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The Content Rundown

Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Here is a rundown of blog posts by our clients informing their readers of new legal developments in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to Get Jurors to Obey the Judge’s Instructions, by CourtroomLogic Consulting’s Kacy Miller. Jury panels are routinely instructed by judges not to research or post about their cases, yet we’re seeing an uptick in the number of jury verdict reversals due to the conduct of a handful of jurors who just can’t help themselves. Rather than simply dismissing these folks as rogue, anti-authority humans, the bigger question is this: Why don’t they follow the instructions? According to trial consultant Kacy Miller, the solution might be simpler than we think.

How Should Employers Respond to COVID-19?, by Grable Martin Fulton, PLLC’s Heather Kramer. With the World Health Organization’s recent declaration that coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak is a pandemic, it’s important for businesses to have both an understanding of the illness and relevant guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as knowledge of the various employment laws and policies that may come into play as they navigate this situation. Labor and employment attorney Heather Kramer provides some guidance during this unprecedented time.

Rising Stars Names Camille Avant to List of Texas’ Top Young Attorneys, via Clouse Brown. Recently board-certified employment attorney Camille Avant is adding another accolade to her trophy case this month: She has been recognized on the 2020 list of Super Lawyers Rising Stars published by Thomson Reuters. Rising Stars selects no more than 2.5 percent of attorneys in the state for recognition on the annual list.

To Spacetime and Beyond: A Q&A with Keiko Ichiye, via Grable Martin Fulton, PLLC. Grable Martin Fulton, PLLC, is pleased to welcome patent attorney Keiko Ichiye to the firm. A mathematician and philosopher, Keiko has a masters and a Ph.D., in addition to her law degree, and is registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Biscuits Are Like Success, by Michelle May O’Neil. Have you ever met someone who always has a reason they can’t make the move or pursue the goal they’ve always talked about? There’s always an excuse. But no matter how long they’ve been talking about making a change, they never seem to take the steps needed to just do it. This is what Zig Ziglar calls getting cooked in the squat. Motivator and attorney Michelle May O’Neil explains why in this blog post.

National Law Firm Thompson Coburn Lands Four Heavy Hitters in New Dallas Office, via Thompson Coburn. The national law firm Thompson Coburn is proud to announce the firm’s new office in Dallas, its sixth nationwide. The office will be managed by nationally recognized litigator Nicole Williams, formerly of Thompson & Knight in Dallas. Nicole is launching the office with fellow partners Elizabeth Myers and Jennifer Ecklund from Thompson & Knight, and Katharine Battaia Clark from Hedrick Kring. As reported in The Texas Lawbook (subscription required), Thompson Coburn chair Tom Minogue “is hoping to replicate the success the firm has had with its Chicago and Los Angeles openings… Over the next few years, Thompson Coburn leadership wants to build out the Dallas outpost to more than 40 attorneys.”

Single-Family Rental – Why, and What’s Different?, via The Watson Firm. If you had asked them a year ago about build-to-rent or single-family rental (SFR) deals, there wouldn’t have had much to report. But in the year since, The Watson Firm has seen the area explode, and there are no signs of a slowdown. Homebuilders, developers, and equity funds are all paying attention to the SFR space. This blog post shares some important factors developers should evaluate when considering making the move to single-family rentals.

Sex, Lies, and Recording in Texas, by Jackson Spencer Law’s Jennifer Spencer. Proving sexual harassment in the workplace can be exceptionally difficult. When confronted, virtually all harassers claim that harassment never occurred or that their words or actions were taken out of context. Few, if any, people readily admit that they have engaged in harassing behavior. In this blog post, employment attorney Jennifer Spencer explains how the Texas wiretapping law can help prove harassment and overcome the “he said/she said” discrepancy.

‘Each MPC is a puzzle’: Five Questions for Rachel Wilson, via The Watson Firm. Rachel Wilson took a winding path to The Watson Firm, but they’re glad she’s made her home here in Dallas, providing exceptional counsel to developers in all phases of master-planned community development. In this Q&A, Rachel discusses her work, how she found herself in Texas, and her favorite sightseeing stops in Big D.

The 9 D’s of Cybersecurity: Real Data Protection Takes a Multi-Pronged Approach, by Grable Martin Fulton, PLLC’s Kelce Wilson. In his blog post, cybersecurity attorney Kelce Wilson draws from his experience during his prior career as an engineer in a military cybersecurity testing project. Take it from us: if you’re going to listen to someone about your cybersecurity, listen to the guy who helped make sure some of the nation’s most important computers were locked down tight.

Amy Stewart Law Promotes Marisa O’Sullivan to Principal, via Amy Stewart Law. Amy Stewart Law is extremely proud to announce that Marisa O’Sullivan has been promoted to Principal. Marisa has a stellar track record of excellence in the firm’s insurance-litigation practice, unparalleled client service, and active engagement in both professional and service organizations. The firm is honored to recognize Marisa’s many accomplishments by elevating her to this new role.

Who’s the ‘Ideal’ Juror? Often, It Comes Down to Finding the ‘Least Bad’ One, by CourtroomLogic Consulting’s Kacy Miller. It’s tough to get people to admit things that paint them in a bad light. That’s what trial consultant Kacy Miller addresses in her recent Bull column: how to get potential jurors to admit whether they would have a negative bias toward a plaintiff because of his success? Read on for her very pro tips.

