taken in Stride by Religious Freedom Stalwart


Has Donald Trump, as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, recently refined his rhetoric enough to satisfy a well-known Texas litigator who has long his hung well-financed his hat on advocating for religious freedoms?

Women Sue Baylor Over School's Alleged Failure to Respond to Rape Complaints

By John Council |

Three women have filed a federal lawsuit against Baylor University in a Waco U.S. District Court, alleging that the university ignored their allegations of sexual assault while they were students.

Ryan Sitton, Railroad Commissioner of Texas

A Texas Energy Regulator Rails on Agency's Arcane Name


You know the name if you work in the energy sector. The Texas Railroad Commission, around since 1891, regulates exploration, production and transportation of oil and natural gas in Texas.

Host Tony Buzbee "Not Worried" About Security for Trump Donor Party

By Miriam Rozen |

"I'm a former Marine recon officer who served in the Persian Gulf and Somalia," the Houston lawyer said.

Bracewell Gives Raises to Associates, Cuts Staff

By brenda sapino jeffreys |

The same week Houston-based Bracewell said it would move to the new Cravath market rate for salaries for its U.S. associates, the firm laid off a group of support staff.

Yelp Reviewers and Koch Aim to Bolster Speech Protections

By Miriam Rozen |, Koch Industries' CEO Charles Koch, and a Dallas couple who own a dog and pet fish all have chosen the same side in a growing debate about the free-speech rights of online reviewers.

Pharma Antitrust Case Gets Bogged Down in Procedural Muck

Oral arguments in a closely watched antitrust suit by a pharmacy chain against three drugmakers became weighed down in a procedural morass in a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit courtroom Monday.

Harvard Grad Who Flunked Bar Sues Over Loss of Big-Law Job

By Karen Sloan |

A 2013 Harvard graduate who twice failed the bar exam has sued the New York State Board of Law Examiners, claiming its refusal to provide testing accommodations derailed her career at Ropes & Gray.

Salvador Colon, Law Office of Salvador Colon, Houston.

Houston Lawyer Convinces 5th Circuit Immigrant's Case Was Botched Over Wrong Address

By John Council |

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Houston attorney convinces Fifth Circuit that immigrant's case was botched over a wrong address.

Bracewell to Move to Cravath Salary Scale

By Brenda Sapino jeffreys |

Following the market rate set by Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Houston-based Bracewell will raise salaries of U.S. associates on July 1.

Scott Keller

Will Texas' Top Appellate Lawyer Get to Make Victory Laps in DC?

By Miriam Rozen |

Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller might be taking multiple victory laps when he makes a July 6 scheduled speaking appearance at a conservative Washington, D.C. think tank's post-term symposium review of U.S. Supreme Court rulings. If the high court rules in the Lone Star state's favor in two pending cases, Keller will have achieved in his first 18 months as Texas' top appellate lawyer a 4-to-1 record before the justices. The cases he has argued are about controversial legal questions, which have generated plenty of nationwide attention.

Baker Botts Raises Associate Salary Scale

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Baker Botts, based in Houston, joins Texas firm Vinson & Elkins in raising the base salary for entry-level U.S. associates to $180,000.

 Mark Kelly

V&E Hires Five IP Litigators in Austin, Dallas

By Brenda sapino jeffreys |

Houston-based Vinson & Elkins hires five litigators who do IP work, with four coming from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and one from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

Bankrupt Former Billionaire Sam Wyly Fights to Keep his $9M Home

By Miriam Rozen |

In his bankruptcy case, onetime billionaire and Texan Sam Wyly asked the court this week to exempt from the clutches of claimants, including the Internal Revenue Service, his annuities, his 401(k), his religious books and his $9 million-appraised Dallas home. Federal prosecutors, however, argue that because Wyly had been found liable in a New York federal court for securities fraud, he should not get to keep such a high-priced abode away from claimants.

Locke Lord Raises Associate Salaries

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Locke Lord will move to new $180,000 market base salary rate for beginning associates in large markets as of July 1 and increase to $155,000 in smaller markets.

Stephen D. Susman

Susman Godfrey Goes to $190K for First-Years

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

McKool Smith of Dallas and Houston-based Susman Godfrey raise associate salaries in the wake of Cravath, Swaine & Moore's move last week.

