Perry Draws $133,000 from State Account to Pay Attorneys

The Texas Tribune has reported that Gov. Rick Perry has billed taxpayers approximately $133,000 to pay the attorneys who are defending him against public corruption charges.

After he was criticized for this practice, his office announced that in the future, he would use campaign funds to compensate his legal team, according to the media outlet.

It went on to detail the fact that Perry has used state money to pay $98,000 to Botsford & Roark, the firm of his lead criminal defense attorney David Botsford, who reportedly charges $450 an hour. Perry’s office has also spent $15,000 to hire the Houston-based law firm Baker Botts and $19,890 to hire attorney Jack Bacon.

Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed told the Texas Tribune ( that “the firms worked with the Governor’s Office attorneys to protect the governor’s interest during the grand jury process, including legal research, witness interviews, and dealing with the court and the prosecutor on a broad range of issues.”Perry’s office has defended the expenditures as “appropriate because he believes the charges against him — which he says were politically motivated — stem from his duties as governor.”

University of Texas School of Law Set to Host Annual Sports Law Symposium on September 12

Featuring a strong cast of speakers, the 2014 Texas Review of Entertainment and Sports Law (TRESL) annual symposium promises to be this year’s can’t-miss sports law event in Austin.

The symposium, which is entitled “Shifting Landscapes: New Approaches to Entertainment and Sports Law” and will be held on September 12 at the Eidman Courtroom at the University of Texas School of Law, gets off to a traditional start at 8:30 a.m. with breakfast and registration.

But there will be nothing traditional from that point forward with some highly stimulating panels.

The first panel is entitled “Issues with Ownership: How Streaming Changes the Industry” and features Adam Mandell of Millen White Zelano & Branigan PC, Ed Fair, Amy Mitchell, and Lisa Normand of Haynes and Boone, LLP.

That panel will be followed at 10:45 by “The Evolving Landscape of College Athletics” and another select cast of speakers: Gregg Clifton and Ben Tulis, both of Jackson Lewis.2012 spring 027 (2)

Mark Conrad, the Director, Sports Business Concentration, of the Gabelli School of Business at Fordham University, will be the luncheon speaker, providing insights into “New Technologies, Sports and the FCC — How the Role of Communications Policy Shapes the Business Models.”

He’ll be followed by Red McCombs, former owner of the Spurs, Nuggets and Vikings, as well as the namesake of the McCombs School of Business at UT, who is tentatively set to speak at 1 p.m.

“Balancing Legal Ethics in a Non-Stop Media World” will be the next panel discussion, hosted by Carla Varriale of Havkins, Rosenfeld Ritzert & Varriale and sports law journalist Holt Hackney.

Closing out the day’s activities will be keynote speaker Andrew Brandt, beginning at 3 p.m. Brandt is Director of Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law, Villanova School of Law.

A Happy Hour will follow shortly thereafter.

Finally, 5.5 hours of TX CLE credit is available.

Austin’s Weisbart Springer Hayes Adds New Attorney Nicole LeFave

The Austin-based law firm Weisbart Springer Hayes, LLP, has announced the addition of attorney Nicole LeFave, who brings with her “a unique understanding of the federal practice from behind the bench based on her prior work for two federal judges in Texas.”

LeFave is a 2012 honors graduate of the University of Texas School of Law.Nicole_LeFave_print

Prior to joining Weisbart Springer Hayes, LeFave served as a law clerk to Judge Gregg J. Costa in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Galveston. Judge Costa now sits on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Following her work with Judge Costa, LeFave clerked for Magistrate Judge Mark P. Lane in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin.

“We are thrilled to have Nicole as a member of our team,” says attorney Geoffrey D. Weisbart, a founding member of Weisbart Springer Hayes. “She is one of the smartest and most accomplished young attorneys I’ve met, and the skills she learned in her federal court work will benefit our firm and all of our clients.”

During her clerkships, LeFave “learned firsthand the many intricacies of federal court practice based on her work in cases involving employment disputes, civil rights claims, patent infringement allegations, complex commercial disputes, and a variety of criminal matters,” according to the firm.

