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SHJ Welcomes Dave Finkel

We are thrilled to announce that Dave Finkel has joined Schiffer Hicks Johnson as an associate. Dave’s practice centers on complex commercial litigation. As a former federal clerk in both district and circuit courts, he has experience overseeing the entire lifecycle of a case, from pre-trial through appeal.

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SHJ Welcomes Gabe Slater

We are delighted to announce that Gabe Slater has joined Schiffer Hicks Johnson as an associate. Gabe’s practice centers on complex commercial litigation. He has managed the day-to-day duties of a broad spectrum of cases, including consumer class actions, mass torts, merger litigation, and shareholder disputes. Gabe’s experience includes appearing at hearings in both state and federal court, leading oral argument on a motion to compel, and first-chairing numerous depositions.

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Sackler Family’s Fate in the Supreme Court Is Poised to Transform Texas Bankruptcy Law

On December 4, 2023, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a case that may have major implications for bankruptcy law in the Fifth Circuit. While the Fifth Circuit has held that bankruptcy courts may not incorporate third-party releases, this case, Harrington v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et. al., challenges the legality of Purdue’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization plan on the grounds that the plan exceeds the Bankruptcy Code’s authorization by releasing claims held by non-debtors against other non-debtor third parties without the claimants’ consent. Partner Marc Tabolsky and associate Adam Greiner discuss the case’s background as well as its potential to reverse current Fifth Circuit precedent that denies the use of releases between non-debtors in Chapter 11 reorganization plans.

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Ahead of the Curve: Meet Appellate Partner Penny Nicholson

SHJ partner Penny Nicholson, a veteran appellate practitioner board-certified in civil appellate law, has spent the past 30 years at the forefront of this evolving practice area. As a partner at Vinson & Elkins, she helped co-found the firm’s appellate section in 1990—one of the first in Texas. Here, Penny discusses her history at V&E, her current appellate practice at SHJ, her approach to appellate law, and what makes appellate lawyers an invaluable addition to any trial practice.

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“A Firm on the Rise”: A Q&A with Associate Fraser Holmes

Fraser Holmes joined SHJ as an associate in September 2023. He litigates complex commercial disputes at both the trial and appellate levels, as well as in arbitration proceedings. Before joining the firm, Fraser clerked for the Hon. Bridget Bade of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and, prior to that, the Hon. Sam Sparks of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.

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SHJ Welcomes Fraser Holmes

We are excited to announce that Fraser Holmes has joined Schiffer Hicks Johnson as an associate. Fraser litigates complex commercial disputes at both the trial and appellate levels, as well as in arbitration proceedings. He has drafted dispositive and non-dispositive briefs, prepared depositions, and conducted discovery for cases in state and federal court involving a wide range of claims, including private equity, healthcare, bankruptcy, and anticompetition.

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Meet Summer Associate Karchen Lhatoo

Karchen is a rising 3L at the University of Chicago Law School, where he participates in the International Law Society and the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association. He also served as the vice president and events director of UChicago Law Effective Altruism, a group that applies an evidence-based approach to helping law students undertake effective public interest and pro bono work. Previously, Karchen was an advocacy fellow with Reprieve, a London-based human rights organization that builds public momentum around high-impact causes like Guantánamo Bay, human trafficking, and drone strikes. He graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.A. in Political Science.

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Three Partners Honored by Benchmark Litigation

Schiffer Hicks Johnson is proud to announce that three partners have been recognized in Benchmark Litigation’s 2024 rankings: Adam Schiffer (Litigation Star), Adam Dinnell (Future Litigation Star), and Varant Yegparian (40 & Under List).

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Texas Supreme Court to Review Rejected Forced Pooling Applications

On June 2, 2023, the Texas Supreme Court agreed to hear Ammonite Oil & Gas Corp. v. Railroad Commission of Texas and EOG Resources, which concerns a state regulator’s rejection of 16 applications submitted by Ammonite to force pool its mineral estate with adjacent wells operated by EOG under the Texas Mineral Interest Pooling Act (MIPA). Now, the court is poised to weigh in on several points regarding the scope and interpretation of the MIPA. Partner Persis Dean and associate Kelly Swanson provide key details of the case as well as its potential implications.

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Meet Summer Associate April Alex

April is a rising 3L at Duke University School of Law, where she serves as staff editor of Law and Contemporary Problems and as a research assistant for the Wilson Center for Science and Justice. Previously, she was a summer associate at a firm in Raleigh, North Carolina, that handles insurance, reinsurance, healthcare regulation, and employment disputes. She graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Political Science.

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“A Great Place to Exercise Your Creativity”: A Q&A with Senior Associate Lori Arakaki

Lori C. Arakaki joined SHJ as a senior associate in March 2023. She handles complex commercial disputes before federal and state courts at both the trial and appellate levels. Previously, Lori practiced in the litigation group at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s San Francisco office. She also spent several years as an associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s Los Angeles office.