Three Lawyers Start Houston Trial Firm

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Three lawyers left Beirne, Maynard & Parsons in Houston to form litigation firm Hicks Davis Wynn.

Shell's Legal Offshoring a Sign of Things to Come

The announcement by Royal Dutch Shell that it plans to open an offshore legal operations center illustrates a growing trend, according to industry experts.

Atlanta Judge Awards Legal Fees in National DNA Case

By R. Robin McDonald |

In a nationally watched case that set limits on the kind of genetic information employers can compel from employees, a federal judge in Atlanta has awarded more than $500,000 in legal fees to the lawyers who brought the federal discrimination case.

Have Global Compliance Problems? You're Not Alone

By Monika Gonzalez Mesa |

Companies operating in Brazil, India and Russia face heightened ethics and compliance risks, according to a global survey of 13 countries.

Four Tips To Get Over That “Dirty” Feeling When Networking

By Vivia Chen, The Careerist |

Who knew lawyers have such moral scruples? According to research by business school faculty members at Toronto, Harvard and Northwestern universities, lawyers approach networking with absolute dread because they feel guilty that they’re doing it for purely selfish reasons.

Reagan Bradford

In-House Lawyer Who Hired W. Mark Lanier Joins His Firm

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Reagan Bradford, a former deputy general counsel at Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy Corp., has joined Lanier Law Firm of Houston to do commercial litigation.

Texas, Delaware and Other States Want Their MoneyGram Battle Settled By High Court

By Miriam Rozen |

Such original lawsuits rank as a rare breed at SCOTUS.

 Mark Kelly

V&E Raising U.S. Associate Salaries

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Vinson & Elkins, based in Houston, notified U.S. associates on June 9 that it will raise associate salaries starting July 1.

Williamson County Attorney Jana Duty

Resign or Go, Business Leaders Tell Williamson County DA After State Bar Disciplinary Action

By Miriam Rozen |

As business leaders in her hometown to call for her resignation, Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty was put by the State Bar of Texas' Commission for Lawyer Discipline on probated suspension for 18 months, ending November 30, 2017.

Uber iPhone app. December 11, 2014. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

For Uber and Lyft: Goodbye Austin, Hello Class Action Lawsuits

By Miriam Rozen |

Austin's Slack & Davis represents both suits and, if the law firm's proposed class actions succeeds, it hopes plenty of others who once drove in Austin, Texas for the ride-hailing companies will follow. In twin law suits filed in San Francisco federal court on June 9, Johnston, Thornton, and their Slack & Davis lawyers have crafted a novel approach to pursue Uber and Lyft.

Deans & Lyons Opens Houston Office

By brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Five trial lawyers in Houston move to Deans & Lyons' new Houston office.

Judge Aaron Persky Unlikely to Lose Seat Over Stanford Sex Assault Case

By Ben Hancock |

Despite the outrage it’s not easy to unseat a judge—and not all are calling for it.

Newsmakers: Week of June 13


Rachel S. Giani has joined the Austin office of Winstead as of counsel in the firm's corporate, securities and mergers and acquisitions practice group. Plus other On the Move News.

7 Concepts Every In-House Lawyer Needs to Know About Bankruptcy

By Anna Rotman and Brian Schartz |

By now, the statistics are well-known throughout Texas: domestic crude oil prices have fallen over 50 percent since mid-2014; domestic natural gas prices have fallen over 50 percent over the same period.

Andrews Kurth, White & Case Handle Medical Device Deal

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

LDR Holding Corp., of Austin and Troyes, France, is using Andrews Kurth for its pending $1 billion acquisition by Zimmer Biomet, an Indiana company that turned to White & Case.

Judge Junks Merck's $200M Patent Verdict Against Gilead

By Scott Graham |

A federal judge in San Jose on Monday threw out a $200 million patent infringement verdict against Gilead Sciences Inc. over its hepatitis C treatment. And she ripped into Merck, a former in-house patent prosecutor for the company, and Merck’s outside counsel at Williams & Connolly for “egregious misconduct” that tainted the March trial.

Skepticism Voiced About Texas AG's Bid to Silence Ex-Agency Lawyer

By Miriam Rozen |

In a cease and desist letter, first assistant to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office overreached, according to ethics experts and other lawyers familiar with the specifics.

