Tex Parte Blog

Bar Exam Agency to Begin Online Transactions

By Angela Morris |

Soon law graduates who are signing up to take the Texas bar exam will be able to fill out applications and pay exam fees electronically.

Supreme Court Won't Hear Appeals From BP, Anadarko Over Oil Spill Fines

By Angela Neville |

On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the appeals of BP and Anadarko Petroleum over potential federal fines for their role in the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Ken Paxton

Emails Between Texas Clerks Reveal Frustration With Texas Leaders

By Mark Bauer |

The emails, obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in an information request, indicate that the Texas clerks feel a little hung out to dry regarding those who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Ken Broughton

Reed Smith Picks Managing Partner for Houston Office

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Kenneth Broughton, who helped launch the office in 2013, is now managing partner in Houston.

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia of the Western District of Texas

Judge Lifts Stay on Earlier Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

By Angela Morris |

A U.S. district judge lifted a stay on a previous order that barred the Texas government from enforcing its same-sex marriage ban, related provisions in the Texas Family Code and any other law that prohibited same-sex marriages.

Mitchell Katine in front of the U.S. Supreme Court

Lawyer Who Helped Convince SCOTUS to Strike Down Texas Sodomy Law Reacts to Ruling

By John Council |

"Is that a coincidence or what?" said Katine, of Katine & Nechman, who celebrated "Obergefell" in his office with his partner and his two 13-year-old children. "They really quote extensively from the 'Lawrence v. Texas' case," Katine said of the majority opinion in "Obergefell": "It makes me feel really good that we had a hand in getting it to this point."

Gray Reed’s Jack Emmott Honored by State Bar of Texas and the Houston Bar Association

Jack Emmott Honored for Collaborative Law Work

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Gray Reed & McGraw member in Houston gets awards from Houston Volunteer Lawyers and the Collaborative Law Committee of the State Bar of Texas.

William Brewer III

Bickel & Brewer Has New Name, Location

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

More than a year after founding partner John Bickel left Bickel & Brewer, the firm changes its name.

Josh Tucker

Pro Bono Lawyer Scores Robot Controller Patent

By Angela Morris |

Controlling your robots is now cheaper because of an invention by a group of teenagers, who recently won a patent thanks to the work of a pro bono lawyer.

Perry's Campaign Taps Former FEC Chairman as Counsel

By Miriam Rozen |

Don McGahn, a partner in the D.C. office of Jones Day, served previously as chairman and as a commissioner at the Federal Election Commission, where he led what his firm's website bio characterizes as a "revolution" in campaign finance.

Michelle May O'Neil

Family Law Attorney Leaves Godwin Lewis to Open New Firm

By John Council |

"My clients were not super happy with me being at a big firm. And I was having trouble getting my clients to come into a big firm,'' said Michelle May O'Neil.

New O&G Monopoly Game Fuels Strong Interest Among Students

By Angela Neville |

The Asa Low Intermediate School in Mansfield, Texas, will hold its first- ever oil and gas Monopoly game tournament on May 30. The school anticipates that around 60 students will participate in the event. The tournament will feature students playing the customized oil and gas version of Monopoly created by the industry publication Offshore Engineer in celebration of its 40th anniversary. The limited-edition release of the game takes the traditional destinations and game pieces and replaces them with items specific to the oil and gas industry.

Patent Troll Bill Heads to Governor's Desk

By Angela Morris |

There's only one hurdle left for a bill that would authorize the Texas attorney general to sue so-called patent trolls that send demand letters in bad faith about patent infringement.

Innocence Project of Texas Chief Counsel Resigns, Unhappy with NY Branch

By John Council |

Amarillo criminal defense lawyer Jeff Blackburn has a certain flair for the dramatic, as is demonstrated in his recent resignation letter as chief counsel of the Innocence Project of Texas.

Firearms Lawyers to Educate on Open Carry

By Angela Morris |

As business lawyers prepare to counsel companies on new policies and procedures under a bill to legalize people to carry holstered handguns openly, another company plans to educate gun owners about the change.

