Jeffery Scott Mecom died on Oct. 12, 2021. Mecom taught business law in Estonia at the Estonian Business School in Tallinn. During his time in the Baltics, he visited several eastern European countries, Scandinavia and Russia. He had a successful career as an attorney for both private and public companies. He also served as a mentor in the Texas Law Mentoring Program.
Marilyn Aboussie was named an Iconic Woman in Legal History by the Texas Young Lawyers Association. She was also the first female district judge in Tom Green County and was elected as the Chief Justice of the Third Court of Appeals of Texas in 1998, holding that office until her retirement in January 2003. Since then, she has continued serving as a Senior Judge for the State of Texas and also as a trained mediator. She has served as president of the Texas Law Alumni Association and honored as a Leader and Champion by the Center for Women in Law.
Jim Ormiston has been recognized in 2021 Texas Super Lawyers for his work in Commercial Litigation. He is a partner and Chair of the Litigation Department at Gray Reed & McGraw LLP. The majority of his practice involves handling energy litigation and complex commercial disputes.
Jorge A. Solis passed away on Oct. 8, 2021 at the age of 70. A former chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Solis was a former prosecutor, a judge, a mentor for dozens of lawyers, and once considered a candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court. Solis began his legal career as an assistant criminal district attorney for the Taylor County District Attorney’s Office in Abilene, Texas and went into private practice in 1981. He was then elected as the first Hispanic District Attorney for Taylor County, serving in that role for five years. He was a special prosecutor for the Narcotics Task Force in 1988 before running for judge. In lieu of flowers, the family requests for memorial gifts to be made to The Judge Jorge A. Solis Memorial Scholarship Fund at UTLSF.org/solis.
Emily Chou has joined Forshey Prostok LLP, a Fort Worth bankruptcy boutique, as a partner in the firm’s Fort Worth office. Chou brings over 20 years of experience in business reorganization, creditors’ rights, and commercial litigation. Her work has included representing official creditors’ committees and post-confirmation liquidation/litigation trustees in Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases all over the United States.
Starling Thomas “Tom” Morris died Monday, Oct. 4, 2021 at age 101. Morris entered Texas Law in 1939 and paused to serve in the U.S. Navy Air. He returned to graduate in 1946 and then taught at the law school for two years. In 1948 he began his law practice and went on to join the firm of Gibson, Ochsner and Little where he practiced from 1950 to 2003. He then practiced with the Underwood Law Firm until his time of death. His law practice brought many achievements and honors. Perhaps his greatest achievement was his victory in 1966, in the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark case of Graham v. Deere, which established the law of non-obvious subject matter in patent cases, and remains the law today after 55 years.
Brian Newby, Managing Partner of Cantey Hanger LLP, has been selected to receive the 2021 Law “Good Scout” Award from The Longhorn Council, Boy Scouts of America. Newby served a 31-year military career that included assisting both the Director for Operational Law and the Deputy Judge Advocate General, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force. He was also appointed by former Gov. George W. Bush to the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents and served as vice chair. Former Gov. Rick Perry appointed Newby as his General Counsel and as his Chief of Staff, and asked him to head the state’s recovery effort after Hurricane Ike.
Charles Randolph Curson passed away in October 2021 at his home in Georgetown, Texas. The double Longhorn began his career as an Assistant District Attorney in Houston, Texas and then went on to work as a Real Estate Attorney for Mitchell Energy and then National Convenience Stores before retiring. He was a member of the Coast Guard before enlisting in the Navy as an Officer serving in the Judge Advocate General’s Corp.
Charles Michael “Mickey” Matkin passed away on Aug. 28, 2021, at the age of 84. Matkin practiced law both as a partner and in private practice in Houston and, after moving to Spring, Texas, in the Champions area. He also served in the Texas Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force Reserve from 1961 through 1969.
