Weisbart Springer Hayes LLP Tabbed as Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation

Kevin J. Terrazas, an attorney with Austin, Texas-based Weisbart Springer Hayes LLP, has been named as a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation.kevin-terrazas-cropped-300x350

Fellows of the Foundation are selected for their outstanding professional achievements and their demonstrated commitment to the improvement of the justice system throughout the state of Texas.

Reed & Scardino Helps Tech Company Secure $23.6 Million against Apple

Austin’s Reed & Scardino LLP recently helped Mobile Telecommunications Technologies (MTel) secure a $23.6 Million jury award against Apple, Inc.

Representing the firm in the litigation in U.S. Federal Court in the Eastern District of Texas in Marshall, Texas was Daniel Scardino and Ray Mort of Reed & Scardino LLP.

Daniel-Scardino

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The case involved six patents developed in conjunction with the launch in 1995 of the first nationwide two-way wireless data network (dubbed SkyTel 2-way).  The SkyTel network received one of only a handful of “Pioneer Preference” awards form the Federal Communications Commission in 1993 for technological innovation.

MTel is the licensing arm of parent company United Wireless, which bought the SkyTel network in 2008.  The SkyTel network remains in use today primarily by first responders and the medical personnel.

At trial, Apple argued that MTel’s technology was just for “old pagers,” but MTel was able to prove through the testimony of inventors and experts that “paging” as used in the industry meant wireless data services.  Apple’s own experts ultimately conceded that the patented technology at issue in the case was not limited to use with pagers or on paging networks.  MTel argued that when Apple changed its name in January 2007 from Apple Computer, Inc. to Apple, Inc. on the same day it launched the iPhone, it signaled a new direction at Apple to focus on wireless mobile devices, and Apple used MTel’s wireless messaging technology to do it.

This successful jury verdict is the second one this year by the patent litigation group at Reed & Scardino.  In June another federal jury returned an $18.8 million verdict in favor of Reed & Scardino client EON Corporation against Silver Spring Networks, Inc.

“Our team effectively demonstrated the use of MTel’s foundational wireless messaging technology in Apple’s products,” said Daniel Scardino. “We were representing a small but highly regarded pioneer in the industry against the biggest corporation in the world.  We are very pleased with the outcome for MTel.”

The other Reed & Scardino lawyers on the case were Cary Ferchill, Henning Schmidt, Anthony Seach, Nick Wyss, Dustin Taylor, Kyle Harter, Craig Jepson, and Debra Dennett.

Also representing MTel was Deron Dacus of The Dacus Firm, PC in Tyler.

 

Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association Sets Date for Christmas Party

The Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association will host its annual holiday party on Wednesday, December 3rd.

The association will “have holiday cheer, appetizers, desserts, and wine.” The event, which is sponsored by Stratos Legal (a nationwide deposition and record retrieval service), is free for members, and $10 for non-members.

The party gets underway at 5:30 at the Old School historic bed & breakfast at 1604 East 11th Street.

RSVP at https://www.tcwla.org/events/#!event/2014/12/3/membership-holiday-party

Thompson & Knight Expands Government/Regulatory Practice, Adding Attorney to Austin Office

The law firm of Thompson & Knight LLP has announce the addition of Joseph P. Younger as Counsel in the Government/Regulatory Practice Group of the Firm’s Austin office.

“Joseph’s experience as a lawyer at the Texas Public Utility Commission will build upon the depth of expertise the Firm has in electricity-related regulatory matters, power market and electric project development issues,” said James C. Morriss III, the Firm’s Government/ Regulatory Practice Group Leader and Austin Office Leader. “We are excited to welcome him to our team.”

Younger focuses his practice on regulatory and administrative law, federal and state government affairs, and project development. As a former attorney and legal division director for the Public Utility Commission of Texas, he has specific expertise regarding energy and electric power markets. He also has experience regarding telecommunications and water rights issues.