Richard Burton's new book:

Employees Gone Wild: Sex, Drugs and Crime

By John Council |

"Literally having sex in front of co-workers," Richard Burton said of one of the employee stories he tells in a new book. "Some are less shocking, like embezzlement."

Lawyers Speak at All Nine Texas Law School Graduations

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Judges, a general counsel, professors and a government official will speak to Texas law school graduates.

Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, vice chairman, Senate State Affairs Committee

Bill Eases Burden for Post-Conviction DNA Testing

By Angela Morris |

A bill that would make it easier for convicts to win appeals for post-conviction DNA testing has landed on Gov. Greg Abbott's desk.

Clockwise from top left: Jonathan Bridges, Michael Maslanka, Brian Owsley, Reynaldo Valencia

UNT Dallas College of Law Hires Four New Faculty Members

By Miriam Rozen |

New public downtown Dallas law school plans to keep hiring more faculty next year.

Bill Proposes More Training for Guardianship Lawyers

By Angela Morris |

Lawyers who hope to become certified to be guardians for elderly or disabled people would have to take an extra hour of continuing legal education if a bill that the House and Senate have passed becomes law.

Ellen Solender

Former SMU Law Professor Donates $2M to School to Help Advance Gender Equality

By Miriam Rozen |

She earmarked the money for school to hire new law professor who conducts research through a gender lens.

Want to Be a Judge? Signatures Not Required

By Angela Morris |

Judicial candidates for statewide office and benches in highly populated counties would no longer have to gather signatures to get on the primary ballot if House Bill 3880 becomes law.

Lawyer's 'Pandering to Idiots' Letter to Abbott Goes Viral

By John Council |

Bedford solo Todd Smith, a Republican former lawmaker, got plenty of attention—CNN and The New York Times included—when he wrote Texas Gov. Greg Abbott about his decision to have the Texas State Guard monitor U.S. military training exercises.

Jerry K. Clements, chair, Locke Lord

Jerry Clements Named Baylor Lawyer of the Year

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Jerry Clements, chairwoman of Locke Lord, received the 2015 Baylor Lawyer of the Year.

Lawyer Oath Bill Headed to Governor

By Angela Morris |

A bill to require new lawyers to swear to behave with integrity and civility has sailed through the Texas Legislature and will soon land on Gov. Greg Abbott's desk.

Ken Stewart

Ken Stewart Adds Big Role at Norton Rose Fulbright

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Ken Stewart, the nonexecutive chair in the United States for Norton Rose Fulbright, will also become global chair on May 1.

Steven Selsberg

Houston Litigator Steven Selsberg Goes Solo

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Litigator Steve Selsberg, whose client list include Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu, left a big firm to open his own firm in Houston.

Bill Privileges Sermons From Discovery by Government

By Angela Morris |

It sparked a nationwide debate last fall when the city of Houston, embroiled in a lawsuit over its LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance, subpoenaed pastors for copies of their sermons. It also sparked action by the Texas Senate.

Six Texas Firms Make Am Law 100 List

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Six firms based in Houston or Dallas are among the nation's 100 highest-grossing firms.

House OKs Bill to Repeal Attorney Occupations Tax

By Angela Morris |

Lawyers would no longer have to pay the $200 annual occupations tax if lawmakers pass a bill that the Texas House recently approved.

Ken Paxton

Prosecutors in Paxton Complaint Vow Nonpartisan Approach

By Angela Morris |

A judge has appointed Houston attorneys Kent Schaffer and Brian Wice to investigate a complaint against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that alleged that he committed a felony under state securities law.

Neal S. Manne, managing partner, Susman Godfrey, Houston

Cognac, 'Relocated' Statue Boost Susman Godfrey's Associates' Morale

By Miriam Rozen |

Neal Manne, co mananging partner, responds to inquiry with droll, revealing answer.

