Texas Ex Appointed Director of Intellectual Property

Birmingham-based Southern Research has announced that Thomas Blasey has been named director of intellectual property. Blasey will lead Southern Research’s IP functions, including the identification, evaluation and protection of intellectual property, as well as the transfer of technology through the commercialization process.

Blasey earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering at Rice University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Texas at Austin.

He has an extensive background in the strategic management of intellectual property, including the design, management and leveraging of IP portfolios consisting of a wide variety of technologies. From 2001 to 2015, he served as chief intellectual property counsel for ITT Defense, ITT Corporation and ITT’s aerospace, defense and information solutions spinoff, Exelis Inc.

“Tom brings with him vast experience in intellectual property management from both the business and legal perspectives,” said Allison Taylor, vice president and general counsel, Southern Research. “He will play a strategic role in the development of appropriate technology transfer paths, maximizing the value of Southern Research’s intellectual property assets, and bringing together Southern Research scientists/engineers with external partners.”

Blasey is active in a number of professional organizations, including the American Bar Association, American Intellectual Property Law Association, Licensing Executives Society, Association of Corporate Counsel, and Federal Circuit Bar Association, of which he is currently co-chair of its Corporate Counsel Committee. Additionally, he is past chair of the Aerospace Industries Association’s Intellectual Property Committee, which, among other endeavors, monitors developments in data rights regulations and other intellectual property issues relevant to the aerospace and defense industry.

Is Your Outdated Bio Costing You Opportunities?

Food for thought …

By Cheryl Bame

A timely topic or news story is the core of what PR professionals use to secure media placements. What accompanies that pitch more often than anything else is an attorney’s bio describing his or her experience related the topic of that pitch. Yet, the bio can ruin the opportunity because of outdated information or the absence of related experience. In my opinion, a bio is the most ignored piece of content on a law firm website.

Lawyers often neglect keeping their bios fresh, let alone updating them on a regular basis. As a result, not only are PR opportunities missed because reporters can’t find sources when searching a site, but new business opportunities are missed because a potential new client is looking at stale information.

Nancy Slome, a principal at One to One Interactive, says the most important aspect of any law firm website is well written and updated attorney bios.

Nancy recently spoke at the Legal Marketing Association’s Bay Area Tech Conference about the importance of keeping an attorney’s professional bio fresh. She says surveys indicate that 80 percent of traffic to law firm websites goes to lawyer bios – and 78 percent of corporate general counsel use lawyer bios in selecting outside counsel.

Think about that. It’s not the firm’s practice group descriptions, pro bono activities, or its history that get the eyeballs. It’s the attorney bios. That makes sense because, after all, a client or prospective client wants to know as much as he or she can about the lawyers who they are trusting to handle their work.

Nancy suggests making changes at least twice a year – as often as you visit the dentist.  The better option is to review your bio four times a year with updated content such as articles, speaking engagements as well as new matters and client successes.

A lawyer bio should include, at the very least:

  1. What type of work the lawyer does and for what type of clients
  2. A sample of representative matters, past and present
  3. Why that experience is relevant to a potential new client
  4. Any unusual methods that the lawyer uses: is she well known for great results through mediation? For using project management techniques to reduce costs and simplify matters? For preventing class actions from getting off the ground?

This is what the client or prospective client really wants to know – not where the lawyer went to law school or what clerkships he or she held. The worst thing you can do to your bio is lead with that information that is least important.

– See more at: http://www.legalpradvice.com/is-your-outdated-bio-costing-you-opportunities/#sthash.NfUqCKGb.dpuf

Austin Attorney Named Chair of Women’s Leadership Initiative of Urban Land Institute Austin

Carey Gunn Venditti, a shareholder in the Austin office of Greenberg Traurig, LLP, has been named the 2015-2016 chair of the inaugural Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) Council for ULI Austin, a local District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI).

Created nationally in 2012, WLI was formed to raise the visibility and number of women leaders in ULI and the real estate industry, in general. Since its creation, WLI has formed in more than 20 ULI District Councils across the country, and this will be the first time to have WLI in Austin.

“I am honored to have been chosen as the 2015-2016 chair of the inaugural Women’s Leadership Initiative for ULI Austin. I am excited to have the opportunity to promote WLI’s mission here in Austin among the incredible ULI Austin members, as well as within the real estate community at large,” said Venditti.

“We are proud of Carey for assuming this leadership role, and for her dedication to promoting and supporting women in the industry,” said Darrell R. Windham, co-managing shareholder of the firm’s Austin office. “This is further validation of the respect and admiration Austin real estate professionals have for Carey.”

Venditti advises both developers and investors on legal matters related to acquisition, disposition, development, build-out, and administration of commercial, mixed-use, residential planned community, and condominium projects, including various public-private partnerships.

Litigator Joins Pillsbury in Austin

Pillsbury has announced the addition of commercial litigator Casey Low as a partner in its Austin office.

