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Scheef & Stone Welcomes IP Partner Keith Rawlins

By News & Events

Keith RawlinsScheef & Stone, LLP is pleased to announce the addition of IP attorney Keith Rawlins as a partner in the firm’s Dallas office.

Keith focuses his practice on all forms of intellectual property with an emphasis on the preparation, prosecution, and management of U.S. and international patent portfolios, working with clients to identify IP assets and secure protection of those assets. He also provides legal opinions and analyses for non-infringement and invalidity of patents in the U.S. and abroad with particular experience in chemical, oil & gas, polymer, software, patent system, pharmaceutical, renewable energy, and membrane separation technologies. Keith regularly serves as in-house counsel for his clients, providing strategic guidance and implementing internal processes to help cultivate and streamline their IP.

“We are excited to add depth to our patent prosecution and management team and know that Keith’s industry experience and focus on client relationships will make him an asset to our team,” said IP Partner, Robin Barnes.

Prior to joining Scheef & Stone, Keith was a partner with an IP and business law firm in Dallas. He earned his J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center and received his B.A. from the University of Colorado, as well as his B.S. in chemical engineering. Keith is a member of the Intellectual Property section of both the State Bar of Texas and the Dallas Bar Association.

The arrival of Keith furthers Scheef & Stone’s goal of strategic growth to meet clients’ needs.

Scheef & Stone’s Jim Griffin Included in Top 10 List

By News & Events

Jim GriffinScheef & Stone is thrilled to announce that Business Today has named Jim Griffin to its list of the Top 10 Texas lawyers transforming employee benefits & compensation. The selected attorneys are highlighted for their broad spectrum of knowledge in employee benefits and executive compensation.

Business Today reported that Jim’s peers had the following to say: “He is a great, great lawyer. He is very practical, down to earth, and makes things easy. He is smart and thoughtful.”

Jim is a partner in the firm’s Dallas office and for more than 30 years, he has helped clients solve their employee benefit problems. Jim enjoys helping clients break down barriers to achieve positive results in the important area of employee benefits and executive compensation. His clients count on him to provide practical solutions with common sense explanations.

Furthermore, Jim serves on the boards of several community organizations, including the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority and KCBI radio. He is also a member of the estate planning council at Southwestern Medical School and Children’s Medical Center, and he serves on the Executive Board at the SMU Dedman School of Law.

More information on the Top 10 list is available here.

Rebekah Steely Brooker Presents Session on Law Practice Management and Succession Planning at State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting

By News & Events

Rebekah BrookerScheef & Stone estate planning and probate attorney Rebekah Steely Brooker returned as a speaker at the 2023 State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting. This year, Rebekah and co-presenter Bill Betts discussed law practice management and specifically planned vs. unplanned succession planning. “Our objective was to deliver information about navigating the ethical rules that come up in the sudden cessation of a practice,” noted Rebekah. The presentation covered applicable Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, file management and engagement and termination letter provisions. In addition, Rebekah discussed the ethics involved in the cessation of a practice, the importance of designating a custodian attorney, as well as the Rules that apply to the sale of a law practice. “Succession planning is one additional way we can help protect our clients and provide for a seamless transition in the event we are unable to practice law,” Rebekah added.

Rebekah Steely Brooker Publishes in Texas Bar Practice Blog, Urging Bar Members to Designate a Custodian Attorney

By News & Events

Scheef & Stone estate planning and probate attorney Rebekah Steely Brooker, a member of the Law Practice Management Committee and Vice Chair-elect, and co-author John Meredith, Vice Chair of the State Bar of Texas Law Practice Management Committee, delve into the issue of practice management and planning ahead, particularly in the event of disability, impairment, incapacity, or death, in their article “Succession Planning: A Day to Designate Your Custodian Attorney,” published in the Texas Bar Practice Blog. The designation of a custodian attorney, they explain, is a critical aspect of law practice management and succession planning. In fact, the State Bar President inaugurated June 21, 2023, as the first annual Designate a Custodian Day, to raise awareness of the protections a lawyer should have in place in the event that an emergency prohibits the lawyer from being able to practice. The authors note that the appointment of a custodian attorney serves to protect not only their clients’ matters but also the lawyers’ own professional reputations. The authors recommend that in addition to designating a custodian attorney, members of the Bar pass on the favor by serving as a custodian for another attorney or attorneys. To learn more about the purpose and obligations of those chosen for this role, read the full article here.

Scheef & Stone’s Brent Kugler Obtains Defense Verdict for Video Products Engineer and Manufacturer

By News & Events

Brent KuglerScheef & Stone, LLP congratulates litigation partner Brent Kugler for obtaining a unanimous jury verdict on behalf of his client, a manufacturer of HDTV modulators and electronics products for IPTV networks and digital RF systems, in a shareholder derivative suit seeking $3.7 million in the 16th District Court in Denton County, Texas.

District Court Judge Sherry Shipman entered a directed verdict on the plaintiff’s individual claims and on June 30 the jury issued a unanimous verdict finding the defendants not liable on the plaintiffs’ shareholder derivative claims after a five-day trial. The unanimous jury verdict found the defendants not liable and awarded zero monetary damages to the plaintiff.

