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Androvett Blog

by Erin Dooley at 12:00:00 am

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Eminent trial attorneys Clayton Bailey and Alexander Brauer recently launched Bailey Brauer PLLC, a new Dallas law firm that focuses on complex commercial litigation, agribusiness, appeals, and class and collective actions. 

Prior to opening their own firm, Bailey and Brauer worked together at Baker & McKenzie, where they won a precedent-setting en banc opinion from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that cemented the law protecting the agribusiness industry from frivolous claims filed under the Packers and Stockyards Act.

They also convinced the Mississippi Supreme Court to reverse and remand a jury verdict of nearly $1.65 million to a contractor who was injured on the job, obtained a summary judgment against RICO claims seeking millions of dollars in damages, and defeated multiple, significant claims leveled against one of the country’s largest poultry companies. 

The duo believes their work at Baker & McKenzie left them well prepared to lead their own firm.   

“Together, we proved our mettle at one of the world’s largest law firms,” Bailey said. “And we will continue to deliver that kind of sophisticated, aggressive, and creative work at Bailey Brauer.”

Brauer says they’re also committed to providing cost-effective, quality legal counsel. 

“Our clients are getting big-firm expertise without big-firm overhead,” said Brauer. “We also have more flexibility to enter into alternative billing arrangements,” he adds. 

Clients aren’t the only ones that appreciate the pair’s skills. Bailey has twice been selected for inclusion in Texas Super Lawyers and was highlighted as the “Appellate Lawyer of the Week” by Texas Lawyer. A cum laude graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, Brauer is a four-time honoree on Texas Super Lawyers’ list of “Rising Stars.”

More information can be found at www.baileybrauer.com.

by Erin Dooley at 12:00:00 am

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After nearly 30 years as an attorney, Dennis R. Burrows' vision – and his passion for the legal profession – were both waning. But when his son, Dustin Burrows, joined his father at the McCleskey, Harriger, Brazill & Graf law firm in 2002, it rekindled Dennis’ commitment to the law. 

“I was pretty much burned out,” Dennis told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. “It’s been fun and exciting since…he came along.” 

An article on the front page of the Avalanche-Journal’s Father’s Day edition describes how Dennis helped Dustin navigate the courtroom and advised him on the complexities of commercial and personal injury litigation. Former amateur fishermen, the father-son duo began to bond over their cases instead of their catches. 

“My best memories over the past 10 years are sitting in a hotel room with my father, plotting and planning about what we are going to do during the next day of trial,” Dustin recalls. 

As Dennis’ sight deteriorated further, Dustin took over some of his father’s responsibilities. According to the June 16th Avalanche-Journal article, Dustin now handles jury selection, reviews long documents and drives his father to and from work each day. He even downloaded a screen reader so that his dad could listen to memos via computer. 

Dennis believes his declining vision  – and his son’s singular ability to anticipate his needs in court –  may have hastened Dustin’s legal success. Indeed, Dustin was recently named to Thompson Reuter’s list of “Rising Stars” in the legal profession. 

But more rewarding than that, Dustin says, is partnering with his dad. 

And with his son by his side, Dennis swears, he won’t stop lawyering anytime soon.

by Amy Hunt at 3:36:00 pm

We’re not even mid-way through October, but the Dallas family lawyers at McCurley Orsinger McCurley Nelson & Downing L.L.P. say it’s not too soon for recently divorced families to start planning for the holidays.

The firm’s most recent blog post says some recently divorced couples may even want to continue celebrating some special events, such as Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas morning, together—assuming the ex-spouses are able to get along.

It’s probably not an ideal solution for the long-term, particularly if either spouse has or is planning to remarry, but it may help to ease the children’s transition for the first year.… Clearly, this is one of those ideas to be taken on a case-by-case basis because although it may work fine for one family, it may be disastrous for another.

Other tips include making an agreement about gifts and how those and other holiday costs will be paid for; finding new traditions; keeping some old traditions; and making a special effort to be civil with the ex.

“Holidays can be stressful even under ideal circumstances,” the firm writes. “Adding a recent divorce into the mix only compounds that stress.”

by Rhonda Reddick at 2:25:04 pm

Taking a 24/7, A to Z, top to bottom, head to … well, SOX, approach to addressing the ever-changing compliance issues facing businesses, Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP has created a new Securities Law Blog, From the SOX Up.

The blog relies on the expertise of all 12 members of Gardere’s Public Securities and Corporate Governance Team to help corporate leaders navigate the constantly shifting securities landscape.

The blog can be found at www.fromthesoxup.com and provides commentary on a wide-range of matters, including compliance with federal and state securities laws and securities regulations, including last year’s Dodd-Frank financial reform act, the FCPA, and 2002’s Sarbanes-Oxley regulations, among many other corporate governance matters.

by Dave Moore at 1:08:35 pm

When a young man unloaded a handgun upon U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 other individuals in Phoenix, it was clear to witnesses that the suspect – who was later identified as Jared Loughner – was imbalanced. Supporting evidence has since mounted.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune writes:

The disturbing photograph of Jared Loughner that has been released after his arrest, as well as the writings and statements attributed to him, seem to point to a man with a mental illness.

These facts might save Loughner’s life, according to Dallas criminal defense attorney Barry Sorrels.

Sorrels recently told Fox4 News’ Steve Eagar that while it would be hard to avoid a conviction with an insanity defense, that strategy would probably help Loughner avoid the death penalty in the sentencing phase of the criminal trial.

“There’s no other defense that can be of any value to saving this young man’s life, so that he doesn’t receive the death penalty,” Sorrels said to Eagar.  

Sorrels’ opinion reflects the changing legal landscape around the insanity plea.

According to CBSnews.com: Public outrage over the jury's verdict in (Ronald Reagan’s attempted assassin John) Hinckley's trial – not guilty by reason of insanity – prompted Congress to make it much more difficult to establish that claim in federal criminal trials.

Arizona also has modified the insanity defense so that a defendant in a state trial no longer can be found not guilty by reason of insanity. Instead, the jury can deliver a verdict of guilty but insane, said Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall.

