John Wesley Tunnell passed away Feb. 15, 2024. Dedicated to criminal defense, Tunnell served as an assistant district attorney, general counsel to the Texas Secretary of State, and general counsel for the first Texas Ethics Commission before returning to private practice.
Richard Pena has received the National Conference of Bar Presidents’ 2024 Fellows Award. Pena, who is only the second bar president from Texas to receive the award, is a past president of the State Bar of Texas and the Austin Bar Association. He is president and CEO at the Richard Pena law firm in Austin.
Tom Melsheimer has been named co-chair of Winston & Strawn’s Litigation Department. Melsheimer serves as managing partner of the firm’s Dallas office, is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, and is co-author of the critically acclaimed trial advocacy book, “On the Jury Trial.”
Christy Lea has been appointed co-chair of the Medical Device Litigation Group at Intellectual Property law firm Knobbe Martens. Lea has represented clients in the medical device and pharmaceutical industries for nearly two decades and is an accomplished PTAB trial litigator.
John Beckworth received the 2024 Ernest Smith Lifetime Achievement Award at the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law (TJOGEL) Symposium. Beckworth has more than four decades of experience, demonstrating expertise in energy, litigation, and arbitration.
Campbell Houston “Cam” Gillespie III passed away on Feb. 24, 2024. A double Longhorn with a bachelor’s degree in history, he practiced law alongside his father, Campbell H. Gillespie, Jr., for many years. The practice focused on real estate, will/trusts/probate and school law; Gillespie retired in 2020.
Gerami Granello has joined the real estate practice of Holland & Knight in Houston. He was previously a partner with Mayer Brown, where for more than 20 years he helped lead the firm’s asset management and leasing group. Gerami provides acquisition, disposition, leasing and asset management representation to real estate funds and advisers in connection with their office, retail and industrial real estate portfolios.
Norvell Ford “N.F.” Jackson passed away on Feb. 9, 2024. Atter working in his family business, Jackson dedicated himself to 23 years of service in the Navy, followed by an additional four years in the judicial system as the Superior Court administrator, county clerk, and court commissioner in Bellingham, Washington.
Franklin D. Houser passed away on Feb. 6, 2024. An Army veteran, Houser spent the first decade of his career at a San Antonio defense firm before starting his own firm, Tinsman and Houser. Houser, who was featured in the first edition of “The Best Lawyers in America,” opened a winery after retiring from his legal career.
Ken Glaser passed away on Feb. 23, 2024. Glaser was a dedicated attorney, establishing his own patent and trademark law firm and in 2001 joining Gardere until his retirement in 2021.
The Hon. John E. Clark passed away on Feb. 13, 2024. In a career spanning more than 60 years, Clark served as a federal prosecutor, state appellate judge, and author of a non-fiction bestseller and a number of law journals.
Scott D. Simmons has passed away. Simmons was an assistant attorney general, and later, senior counsel for the State of Texas.
Jackie Furlow has been named a 2024 Lawdragon 500 Leading Energy Lawyer. Furlow is a partner at Beck Redden LLP, where she focuses her practice on commercial, employment, energy and real estate sectors.
David J. Beck has been named a 2024 Lawdragon 500 Leading Energy Lawyer. Beck is a trial lawyer and founding partner at Beck Redden LLP.
Fields Alexander has been named a 2024 Lawdragon 500 Leading Energy Lawyer. Alexander is a partner at Beck Redden LLP, where he specializes in trial law involving commercial transactions, business torts, professional malpractice, and energy litigation.
Jessica Mederson has been elected to Stafford Rosenbaum LLP’s Board of Directors, overseeing its human resources efforts. Mederson’s practice focuses on business law and litigation, including manufacturing and construction disputes, Uniform Commercial Code litigation, and contract negotiations and disputes.
Linda Lee Aaker passed away on Feb. 15, 2024. Aaker spent a decade in the Texas Attorney General’s Office, then was a partner at Bickerstaff, Heath, Smiley, Pollan, Kever & McDaniel before being appointed to the Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
C. Albert Tatum passed away Feb. 6, 2024. After serving at Locke, Purnell, Boren, Laney and Neely law firm, Tatum became an investor in shopping centers and later a financial adviser.
Renee Meisel has been named executive vice president and general counsel at UnitedLex. Meisel previously provided business-enabling operational solutions at a variety of firms including PracticLaw, Breakwater, Purpose Legal, and Dell Technologies.
Neill Fuquay has joined Jackson Walker’s Corporate & Securities practice group in the firm’s Dallas office. Fuquay, who has been named in Texas Super Lawyer since 2020, focuses his practice on commercial real estate and corporate transactions.
Shelisa Brock has been elected to partnership at Jackson Walker LLP. A double Longhorn, Brock specializes in labor and employment law and has been named among the Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch and as a Texas Rising Star by Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers.
Sander “Sandy” Shapiro passed away Feb. 10, 2024. As the first tax lawyer in Austin, Shapiro was hugely influential in the development of sales tax, use tax and franchise tax law in Texas. In 2015, he was named Outstanding Tax Lawyer and heralded as a “Texas Tax Legend” by the Texas State Bar Tax Section.
Nick Lowrey has joined Klasko Immigration Law Partners as counsel at the Washington, D.C. office. Lowrey has worked in immigration law for the past seven years.
José Angel Moreno has retired from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas after more than 32 years of service.