Admitted to practice in Texas, Younger received his Ph.D. and M.A. in History from Princeton University in 2011 and 2007, respectively. He earned a J.D., with highest honors, from Columbia University School of Law in 2001 and a B.A., with high honors, in History and Latin American Studies from Haverford College in 1998. Prior to joining Thompson & Knight, Younger served as the Director of the Legal Department for the Texas Public Utility Commission. He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.

Slack & Davis Hosts Managing Partners Forum

Slack & Davis, a personal injury firm based in Austin, hosted the “Managing Partners Forum” on November 6, 2014, at Slack & Davis’ Austin office with guest speaker Judy Osborn, a lawyer for employers.

Osborn’s presentation, “What You May Not Know About Your Employees – Including Your Income Partners,” discussed employment issues facing law firms. Attendees of the Forum included managing partners of several Austin law firms.

The Managing Partners Forum will be held two or three times each year and discuss topics, such as the challenges of dealing with aging partners and guiding firm transitions. The next Forum will be hosted by Husch Blackwell in Austin early next year.

If you are interested in attending a future Forum, please contact Bonnie Zook at bzook@slackdavis.com.

Winstead PC Adds Texas-Ex to Austin Office

Winstead PC has announced the hiring of Daniel Lord as an associate to its Austin office.

Daniel LordLord, previously an associate at Thompson & Knight in Dallas, represents clients in commercial loans and workouts, CMBS related financing and the acquisition, sale and development of real property.

He received his J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law, with honors.

 

Central Texas Lawyer Blogs about Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Brad Wiewel of the Wiewel Law Firm recently wrote about Common Estate Planning Mistakes for his blog. The piece follows:

Many people who make the correct decision to create estate plans often make common mistakes while doing so or afterwards. These mistakes can be easily avoided.

It is not enough to decide to make an estate plan and to then create one. Those are just two steps in the estate planning process. People who do nothing more often make big mistakes that could have easily been avoided, as CNBC reported in a recent article titled “Trust Bust: Steer clear of the 8 biggest estate-planning mistakes.”

The CNBC list includes the following mistakes to avoid:

  • Thinking your state will handle everything – You cannot rely on the state to deal with any assets that are not covered in your estate plan.
  • Setting up a trust and forgetting about it – You need to fund your trust or having the trust does no good.
  • Setting it and forgetting it – When circumstances change, your estate plan needs to be changed as well.
  • Think all assets will follow your will and trust – Some assets such as retirement accounts might not follow your estate plan’s distribution priorities.
  • Relying on a DIY trust – You need a trust prepared by a professional, not one created by a form.
  • Giving too much too soon – Gifting during your life can be good, but not if you give everything away when you might need it later.
  • Not thinking of children’s needs – If your children have different needs, you might want to consider giving to them differently
  • Choosing the wrong trustee – It is not always a good idea to name a family member to be your trustee.

Reference: CNBC (October 22, 2014) “Trust Bust: Steer clear of the 8 biggest estate-planning mistakes”

Austin City Group of the Legal Marketing Association Wants to Buy Your Coffee Tomorrow Morning

Every so often, The Austin City Group of the Legal Marketing Association reaches out to existing or prospective members with an offer to buy your coffee and network.

Tuesday morning, the LMA will host such an event at Cafe Medici on 200 Congress Ave, starting at 7:30 a.m. and continuing till 8::30 a.m.

If you have any questions, here’s the LMA local leadership:

 

 

Texas Legal Protection Plan Changes Name to Texas Legal, Highlights Mission

Texas Legal, founded by the State Bar of Texas and the Texas Legislature in 1972, has changed its name.

Formerly known as “Texas Legal Protection Plan,” Texas Legal offers comprehensive legal coverage for every stage in life such as adoptions, divorces and estate planning. Membership in Texas Legal covers legal expenses much like health insurance covers medical expenses. A low monthly fee gives members access to a network of attorneys throughout the state.

“Texas Legal provides Texans an affordable way to pay for most legal issues,” James “Jim” Buck, president of Texas Legal, said. “Hiring an attorney or having funds readily available when an attorney is needed is a challenging task for most consumers. We help Texans get the legal help they need and make the process easy for them.”

