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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.

Scheef & Stone Partner Authors Article on Judge’s New Limine Order

By Media

Scheef & Stone Partner Michael Smith discusses the recently issued order by Chief Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in an article published by IAM.

Motions in limine are a routine part of trial practice and prevent lawyers and witnesses from referencing potentially unfairly prejudicial matters. In the article, “EDTX Judge’s New Limine Order Takes Name-Calling off the Table,” Michael discusses the changes implemented by Judge Gilstrap’s ruling and how motions in limine will change going forward.

Reflecting on the order, Michael had this to say, “Judge Gilstrap’s order represents a good example of the routine rulings on these subjects that regular practitioners in his court have come to expect over the years, but more importantly, it represents an opportunity for clients and their in-house counsel to understand – well in advance of trial – which arguments will be off the table in this particular court.”

Michael makes the case that the immediate effect of the order is a substantial saving of time and expense in cases since it will no longer be required to prepare extensive lists of potential limine subjects. He also discusses a second benefit which is that parties will know up front that certain arguments will not be permitted at trial.

Michael’s practice is focused on complex commercial and patent litigation in federal court. He has appeared as counsel of record in over 900 civil cases in the Eastern District of Texas and served as chairman of the Eastern District’s Local Rules Advisory Committee from 2000-2009. He also maintains the Eastern District of Texas Federal Court Practice weblog, tracking Eastern District news and caselaw. He has edited O’Connor’s Federal Rules * Civil Trials since 1998.

Read the full article here.

Spotlight: Jane Taber, Corporate & Business Law, Healthcare

By Attorney Spotlight

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Scheef & Stone illustrates how past inspires us to redefine the future and showcases the inspiration and expertise of the women attorneys who elevate our firm and client service.

What woman in the firm or the business community inspires you and why?

The North Texas business community is fortunate to have wonderful women leaders who serve as role models to those just starting out in the business world.  I’ve gotten to know these truly inspirational women even better through Scheef & Stone’s Women to Women Business Series luncheons. Several of our guests not only shine in their chosen professions but also give back to the business community.

For example: Kelly Kunst is a world-class financial planner who formed Your Executive Symphony in 2009, an organization that supports entrepreneurs. Her passion for entrepreneurship is evident in the servicing of her business owner clients and the service she gives to the business community through her nonprofit organization. Deb Purvin, an Olympic skier, commercial banker, and owner of Business Owners MBA is truly an inspiration. After leaving the banking world, Deb devotes her full time to teaching business owners how to be successful through her proven BOMBA methodology. Her dedication has produced dozens of happy business owners, many of whom have sold their businesses for far more than what they ever dreamed their company could be worth – all due to Deb’s counseling and advice. Melanie Kuhr, former executive at a Fortune 100 company, bought a millwork company as a passive investor 20 years ago only to end up quitting her corporate job to take over the fledging millwork company and turn it around in terms of financial strength, reputation, and growth – all while simultaneously authoring a book about her family home and the Holocaust.  I feel so fortunate that Deb, Kelly and Melanie – and many others – have been consistent attendees of our luncheon and continue to set a high standard of what is possible for women in business.

If you could have dinner with anyone alive or dead, who would it be and why?

I’d like to spend an evening over dinner with my great-grandparents – all eight of them!  I never met them, but I think it would be fascinating to speak with them about life – including raising all four of my grandparents – in the early 1900s. I loved visiting with my grandparents until their deaths and would love to hear from their parents about their early years and what influenced them to be who they became.  I think learning life before all the technology we take for granted existed would be interesting.

What led you to the practice of law and/or to your specific area of law?

I didn’t know any lawyers growing up, nor had any in my family. However, I was pretty good at making logical arguments throughout high school, knew I didn’t really want to work for anyone, and was determined to earn an advanced degree. I was either going to get an MBA or a law degree. One of my sorority sisters, who had just started her first year of law school, suggested I take the LSAT and, if I did well, go for the law degree. I took the exam, was accepted into law school, and the rest is history.

How is being a woman lawyer advantageous?

I find women lawyers to be good listeners. As a business attorney, I am always negotiating terms and being a good listener is a good attribute when you are trying to suggest language amenable to all parties. Rather than trying to convince someone to accept your language, it’s much easier to let them think it was their idea. Women tend to be gifted with the ability to do just that.

