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Texas M&A Still in the Toilet

Legal Advisors League Table by Deal Count Texas 1L
By Natalie Posgate – (May 3) – If merger and acquisition activity for Texas-based companies looked bad in 2015, it got even worse in the first three months of 2016. Texas businesses were involved in 110 M&A deals during in Q1 2016, which is nearly an 8 percent drop from Q1 of last year and is the slowest quarter for transactional activity since the third quarter of 2013, according to Mergermarket, an independent M&A research firm.

Separately, The Texas Lawbook’s Corporate Deal Tracker shows that the M&A drought is clearly hurting lawyers based in Texas, who witnessed a 12 percent decline in the number of deals they handled during the first quarter of 2016 compared to a year earlier.

Weil Advises Oracle on Two Deals Worth $1.2B

weilx By Natalie Posgate – (May 3) – Dallas partner Jim Griffin is co-leading two Weil deal teams that are advising Oracle's $532 million acquisition of Opower and $663 million acquisition of Textura.

Sympathy for the Plaintiff: 5th Circuit Relaxing Twombly Pleading Standards?

dcoale5L By David S. Coale of Lynn Pinker – (May 3) – The Fifth Circuit recently reversed the dismissal on the pleadings of a products liability claim, noting the difficulties faced by plaintiffs who lack access to critical information in the defendants’ files. At least one other recent opinion voiced a similar concern in a Sarbanes-Oxley case. This reasoning creates some tension with Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, the Supreme Court’s 2007 landmark about proper pleading. Whether these cases signal a broader trend remains to be seen, but they definitely show receptiveness to principled arguments about the scope of Twombly.

Tom Vick Elected State Bar President

By Mark Curriden – (May 3) – Nearly 18,000 lawyers in the State Bar of Texas voted to elect family lawyer Tom Vick of Weatherford as the next president-elect of the State Bar of Texas. Meanwhile, the Texas Young Lawyers Association elected Baili Rhodes of College Station to serve as its president from June 2017 to June 2018.

Dallas Jury Awards $10.9 million to Two Choctaw Nation Charter Bus Crash Victims

By Mark Curriden – (May 2) – A jury ruled Monday that the Choctaw Nation should pay nearly $11 million to the families of two victims who died in a charter bus crash in Irving three years ago while on their way to the Choctaw Casino in Durant, Oklahoma. The verdict is a big win for plaintiff's lawyer Frank Branson, but defense attorney Tom Fee argues his client will be successful on appeal.

Austin Judge Hits Former La Grange Antiques Dealer with $1.3M Judgment - Updated

jsnell By Natalie Posgate – (May 2) – A Travis County judge on Monday awarded $1.3 million to two Santa Fe antique dealers who lost a significant amount of their jewelry collection to consignment fraud by a La Grange woman.

Federal Circuit Allows EDTX Patent Party to Continue… for Now

aalbright1L By Jeff Bounds – (May 1) – The Eastern District of Texas will remain the patent lawsuit capital of America, thanks to a decision Friday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Tech companies hoped the court would overturn a 26-year-old decision that gives patent owners wide latitude on where to file their suits. It did not.

Baker Botts Successfully Leads Business Efforts to Invalidate Houston’s Clean Air Regulations

By Susan Carroll of the Houston Chronicle – (April 30) – The Texas Supreme Court on Friday struck down Houston's air quality ordinances, ruling the city overstepped its authority to police polluters and handing industry advocates a major victory. In an 8-1 decision, the justices ruled that ordinances requiring businesses to pay registration fees and allowing criminal sanctions for emissions violations were inconsistent with state law.

Akin Gump and UT Law Team Up in Pro Bono School Police Brutality Lawsuit

nlane1L By Natalie Posgate – (April 29) – The parents of three schoolchildren have filed suit against the City of Abilene and its school district for allowing an Abilene Police Department peace officer to use excessive force against the students – including one in kindergarten at the time of the attacks.

Houston Bakery Settles Hiring-Bias Suit for $1 million

By L.M. Sixel of The Houston Chronicle – (April 29) – Lawler Foods, a Humble firm celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, has agreed to pay $1 million to compensate hundreds of unsuccessful job seekers after federal officials accused the company of telling black, white and other applicants that it would not hire them in favor of Hispanics. The EEOC sued the company in 2014 for race and national origin discrimination.

Kirkland and Sidley and V&E Advise in $1B Private Stock Offering

pipes1L By Natalie Posgate – (April 28) – Ohio-based MPLX said Wednesday that it will raise $1 billion through a private placement of 6.5 percent Series A convertible preferred units.

Kirkland, Latham and Thompson & Knight Advise on $375M Investment

By Natalie Posgate – (April 28) – Houston-based Indigo Minerals said Thursday that it completed an equity capital raise worth $375 million that came from a group of new investors and existing investors that have backed Indigo since its 2006 inception.