Tony Buzbee, founder, The Buzbee Law Firm, Houston

Buzbee to Host Trump Fundraiser

By Miriam Rozen |

Houston litigator Tony Buzbee has scheduled June 17 fund raising event for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Brownsville Texas Judge Stays His Own Sanctions Order Targeting DOJ Lawyers

By Miriam Rozen |

During much of a June 7 hearing, U.S. District Judge Hanen and DOJ lawyers revisited what communication had taken place between each other. Both sides addressed the question of whether the DOJ lawyers lied to the judge about number of immigrants who had participated in Obama administration waiver to work programs at various. The DOJ said they hadn't lied or misrepresented. Hanen concluded they did.

The front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC.

Judge Stays Order Calling for DOJ Ethics Training

By Miriam Rozen |

The Brownsville, Texas, federal judge who presides in the immigration battle between Texas and 25 other states agreed to stay until at least Aug. 22 an order he issued last month requiring, among other things, five years of ethics training for U.S. Department of Justice lawyers.

Commercial Accounts Targeted by New Breed of Bank Robber


In April, a new breed of bank robber hit 24 U.S. and Canadian banks, scooping up $4 million in less than two weeks before heading to Europe and stripping millions more from 17 Polish banks and one major Portuguese bank.

Haynes and Boone Hires Three Bankruptcy Laterals

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Three bankruptcy lawyers leave Winstead to join Haynes and Boone as partners in Dallas.

Lewis Brisbois Hires Six Laterals in Houston

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

William "Bill" Helfand leads a group of six labor and employment lawyers who moved to Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith from Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Aughtry of Houston.

Newsmakers: Week of June 6

By Mary Alice Robbins |

Ashley W. Anderson has joined Thompson & Knight as a partner in the firm's Dallas and Fort Worth offices; Plus other 'On The Move' News

U.S. Supreme Court to Revisit Death Penalty Issues in Texas Cases

The intersection of intellectual disability and race with capital punishment lies at the heart of two appeals that the court on Monday agreed to review next term.

DOJ Amps Up Fight Over Judge's Ethics-Training Order

By Miriam Rozen |

U.S. Department of Justice lawyers filed on Friday evening a petition for writ of mandamus, seeking to overturn a sanctions ruling issued against them by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas.

Cybersecurity Special Report

Making Informed Choices About the Deep Dark Web Individuals and organizations that intend to operate in the Dark Web space should seek expert counsel…

The Importance of Escrow Agreements in Software and Technology License Agreements

By Julie Machal-Fulks |

Some of their most integral software applications businesses use are under another party's control.

Beware the Potential Move from Inapplicable Cybersecurity Standards to an Applicable Standard of Care

By BY Jay Johnson |

A Connecticut court determined that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA") and its implementing regulations "may be utilized to inform the standard of care applicable to ... claims arising from allegations of negligence in the disclosure of patient's medical records pursuant to a subpoena."

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville

'School's Out' for DOJ Lawyers in Row With Texas Judge

By Miriam Rozen |

The Brownsville, Texas, federal judge who on June 7 stayed his sanctions order calling for U.S. Department of Justice lawyers to undergo ethics training said he would never send "the entire DOJ to school again."

Property Owner Prevails in Suit Over Kitchen Fire; Plus Other Verdict News

A jury sided with an apartment owner that was accused of covering up evidence in its investigation of a grease fire.

Ali’s Lawyers, Counsel to The Champ, Recall Representing The Greatest

Billions around the world have felt the death of Muhammad Ali, a legendary boxer who turned himself into a global icon. Not surprisingly, a man who made a living with his fists—but became known for his words—employed more than a few lawyers in his lifetime.

Kinder Morgan's $2B Gas Project Gets FERC Approval

By Angela Neville |

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently approved the approximately $2 billion Elba Liquefaction Project, which will be constructed and operated by the Kinder Morgan subsidiaries Elba Liquefaction Co. and Southern LNG Co.

Houston Company Alleges Lawyers, Firm Overbilled

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

In a negligence and breach of fiduciary duty petition filed on June 2, a Houston company alleges Kelley Kronenberg and two Houston lawyers mishandled a lawsuit and overbilled them.

Verrilli, Who Defended Obama Policies in Landmark Cases, is Leaving Justice Department

U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. is leaving office on June 24 and will be replaced as acting SG by Ian Gershengorn the principal deputy the U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday.

