Modification Versus Clarification: Understanding the Difference in Texas Divorces

Parties in Texas divorce cases often become confused over when decrees can be clarified—and what constitutes a clarification as opposed to a modification. Being able to distinguish the two often means the difference between success and failure in divorce matters. Under Texas law, a trial court cannot change its final judgment after expiration of what […]

Determining Whether Your Texas Judgment Is Final and Appealable (and the special danger presented by family cases!)

As a general rule, only the final judgment in a lawsuit can be appealed. With a very few specifically enumerated exceptions, Texas law does not permit appeals from what are known as interlocutory orders (interlocutory orders are orders made during litigation of the case but before entry of final judgment). See generally City of Beaumont […]

What Can I Reveal About My Former Clients and May I Use Their Confidential Information?

Most lawyers know that you can’t disclose a current client’s confidential information.  But many lawyers—when they are either telling a war story or are trying to illustrate a point— voluntarily reveal confidential information about their former clients. Lawyers also are tempted to use their former clients’ confidential information when they are offered a lucrative case […]

Shot and Missed

Years ago, I represented a lawyer in a lawsuit against his former law partner. Our defendant had abused his law partners, stolen from the firm, and then tried to insult them during a settlement conference by suggesting that his cufflinks cost more than their entire wardrobes. After a weeklong trial, the jury returned a large […]

Judicial Admissions and Judicial Estoppel Under Texas Law

Texas law recognizes judicial admissions, which “are assertions of fact, not pleaded in the alternative, in the live pleadings of a party.” Lyons v. Lindsey Morden Claims Mgmt., 985 S.W.2d 86, 92 (Tex. App.—El Paso 1999, no pet.) (citation omitted). In other words, a judicial admission is a factual statement made by a party to […]

Why you Need an Appellate Lawyer at Trial

There is a reason that major trials today almost always involve appellate lawyers on both sides. The best trial lawyers in America recognize the value an appellate lawyer adds to the trial team—and the danger inherent in proceeding without one. Unfortunately, too many clients remain reluctant to incur the costs associated with having an appellate […]

Ask Not for Whom the Statute Tolls: It Tolls for Thee

Tell me if you’ve been here: the client comes in and tells a story that sounds like it just might be a really good case. In fact, it might even settle without two years of discovery—if you can just package present it properly. You ask some pointed questions about when these events occurred and quickly […]

Stockbrokers Who Solicit Customers May Not be Protected

Traditionally, when major wire houses recruited brokers as trainees or from other firms, they required these brokers to sign non-solicitation agreements preventing them from soliciting employees and customers of the firms when they left for greener pastures. For many years, our firm represented Morgan Stanley in suing brokers who left the firm and violated the […]

5 Things to Consider Before You Hit Record

Advances in technology have made it very easy to record what people say. Not so long ago, the decision to record a phone call or personal meeting required advance planning. People did not walk around with recording equipment at the ready, so a decision to record usually required a specific purpose and a plan to […]

Attorney Immunity

In 2015, the Supreme Court of Texas decided Cantey Hanger, LLP v. Byrd, 467 S.W.3d 477 (Tex. 2015), clarifying what is known as the “attorney immunity doctrine.” Essentially, the doctrine posits that, “as a general rule, attorneys are immune from civil liability to non-clients ‘for actions taken in connection with representing clients in litigation.’” Id. […]