Firm Announces Name Change, Adds Partner

Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P. has announced the addition of employment law attorney, Laura M. Merritt, to the firm as a Partner. Previously with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Merritt is licensed in Texas and Washington, is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Merritt is the fourth partner at the firm who is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law, along with Ann Price, Jason Boulette, and Mike Golden. Representing employers in a wide range of employment and labor matters, her practice includes litigation, training, counseling, and negotiating definitive and ancillary employee-related agreements in corporate transactions.

“I am excited to announce that after 10 wonderful years, I am leaving WSGR to partner with the Austin-based employment law, litigation, and business immigration firm of Boulette Golden & Marin,” said Merritt.

The firm announced earlier this year that it had amended its name to Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P., M_Marinadding longtime partner and well known litigator, Michael Marin to its name. Marin is a former Vinson & Elkins litigation partner in his 20th year of practice. Michael represents clients in business, employment, and non-compete litigation matters. In addition, his practice includes internal investigations, federal and state agency compliance, employment contracts, and non-disclosure agreements
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Firm Expands Energy and Environmental Practice with Hiring of Partner

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP has announced that Lino Mendiola III has joined the firm’s Energy, Environmental and Commodities Practice Group as a partner in the Austin office. Prior to joining Sutherland, Mendiola was co-managing partner of the Austin office of Andrews Kurth LLP.Mendiola.Lino

With more than 20 years of commercial litigation experience, Mendiola represents energy clients in state and federal court and before the Public Utility Commission of Texas and other state agencies. A native of south Texas, he frequently represents clients in south Texas state courts.

Mendiola counsels clients in both transactional and litigation matters involving energy and regulatory law with a focus on the Texas electric energy and natural gas markets. His transactional experience includes handling regulatory issues, such as pipeline regulation and transmission line routing matters. He also frequently counsels clients on state and federal contracting and procurement law.

 

Sutherland’s addition of Mendiola is the latest step in the firm’s expansion of its leading Energy, Environmental and Commodities Practice Group, and in particular its Texas energy practice in Houston and Austin. In January, the group welcomed Counsel Travis C. McCullough, resident in the firm’s Houston office, from J.P. Morgan and Counsel James A. Thompson, Jr., resident in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, from Pepper Hamilton LLP.

 

Mann Finds Success as Healthcare Lawyer

It seemed like pretty much a forgone conclusion that Brandy Mann would practice law in Central Texas – for good reason. After earning her B.A. at the University of Texas in history and archeology in 1998, Mann went on to earn a Master’s Degree at Texas State University, followed by her J.D. at the University of Texas School of Law in 2006.

Those strong connections have facilitated the rise of the former Jackson Walker attorney through the ranks in the legal community to her current position as counsel at the Austin office of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP.

Why did you decide to become a lawyer?

“I was in my first year of the University of Texas’ PhD program studying medieval English history when I and my boyfriend (soon to be my husband) decided we had a future together that didn’t involve me moving overseas to study or work.  I couldn’t think of anything else to do with a history degree (I had tried teaching), so I applied to UT’s law school thinking I’d go if I got in, and I would find something else to do if I didn’t.  I got in, deferred a year to figure out exactly what lawyers did, and started the program in 2003.”Mann-Brandy-S-web

How would you describe your practice?

“Healthcare law– primarily regulatory in nature.  I represent licensed providers from individual nurses to large hospital systems.  I try to keep them from getting in trouble with the government agencies that regulate them and help them get out of trouble when something goes wrong.”

What do you like most about this area of law?

“I like having the federal or state government as the adverse party.  The government as an entity– unlike a private party– is predictable.  It wants to regulate and bring in money.  But it’s also risk-averse.  I’ve found that government attorneys are usually reasonable and willing to work with private parties that are trying to comply with the law.”

What do you like most about practicing law, specifically in Central Texas?

“Austin is the natural place for regulatory work in Texas.  Plus, I’ve never lived anywhere else.  My family came from Germany to Central Texas in the late 1800s and never felt the need to move again.”

Seems like you have had a pretty strong concentration in history in your educational path, how has that impacted your practice?

“It teaches research and especially writing skills.  A poor argument written well can trump a strong argument written poorly.  I also spent a semester teaching high school history.  Nothing I’ve faced as a lawyer has been as stressful as that experience.”

Austin Bar Foundation Gala Raises $75,000

The Austin Bar Association held its 12th Annual Austin Bar Foundation Gala on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, with hundreds of attorneys in attendance to the sold-out event, which raised upwards of $75,000.2015 Austin Bar Gala (94)

Proceeds from the Gala benefit the Austin Bar Foundation. The Foundation also collected money during the event to benefit Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas and a community education campaign for a new Travis County Courthouse.

The theme for this year was Paris, with several live auction bidders winning trips to Paris along with Le Cordon Bleu cooking classes.