U.S. Chamber, Business Groups Sue Labor Dept. Over New Fiduciary Rule

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business and financial industry groups sued in federal court Wednesday to block a new U.S. Labor Department rule that raises the standards stockbrokers must meet when they give retirement guidance.

Yelp Review of Pet-sitting Company Protected by Free-Speech, Defendants Argue

By Miriam Rozen |

Dog and fish owners told a Dallas court on June 2 that the breach-of-contract lawsuit filed by a pet-sitting company violates their free-speech rights. The pet owners asked the court to toss the lawsuit.

Bracewell, Baker Botts Work on $12.2B Energy Acquisition

By Angela Neville |

Great Plains Energy, the parent of regulated power utility Kansas City Power & Light has turned to Bracewell for assistance with its pending acquisition of Westar Energy, the largest electric company in Kansas.

Linda Addison, Norton Rose Fulbright’s US managing partner

Norton Rose Fulbright Opens San Francisco Office

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Norton Rose Fulbright adds 17 public finance laterals from Sidley Austin on June 2.

Steve Otillar, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer& Feld, Houston Texas

Akin Gump Partner Named President-Elect for Association of International Petroleum Negotiators

By Angela Neville |

Akin Gump oil and gas partner Steven Otillar, who works in the firm's Houston office, was recently nominated to serve as the president-elect of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators.

Vicky Gunning, Locke Lord LLP, Dalls, Tx

Locke Lord Taps New Dallas Office Leader

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Real eatate partner Vicky Gunning is now managing partner of the Locke Lord Dallas office, and is one of four new office leaders the firm announced on June 1.

Anthony 'Tony' Buzbee of The Buzbee Law Firm in Houston

Tony Buzbee to Paxton's Defense Team: Get Before a Jury

By Miriam Rozen |

"I haven't really seen any immediately appealable issues of the sort that we had in the Perry case," Buzbee wrote.

Susman Godfrey Wins $14M for Hospital

By Miriam Rozen |

Chalk up a win for hospitals over insurers in the fight over out-of-networking billing.

What’s The Big Deal?

A Look Into Top Dealmaking Firms And Biggest Deals in 2015

Texas Supreme Court Rules Water Drillers Must Accommodate Landowners' Rights

By Angela Neville |

The Texas Supreme Court recently expanded the accommodation doctrine—an important concept in oil and gas law—to groundwater estates and extends, for the first time, the same surface protections to landowners dealing with a severed groundwater estate.

How to Spot and Avoid 
Man-in-the-Email Hacking

By Sheryl A. Falk |

Everyone who uses email should be aware of the man-in-the-email scam. In this scheme, a hacker compromises a user's email and gains access to the email traffic. The attacker can view some or all of the email traffic depending on the method of compromise.

James T. Thompson, Porter Hedges, Texas.

James Thompson Joins Porter Hedges; Plus Other 'On The Move' News

James T. Thompson has joined Porter Hedges in Houston as a partner in the firm's energy section.

Finding Your Inner Zen

By James Dolan |

I have noticed many times over the years when speaking with an attorney that he is often not all there, that although he is right in front of me, the gaze is 1,000 yards behind me.

Jay L. Tobin is a Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Dave & Buster's in Dallas TX.

Game On! Dave & Buster's GC Levels Up in Legal and Business Role

By Mary Alice Robbins |

When Dallas-based Dave & Buster's Entertainment Inc. made its $100 million initial public offering in 2014, Jay L. Tobin, the company's senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, had to stop handling the myriad of legal matters that usually keep him busy.

Michael P. Maslanka

Reframe, Motivate and Lead: 3 Life Lessons for In-House Counsel, Straight from Shakespeare

By Mike Maslanka |

Here is a Chief Financial Officer's truth: numbers don't lie. Here is a poet's truth: Sustainable and real numbers result from the right leadership.

(left to right) a Texas A&M Ross Volunteer, Bonnie Denny, Otway Denny, President and CEO of The Association of Former Students Porter Garner, Reveille IX’s handler and Reveille IX.

Lawyer Gets Aggie Alumni Award; GC Goes to Firm; What is IP?

Otway Denny, a litigation partner in Norton Rose Fulbright in Houston, has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Texas A&M University.

