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ED Texas Case Ending in $22M Verdict Against Apple Was in Many Parts a Private Affair

By Miriam Rozen |

Even in-house counsel for plaintiff had to leave the courtroom at times.

Royal Bank of Scotland to Pay $1.1B in Credit Union Suits

Lawyers representing the federal credit union regulator have scooped up a $1.1 billion settlement from The Royal Bank of Scotland PLC over its role in the subprime mortgage crisis.

Federal Judge, Facebook and Kirkland Make Amends in Court

Days after a federal judge blasted Kirkland & Ellis and its client Facebook Inc. for sending a junior associate alone to court, a team of five lawyers representing the social networking giant, including deputy general counsel Paul Grewal, appeared before the judge Tuesday, offering an apology that a partner didn’t appear.

iStockphoto/Federico Caputo

Artificial Intelligence and the Law: Smarter Than You?

Applying artificial intelligence to the practice of law is no longer the stuff of science fiction. But what does legal AI really offer right now? How fast is it improving? And who stands to benefit the most? Meet the people and firms pioneering the answers to those questions below. New technologies will change the way you practice. Here’s how.

Inside ROSS: What Artificial Intelligence Means for Your Firm

One of the most potentially transformative new technologies in the legal field was on display over the summer in a conference room at Milwaukee’s von Briesen & Roper. There, an executive from the small startup ROSS Intelligence led a demonstration of the artificial intelligence system that the company has created for legal research in the bankruptcy field.

Law Schools Must Confront Students’ Alcohol, Mental Health Problems: Opinion

The first-ever national study of drinking, drug use, depression and anxiety in the legal profession, published in February in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, showed that “grossly wanting” would be a charitable characterization of the current state of health and well-being among lawyers. “Awful” is the undissembled truth.

‘Informed by What I Am’: Judges Talk Faith, Duty and the Law

Over the past eight years, President Barack Obama has boosted diversity on the federal bench with his judicial picks. This month he added a name to his list of barrier-busting nominees: Abid Qureshi, believed to be the first Muslim tapped for a federal judgeship.

Prestigious Pets Yelp site

Pro Bono Lawyers Want Fees for Defending Bad Yelp Review Case

By John Council |

Defense lawyers for a Plano, Texas, couple who were sued after leaving a bad Yelp review for a pet-sitting service are looking to recover $166,000 in fees, plus another $200,000 in sanctions.

Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant storefront

Jury Delivers $7M Verdict Against Chipotle Following Alleged Sexual Assaults on Minor Employee

By Miriam Rozen |

Benjamin Hall, lead trial counsel, said he welcomes the big verdict despite lack of punitives.

Principal deputy associate attorney general William Baer, of the Antitrust Division at the U.S. Department of Justice

The Yates Memo Reaches Into Civil Cases Too

The DOJ issued new guidance on what it expects from defendants in civil cases. William Baer, principal deputy associate attorney general, delineated the guidelines in a speech Wednesday to in-house counsel and compliance officers attending the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics Conference in Chicago.

Evaluating a Valuation

By Jeff Compton and Kennedell Amoo-Gottfried |

When an intangible asset, usually a business ownership interest such as stock, is valued, the report will necessarily reflect the professional judgment of the appraiser. Evaluating the report will be facilitated by the application of rules or principles that are supplied by relevant professional standards.

Paul Hastings Left Embarrassed Over Shock Partner U-Turn, But It’s Not Alone

Two weeks ago, Paul Hastings issued a press release boasting of its hiring of “pre-eminent” finance partner Nigel Ward from Ashurst’s London HQ.

Yahoo Security Breach Sparks Class Actions

At least six class actions have been filed against Yahoo! Inc. in the wake of last week’s announcement of a security breach that compromised an estimated 500 million account holders.

Justin Bieber.

Houston Man Drops Suit Against Justin Bieber

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Houston man who alleged in a lawsuit that Justin Bieber smashed his cellphone and had him kicked out of a Houston club filed a nonsuit even before the pop singer filed an answer.

Pumping and Practicing: A Delicate Balance for Breastfeeding Lawyers

Riding the elevator down after a day of work, associate Shannon White had some awkward conversations when colleagues asked innocently, “What’s in the ice chest?”

Dr. Bull and the Jury's Role

By Steve Susman and Richard Jolly |

How do you win a jury trial? Well, according to jury consultant Dr. Bull on CBS' new procedural-drama Bull, you need to "know how they'll vote even before they do."

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

$50M Securities Fraud Verdict Against Vivendi Upheld on Appeal

Vivendi's rosy statements about its prospects while it was struggling to pay massive debts run up during its global media acquisition spree justified a jury verdict for securities fraud, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held Tuesday.

Judge Clears Path for PACER Overcharge Suit

The federal government is having trouble extinguishing lawsuits that accuse the federal court’s PACER system of overcharging users to access case information and documents online.

BP Spill Movie Got Action Right, Villain Wrong, Lawyer Says

The film “Deepwater Horizon,” which is set to be released in theaters on Sept. 30, tells the story of one of the workers who was injured on the oil rig when it exploded six years ago, causing the largest spill in the history of the Gulf of Mexico. The attorney who represented that worker in his subsequent lawsuit was Paul Sterbcow, a member of the plaintiffs steering committee that went to trial against BP PLC.

Will Texas Courts Upend Recent Decisions Applying Texas Law and Striking Down Midstream Contracts?