Sorrells said that the facts will determine whether the prosecution will settle for anything less than Loughner’s execution.

“Right now, both sides are doing as much as they can to find out about the facts of this case and this defendant as possible,” Sorrels told Eagar.

by Rhonda Reddick at 10:20:17 am

Much has changed in the legal world since Steve Good began his first term as Gardere’s managing partner back in 2000. Under Good’s leadership the firm doubled its profits, expanded its expertise and added new offices, among other things.

Facing a term limit that would have prevented Good from serving a third term as managing partner, Gardere’s Management Committee realized that a shake-up at the top was unnecessary and voted instead to waive the partnership agreement in his case and allow him to serve another term. The popular Mr. Good will now continue as managing partner until 2017.

The decision to extend his term was an “overall vote of confidence” in the work Mr. Good has done since becoming Managing Partner, according to committee member Eric Blumrosen. Gardere has seen its profits more than double under Mr. Good's leadership. In that same period, the firm also went from three offices to four as he was instrumental in adding the Austin office which provides legislative and regulatory services. The firm also has offices in Dallas, Houston and Mexico City.

"In this job, you want to look around at the end of the day and see success not only for your clients, but also for your fellow lawyers and employees,” says Mr. Good, who also maintains an active tax practice at Gardere.

by Rhonda Reddick at 3:04:31 pm

Imagine, for just a moment, a roomful of lawyers, paralegals and legal staff forbidden from speaking. It’s not a lawyer joke – it’s one of a series of exercises that employees at Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP must complete during diversity workshops staged by the Anti-Defamation League.

There’s plenty to learn within any company about diversity and inclusion, and the ADL has figured out a way to teach this lesson in a memorable manner. For example, in the “Human Time Line” exercise, participants have to figure out how to communicate with each other and physically line up by order of firm seniority – all without speaking a word.

In other exercises designed by A WORKPLACE OF DIFFERENCE®, a program of the ADL’s A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute, participants explore “Conflict Triggers” where individual flashpoints are discussed openly in order to explore methods of effective responses to conflict.

The idea is that firm employees walk away with a greater sense of camaraderie and heightened morale. As a byproduct, the program enhances recruitment and promotion opportunities, improves client relations and customer loyalty and generally increases productivity. For more than 15 years, Gardere has required that attorneys and staff participate in the program during their first year of employment at Gardere, and the program now serves as a cornerstone for Gardere’s commitment to diversity.

“We are focused on encouraging and fostering diversity of thought, and creating a workplace that is truly inclusive,” says Managing Partner Steve Good. “This program has provided each of us with the tools and resources to better understand the needs of not only our colleagues, but our clients as well.”

by Scott Holcomb at 10:24:55 am

Founding partners Deborah Hankinson and Jeffrey Levinger of the Dallas-based civil appellate firm Hankinson Levinger LLP earned yet another top ranking to add to their list of achievements.

They were recognized as two of Texas’ top appellate lawyers in the Chambers USA 2010 legal directory.

Chambers USA is an annual U.K. based publication that recognizes the top business law firms and leading individual attorneys in the United States.  Their selection for this prestigious honor was based on in-depth interviews with both peers and clients.

The publication stated that the “incredibly talented” Deborah Hankinson “is recommended for her intimate knowledge of judiciary procedures and her seasoned approach” while Jeffrey Levinger is cited as a “highly experienced, talented and knowledgeable appellate specialist.”

This honor is just one of their latest as both have been named among Texas’ top lawyers in the Texas Super Lawyers list since it was first published in 2003 and have both been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America.

Additionally, Ms. Hankinson has been listed as one of D Magazine’s Best Women Lawyers in Dallas and is ranked by Texas Lawyer newspaper as one of the state’s “Go-To” appellate attorneys. And Mr. Levinger, who serves as Chairman of the State Bar of Texas Committee on Pattern Jury Charges, was named to “The Defenders,” an elite list of North Texas’ top business defense attorneys published by the Dallas Business Journals earlier this year.

by Robert Tharp at 10:16:50 am

Just recognized in The National Law Journal for winning more of the country's Top 100 verdicts than any other law firm for two years running, McKool Smith is continuing the firm's push as a national litigation powerhouse with the promotion of four attorneys to principals and the addition of six experienced lawyers in the firm's rapidly growing New York office.

New principals  Laurie Gallun Fitzgerald and Joel Thollander practice in McKool Smith's Austin office, and  Darryl Burke and Garret Chambers practice in Dallas. In New York, the firm has added Sachin Bansal, John C. Briody, Yusuf A. Rangwala, Elizabeth Raskin, Kevin Schubert and James H. Smith as associates.

With the latest additions, the firm now has 25 attorneys practicing in New York after opening the office in late 2007. New York principal Hugh Ray, who also practices in McKool Smith's Houston location, recently was featured in a story published by The Wall Street Journal that examines how firms like McKool Smith are increasing their bankruptcy litigation workload because of the many client conflicts faced by larger law firms.

by Robert Tharp at 1:48:36 pm

Thompson & Knight's Houston offices are a bustling place, serving as focal points of the international firm's energy practice, as well as litigation, real estate, corporate, securities, finance and banking, among many other things. In selecting a leader for the office, the firm turned to longtime Thompson & Knight lawyer Alfred M. Meyerson, a highly respected commercial real estate attorney who already serves as the firm-wide leader of the Real Estate and Banking Practice Group. He is a widely published authority on commercial real estate and a longtime supporter of Houston civics issues.

"This represents a tremendous professional opportunity for me to reinforce Thompson & Knight's role in the diverse and dynamic Houston economy," says Mr. Meyerson. "This office serves as the centerpiece for the Firm's comprehensive energy practice, as well as our expanding responsibilities for clients with interests in Latin America, and I look forward to a number of exciting challenges in supporting all of our clients, attorneys, and staff." 

