This edition of P.S. features a new bank that joined a program that finances civil legal services in Texas through IOLTA accounts, a firm that recently became Mansfield 6.0 certified, recent awards received by Texas law students and law schools and law school staff and faculty for their dedication to pro bono, two lifetime achievement awards, a Texas firm’s recognition for its veteran pro bono work and an ABOTA civil and ethics-oriented award given to a special prosecutor in the Ken Paxton impeachment trial.
The Texas Lawbook’s exclusive Corporate Deal Tracker lists the law firms whose Texas lawyers were lead counsel in M&A transactions for the buyers, sellers and targets between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31 this year. Sixteen of them led 10 deals or more, six were lead counsel on 25 or more transactions, two firms led 50 or more deals and one firm’s Texas lawyers have been lead counsel on more than 100 M&A transactions during the first 10 months of 2023.
Texas lawyers for Kirkland & Ellis officially crossed the 100-deal count threshold and the $100 billion deal value mark in October, according to exclusive new Texas Lawbook Corporate Deal Tracker
A new antitrust lawsuit filed in Texas names more than 30 real estate companies and associations across the state that home sellers QJ Team and Five Points Holdings allege have participated in a conspiracy developed by the National Association of Realtors that saddles home sellers with costs that should be borne by buyers. The proposed class action lawsuit alleges the practice results in inflated commissions and increased home prices. Last month in a similar lawsuit, a federal jury issued a $1.78 billion verdict to the sellers of about 260,000 homes in Missouri, Kansas and Illinois.
A recent Mergermarket survey of top global private equity executives yielded few surprises concerning the once and future deal environment. The survey, conducted on behalf of Dechert, revealed that more than a quarter of respondents cited interest rates as the most important factor in determining deal development in the next 12 months. Among the few surprises, however, was the overwhelming and newly found attraction to take-private deals. The Roundup looks at the data, as well as the firms and lawyers behind 15 Texas-related transactions reported last week.
A jury that heard three days of testimony in a contentious lawsuit where attorney Justin Pfeiffer was seeking $32,000 in back wages from his former firm, Berg & Androphy, unanimously decided after about an hour of deliberations Monday that no employment contract agreement existed between the parties. The lawsuit pitted Pfeiffer, now a partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, against Houston trial lawyer David Berg.
When Jackson Walker leaders confronted its partner, Elizabeth Freeman, in 2021 and 2022 about reports that she was in a romantic relationship with then Chief Bankruptcy Judge David Jones, Freeman assured them that “there was no ongoing intimate relationship with Judge Jones,” according to a court document filed Monday afternoon by lawyers for Jackson Walker.
“Jackson Walker did not know of any ongoing intimate relationship between Ms. Freeman and Judge Jones until 2022 when it learned, quite by accident, that Ms. Freeman’s denial was possibly false or at least no longer true,” the firm states in a five-page filing titled “Preliminary Response of Jackson Walker to Recent Filings by the Office of the United States Trustee.”
Litigation Roundup: Client Sues Winston; SCOTUS Clears Path for Environmental Suit; McKool Awarded $4.7M in Fees
Last week was business for lawyers and judges inside the courtroom and publicly. Texas voters by a nearly two-to-one margin rejected Proposition 13, which would have raised the mandatory retirement age for state judges from 75 to 79. In litigation, two energy companies sued Winston & Strawn for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty; The U.S. Supreme Court refused to halt an environmental trial set to start later this month in Louisiana against BP America, Shell Oil and Hilcorp Energy in which the plaintiffs seek $7 billion in damages; a Dallas jury awarded McKool Smith in $4.7 million in legal fees; and Akin scored a win for Elon Musk’s SpaceX in an immigration dispute.
Eight general counsel and senior counsel from Baker Hughes, Beneficient, Cart.com, City of Grand Prairie, McDermott, Transocean, Trillium Flow Technologies and Westlake Chemical, were honored Thursday night in Austin by the Texas General Counsel Forum for their accomplishments and leadership in 2022 and 2023. The 17th annual Magna Stella Awards went to four women and four men on topics ranging from major transaction and major litigation of the year to general counsel for large and small corporate legal departments. The Texas Lawbook was there and has full details.Photo: Andres Sotomayor