Previewing the Upcoming Mexican Deepwater Auction

By Angela Neville |

Relying on his extensive experience in the Latin American energy sector, Luis Gomar, a Dallas partner at Thompson & Knight, provides an in-depth look at what to expect in connection with the approaching auction of deepwater oil blocks to be hosted by the Mexican government in December.

Med Mal in Texas: Time to Tweak the Reforms?

By Miriam Rozen |

Since January, well-known Houston plaintiff 
lawyer Richard Mithoff filed on behalf of clients three petitions against medical providers in state court in Houston—more than the total number of such claims he filed in the previous seven years.

Incoming Texas Bar President Plans to Launch Lawyer Incubator

By Angela Morris |

Frank Stevenson, incoming president of the State Bar of Texas, is launching a legal incubator to teach young attorneys to serve low- and middle-income Texans in family, probate, consumer and landlord-tenant law.

Baylor University, Waco Texas.

Employment Race: Winners and Losers Among Texas Law Schools

By Angela Morris |

Baylor University School of Law won the horse race of finding jobs for law school graduates in 2015, while Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law came in last. Detailed data shows each school's strengths.

Michael Peticolas founder of Peticolas Brewing Co.

The Brew Crew: Texas Lawyers Make Hops into The Craft Brew Industry

By John Council |

Like foam from a shaken can, the craft beer industry has exploded in Texas.

2015 Corporate Scorecard: 6 Texas Firms Nationally Ranked for Corporate Finance, Capital Markets Work

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Six Texas firms are among the top dealmaking firms in several areas of corporate finance on The American Lawyer Corporate Scorecard 2016.

Heather Nevitt. Editor-in-Chief, Texas Lawyer

Editor's Note: The Big deal

By Heather D. Nevitt, Esq. |

Excuse the pun, but mergers and acquisitions work in Texas is a big deal. So we bring you our cover story which features our long-standing report on the world of corporate finance and capital markets work.

GCs and Outside Counsel Share Tips on Taking a Company Public

By Kristen Rasmussen |

Expect little sleep, lots of takeout and maybe even some 2 a.m. milkshakes. But if all goes smoothly with the initial public offering, general counsels helping to guide their company through the process also should prepare for a very rewarding experience unlike any in their career, experienced in-house lawyers say.

Have an Emergency Plan for Handling Temporary Restraining Orders

By Forrest Wynn |

The first step for any good plan is to know the rules and law for TROs. While it is not critical to recall every detail, it is important to know how to quickly access them and review them with specificity every time a TRO appears on the radar.

Mergers & Acquisitions in Mexico

By Jaime A. Treviño |

With the opening of the energy 
market and other recent business reforms, Mexico continues to build opportunities for multinational investment and merger activity.

Mexico's Energy Industry 
Wins Big in Power Plant Auction

By Susan Postlewaite |

Mexico kicked off its historic public bidding to open its power sector to private foreign investors this spring, awarding rights to 11 international and Mexican companies in a move that energy lawyers called a huge step toward transforming its aging electric grid.

What Were the Top Deals in 2015?

Round Rock-based Dell’s pending acquisition of computer storage company EMC for an estimated $67 billion tops the list of the 10 biggest Texas deals announced in 2015.

Ken Paxton

Texas AG Ken Paxton Solicits Campaign Funds After Suing Obama Administration

By Miriam Rozen |

Only one week passed between when Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration about its directive on transgender people's bathroom access in public schools and he used the litigation to beat the drum for campaign contributions.

Ken Starr

Ken Starr Resigns Position as Baylor's Chancellor

By John Council |

After being demoted last week from his job as Baylor University's president for not doing enough to stop rape on campus, Ken Starr has now announced that he's also leaving his job as the school's chancellor.

She Says 'Woman on Woman Crimes' Blown Out of Proportion, Not Representative

By Kathleen J. Wu |

One of the recurring motifs in gender politics is that "women are just as hard on other women as men are, maybe even harder."

Monte, a German Shepherd, is the property in dispute in Greater Houston German Shepherd Dog Rescue Inc. v. Lydia Lira and Alfonso Lira

Supreme Court Decision Returns Beloved Dog to Owner

By John Council |

Even the Texas Supreme Court is a sucker for a good lost dog story. And in a decision that will warm the hearts of canine lovers everywhere, they recently issued a decision that returned Monte the dog to his owners in Houston.