With 70 attorneys, Houston is the second largest office of the 350-attorney firm. In addition to other Texas offices in Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, and San Antonio, Thompson & Knight also maintains a New York office and international offices and associations in Mexico, North Africa, Europe, and Asia.

by Robert Tharp at 4:11:28 pm

As he prepares to take on Toyota over vehicle defects, Mark Lanier of The Lanier Law Firm in Houston has been singled out as one of "The Decade's Most Influential Lawyers" by the editors of The National Law Journal. Lanier is the lone plaintiffs' attorney recognized by the NLJ for this list, and one of only four lawyers highlighted for their work in litigation matters, along with famed courtroom attorneys Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Brendan Sullivan Jr. of Williams & Connolly; and Theodore Wells Jr. of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. The NLJ calls Lanier a "superstar among plaintiffs' lawyers," while noting his massive win in the nation's first trial over the popular pain medication Vioxx. Lanier's $253.5 million verdict in that case is widely recognized as the turning point in the national litigation over Vioxx, which was later resolved with a $4.45 billion settlement. In an article describing his selection, the NLJ notes Lanier's prominent role in the ongoing litigation against Toyota, including his work for more than 1,000 individuals with claims against Toyota.

by Robert Tharp at 2:00:00 pm

Ask any lawyer, and they'll probably tell you that the governing philosophy at their firm is something like "democracy run-amok" or, at best, an oligarchy. But one Dallas law firm has been singled out by D CEO Magazine for being run like a corporation.
According to the story, "The Divorce CEO," Dallas' 17-lawyer McCurley Orsinger McCurley Nelson & Downing, L.L.P., which houses some of Dallas' best known and most powerful divorce lawyers, is run by "CEO" and founder Mike McCurley, who D CEO calls "one of the leading matrimonial lawyers for the executive set."
Most family lawyers are either working at a full-service law firm, solo practitioners who handle divorces along with whatever else comes in the door, or mid-sized "law firms" that are actually a "loose collection of sole practitioners working under the same roof, each of whom work on his or her own docket of cases," McCurley told the magazine.
In contrast, McCurley Orsinger "employs a team approach where all members enjoy a working familiarity with each case, embracing an interactive structure in which all lawyers ... are able to communicate at any given moment about a case," the article says.
"We meet every week, discussing every case," McCurley says. "I don't know any other firm that does that."
The all-hands-on-deck approach was born out of the firm's need to service an increasingly sophisticated client base, McCurley says.
"We're a 24/7 law firm because CEOs expect that," he said.
In addition, many of their lawyers have undergrad degrees in business economics, math or accounting-again, because their client base consists primarily of business people with frequently complicated financial dealings.
"Why would you put the dissolution of your most important asset-your marriage-in the hands of people who don't understand business?" McCurley asked.

by Robert Tharp at 3:44:08 pm

Loyal Dallas Business Journal readers no doubt did a double take at the story about Level 2 Review's big time move into Dallas. At a time when it's hardly news when a law firm cuts dozens of attorneys at a time, the Tyler, Texas-based e-Discovery and document review firm opened a 4,500-square-foot office in Richardson and - just like that - added 50 lawyers to their team.

DBJ writer Jeff Bounds notes that the company is using the Richardson office on a project basis for now, opening the offices in about a week based on the need to accommodate a client's large project. But Level 2 president and CEO Joey Seeber adds that the company expects consistent demand for their unique services. "Right now, they are working on one large project," Seeber told the DBJ. "But we consistently have projects requiring that many people, which was the reason for moving ahead with that space."

Located in the heart of Richardson's Telecom Corridor, the company's new office is equipped with the latest technology and security features. With 4,500 square feet, high-speed fiber connectivity and the technology infrastructure to deploy more than 80 attorneys, the space provides the document review team with the tools to quickly, accurately and securely meet the needs of law firms and corporate legal departments.

The new office continues the recent growth of Level 2 Review, which has expanded greatly since 2009. With room for dozens of additional reviewers, the company offers scaled solutions to handle any client project, regardless of size. "We started Level 2 Review to help law firms and corporate legal departments that demand efficiency, strict cost controls and the highest commitment to quality," says Eric Findlay, Founding Director of Level 2 Review. "With our expansion into Dallas we continue this mission, and expand our ability to handle projects of any size."

by Robert Tharp at 11:36:52 am

The lawyers at McKool Smith have had an incredible string of court victories no matter how you look at it. For two years straight, the national trial litigation firm has scored more Top 100 verdicts than any other firm of any size, while Law 360 named the firm among its "IP Firms of the Year." The big verdicts come from a spectrum of defendants and practice areas, but Microsoft in particular has been the subject of several headline-grabbing and industry-changing jury awards.

Last year, the firm helped i4i Inc. secure a $290 million patent infringement judgment and an injunction blocking Microsoft from distributing its flagship software, Microsoft Word. And just this week, a Tyler, Texas, jury agreed that Microsoft had infringed on a patent owned by Scotts Valley, Calif.-based VirnetX Holding Corporation and awarded a $105.75 million patent infringement verdict.

From the LA Times blog: The trial lasted for a week in Tyler, Texas, and dealt with Microsoft products including Windows Vista and XP. The award involves $71.7 million for one patent and $34 million for another, the company said.
The jury also found that the Redmond, Wash.-based software behemoth willfully infringed on the patents. The patents deal with methods of creating virtual private networks, or VPNs, between computers and for establishing VPNs using secure domain names.
VirnetX spokesman Greg Wood said company executives were "obviously just overjoyed."
"Yesterday, the foundation of the tech world shifted," he said. "We are sitting on a goldmine. We probably have the most important patent portfolio in history in regards to security, and yesterday was instrumental in validating that." 

by Robert Tharp at 1:41:30 pm

D Magazine dubbed it "The Good Ol' Girls Club" when some of the city's most talented big-law-firm attorneys(who happened to be female) got together and hung a shingle back in 2008. Wrote D Magazine at the time: Even in 2008, a woman-owned firm in the male-dominated Dallas legal landscape is notable. The ladies' new venture is one of only a handful of women-owned firms in the state and an anomaly locally.

Who knew what was on the economic horizon for new businesses in 2008, but Taber Estes Thorne & Carr charged through 2009, steadily adding new attorneys and clients along the way. The firm reached an important milestone this month - with the addition of associate Kevin Muenster, Taber Estes is no longer a law firm composed solely of female lawyers. Firm co-founder Jessica Thorne says Muenster's arrival should be a surprise considering they've been committed to diversity from the start.