What advice (professional or personal) would you give your younger self or the next generation of women leaders?

You don’t have to do everything yourself. There are many people that would be happy to help you if you seek out their advice. People are flattered when asked their opinion and experience on a topic, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Although you can figure it out yourself, you can waste a lot of time and energy in doing so.

To learn more about Jane, please click here.

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.

Spotlight: Heather Kay, Banking & Real Estate Law

By Attorney Spotlight

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Scheef & Stone illustrates how past inspires us to redefine the future and showcases the inspiration and expertise of the women attorneys who elevate our firm and client service.

Heather KayWhich woman in the firm or the business community inspires you and why?

Each of the female attorneys at Scheef & Stone inspires me, despite being in different practice areas or life stages. My colleague, Leslie Sanderson, has been a consistent confidante during my time with the firm. She started at the firm a year after I did and for the past fifteen years has been my sounding board for everything from analyzing complex legal issues to navigating life with two pre-teen girls.

If you could have dinner with anyone alive or dead, who would it be and why?

My grandmothers, so that I could learn more about my family history.

What led you to the practice of law and/or to your specific area of law?  

Being from a family of service members, I was initially drawn to the public service aspect of the practice of law.  Although I ended up in private practice, I am serving clients in my own way – helping businesses grow with each transaction I work on.  It is also enjoyable to see a client’s or a client’s customer’s project come to fruition.

How is being a woman lawyer advantageous? 

Being a woman lawyer is advantageous because we naturally know how to juggle the various facets of life.  We also bring a varied mindset to the practice of law.

What advice (professional or personal) would you give your younger self or the next generation of women leaders?

The practice of law is never consistent, so take time to enjoy the slow times and truly appreciate the little things that life has to offer.

To learn more about Heather, please click here.

Spotlight: Robin Barnes, Intellectual Property Law

By Attorney Spotlight

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Scheef & Stone illustrates how the past inspires us to redefine the future and showcases the inspiration and expertise of the women attorneys who elevate our firm and client service.

Which woman in the firm or the business community inspires you and why?

I find all of the women in Scheef & Stone inspiring for various reasons. Each brings unique and beautiful qualities to our firm-family. A few examples: Kelly Kleist is dedicated to helping our younger attorneys grow and reach their full potential as the head of our Associate Training Committee; Jane Taber is tenacious in promoting women’s business development initiatives as the head of our Diversity and Inclusion Committee; Rebekah Brooker is an integral part of the firm’s management and recruiting efforts; and Kate Valent is a real go-getter who amazes me with her creative approach to business development. These women, and every woman in the firm, do so much to help Scheef & Stone be a wonderful place to work – all on top of being smart, creative, funny, hard-working, and fantastic lawyers, administrators, paralegals, legal assistants, accountants, mothers, sisters, wives, volunteers, neighbors, and friends.

If you could have dinner with anyone alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Laura Ingalls Wilder. She lived in a fascinating time in history, from post-civil war through the 1950s. I would love to hear her stories in person. Plus, I was a huge fan of Little House on the Prairie when I was a kid, so that is a bonus. I would also invite Ree Drummond. Modern Pioneer Woman meets real life Pioneer Woman – the conversation would either be completely awkward or enthralling, either way, it would be interesting to see their dynamic together.

What led you to the practice of law and/or to your specific area of law?

Growing up, I went through the usual rounds of career dreams.  Rock star (thanks to an early love of Madonna and Pat Benatar), fashion designer (mostly due to a love of shopping), history professor (thanks to my high school humanities teacher, Mr. Hemesath), and finally engineer (mostly because I am pretty good at math and got a kick out of being faster at solving problems than most of the boys in school).

I ultimately got a Master of Engineering degree in Chemical Engineering. While I loved the science, I found during my co-ops that I did not love working in a chemical plant wearing a hard hat and steel toe boots in the middle of a hot summer (or a cold winter for that matter). I started contemplating other engineering career paths but was not enthused by any of the options. I had never considered becoming a lawyer until my dad suggested it – he said, “you like to argue, sometimes I think you actually enjoy arguing just for the sake of arguing, so you should be a lawyer.”