“As a law student, LeFave earned extensive recognition for her trial advocacy and brief writing, including Best Brief honors in the American Bar Association’s National Appellate Advocacy Competition and UT Law’s Thad T. Hutcheson Moot Court Competition. She also gained valuable experience as a student attorney representing domestic violence victims in family law cases.”

Weisbart Springer Hayes LLP focuses on business, technology, employment, and aviation litigation matters in Texas and across the nation.

Thompson & Knight LLP Announces New Associate in Austin Office

Thompson & Knight has announced that Jill Carvalho has joined the firm as an associate in the government/regulatory practice group in the Austin office.

Carvalho focuses her practice on administrative law and litigation. She has experience handling regulatory matters and has contested proceedings before numerous state agencies, including the Public Utility Commission of Texas, Texas Railroad Commission, Texas General Land Office, Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the Texas Racing Commission.

Prior to joining Thompson & Knight, she practiced in the Austin office of Andrews Kurth alongside Rex D. VanMiddlesworth, Phillip G. Oldham, Katie Coleman, and Benjamin B. Hallmark – all of whom joined Thompson & Knight earlier this month.

Before becoming an attorney, she taught undergraduate and graduate level political science classes at American University.

Austin Attorney Mike Davis Presents at Car Crash Seminar at The University of Texas School of Law

Mike Slack of Slack & Davis recently gave the following presentation, “When a Car Wreck Isn’t Just a Car Wreck,” at a University of Texas School of Law seminar involving legal issues around car accidents.

His presentation hit upon litigation of truck crash cases and auto/truck product liability cases. “It’s a timely topic because truck wrecks on U.S. highways are increasingly prevalent and the number of auto-related recalls (e.g. General Motors) is up this year,” he said, citing a recent article (

“When it comes to a large truck colliding with a passenger vehicle, the passenger vehicle loses. Texas, unfortunately, leads the nation in trucking injuries and deaths, followed by California. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) two-thirds of crashes caused by large trucks were caused by either the truck driver’s failure to recognize a potential crash risk – due to distraction or inattention – or poor decision-making such as driving too fast in hazardous conditions, following too closely, or making incorrect assumptions about the other driver’s actions.

“Vehicle safety is also important. Crashes should not be caused by defects in our vehicles, and the vehicle should be designed to maintain and protect occupants inside the passenger compartment. Tire safety is particularly important in summer months in hot-weather states like Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and across the South. We see way too many injuries and deaths caused by tread separation in defective tires or tires that are too old for safe use. Another concern, not only during summer vacation months but also year round, is making sure that child safety seats provide adequate protection for young passengers.”

University of Texas School of Law Student Receives Scholarship from Austin Law Firm

Broden & Mickelsen, a federal and state criminal defense law firm, announced the winner of a scholarship available only to law students in Texas.

Hensleigh Crowell, a second year student at the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, was chosen among a group of highly qualified applicants. Crowell has an undergrad in psychology and is enrolled full time, concentrating on criminal law. In her past, Crowell worked for the Innocence Project, a non-profit dedicated to exonerating the wrongfully convicted.

“I’m incredibly grateful for the Broden & Mickelson Criminal Law Student Scholarship,” said Crowell. “I came to law school knowing that I wanted to spend my career working to reduce our country’s reliance on mass incarceration, but I was also aware that this type of work is not always popular and certainly not well-funded. This scholarship financially enabled me to work at a Public Defender Office, delivering my first real world experience in criminal defense.”

Clint Broden, attorney at Broden & Mickelsen, said the scholarship’s purpose was “to find and help an exemplary student like Crowell. Crowell’s dedication to criminal defense aligns with our firm and the greater criminal justice community. We look forward to seeing her graduate and grow in her pursuit of defending the accused.”

“Criminal defense is often an unpopular choice for law students,” said attorney Mick Mickelsen. “It’s a field that is less lucrative then business or corporate law, yet that doesn’t make it any less important. Broden and I created the scholarship to reward Texas law students aligned with criminal defense and to encourage employment with a Federal Public Defender Office.”