Kirby Cronin has joined the Dallas-based FBFK law firm as a shareholder and will lead market efforts at its new Austin office. Cronin is an Intellectual Property (IP) attorney formerly of Cronin PLLC. He is a 25-year attorney with expertise in intellectual property transactions, litigation, and counseling as well as extensive experience representing financial institutions’ technology-related matters.
Jamie E. France has rejoined Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP as an Of Counsel in its Washington, D.C. office. She will serve as a member of the Litigation and Antitrust and Competition Practice Groups. Before rejoining Gibson Dunn, France served as an attorney in the Mergers IV Division of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition from 2015 to 2021. Previously, she was an associate attorney at Gibson Dunn from 2012 to 2015.
Kenneth “Ken” Hawari passed away on Aug. 22, 2021 at the age of 62 in Houston, Texas. He was a double Longhorn and worked 17 years for Hughes and Luce Law Firm, in Dallas, Texas, where he had become a partner. He became in-house counsel for ANS Medical Device in Plano, Texas, and later served as board director for private companies. He retired to his beloved home in Taos, New Mexico.
Rocio Guadalupe Mendoza has joined Paul Hastings LLP’s Houston office as partner. Mendoza comes to the firm from Baker & McKenzie. She advises on a diverse range of domestic and international energy-related transactions and projects, including mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures and project development.
Lisa S. Tsai, a founding partner of Reid Collins & Tsai LLP, has become Managing Partner and joined the Executive Committee of the national trial boutique. Tsai is recognized for her leadership and contributions to the elevation of women and Asian-Pacific American (APA) attorneys regionally and nationally. She is past chair of the State Bar of Texas Asian Pacific Interest Section.
James “Jim” McCartney died at age 91, on Sept. 18, 2021. Post graduation from Texas Law, Jim joined the law firm of Vinson & Elkins and maintained an office there until the end of his life. The law business also brought him before federal and state regulatory agencies where he was involved in landmark cases. He loved the legal profession and came by it naturally. His father, grandfathers, great grandfather, as well as his uncle, had all been lawyers. He endowed a Lectureship at The University of Texas Law School in the name of his great uncle A. W. Terrell.
Billy Flynn “Bill” McGraw passed away on Sept. 20, 2021. McGraw spent two years in the U.A. Navy, stationed at Great Lakes, Illinois. His law degree launched his legal and business career, first as a law clerk for the Honorable Judge Joe Fisher in the United States District Court in Beaumont, and then eventually moving into private practice in Jasper.
Joe W. Redden, Jr. has been recognized in 2021 Texas Super Lawyers for his work with Civil Litigation, Defense. This annual award listing is based on peer recognition and professional achievements and published by Thomson Reuters. Redden is of counsel with Beck Redden LLP.
Allison S. Miller has been recognized in 2021 Texas Super Lawyers for her work with Professional Liability, Defense. This annual award listing is based on peer recognition and professional achievements and published by Thomson Reuters. Miller is of counsel with Beck Redden LLP.
Geoff Gannaway has been recognized in 2021 Texas Super Lawyers for his work with Business Litigation. This annual award listing is based on peer recognition and professional achievements and published by Thomson Reuters. Gannaway is a partner with Beck Redden LLP.
Fields Alexander has been recognized in 2021 Texas Super Lawyers for his work with General Litigation. This annual award listing is based on peer recognition and professional achievements and published by Thomson Reuters. Alexander is a partner with Beck Redden LLP.
Alistair Dawson has been recognized in 2021 Texas Super Lawyers among the Top 100 Houston ranking . This annual award listing is based on peer recognition and professional achievements and published by Thomson Reuters. Of those nominated, only five percent of the total lawyers in the state are selected for inclusion. Dawson is a partner with Beck Redden LLP.
David Beck has been recognized in 2021 Texas Super Lawyers among the Top 100 Texas and Top 100 Houston rankings. This annual award listing is based on peer recognition and professional achievements and published by Thomson Reuters. Of those nominated, only five percent of the total lawyers in the state are selected for inclusion. Beck is a partner with Beck Redden LLP.