A graduate of Sam Houston State University and Baylor Law School, Mr. Muenster previously served as a judicial law clerk to the Hon. Anne Gardner of the Second Court of Appeals of Texas in Fort Worth. He also worked at two respected Dallas-area firms prior to joining Taber Estes Thorne & Carr. "We know that great lawyers come in all different shapes, sizes, genders, colors, nationalities and backgrounds, and we never intended this to be an all-female firm," says Thorne.

 

by Robert Tharp at 4:04:00 pm

Elizabeth Durso Branch was well on her way to making a name for herself in the world of Family Law by the time she arrived at McCurley Orsinger McCurley Nelson & Downing in 2004. By then, she had already put in time as a prosecutor in Bexar County, an assistant county attorney in Guadalupe County and served more than four years as an assistant attorney general in the AG's child support litigation division. At the AG's office Elizabeth penned the brief that led to the adoption of a com community caretaking exception by the 4th Court of Appeals in Ortega v. State, 974 S.W.2d 361 (Tex.App.-San Antonio 1998).

At McCurley Orsinger, Betsy has built a strong practice, often focusing on cases that include issues involving the well-being of children caught in the middle of divorce disputes. She and other McCurley Orsinger attorneys took the lead in the unprecedented pro bono effort representing hundreds of minors removed by authorities following the 2008 federal raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch in West Texas. Firm founder Mike McCurley announced today that Betsy is the firm's newest partner. "Betsy has always been a staunch advocate for her clients in and out of the courtroom," McCurley says. "That tenacity has earned her the respect of her clients and peers, and helped make her an invaluable member of our firm. We are very pleased to be able to introduce her as a partner."

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Robert Tharp at 3:41:06 pm

Commercial bankruptcy has been one of 2009's hot spots in the legal industry, and McKool Smith's new bankruptcy practice group continues to expand with some of the industry's top legal minds. After forming its bankruptcy group and opening Houston offices led by noted bankruptcy specialist Hugh Ray, the firm has hired bankruptcy litigator Basil A. Umari

Umari, who comes to the firm from Andrews Kurth, represents debtors, creditor committees, secured and unsecured creditors, and other parties in virtually every type of bankruptcy proceeding. He has represented clients from a variety of industries, including banks, oil and gas producers, healthcare entities, ship manufacturers, and many others.

by Robert Tharp at 11:38:37 am

Seems like ancient history now but way back in March 2008, the Wall Street Journal described bankruptcy as the "hottest growth sector" for law firms. That remains true today. Said the WSJ at the time: A survey of more than 300 attorneys from the country's largest law firms found that a plurality -- one out of every four -- expects bankruptcy law to be the fastest area of growth in the next 12 months. That number exceeds the tally of attorneys who think litigation or corporate governance will be hot growth areas.

When the dust settles on the worldwide economic crisis, national litigation firm McKool Smith will have almost certainly emerged as one of the firms that seized opportunities during difficult times and managed to strengthen its position and grow in stature along the way. In addition to a regular stream of head-turning jury verdicts and the opening of now-bustling offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City, the firm has now added a national bankruptcy practice and hired some of the country's most respected bankruptcy veterans.

Noted bankruptcy attorney Hugh M. Ray leads McKool Smith's bankruptcy practice and will devide his time between the firm's New York and Houston offices. Joining him are bankruptcy veterans Peter S. Goodman and Paul D. Moak, who will work out of the New York and Houston offices, respectively. All three attorneys previously practiced with Andrews Kurth, where Mr. Ray led the firm's national bankruptcy practice. Also joining the group as a principal is Hugh M. Ray, III, a bankruptcy attorney previously with Weycer, Kaplan, Pulaski & Zuber in Houston. The firm expects to add several more bankruptcy attorneys by the end of 2009.

In a career spanning four decades, Mr. Ray has played key roles in some of the coutnry's most recognizable bankruptcy proceedings, including matters involving Lyondell Petrochemical, First Republic Bank Corp., Continental Airlines, Semcrude, L.P., First City Bancorporation, Power Company of America L.L.C., L. Tersigni Consulting, and many others. In addition to making several appearances before Congress to testify on proposed amendments to the Federal Bankruptcy Code, Mr. Ray also has served in leadership positions with many notable bankruptcy and business groups, including serving as Chairman of the Business Bankruptcy Committee for the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Business Law Section, Chairman of the ABA Energy Business Committee, and member of the ABA Standing Committee on Judicial Selection, Tenure and Compensation. Prior to his work in private practice, Mr. Ray worked as an Assistant United States Attorney in Houston.

"Hugh Ray is one of the top bankruptcy lawyers in the nation, and we are proud to have him lead our firm into this growing area of the law," says Mike McKool, co-founder of McKool Smith. "Hugh and the rest of his team are known nationwide for their work in some of the country's most significant bankruptcy matters. When we realized we had the opportunity to bring in Hugh and his group, this was an easy decision."

Mr. Ray says the move to McKool Smith is based on several factors. "It's no secret that McKool Smith has some of the finest courtroom lawyers anywhere, which is one of the main reasons we decided to join the firm," says Mr. Ray. "I'm also very excited about helping the firm build a world-class bankruptcy practice."

Mr. Goodman has represented clients in complex bankruptcies for more than 20 years, including Adelphia Communications Corp., KCS Energy Inc., Bank of New England Corp., Semcrude, L.P., First City Bancorporation, Power Company of America L.L.C., L. Tersigni Consulting and PSINet Consulting Solutions Holdings, Inc., and many others. He has been recognized as one of the state's top bankruptcy lawyers in New York Super Lawyers magazine. 

Mr. Moak has been involved in a wide range of complex Chapter 11 cases. In his practice, he has represented debtors, secured lenders, creditor committees and equity committees in bankruptcy reorganization proceedings, as well as bankruptcy-related litigation matters. He possesses particular expertise in the energy, health care, chemicals, and aviation industries. 