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Hears Concerns About Mandating Criminal E-Filing

By Angela Morris |

If testimony at a public hearing on April 5 is any indication, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals might find support for a criminal e-filing mandate from court clerks, but opposition from judges and district attorneys.

Lisa Hobbs, partner, Kuhn Hobbs, Austin

Texas Supreme Court Allows $1.29M Legal Mal Case Against DLA Piper to Proceed

By John Council |

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that an Australian businessman has standing to sue DLA Piper, giving him a shot at recovering a $1.29 million jury verdict he won against the huge multinational law firm after the judgment was thrown out by an intermediate court of appeals.

Pastors, Church Sue Houston Lawyer John Nichols

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Robert and Brenda Hogan and Spring First Church seek up to $10 million in damages from John Floyd Nichols Sr. and Nichols Law, alleging the defendants missed a filing deadline.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville

Pricetag for Judge Hanen's Ethics Training Order: Possibly $8 Million

By Miriam Rozen |

On May 31, the federal government asked for a stay of Brownsville federal judge's order, calling for ethics training for DOJ lawyers.

Akin Gump Closing Austin Office

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld will close its five-lawyer Austin office at the end of June, because the two intellectual property partners in that office plan to leave the firm.

30-Year Age Range Among May South Texas College of Law Grads

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A 53-year-old graduate is 30 years older than four 23-year-old women who graduated from South Texas College of Law on May 21.

Sam Olens

Georgia AG's Switch on Transgender Suit Reflects National Debate Over Standing, Ripeness

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens gave a brief lesson in civil procedure when telling Republicans in White County how the state would fight the federal government's recent pronouncement on civil rights for transgender public school students.

David Ronn, a partner at the Houston office of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

Orrick, Baker Botts Work on BlueJack Securing $100M in Funding from Energy Spectrum

By Angela Neville |

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe recently represented BlueJack Energy in connection with the Dallas-based company's efforts in securing an initial private equity commitment of up to $100 million from Energy Spectrum Capital, which was represented by Baker Botts.

Judge Phyllis Lister Brown, judge of Dallas County’s 162nd District Court

Phyllis Lister Brown, Public Face of the Dallas Civil Courthouse, Dies

By John Council |

Judge Phyllis Lister Brown kept her problems to herself. So it was a shock to many in the Dallas civil courthouse when they learned she died Wednesday morning. Brown, judge of Dallas County's 162nd District Court, was 54 years old.

U.S. Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C.

Department of Labor Alleges Pilgrim's Pride Systematically Discriminated Against Job Seekers

By Miriam Rozen |

The U.S. Department of Labor filed on May 25 a lawsuit alleging that the world's second largest chicken producer, Pilgrim's Pride Corp.,systematically discriminated against women, African-American and white job seekers at its plant in Mount Pleasant, Texas.

Nearly $200K Final Judgment in Sex Discrimination Case

By Miriam Rozen |

A nurse who filed sex discrimination and retaliation claims against her former employer, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, won on May 24 a final judgment that includes $115,000 in damages and $84,000 in attorney fees. She alleged she witnessed a supervisor giving a colleague a pop-up penis doll.

U.S. Judge Robert L. Pitman of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas

Federal Judge Allows Plaintiff to Sue Officers After He Was Detained for Videoing a Police Station

By John Council |

An Austin federal judge has ruled that an amateur photographer can pursue a civil rights case against four police officers after they detained and handcuffed him for filming the Round Rock Police Department building.

Judge Ken Starr

Ken Starr Demoted as Baylor's President


Baylor University President Ken Starr, who is best known as the special prosecutor for investigating former President Bill Clinton's affair with an intern, was demoted from his job as president after the school's governing board found he didn't do enough to stop rape on campus.

Texas Capitol

Will a Voter ID Ruling Trigger a Special Session?

By Miriam Rozen |

Judge Catharina Haynes raised the prospect of Texas lawmakers meeting this summer for a special session to fix any flaws in the controversial statute.

Richard Warren Mithoff, founder, Mithoff Law, Houston

Mithoff Tapped to Lead Steering Committee in Volkswagen Emissions Litigation

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

An Austin judge appointed Houston plaintiffs lawyer Richard Mithoff as lead counsel for the Texas counties that have sued Volkswagen Group of America and Audi of America, alleging violations of the Texas Clean Air Act.