Low is a trial and appellate lawyer whose clients include Fortune 500 businesses, international corporations and startups across many industries, including health care, technology, aviation, energy, financial services and real estate. His practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, including antitrust claims; tortious interference, defamation and business disparagement matters; False Claims Act and securities claims; and white collar cases.

“The firm is pleased to add such a highly regarded trial attorney to our ranks,” said Firm Chair Jim Rishwain. “We are taking decisive steps toward expansion in Austin. We have grown to 18 lawyers since opening our office in April 2014, including the addition of six new partners just this year. Casey’s practice is a great fit for our platform.”

Low received his J.D. from Harvard Law School and served as a Judicial Clerk for the Hon. Priscilla R. Owen in the Texas Supreme Court. He is admitted to practice in Texas.

Texas Attorney General Crows About 5th Circuit Victory

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed Texas’ top lawyer, Attorney General Ken Paxton, a legal victory, and his office quickly pounced it.

In a press release, Paxton said he had “secured a major victory against the Obama Administration’s illegal attempt to unilaterally change national immigration law. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district court decision halting the president’s executive amnesty plan, ruling in favor of the Texas-led coalition of 26 states. The Court ruled that the president has “no statutory authority” to take his unilateral action.”

in a statement, he added that the panel “asserted that the separation of powers remains the law of the land, and the president must follow the rule of law, just like everybody else. Throughout this process, the Obama Administration has aggressively disregarded the constitutional limits on executive power, and Texas, leading a charge of 26 states, has secured an important victory to put a halt to the president’s lawlessness.

“I commend Gov. Abbott for his leadership on this issue, as well as the talent and hard work of Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller, who along with his team has so eloquently and expertly argued our case.”


TCWLA November Luncheon: Career Building Blocks – Rainmaking and Work Life Balance

The Travis County Womens Lawyers Association will host a panel discussion with Karen Burgess of Richardson + Burgess, Amanda Taylor of Martens, Todd, Leonard, Taylor & Ahlrich, Wendy Larson of Pirkey Barber, and Frances Jones of the Law Firm of Frances Jones on November 18, 2015.

The discussion will center on “building blocks to a successful career, from client development to work life balance.” Specifically, the panel will discuss how they “develop business, maintain client relationships, handle difficult opposing counsel, and handle work life balance.”

WhenWednesday, November 18, 2015 from 11:45am – 1:00pm

Where: McGinnis Lochridge, 600 Congress, Suite 2100

Sponsoring the event is HSSK, LLC, which specializes in business valuation, litigation support, and financial restructuring.

Lunch tickets are available for purchase for $10 for TCWLA members and $15 for non-members.

To register, visit https://www.tcwla.org/events/#!event/register/2015/11/18/tcwla-november-luncheon-career-building-blocks-rainmaking-and-work-life-balance

Key to Understanding Millennials? Dispelling the Myths…

(Editor’s Note: From Austin-based B2 Management and Consulting)

We have heard all the stereotypes…Millennials are an entitled, selfish generation who don’t understand loyalty or commitment and who don’t respect authority.  The disconnect has caused many a recruiter headaches and frustrated upper management.  But it’s a miscommunication worth fixing considering that Millennials are 35% of the working population.  By 2020, they will make up almost half of the workforce.  If Baby Boomers want to retire, they need to embrace these young professionals in order to pass the baton effectively.

  • Myth #1:  Millennials feel entitled.  While its true Millennials don’t feel the need to start at the bottom to work their way up to the top, the fact that they want to make a difference and have energy and passion to burn should be embraced.   They don’t equivocate climbing the corporate ladder with professional growth.  Show them that you place a premium on career development, mentor them and match their passion for what you do and you will suddenly find the perfect employee.
  • Myth #2:  Millennials lack loyalty.  Considering that this generation is the most diverse and highly educated population in the world, they know they have something to offer corporate America.  What they are looking for in return is a way to develop their skill set.  If they don’t feel that an employer is maximizing their skills or allowing them to learn something new, it can drive them to look for other opportunities.  Offering training programs and team building activities shows you are invested in them for the long run and gives them a reason to buy in.
  • Myth #3:  Millennials are Anti-Authority. This generation definitely has a “no fear” factor…they were raised to believe they could conquer the world and that their opinion counts so its no surprise that they feel everyone is their peer.  Its not that they don’t have respect for you, but that they identify more with an individual’s contributions than with titles every time.  That kind of courage in the workplace can produce tomorrow’s leaders and should not be dissuaded.  Erase the age factor from the equation and see good things happen for your company.

All in all, Millennials have great expectations for themselves to make a difference in this world – not just in your company.  But that doesn’t mean your goals aren’t the same.  Understanding their need to contribute and produce results will help you grasp what skills they have to offer and guide them to success.  And if you want to retire some day with the world in good hands, remember that their success is your success!

Jackson Law Firm Opens New South Austin Office

Jackson Law Firm, an Austin area law firm specializing in family law, estate planning and immigration services, has announced the opening of their new South Austin office.

Jackson Law Firm owner Justin Jackson said that the firm simply outgrew their Cedar Park office and when it came time to decide whether to move into a larger office space or open a second location, the choice was clear. “South Austin is growing quickly so it made sense to open an additional office in that area,” he said. “Now we have an office conveniently located near a growing portion of our clientele.”