Mr. Ray III represents publicly traded companies who successfully reorganize in bankruptcy and major creditors in their collection from complex bankruptcies. He often acts as a trial attorney in adversary proceedings before the bankruptcy court.

by Robert Tharp at 4:04:31 pm

Just two years after establishing an office in New York City, McKool Smith continues to expand and now counts 21 attorneys in New York with the addition of trial-tested litigator Kyle Lonergan. Mr. Lonergan joins McKool Smith from the firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. His practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and white collar matters, and he has litigated high profile cases in a number of areas, including securities, antitrust, insurance coverage and breach of contract.
Mr. Lonergan has represented clients throughout all phases of litigation, including trial and arbitration, and in connection with investigations by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He will continue his work in these areas at McKool Smith, including handling matters with the firm's International White Collar practice led by firm principals Jack Cooney and Tom Engel.
Mr. Lonergan maintains an active pro bono practice in the environmental field. He has represented the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups for the past decade in litigation that has resulted in significant protections for some of the country's most important national parks, including Everglades National Park in Florida and Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

by Robert Tharp at 4:32:24 pm

History has proven that industry leaders often emerge during tough economic times. Regarding the legal biz in 2009, one of those appears to be McKool Smith. The growing firm's latest coup: selection as one of 20 firms across the U.S. highlighted in The National Law Journal's first-ever "Midsize Hot List."

In selecting McKool Smith, NLJ editors noted the firm's successful expansion into Washington, D.C., and New York City during the past two years, as well as several high-profile lateral attorneys in core practice areas of commercial litigation, white collar litigation and intellectual property litigation.

Noting that midsize firms "have proven more agile than their bigger competitors," the NLJ staff also highlighted the firm's incredible trial performance last year, earning four of the Top 100 verdicts of 2008, more than any law firm of any size in the nation. The publication also details McKool Smith is on the forefront of meeting client demands by offering cutting-edge alternate billing arrangements and fee structures that do not rely on hourly billing.

 

by Robert Tharp at 2:20:12 pm

Country Music Hall of Fame inductee and 20-time Grammy Award winner Vince Gill headlines tonight's Vogel Alcove Annual Arts Performance at the Morton H. Meyerson
Symphony Center in the Dallas Arts District. Dallas-based law firm McKool Smith donated $75,000 as one of two Paramount Sponsors of the 18th annual event. The charity performance generates funding for more than half of the nonprofit's annual budget.

Vogel Alcove provides a range of free services for homeless infants, preschool children and under privileged families in North Texas. McKool Smith has been a proud sponsor of the organization for 15 years. The Vogel Alcove is the only comprehensive early childhood education program in the city of Dallas whose primary focus is to provide free services for homeless children who face multiple developmental risks.  Because of the Alcove’s 21-year legacy providing quality, licensed childcare and social services for children victimized by homelessness, 18 area affiliated homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, and housing programs depend on the Alcove to provide services to the homeless families at their shelters.

"We are privileged to support an organization that serves such a vital role in helping those in our community who are perhaps least likely to have means to support themselves - the children of homeless families," says Mike McKool, co-founder of McKool Smith. Tickets for tonight's concert are still available through the TITAS box office at 214-528-5576 or through the Vogel Alcove Web site, http://www.vogelalcove.org/.

by Robert Tharp at 11:08:07 am

Reports of the demise of asbestos litigation have apparently been greatly exaggerated. At The Lanier Law Firm, at least, asbestos, mesothelioma and mass toxic torts are a growing practice area. The Houston-based firm is dramatically expanding its Asbestos Litigation Group, hiring six attorneys and adding 14,000 square feet of office space.

Firm founder  Mark Lanier says the decision to expand the asbestos practice is based on a practical examination of market conditions and the current legal climate. "The terrible legacy of asbestos exposure continues to impact thousands of families every year, and we want people to know that they have a strong advocate at The Lanier Law Firm in every type of asbestos claim."

The firm has hired asbestos litigators M. Clay Fostel, formerly of Houston's Heard Robins Cloud Black & Lubel, and William H. Barfield, previously with Houston's Smith & Hassler, are joining the firm along with C. Jason Lindamood, formerly an assistant district attorney for Wharton County; Benjamin Pyle, formerly with Houston's RAS Inc.; and recent South Texas College of Law graduates Matthew McFarlane and Lauren Ware. With these new additions, the firm now has 20 lawyers working in its Asbestos Litigation Group.

With offices in Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Houston and New York, The Lanier Law Firm is committed to addressing client concerns with effective and innovative solutions in courtrooms across the country. The firm is composed of outstanding trial attorneys with decades of experience handling cases involving pharmaceutical liability, asbestos exposure, intellectual property, business litigation, product liability, toxic exposure and maritime law. For more information, please contact Bruce Vincent at 214-559-4630 or bruce@androvett.com.

 

by Robert Tharp at 4:17:09 pm

It's no small accomplishment to be listed in The National Law Journal's annual roundup of top 100 trial verdicts. There's not much gray area involved in these rankings; researchers simply scour the previous year's top verdicts and list the 100 largest.

One firm really stands out on this year's list. With four cases making the 2008 list, Dallas-based McKool Smith claims more Top 100 verdicts than any other firm of any size anywhere. This is just the latest indication that something's really going on at this lawfirm, which only recently expanded Washington, D.C., and New York. The four verdicts highlighted on the Top 100 list include:

At No. 12: Medtronic Vascular Inc. v. Boston Scientific Scimed Inc. In this May 2008 verdict, McKool Smith won a $250 million award for Medtronic, successfully arguing that Boston Scientific infringed on a patent for a series of Medtronic catheters used in surgical procedures to treat heart disease.

At No.36: Pioneer Corp. v. Samsung SDI Co. Ltd. McKool Smith and co-counsel from Morrison & Foerster secured a $59 million verdict in October 2008 in a patent infringement trial against Samsung. The case centered around technology used in plasma televisions.

At No. 74: Adderley v. National Football League Players Association. Back in November 2008, the firm and co-counsel from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips obtained a $28 million jury award for more than 2,000 former NFL players alleging breach of contract and breach of fiduciary responsibility. The retired players argued that they were not adequately compensated for licensing and marketing proceeds from NFL-themed video games, jerseys and other merchandise.