By Mark W. Wege and Kwame N. Cain |

The crash of oil prices beginning in late 2014 has led to over 90 exploration and production companies in the United States and Canada filing for bankruptcy over the last 21 months, companies with combined debt obligations well over US$60 billion.

William Brewer III

In Sanctions Appeal, Dallas Lawyer Defends Pretrial Jury Survey

By John Council |

Prominent Dallas lawyer William Brewer III argued that he should not have been sanctioned for directing a telephone survey of potential jurors in a case over gas tubing product defects.

Michael Noe, left, Jennifer Jasper and Michael Rodriguez, partners in the Austin office of Munck Wilson Mandala.

Munck Wilson to Open Austin Office

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The Dallas firm decided to open an Austin office after a partner expressed interest in moving there.

Law School Admission Council President Dan Bernstine Dies

Longtime Law School Admission Council President Dan Bernstine died late last week, according to the organization, which administers the Law School Admission Test and oversees the centralized law school application process.

Newsmakers: Week of September 26

By Mary Alice Robbins |

Newsmakers from week of the week of Sept. 26.

Man ID’d as Houston Gunman Was a ‘Good, Competent Lawyer,’ Ex-Partner Says

The former law partner of Nathan DeSai said the pair dissolved their partnership for economic reasons in February and had not spoken for months.

DLA Piper Tops Social Media Ranking

DLA Piper uses digital marketing and social media more effectively than any of its Big Law counterparts, according to results of The Social Law Firm Index 2016 prepared by Good2bSocial, a digital marketing agency in New York that does work for lawyers and firms.


Rangers Expand Management Team by Signing GC

By Kristen Rasmussen |

Katherine "Katie" Pothier is stepping up to the plate today as executive vice president and general counsel of Major League Baseball's Texas Rangers.

Houston Shooter, a Lawyer, Was Wearing Uniform With Nazi Symbol

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

At a press conference Monday afternoon, Houston police officials said a man who shot nine people earlier in the day, identified by media outlets and the Houston mayor as lawyer Nathan DeSai, was wearing a vintage uniform with a Nazi symbol on it.

Three Firms on $1.3B Shale Asset Deal

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Jones Day represents DTE Energy in its planned buy of midstream natural gas assets from M3 Midstream and Vega Energy Partners, both of Houston.

Defense Counsel's Alleged Lip-Syncing Should Be Sanctioned, Plaintiffs' Lawyer Says

By Miriam Rozen |

At a civil deposition, two Dallas defense lawyers—Gregory Shamoun and Stephen Khoury—engaged in "outrageous, shocking and offensive behavior," according to a plaintiffs motion seeking sanctions. Their alleged tactics included objecting more than 500 times during the seven-hour session and, in Shamoun's case, making attempts to direct the witness by mouthing words to him, the plaintiffs motion filed Sept. 23 alleges.

Travis County District Judge Julie Kocurek greets APD Chief Art Acevedo during a welcome back party held for her after her attempted assassination.

Three Indicted for Racketeering, Fraud in Connection With Attempted Murder of Judge Kocurek

By Angela Morris |

Federal officials announced today that three men were indicted for roles in fraud and racketeering schemes that involved the attempted capital murder of 390th District Judge Julie Kocurek of Austin. But the 11-count indictment doesn't include the charge of attempted capital murder.

Trump Avoids Big Law Again in New List of Possible SCOTUS Picks

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is expected to announce on Friday a second list of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees he would consider as president, underscoring his argument that the future of the high court is a prime reason for voters to elect him.

Dallas Judge Sends Exxon and Mass AG to Mediation

By Miriam Rozen |

U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade ordered Exxon Mobil Corp. and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey to mediate within the next 16 days their dispute that brought them into his Dallas federal courtroom earlier this month.

Overtime Pay Lawsuits Down Sharply in Energy Industry

By Miriam Rozen |

The number of lawsuits nationwide filed by workers in energy industry seeking unpaid overtime pay declined sharply over the past year, with less than half as many actions being filed when compared with the previous 12 months.

‘Run Them Down’ Tweets Law Prof About Protestors

Twitter on Thursday briefly suspended the account of prominent University of Tennessee College of Law professor Glenn Reynolds over a tweet showing news photos of protestors in a Charlotte Interstate with the comment “Run them down.”

Litigation Demand Down for Law Firms Despite Steady Filings

A fresh analysis of 151 large firms finds that litigation work slowed at most of those firms in the first half of this year, continuing a fifth straight year of declines and echoing earlier bad news.

Plaintiffs Firms Pounce on Wells Fargo After Fake-Accounts Scandal

Wells Fargo has been hit with a new shareholder lawsuit accusing its board of directors and senior managers of “recklessly” allowing the creation of roughly 2 million fake customer accounts, adding to the bank’s legal woes since the government slammed it with a record fine.

Texas Asks US Supreme Court to Reinstate Voter ID Law

By John Council |

Attorney General Ken Paxton is petitioning for review of a Fifth Circuit decision that struck down the controversial measure.

FERC Issues Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Controversial $3.5B Mountain Valley Pipeline Project


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a draft environmental impact statement recently for the controversial proposed $3.5 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) for natural gas in Virginia and West Virginia, saying the project would have "limited adverse impact with the exception of impacts on forests." The project will not be officially approved until FERC issues the final approved version of the impact statement.

Judge Resigns Amid Allegations He Sexted During Judicial Conduct Commission Meeting

By John Council |

A former member of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct has voluntarily resigned from the bench in lieu of discipline after the agency investigated whether he sexted with a woman during a commission hearing.

