October 2010 Archives

Child Custody Rights for Fathers

Child Custody: Father's RightsFathers seeking primary custody of their children in divorce cases are awarded it about 50 percent of the time, according to a report by Working Mother Magazine. The data is a sign of the changing atmosphere around child custody for fathers, where mothers have historically held an advantage due to the opposing stereotypes of the nurturer and the breadwinner.

Christopher Dolan and the question of gender in women's golf

Professional golfer Lana Lawless is physically and legally a woman; it says so right on her birth certificate. But she didn't used to be. She had sexual reassignment surgery in 2005, and at some tournaments, which have new rules requiring that competitors be "born female," this has been a point of controversy.

In the next issue of Oklahoma Super Lawyers

It's better to be nice than right

Lately I've been traveling the country to meet with attorneys who have been selected to the Super Lawyers list. I've assembled an advisory board, which will be announced in the near future, of lawyers from all firm sizes who are perennially on a Super Lawyers top list in their states. There is something universal about these highly successful and effective practitioners. They are nice. And engaging. And responsive. Our editorial team has found that "the bigger the wig the more gracious they are." Indeed, one attorney told me of a plaque that he keeps on his desk that reads, "It's better to be nice than right." Of course he can say that because he usually wins, but by all outward accounts these are not just words but a way of life.

Some familiar names on the Gulf oil spill Plaintiffs' Steering Committee

Last week, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in Louisiana appointed 15 lawyers to serve on the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee that will lead the Gulf oil spill litigation. Making the cut were 10 lawyers who have been named to a Super Lawyers list. In addition, five lawyers were named to the plaintiffs' executive committee, and three of them have been named to a Super Lawyers list.

Those selected:

  • Jeffrey A. Breit, Breit, Drescher & Imprevento. Virginia Super Lawyers (2006-2010)
  • Elizabeth J. Cabraser, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, Northern California Super Lawyers (2004-2010)
  • Philip F. Cossich Jr., Cossich, Sumich, Parsiola & Taylor, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2008-2010)
  • Robert T. Cunningham, Cunningham Bounds, Alabama Super Lawyers (2008-2010)

  • Calvin C. Fayard Jr., Fayard & Honeycutt, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007-2010)
  • Ervin Gonzalez, Colson Hicks Eidson, Florida Super Lawyers (2006-2010)
  • Rhon E. Jones, Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, Alabama Super Lawyers (2008-2010)

  • Paul M. Sterbcow, Lewis, Kullman, Sterbcow & Abramson, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2010)

  • Scott Summy, Baron & Budd, Texas Super Lawyers (2003-2010)
  • Mikal C. Watts, Watts Guerra Craft, Texas Super Lawyers (2003-2010)
  • On the executive committee, Scott Summy joins Jim Roy, Domengeaux, Wright, Roy & Edwards, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007-2010), and Stephen J. Herman, Herman, Herman, Katz & Cotlar, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007-2010).

Greg Coleman takes post-conviction DNA testing argument to Supreme Court

Less than one hour before Henry Skinner was to be executed in Texas in March, he learned that the Supreme Court had stayed his death sentence and would be reviewing his case, which concerned his requests for DNA testing. Today, the case will be heard before the highest court.

Innocence Project recognizes Bob Hilliard and Brent Schafer

Bob Hilliard hadn't planned on spending his summer working to release Koua Fong Lee from a Minnesota prison. "I didn't have any interest or any calling to start freeing people from jail," he told Super Lawyers. "But the stars just aligned slowly, one at a time."

John S. Johnston speaks for 30,000 Missouri lawyers

Personal injury attorney John S. Johnston of Kansas City, Mo., is no stranger to being called Mr. Prez. In 1998 he was president of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association. In 2003, he took the top role at the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Foundation. And now he's gone statewide.

