Ted Cruz chooses his new law-firm home; another firm launches a “national appellate practice”

Morgan Lewis & Bockius (former holders of one of the early outstanding email-address domains) announced today that they just hired Ted Cruz to lead their new national appellate practice as a partner out of their Houston office.

This is a good thing for Ted. (I still owe him a lunch; I think it’s now official that he’s buying.)

I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s also a good thing for appellate lawyers when another big firm recognizes this as a distinct specialty worthy of a distinct practice group. I’m finding that the biggest problem in marketing isn’t a glut of appellate lawyers but instead too little recognition of the value that an appellate specialist can bring.

Last Monday was Entergy day at the state capitol

The Texas Supreme Court has already granted rehearing, but last week the Texas Legislature held its own committee hearings with testimony from a number of witnesses about the Court’s decision in the case. (Those were a part of the interim charges given to the committees, as discussed in this earlier post.)

See: Houston Chronicle

Effect of tort reform on growth

Texans for Lawsuit Reform issued a report trying to put a more exact number on the economic benefits from lawsuit reform. The study was done by the Perryman Group.

The numbers in the study include benefits that go far beyond reduced judgment amounts:

“Business owners and taxpayers save millions of dollars by eliminating non-productive expenditures related to unnecessary litigation, including administrative costs, court costs and the waste of the time of executives and workers.”

In other words, if you’re reading this blog, you are a “cost” in this study. That was very expected. But you should be reassured that you’re only a small part of the economic picture. The study credits the vast bulk of the extra growth to its model’s prediction of all the “innovations” attributable to having a less litigious environment. (( Details about what that means, as well as some finer points about the study’s methodology, are in the full report (PDF). ))

The article “Lawsuit caps tied to Southeast Texas growth” in the Beaumont Enterprise discusses the study, gets some follow-up quotes from the Perryman Group, and also some reactions from local lawyer Walter Umphrey. (Keeping with one of today’s themes, Umphrey mentioned cited Entergy v. Summers as a particular concern.)

Other coverage: Austin Business Journal

Baylor Law lauds its Texas Supreme Court clerks

The press release “High bar passage caps week of success for Baylor Law” includes a mention of the four Baylor students who will be clerking for the Court this next term.