Atlanta's Red Mass to Honor Leaders for Work for Peace and Justice

Among those to be honored at the annual interfaith event is late Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore partner Jeff Bramlett.

Pipeline under construction

Delaware Riverkeeper Asks Congress to Probe FERC

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network and 180 environmental groups are demanding Congress investigate the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for alleged abuses of power over oil and gas pipelines.

For Law Grads, Are the Big Bucks in Smallville?

Who knew that Hot Springs, Arkansas, the picturesque small town that draws thousands of visitors annually to its natural thermal springs, is the best location for new attorneys to practice?

Kirkland Launches Investment Funds Practice in Houston

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Led by a partner who moved to Houston from San Francisco, Kirkland & Ellis has started an investment fund group in Houston to capitalize on energy deal work in that market.

Wealthy Dallas Oil Heir Wins Ruling in Selective Prosecution Case

By John Council |

Although he just won a favorable ruling from Texas' highest criminal court, the legal struggles are still not over for wealthy Dallas oil heir Albert G. Hill III, who alleges he was selectively prosecuted for mortgage fraud charges as a favor to his former lawyer, Lisa Blue Baron.

Historic U.S. Courthouse, El Paso Texas.

Despite Odds, Group Pushes for Law School in El Paso

By Angela Morris |

A group of El Paso lawyers, judges and residents is pushing for a new law school in the West Texas city, but it faces tough challenges, and the project could take up to 15 years to complete—if at all.

In Texas, a Folksy Judge Enters Exxon Climate-Change Fray

U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade, although folksy in his manner, kept tight control of a hearing in his Dallas courtroom this week that pitted Exxon Mobil Corp. against Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Why Do Women Leave Firms? Because They Can

Uh-oh, it looks like your firm just wasted a ton of money recruiting those bright young women from Columbia Law School.

Sagging July Bar Exam Results in Florida and Elsewhere Defy Predictions

A forecast for better bar pass rates is turning gloomy as scores from the July exam begin to trickle in.

Nelva G. Ramos.

Federal Judge Calls for DOJ, Challengers to Eye Texas' Voter ID Education Plan

By Miriam Rozen |

A Corpus Christi federal judge ruled Sept. 20 that Texas officials must get approval from challengers to its voter identification law, including the federal government, for all its press releases, polling location posters and advertisements targeted at educating voters of court-revised identification rules.

Getting Patents Quicker Without Breaking the Bank

The PTO's extended After Final Consideration Pilot (AFCP) 2.0 program, which can speed patent prosecution, is even more helpful than it was when the authors first wrote about the initial version in 2014.

Brangelina Divorce Lawyer Seen as ‘Cool, Calm, Practical’

Laura Wasser, the lawyer representing Angelina Jolie Pitt in her divorce from Brad Pitt, is synonymous with Hollywood’s biggest celebrity breakups, with recent cases including Jennifer Garner’s divorce from Ben Affleck and Johnny Depp’s split from Amber Heard.

World’s First Publicly Listed Law Firm To Sue Over Disastrous Deal

Has there ever been a less successful law firm deal than Slater and Gordon’s acquisition of Quindell? Australian personal injury and employment claims specialist Slater paid almost a billion dollars for insurance outsourcer Quindell’s professional services division last year. The 677 million-pound ($960 million) acquisition established Slater as one of the U.K.’s largest insurance claims practices overnight.

U.S. District Judge Walter Smith.

Waco Federal Judge Walter Smith Retires Amid Sexual Harassment Scandal

By John Council |

In the midst of a sexual harassment scandal, Waco, Texas-based U.S. District Judge Walter Smith stepped down from the bench this week. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is still weighing potential harsher punishment for the judge's misconduct.

Law Schools Cut Tuition to Entice Applicants

Amid declining enrollment in J.D. programs nationwide, two law schools have unveiled tuition decreases for the upcoming school year.

K&L Gates Picks Leadership Pair to Take Reins from Kalis

K&L Gates has selected two lawyers to succeed chair and global managing partner Peter Kalis, who is stepping down early next year after two decades as leader, the firm announced Monday.

In Legal Malpractice Case, Dallas Appellate Lawyer Gives Client Shot at Exemplary Damages

By John Council |

Michael Jung of Strasburger & Price guided a commerical real estate client toward a chance at securing exemplary damages in a legal malpractice case.

Paxton Leads Suit Aimed at Foiling White House Overtime Regulation

By Miriam Rozen |

In another legal challenge to Obama administration policies, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, along with 20 other states' AGs, filed a lawsuit in a Sherman, Texas, federal court, alleging that a new federal regulation that doubles the salary threshold for overtime pay is unconstitutional.

Longview Lawyer Will be Remembered in Iconic 'Kissing Sailor' Photo

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Howard P. Coghlan of Longview, who died Sept. 15 at age 89, had a long career as an oil and gas attorney in Texas, and he appears in the famous 1945 "Kissing Sailor" photograph.

In-House Lawyer's DQ in Patent Case Offers Lessons for Legal Depts

Schlumberger Ltd. recently notched a victory against a patent licensing company that poached one of its top in-house IP lawyers. Ethics experts say the ruling offers lessons to in-house lawyers considering a career move, including the importance of setting up ethical screens.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Pillsbury Picks Up McKool Smith Bankruptcy Lawyer

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Hugh M. Ray III joins Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in Houston, coming from McKool Smith.