Clint Broden and Mick Mickelsen were both Federal Public Defenders in Texas. The experience greatly, they said, affected their passion and skill for criminal defense and led to the opening of their own law firm in 1998. Broden & Mickelsen founded the scholarship in 2014 to provide financial assistance to students and encourage a similar career path.


Last Day to Register for ALA’s 16th Annual Legal Expo

Today is the last day to register for the 16th Annual Legal Expo, which is set for the afternoon of August 28 at the W Hotel on Lavaca St.

The event, which costs $40, is produced by the Austin Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators, with support from the Austin City Group of the Legal Marketing Association.

The festivities start at noon with a luncheon, followed by the Expo portion at 1 p.m., an educational session at 3:15, and a Happy Hour at 4:30.

The topic for the education session is:

Cyber security, data breach, cyber extortion, business interruption, and public relations. We hear something about this in the news daily and professional firms seem to be the newest targets. If these and other related issues are keeping you awake at night, plan to attend the Austin ALA Chapter’s Summer Educational Seminar and Legal EXPO to hear our panel discuss these issues and what you can do about them to be sure your firm and clients are protected.
Register for the event here:


Amanda Jester Finds Success as a Healthcare Lawyer in the Austin Office of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis

An integral member of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP’s expansive national healthcare department, Amanda Jester seemed destined for a successful career in healthcare law from the moment she received her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 2003.

Shortly thereafter, Jester went to work for a law firm in Washington D.C., where her grasp of the regulatory aspects of healthcare law turned heads.Jester-Amanda-K-mobile

Ten years later, she has developed a legal expertise around guiding investors, owners and operators in mergers, acquisitions, dispositions, joint ventures, contracting and compliance issues.  Her work has earned her recognition in the prestigious Chambers USA as well as caught our eye as a worthy subject for an interview.

Question: How would you describe your practice?

Answer: My practice is focused on the healthcare industry.  I structure and execute transactions in the healthcare industry in order to maintain compliance with applicable federal and state regulations and to achieve operational efficiencies.

Q: What do you like most about this area of law?

A: I enjoy navigating the dynamics between the various players in the industry.  Doctors, hospitals, payers and, of course, patients, all play different but integral roles.  I also love shepherding a transaction to close where the sellers are reaping the rewards of their lives’ work.

Q: How is this area of law changing?

A: Healthcare law is in constant flux.  Federal and state laws are changing to eliminate fraud and waste, and maximize access to and quality of care.  State laws that regulate licensed professionals and facilities are also changing to accommodate and regulate new methods of healthcare delivery and technology.

Q: Is there anyone you would like to single out, who has positively influence your path in the law?

A: My partner, Brent Hill, has been a great mentor to me.  He is not only an excellent lawyer, but also understands the business of law.

Austin Attorneys Write for Inside Counsel Magazine

Drew McEwen and Kevin Oldham, who both serve as senior counsel for Dykema’s Austin office, recently wrote an article for Inside Counsel Magazine on “Being an effective inside counsel for your company’s tax department.”

“Inside counsel for today’s businesses are often required to play many different roles: monitor, researcher, business advisor, counselor and gatekeeper, to name just a few,” the article begins. “In order to successfully navigate these multiple roles, many in-house attorneys are finding it necessary to open up lines of communication with other key departments within the business. The increased responsibility placed on inside counsel requires extensive intra-business communication to ensure that in-house attorneys are informed of all activities that may have a legal impact on the organization. Unfortunately, in many instances, there is a disconnect between inside counsel and an organization’s tax department.”

To see the full article, visit:


Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody Hires New Associate

Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody has announced the hire of Jennifer L. Smith as an associate.

Smith, formerly of Gardere Wynne, focuses her practice on mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance within the entertainment, manufacturing, healthcare and energy industries. She has broad experience representing a variety of clients from private equity groups to global oil and gas companies. Her practice also includes reorganizations as well as private equity and debt financings.

Smith earned her J.D. at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, cum laude, in December 2008; and aBachelor of Healthcare Administration at Texas State University in 2000.