Four Austin Bar attorneys received high recognition as they were honored with awards. Berry Crowley and Louis Pirkey received the annual Distinguished Lawyer Award. Former Chief Justice Woodie Jones received the inaugural 2015 Austin Bar Gala (72)Larry York Mentor Award, and Barbara Ellis was honored with the David H. Walter Community Excellence Award.  Click on a name to view a video created in each recipient’s honor.

Germer Beaman & Brown Names Managing Principal for Austin Office

Germer Beaman & Brown PLLC has named Rich Grafton as the Managing Principal for its Austin office.

Grafton is a trial lawyer who focuses on representing corporations and businesses in litigation matters.Grafton headshot His practice primarily involves product defect, construction defect, breach of contract, and administrative matters.

The Germer law firm (www.Germer.com) is a full service firm with offices in Austin, Houston, and Beaumont.   Statewide the firm has 60 attorneys. Twenty-three attorneys practice in the Austin location with an emphasis on products liability, health care, medical malpractice, personal injury, general contract, negligence litigation and administrative proceedings.

Allensworth & Porter Hires New Partner

Allensworth & Porter, an Austin-based construction law firm, announced the addition of Amy Emerson as a partner with the firm.

Emerson specializes in governmental immunity issues, and has represented clients in complicated contract disputes, constitutional suits, bond-validation suits and construction matters.

Among other accomplishments, Emerson recently defended a city’s zoning authority—winning both at trial and on appeal to the Supreme Court of Texas—and assisted in obtaining the first reservoir permit issued by the State of Texas in almost 30 years.

Prior to joining Allensworth & Porter, Emerson was an associate at Lloyd Gosselink, where her practice focused on trial and appellate work for governmental entities.

A west Texas native, Emerson received her J.D. with honors from The University of Texas at Austin School of Law, and she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Southwestern University.

Texas Legal Appoints Hilary Hunt as Vice President

Hilary Hunt of Austin has been appointed to vice president of Texas Legal, the statewide nonprofit legal insurance plan. Hunt joined Texas Legal in July 2010 as the director of finance and was appointed as the chief operating officer in September 2012. In December 2014, Hunt transitioned to her current role as vice president, overseeing operating activities in addition to the financial functions of the organization.HilaryHunt headshot

Hunt began her career over 15 years ago with Ernst & Young as an auditor of public and private companies in various industries including technology, healthcare and consumer products. She also served for six years as the controller for Pulte Homes for the Austin and Sun City markets. Hunt has a master’s degree in accounting from North Carolina State University and is a licensed CPA in Texas.

Texas Legal membership 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. To learn more about Texas Legal or to become a member, please visit www.texaslegal.org.

Travis County Women Lawyers Seek Nominations for Annual Awards

The Travis County Women Lawyers will soon select their 2015 attorney award winners. Winners are recognized at a well-attended luncheon luncheon at the Four Seasons in late April. The award categories are:

Public Interest

Contribution to Minority Community

Advancement of Women’s Interests

Government Service

Pro Bono

Litigation/Appellate

Corporate/Transactional

Criminal Justice

Firm/Organization/Government Entity*

Outstanding Achievement

Nominations are due by 5 p.m. on March 3rd.  Please visit TCWLA’s website for the nomination form: http://www.tcwla.org/awards/.

When Female Lawyers in Higher Ed Enable Abusers of Women

As someone who publishes several sports law periodicals, including one about the legal side of collegiate athletics, I am privy to a lot of stories that never see the light of print.

Take this one, for example.

A male coach of a female team at a major university verbally and physically abuses his players. He does this for years. But because he wins, some look the other way. One of the girls has to have surgery because of the physical abuse, effectively ending her season. The players ultimately ask for relief from the athletic director. While the AD recognizes that it is time for the coach to go, the top lawyer at the institution, a female, fights it all the way because of a personal friendship she has with the coach. The coach gets the dismissal couched as a retirement. He gets a golden parachute. Years later, he is brought back to serve on an influential committee at the major university and take a semi-active role in athletics – all because of the actions of his sanctimonious protector.

The coach may not have gotten what he deserves, but let’s hope the lawyer does.

IP Lawyer Elected to American Board of Trial Advocates

Alan Albright, an intellectual property lawyer in the Austin office of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, was elected to the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates. Selection is invitation-only based on reputation and for trying a significant number of civil jury cases to verdict.Alan.Albright_print-2014

Albright counsels clients in the Internet, software, hardware, medical equipment and semiconductor industries in patent litigation, licensing, protection and enforcement of trade secrets, and a variety of other matters.

From 1992 to 1999, Albright was a Magistrate Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division. He also served for several years as an adjunct professor teaching trial advocacy at the University of Texas School of Law.