Courtroom Named in Honor of Dallas Civil Rights Pioneer

By John Council |

And in a fitting tribute after the conclusion of lectures about Louis A. Bedford, who became Dallas' first African-American judge in 1966, the historically black college's mock courtroom was named in honor of him.

Tax Scam Hits UT Law Professors, Staff

By Angela Morris |

Tax day might be unpleasant, but it was extra bad for some professors and staff at The University of Texas School of Law.

Bar Gives $250,000 to Fund Lawyers' Treatment

By Angela Morris |

Of its $47.22 million in total spending, the State Bar of Texas's new budget sends $250,000 to a fund that provides lawyers with money for substance abuse and mental health treatment.

State Bar Deletes CLE Exemption for Elderly Lawyers

By Angela Morris |

Current state bar rules and regulations exempt attorneys over 70 from taking 15 credit hours of CLE each year. The approved change deletes those exemptions.

Hand and judicial robe photo illustration..Photo by Jason Doiy and S. Todd Rogers.8-29-13.062-2013.

Want to Be a Judge in the Western or Eastern District of Texas?

By John Council |

Senators seek to fill Plano and Midland benches.

Dallas

Orthodox Jewish Congregation Files Counter Claim Against Dallas

By Miriam Rozen |

The congregation alleges the city violated the state's religious freedom statute and wants to keep meeting in a North Dallas home.

South Texas College of Law to Open Immigration Clinic

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The Houston law school will provide general immigration work on a pro bono basis at a clinic set to open in August.

Tax Group Joins McDermott's Dallas Office

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Todd Welty and two partners move to McDermott Will & Emery from Dentons.

(Left to right) Dr. Robert Ivany, president of the University of St. Thomas, and Donald J. Guter, president and dean of South Texas College of Law/Houston.

South Texas College of Law Launches JD/MBA Program With a Houston University

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Students can earn J.D. and MBA in as few as four years through new joint degree program.

Donald J. DeGabrielle

Chaffe McCall Hires Former U.S. Attorney

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

One-time U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas joins Houston office of New Orleans firm to head government investigation and white-collar crime defense practice in Texas.

Texas Lawyer Honored for its Civil Rights Act Commemorative Issue

The issue examined those Texans who were an integral part of the act, which continues to influence Texas law and lawyers.

Bradley J. B. Toben, dean of Baylor University School of Law in Waco

Which Texas Law School Is Rated Among the Best for Practical Training?

By John Council |

This same law school, rated in a recent issue of The National Jurist magazine, is also the oldest in Texas.

Andrew Strong, partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, Houston

Lawyer Returns to Pillsbury to Build Life Sciences Practice

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Andrew Strong rejoins Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in Houston after two general counsel jobs.

Under Bill, Messing With Texas Laws Might Bring Lawsuits

By Angela Morris |

If a local government violated Senate Bill 1673's provisions and it hurt someone, he could sue, and the local government wouldn't have immunity. The plaintiff might collect damages, costs and attorney fees.

Houston attorney Annie Garcia with daughter Ariana

Lawyer Setting Up Nonprofit to Fund 3-D Heart Models

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Annie Garcia, a former corporate associate in Houston, is establishing a charity to provide 3-D models of babies' hearts to pediatric cardiac surgeons.

Bill Would Waive Tax for Pro Bono Lawyers

By Angela Morris |

Rep. Kenneth Sheets said that some of his law school classmates are now stay-at-home moms, but still represent clients pro bono. They also still have to pay an annual attorney occupations tax. House Bill 1129 would fix that.

Bill OKs Lawsuits Over Frivolous State Regulatory Actions

By Angela Morris |

Under House Bill 3662, a successful plaintiff would win damages caused by the regulatory action, plus costs and attorney fees in defending himself in the administrative proceeding and appeal.

Bill Raises E-filing Fee From $20 to $30

By Angela Morris |

The statewide e-filing fee for civil cases would cost $10 more if the legislature were to pass a recently filed bill.