Allison Skees has recently joined Bourland, Wall & Wenzel in Fortworth, Texas as an associate attorney. Skees has experience in general civil litigation and her practice focuses primarily on fiduciary litigation and guardianships.
The Honorable Peter Kelly was elected to The American Law Institute in June of 2021. He has served the Texas First Court of Appeals since 2018.
S. Anthony Safi has been recognized with the Kelly Frels Lifetime Achievement Award from the School Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. Safi is the only El Pasoan ever to have received this recognition. He is a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, and a Fellow of the El Paso Bar Foundation.
Michael M. Parker has been selected by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to be the next bankruptcy judge in the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division. Parker is a partner at Norton Rose Fulbright and has been with the firm since the end of his two-year bankruptcy clerkship in the Western District of Texas with Hon. Ronald B. King in 1995. He is scheduled to take the bench on Nov. 2, 2021.
Erica Grigg has been named as the Director of the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program (TLAP). TLAP provides confidential help, referrals, and peer assistance programs to lawyers, judges, and law students experiencing mental health or substance use disorders. She is a member of the American Counselors Association, the American Mental Health Counselors Association, Texas Trial Lawyers Association, and the Capitol Area Trial Lawyers Association.
Michael Charles O’Connor passed away on Sept. 13, 2021 in Houston. O’Connor graduated first in his class from The University of Texas School of Law, with the distinction of Chancellor and Order of the Coif. He began his legal career at Vinson and Elkins before starting his own law firm in Houston, where he continued to practice law for over 35 years.
Judge Rhonda Wills is the star of a new court reality show, “Relative Justice with Judge Rhonda Wills.” Wills currently practices law in Los Angeles and is also licensed to practice in Texas and New York. She previously appeared on WeTV’s “Sisters in Law” and also has appeared as a legal contributor for such outlets as CNN. The show will focus on conflicts between family members.
Chris Montez of Plano, Texas passed away on August 30, 2021 at the age of 46. After law school, he served as a judicial law clerk to the Hon. Bill Vance of the 10th District Court of Appeals in Waco, Texas. Montez then worked at the Law Firm of Darrell Keith, PC and later became a partner at the Dallas firm of Thomas, Feldman & Wilshusen, LLP (TFW). After 14 years at TFW, he started his own practice, The Law Firm of Christopher D. Montez, PLLC. Montez was a member of the ABA Forum on Construction Law and served as General Counsel to the Regional Hispanic Contractors Association (RHCA).
Robert “Bob” H. Stanley was known for creatively using film to give the historical context of law to enrich students’ perspective of current legal decisions. From 1982–87, he served in several positions at Brown University. He served as visiting assistant professor of history at the University of New Hampshire from 1987–88, and then spent a year teaching at the University of Texas at Arlington. In 1989, Stanley began his career at Chico State and became an important asset to the legal studies program. He remained a member of the Texas State Bar all his life.
Daniel Collins is now an assistant county attorney assigned to the El Paso County hospital district unit, which represents University Medical Center of El Paso. Collins previously served in various legislative roles, most recently as El Paso County’s government affairs manager, and previously as a legislative counsel in the Texas Senate, New York Senate, and at the New York City Council.
Conde Cox has been recognized in the 2022 Best Lawyers in America in the fields of Debtor-Creditor Rights and Insolvency/Reorganization.
Scott Craig has joined the new Austin office of Latham & Watkins LLP in the Emerging Companies Practice. He joins from Wilson Sonsini and represents emerging growth and late stage venture capital backed companies in technology, life sciences, and other high-growth industries, as well as the private equity and venture capital funds that invest in those companies,
Ed Cotham has recently published two history books. Juneteenth: The Story Behind the Celebration (State House Press, 2021), and A Busy Week in Texas: U. S. Grant’s 1880 Visit to the Lone Star State (Texas State Historical Association Press, 2021).
