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.

Slack & Davis Featured in Class Action Reporter: Farmers Insurance Suit Over Smart Plan Auto Program

As featured in two separate articles for Class Action Reporter, Partners Mike Slack and John Davis, together with the Law Offices of Joe K. Longley and Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division against Farmers Insurance Group over its Smart Auto Program. The lawsuit alleges that the insurance company offered sizable discounts for new subscribers, unfairly and illegally discriminated against current policyholders and violated the Texas Insurance Code.

The article explains that Farmers Group, Inc. selectively lowered insurance policies in favor of new policyholders while existing policyholders continued to pay higher rates, despite policy changes that mandate lower rates. The class action seeks all damages and/or restitution associated with unfair discrimination; award of attorneys’ fees; expert witness fees and costs; recovery of monies recovered for or benefits; statutory penalties and pre-judgment and post-judgment interest for violation of the Texas Insurance Code.

To read a more detailed summary of the case, please visit the firm’s Farmers Insurance blog post and FAQ page.

Pirkey Barber Adds Two Experienced Trademark Attorneys

Pirkey Barber PLLC has announce that Austin trademark attorneys Anna Kuhn and Kate Swint have joined the firm.

Kuhn’s practice has specialized in trademark law for 20 years, and she joins Pirkey Barber as Senior Counsel.  The San Antonio native received her J.D. from Yale Law School after earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She began her career in the Dallas office of Baker Botts LLP and was a senior in-house trademark and copyright attorney at Dell Inc., a longtime client of Pirkey Barber, before launching the Law Office of Anna Kuhn.

Swint also practices in the field of trademark and copyright law and joins Pirkey Barber as an Associate. She previously worked with Kuhn at her firm and teaches copyright law at St. Mary’s University School of Law. Swint earned her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and is also a graduate of the University of the Texas at Austin where she received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.

“We are extremely honored and excited to have Anna and Kate join our firm,” said Pirkey Barber Managing Member Steve Meleen. “I have known and worked with Anna for years, and she epitomizes everything we look for in a Pirkey Barber lawyer. We’ve been fortunate more recently to get to know and work with Kate. We have tremendous respect for them and their work, and we share a strong commitment to providing excellent client service. They are great additions to our team.”

Founded in 2006, Pirkey Barber now has 22 attorneys, making it one of the largest trademark and copyright law firms in the United States.

Carey Gunn Venditti joins DLA Piper’s Real Estate Practice

DLA Piper has announced that Carey Gunn Venditti has joined the firm’s Real Estate practice as a partner in the Austin office.

Venditti advises investors, developers and owners of commercial, mixed-use, multifamily, office, retail, planned-community and condominium projects. She focuses her practice on the acquisition, disposition, financing and development of land and the purchase, sale, financing, leasing, operation and administration of income-producing properties, and has been involved in major projects representing both regional and national clients.

“Carey has an impressive real estate background and is well respected throughout the industry, particularly regarding mixed-use urban development and public-private partnerships,” said John Sullivan, chair of DLA Piper’s US Real Estate practice. “Texas continues to be an active market for our clients, and Carey will be a great addition to our Texas practice and our national and international real estate platform.”

“The Urban Land Institute recently named Austin as the top real estate market to watch, and Carey’s arrival reflects our commitment to this growing area and its diverse economy,” said John Gilluly, regional managing partner of DLA Piper’s Texas offices.

Venditti was recently selected to serve as the chair of the Austin District for the Urban Land Institute, an organization dedicated to providing leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.

Venditti is the latest addition to DLA Piper’s Austin office, following Caryn Smith, who joined the firm’s Tax practice earlier this month. Venditti joins the firm from Greenberg Traurig where she was a shareholder. She received her J.D. from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law and her B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin.