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Lead Stories

Texas Businesses Oppose ‘Crazy, Wacky Bill’ Protecting Insurance Companies from Property Owners


kbowers1L By Mark Curriden – (May 22) – Texas legislators are on the verge of passing a new law that could encourage out-of-state insurance companies to sue Texas property owners for making coverage claims regarding damage caused by severe weather. Business leaders opposing the legislation, which legal experts say places expensive and time-consuming burdens on business and individual property owners who want to legally challenge their insurance carriers for wrongly denying their claims, flooded state legislators with letters, emails and phone calls this week in an effort to kill the proposed law, which is expected to come up for a final vote before the legislative session ends Tuesday.


GT Scores Take-Nothing Defense, Attorneys’ Fees Awarded in Spy Pen Case


vvitalL By Natalie Posgate – (May 21) –Can a ballpoint pen change the fate in your case? Two Dallas Greenberg Traurig lawyers proved to a North Texas jury last week that it can indeed – especially if the pen is really a hidden camera.


Bankruptcy Judge Green Lights Sale of Wyly’s Aspen Ranch


swyly9L By Mark Curriden – (May 20) – A federal bankruptcy judge gave Dallas entrepreneur Sam Wyly approval Wednesday to put his family’s 244-acre Aspen ranch up for sale for $50 million. Wyly said he needs to sell the ranch now in order to take advantage of increased real estate prices and strong demand in the marketplace.


TX Supremes: Shell’s Allegedly Defamatory Claims Privileged in FCPA Inquiry


mstokes1L By Janet Elliott and Mark Curriden – AUSTIN – (May 18) – Information provided voluntarily by businesses to federal prosecutors as part of a foreign corruption investigation is covered by absolute privilege – even if those details contain false allegations that would otherwise be considered defamatory, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday.


Despite Low Oil Prices, Energy Transactional Lawyers Continue to Make it Rain in Texas with $18 Billion Worth of Deals – Updated


pipes1L By Natalie Posgate – (May 18) – The oil patch may be looking a little dry, but Texas transactional lawyers are still being kept busy by their energy clients. Attorneys from Andrews Kurth, Baker Botts, Vinson & Elkins and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher announced five deals this past week in which they helped their clients raise nearly $18 billion through securities offerings or internal asset dropdowns/affiliate consolidations.


Texas Law Firms Fight for Talent, Revenues and Survival


powersostolaza1L By Mark Curriden – (May 14) – Despite record revenues and profits, the Texas legal market is in turmoil. Even as elite law firms experience phenomenal growth in revenues and profits, many large, full service Texas law firms struggle to tread water and could face major restructuring or even extinction.

There's a fierce battle over talent. Law firms that pay the most get the best lawyers. The best talent gets the best clients. The best clients pay the highest rates, which leads to greater revenues and profits.

“The deck has been completely reshuffled in Texas,” said Kent Zimmerman with Zeughauser Group. “In a short amount of time, the leaderboard has changed significantly.”

The Texas Lawbook interviewed more than two-dozen legal industry insiders in an in-depth examination of the state's business law marketplace.


Top Stories
Update: Tallgrass Energy IPO Closes at $1.3 Billion

Update: Tallgrass Energy IPO Closes at $1.3 Billion

TEGP offered 41.5 million shares at $29 per share and granted the underwriters an option to purchase up to an additional 6.2 million Class A shares. The underwriters…

Skadden, Bracewell and Latham Advise in $2.1 Billion Noble-Rosetta Deal

Skadden, Bracewell and Latham Advise in $2.1 Billion Noble-Rosetta Deal

Noble’s acquisition of Rosetta, which owns positions in the Eagle Ford area, gives it access to the South Texas shale play. …

Bell Nunnally Brings Question of First Impression to Fifth Circuit – Updated

Bell Nunnally Brings Question of First Impression to Fifth Circuit – Updated

It’s a predicament many white-collar and other criminal lawyers will never have to face, but certainly would want guidance on if, God forbid, it ever happens: What if…

Andrews Kurth, Locke Lord, Simpson Thacher and Paul Hastings Advise in $7.5 Billion Merger

Andrews Kurth, Locke Lord, Simpson Thacher and Paul Hastings Advise in $7.5 Billion Merger

Houston-based Crestwood Equity Partners and Crestwood Midstream Partners announced earlier this week that the two limited partnerships will combine to simplify Crestwood’s corporate structure. …

J.C. Penney Lawyer Seeks Patent Reform in U.S. Senate

J.C. Penney Lawyer Seeks Patent Reform in U.S. Senate

Diane Lettelier, senior managing counsel for the Plano-based retailer, told Senators Thursday that the company is so frequently targeted by unfounded patent lawsuits and threatening demand letters concerning…

Earthquakes & Fracking: Commercial Real Estate and Insurance Implications in Texas

Earthquakes & Fracking: Commercial Real Estate and Insurance Implications in Texas

More than 120 earthquakes have been recorded in the Fort Worth Basin since 2008. The increase in seismic activity means commercial borrowers and property owners need to understand…

