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Gwinn & Roby Closes In business since 1986, the Dallas defense firm of Gwinn & Roby closed its doors last week. “Business got very bad,” says Robert A. Gwinn, one of the founding partners of the firm that once had as many as 200 lawyers in offices in Amarillo, Dallas and Fort Worth. Robert R. “Rob” Roby, Gwinn & Roby’s former managing partner who is now a partner in Curran Tomko Tarski in Dallas, did not return telephone calls seeking comment before presstime on Oct. 11. Plaintiffs attorney Paula Sweeney, a partner in Dallas’ Howie & Sweeney, believes H.B. 4, the sweeping tort reform measure the Texas Legislature passed in 2003, may have caused the demise of Gwinn & Roby, which was primarily an insurance defense firm. Sweeney says Roby, who was president of the Texas Association of Defense Counsel in 2002-2003, did not speak out against H.B. 4. “Everybody warned the defense bar that if you don’t stand up in this fight, you’re going to be out of business,” Sweeney says. Mysterious Envelope U.S. District Judge A. Joe Fish certainly is concluding his days as chief of the Northern District of Texas with plenty of excitement. On Oct. 10, Eleanore Piwoni, Fish’s assistant, opened an envelope addressed to the judge that contained a letter from a state inmate and a mysterious white powder. Piwoni called the U.S. Marshal’s Office and within a few minutes, federal and city law enforcement officials arrived on the scene, including representatives from Federal Protective Services and the marshal’s office as well as Dallas hazardous material investigators. Randy P. Ely, the U.S. marshal for the Northern District, says HAZMAT investigators did a preliminary field test showing the powder wasn’t hazardous and further testing is under way. Ely’s office is evaluating the contents of the letter and talking to officials with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison unit where the inmate is housed. Ely says he will forward the results of those investigations to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which will decide whether to prosecute. Fish � who plans to take senior status on Nov. 12, his 65th birthday � is currently presiding over United States v. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, et al., a prosecution involving a Richardson-based charity the government alleges sent money to the terrorist organization Hamas. The inmate who sent the letter to Fish last week has no relationship to the HLF case. New Firm Name San Antonio-based Loeffler Tuggey Pauerstein Rosenthal has a new name and a new focus. As of Oct. 1, the firm changed its name to Tuggey Rosenthal Pauerstein Sandoloski Agather, or TRPSA for short. The 25-lawyer firm will maintain an affiliation with The Loeffler Group and its chairman, former Texas Congressman Tom Loeffler, a founder of Loeffler Tuggey. Tuggey Rosenthal will focus on corporate and business law in Austin and San Antonio, while The Loeffler Group will continue its lobbying/government affairs practice in Texas and Washington, D.C., says Tim Tuggey, managing partner of TRPSA. Tuggey says TRPSA and The Loeffler Group will share office space in Austin and San Antonio but keep separate offices in Washington, D.C. With the new name, Ruth Agather and Lee Sandoloski become name partners in TRPSA. The firm dates back to 2001 when a group from the now-defunct Arter & Hadden, including about 20 in San Antonio, formed Loeffler, Jonas & Tuggey. The Man to Call Beginning Oct. 15, there will be a new guy with a familiar face at the Texas Office of the Attorney General. Greg Abbott, the state’s attorney general, announced on Oct. 4 his appointment of Andrew Weber as deputy attorney general for legal counsel. Weber, who spent seven years at the Texas Supreme Court, including four years as the clerk of the court, will serve as a legal adviser to state agencies and will oversee several OAG divisions, including the Open Records Division and the Opinions Committee. His new boss will be familiar to Weber, who began his legal career as a briefing attorney for Abbott, who was then a justice on the state’s Supreme Court. Prior to his appointment by Abbott at the OAG, Weber was a partner in Kelly Hart & Hallman in Austin. Weber declines comment. “Expecting Andrew Weber to stay away from public service indefinitely was a long shot to begin with,” says J. Stephen Ravel, partner in charge of Kelly Hart’s Austin office. “We’re proud of him and wish him the best.”

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