Google, Phone Companies Escape Patent Infringement Suit

A Delaware federal judge has tossed three related suits accusing Google Inc., Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility and BlackBerry Corp. of infringing a patent for location-tracking technology used on popular smartphone apps.

In Era of Reform, a Patent Pioneer Slips Out of Step

When the American Intellectual Property Lawyers Association honored Federal Circuit Judge Pauline Newman a few years ago, her longtime colleague Richard Linn described her as “a living legend.”

What Happens if a Self-Driving Uber Is in a Crash?

Uber patrons in Pittsburgh can now dial up an autonomous vehicle, climb inside and watch the steering wheel spin, untouched by human hands, as they scoot through downtown. But the sudden arrival of driverless technology ready for public use has regulators and attorneys still waiting for answers to some important questions, including how liability would be handled in the case of an accident.

Documents Too Voluminous for Pre-Review Confidentiality Stamps, Proskauer and Stanford Receiver Agree

By Miriam Rozen |

In a lawsuit against New York's Proskauer Rose, stemming from disgraced financier R. Allen Stanford's $7 billion Ponzi scheme, all the litigants jointly asked on Sept. 16 a presiding Dallas federal judge for a rare exception to his usual rules about protective orders.

Godwin Bowman Closing Houston Office

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

With managing shareholder and chief operating officer Alan York leaving Godwin Bowman & Martinez, the firm is closing its Houston office.

State Farm corporate headquarters campus in Bloomington, Ill.

State Farm Must Face $7B RICO Class Action, Judge Rules

A federal judge in Illinois has certified a class of nearly 5 million policyholders in a case alleging that the insurance giant used campaign contributions to influence the state's Supreme Court.

Patent Lawyers Launch PTAB Bar Association

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board has transformed the practice of patent litigation. As of today, it officially has its own bar association.

Got (Breast) Milk? Latham Will Ship It

It’s hard enough pumping breast milk multiple times per day for working lawyer-moms, without the stress of figuring out how to ship milk home when traveling for work.

As Litigation Rises, A Glimpse of What Keeps Corporate Counsel Up at Night

Businesses are experiencing a rise in litigation and the main areas of concern for legal departments are contract disputes, labor and employment claims and regulatory investigations, according a recent survey of in-house lawyers and executives of more than 600 companies.

Law Profs See Michigan Case as Potential ‘Brown v. Board'

Literacy rates south of 10 percent. A dearth of textbooks and other key educational materials. Overcrowded classrooms and unsafe and unsanitary school conditions. That’s just a sampling of the jarring allegations in a 136-page class action filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on behalf of students in five struggling, overwhelmingly minority Detroit schools.

At a Glance: Where the Judicial Vacancies Are

There are currently 96 federal judicial vacancies, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Planned retirements will open another seven seats by Jan. 1, including two on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Clinton v. Trump: Close-Up on the Courts

Be it Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, the candidate elected president in November will put an enduring stamp on the federal courts. Read our complete coverage.

Left to right: David Oliver and Paul Kerlin Greenberg Traurig

Two Litigators Leave Vorys for Greenberg Traurig in Houston

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

David Oliver and Paul Kerlin leave the Houston office of Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease to join Greenberg Traurig in Houston.

BNSF General Counsel Leaves for Thompson & Knight

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Charles Shewmake leaves BNSF Railway Corp. to join Thompson & Knight as a partner in Dallas.

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

Department of Labor's 'Persuader Rule' Goes to Court in Three States

By Miriam Rozen |

Business advocates who criticize the DOL's proposed "persuader rule" as trampling attorney-client protections won a nationwide preliminary injunction in June halting implementation of the regulation. But neither side has called the fight over yet as cases are pending in Texas, Arkansas and Minnesota.

Sandra Bland

Sandra Bland Family's Settlement Calls for Statewide Campaign for Cell Sensors

By Miriam Rozen |

Texas jails might become safer places for inmates as part of Sandra Bland's legacy and as a conclusion to her family's lawsuit.

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

Mikal Watts, Firm Nonsuited in Barratry Suit

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The plaintiffs who seek millions in penalties for civil barratry in a Houston suit have nonsuited Mikal Watts and his firm because of a similar suit pending in San Antonio.

Stephen Susman, partner at Susman Godfrey (Photo by C2 Photography).

Susman Godfrey Boosts Bonuses for Ex-Federal Clerks

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The firm announced Wednesday that it's sweetening its bonuses for incoming associates, with new lawyers eligible to get as much as $100,000 if they've clerked for more than one judge.

Federal Circuit Loosens Up on Patent Eligibility

For the fourth time in four months, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has reversed a trial court decision that found a patent ineligible for protection under Section 101 of the Patent Act.

Houston Lawyer Wins $1.5M Verdict from Ex-Firm in Fight Over BP Cases

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Harris County jury found Chandler, Mathis & Zivley breached agreements with lawyer Joby Hughes related to Gulf oil spill litigation.

Uber, NLRB Clash Over ‘Nationwide’ Subpoenas Targeting Labor Policies

Uber Technologies Inc. is urging a California judge to reject National Labor Relations Board subpoenas that seek nationwide information about the ride-sharing company’s relationships with its drivers.

Students taking a simulated multi-state bar examination in 2014 at the Jacob J. Javits Convention Center in New York City.

Task Force Assigned to Study all Aspects of the Texas Bar Exam

By Angela Morris |

Fed up by years of declining bar exam passage rates—and looking for explanations—the deans of Texas's 10 law schools have convinced the state's highest court to hold a magnifying glass to the rigorous exam.

Ken Paxton.