“I am extremely pleased for the positive outcome for our client after a four-year legal battle. The jury’s unanimous verdict is supported by overwhelming evidence that the defendants did not breach their fiduciary duties or engage in any sort of fraudulent activity,” said Kugler, who served as counsel for the corporate defendant.

The lawsuit was brought by a minority shareholder against Kugler’s client, as well as the company’s CEO, and involved allegations of breach of fiduciary duty and other derivative claims. Kugler and Joe Ackles, counsel for the CEO, collaborated on the litigation strategy to defend their clients, ultimately securing a defense verdict. Kugler was assisted by Scheef & Stone associates Priya Jesani and David Wills.

What Makes a Great Lawyer – Answered by Scheef & Stone’s Jane Taber

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Jane C. TaberThe firm recently celebrated having 13 lawyers named as D Magazine Best Lawyers by asking its attorneys what makes a great lawyer. Jane Taber provided the following insight, and we couldn’t have said it any better. Enjoy!

The nation is chock full of very good lawyers. Every year hundreds of lawyers graduate from the top of their classes, win prestigious awards for exemplary service, and provide superb legal representation resulting in tremendous results for their clients. As a profession, lawyers are intelligent and aren’t afraid to put in the necessary time and effort of lifelong learning to fine-tune their legal skills and gain experience. They have an uncanny ability to analyze information, strategically plan and implement a pathway for the best outcomes for their clients, and efficiently and persuasively write or present orally their clients’ position. So how does a lawyer become great and rise above her colleagues when she is surrounded every single day with good lawyers? A few characteristics make the transformation of a good lawyer into a great lawyer.

First is compassion. When a lawyer authentically and genuinely wants to help resolve a problem this is manifested as compassion. After all, isn’t that why our clients come to us in the first place—to solve their problem or avoid a future problem? This requires focusing on how others feel and understanding and accepting their perspective even if you don’t agree with it. Without compassion you can’t put yourself into your client’s shoes and fully comprehend the problems they face. Without compassion you can’t understand opposing counsel’s or the trier of facts perspectives. However, with compassion, and understanding the positions of all parties involved, you can anticipate the next steps of each party and take pre-emptive measures that are in the best interest of your client. You simply can’t provide the best solutions without compassion.

Secondly is assertiveness, which is different from aggressiveness. Assertive lawyers effectively state their opinions and make themselves heard in a professional manner, respectful of others. Aggressive lawyers attack and ignore others’ opinions, insisting their opinion is right and any other opinions are wrong. Much like lawyers without compassion, overly aggressive lawyers cannot possibly understand another’s position if it isn’t aligned with theirs, making them ineffective at understanding the client’s problem and incapable of providing an effective solution. Causing irreparable damage are overly aggressive lawyers, whose lack of respect for others undermines trust and leads to an uncooperative environment with mutual resolution or agreement often impossible.

Lastly is creativity. The number of different legal scenarios a lawyer is faced with over her career is innumerable. All clients, fact patterns, and issues differ. A solution for one client likely won’t work for another due to each client’s uniqueness. A great lawyer must be able to assess her client’s situation from all angles, understand what the client wants—and what her adversary wants, weigh all options, and muster up all the creativity she can to craft the perfect solution for the client that will also be accepted by an adversary. This requires coming to the table with compassion, listening intending to hear all persons at the table, and being assertive but not to the point of aggressive in advocating for a workable solution.

Yes, there are plenty of good lawyers that will do a fine job for most clients, but a great lawyer rises above a good one with her secret weapons of compassion, assertiveness, and creativity.

Scheef & Stone Partner Recognized as Hall of Fame Award Recipient

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Peter Lewis

Scheef & Stone is pleased to announce that Peter Lewis was inducted into the TMI Episcopal’s Hall of Fame during Alumni Day on Friday, April 21st.

Established in 2015, the Hall of Fame is an honorary society recognizing the exceptional contributions of alumni. Inductees are recognized for their embodiment of TMI’s core values – wisdom, integrity, service, excellence, and reverence. Peter is a 1974 graduate of the private high school and was one of eight individuals honored this year.

Throughout his career, Peter has remained devoted to serving his community. He has served as an officer and/or director of the Texas Public Finance Authority, Volunteer Centers of North Texas, Goodwill Industries, Mental Health Association of Dallas, Dallas Symphony, Alcuin School, Baylor Hospital System Foundation, Dallas Historical Society, J.L. Turner Legal Association, Head Start, the Texas Lyceum and the Friends of Fair Park. He currently serves on the board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas and the Texas advisory board for the Trust for Public Land.

While at TMI, Peter earned several academic and leadership awards, was Band Commander, editor of the Class of 1974 yearbook, served on the Student Council, was an all-state (private schools) football and basketball player, an all-city basketball player, and was named to several All-SPC and TPL football and basketball teams as well as an All-SPC team in baseball.