Aggie Acrimony: Donors Sue Texas A&M 12th Man Foundation Over Kyle Field Seating Assignments

By Miriam Rozen |

Plaintiffs propose class action and seek temporary injunction barring any more reassigning of seats.

Bill Would Cut Copy Fees for Uncertified Copies

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The bill's author says it does not make sense to charge people a fee for a document that they can access online.

Lawmaker: Pay Student Loans or Lose Your Law License

By Angela Morris |

It seems that one lawmaker thinks that if an attorney were to default on his student loan, he should lose his license to practice law.

Bar Exam. Photo By Hewlett Askew

Lawyer Fights for Breastfeeding Accommodations for Texas Bar Exam

By Angela Morris |

Illinois lawyer and mother wants to ensure that other nursing moms get necessary accommodations throughout the bar exam.

Judge Vacates Order After Clerical Error in Nina Pham Lawsuit

By Miriam Rozen |

The judge in the case mistakenly issued an abatement order.

Should Texas Allow Online Law Degrees? Here's One State Lawmaker's Proposal

By Angela Morris |

What if you could skip those grueling law school classes, hit up the Internet for a law degree and still become a licensed lawyer in Texas?

OAG Warns of Scam Email

By Miriam Rozen |

Stumbling vocabulary should wave a red flag for Texans to not respond to fraudulent email using his name, Ken Paxton's office said.

Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Dale Wainwright, now a partner in Bracewell & Giuliani in Austin

Bracewell Picks New Head of Austin Office

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Dale Wainwright, a partner who is a former Texas Supreme Court justice, is the office's new managing partner.

Former 4th Court of Appeals Chief Justice Catherine Stone

21-Year Appellate Chief Settles Back Into Private Practice

By Angela Morris |

"They want me to head up their appellate practice, and form it in a way … we think would be most beneficial for clients and the firm," said Former Fourth Court of Appeals Chief Justice Catherine Stone.

Mars

Texas Tech Law Student Loses Bid to Colonize Mars

By Mark Bauer |

He's not going to Mars, but he's still a red raider.

Bill: Judge Education for Unaccompanied Minor Cases

By Angela Morris |

House Bill 1439 calls upon the children's commission to publish an educational guide to help judges determine jurisdiction and how to preside over cases involving children who are eligible for special immigrant juvenile status.

Agency Proposes Changes to Board Certification Requirements

By Angela Morris |

Hal Moorman, chairman of the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, said, "What we are trying to look at is: What is realistic for someone who practices in the area?"

medal

Texas Has Second-Best Legal Job Market in US

By Angela Morris |

"Booming oil production and a strong mining industry have made Texas one of the strongest economies in the nation, and that is driving legal employment," according to The National Jurist magazine.

Three judges reviewing case

Bill: AG Could Request Three-Judge Court for Suits Against State

By Angela Morris |

State lawmakers filed identical bills that would allow the Texas attorney general to request a special three-judge panel to hear litigation against the government over school finance, redistricting or other significant matters.

Hand and judicial robe photo illustration..Photo by Jason Doiy and S. Todd Rogers.8-29-13.062-2013.

Could Obama Fill All Empty Texas Benches?

By John Council |

The White House got off to a slow start in filling federal benches in the Lone Star State, but the pace has picked up during President Barack Obama's second term.

Nine Senators Want 'Civility' in Lawyer Oath

By Angela Morris |

Under SB 534, new lawyers would have to swear to "conduct oneself with integrity and civility in dealing and communicating with the court and all parties."

Six-Year Terms for District Judges?

By Angela Morris |

District judges currently serve four-year terms in office, but House Joint Resolution 81 by Rep. Richard Pena Raymond would lengthen the job to six years.

US Magistrate Makes Plaintiffs Lawyer's Last-Hour Rescheduling Expensive

By Miriam Rozen |

A federal magistrate in Dallas ordered a plaintiffs attorney, who called up only one hour in advance of a scheduled settlement conference to report her no-show status, to pay for defendants' travel expenses.