Texas, Massachusetts AGs Face Off in Climate Change Legal Battle

By Miriam Rozen |

A Dallas federal judge set for Sept. 19 a hearing when he will consider a preliminary injunction sought by Exxon Mobil Corp. to halt Massachusetts Attorney General's investigation into allegations it misled consumers about climate change. In advance of hearing, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office led a 10-state coalition, which filed a friend of court brief supporting the oil company's strategy and proposed preliminary injunction.

Federal Circuit Slams Acacia for Fostering Attorney Conflict

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has upheld a sweeping disqualification order caused by an in-house IP lawyer’s decision to join Acacia Research Corp. and then participate in a patent suit against her former employer.

Latham, Wachtell Handle $2B Gulf Asset Purchase

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Latham & Watkins represents Anadarko Petroleum Corp. of The Woodlands in its pending $2 billion purchase of deepwater Gulf of Mexico assets from Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas.

Lawyers Launch Insurance Policy for Contingency Cases

When Justin Leto was a young plaintiffs attorney, another lawyer in his building asked how he dealt with the financial risk of pursuing litigation. Could his firm somehow insure legal costs in case the jury returned a defense verdict?

Kirkland Acquires DC-Based Boutique Bancroft

Paul Clement, a former U.S. Solicitor General who left King & Spalding in 2011 to join Washington, D.C.-based appellate litigation boutique Bancroft, is moving to Kirkland & Ellis.

With Court in Recess, SCOTUS Justices Make Headlines Off the Bench

Before they hunker down for the fall term in September, justices of the U.S. Supreme Court often fan out in September to speak to incoming law school audiences and other venues.

Sept. 11, Still As Clear As 15 Years Ago

The word “memories” doesn’t seem to apply to 9/11. Fifteen years now have passed, but survivors and witness recall with perfect clarity the “beautiful” September morning interrupted by so much violence. Recollections are still so raw, fresh despite the passing years.

The O'Quinn Law Library entrance at the University of Houston Law Center.

Courtroom Fight Over Law School Name Affects Trademark Request

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

With the University of Houston and Houston College of Law in a lawsuit over one of the law school's new name, the USPTO has suspended Houston College of Law's trademark application for a logo.

David Prichard, a partner in San Antonio’s Prichard Hawkins McFarland & Young.

Why Texas Has a Serious Judicial Vacancy Problem

By John Council |

With the highest number of open federal judge seats and a mounting case load, Texas has a significant judicial vacancy issue. What's behind it, and how might things change when the next president takes office after the November election?


Fifth Circuit Upholds Lethal Injection for Texas Death Row Inmates

By John Council |

Refusing to stay the execution of five death row inmates in Texas, a federal appeals court found that the state's use of lethal injection doesn't constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

Texas Lawyer Announces Its 2016 Litigation Departments of the Year

By Heather D. Nevitt |

Firms from across the state will be honored for the great work their litigation departments did this past year.

Houston Attorney Wins Ruling Striking Down Texas Ban on Political Advertising

By John Council |

Houston's Meredith Parenti recently secured a ruling that that would make it easier for politicians to post billboard advertising along Texas' highways.

U.S. Judge to Eye Sanctions for Alleged 'Trolling' in Case Where Plaintiff No Longer Owned Patent

By Miriam Rozen |

In a patent lawsuit, a Tyler, Texas, federal judge scheduled for next month a hearing to determine whether lawyers from Dallas' Buether Joe & Carpenter and their patent infringement plaintiff corporate client, Marshall, Texas-based Wireless Remote Systems, should be sanctioned for filing an infringement claim, given that the company no longer owns the disputed patents.

How Fantasy Sports’ Bet on State Strategy is Paying Off

Somewhere in New York today, a football fan will make his final picks on a roster of professional players, hoping the selections and the results from this weekend’s National Football League opening games will deliver a payout from DraftKings, FanDuel or one of a myriad of other daily fantasy sports sites.

Why This Federal Judge Just Told Plaintiffs Lawyers ‘Enough is Enough’

A federal judge in Georgia livid over lawsuits he views as meritless has threatened to sanction plaintiffs attorneys if they continue to pursue cases that “probably should never have been brought in the first place.”

Success in First-Year Civil Procedure Course Points to Bar Passage

Want to pass the bar exam on the first try? Pay extra attention in civil procedure and legal research and writing, and serve on a law journal or participate in moot court if possible.

Newsmakers: Week of Sept. 12


Newsmakers for the week of Sept. 12.

Noted Dallas Lawyer Henry Gilchrist Retiring at 91

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Henry Gilchrist, who has practiced at Hunton & Williams in Dallas since 2007, represented the Clint Murchison family and the Dallas Cowboys.

Brad Edwards

Negligent Security Suit Filed in Home Invasion Slaying of Halliburton Heir

The victim's widower is suing security companies at a Davie gated community in the home invasion slaying of a Halliburton heir. The suspect made a daring courtroom escape weeks earlier.

Nonprofit Law Firms Benefit Disenchanted Attorneys, ‘In-Between’ Clients

Lee DiFilippo earned hefty paychecks for 13 years as a corporate transactional attorney in Big Law and later as in-house counsel to a couple of corporations.

Janitor Company Scores $5.3M Verdict Against Union

By Miriam Rozen |

Four months before it won a $5.3 million jury verdict against a union that allegedly disparaged it, Professional Janitorial Service of Houston hired a new team of litigators, led by John Zavitsanos of Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing in Houston, to try the case.