Upon graduating from TMI, he attended Princeton University where he played football and basketball and graduated in 1978 with a degree in Politics. He subsequently attended Columbia University School of Law and obtained his Juris Doctor in 1981. Thereafter, Peter began his legal career in Dallas where, in 1988, he became the first African American lawyer to become a partner (equity) in a Dallas majority law firm.

About TMI Episcopal

Located in the Texas Hill Country, just 20 miles from downtown San Antonio, TMI Episcopal is a coed, college-preparatory school for students in grades 6-12. Its rich history dates back to 1893 when the school was founded by the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas and has grown to become the excellent academic community it is today. From honors and Advanced Placement courses, a wide range of fine art and athletic activities, and the optional, distinguished JROTC program to the school’s dedication to service and leadership, TMI is a place for students to engage, learn, and grow into the well-rounded leaders of tomorrow.

Lucky #13! Scheef & Stone Attorneys Listed as Best Lawyers in Dallas by D Magazine

By News & Events

Scheef & Stone is pleased to announce that thirteen of our attorneys were named 2023 D Magazine Best Lawyers. The exclusive list honors the top Lawyers in Dallas, as chosen by their peers. This prestigious recognition is a testament to these attorneys’ exceptional legal skills, outstanding client service, and commitment to the legal profession. We are incredibly proud to have them on our team and to see their hard work and talent recognized by D Magazine as well as their peers. We would like to extend our sincerest congratulations to our attorneys for this well-deserved recognition. We are honored to have them on our team and look forward to seeing them continue to excel in their respective practice areas.

The Scheef & Stone attorneys selected by D Magazine are:

Robert Bolton: Tax
Rebekah Steely Brooker: Probate: Trust & Estates
Roger Crabb: Corporate Law: Private Equity
John Fischer: Intellectual Property: Patent Prosecution
James Griffin: Tax: ERISA/Employee Benefits
Byron Henry: Appellate
Mitch Little: Securities Litigation & Enforcement
LaDawn Nandrasy: Appellate
Mark Nielsen: Intellectual Property
John Scheef: Business/Commercial Litigation
Patrick Schurr: Bankruptcy & Workout
Bill Stone: Corporate Law: Mergers and Acquisitions
Jane C. Taber: Corporate Law/General & Healthcare Transactional

Scheef & Stone Welcomes LaDawn Nandrasy to the Firm

By News & Events

LaDawn NandrasyScheef & Stone is pleased to announce that LaDawn Nandrasy has joined the firm. LaDawn will practice as a member of the firm’s Appellate team.

LaDawn is board certified in civil appellate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, a prestigious credential earned by less than 1% of practicing Texas lawyers and joins the firm with more than three decades of appellate law experience. She has tried cases in several appellate courts, including the Supreme Court of Texas and the Fifth Circuit.

“To say we’re thrilled to have LaDawn join Scheef & Stone is an understatement,” said Founding Partner, John Scheef. “The appellate experience and bench depth that she brings to the firm is incomparably remarkable and she will be invaluable to our clients and our firm.”

LaDawn’s achievements have been recognized by Texas Super Lawyers in Appellate Law as well as a Top 50 Women Lawyer in Texas. D Magazine named her a Best Women Lawyer in Dallas and included her in the Best Lawyers in Dallas in Appellate Law.

Committed to the legal profession, LaDawn serves in a variety of capacities. She is a member of the Oversight Committee of the State Bar of Texas Committee on Pattern Jury Charges. Four times, she has authored the chapter on Interlocutory Appeals for the Texas Practitioner’s Guide to Civil Appeals in Texas. Her other roles have included leadership at the State Bar of Texas Appellate Section as a Council Member and as Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee.

Devoted to her community, LaDawn’s has served on several non-profit boards including Empowering Women as Leaders and Hope International, an international adoption agency that assisted with the adoption of her daughter from overseas.

The addition of LaDawn further solidifies Scheef & Stone’s position as a leader in the legal community and we are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead with her joining our team.

Three Scheef & Stone Attorneys Successfully Defeat Four Motions to Dismiss in Claw Back Case

By News & Events

Scheef & Stone congratulates Kelly Crawford, Peter Lewis and David Wills who succeeded in defeating four motions to dismiss in a case pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to recover $12 million plus in commissions from brokers in a metals receivership.

On March 8, Judge Brantley Starr issued an opinion denying all four motions to dismiss, allowing Kelly Crawford, as the court appointed receiver, to continue his attempt to claw back $12 million in commissions from brokers who allegedly directed more than 1,600 elderly people into a precious metals Ponzi scheme, ruling the receiver adequately pled the brokers benefited from the scheme regardless of their knowledge of the accused fraudsters’ actions.

The case Crawford et al. v Bleeden stems from a 2020 case lodged by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and 30 states against Los Angeles-based precious metals dealers Lucas Asher and Simon Batashvili. According to the CFTC, the dealers engaged in a $185 million nationwide scheme to deceive elderly investors into buying fraudulently inflated gold and silver bullion.

Law360 featured the victory in an article that ran on March 8.