I am still not sure I agree that I enjoy arguing, but it was a light-bulb moment for me.  I began looking into law schools the next day. I quickly found that Intellectual Property law, and specifically patent law, was a natural fit for my engineering background. In my patent practice, I get the opportunity to learn about new technologies, utilize my engineering knowledge, and continually explore my love of science, all without having to wear a hard hat or steel toe boots.

How is being a woman lawyer advantageous?

I think being a woman lawyer or a woman in business provides several advantages because women tend to approach issues differently than men. In my experience, men are inclined to be immediate fixers, whereas women tend to be long-term problem solvers.  Women typically focus on understanding how an issue was created and finding a solution to not only fix the current problem, but also avoid the problem in the future. Women tend to be planners; we think about next steps so we can outline a plan, and we anticipate next questions so we can address them before they are even asked. We also tend to be more detail oriented and organized, which goes hand-in-hand with planning.

Unfortunately, there are also disadvantages to being a woman lawyer or woman in business. Gender discrimination still exists, and women are frequently undervalued and underestimated. In some respects, being underestimated can also be considered an advantage, but being undervalued is a battle we continue to fight.

What advice (professional or personal) would you give your younger self or the next generation of women leaders?

First, it’s okay to not be Wonder Woman. When I was a new wife, mom, and lawyer twenty-something years ago, I always wanted to be perfect at all of the roles all of the time. Unfortunately, I am not from Themyscira, and my mom is not Hippolyta. Striving for perfection was exhausting and impossible. I have learned over the years that imperfectly good is more than enough and far less tiring. You can still be successful with flaws and after making mistakes. Rather than beating yourself up over your imperfections, learn to accept them and even embrace them.

Second, learn to say “no.”  Setting boundaries in life can be hard, especially for women who tend to be people pleasers. A few years into practicing, I had a male partner walk into my office at 5:20 pm on the Thursday before a long holiday weekend when I had plans to go out of town with my family. He wanted me to write a motion over the weekend. I said “no,” using a few more harsh and admittedly unprofessional words.  It was scary – my heart raced, and I fought back tears. But it was probably the best thing I could have done both for my personal sanity and my career. The partner was shocked, but I could also tell that his view of me changed for the better. I stood up for myself and my time and that was something he could respect. To this day, it is still hard for me to say “no” when someone asks me to help with something that I do not have time for, but I try to remember that I am no good to anyone if I am overworked and over stressed.

Third, you should actually like your job.  People talk a lot about finding a job you are passionate about. That’s great advice, but I think it is not very realistic for most of us.  I think the better advice is to find a job you like and be passionate about your family, friends, and hobbies. You don’t have to love your job; you don’t even have to like it all of the time. But you need to like it more, a lot more, than you dislike it. If you don’t, then you need to reevaluate your career path and find something you do like. Your job is such a huge part of your life, it is not worth staying in a position that you do not enjoy most of the time. Don’t get me wrong – it is still a job, it is work, and there will always be challenges that arise that make you hate it at times. But if you find that hating it outweighs enjoying it, you should find something else to do. Yes, it is scary, but it will be worth it to find something you actually like doing.

Finally, build other women up.  Be a champion for the women you work with, support them, ask them how they are doing and if they need help, sing their praises to clients and male co-workers.  We have enough challenges in the workplace, we don’t need to be competing with each other or add to negativity.

To learn more about Robin, please click here.

Spotlight: Jennifer Withrow, Energy, Oil & Gas

By Attorney Spotlight

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Scheef & Stone illustrates how the past inspires us to redefine the future and showcases the inspiration and expertise of the women attorneys who elevate our firm and client service.

Which woman in the firm or the business community inspires you and why?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg  – she was a pioneer for female attorneys and opened many doors.

If you could have dinner with anyone alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Eleanor of Aquitaine. She was Queen of France, Queen and of England, and Duchess of Aquitaine – all taking place between 1137 and 1204. She made her mark in a world dominated by men and succeeded.

What led you to the practice of law and/or to your specific area of law?

My godfather was a lawyer and ultimately general counsel of Fiat North America. He inspired me to become a lawyer.

