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NEW POSITIONS . . . Grace D. Kopacz has joined the Mokaram Law Firm in Houston as a partner to head the firm’s litigation section. . . . Gary G. Short has joined Jones Day in Dallas as a partner in the employee benefits and executive compensation practice. He previously was with Vinson & Elkins. . . . Vernon L. Krueger and Flauren Fagadau Bender have joined Stewart Stimmel in Dallas as a partner and an associate, respectively. . . . Dallas Area Rapid Transit attorney Hyattye O. Simmons has been named general counsel by the DART board of directors. . . . Nancy Furney and Lori Oliphant have joined Winstead in Dallas as shareholders in the taxation, employee benefits and private business practice group. . . . David L. Swanson and Todd J. Thorson have joined Locke Liddell & Sapp’s Dallas office. Swanson, previously with Jenkens & Gilchrist, is a partner in the litigation section, and Thorson, previously with Jones Day, is an associate with the corporate section. . . . Rodney Acker, Theodore Daniel, Ellen Bush Sessions and Guy I. Wade III have joined the Dallas office of Fulbright & Jaworski as partners in the trial and dispute resolution practice. All previously were with Jenkens & Gilchrist. Also joining the firm in Dallas are senior associates Steve Dollar and Joe Dirik. . . . Litigation attorney Noelle M. Reed has become a partner in the Houston office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. . . . Francis Munchinski has joined Cox Smith Matthews in Dallas as of counsel in the firm’s energy department. He previously was with Jenkens & Gilchrist. . . . William E. King has joined Bracewell & Giuliani as of counsel in Houston. His practice focuses on public law. He previously was with Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson. APPOINTMENT . . . Susana Carbajal, an associate with the bankruptcy, business litigation and specialty litigation sections of Brown McCarroll’s Austin office, has been named general counsel for the 2008 Democratic National Convention Committee. AWARDS . . . Catherine Robb, special counsel to Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold in Austin, received the Austin Under 40 Community Service Award from the Young Men’s Business League and the Young Women’s Alliance. The honor recognizes those whose professional success parallels their dedication to the community. . . . William Hilgers, a partner in Hilgers, Bell & Richards in Austin, was honored by the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism for his lifelong contributions to the ethical and professional excellence of the legal community. He is a founding member of the center. . . . For the second time, Vernon Rew, a corporate and securities shareholder in Winstead in Fort Worth, has been named the Henry Meadows Volunteer of the Year by the Downtown Fort Worth YMCA. . . . Gene Locke, a partner in Andrews Kurth in Houston, received a 2007 DiversityFirst award from the Texas Diversity Council. The award recognizes leaders across the state for their individual achievements and commitment to diversity. Locke chairs the firm’s diversity committee and co-chairs its public law section. . . . Walker F. Crowson, a partner Crowson & Crowson in El Paso, has received the 2007 Young Lawyer of the Year Award from the El Paso Young Lawyers Association. Crowson practices labor and employment law. HONORS . . . The following have been named fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers: Lawrence L. Germer of Beaumont; William A. Hicks of Cisco; V. Bryan Medlock Jr. and Donald C. Templin of Dallas; Milton C. Colia of El Paso; Rickey J. Brantley, Tim Evans and Carol Jean Traylor of Fort Worth; Barry Abrams, Joseph R. Alexander Jr., Thomas K. Brown and George T. Shipley of Houston; and Robert W. Weber of Texarkana.

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