Editor’s note: The following quotes appeared in Texas Lawyer articles in 2012.
“I was the butcher and the baker and the candlestick maker there.”
— Judge Robert Trapp, 411th District Court in Coldspring, talking about managing his family’s grocery store after he graduated from college at the University of Houston.
“After 38 years of practice I’ve set a new standard by winning both points of error and still losing the case.”
— Richard Anderson, a Northern District of Texas public defender, on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in United States v. Rondrick Lamar Gray. The 5th Circuit declined to overturn Gray’s conviction, despite ruling that the trial court erred in allowing an unreasonable search and in admitting photographs of Gray holding a gun.
“I looked at myself and I said, ‘Alright man. It’s not money. It’s not cars. It’s about making people’s lives better.’ And that is what really makes me happy.”
— Patrick Fagerberg, a former Austin solo, noting things that matter to him after receiving a career-ending head injury at a concert.
“Judges and arbitrators aren’t born in those jobs. They start out as regular lawyers, like most of us. Lawyers are their friends. When they become judges and arbitrators, they don’t take vows of ‘lawyer chastity’ — no more friendships with lawyers.”
— Rod Phelan, a partner in Baker Botts in Dallas, discussing a suit against his clients for allegedly failing to disclose a lawyer’s personal relationship with an arbitrator
“We like to reward people who are working hard without having a sweat-shop kind of environment.”
— C. Wade Cooper, managing partner of Jackson Walker, sharing how billable hours factor into determining associate bonuses.
“I felt like I was on a shooting range in a fight between the Hatfields and McCoys. This was a very unfortunate situation where, despite the lawyers working hard, we were unable to get it resolved.”
— Brian Lauten of Dallas’ Sawicki & Lauten, looking back on a nine-year battle between two attorneys over their firm’s breakup.
“There are only two ways to run for office — unopposed or scared.”
— Supreme Court Justice Don Willett on the Republican primary election.
“That was the only way I could learn things. I learned the language, the way the equipment worked. . . . On the dredge, I worked as a deckhand.”
— Daniel Pipitone, a shareholder in Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Aughtry in Houston, recalling spending three days working 12-hour shifts on a dredge to learn about King Fisher Marine’s business after he had been assigned one of the company’s Jones Act cases.
“We think that the problem with the eight-corners rule is it elevates allegations by lawyers so that they are more important than the truth.”
— David Pruessner, a partner in Dallas’ Pruessner & Colley, critiquing Texas’ eight-corners rule, which was applied by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in GuideOne Specialty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Gilmore.
“True conservatives have a deep-seated belief in the Constitution and the Seventh Amendment guarantee to jury trials. And I have found in talking with folks that the Tea Party members get it — that the Constitution and citizen juries are not party issues. Those are American-value issues.”
— Texas Trial Lawyers’ Association President Steve Harrison, a shareholder in Waco’s Harrison Davis Steakley Morrison, offering his thoughts on the election of John Devine, the first Tea Party-backed candidate elected to the Texas Supreme Court.
“When I was a young lawyer, I thought that my work was absolutely world-changing. Not to say that it’s not important . . . but being a mom gives me a new perspective on how to prioritize everything.”
— Rachel Smith, a partner in Baker & Hostetler in Houston, discussing being a mother and a partner in a large firm.
“One thing that stays the same is that $160,000 is a lot of money.”
— David Schulte of Dallas, hiring partner for Thompson & Knight, talking about first-year associate starting salaries.
“Hard work does not distinguish you in a law firm; for the most part, everybody works pretty hard.”
— Todd Chen, a partner in Winstead in Houston, explaining the road to partnership in a large firm.