After Big Jury Verdict, Both Sides may Dislike Judge’s Latest Rulings

jalibhai By Jeff Bounds – (April 26) – Although a pair of opinions Tuesday award a total of more than $77 million to Plano's AMS-TAOS, the chipmaker and California’s Intersil will likely go at it again at the Federal Circuit.

Deason and Koch Give $7 million to SMU Dedman Law for Criminal Justice Reform

ddeason1L By Mark Curriden – (April 26) – Doug Deason, the son of ACS founder Darwin Deason, was 17 in 1979 when he held a party at a neighbor’s house while they were gone. Booze flowed. Music was loud. Cops were called. Deason was charged with felony burglary. A well-connected lawyer convinced prosecutors to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor, which was expunged a year later. Deason said a felony could have ruined his life.

On Tuesday, Deason donated $3.5 million to SMU Dedman School of Law to create a legal institute that conducts innovative research and educational outreach efforts designed to promote criminal justice reform. Charles Koch gave another $3.5 million for the effort. This article has full details.

More Stories
Texas Supreme Court Chips Away at Municipal Immunity for Discretionary Acts

Texas Supreme Court Chips Away at Municipal Immunity for Discretionary Acts

The Supreme Court of Texas in two cases this month limited municipal immunity for cities engaged in discretionary activity. The court ruled in a third case that city…

A Sluggish Start for the IPO Market in 2016

A Sluggish Start for the IPO Market in 2016

U.S. IPO activity in Q1 fell to its lowest level since the height of the financial crisis in 2009.…

Lawsuit Claims Dallas Bar Exam Prep Company Violated ADA

Lawsuit Claims Dallas Bar Exam Prep Company Violated ADA

Dallas-based BarBri, Inc. continues to violate the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to properly accommodate blind law students who use BarBri’s online and other services to prepare…



Frank Branson: A Passion for Law, Life & Big Jury Verdicts

fbranson1L By Mark Curriden – (March 11) – Frank Branson has tried more than 100 cases to a verdict. His clients are ordinary people who have been horribly injured and business leaders who have been screwed over by unscrupulous partners. He’s won 20 or more multimillion-dollar jury verdicts.

The courtroom victories are the reason Branson is widely recognized as one of the great plaintiff’s lawyers in the U.S., as the combined jury verdicts and settlements he's secured for his clients approaches $1 billion.

Mike Wortley – 'A Rock in the World of Corporate Law'

mwortley1L By Mark Curriden – (March 11) – Michael Wortley represented Goldman Sachs in Dell's IPO and then he advised Dell in its purchase of Perot Systems. He was the lawyer who took Southland Corp. and 7-Eleven private. He represented real estate and investment firm Trammel Crow in its sale to CBRE. He led the merger that created Pioneer Natural Resources.

Seasoned GCs agree that Wortley is one of the best corporate lawyers to ever practice law in Texas. He advised corporations in more than 120 major mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and initial public offerings – transactions that had a combined value of more than $250 billion.

Richard Mithoff: Million-dollar Verdicts that Save Lives

rmithoffL1 By Mark Curriden – (March 11) – Richard Mithoff has won scores of million-dollar verdicts and settlements for his clients in various personal injury, products liability, commercial and contract disputes. He represented families of elderly people killed in 2005 on a bus fleeing Hurricane Rita and the families of men killed that same year at the BP Texas City explosion – securing multimillion-dollar judgments for victims in both tragedies.

“He wins the old fashioned way – by out-thinking, outworking and outperforming his opposition,” said former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Phillips.

Use your Texas Lawbook user-name and password to access articles on the Lions of the Texas Bar website.


Lawyers & Firms

Enterprise Products Names Hap Weitzel as GC

Enterprise Products Names Hap Weitzel as GC

Houston-based Enterprise Products has named career commercial litigator Harry “Hap” Weitzel, a 1987 graduate of…

Former FleetPride GC Joins K&L Gates in Dallas

Jill Louis says her experience in-house helps her understand the pressures of being a GC…

Environmental Expert Returns to Private Practice at Gardere

Laura Whiting was most recently in-house at Occidental Chemical Corp., where she was senior counsel…

Judge Barbara Lynn to be Northern District’s Next Chief Judge

Judge Barbara Lynn to be Northern District’s Next Chief Judge

U.S. Chief Judge Jorge Solis announced Tuesday that U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn will succeed…

Barnes & Thornburg Launches Corporate M&A Practice in Dallas

Barnes & Thornburg Launches Corporate M&A Practice in Dallas

John Willding is the ninth lawyer to join Barnes & Thornburg in Dallas since the…

Greenberg Traurig Bolsters Litigation Practice in Dallas

Greenberg Traurig Bolsters Litigation Practice in Dallas

Three more lawyers from DLA Piper - including Dallas office managing partner Karl Dial -…

Porter Hedges Boosts Energy Transactional Team

Porter Hedges Boosts Energy Transactional Team

James Thompson focuses his practice on representing major and independent energy companies, oilfield service providers…

Polsinelli Adds Depth to Corporate Practice in Dallas

Polsinelli Adds Depth to Corporate Practice in Dallas

John Dickey focuses his practice on private equity, corporate finance and capital markets-related work. …

