More than 360 of the leading corporate lawyers in North Texas packed the George W. Bush Institute Thursday night to honor the best general counsel and business lawyers of 2018.
The legal departments of AT&T and Toyota Motor North America took home multiple awards. The chief legal officers at Adeptus Health, EnLink Midstream Partners and Match.com won General Counsel of the Year awards. Senior counsel at Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, Capital One and NGP Energy also were honored for significant successes during 2018.
The DFW Outstanding Corporate Counsel Awards, hosted by the Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel and The Texas Lawbook, are the most prestigious, comprehensive and substantive awards focusing on the practice of business law in North Texas.
The event kicked off with the presentation of the Pro Bono/Public Service Award for 2018 going to Texas Capital Bank General Counsel Kelly Rentzel, who was featured recently in an in-depth profile in The Texas Lawbook on her journey as a corporate lawyer with a bipolar disorder.
As previously announced, the ACC-DFW and The Lawbook presented Mark Berg, a long-time lawyer and executive at Pioneer Natural Resources, with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The legal department at Toyota won two major honors. Toyota General Counsel Sandra Phillips Rogers won the Diversity of the Year Award. Three-fifths of the 54 Toyota attorneys are women, while 40 percent are lawyers of color. Toyota instructs its outside counsel handling its matters to track diversity and inclusion metrics. The Toyota legal team also received the Creative Partnership Award, which promotes innovative ways that in-house lawyers work with their outside counsel.
The 2018 Business Litigation of the Year Award went to AT&T, which won two huge courtroom victories last year. In June, AT&T General Counsel David McAtee, assistant GCs Bill Drexel, Jim Meza and Heather New and partners in the Dallas office at Gibson Dunn defeated the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust case trying to prevent AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner. Two months later, the AT&T legal team joined with partners at the Tillotson Law Firm and Reese Marketos to defeat a $4 billion false advertising case brought by the Federal Trade Commission.
AT&T assistant GCs Drexel, Meza and New also were awarded the Senior Counsel of the Year Award for Large Legal Departments.
The other corporate legal departments and lawyers who received the 2018 Outstanding Corporate Counsel Awards were:
• Rookie of the Year, which is a new category that recognizes a younger corporate in-house counsel with three years of experience or less, went to NGP Energy Assistant General Counsel Christina Sanders;
• General Counsel of the Year for a Small Legal Department was awarded to Adeptus Health General Counsel Timothy Mueller;
• General Counsel of the Year for a Mid-sized Legal Department was awarded to EnLink Midstream Partners Chief Legal Officer Alaina Brooks;
• General Counsel of the Year for a Large Legal Department went to Match Group General Counsel Jared Sine;
• Senior Counsel of the Year for a Small Legal Department went to Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits Vice President for Labor and Employment Lauren Mutti;
• Senior Counsel of the Year for a Mid-sized Legal Department was awarded to Capital One Associate General Counsel Elizabeth Chostner; and
• M&A Deal of the Year went to RSP Permian General Counsel James Mutrie and its outside lawyers at Vinson & Elkins for the company’s $9.5 billion sale to Concho Resources.