Attorney Joins Munck Wilson Mandala’s Austin Office

Stu Shapley, a patent attorney with more than 10 years of experience representing clients on patent prosecution, litigation and licensing matters, across a range of technologies, hs joined Munck Wilson Mandala’s Austin Office.

He earned his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law where he served on the editorial board for the Virginia Journal of Law and Technology and the Virginia Environmental Law Journal.

Munck Wilson Mandala Attorney headshots taken in Dallas, Texas on August 17, 2017. (Photo by/Gregg Ellman)

He received an A.B. in physics from Harvard University, graduating cum laude.  Prior to joining Munck Wilson Mandala, Shapley worked at Sprinkle IP Law Group, P.C. in Austin, Texas, as well as Amster, Rothstein & Ebenstein LLP and Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton and Garrison in New York, New York.

Lauren Damen Joins Winstead’s Austin Office

Lauren Damen has joined the Austin Office of Winstead PC as an associate in the Public & Regulatory Law and Environmental Law Practice Groups.

Damen’s practice is focused on administrative and regulatory litigation with an emphasis on utility law. She has represented companies before the Public Utility Commission and State Office of Administrative Hearings in electric utility and insurance proceedings, and assisted in lawsuits regarding oil and gas royalty and lease assignment disputes.

Prior to attending law school, Lauren worked at the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) for approximately six years as a retail market analyst, senior retail market analyst and Director of the Retail Markets Section. At the PUC, she worked on a variety of matters including rulemakings, enforcement investigations and proceedings, complaints, tariffs, rate proceedings, and open records requests as well as working groups and task forces at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. Damen’s extensive work on rulemakings addressed topics including customer protection, low-income discounts, renewable energy, transmission cost recovery factors, and the terms and conditions of retail delivery service provided by investor owned transmission and distribution utilities.

Damen received her J.D. cum laude, from Baylor Law School in 2011 and is licensed to practice in Texas.

Austin Lawyer Explains ‘How Trust Details Need to Be Very Specific’

Brad Wiewel of the The Wiewel Law Firm recently explained in a blog how the importance of specific language when setting up a trust:

A trust set up for a young girl was originally overseen by Citibank.  However, in 2003 the mother took over the trust creating a battle in the future, according to the Daily Mail in “Daughter sues her ‘self-involved’ mother for ‘frittering away more than $13m of her inheritance – so she could buy cars and a $6m mansion next to Gwyneth Paltrow in the Hamptons’.”

Austin-based Waller Attorney Recognized Again by Chambers

Waller, a leading provider of legal services to the healthcare, financial services, retail and hospitality industries with an Austin office, announced last week that 35 of the firm’s attorneys have been ranked or recognized in the 2017 edition of Chambers USA, an annual ranking of law firms and lawyers in an extensive range of practice areas across the United States.

One of those recognized was health law attorney Fletcher Brown, who has been included on the prestigious ranking service for more than a decade.

“This recognition of our attorneys is especially meaningful because Chambers conducts independent interviews with our clients as well as our peers at other law firms,” said Waller chairman Matt Burnstein. “It’s an honor to have our clients and colleagues acknowledge Waller’s commitment to client service and the legal profession.”

Thompson & Knight Welcomes Trial Partner to Austin Office

Thompson & Knight LLP has announced that Elizabeth G. Myers has joined the Firm’s Austin office as a Partner in the Trial Practice Group.

“Elizabeth’s consumer class actions experience, especially as it pertains to the healthcare industry, is a true asset to the Firm,” said Greg W. Curry, the Firm’s Trial Practice Leader. “Her industry knowledge will complement our existing litigation and healthcare practices.”

Ms. Myers represents clients in state and federal courts in commercial disputes, product defect, consumer fraud, and securities fraud class actions matters. She also regularly represents special committees of public companies conducting internal investigations regarding alleged regulatory violations and executive misconduct. Ms. Myers frequently participates in conferences and lectures on complex litigation strategy with a special focus on healthcare litigation.

She received a J.D., with high honors, from The University of Texas School of Law (2005) and a B.A., summa cum laude, in Political Science from Southern Methodist University (2001). Ms. Myers is committed to giving back to her community. She currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for Equality Texas Foundation. Also, as the Houston Pro Bono Partner at her previous firm, Ms. Myers focused on initiatives related to human trafficking and child advocacy. Prior to joining Thompson & Knight, she was a Partner at Jones Day in Houston.


Austin Bar Association Taps B2 Legal Management as Official Benefit Provider

The Austin Bar Association has announced that B2 Legal Management, LLC (B2) is now an official member benefit provider of the Austin Bar. B2 provides outsourced back office support to attorneys. With over 35 years of staff experience in the legal community, B2 has extensive expertise in accounting, billing, payroll and software.

“We are excited to offer our Plug In and Practice service, which allows attorneys to plug into B2 for a flat fee per attorney,” said Brenda Barnes, the founder of B2 (  “We manage the time-consuming business of running a practice so attorneys can do what they like to do – practice law and take care of clients.”