At No. 100:  Anascape Ltd. v. Microsoft Corp. Representing Anascape Ltd. against Nintendo of America Inc., McKool Smith attorney successfully argued that Nintendo had infringed on Anascape's patents for various video game controllers sold by Nintendo. The jury awarded Anascape $21 million.

Additionally, McKool Smith is featured in a companion article in The National Law Journal, "Minding their manners; McKool Smith finds that politeness is the way to a jury's heart," which highlighted each of the firm's four major victories. For more information, please visit www.mckoolsmith.com or contact Bruce Vincent at 800-559-4534 or bruce@androvett.com.

by Robert Tharp at 4:32:48 pm

McKool Smith expanding white-collar practice in growing New York office.
While law firms everywhere are contracting, some are finding opportunity in the downturn. Look at  McKool Smith, which is already adding to its New York offices that

opened just a year ago in a bold move to stake out its IP practice area claim. Responding to the white collar and financial fraud cases and corresponding government regulatory and enforcement actions, the firm has added veteran white-collar litigation attorneys Jack Cooney and Thomas E. Engel.

Both attorneys are former standout federal prosecutors who served together in the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, and each has gone on to successful careers in private practice representing corporate, multinational and individual clients. The two are close friends who each serve as godfathers to the daughter of the other. Additionally, each was in direct talks with McKool Smith when they realized that the other was also in talks about beefing up the firm's white-collar practice.

"Jack Cooney and Tom Engel give our clients access to the very top tier of white-collar and commercial representation at a time when these matters are not merely proliferating, but growing more complex and absolutely crucial to our clients' future," said Mike McKool, the firm's co-founder. He added that a special benefit to the new partners is the relative absence of client conflicts which often inhibit flexibility in representing important clients at larger traditional firms.

Said New York office head Robert A. Cote, "We're growing fast in IP and commercial litigation, as are all our offices, but we expect robust growth in our business and our roster of attorneys over the next year, and the white collar practice is part of the bedrock of our expansion strategy here."

by Robert Tharp at 11:02:32 am

Dallas-based  Shackelford, Melton & McKinley, LLP, is making a move into Austin, tapping two public policy/finance and commercial litigation veterans -  Brian T. McCabe and Keith Ward. Mr. McCabe knows his way around the intricacies of public finance law and has advised state, county and local governments of all types on such matters. For more than two decades, Mr. McCabe has built a practice providing legislative consulting for governmental and private-sector clients in governmental affairs including finance, construction, procurement, housing and health care law.

Mr. Ward, meanwhile, handles general commercial litigation and transactional law on behalf of real estate developers, business owners and individuals. He is a licensed CPA who has worked with municipalities in areas such as code enforcement and bulding standards, as well as litigation related to sales transactions, tenant complaints, construction disputes and fiduciary matters.

The firm has grown steadily in size and expertise, and the Austin expansion provides a significant boost in the areas of public policy and public finance, says founding partner John C. Shackelford. Shackelford, Melton & McKinley, LLP, is a business and commercial law firm representing financial institutions, real estate owners and developers, automobile dealerships, and businesses in legal matters across the nation. For more information, contact Barry Pound at 800-559-4534 or barry@androvett.com.

by Robert Tharp at 3:48:30 pm

What a year it's been for McKool Smith, PC. The big verdicts just keep coming. Just this week, the firm won a $59 million patent infringement verdict on behalf of Tokyo-

based electronics manufacturer Pioineer Corp. against Samsung. The lawsuit charged that Samsung infringed two Pioneer patents relating to plasma display technology, U.S. Patent Numbers 5,182,489 and 5,640,068.

Earlier this year, the firm won a $21 million patent infringement verdict on behalf of Tyler, Texas, based technology company Anascape against Nintendo in a fight over patents used in video game controllers like the Wii and Gamecube. In May, McKool Smith attorneys won a $250 million patent infringement verdict for Medtronic against Boston Scientific relating to a balloon catheter patent used in the surgical treatment of heart disease. In June, the firm reached an $83 million settlement for i2 Technologies in a patent dispute against SAP AG.

by Robert Tharp at 11:30:59 am

Senior attorneys at Gardere Wynne Sewell quickly establish Financial Crisis Recovery Team 
While some would prefer to burry their heads in the sand until this epic financial turmoil is over, for an example of how some law firms are reacting nimbly, consider Gardere Wynne Sewell's creation of its multi-disciplinary Financial Crisis Recovery

 
Team. In business nearly 100 years, Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP attorneys have seen their share of economic paradigm shifts. Taking a page from its playbook from the 1980s S&L crisis and the collapse of Enron, the firm quickly established a multi-disciplinary legal team to respond on behalf of businesses impacted by the credit crunch and market turmoil.

The firm's business and litigation attorneys are already working together on tasks including problem loans, debt restructuring, securities violations, tax issues, government contracts, employment law, breached contracts, and investigations and crisis management. Senior attorneys on the team are able to response to clients affected by the global crisis from every conceivable scenario. Cliff Risman, chair of Gardere's Business Department, notes that it's hard to understand the impact that this crisis on businesses and individuals. "This is more than a financial crisis - it poses fundamental challenges to the foundations and integrity of business operations," he says.

by Robert Tharp at 2:55:52 pm

The awards ceremony is still weeks away, but the cat's out of the bag. Dallas attorney Charla G. Aldous is the American Board of Trial Advocates' Trial Lawyer of the

Year for Texas. This is just the latest in a long list of honors for Charla. During her 23 years of practice, she has secured hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements. Charla, founder of the Aldous Law Firm, is routinely named among the most successful attorneys in practice. Says TEX-ABOTA president Dicky Grigg, "Charla is the epitome of those whom we seek to honor with the ‘Trial Lawyer of the Year' award. Her courtroom record is enviable, and she has unselfishly shared her leadership skills through public service to the legal profession and her community." 

