By Natalie Posgate
Staff Writer for The Texas Lawbook
Haynes and Boone has snagged three new lawyers – two in media litigation and one in intellectual property.
The Dallas-based law firm announced this week that Laura Lee Prather and Catherine Robb of Sedgwick joined the media litigation practice in Austin – Prather as a partner and Robb as a counsel. The firm also announced that Jamie McDole, an experienced litigation attorney from the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis, has joined as a partner in the Dallas office.
Prather’s specialties include commercial, intellectual property and open government litigation as well as pre-publication review work for media clients. Prather is also a veteran advocate for First Amendment rights, helping win passage of the reporter’s privilege and anti-SLAPP laws in the Texas Legislature.
In 2011, she brought together a coalition of media organizations, trial lawyers and lawsuit reform advocates to make Texas the 28th state with an anti-SLAPP law. SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, a reference to often meritless lawsuits brought to stifle public criticism. Since the law went into effect last June, it has been used by individuals, homeowner associations and media companies to win early dismissal of libel cases.
Prather was able to help enforce the anti-SLAPP law shortly after it went into effect. This past spring, Prather had success with multiple anti-SLAPP as well as summary judgment cases for clients such as The New York Times, the Better Business Bureau and Newport Television.
“We have had the pleasure of being involved in several cases for clients in which anti-SLAPP motions have been granted,” Prather said. “We anticipate more legislative efforts to protect the First Amendment rights of Texas citizens in the upcoming 2013 session.”
Prather thinks that the key issues in media litigation today include copyright infringement and who qualifies as a journalist in reporting on matters of public concern. She also believes that the “tug-of-war between privacy concerns and the need for independent oversight of governmental organizations and corporations” remains an especially relevant issue today.
“The Fourth Estate, in many ways, is under assault by technological advances which can result in skirting the ethical and legal standards of journalism,” Prather said.
Robb’s practice focuses on commercial and business litigation, First Amendment litigation, pre-publication review and editing, copyright and trademark litigation, general commercial litigation, open government issues and privacy concerns. Robb is president of the Austin Film Society and the vice-chair of the board for the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders and public television station KLRU. She also volunteers at several non-profit organizations, including Shoes for Austin, Reading is Fundamental of Austin and Volunteer Legal Services.
McDole’s work at Haynes and Boone focuses on intellectual property litigation, including Section 337 investigations before the International Trade Commission and appeals to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He has experience in several areas: preparing for and participating in several patent jury and bench trials and ITC hearings in areas of pharmaceuticals, wireless communications, semiconductors, oil and gas, payment processing, performing discovery in preparation for trials, defending and taking depositions, and negotiating and drafting settlement and license agreements to intellectual property rights.
McDole is a graduate from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. He received his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the University of Iowa. Prather received both her J.D. and B.A. from the University of Texas. Robb received her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law and her B.A. from the University of Virginia.
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