Munck Wilson Mandala’s Michael Rodriguez Graduates from Hispanic Austin Leadership

Michael G. Rodriguez, the Austin managing partner for Munck Wilson Mandala, LLP, has recently completed the Hispanic Austin Leadership (HAL) program, sponsored by the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.  HAL is a nine month program designed to give business leaders opportunities to develop business acumen, civic awareness and leadership skills as well as build a network of colleagues for life. 

Rodriguez is a member of Munck Wilson Mandala’s technology/intellectual property law group, concentrating his practice on patent and trademark preparation and prosecution.  His clients are in the construction, electronics, energy, retail, restaurant, telecommunications, pet-care, vehicle manufacturing, and defense industries.

As a college student, Rodriguez was both an athlete and a scholar, playing for the baseball team and studying electrical engineering at Texas A&M University.  When an injury ended his athletic career, he realized that having the engineering degree is what ultimately launched his career and forged paths for his success.  It’s this message that Rodriguez hopes to emphasize in his continued work with the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber and his community.  “While being a great athlete can lead to success for a few,” said Rodriguez, “focusing on a strong academic performance can bring success for many.”

As a graduate of HAL, Rodriguez said he will continue to focus on programs that encourage the Hispanic community to embrace S.T.E.M. education and broaden leadership opportunities in the technology and telecommunications sector.  In addition to an engineering background, Rodriguez also served as lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves, receiving numerous commendations for his actions during active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Rodriguez received his J.D. from the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law and holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University.

Austin-based Publisher of Concussion Litigation Reporter Makes Recent Issue Available to All

Hackney Publications is celebrating five years of publishing Concussion Litigation Reporter by making the May 2017 issue available to all at

“This issue is emblematic of how the industry around legal and risk management issues associated with sports concussions is intensifying,” said Editor Holt Hackney (hhackney(at) “We have some terrific guest authors as well as a selection of copy generated by our team at Hackney Publications.”

To subscribe, visit

Concussion Litigation Reporter — May 2017


Do Compensation Plans Drive Succession Planning Results?

By Brenda Barnes, of B2 Management

Compensation – or lack thereof – drives many if not most succession plans. The most obvious reason for a succession plan is to compensate principals fairly for the firm they’ve built with their entrepreneurial spirit, including the physical assets and intellectual property they own, and for the money they’ve invested in their businesses.

How to select successors?

You will need to asses the next generation of partners and identify those who are ready and willing to take the lead on building and sustaining client relationships.  Selecting successors involves three simple steps:

  • Understand their career goals. Avoid assumptions by sitting down with each lawyer to discuss their career aspirations. These conversations will help you to identify the lawyers who are keen to take on leadership and client development roles and those whose priorities lie elsewhere. Now you can focus your energies on those who want to take the lead.
  • Give them the skills they need. Business development skills are traditionally not taught at law school. And not all lawyers are rainmakers. But these skills can be learned, so take the time to invest in business development training.
  • Create opportunities for greater client interaction. Once you have given them the skills, you need to provide them the opportunities to take the lead on new matters. Let them initiate relationship building activities with the clients. You can observe and give feedback on their development to prepare them for transition.

How do you motivate the retiring attorneys & the successors?

Compensation plans will play a key role in motivating both the retiring attorneys and their successors. For this reason, compensation plans should be directly linked to a successful transition. To prepare and negotiate a compensation plan, you will need to understand the lawyer’s motivations and circumstances. Financial rewards are an obvious solution, but if you dig deeper there may be other factors that need to be considered when putting together a compensation plan. To understand each of your lawyers’ motivations, have them answer the following questions:

For Successors:

  • Are my personal and professional goals in alignment?
  • How do I want to be compensated for the additional client responsibility?
  • Am I ready to take over the reins – do I need help to do that?

For Retiring Attorneys:

  • What does the next phase of my life look like?
  • How much money do I need to achieve that?
  • Am I ready to hand over the reins – do I need help to do that?

A professional consultant can help you clarify each lawyer’s motivation which will be crucial to successfully negotiating you compensation plans.  Start at least 5 years out, 10 years is best.  Firms that can do strategic financial planning around deferred compensation programs will be ahead of the curve!

Identifying successors and understanding their motivations pave the way for successful compensation negotiations. Involving clients in your succession plans will make your firm stand out from the crowd.

Austin Law Firm Weisbart Springer Hayes Adds Trial Lawyer

The Texas-based litigation firm Weisbart Springer Hayes LLP has added trial lawyer Danielle Hatchitt to the firm’s Austin office.

Hatchitt has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in complex commercial disputes involving real estate, employment, fraud, trademark infringement, trade secrets, and non-competition agreements.

Hatchitt earned her law degree with high honors from the Baylor University School of Law in 2011 and was a member of the Baylor Law Review. During law school she served as a legal intern for Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Manske of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.

Hatchitt earned her undergraduate degree with high honors from Texas A&M University in 2008.

Before joining Weisbart Springer Hayes, Hatchitt worked at the Austin full-service law firm of Fleckman & McGlynn. She also previously worked at Dobrowski, Larkin & Johnson LLP in Houston.

She is a Fellow of the Austin Bar Foundation and a member of the Austin Young Lawyers Association, Texas Young Lawyers Association, and the Junior League of Austin