Woodie Jones, a partner in Alexander Dubose Jones & Townsend in Austin

Woodie Jones Back at Firm He Founded in 2003

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Woodie Jones, former chief justice of the Third Court of Appeals in Austin, has returned to Alexander Dubose Jefferson & Townsend.

Bill Would Limit Health Care Liability Claims

By Angela Morris |

House Bill 956 addresses a 2012 Texas Supreme Court case that ruled that a claimant doesn't have to be a patient in order to bring a health care liability claim.

David J. Beck of Beck Redden & Secrest

Governor Appoints David Beck as UT System Regent

By Angela Morris |

David Beck, partner in Beck Redden, has roots in the University of Texas School of Law. He earned his law degree there in 1965, and he has stayed in touch during his legal career.

sale

Fifth Circuit: Bump the Competition

By Miriam Rozen |

Ruling says slogan is not antitrust.

keyboard

Online Outage for Fifth Circuit Gets the Tardy a 'Pass'

By Miriam Rozen |

The appeals court system was down from 5 p.m. until this morning.

Uninsured? No Exemplary Damages for You!

By Angela Morris |

House Bill 820 would prevent an uninsured driver who had been in a car accident from recovering exemplary and noneconomic damages in a lawsuit for bodily injury, death or property damage.

Lawmakers Hold Strings on Public Integrity Unit Funding

By Angela Morris |

The Texas House recently released a preliminary budget that would restore some of the public integrity unit's funding, contingent on the Legislature enacting reforms.

Thompson & Knight Adds Lawyer in Mexico City

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Luis Gomar moves to Thompson & Knight from Strasburger & Price.

Mike Daniel and Laura Beshara, partners, Daniel & Beshara, Dallas

Housing Civil Rights Case Takes Lawyer to SCOTUS With DOJ Assist

By Miriam Rozen |

It's always nice to get a lift from the U.S. Department of Justice on your way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Chess Board Set for 2015 State Bar Election

By Angela Morris |

It's official: Texas lawyers Randy Howry and Frank Stevenson will face off this spring, vying to become the next president-elect of the State Bar of Texas.

Lawyer Ad Review Fee Increasing in June

By Angela Morris |

The State Bar of Texas Advertising Review Committee proposed the increase, which bumps the lawyer advertising review fee from $75 to $100.

gavel

Judicial Mumbling Prompts Seating Request at 5th

By Miriam Rozen |

Akin Gump partner seeks to stay close to Judge Higginbotham so he hears what he says.

Committee Sidesteps Full Criminal Procedure Revisions

By Angela Morris |

"The most practical and helpful recommendation may simply be that more focused efforts are needed in the future," according to the Texas House Select Committee on Criminal Procedure Reform.

Hand and judicial robe photo illustration..Photo by Jason Doiy and S. Todd Rogers.8-29-13.062-2013.

House Committee: Appellate Judges Should Serve Longer Terms

By Angela Morris |

A House committee recommended that appellate jurists should serve eight years rather than six, but did not recommend any judicial-selection changes, despite judicial leaders' desire for major reforms.

Nico LaHood, the newly elected Bexar County DA

New DA Looking to Hire 13 Prosecutors

By Angela Morris |

"They will be supervisory attorney positions, to primarily work with some of our younger misdemeanor prosecutors," said Woodrow Halstead, first assistant for new Bexar County Criminal District Attorney Nico LaHood.

Former V&E Managing Partner Joins Greenhill & Co. in Houston

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Joseph Dilg, who practiced at Vinson & Elkins of Houston for 38 years, joins Greenhill & Co. in Houston.

Texas Tech Law Students Learn From the Lege

By Angela Morris |

A group of law students from Lubbock are among the Texans who are watching and waiting as the big pink building in Austin comes to life again for the 2015 legislative session.

New Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, right, takes the oath of office on Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, from his predecessor, new Gov.-elect Greg Abbott. Pictured with Paxton is his wife, Angela.