New Overtime and Wage Rules for 2020 Every Employer Needs to Know, by Clouse Brown’s Keith Clouse. In the last quarter of 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor issued two new rules regarding overtime and non-exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The rules mark the first significant update to the regulations governing regular rate requirements under the FLSA in over 50 years. Executive employment attorney Keith Clouse teaches employers about these new developments to ensure their companies are compliant with the FLSA.

GMF Attorneys Look Toward Next Decade at Annual Retreat, via Grable Martin Fulton, PLLC. The attorneys of Grable Martin Fulton converged on Austin for their annual firm retreat on January 26-27. The agenda for the retreat at Austin’s South Congress Hotel included firm technology and professional development, among other issues. “We’re huge advocates of our distributed law firm business model,” said founding member Lee Grable, “but we also see value in coming together as a firm.”

Momma said Be the Blaze, via Michelle May O’Neil. In this blog post, attorney and motivator Michelle May O’Neil describes the origin of “be the blaze,” a phrase that would give her guidance throughout her life. She also reflects on her heroes who have inspired her career and personal growth.

CBS This Morning Covers Brooker Law’s Fatal Distracted Driving Case in National Story, via Brooker Law. Dallas’ Brooker Law and firm founder Chip Brooker have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners after a company employee killed two teenagers in a head-on collision while distracted by a pornographic video on his smartphone. Chip filed the lawsuit on February 12 in Dallas District Court on behalf of Patrick and Dalena Weaver of Weatherford, Texas, over the death of their son, Jonathan, who was 18.

Key Contract Issues for Creating or Revising Your Confidentiality, Ownership, and Employment Agreement, by Grable Martin Fulton, PLLC’s Suzy Fulton, Spacee’s Mirna Baloul and CSK Legal’s Landon Stinson. Why do so many startups fail? It’s a loaded question… and there are as many different answers are there are startups. For the purposes of this article, the authors concentrate on one area in particular – IP protection. Suzy Fulton and her co-authors explore some things startups can do or look for as they go about protecting their IP, specifically around their confidentiality, IP ownership and employment agreements. This article was originally presented at the 2019 American Intellectual Property Law annual meeting.

Marisa Jeffrey O’Sullivan Named One of Dallas’ 2020 Best Lawyers Under 40, via Amy Stewart Law. Congratulations to Marisa Jeffrey O’Sulllivan, who was recently named one of D Magazine’s Best Lawyers Under 40. This is the second year Marisa has been recognized by D Magazine, and it’s the latest in a series of accolades for this outstanding young lawyer. She has also twice been named to the Rising Stars list published by Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters), and she received the 2019 Outstanding Young Lawyer Award from the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers.

Camille Avant Earns Board Certification in Labor and Employment Law, via Clouse Brown, PLLC. Congratulations to employment law specialist Camille Avant, who has earned her Certification in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization – a designation that fewer than 700 attorneys in Texas can claim. In order to meet the standards for qualification, an attorney must have practiced law in Texas for at least five years, with at least three years of labor and employment law experience.

Age and Disability Discrimination & Your Rights, by Jackson Spencer Law’s Jennifer Spencer. If you’re having difficulty performing your job due to a disability or age-related health condition, you have rights. Labor and employment attorney Jennifer Spencer gives readers the rundown of various laws in place that protect employees from disability and age discrimination.

Going to Trial Is Always a Gamble, Even for “Bull,” by CourtroomLogic Consulting’s Kacy Miller. What happens when a high school coach takes athletic pressure too far and a student athlete dies from cardiac arrest? Well, at least in the world of “Bull,” a courtroom battle ensues! Trial consultant Kacy Miller explains that there are “absolutely zero guarantees” in trial, despite how much prep work you might conduct.

Revenge Isn’t Always Sweet – Avoiding Workplace Retaliation Claims, by Clouse Brown PLLC’s Alyson Brown. Retaliation charges are the most frequent type of employee compliant received by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Often, despite defeating baseless allegations of discrimination or harassment, employers still find themselves having to defend retaliation claims based upon actions taken towards the employee who made such allegations in the first place. Employment attorney Alyson Brown explains that companies should keep in mind that their reaction to and handling of employee complaints can make all the difference in avoiding a costly legal battle.

Texas Publications Discuss Data Infrastructure with Business Attorney Brad Gold, via Grable Martin Fulton, PLLC. The Texas Monitor and KXAN recently featured our own Brad Gold, a lecturer at UT’s McCombs School of Business, in stories discussing data infrastructure and sharing. Brad told KXAN that Google and Ascension’s partnership, which includes a data sharing component aimed at building health care products and services, has some possible drawbacks. The following week, Brad discussed the Texas Department of Public Safety’s use of surveillance infrastructure with The Texas Monitor.

Christina DiPintoChristina takes traditional legal marketing copy and upcycles it into snackable, click-able and shareable digital content. As Muse’s newsletter guru, she creates custom newsletters for clients from development to distribution. If you’re looking for a snappy headline or engaging email, send her a note at christina.dipinto@muselegalpr.com.

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