Cara and Julio Baez with Blue as a puppy

Couple Alleges Breeder Refuses to Return Their 4-Year-Old Dog

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Houston couple sued a Rosharon Vizsla breeder, alleging she failed to return their family pet after taking him to a dog show.

Hunton & Williams Eying Transatlantic Tie-Up with UK’s Addleshaws

Hunton & Williams is in merger talks with midmarket U.K. firm Addleshaw Goddard, Legal Week has learned, with Addleshaw managing partner John Joyce expected to discuss the negotiations with partners Tuesday evening. Joyce visited the U.S. last week to speak to Hunton & Williams alongside a delegation that included his executive team and Addleshaw’s divisional managing partners.

Ken Starr

Prominent Baylor Law School Alumni Shocked by Ken Starr's Reported Dismissal

By John Council |

Baylor University President Ken Starr, who is best known as the special prosecutor for investigating former President Bill Clinton's affair with an intern, has reportedly been dismissed from his post by the school's Board of Regents—a move that shocked many prominent alumni of the school.

Bradley Snead, Partner, Wright Close, Houston Texas.

Texas Supreme Court Rules for Schlumberger Subsidiary in Trade Secrets Dispute

By Angela Neville |

The Supreme Court of Texas recently handed down a decision in favor of M-I SWACO, a subsidiary of oil technology giant Schlumberger, which had charged National Oilwell Varco with stealing trade secrets.

Doctor's Homemade Model of Male Anatomy Helps Her Prevail in Negligence Case

By Miriam Rozen |

Marc Calvert remembers when he recognized that his client, family physician Lilette Daumas, would have the stamina to defend herself successfully against a negligence claim at a trial.


Haynes and Boone Partner Pens Book on the History of Oil & Banking

By Miriam Rozen |

For Buddy Clark, what started as an acceptance to speak before a group of lawyers, ballooned into a five-year project and ultimately led to his new book about the history of the financing of the oil industry.

Hogan Lovells, Dechert Work on $600M KBR Deal

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Hogan Lovells represents KBR in the Houston-based company's pending acquisition of Wyle in a deal valued at $600 million. Wyle, of El Segundo, California, is using a team from Dechert.

George Parker Young

Chesapeake, Total E&P Reach $52.5M Settlement With Royalty Owners

By Angela Neville |

Chesapeake Energy and Total E&P USA recently reached a global settlement under which they will pay out a combined total of $52.5 million to more than 13,000 clients of two Texas-based law firms who claimed they were shortchanged related to their natural gas royalties.

Which Dallas Firm Topped Texas' Diversity Ranking?

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Dallas-based Haynes and Boone is the Texas firm with the highest ranking on The American Lawyer's Diversity Scorecard 2016.

Texas Supreme Court Rules Tort Reform Laws Cap Civil Penalties Applied Against Wal-Mart

By John Council |

In a decision that's a huge favor for Wal-Mart, the Texas Supreme Court recently ruled that state's tort reform laws that limit plaintiffs' noneconomic damages also apply to civil penalties—including $3.9 million in penalties a federal jury leveled against the nation's largest retailer.

Robert C. Hilliard, a partner in Hilliard Muñoz Gonzales in Corpus Christi.

Discovery to Proceed in Fisherwoman's Case Against Hilliard, Cracken

By Miriam Rozen |

A Houston state court has allowed discovery to proceed in a civil lawsuit against John Cracken from Dallas and Bob Hilliard from Corpus Christi, despite the two plaintiffs lawyers' motion to seek a stay in the litigation.

Don Glendenning, Locke Lord LLP

Newsmakers: Week of May 30

By Mary Alice Robbins |

Houston Flooding Insurance Coverage Considerations

By Brian S. Scarbrough and Jan A. Larson |

As city leaders in Houston continue to work out the city's notorious flooding problems, commercial property damage and business interruption insurance is more critical than ever in an effort to recover and rebuild in the event of flooding.

Houston Lawyer Wins Appeal for Amputee

By John Council |

David Carlson was allegedly burned so badly by an infrared medical treatment device that it caused him to have part of his leg and foot amputated. He also lost his products liability case before a Houston federal jury after the defense presented one expert witness—the chiropractor who thought the treatment was a good idea.