by Robert Tharp at 3:18:46 pm

Young Dalton Sherman is on a roll. After winning the the 16th annual Gardere Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition with a speech about community involvement that ended with the closing line: "...a drum major with no band is just a

fool dancing on the football field," the Charles Rice Learning Center fifth-grader has already appeared on the front page of the Dallas Morning News and served as the warm-up speaker for Maya Angelou. His YouTube video has been seen more than 150,000 times, and he was tapped to give an inspirational speech for teachers and administrators at the Dallas school district's start-of-school pep rally at the American Airlines Center a few weeks ago. Now Dalton is set to appear on the Ellen Show this Thursday.

by Robert Tharp at 10:32:24 am

Attorneys survive on their ability to nimbly react to the legal task at hand. If they hadn't done so already, lawyers and law firms along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast
got a lesson in the importance of being able to adapting to a changing physical environment as well, returning to work in a region paralyzed by Hurricane Ike. From solo attorneys operating from their cars to international firms like Thompson & Knight, attorneys returned to work this week to ravaged landscape with unique logistical challenges. As Texas Lawyer reported, Thompson & Knight LLP was functioning and touching base with Houston-area clients by Monday morning. The firm quickly pulled together a task force to responsd to issues posed by the storm's destruction, such as insurance claims, landlord-tenant provisions and labor and employment maters.

"I'm very pleased that we have been able to move quickly to resume a level of normal business operations," Houston managing partner Dallas Parker said. "Our attorneys already have been able to respond to some pressing business demands of our clients related to the current issues in the financial markets as well as to offer counsel on matters stemming from Hurricane Ike. Like thousands of others in the areas affected, many of our Houston employees are coping with the personal needs of their homes and families... We are encouraging our workforce to continue working remotely and follow the direction of local and state officials in safely returning to downtown."

by Robert Tharp at 10:51:02 am

Who would have thought pre-2001 that the small east Texas town of Marshall would become the epicenter of some of the most complex and high stakes patent law

litigation and trials in the country? That's exactly what happened when Judge T. John Ward created the "rocket docket" in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to speed up the disposition of patent infringement lawsuits. An interesting Texas Lawyer article this week questions whether the venue has become a victim of its own popularity. In an area where long legal delays are costly for plaintiffs, some patent cases filed in the Eastern District are not getting court dates until 2011, the paper reports. Patent litigator  Doug Cawley, a shareholder in McKool Smith in Dallas, tells Texas Lawyer that efforts to prevent plaintiffs from "forum shopping" have so far failed to gain traction in Congress. Such legislation might have trimmed the Eastern District's docket by limiting plaintiffs' ability to choose the venue to file a case. Cawley says the Marshall Division still has value because the courts still move cases quickly, and recent success among defendants has assuaging concerns that the courts there are generally pro-plaintiff.

by Robert Tharp at 10:16:24 am

With approximately 1 million attorneys out there trying to make a living in the United States, law firms trying to stand out in the crowd face big challenges. Dallas-based  Taber Estes Thorne & Carr PLLC is making
some real progress. The new firm is one of just 73 law firms nationwide to earn certification as a women-owned and controlled business by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council. Besides being a highly qualified and experienced firm, the certificaiton gives Taber Estes a competitive boost since most publicly held corporations, as well as larger private corporations, governmental agencies and non-profit organizations, have policies that encourage doing business with women and minority business owners. "As a new firm, this certification is an important step in raising awareness among potential clients that we offer distinct advantages as both excellent attorneys as well as helping them to meet their diversity initiatives," says Jane Taber, a founder of the firm.
Taber Estes Thorne & Carr PLLC is one of the few women-owned law firms in Dallas. It features a collaborative team of highly experienced attorneys, representing clients in business litigation, labor and employment, family law, health care and insurance matters.

by Robert Tharp at 2:38:57 pm

The current state of the economy is causing all kinds of expansion and contraction in the legal world. At Munck Carter, P.C., the firm sees an opportunity to boost its

technology and intellectual property practice with three new hires. The Dallas-based firm recently announced the additions of attorneys Dyan M. House, N. Elizabeth Pham and David Roe, all joining the firm's intellectual property section. The move also highlights how intellectual property remains a red hot practice area for many Texas firms.

All three have impeccable credentials. House concentrates her practice in the areas of trademark, copyright, franchising and licensing and counsels clients ranging from restaurants, retail establishments, engineering firms, software companies, wireless service providers and non-profit organizations. Pham focuses on intellectual property portfolio development and patent enforcement, representing clients before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Roe's practice centers around intellectual property portfolio development and intellectual property litigation. He represents clients in various high-tech industries, including polymer chemistry, medical imaging devices, computer hardware and software, and semiconductor devices.

Munck Carter, P.C. has carved out a practice devoted to trials, transactions and technology. With offices in Dallas and Marshall, Texas, the firm offers full-service counsel in the areas of complex commercial litigation, intellectual property management and protection, corporate transactions and securities, and employment matters. Munck Carter represents clients from start-ups to Fortune 500TM companies.

by Robert Tharp at 2:02:11 pm

More than 25,000 top CEOs, GCs and other in-house counsel have begun receiving this year's roundup of top business attorneys as selected by Super Lawyers
Corporate Counsel Edition. Honorees are slected among lawyers nationwide who have already been singled out as Super Lawyers through peer nominations and review by a blue-ribbon panel of lawyers. Texas attorneys feature prominently on the list, including six from the Dallas, Austin and New York offices of McKool Smith, P.C., along with four attorneys from teh Dallas and Houston offices of Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP.

At McKool Smith, firm principals Doug Cawley, Ted Stevenson and Robert Manley of Dallas; Gordon White and Steve Pollinger of Austin; and Robert Cote of New York are included for their work in intellectual property litigation.

At Gardere, Dallas partners Kenneth R. Glaser, Andre M. Szuwalski and Peter S. Vogel were recognized for their intellectual property work, while Houston partner Jeffrey S. Davis was featured for his civil litigation defense work.

