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 (http://b2-mgmt.com/legal/).  “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 http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/concussion-litigation-reporter/concussion-litigation-reporter-sample/

“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)hackneypublications.com). “We have some terrific guest authors as well as a selection of copy generated by our team at Hackney Publications.”

To subscribe, visit http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/

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

J. Winston Krause Officially Recognized by Martindale-Hubbell

Austin attorney J. Winston Krause, of Krause & Associates, LP, has received the AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell for the tenth consecutive year.

“It is humbling to be recognized for the last decade as an AV Preeminent lawyer, practicing law at the highest level of professional excellence, by the distinguished lawyer rating firm of Martindale-Hubbell based on the opinions and ranking of my peers, other AV Preeminent lawyers,” said Krause, who is also celebrating his 35th anniversary as an attorney.

Krause is the only lawyer in central Texas north of San Antonio who is certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization as a Specialist in Tax Law (since 1989) and a Specialist in Estate Planning and Probate Law (since 1996). Krause is licensed to practice law in Texas and is a member of the bar of and qualified to practice before the United States Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, United States Court of Claims and the U.S. Tax Court.

King & Spalding’s Austin Office Adds Three Tort Litigation Partners

Austin Bar Partners With Local Attorneys to Create CANLAW – A Cancer Legal Clinic

Caitlin Haney Johnston, a young attorney in Austin, TX, was recovering from an unrelated surgery on her 28th birthday when she heard the words no one wants to hear. “We found cancer.” Those three words altered the direction of her life. Diagnosed with Stage II Goblet Cell Carcinoid, a very rare type of appendix cancer, she was lucky they had removed the cancer, quite on accident, before it had a chance to spread. Her prognosis is a 20 percent chance of reoccurrence in the next five years.

“Given my good fortune in finding my cancer early while so many others did not,” said Haney Johnston, “I had a deep desire to give back to the cancer community. I had estate planning experience, so I decided the best way to help was to share my legal knowledge with others.”

She began by speaking on the topic of health care documents and estate planning at CancerCon, the largest gathering of young adult cancer survivors in the country held in Denver, CO, and at various cancer survivor support-groups in the Austin area. She quickly assessed a need for a “one-stop” approach to estate planning for an already tired and overwhelmed population of cancer survivors. “For people who are already strained for time and monetary resources, the idea of spending hours in an attorney’s office, and hundreds or thousands of dollars for legal services, is overwhelming,” remarked Haney Johnston. “Further, no one likes to plan for incapacitation or death because everyone is trying to “stay positive” after a cancer diagnosis.” Many turn to online wills which most often stop short of accomplishing what they intend to do, or are simply incorrectly executed.

Haney Johnston joined forces with Randy Cubriel, a fellow attorney and young adult cancer survivor in Austin. The two gained the support and backing of the Austin Bar Association and the Austin Bar Foundation to create CANLAW – a Cancer Legal Clinic. CANLAW’s mission is to take away all the excuses for avoiding estate planning by offering the service free of charge to members of the cancer community.

The first CANLAW clinic will be held on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Southeast Health and Wellness Center, 290 Montopolis Dr. in Austin from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. The clinic is free and open to all types of cancer survivors, regardless of the type or stage of cancer they have, and whether or not they are still in active treatment. Those currently in remission are welcome to attend. Clients will meet with an attorney volunteer and leave with a properly drafted and executed Medical Power of Attorney, Statutory Durable Power of Attorney, HIPPA Release, Healthcare Directive and Last Will and Testament. Planning is also provided for people with minor children, including simple testamentary trusts.

Before arriving at the clinic, clients should fill out the qualifying questionnaire at www.cancerlawclinic.org. There are no income restrictions, but there are some limitations on owning out-of-state real property, prenuptial or divorce agreements that affect estate planning, and other asset restrictions.

On the day of the clinic, clients should bring their IDs and the address and phone number for their Statutory Durable Power of Attorney and Medical Power of Attorney.

For more information about the clinic, including information on becoming a client or a volunteer, visit www.cancerlawclinic.org, or email info@cancerlawclinic.org.

LMA Annual Conference Recap: Panel Discussion and Happy Hour Set for Thursday

If you weren’t able to attend the Annual LMA Conference in Las Vegas, the LMA Austin chapter is hosting a conference recap and happy hour. Local LMA members Cecilia Linton, Clara Bonilla, Hunter Rowe, and Clare Chachere will share their key takeaways from this year’s conference in an interactive format moderated by Chris Kirby of PCT Solutions.

Date & Time
April 20, 2017,5:00pm-6:30pm

Program Fees
LMA Members – $20
Non-members and Guests – $40

** If you are paying at the door, please bring a check payable to Legal Marketing Association or LMA. **

Location
Allensworth & Porter, LLP
100 Congress Ave., Ste. 700, Austin, Texas 78701

Questions? Contact LMA Austin Local Leader, Emily Adams at eja@aaplaw.com or (512) 708-1250.