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“Committed to ‘Paying It Forward’: A Q&A With Appellate Lawyer Katherine Ring

Fewer than 20% of U.S. appellate lawyers who argue high-dollar civil cases are female, according to a 2021 report from the American Bar Association. At SHJ, we’re proud to field a majority-women appellate team with an exceptional track record of success.

Senior counsel Katherine Ring has played a key role in our appellate practice since the firm was founded in 2007. Over the past 15 years, she and her colleagues, Marc Tabolsky and Penny Nicholson, have argued highly significant legal issues before federal courts and handled appeals involving hundreds of millions of dollars. We sat down with Kate to discuss her background, most interesting cases, and commitment to female mentorship in the profession.

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Meet Summer Associate Matthew Hilley

Matthew is a rising 3L at Washington University School of Law, where he serves as an executive articles editor for the Journal of Law & Policy, the vice president of the Federalist Society, and the former vice justice of Phi Alpha Delta. Previously, Matthew worked as a law clerk in the Office of the Attorney General of Texas, General Litigation, and interned at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Texas. He graduated from Georgetown University with a B.A. in Physics and History.  

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Meet Summer Associate Austin Fuller

Austin is a rising 3L at the University of Virginia School of Law, where he participates in the Virginia Journal of Law & Technology and the Extramural Moot Court Team. He also belongs to Lone Star Lawyers, UVA’s networking group for students interested in the Texas legal market. Previously, Austin interned at the Travis County District Attorney’s Office in Austin. He graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in Social Studies.

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Schiffer Hicks Johnson Earns 2023 Chambers Ranking

Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business announced today that Schiffer Hicks Johnson (SHJ) has been ranked as a leading law firm in the Texas Litigation: General Commercial practice area for 2023. Less than 1 percent of U.S. law firms receive this important distinction.

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New Bill Will Streamline Civil Litigation in Texas Court

On Friday, May 12, the Texas Senate passed a bill that would create a specialized business court to oversee complex civil litigation. SHJ senior counsel Katherine Ring provides an overview of key changes proposed by the bill, which aims to streamline the resolution of high-stakes business disputes statewide.

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What Companies Should Know About the Biden Administration’s Antitrust Enforcement Campaign

On July 9, 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling for stronger enforcement of antitrust laws to promote competition and curtail the consolidation of American industries. Since then, the DOJ has pursued a vigorous campaign of antitrust enforcement, including blocking purportedly anti-competitive mergers and addressing non-merger anti-competitive conduct. SHJ senior counsel Brandon Winchester and associate Kelly Swanson discuss the DOJ’s recent efforts and offer guidance for companies considering a merger in the current antitrust landscape.

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How Should Litigators Establish Evidence in Trade Secret Cases? Part Three: Evidentiary Concerns

Like any other type of litigation, trade secret cases rise or fall on the strength of the evidence that can be put before the factfinder. Yet before a lawyer can focus on what evidence they have to make or defend their case, they must first collect that evidence. With information technology being incorporated into every business at a lightning-fast pace, evidence has accordingly become increasingly complicated to source. The final part of this series outlines best practices for the identification, collection, and preservation of evidence for use in a trade secrets case.

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How Should Litigators Establish Evidence in Trade Secret Cases? Part Two: Damages

As discussed in part one of this series, trade secret litigation presents a minefield of evidentiary challenges. But while the act of misappropriation is often simple enough to demonstrate, calculating the precise value of damages can be extremely difficult. This second article outlines the evidence needed to articulate a legally cognizable damages model.

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How Should Litigators Establish Evidence in Trade Secret Cases? Part One: Liability

Trade secret litigation is set to increase in the coming decades, accelerated by the enactment of the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) in 2016. Most cases do not contain direct evidence of stolen secrets, however. Instead, stray pieces of indirect evidence must come together to tell a larger story of theft. Consequently, lawyers handling this type of litigation must take the time to understand its intricacies and machinations, particularly the specific statutory requirements imposed by the uniform trade secrets acts (such as the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act, or “TUTSA”) and the evidence that will and will not satisfy these requirements.

A new three-part series by SHJ partner Varant Yegparian examines different concerns regarding evidence in trade secret cases, aiming to shed light on the correlative legal requirements to which this evidence is applied. This first article articulates the legal framework envisioned by TUTSA, addressing the requirements to prove the existence of a trade secret and to establish liability.

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The Sun Has Finally Set on NAFTA: Investor-State Arbitration Under the USMCA

On July 1, 2020, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) took effect, replacing the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The USMCA provides a three-year sunset period for investors to submit arbitration claims related to foreign investments established or acquired under NAFTA. Now that the practical deadline of April 1, 2023 has passed, investors can no longer access NAFTA’s dispute resolution mechanism and must file investment claims under the USMCA regime. A new article by SHJ managing partner Andy Hicks and associate Fatima Aslam outlines key changes that investors should look out for.

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