Houston Votes Overwhelmingly – No Men In Women’s Restrooms

(Editor’s note: The following is from public interest law professor John Banzhaf, of George Washington University School of Law, who has generally supported these rights.

“A Houston law designed to extend a broad spectrum of rights to gays and transgender people was overwhelmingly rejected by voters, but apparently primarily for only one reason.

“It was clear that the major objection was focused on what was called the ‘bathroom issue,’ since the ordinance would permit males in female restrooms if they simply claimed they felt like women.

“This is similar to a new federal ruling that an anatomical male student must be permitted to shower and change clothing with high school girls because he claims to feel like a female – one which raises some novel legal as well as social issues, says Banzhaf, who has won over 100 legal actions against illegal discrimination, and supported prohibiting illegal discrimination based upon both sexual orientation and sexual identity at his own university.

“First, said Banzhaf, the transgender student may not even be suffering discrimination in the traditional sense of being denied opportunities because of false stereotypes, as when Blacks or women are excluded solely because of their race or gender.   Indeed, the alleged “injuries,” such as lack of locker room “bonding” or “comradery,” are the same as those “suffered” by the occasional female student who plays on a male football team but, because of gender, must shower and change clothing in a separate area.

“Rather, the federal government is insisting that a special accommodation, which many feel infringes on the privacy of female students, be made.  Showering and changing facilities reserved for students with vaginas but not with penises must suddenly be open to any student with a penis solely because of that student’s internal feelings.  Presumably, an adult coach of a girls’ team who is anatomically male, but lives as a woman, would also be permitted access to naked girls while they are showering or chancing clothing.

“Second, if special accommodations have to be made for anatomical males with a mental compulsion to act like females, why shouldn’t the same principle and protections apply to transvestites – which Wikipedia notes include “heterosexual males (that is, male-bodied, male-identified, gynephilic persons) who wear traditionally feminine clothing.”  Certainly males so attired would feel awkward in a male locker room, and might even be subject to the same types of physical violence that transgender females face.

“Yet because their strong compulsion to dress and act like women does not result from any discordance about their sexual identity, they do not now enjoy the same legal rights and privileges as transgender females. and could not legally shower and change with female students.

“One may reasonably ask why this novel special accommodation – which arguably intrudes on the privacy of many female students – should be extended to anatomical male students or even coaches who have a compulsion to act and appear like women, but not to anatomical male students who may feel a compulsion which is just as strong to dress like women although they still think of themselves as male.

“Third, although it has sometimes been suggested that anatomical males seeking access to female restrooms as transgender persons for perverted or improper sexual purposes does not happen, there have been a significant number of  reports in the media of exactly such situations occurring.  This appears to have been the major concern of Houstan voters, and led to the resounding defeat of the entire ordinance.”

Austin Attorney Looks at Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples

Austin attorney Brad Wiewel of the Wiewel Law Firm (http://www.texastrustlaw.com/) recently blogged about the important issue of money issues and estate planning for unmarried couples, which follows:

“Whether a couple is married or unmarried, there are invariably many money issues for them to consider – and some valuable financial moves to make. Here are some tips for those in the not-married camp. A bad way to manage your joint and separate finances is to just wing it. Do so, and one or both of you can end up feeling resentful because of various irritations or an overall sense of unfairness – such as if one party is spending much more than the other thinks is best.

“The Motley Fool says to talk things out and have a plan when it comes to financial issues in“Financial Moves Unmarried Couples Should Consider Making.” In addition, the author suggests that couples discuss which income and assets are joint and which, if any, are to remain separate.

“Calculate how much money is coming into the household and how you both want it to be spent. Create a budget and a plan for keeping it. Plan for retirement savings and other savings goals, like a down payment on a house or college expenses. Most of all, live below your means. This is especially true if one or both partners have substantial debt. Make it a priority to get that paid off.

“Unmarried couples don’t have some of the automatic protections married couples have, especially as far as estate planning. Most state laws give a spouse the right to inherit automatically. However, an unmarried partner’s rights are many times almost nonexistent. That shows how important it is to set up your finances deliberately if you want to leave money to a partner while you’re not married.WiewelB_

“Here are two strategies to achieve that goal.

“Joint Tenancy. Holding property in joint tenancy accounts with rights of survivorship serves to transfer ownership directly to the surviving partner after death without probate, and without a will or regard to the laws of intestate succession. Beneficiary designations on retirement accounts and life insurance policies can also do the same thing.

“Powers of Attorney. Make sure to give each other powers of attorney for both financial decisions and healthcare choices on each other’s behalf.

“Too many people just make assumptions about what their partner would want—or they ignore tough decisions. Doing this only makes it harder if the worst does come to pass. Without these tough conversations, you might find yourself unsure what to do if your partner is temporarily or permanently incapacitated, or if they pass away.

“Talk openly about your wishes, and then make plans to put them in place with the help of a qualified estate planning attorney.