Jenifer Smith has joined the new Austin office of Latham & Watkins LLP in the Emerging Companies Practice. She joins from DLA Piper and represents public and private companies across a broad range of corporate and strategic matters, including venture capital financings, M&A, and capital markets transactions.
Samer Zabaneh has joined the new Austin office of Latham & Watkins LLP in the Emerging Companies Practice and will serve as the Office Managing Partner. He joins from DLA Piper and advises public and emerging private companies and their venture capital and private equity investors through their life cycles, from formation to liquidity.
Bobby Joe Waggoner passed away at the age of 75. He practiced law in San Antonio with The McCamish Law Firm, and finished a long career with The San Antonio Housing Authority in 2016. Waggoner was a member of The San Antonio Bar Association.
Michael J. Ritter has joined the San Antonio office of Schmoyer Reinhard LLP as senior counsel. Ritter focuses his practice on state and federal appeals, mandamus proceedings, litigation support, and labor and employment law.
James F. Gilbert, passed away on Aug. 27, 2021 at age 89. He has resided in Dallas for 60 years. For most of his career, Gilbert practiced with the law firm of Kilgore & Kilgore, where he specialized in corporate and securities law. He proudly served in the U.S. Army from 1954-1956 with the rank of 1st Lieutenant where he was stationed in Germany.
Jackie Furlow has been recognized in the 2022 The Best Lawyers in America ranking of the nation’s top legal talent. She is an attorney with Beck Redden who specializes in in Commercial Litigation.
Joe W. Redden, Jr. has been recognized in the 2022 The Best Lawyers in America ranking of the nation’s top legal talent. He is Of Counsel with Beck Redden who specializes in Personal Injury Litigation.
Geoff Gannaway has been recognized in the 2022 The Best Lawyers in America ranking of the nation’s top legal talent. He is a partner with Beck Redden who specializes in Commercial Litigation.
Mary Kate Raffetto has been recognized in the 2022 The Best Lawyers in America ranking of the nation’s top legal talent. She is an associate with Beck Redden who specializes in Commercial Litigation.
Alistair Dawson has been recognized in the 2022 The Best Lawyers in America ranking of the nation’s top legal talent. He is a partner with Beck Redden who specializes in Commercial Litigation and Antitrust Litigation.
David J. Beck has been recognized in the 2022 The Best Lawyers in America ranking of the nation’s top legal talent. He is a partner with Beck Redden who specializes in Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Legal Malpractice Law, Antitrust Litigation, Environmental Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, Patent Litigation, and Natural Resources Law.
Fields Alexander has been recognized in the 2022 The Best Lawyers in America ranking of the nation’s top legal talent. He is a partner with Beck Redden who specializes in Commercial Litigation, Personal Injury Litigation, and Product Liability Litigation.
Jackie Johnson has joined Constangy, Brooks, Smith and Prophete, LLP as a partner in the firm’s Dallas office, and will serve as co-chair of the Trade Secrets & Unfair Competition Practice Group. An exceptional litigator, Johnson is nationally recognized for her experience in issues including restrictive covenant agreements, trade secret theft, breach of contract, duty of loyalty, and tortious interference with contract disputes.
Douglas Neill Carnes passed away on August 12, 2021. Carnes practiced law in Austin for 30 years, his latest position being staff attorney for the Travis County Juvenile Probation Department. He loved traveling, studying history, and painting.
James “Jim” Larkin passed away on August 25, 2021. He served in the US Army 1957 – 1960, primarily stationed in Berlin. Larkin served as Harris County DA for 28 years until his retirement in 1993. During his career, he performed Administrative duties and served as Chairman of the Hiring Committee for 19 years where he watched hundreds of young lawyers advance through the DA’s office. After retiring as DA, Larkin became a visiting judge for the Harris County for 17 years.