U.S. District Judge Nelva G. Ramos

Texas State Officials Narrowing Voters Opportunities to Cast Regular Ballots, DOJ Says

By Miriam Rozen |

U.S. Department of Justice lawyers filed a motion this week alleging that, in court-ordered educational voter educational materials, Texas state officials have recast language to communicate a narrowing of opportunities for voters to cast regular ballots.

Direct Energy Taps Former BG Lawyer as General Counsel

By Kristen Rasmussen |

Houston-based Direct Energy announced on Tuesday the appointment of Thomas Smith as executive vice president and general counsel. He will oversee all aspects of the company's legal operations in North America.

Mikal Watts, partner at Watts Guerra poses Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at his office in San Antonio. Photographed for Texas Lawyer Magazine. Photo©Mark Sobhani Photography

Texas Lawyers Face Fresh Accusations Over BP Spill Suits

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Less than a month after he was acquitted of criminal charges related to BP oil spill litigation, a group of oil spill claimants seek civil barratry penalties from San Antonio lawyer Mikal Watts, his firm and others.

Self-Help ‘Guru’ Takes Expensive Hit in Patent Suit

Keith Raniere is said to hold a lot of sway over the people who are drawn to his professional success training programs, be they girlfriends, wealthy heiresses or business associates.

silhouette of working oil pumps on sunset background

Houston Driller EOG Turns to Akin Gump for $2.5B Oil Deal

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Thompson & Knight represents target Yates Petroleum on the deal, which expands EOG's presence in New Mexico and beyond.

'Made-for-Litigation' Science Scuttles Two Talc Trials Under NJ Judge's Ruling

A New Jersey trial court judge has struck two upcoming trials over talcum powder’s link to ovarian cancer after concluding that two plaintiffs’ experts had “made-for-litigation” scientific methods.

GM Settles Last Two Bellwether Cases Over Alleged Faulty Ignition Switch

General Motors Corp. has settled the last two bellwether cases scheduled for later this year over alleged faulty ignition switches following a number of successful outcomes before juries.

How to Help Mitigate That 'I'm Done Practicing Law' Feeling


Some simply want out of law practice, some want a simpler, less stressful type of practice, and others want out of leadership or group/firm practice. It is a menacing moment to understand that a life time of effort has now come into question and in order to honor one's deepest needs, it might be time to step away.

John Cornyn.

Senate Judiciary Gives Obama His Last Chance at Seating Five Judges in Texas

By John Council |

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing Wednesday for five nominees for federal judge slots in Texas.

Peter Kalis to Transition Out of Role as K&L Gates Chairman

Peter Kalis will not seek re-election to the top post at the firm he has steered for 19 years, K&L Gates announced Tuesday.

Texas Lawyer Announces its 2016 Legal Departments of the Year

By Heather D. Nevitt |

Texas Lawyer's editorial department is pleased to announce the winners of our 2016 Legal Departments of the Year awards.

Houston Lawyer Resigns as Trump Adviser Over Immigration Stance

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Immigration lawyer Jacob Monty said he can no longer support the candidate after he 'demonized immigrants.'

Melania Trump Libel Suit Seen as Warning Shot

Apologizing won’t get you anywhere with Melania Trump. At least that’s how it looks in the wake of a fresh libel lawsuit against the UK’s Daily Mail and a Maryland blogger over articles referencing rumors that Republican presidential candidate’s wife was a sex worker in the 1990s.

Five Firms Land Roles as Spectra and Enbridge Ink $28B Megadeal

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Wachtell, Skadden, and Sullivan & Cromwell are among the firms advising on the merger, which will create one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in North America.

Susan Hawk, newly elected Dallas DA

Dallas DA Susan Hawk Resigns After Struggle With Mental Illness

By John Council |

After surviving an attempt to remove legally her from office for alleged incompetence and coming public about her struggles with mental illness, Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk announced her resignation from office.

Regulators Boost Scrutiny of Bank Loans to Oil and Gas Companies

By Angela Neville |

In the wake of the U.S. mortgage industry meltdown that peaked in 2008, key federal agencies are now focused on avoiding a similar fiasco in the energy sector. Several agencies, including the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency are increasingly taking a stricter approach to rating the risk level of banks' loans to exploration and production companies.

Intel, CNN Win Waivers to FAA’s New Drone Regulations

Dozens of companies, public institutions and individuals this week were granted waivers to the Federal Aviation Administration’s new drones regulations.

Surprisingly, Bar Exam Multiple-Choice Scores Improved in July

In an unexpected turn, law graduates’ performance on the multiple-choice portion of July’s bar exam rose slightly, indicating a reversal from the steep two-year slide in test scores overall.

In $100M Suit, Partner Alleges ‘All-Male Dictatorship’ at Chadbourne

A female litigation partner from Chadbourne & Parke has filed a $100 million class action complaint alleging that the firm is run by an “all-male dictatorship” that pays women partners less and provides them fewer leadership opportunities than men.

Mayer Brown Expands Mexico City Office

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Mayer Brown hires Ariel Ramos for the firm's Mexico City office, along with two associates.

Haynes and Boone Closes Merger, Opens London Office

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Dallas-based Haynes and Boone merged today with Curtis Davis Garrard of London, giving the firm a London office and 20 lawyers.

Jeep Wrangler. Web Photo

Bid for Spoliation Sanction Against Plaintiff Rejected in Case Over Jeep Defect

By Miriam Rozen |

In products liability litigation, an East Texas federal judge denied a motion for sanctions for alleged spoliation sought by Chrysler Group against the widow of a man who died while driving a Jeep Wrangler.