 

by Robert Tharp at 3:49:08 pm

One of Dallas' oldest law firms is moving into new digs this week. Thompson & Knight is filling up six floors totaling 180,000 square feet in One Arts Plaza in the Dallas
 
Arts District. The offices offer impressive and innovative features like a biometrics security system and a number of environmentally conscious design elements that helped the it secure registration with the U.S. Green Building Council. Lead-free glass allows better transmission of light inside the offices and a specially designed "Mother's Room" has lactation equipment and other amenities for working mothers. The firm is pursuing LEED-CI Silver Certification, which recognizes interiors that are healthy, productive places to work and that are less costly to operate and have a reduced environmental footprint. The firm's lease fills out the space at the recently completed One Arts Plaza in the heart of the city's Arts District.

by Robert Tharp at 3:56:35 pm

Attorney Kathleen Campbell Walker has long been an important voice in the national debate over immigration reform through more than 20 years working as an El Paso

 
attorney focusing on immigration law and cross-border business issues, as well as her work as immediate past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Walker, a partner in Brown McCarroll's El Paso offices, is a widely published authority on this important issue and has frequently testified before Congress and state lawmakers. She now has a new role in the policy arena serving on an independent task force on immigration policy for the distinguished Council on Foreign Relations. She's in important company, sharing membership wtih the likes of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former White House chief of staff Thomas "Mack" McLarty, among others.

by Robert Tharp at 1:25:19 pm

A distinguished crowd was on hand as Thompson & Knight partner Jorge G. De Presno-Arizpe was inaugurated as President of the Inter-American Bar Association during a

 
ceremony in Lima, Peru, last month. Mr. De Presno, a partner in the firm's Mexico City offices, is only the fourth Mexican lawyer to lead the Washington D.C.-based organization, which represents lawyers and jurists from 17 nations across the Western Hemisphere. His swearing-in took place before a crowd that included Peru's vice president, the Mexican ambassador to Peru, several members of the Peruvian judiciary, and more than 500 lawyers from countries throughout North, Central, and South America; the Caribbean; and Spain.

Mr. De Presno focuses his practice on advising corporations on labor, employment, and Social Security law, including privatization procedures for public corporations. He also has broad experience in collective bargaining negotiations and strike procedures, labor litigation, and counseling at both the state and federal levels.

by Robert Tharp at 3:25:27 pm

Who wouldn’t have pitied little Anascape Ltd. of Tyler, Texas, when it went up against Nintendo of America Inc. nearly two years
 
ago, seeking to protect its patents for technology used in Nintendo game controllers including the GameCube, Wavebird, Wii Classic and Wii Remote. Anascape’s attorneys at Dallas-based McKool Smith, PC, were unfazed by the prospect of battling an army of corporate attorneys with unlimited resources. Following a trial in the Eastern District of Texas that ended May 14, a jury awarded the small company $21 million for its patent infringement claims. And just last week, the Hon. Ron Clark of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Lufkin Division, denied the defendant's motion for a reduced verdict, finding that the jury's award is supported by the evidence. The McKool Smith team included firm principals  Doug CawleySam Baxter and Ted Stevenson, and firm associates Chris Bovenkamp, Steven Callahan, Jason Cassady, Anthony Garza, and Jamie Shouse.

by Robert Tharp at 3:54:54 pm

A tight-knit staff and a supportive, family friendly environment are big factors that helped Houston- and Dallas-based legal recruiting firm MS Legal Search secure the
honor of being among the "Best Places to Work" identified in this week's Houston Business Journal. Firm founder Elaine Makris Williams says the 13-year-old firm is committed to supporting employees and providing a collaborative environment, which pays off with happy and productive employees. The award is based on an anonymous employee survey. MS Legal is operated by former practicing lawyers who have helped place experienced attorneys in leading law firms and corporations since 1995. The firm is owned and operated by women and is a certified Women's Business Enterprise. To learn more about MS Legal Search, visit www.mslegalsearch.com.

 

by Robert Tharp at 2:30:32 pm

Intellectual property attorneys at Dallas-based McKool Smith, PC have reached an $83.3 million settlement on behalf of Dallas-based inventory management software

 
company i2 Technologies. The hefty settlement resolves litigation filed in 2006 related to seven software patents related to the company's supply chain planning technology. McKool Smith attorneys charged that Germany's SAP AG and its U.S. subsidiary SAP Inc., had infringed on Patent Numbers 5,764,543; 5,930,156; 5,983,194; 6,055,519; 6,167,380; 6,188,989; and 7,085,729. The McKool Smith team representing i2 included firm principals Ted Stevenson, Sam Baxter, and David Sochia, and firm associates Jill Bindler, Chris Bovenkamp, Steve Callahan, Bo Davis and Scott Hejny.

For more information, please contact Bruce Vincent at 800.559.4534 or bruce@androvett.com.

 

by Robert Tharp at 9:49:33 am

Reporters and editors at the Dallas Business Journal recently set out to answer a variation of one of the eternal questions that inevitably surfaces when two or more attorneys are present at a cocktail party: Who's the best business-litigation defense attorney out there?

The 2008 list of "The Defenders"(subscription only) in this week's edition was compiled based on outside nominations followed by an internal vetting by the DBJ staff.

Congratulations to this year's honorees:

Rodney Acker, Fulbright & Jaworski
Chris Akin, Carrington Coleman
Jerry Beane, Andrews Kurth
George Bramblett, Haynes and Boone
Trey Cox, Lynn Tillotson Pinker & Cox
David Elrod, Elrod PLLC
Gregory Huffman, Thompson & Knight
Kenneth Johnston, Kane Russell Coleman & Logan
James Jordan, Munsch Hardt
Lewis LeClair, McKool Smith
Tom Melsheimer, Fish & Richardson
Retta Miller, Jackson Walker
Yvette Ostolaza, Weil Gotshal & Manges
Joel Reese, Winstead PC
Marcos Ronquillo, Godwin Pappas & Ronquillo

 

by Robert Tharp at 10:00:26 am

Dallas was already booming when Andrews Kurth moved to town in 1982. As it celebrates its silver anniversary in North Texas, consider just a few of the projects that the firm has facilitated: the expansion of Northpark Center, defending the Wright Amendment compromise for DFW Airport and now-bustling development projects for the West Village, The Galleria and One Main Place. And especially timely right now, think about where the NCAA would be without the term, "March Madness." AK attorneys successfully defended the trademarked term against a cybersquatter's claims that it was part of the public domain.