How is being a woman lawyer advantageous?

Whether you are male or female – being a good lawyer is advantageous.

What advice (professional or personal) would you give your younger self or the next generation of women leaders?

Patience is a virtue!

To learn more about Jennifer, please click here.

Scheef & Stone Partner Elected a Fellow by the Texas Bar Foundation

By News & Events

Heather KayScheef & Stone is pleased to announce that Heather Kay has been elected a Fellow by the Texas Bar Foundation. Fellows are selected because of their outstanding professional achievements and their commitment to the improvement of the justice system in Texas.

Each year, only one-third of one percent of Texas lawyers are invited to become Texas Bar Foundation Fellows. Once nominees are selected, they must be elected by the Texas Bar Foundation board of trustees. Election is a mark of distinction and recognition of contributions to the legal profession.

A partner in the Frisco, Texas office, Heather practices on the firm’s BankingCorporate & BusinessReal Estate, and Securities & Finance teams, with a focus on matters involving transactional banking and real estate law. She is experienced in all aspects of lending transactions and real estate transactions, such as documenting and negotiating complex financial transactions, including U.S. Small Business Administration loans, handling debt collection matters on behalf of creditors, and researching regulatory issues. She also has experience with real estate acquisition transactions and leasing transactions.

Heather is a member of the Texas Association of Bank Counsel and Collin County Women’s Association. She earned her J.D., cum laude, from Oklahoma City University School of Law and her B.S. from the University of North Texas.

Direct Selling Practice Group Ranked No. 3 in North America by Social Selling News

By News & Events

Brent KuglerScheef & Stone is pleased to announce that the firm’s Direct Selling practice group, which is chaired by Partner Brent Kugler, was ranked third in North America on the 2023 Social Selling News “The Ranks” law firm list. Firms are ranked by the number of active direct selling clients.

“Our direct sales, multi-level and affiliate marketing clients across the U.S. face a variety of complex business issues in a fast-paced niche industry,” Brent said. “Our team is dedicated to providing strategic advice on rapidly evolving regulatory issues, distributor policies, compensation structures, independent contractor classification, enforcement of non-solicitation restrictions, trade secret protection, risk management, and more. We’re delighted to see this commitment to client service recognized on such a prestigious list.”

Scheef & Stone’s Direct Selling practice attorneys have extensive experience in representing direct sales, multi-level (MLM) and affiliate marketing companies in lawsuits, arbitrations and regulatory matters. They also provide comprehensive legal representation to direct sales companies, including advice on federal and state regulatory issues. Scheef & Stone has been a Supplier Member of the Direct Selling Association since 2008 and Brent is a frequent speaker and author on regulatory developments in the direct selling industry and preparing direct sales companies for litigation.

Social Selling News is a monthly publication targeted to direct sales industry professionals. The publication covers direct sales news, trends and developments. The full “The Ranks” law firm list is available to subscribers here.

Scheef & Stone Welcomes Anthony Vecchione to the Firm

By News & Events

Anthony VecchioneScheef & Stone is pleased to announce that Anthony Vecchione has joined the firm’s Dallas office. Anthony will practice as a member of the firm’s Litigation team.

Anthony has more than a decade of experience handling complex business and intellectual property litigation matters, with a focus on patent infringement. He spends significant time advising large corporations, entrepreneurs, and inventors on challenges that arise in the ever-changing technology industry. Anthony’s clients appreciate his diverse experience and innate ability to devise the solutions necessary to keep their business objectives in line. Anthony’s many hats afford him a variety of perspectives, which he uses to provide insight and balanced judgement. He has successfully represented both plaintiffs and defendants in district court litigation, appellate litigation, and complex commercial arbitration.

As a complement to his successes in business and IP litigation, Anthony also previously served as general counsel for a burgeoning multi-office family dental practice. In this role, in addition to advising on strategic growth, he managed all legal matters that arose in daily practice operations, including those involving contracts, labor and employment, and real estate law.

Anthony is a member of the State Bar of Texas. He earned his J.D. from the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. He simultaneously obtained his M.A. from New York University and M.S. from Brooklyn College. He earned a B.S. from the University of Florida.