Latham Represents Company in $13B Pending Merger

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Latham & Watkins represents FMC Technologies in the Houston company's pending merger with French company Technip, creating a $13 billion company.

Susan Hawk, newly elected Dallas DA

Dallas DA Seeks Additional Treatment for Mental Illness

By John Council |

After she missed several planned public meetings, Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk announced she is seeking additional treatment for her mental illness.

Simple Steps for Healthcare Providers to Secure Patient Data

By Carrie L. Douglas and Debra L. Innocenti |

Statistics show it's a good time for a healthy shot in the arm for risk management, and there are some simple steps that organizations can take protect patient information.

Texas Supreme Court building

Texas Supreme Court Finds Disregard of the Law is No Reason to Vacate Arbitration Awards

By John Council |

Take a deep breath before agreeing to binding arbitration because the Texas Supreme Court has just ruled that trial courts cannot vacate an award because an arbitrator manifestly disregarded the law.

Seven Big Texas Firms on The Second Hundred

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Seven Texas firms were among the second hundred highest-grossing firms in 2015 and appear on The American Lawyer's The Second Hundred.

Norton Rose Fulbright Will Move Some Support Jobs Out of Texas

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Eighteen Texas support positions at Norton Rose Fulbright are among 170 worldwide that will be moved to The Phillippines this year.

Court: Florida Ratepayers Don't Owe for Oklahoma Drilling

The Florida Supreme Court rejects a state Public Service Commission decision putting Florida Power & Light customers on the hook for Oklahoma natural gas drilling.

Andrew Hanen.

Texas Judge Blasts Justice Department Lawyers for Conduct in Immigration Case

A federal district judge on Thursday excoriated U.S. Department of Justice lawyers who are defending the Obama administration's immigration plan, issuing an extraordinary order that questioned the department's policing of attorney ethics and ordered certain government lawyers to take an annual ethics class.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, United States Supreme Court

Sotomayor's Embrace of Mandatory Pro Bono Garners Praise and Pushback

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is winning praise for re-energizing the movement toward mandatory pro bono for lawyers with her recent remarks on the subject, but some advocates in Big Law think the requirement poses significant challenges and won't work for everyone.

Texas Appeals Court Rules Alaska Pipeline Partners Are Bound by Unocal Duties

By Angela Neville |

The First District of Appeals in Texas recently dealt with a tangled business partnership between BP Pipelines (Alaska) Inc., ConocoPhillips Transportation Alaska Inc., Exxon Mobil Pipeline Co. and former partner Unocal Pipeline Co. involving Trans-Alaska Pipeline business operations.

Stephen Pezanosky is an attorney at HaynesBoone in Dallas.

Texas Bankruptcy Courts Beat Others Nationwide for Oil and Gas Bankruptcies

By Miriam Rozen |

Texas federal bankruptcy courts finally have surpassed others in the nation, including those in Delaware and New York, in terms of the cumulative debt they are administering in oil and gas bankruptcies, according to a report issued by Dallas' Haynes and Boone.

Newsmakers: Week of May 16

By Mary Alice Robbins |

Sean M. Whyte has joined Gardere Wynne Sewell in Dallas as a partner. Whyte has a multifaceted litigation practice that involves complex commercial litigation, consumer class actions and products liability.

Bill Cosby

West Palm Attorney Takes on Sexual Battery Case Against Bill Cosby, Hugh Hefner

A West Palm Beach lawyer is at the center of a new sexual battery lawsuit against Bill Cosby and Hugh Hefner.

Inventor Sues Samsung Again About Same Patent, Different Products

By Miriam Rozen |

Get ready for a rematch between Samsung Electronics and Japanese inventor Masakazu Ushijima.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures while speaking to the press in New York City, after his five-state super Tuesday win.  April 27 2016.

Trump Names 11 SCOTUS Picks, Bypassing Big Law

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's list for potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees is heavy on federal appellate judges and former clerks for conservative justices but light on big names in politics and private practice.

Sonia Sotomayor.

Sotomayor Pushed Mandatory Pro Bono. What Do You Think?

Justice Sonia Sotomayor this week said she's in favor of "forced labor"—mandatory pro bono. Not a new concept, sure, but the justice's remarks generated considerable buzz. Tell us what you think. Good idea, or bad? How would it work? Join the conversation.