Sean Summers and the clash between free speech and basic human needs

When Rev. Fred Phelps and members of his Westboro Baptist Church picketed a U.S. Marine's funeral in Maryland in 2006, with signs reading, "You're going to hell," "Thank God for dead soldiers," and "America is doomed," it didn't take long for the story to spread across the nation. The father of the soldier, Albert Snyder, who lives in York, Pennsylvania, sued, and today arguments for Snyder v. Phelps will be presented in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, which is tasked with deciding whether Phelps can claim freedom of speech protections for his actions.

Dan Stormer takes privacy argument to Supreme Court

The first Monday of October marks the start of a new term for the U.S. Supreme Court, and on Tuesday, the court will hear arguments for NASA V. Nelson, which addresses an employee's constitutional right to informational privacy. The case stems from a lawsuit filed by 28 scientists and engineers who are contract workers at the NASA-owned Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Talent abounds among applicants for BP litigation steering committee

Last Monday was the deadline for lawyers to apply for a prized spot on the plaintiffs' steering committee that will lead the multidistrict litigation against BP over the oil spill. Deciding who will make it onto the panel won't be easy. So far, there have been over 300 lawsuits filed by more than 100 lawyers, many of whom have appeared regularly on a Super Lawyers or a Rising Stars list. These talented lawyers include:

  • Kurt Arnold: Arnold & Itkin, Texas Rising Stars (2005, 2006, 2009, 2010)
  • Richard Arsenault: Neblett, Beard & Arsenault, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007-2010)
  • Dawn Barrios: Barrios, Kingsdorf & Casteix, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007-2010)
  • Daniel E. Becnel: Jr., on behalf of his firm, Becnel Law Firm, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007, 2010)
  • Scott Bickford: Martzell & Bickford, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007 -2010)
  • David Boies: New York Super Lawyers-Metro Edition (2007-2010)
  • Anthony (Tony) Buzbee: The Buzbee Law Firm, Texas Rising Stars (2004), Texas Super Lawyers (2004, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Elizabeth Cabraser: Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, Northern California Super Lawyers (2006-2010)
  • Brent Coon: Brent Coon and Associates, Texas Super Lawyers (2007-2010)
  • Lewis "Mike" Eidson: Colson Hicks Eidson, Florida Super Lawyers (2006-2010)
  • Calvin Faynard: Fayard & Honeycutt, Southern California Super Lawyers (2007-2010)
  • Thomas Girardi: Girardi Keese Southern California Super Lawyers (2004-2010)
  • Ervin Gonzalez: Colson Hicks Eidson, Florida Super Lawyers (2006-2010)
  • Stuart Z Grossman: Grossman Roth, Florida Super Lawyers (2006-2010)
  • Stephen Herman: Herman, Herman, Katz & Cotlar, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007-2010)
  • Rhon Jones: Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, Alabama Super Lawyers (2009-2010)
  • Mark Lanier: The Lanier Law Firm, Texas Super Lawyers (2003-2010)
  • Walter Leger Jr.: Leger & Shaw, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007-2010)
  • Ronald Motley: Motley Rice, South Carolina Super Lawyers (2008-2010)
  • Mike Papantonio: Levin Papantonio, Florida Super Lawyers (2006 to 2010)
  • Ronnie Penton: Law Offices of Ronnie G. Penton, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2008-2010)
  • Joseph Rice: Motley Rice, South Carolina Super Lawyers (2008 -2010)
  • James Roy, Domengeaux: Wright, Roy & Edwards, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007 -2010)
  • Christian Searcy: Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, Florida Super Lawyers (2006-2010)
  • Christopher Seeger: Seeger Weiss, New York Super Lawyers (2006-2010)
  • Matthew Shaffer: Schechter McElwee Shaffer & Harris, Texas Super Lawyers (2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • James Singleton: Singleton Law Firm, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007-2010)
  • Scott Summy: Baron & Budd, Texas Super Lawyers (2008-2010)
  • K. Luan Tran: Lee Tran & Liang, Southern California Rising Stars (2005-2007)
  • Perry Weitz: Weitz & Luxenberg, New York Super Lawyers-Metro Edition (2006-2010)
  • John Eddie Williams Jr.: Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas, Texas Super Lawyers (2003 -2010)