Kate Cassidy Takes You Out to The Ballgame

Kate Cassidy Takes You Out to The Ballgame

Lawyers boast about the view from their office windows, but none can match the scene…

Alston & Bird Adds More Depth to Finance Practice in Dallas

Michael Thimmig is the eighth finance partner and 13th attorney overall to join the Atlanta-based…

Kirkland Bolsters Tax Practice in Houston

Kirkland Bolsters Tax Practice in Houston

Chad McCormick, who lateraled from Baker Botts, is the third partner to join Kirkland's Houston…

Chron: New Managing Partner for Bracewell

<em>Chron</em>: New Managing Partner for Bracewell

Houston attorney Greg Bopp, who represents energy giants such as Kinder Morgan in megadeals, has…

Winstead Names New Houston Managing Shareholder

Winstead Names New Houston Managing Shareholder

Winstead said Thursday it has named commercial litigator Tom Van Arsdel as the new managing…

Duane Morris Gets New Houston Leadership, Eyes Texas Growth

Duane Morris Gets New Houston Leadership, Eyes Texas Growth

Intellectual property partner Thomas Sankey will lead Duane Morris’ Houston office as its new managing…

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Lawyers in the News

Frank Branson
David Coale
Tom Fee
Jim Griffin
Baili Rhodes
Jason Snell
Tom Vick
Chad Watt

Firms in the News

Fee Smith
Law Firm of Frank Branson
Lynn Pinker Cox
The Snell Law Firm

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 deal/offering count primarily and value secondarily. The data includes the announcement date, the names of the companies involved and the lawyers and their law firms. These charts are up to date as of April 15, 2016.

Please contact us if you see any information that is inaccurate or missing.

Click on each Chart to see a full listing:

M&A Deal Count by Law Firm (Q1 2016) L1
M&A Deal Count by Lead Lawyers (Q1 2016) L1
M&A Deal Count by Sector (Q1 2016) L1
Texas M&A 2016- The Lawyers, Firms and Deals L1
Securities Offerings by Law Firm (Q1 2016) L1
Total Deal Count by Law Firm (M&A + Securities) - Q1 2016 L1
Texas Securities Offerings 2016- The Lawyers, Firms and Issuers L1
Securities Offering Count by Lead Lawyer IC L1
Securities Offering Count by Lead Lawyer IU L1
Securities Offering Count by Lead Lawyer UU L1

Low Oil Prices Sink 2015 Texas M&A Activity

By Natalie Posgate – (Feb. 9) – M&A deals involving Texas-based companies declined 23 percent last year, according to Mergermarket. The downturn was significantly more pronounced in the energy sector, which saw a near 40 percent decline in deal-making in 2015 from the year before. As a result, 16 of the top 25 corporate law firms representing companies saw a decline in their Texas-based M&A work – some by as much as 45 percent.

There is good news, however, from The Texas Lawbook’s Corporate Deal Tracker, which shows many of the law firms that lost deal work from Texas oil and gas companies generated a sizeable amount of work – as much as 53 percent – from clients outside of Texas.


V&E: Still the King of the Oil Patch

By Natalie Posgate – HOUSTON (Feb. 11) –The Houston-based law firm has dominated M&A league tables for law firms representing Texas-based businesses for as long as such accounting has taken place, thanks to its strength in advising clients in the energy sector. As a result, V&E reported record revenues and profits in 2014, as the lawyers in its Texas offices generated more than $1 million in revenues each. But many legal industry observers and competitors privately predicted V&E’s legacy of supremacy in Texas M&A would end in 2015. V&E certainly seemed vulnerable. But the firm still remained at the top.

Find out why in this article.


Chris LaFollette: The No. 1 Texas M&A Dealmaker in 2015

clafollette2 By Natalie Posgate – HOUSTON (Feb. 11) – The Houston Akin Gump partner led more M&A deals than any other lawyer in the Lone Star State this past year. The Texas Lawbook sat down with LaFollette and heard her insights on M&A activity in 2015 and what’s in store for 2016.


Chris May: The Biggest Moneymaker in 2015 M&A

cmay By Natalie Posgate – (Feb. 9) – The relatively new Texan and young partner at Simpson Thacher ranks No. 1 across the state in deal value by individual lawyer – and by a lot. New data from The Texas Lawbook's Corporate Deal Tracker reveals that May led $91.7 billion worth of deals in 2015.


Financial Advisers take Hit in Texas M&A in 2015

By Mark Curriden – (Feb. 8) – Investment banks focused on oil and gas in Texas saw their M&A deal count plummet in 2015. Mergermarket shows that some financial advisers – Tudor Pickering Holt, RBC Capital, JPMorgan, Citi and Barclays – were hit harder than others. A handful of investment banks – Lazard, Credit Suisse, Piper Jaffray, BMO Capital and Lincoln International – increased the number of Texas-based deals they handled. Deloitte restructuring expert William Snyder says a few financial advisory groups are well positioned for the wave headed our way.