Don’t (P)isrespect the Alamo

Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed has a message for those who may not feel the proper reverence for Texas monuments: “Don’t whizz on the Alamo.” Her press-release proclamation came on the occasion of a Feb. 4 guilty plea in San Antonio’s 399th District Court. Daniel Athens pleaded guilty to a felony charge for relieving himself on one of the Lone Star State’s most revered historical sites, according to Reed. Athens’ attorney, San Antonio solo Todd Coronado, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. “You don’t mess around with the Alamo. Nobody does, man,” Reed said in an interview. “I was pretty enraged when it happened.” Why is urinating on the Alamo such a big deal from a legal perspective? Chapter 28 of the Texas Penal Code makes it a state jail felony to deface a public monument or place of human burial. Reed said the defendant has yet to be sentenced and he faces a possible punishment range of 180 days to two years confinement in a state jail facility. Reed said her office has prosecuted others for daring to mark the Alamo with graffiti. And then there’s the legendary 1982 incident in which heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne urinated on a site near the Alamo and was banned from San Antonio until he made a large donation to the group that has preserved the historic site. “We take offense, absolutely,” Reed said. “And we have to preserve our heritage. It’s a shrine. It’s all about respect.”

The Georgia Hammer

Sledgehammers and fire? Lawyer Jim Adler “The Texas Hammer” has been doing that in advertisements for years. OK, maybe not quite in the way Georgia lawyer Jamie Casino did in an epic local ad during the Super Bowl. In that two-minute ad, Casino tells viewers why he transitioned from criminal-defense to personal injury law, complete with a metal guitar soundtrack, movie-quality special effects and a flaming sledgehammer. It really has to be seen to be believed. Casino did not return a call for comment about whether Adler served as his inspiration. Bruce Westbrook, a writer and editor for Adler’s website—which currently features a photo of Adler holding a sledgehammer while standing in front of a wall of fire—sees some similarity in Casino’s ad: “In effect, that was flattery if he was aware of Mr. Adler’s campaign and website.” Westbrook notes that Adler’s long-running TV ads have inspired others—most notably Austin filmmaker Mike Judge, who created a parody lawyer character named “Joe Adler” in his Beavis and Butt-Head cartoons and in his 2009 feature film “Extract.” “As far as the sledgehammer, anybody can do that,” Westbrook said. “But they can’t call themselves ‘The Texas Hammer’ because that’s trademarked.”

Daniel Stewart Leaves V&E

Dallas bankruptcy lawyer Daniel Stewart is ready for a second—or third—act. Stewart left Vinson & Elkins on Dec. 31, 2013, where he had practiced since 1999. He took a couple weeks off “to recharge the batteries” then joined Patton Boggs‘ Dallas office on Jan. 15. He said his task is to build the office’s bankruptcy and restructuring practice, noting that he joined V&E in 1999 to launch a bankruptcy practice at the firm, and before that he led the bankruptcy section at Winstead. “While there are several people here [at Patton Boggs] doing bankruptcy, I think they were looking to find somebody who could build the group not only back to where it had been but take it to higher heights,” Stewart said about his move to Patton Boggs. Stewart said Patton Boggs lost some of its bankruptcy and restructuring lawyers last summer when a group of 24 lawyers left to open a Dallas office for Holland & Knight. Stewart said Patton Boggs has two other full-time bankruptcy and restructuring lawyers in Dallas and several who do support work in finance and litigation—plus bankruptcy lawyers in other offices—”so there’s a lot of experience and capability.” John Wander, who is a co-managing partner for V&E in Dallas, sent an email with this comment about Stewart’s departure: “Dan is an outstanding lawyer, was a valued colleague for many years and helped build our Dallas office into what it is today. Though he retired from V&E, I fully understand his desire to continue his practice and wish him well at Patton Boggs.” Stewart, who is 66, said he left V&E because he didn’t want to retire over the next couple years. “It was on the horizon, and I just didn’t want to fade off into the sunset. I still have a lot of energy and [am] still in a building mode,” he said. He said he has “no hard feelings” toward V&E. Stewart declined to identify clients, except he said his “existing matters” include trustee work and representation of trustees. In a written statement, Michael Forshey, managing partner of the Dallas office of Patton Boggs, said Stewart brings “tremendous experience and a track record of building successful practices” and the firm looks forward to introducing Stewart to clients.

“Johnny Football” Billboards

Tony Buzbee, owner of The Buzbee Law Firm in Houston, has never met Johnny Manziel, aka Johnny Football, the Heisman-winning former quarterback for Texas A&M University. But Buzbee, a proud Aggie, has plastered 12 of his Houston-area billboards with pleas for his fellow Houstonians to “Keep Johnny Football in Texas.” Manziel announced earlier he would go pro. Buzbee, whom the governor appointed in 2013 to the Texas A&M board of regents, said he hopes Houston Texans owner Bob McNair will hear Buzbee’s request and that of other Houstonians who signed a petition on a website he has established for that purpose www.draftjohnnymanziel.com. Yes, Buzbee said, he would like to influence the NFL team’s draft choice pick but he recognizes ultimately “McNair will make the call.”