According to a study conducted by the Research Intelligence Group, 58 million Americans sought an attorney during 2012, and 110 million have sought legal counsel at least once in their lives. This underscores the importance of having a legal plan in place to help consumers remove the uncertainty about seeking legal services.

Texas Legal provides legal insurance for companies, groups and individuals throughout the state. It is the only nonprofit legal insurance company in Texas that offers plans for individuals who are not part of a group plan.

The policy for one year for a family costs about the same as one hour of an attorney’s time and can be used for a wide variety of legal issues, including estate planning, adoptions, divorce, foreclosure, identity theft, traffic tickets, bankruptcy and more. The member can choose his/her attorney from a network of attorneys across the state and can use different attorneys depending on the issue they are facing. Texas Legal members also have unlimited access to a free legal hotline.

To learn more about Texas Legal, visit www.texaslegal.org.

Greenberg Traurig Expands Austin Office by Five Attorneys

Greenberg Traurig LLP has announced the hire of five attorneys and one director across various practice areas including real estate, energy regulatory, corporate & securities and government law & policy to its Austin office.

The group includes shareholders Joshua Bernstein, Todd Kimbrough and Elizabeth Rogers, along with associates William Teten, Jr. and Katie Van Dyk. Rounding out the group is Government Law & Policy senior director, Dr. Jennifer McEwan.

Bernstein focuses his practice on transactional real estate matters, with an emphasis on homebuilding, development, and the establishment and governance of master planned communities, property owners’ associations and condominiums. Bernstein’s clients include national and regional homebuilders, as well as owners and developers of property, whom he regularly assists with respect to financing, acquisition, development, governance, leasing, management and sale of both residential properties (including single-family residential, multi-family residential and condominium properties) and commercial projects (including office, retail, hotel and entertainment assets). He also advises institutional clients and individuals on general business and corporate matters. Bernstein received his J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law and his B.A. from The Ohio State University.

Kimbrough focuses his practice on regulatory and market issues for participants in electricity markets in the United States and abroad. This work has included the drafting and negotiation of complex agreements for the construction and operation of power plants as well as numerous regulatory proceedings related to generation, transmission and rates. Kimbrough has been involved in the approval or development of more than $25 billion in electricity infrastructure improvements in the past 10 years. He has counseled utilities in rate cases, CCN proceedings and IRP approvals in Texas, Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina, and before FERC. Prior to joining the firm, Kimbrough served as General Counsel for the third largest municipal electric utility in Texas. Kimbrough received his J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, his M.S. from Texas A&M University and his B.A. from Southwestern University.

Rogers comes to the firm from her most recent position as the first Chief Privacy Officer in Texas State Government when she joined the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Office. At Greenberg Traurig, Rogers focuses her practice on data privacy and cyber security matters, including those related to privacy implications arising in mobile applications and software licensing agreements, negotiating cyber security insurance policy language, negotiating privacy and security controls in third party vendor contracts, and creating enterprise wide privacy programs to protect against-cyber security threats. Rogers received her J.D. from St. Mary’s University School of Law and her B.A. from The University of Texas at El Paso.

Teten, Jr. joins the firm as a corporate associate and concentrates his practice on mergers and acquisitions, private equity, project development, capital markets and corporate governance. Teten received his J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center and his B.A. from The University of Texas.

Van Dyk has experience working on various commercial and residential real estate matters, including real estate transactions, land use, entitlements, and condominium and homeowners association matters. She is experienced at handling complex real estate transactions and in dealing with subdivision and zoning issues with city staff and the Land Use Commissions and City Councils in Austin and the surrounding cities. Van Dyk received her J.D. from Tulane University Law School and her B.B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin.

McEwan is experienced in advocacy and policy research for regional and statewide mobility coalitions, chamber organizations, trade associations, institutions of higher learning and public education coalitions, in addition to numerous statewide appointed task forces and the Sunset Advisory Commission. McEwan is also experienced developing and implementing strategies and supporting data for advocacy, working with state legislators, and county judges and other elected officials regarding transportation and infrastructure policy issues. McEwan received her Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin, her M.A. from Texas State University – San Marcos and her B.A. from Texas A&M University.