Stanley Schneider

Partner, Schneider & McKinney

A LeRoy Neiman lithograph of boxer Muhammad Ali hangs on the wall behind Stanley Schneider’s desk in Houston. “It reminds me how important beliefs are and about being true to your beliefs,” says Schneider, recalling the stand that Ali, the former Cassius Clay, took during the Vietnam War.

The Kentucky Appeal Board denied Ali’s application for conscientious-objector status as a Muslim. Although the federal government convicted Ali of refusing to submit to induction, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed that conviction in 1971′s Clay v. United States.

A native of Schenectady, N.Y., Schneider says he decided to become an attorney in 1970 while working on Republican Charles Goodell’s unsuccessful campaign for a U.S. Senate seat from New York. Schneider says that he and two buddies who also worked on Goodell’s campaign decided to take the Law School Admission Test. He went on to St. Mary’s University School of Law, graduating in 1974.

After graduating from law school, Schneider joined the Staff Counsel for Inmates at the then-Texas Department of Corrections, where he got the opportunity to represent inmates in their applications for post-conviction writs to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. His first assignment, Schneider says, was to draft a brief to the 5th Circuit in a case in which the issue was whether an inmate can be tried in prison clothes, an appeal that was unsuccessful because the inmate had not objected at trial. Schneider says his work with the Staff Counsel for Inmates allowed him to appear before judges who were the architects of the civil rights movement.

Schneider says he established his private practice in 1977 and that Troy McKinney joined his firm as an associate in 1985. The two became partners, establishing Schneider & McKinney in 1991. Also in 1991, Schneider and McKinney represented “Texas cheerleader mom” Wanda Holloway, who avoided a 15-year prison sentence for her solicitation-of-murder conviction after the 174th District Court granted her motion for a new trial on the ground a juror on deferred adjudication probation was illegally impaneled, according to the 1994 opinion by Houston’s 1st Court of Appeals. Holloway subsequently pleaded no contest and served six months of a 10-year sentence.

In 2007′s State v. Cook, Schneider represented former Pasadena Independent School District bus driver Jerry M. Cook in his manslaughter trial for running over a 9-year-old girl. “The jury acquitted after a seven-day trial,” Schneider notes in an email.

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