Paxton Takes Over as Texas Attorney General

By Angela Morris |

After becoming Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton noted that he has "big shoes to fill," and raised his foot towards outgoing A.G. Greg Abbott. "I want you to know, Gov.-elect, I wear a size 12," Paxton said.

Texas Supreme Court building

Texas Supreme Court to Travel to Tyler for Oral Arguments

By Mary Alice Robbins |

Until Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1997, the state's highest civil court was prohibited from hearing cases outside of Austin. Justice Johnson said the court receives invitations from around the state to hear arguments in cases at various sites.

12/14/08 -- Larry Macon (front), a trial attorney from San Antonio was given balloons after crossing the finish line of the Dallas White Rock Marathon in Dallas, Dec. 14, 2008. Macon broke his own world record with this, his 105th marathon of the year.

Lifetime Achiever: San Antonio Lawyer to Run His 1,410th Marathon

By the end of 2014, San Antonio lawyer Larry Macon will have run 36,942 miles in his lifetime.

Kim Williams (center, in stripes) pleads guilty on Dec. 30, 2014 for her role in the murders of the Kaufman county DA, his wife, and prosecutor Mark Hasse in 2013. Williams was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Kim Williams Pleads Guilty for Role in Kaufman Murders

By John Council |

Kim provided crucial testimony against her husband, former judge Eric Williams, including that she accompanied him in a car during the murders.

What Laws Must Change When Pot Is Legal?

By Angela Morris |

If pot ever becomes legal in Texas, South Texas College of Law in Houston might be ground zero for lawmakers trying to figure out what statutes to change in the new marijuana economy.

Chuck Herring, partner in Herring & Irwin, in Austin on April 26, 2011.

Legal Ethics Lawyer Flies High With Drones

By Angela Morris |

Legal ethics author and speaker Chuck Herring declined to comment on the exact number of drones he owns, explaining that it would be best if his wife and law partner didn't know the number.

MLP GC Moving to Norton Rose Fulbright

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Stephanie Hildebrandt will join Norton Rose Fulbright as a partner in February.

Face-to-Face Contact=Good Business

By Michael P. Maslanka |

Cognitive theory establishes that face-to-face contact with others makes us more productive, efficient and accurate in our work.

Randy Howry (left) and Frank Stevenson, State Bar of Texas president-elect candidates in 2015

Bar Subcommittee Picks 2015 President-Elect Nominees

By Angela Morris |

After interviewing five lawyers on Dec. 12, the bar's elections and nominations subcommittee chose Randy Howry and Frank Stevenson as potential candidates.

Bryan Blevins, partner at Provost Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont

Legislative Session: Who Will Be Swinging the Bat for Plaintiffs?

By Angela Morris |

Who is going to bat for plaintiffs and trial lawyers in the 2015 legislative session?

fire alarm

Dallas Fire Evacuates Nearly 400 Gardere Employees

By John Council |

Gardere's executive director Judy Vetkoetter said property management handled the fire evacuation well.

Asking Lawyers to Swear To Be Civil Met With Hostility

By Angela Morris |

"I don't think it has any place in an adversarial profession where tempers run high," said Supreme Court Advisor Committee member Richard Munzinger about a proposal to amend the new-lawyer's oath.

Alex Roberts, associate (partner as of Jan. 1, 2015), Beck Redden, Houston

Lawyer Moves Up From Records Room to Partner

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Alex Roberts, who becomes a partner on Jan. 1, 2015 in Beck Redden in Houston, started in firm's records room.

Jim S. Adler, 'The Texas Hammer,' is the founder of Jim S. Adler & Associates in Houston

'The Hammer' Pounds Online Lawyer Advertising

By Angela Morris |

Jim "The Texas Hammer" Adler wrote that the "misrepresentation and dishonest aura" surrounding pay-per-click advertising might violate existing ethics rules.

Mike Bengtson, partner-in-charge in Austin for Baker Botts

Baker Botts' Austin Office Gets New Leader

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Mike Bengtson is now partner-in-charge for Baker Botts' Austin office.