Senior Legal Affairs Writer for The Texas Lawbook
Mark Curriden is a lawyer and journalist for The Texas Lawbook, The Dallas Morning News, and the ABA Journal. He also holds the position of Writer in Residence at the SMU Dedman School of Law.
Mark is the author of the best selling book Contempt of Court: A Turn-of-the-Century Lynching That Launched a Hundred Years of Federalism. The book received the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award and numerous other honors. He also is a frequent lecturer at bar associations, law firm retreats, judicial conferences and other events. His CLE presentations have been approved for ethics credit in nearly every state.
From 1988 to 1994, Mark was the legal affairs writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where he covered the Georgia Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He authored a three-part series of articles that exposed rampant use of drug dealers and criminals turned paid informants by local and federal law enforcement authorities, which led to Congressional oversight hearings. A related series of articles by Mark contributed to a wrongly convicted death row inmate being freed.
The Dallas Morning News made Mark its national legal affairs writer in 1996. For more than six years, Mark wrote extensively about the tobacco litigation, alleged price-fixing in the pharmaceutical industry, the Exxon Valdez litigation, and more than 25 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. Mark also authored a highly-acclaimed 16-part series on the future of the American jury system. As part of his extensive coverage of the tobacco litigation, Mark unearthed confidential documents and evidence showing that the then Texas Attorney General, Dan Morales, had made a secret deal with a long-time lawyer and friend in which the friend would have profited hundreds of millions of dollars from the tobacco settlement. As a direct result of Mark’s articles, the U.S. Department of Justice opened a criminal investigation, which led to the indictment and conviction of Mr. Morales.
For the past 25 years, Mark has been a senior contributing writer for the ABA Journal, which is the nation’s largest legal publication. His articles have been on the cover of the magazine more than a dozen times. He has received scores of honors for his legal writing, including the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award, the American Judicature Society’s Toni House Award, the American Trial Lawyer’s Amicus Award, and the Chicago Press Club’s Headliner Award. Twice, in 2001 and 2005, the American Board of Trial Advocates named Mark its “Journalist of the Year.”
From 2002 to 2010, Mark was the senior communications counsel at Vinson & Elkins, a 750-lawyer global law firm.
Mark’s book, Contempt of Court, tells the story of Ed Johnson, a young black man from Chattanooga, Tenn., in 1906. Johnson was falsely accused of rape, railroaded through the criminal justice system, found guilty and sentenced to death – all in three weeks. Two African-American lawyers stepped forward to represent Johnson on appeal. In doing so, they filed one of the first federal habeas petitions ever attempted in a state criminal case. The lawyers convinced the Supreme Court of the United States to stay Johnson’s execution. But before they could have him released, a lynch mob, aided by the sheriff and his deputies, lynched Johnson. Angered, the Supreme Court ordered the arrest of the sheriff and leaders of the mob, charging them with contempt of the Supreme Court. It is the only time in U.S. history that the Supreme Court conducted a criminal trial.
Deputy Publisher for The Texas Lawbook
Brooks Igo joined The Texas Lawbook full-time in June 2012 as deputy publisher/sales after being a research assistant for Mark during his last semester at Southern Methodist University. Brooks graduated from SMU’s Cox School of Business in May with a B.A. in Management. He minored in Journalism and Sociology.
While at SMU, Brooks served as the College Buddy Director of Best Buddies, an organization dedicated to empowering adults with intellectual disabilities through establishing one-to-one friendships with college students, for two years. He is currently serving his first year on Best Buddies’ Dallas Advisory Board. He was also actively involved in Reformed University Fellowship, a campus ministry he is deeply indebted to.
In spring 2012, Brooks co-wrote an investigative story for The Daily Campus with fellow staffer Natalie Posgate under the leadership of Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Craig Flournoy about SMU’s non-adversarial process of handling sexual assaults on campus. The story was picked up by local news stations, Texas Monthly, The Dallas Morning News, Pegasus News and the Student Press Law Center. The story was second in a series and received a 1st place Texas Intercollegiate Press Association Award (TIPA) for In-depth Reporting.
The first story profiled Monika Korra, an SMU athlete whose courage and commitment to killing the silence around sexual assault has been well-documented by The Dallas Morning News, The Dallas Observer, and ESPN’s “Outside the Lines”. It also received a 1st place TIPA Award for News Feature Story.
Throughout most of his life, Brooks has been involved in organizations that benefit people with intellectual disabilities, including Special Olympics, the Dallas Down Syndrome Guild, Best Buddies and Citizens Development Center. Brooks owes his service to these organizations to his brother, Austin, who has Down syndrome.
Staff Writer for The Texas Lawbook
Natalie Posgate joined The Texas Lawbookin June 2012 as a staff writer. She is a recent graduate of Southern Methodist University, where she got her B.A. in convergence journalism.
While at SMU, Natalie served as the copy editor for Rotunda yearbook for two years, and frequently contributed to the student newspaper, The Daily Campus. She received two Texas Intercollegiate Press Association (TIPA) Awards for her coverage in Rotunda, and contributed to a class digital journalism project in 2011 that won the Society of Professional Journalists’ First Amendment Award for online in-depth reporting on campus crime.
In spring 2012, Natalie co-wrote an investigative story for The Daily Campus with fellow staffer Brooks Igo about SMU’s non-adversarial process of handling sexual assault on campus. The story was picked up by local news stations, Texas Monthly, The Dallas Morning News, Pegasus News and the Student Press Law Center. It received a 1st place TIPA Award for In-Depth Reporting.
Some of Natalie’s other work has been published in The Dallas Morning News, The New York Times and Texas Highways magazine.
Lifestyle Writer for The Texas Lawbook
A longtime journalist and educator, Pat Baldwin served a decade as editor-in-chief of Private Clubs, the award-winning, lifestyle magazine published by Dallas-based ClubCorp. From 1994-1997, she worked for Meredith Corporation as editor-in-chief of Golf for Women magazine. She previously had been a business writer and columnist at The Dallas Morning News and at The Dallas Times Herald. She also has 10 years experience with business journals in Houston and Austin. She holds a bachelor’s of journalism (B.J.) and a master’s of arts (M.A.) from the University of Texas at Austin and earned a Ph.D. at the University of North Texas. From 2007-2012, she was an Assistant Professor in Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She currently lectures in the School of Journalism at Texas State University.
Administrative Assistant, CASA Advocate for The Texas Lawbook