Jim Smith is visiting professor of law for spring semester 2024 at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. He is professor emeritus at the University of Georgia School of Law.
James Billingsley has joined Duane Morris LLP as a partner in the firm’s Business Reorganization and Financial Restructuring Practice Group in its Dallas office. Prior to joining Duane Morris, Billingsley was a senior partner at Polsinelli PC.
Layne Thompson has been appointed as the district attorney of the 159th Judicial District in Angelina County by Governor Greg Abbott. Thompson, who previously served as an assistant district attorney, is former of counsel for Mike Love & Associates and former vice president of Thompson Cattle Company.
Alejandra Avila has rejoined Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick PLLC as of counsel. Avila was formerly an associate at the firm before serving as a judicial law clerk to Justice Sonia Sotomayor on the United States Supreme Court.
Rose E. Jenkins has been nominated by President Biden to be a judge on the United States Tax Court. Jenkins has more than 15 years of experience as a tax lawyer and currently is an attorney in the Office of Associate Chief Counsel at the Internal Revenue Service.
Yolanda Harris Sayre has been appointed as a circuit judge in the 5th Subcircuit of Cook County, Illinois. Sayre spent more than 20 years as an attorney for the Chicago Police Department and most recently served as legal counsel for the Illinois State Police.
Andrew Sherwood has been selected to serve as assistant leader of Dykema’s Real Estate Practice Group. Sherwood, who focuses his practice on debt finance and real estate, has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America for Real Estate Law each year since 2019.
Brandy Manning has been named co-director of Dykema’s Energy Industry Group. Manning has more than two decades of commercial trial and appellate experience in both oil and gas and general business matters and is board-certified in civil appellate law.
Will Liebmann has been appointed to serve as director of Dykema’s Business Services Department. Liebmann, who has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America for Corporate Law since 2011, focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and other strategic transactions.
Byron L. LeFlore Jr. has been selected as a Foundation Fellow by the San Antonio Bar Foundation. LeFlore is a partner at Pulman, Cappuccio & Pullen LLP and has more than 30 years of practice in corporate law and business litigation.
Elizabeth H. Fry has been selected as a Foundation Fellow by the San Antonio Bar Foundation. Fry practices trust and estate planning at Hornberger Fuller & Garza Incorporated and is board certified in estate planning and probate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Demetrio Duarte Jr. has been selected as a Foundation Fellow by the San Antonio Bar Foundation. Duarte has more than 35 years of experience as a trial attorney at Duarte & Molina, PC and is board certified in criminal law.
Andréa Villarreal has been named a partner of Barnes Lipscomb & Stewart PLLC. In January 2024, Villareal was named a Rising Star by Texas Lawyer for a second consecutive year in a row and she recently became board certified in Estate Planning and Probate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 2023.
Julia Jeffrey Rathgeber has been appointed as the vice chancellor for Governmental Relations of the University of Texas System. Rathgeber previously served as the vice president of Governmental & Regulatory Relations & Business Development for Berkshire Hathaway Energy and has more than 30 years of experience in the public sector.
Louis Taylor passed away on Jan. 21, 2024. Taylor served as the chief counsel and staff director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and was responsible for enacting key policies benefiting American small business owners.
Rene Oliveira passed away on Jan. 23, 2023. Oliveria was a former state lawmaker who served in the Legislature from 1982 to 2019, and helped establish the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine.
Gordon Jones passed away Nov. 14, 2023. Jones—who had stints working in accounting and real estate after practicing law in Austin—will be remembered for his brilliant mind, wisdom informed by experience, absolute love for learning, compassion for others, loyalty, and insightful wit.
Judge Harriet Mitchell Murphy has passed away. A friend of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Justice Thurgood Marshall, Murphy was considered a legend by many for her trailblazing activism and her role as the first African-American woman permanently appointed to a judgeship in Texas. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, gifts be made to the Judge Harriet Murphy Memorial Scholarship in Law.
Sam G. Croom Jr. passed away on Jan. 13, 2023. A Navy veteran, Croom went on to practice at Baker Botts until his retirement as a partner in 1993.
Jimmy Kirby has been named deputy director of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Kirby previously served as associate director of FinCEN’s Research and Analysis Division as well as FinCEN’s chief counsel.
Lamont Jefferson has been appointed to serve as a member of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee for the Supreme Court of Texas. Jefferson is an accomplished trial lawyer and partner at Jefferson Cano.
Kennon Wooten has been appointed to serve as a member of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee for the Supreme Court of Texas. Wooten is a partner at Scott Douglas McConnico, focusing on general civil litigation and complex commercial litigation.
Roger W. Hughes has been appointed to serve as a member of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee for the Supreme Court of Texas. Hughes is a partner at Adams & Graham, LLP.
Jesse Pierce has been listed among the nation’s top attorneys by the 2024 edition of Lawdragon’s 500 Leading Lawyers in America for excellence in commercial litigation.
Jack O’Neill has been listed among the nation’s top attorneys by the 2024 edition of Lawdragon’s 500 Leading Lawyers in America for commercial litigation excellence.
Linda Addison has joined the board of Lexitas, an Apax Partners private equity portfolio company and national provider of technology-enabled litigation support services to the legal industry, businesses and corporations. Addison, past U.S. managing partner of Norton Rose Fulbright, is founding president of the Center for Women in Law and has received both the University’s Presidential Citation and Distinguished Alumnus Award.