<em>Enterprise v. ETP:</em> Jury Favors Houston Pipeline Company in Round Two

Enterprise v. ETP: Jury Favors Houston Pipeline Company in Round Two

A Houston jury ruled Thursday that Energy Transfer Partners breached its contract with competitor Enterprise Products Partners by failing to properly maintain a natural gas pipeline being used…

Features

A Hair Crazy? HayBoo Partner Meshes Personal Passion with Legal Productivity


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By Patricia Baldwin – (May 20) – Most men don’t want to lose their hair. Haynes and Boone partner Jeff Dorrill is happy he did. His smooth pate and slim physique hint at this attorney’s personal passion for long-distance triathlon events. Dorrill told The Texas Lawbook how this pursuit makes him be a more productive lawyer. And, yes, some have called him a little crazy. Read on.


New Texas Lawyer’s Oath to Stress Civility


jsmaby1L By Jonathan Smaby of Texas Center for Legal Ethics – (May 19) – The oath taken by all new Texas attorneys got an upgrade Friday when Gov. Abbott signed Senate Bill 534 into law. The new oath represents an important moment in Texas legal history by putting the state’s citizens firmly behind the idea that judges and lawyers who work here should conduct themselves with the highest standards of civility and professionalism.


Survey: Texas GCs See Contract and Environmental Litigation as Growing Business Threats


gpecht1 By Mark Curriden – (May 18) – Lawsuits over contract disputes and regulatory battles with the government are larger litigation threats to Texas-based businesses – especially oil and gas companies – than are class action litigation from consumers and employees, according to a new study by the law firm Norton Rose Fulbright.


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Lawyers & Firms

Porter Hedges Enhances Corporate Practice, Picks Up Robert Viguet

Porter Hedges Enhances Corporate Practice, Picks Up Robert Viguet

The former Thompson & Knight partner said the move gives him the opportunity to take…

K&L Gates Lands Austin-based Environmental and Administrative Team

K&L Gates Lands Austin-based Environmental and Administrative Team

The three lawyers from the Austin-based law firm Moltz Morton & Glenn LLP were looking…

TX Foster Care Reform Trial Concludes

TX Foster Care Reform Trial Concludes

A district judge heard closing arguments Thursday in Dallas from lawyers for the State of…

Tax Expert Rejoins Kelly Hart

Tax Expert Rejoins Kelly Hart

Sean Bryan, who spent the last 18 months at Akin Gump, said Kelly Hart was…

Morgan Lewis Further Strengthens Government Enforcement Practice, Adds Two Contracts Experts

Morgan Lewis Further Strengthens Government Enforcement Practice, Adds Two Contracts Experts

Sheila Armstrong and Robert Sherry, who also join from K&L Gates, will be reunited with…

Schiff Hardin Continues Dallas Growth

Schiff Hardin Continues Dallas Growth

The firm announced on Monday the addition of Stephen Sapp, a corporate and securities lawyer.…

Former Winstead Shareholders Launch Austin Boutique Law Firm

Former Winstead Shareholders Launch Austin Boutique Law Firm

Trek Doyle and Karl Seelbach are forming Doyle Seelbach PLLC, where they will handle a…

Two Former In-House Counsel at Energy Companies Join Jones Walker in Houston

Two Former In-House Counsel at Energy Companies Join Jones Walker in Houston

In a Q&A with The Texas Lawbook, the two Houston lawyers discuss why they chose…

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Lawyers in the News

Troy Christenson
Josiah Daniel
Jeff Dorrill
Charles Frederiksen
Matthew Lopez
Tim Powers
Nick Sarokhanian
Matthew Schindel
Jonathan Smaby
Tony Soards
Victor Vital

Firms in the News

Glast, Phillips & Murray
Greenberg Traurig
Haynes and Boone
MBL Law
TCLE
V&E

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The Texas Lawbook’s Corporate Deal Tracker reports M&A activity and securities offerings handled by lawyers based in Texas, even if those transactions involve non-Texas-based companies. The Corporate Deal Tracker ranks matters by value and includes the announcement date, the names of the companies involved and the lawyers and their law firms.

Click on each Chart to see a full listing:

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Texas Legal Market Expands and Fragments as Rich Firms get Richer


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By Mark Curriden – HOUSTON – (April 24) – Texas lawyers who representing businesses generated a record amount of revenues in 2014. A new survey by The Texas Lawbook shows that business lawyers saw their workload increase significantly for the first time in years.

The biggest revenue jumps were recorded by elite and specialty law firms, while upper middle market legal shops face stagnation and uncertainty. Legal experts say that the Texas legal market is increasingly becoming a world of the "haves" and the "have nots."

Nearly 80 percent of Texas law firm leaders said they believe 2015 financials will be as good, or even better than 2014, despite obvious challenges in the oil patch. Read the extensive article for all the details.


SMU, UT and UH Lead in Law Graduate Job Placements


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By Natalie Posgate – (May 5) – Law firms are hiring more Texas law school graduates than they did at the end of the Great Recession five years ago, but new statistics suggest that the legal industry’s economic recovery has gone flat or possibly even slowed during the past two years.