DOJ Lawyers' Sanctions Again Deferred in Immigration Case

By Miriam Rozen |

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas, once again postponed any sanctions of U.S. Department of Justice lawyers.

Fifth Circuit Judge Thomas Reavley.

Meet One of the Oldest Federal Judges in the U.S. and He's Married to the 5th Circuit

By John Council |

Tom Reavley, one of the oldest federal judges in the U.S. who still hears cases, speaks about his job, his early stand against racial injustice and what it's like being the only circuit judge in the country who's married to a colleague.

September Newsmakers

Moves and promotions in Dallas, Houston, Austin and beyond.

Edward Vishnevetsky

September Inadmissible: Remembering Edward Vishnevetsky

Edward Vishnevetsky, a 34-year-old of counsel in K&L Gates' Dallas office, died in June on a trip in Costa Rica.

Tips for Meeting Your Mobile Device Ethical Obligations

By Trey Peacock |

With the controversy over various security aspects of phones and tablets, what are practicing lawyers' ethical obligations, and are we doing enough to protect our client(s)' confidences?

Privacy No Match for Robots of the Future

By Steve Thomas |

Governments want to be the fly on the wall, and technology is helping make it happen.

State Court Class Action Defendants to Face New Strategic Decisions

By Angela Zambrano and Robert Velevis |

The U.S. Supreme Court's recent Spokeo v. Robins decision has been heralded by the Texas business community as an important limitation on class action liability. The decision, however, has triggered concerns in at least some states that it might have the unintended consequence of creating more class action litigation in state court forums that are viewed by some defendants as less favorable.

Verdicts and Settlements

A collection of recent verdicts and settlements.

The Importance of the Venue Clause in Contracts

By Christopher M. LaVigne and P. William "Bill" Stark |

A well-crafted venue selection clause is essential to mitigating the risks of a hostile venue.

2016 Professional Excellence Award Profiles

It's our pleasure to present the honorees of our 2016 Professional Excellence Awards, which celebrates Lifetime Achievement honorees, Lawyers on the Rise and the Attorney of the Year finalists.

The Ultimate Do-Over Divorce

By Miriam Rozen |

Drama and divorces go hand in hand, but not usually from alleged 
forum-shopping and filing successive divorces in multiple Texas jurisdictions.

Who Are the Top-Paid GCs in Texas?

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Big-company general counsel in Texas pulled in less total compensation on average in 2015 than in 2014.

Kin Gill, Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel for Bazaarvoice.

Bazaarvoice GC Gets Top Review

By Mary Alice Robbins |

When Kin Gill joined Austin-based Bazaarvoice in January 2013, he faced a baptism of fire during his early days with the company.

Kin Gill, Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel for Bazaarvoice.

Q&A With Bazaarvoice GC Kin Gill

By Mary Alice Robbins |

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Attempts to Protect Marine Mammals From O&G Operations' Noise

By Angela Neville |

A powerful air-gun fires underwater as part of a seismic survey to find oil reservoirs. An underwater explosive breaks down a rig that's being decommissioned. Pile-driving hammers smash into the seabed. These are the sounds of oil and gas operations in the ocean—unheard by most humans but an auditory disruption, according to environmentalists, to the marine life of the seas, including dolphins and whales.

Michael P. Maslanka.

Five Lessons to Survive in the Practice of Law


While I hope to instill a love for practicing law, I strive to caution about its dangers, seductions, and pitfalls. Want to clue into them?

District Attorney Nico LaHood in

DA Who Claims Vaccines Cause Autism Spars with Critics

By Angela Morris |

A Texas district attorney is defending himself from public backlash after he and his wife said in a video interview that vaccines caused their son's autism.


Firms Trade Blows for Feuding Asset Managers

By Miriam Rozen |

In a legal battle that pits Baker Botts against Jackson Walker, pretrial procedural and discovery battles have been testy.

(l-r) Jeff Dodd, Bob Jewell, and Edward Colbert.

Kenyon Deal Gives Andrews Kurth IP Credibility, NYC Mass

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

One advantage of the pending move of 55 intellectual property lawyers to Andrews Kurth from Kenyon & Kenyon is how Andrews Kurth will grow in New York.

Wave of ERISA Suits Puts Colleges in Crosshairs

The plaintiffs law firm that’s been Enemy No. 1 to Corporate America when it comes to litigation over retirement plans has a new target—the country’s largest universities.

Roger Ailes, former Fox CEO (Fred Prouser/REUTERS/Newscom).

Paul Weiss Investigates Fox News, Skeptics Abound

Even though Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison lawyers have yet to finish their task, no shortage of skeptics, critics and second-guessers trail a legal team led by Michele Hirshman, a partner in the New York firm tapped by Fox News’ parent company to investigate alleged pervasive sexual harassment of women at the network.

Firm Takes Its Cue From Speed Dating

If you’ve been in the throes of on-campus interviews, you’re probably sick of the game by now. Although those sessions usually last no more than 20 or 25 minutes, they often feel like slow torture.

Judge Tosses Pet-Sitting Company's Lawsuit Over Critical Yelp Reviews

By Miriam Rozen |

A Dallas judge tossed a breach-of-contract suit filed against dog and fish owners by a pet-sitting company. The company and its owner had alleged in a lawsuit that a review critical of the pet-sitting company had violated a nondisparagement clause of a contract.

ABA, Please Give UNT Dallas College of Law a Chance, Bar President Writes

By Jerry C. Alexander and Emmanuel Obi |

Two Texas Lawyers Sued in Civil Action for Barratry in BP Oil-Spill Claims

In the wake of Mikal Watts’ acquittal earlier this month, civil suits filed over the alleged fraudulent oil-spill claims at the center of the criminal case are moving forward, with new allegations of barratry in an action against two other Texas lawyers.

(l-r) Jeff Dodd, Bob Jewell, and Edward Colbert.

Andrews Kurth to Hire All 55 Kenyon & Kenyon Lawyers

Andrews Kurth, the 354-lawyer Houston-based firm, will boost its intellectual property and technology strength by adding 55 lawyers in September who come from Kenyon & Kenyon, an IP boutique in New York.

Baylor University Law School in Waco Texas.

Baylor Law School Joins Incubator Trend

By Angela Morris |

Young lawyers have a new compass to map their way into solo practices while opening up access to justice on the way.

UNT Dallas College of Law

UNT Law is Important, University of Richmond Chair Writes

By David G. Epstein |

The continued existence of the University of North Texas School of Law (UNT Law) is important to the people of the State of Texas and to legal education. It is a special place that is boldly attempting to meet a pressing need.

Michael Peticolas founder of Peticolas Brewing Co.

Dallas Attorney-Brewer Overturns Texas Beer Law

By John Council |

A Texas judge has ruled that craft brewers in the state should be able to sell their distribution rights, thanks in part to a Dallas brewer who turned to the trade full time after years as a lawyer.

Illustration by John Corbitt

Ranking: Top Firms for Midlevel Associate Satisfaction

To find out how third-, fourth- and fifth-year asso
ciates rate their firms as workplaces, our survey examined several aspects of job satisfaction.

Richard G. Wilson of Kerr Wilson

Houston Lawyer Wins Summary Judgment in Suit Filed by Former Client

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Houston lawyer Diane M. St. Yves and her firm secured a take-nothing summary judgment in a suit fiiled by a former client seeking up to $1 million from St. Yves and Houston lawyer Yexenia Gilmet.

The O'Quinn Law Library entrance at the University of Houston Law Center.

Texas Law Schools Battle in Court Over Name Change

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A federal judge in Houston heard four hours of evidence and argument at a hearing on the University of Houston's request for a preliminary injunction to stop another Houston law school from changing its name to Houston College of Law.

Sources: Andrews Kurth, Kenyon & Kenyon Vote to Merge, But Not a Done Deal

By Christine Simmons and Katelyn Polantz |

The two firms, which have reportedly been discussing a merger, are now sharing office space in at least one city. Two sources say the firms have agreed to combine operations.

Tips From the Top: How to Succeed in Law School Because It Will Be Trying

Let’s be honest. Law school, for most of us, is hard. The competition is intense, there’s a ton of reading and grades usually boil down to the all-important final exam. As thousands of would-be lawyers arrive on campus this month, we asked some big-name attorneys for their best advice for law students.

Bias Interrupters: Confusing Name. Important Mission.

By Kathleen J. Wu |

Having been awoken to unconscious bias a few years ago, I now can't help seeing it everywhere—in the workplace, in the presidential election and, most recently, during the Olympics.

Nelva G. Ramos, during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Texas. April 13, 2011. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Federal Judge in Voter ID Case Unwilling to Wait

By Miriam Rozen |

Over the state's objections, Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi is moving forward with proceedings to determine whether Texas lawmakers had discriminatory intent when they passed the controversial statue.

Joseph Alexander.

Houston Trial Lawyer Opens Firm to Practice With Son

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Joseph Alexander Jr. opens The Alexander Firm in Houston so it's up and running by the time his son graduates from law school in 2017.

In Quoting Profanity, Some Judges Give a F#%&. Others Don’t

In 2001, a panel of appeals judges in Philadelphia considered if a lawyer who told her opponent, “Go fuck yourself,” should face sanctions. As the opinion took shape, the judges paused: Should they quote the full obscenity?

Texas State Capitol

Sunset Commission Rejects Proposal to Repeal Rules Referenda

By Angela Morris |

A group of Texas lawmakers rejected a proposal this week—unpopular among some lawyers—for the 2017 Texas Legislature to repeal the rules referendum process that allows Texas attorneys to vote on changes to attorney disciplinary rules.

That’s a Rap: Hip-Hop Artist Now First-Year Law Student at USC

Roosh Williams has spent the past five years climbing the ranks of Houston’s rap scene, but the artist known for his lightning-fast rhymes is dropping the mic and picking up casebooks.

Post-Oil Spill Breach of Contract Dispute Leads to $36M Judgment

By Miriam Rozen |

Locke Lord team won for Spitzer Industries a $35.9 million judgment, including $3.5 million in attorney fees just for its firm, and $688,000 for contract attorneys.

Texas Capitol

Texas Firms Not Seeing the Benefits of Subsidiary Boutique Model

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A St. Louis firm set up a subsidiary firm to do fixed-fee estate planning work, but the unusual concept is not on the table at a number of Texas firms.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Amos Mazzant of Sherman.

Texas Federal Judge Triples Patent Award Against Samsung to $21 Million

By John Council |

Becoming one of the first in the nation to do so under recently-set U.S. Supreme Court precedent, a Texas federal judge tripled patent infringement damages against Samsung in a case brought by Imperium IP Holdings.

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.

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.


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.

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.

Newsmakers: Week of Aug. 17


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.