Estate Planning Specialists Join HL

Practice Areas: Tax, Trusts and Estate Planning

DALLAS — Hughes & Luce announces the hiring of two new partners in its Trusts and Estates Practice Group, one in Austin and one in Dallas.

Michael J. Baldwin joins in the Austin office from the firm of Osborne & Helman, L.L.P., while Philip Lindquist leaves a solo practice to join the firm in the Dallas office.

Michael J. Baldwin

Baldwin advises and consults with affluent families, providing general and tax counsel, including wealth transfer planning, business succession planning, tax planning and general corporate advice and administration. He is a member of the Texas Academy of Estate Planning and Probate Lawyers, Central Texas Estate Planning Counsel and the Travis County Probate Bar Association. He is board certified in Estate Planning and Probate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Baldwin earned his law degree in 1993 from Louisiana State University, following up with an LL.M. in taxation from the University of Denver in 1994. He received his B.A. from Baylor University in 1989.

Philip Lindquist

Lindquist has represented major bank trust departments, very wealthy individuals, family business owners and many individuals who simply wanted to be sure that their assets would benefit their families and charities to the greatest extent possible. Working for 20 years with individuals on their trust and estate-related issues taught Lindquist the importance of listening to each client and developing an approach that is right for them.

He has been board certified in Estate Planning and Probate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1995. He earned his law degree from the University of Texas in 1983 and his bachelor’s from Southern Nazarene University in 1980.

HL Client Prevails In US Supreme Court Appeal

Practice Areas: Appellate, Tax

DALLAS — In a decision handed down March 7, Hughes & Luce clients Claude and Mary Ballard triumphed on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in a case in which they challenged the way in which the U.S. Tax Court has used special trial judges.

“We are very gratified that our clients will be able to have full and appropriate appellate review of an erroneous Tax Court decision,” said Vester Hughes, who led the Hughes & Luce team in representing the Ballards in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. “Additionally, taxpayers and the government will both benefit from a much more transparent process in the Tax Court as a result of this decision.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s opinion for the Supreme Court holds that the Tax Court violated its own rules in not providing a copy of the special trial judge’s report to the parties involved and not making the report a part of the appellate record.

The Tax Court uses special trial judges, which are similar to magistrates in federal district courts, to preside over the trial of some Tax Court cases. Under the Tax Court’s rules, the special trial judge cannot decide cases but writes a “Rule 183(b) report” with that judge’s findings of facts and legal conclusions. The Rule 183(b) report is sent to a regular Tax Court judge, who makes the actual decision in the case but is required to give “due regard” to the special trial judge’s fact findings. Since the Tax Court changed its rules in 1984, it has made it a policy not to reveal Rule 183(b) reports to the parties, a practice that had not been challenged. The regular Tax Court judges’ decisions have uniformly claimed to agree with and adopt the opinion of the special trial judge.

In Ballard, conversations between a lawyer for another taxpayer and two Tax Court judges led Ballard and his attorney team to suspect fundamental differences between the Rule 183(b) report and the final decision in Ballard’s case, leading to efforts to get a copy of the report

“The efforts to obtain the Rule 183(b) report were denied by the Tax Court and the Eleventh Circuit,” Hughes noted. “This meant that it was not possible to determine whether the regular Tax Court judge had given the special trial judge’s findings the required deference.”

Hughes & Luce handled the Ballards’ case in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The firm’s team of attorneys were aided by several amicus curiae briefs, including one from a former U.S. senator, and hammered out a strategy to get the case heard in the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court’s ruling will require the Rule 183(b) report in this case to be disclosed to the parties and to the appellate courts. The Court reasoned that “if there are policy reasons that dictate transparency for everyone else, why do these reasons not apply to the Tax Court?”

Justice Ginsburg’s opinion was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, David Souter, and Stephen G. Breyer. Justice Kennedy filed a concurring opinion in which Justice Scalia joined. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist filed a dissenting opinion in which Justice Clarence Thomas joined.

Electronic Data Systems

Hughes & Luce’s representation of Electronic Data Systems began in 1974 when the firm was hired to manage the wind-up and liquidation of a sister company, duPont Glore Forgan, which had been one of the world’s largest brokerage companies. The firm then had less than 10 attorneys, but we convinced Ross Perot, the principal owner of both EDS and dGF, that we could cost-effectively accomplish this mammoth undertaking.

The firm’s success in that representation led EDS to rely on Hughes & Luce as its primary legal counsel beginning in 1975. EDS’ business was booming at that time, and our relationship with EDS helped drive the firm’s success and growth through the 1970’s. As a result of our representation, we developed unparalleled expertise in negotiating the complex outsourcing relationships that are the bread and butter ofEDS’ business.

Over the years, we represented EDS in many transactions that were then considered the largest and most innovative information
technology outsourcing transactions in the industry.

In 1984, we represented EDS when it was acquired by General Motors – the biggest technology acquisition in history. We helped create an innovative structure that enabled the company’s shareholders to exchange their EDS stock for a GM tracking stock, the first ever, so employees and and other investors could continue to own stock tied to EDS’s performance, even though EDS was  a wholly owned subsidiary of GM. We were also instrumental in developing a unique contractual arrangement for the multi-billion dollar a year services relationship between the two companies.

And in 1996, we represented the company in renegotiating that contractual agreement when EDS was split off from GM and became independent again.

More recently, we successfully explored uncharted legal territory in helping EDS raise billions in financing to purchase equipment for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, which in 2000 awarded EDS an outsourcing contract that may generate more than $7 billion in revenue. “Hughes & Luce is always flexible, based on what we need, with the staffing of our projects,” says Gil Friedlander, senior vice president and general counsel of EDS. “They deliver for us again and again.”

Senior Counsel Joins OTS Group

Practice Areas: Outsourcing & Technology Transactions

DALLAS — Hughes & Luce, LLP announces the addition of a senior counsel to the Outsourcing and Technology Transactions group, boosting its experience in working with start-up technology companies. Richard M. Nichols joins the firm’s Dallas office from private practice.

With a diverse legal background, Nichols provides general legal advice and counsel to small emerging companies and individuals in the sports & entertainment, technology development, venture finance and mortgage banking industries. His work for companies in these industries includes negotiating various types of agreements, including licensing, merchandising, media broadcast rights, operating rights and provider agreements.

Nichols served as corporate counsel to one of the world’s leading start-up women’s professional basketball leagues and legal counsel to a leading sports management company and several professional and Olympic athletes.

A former member of the U.S. track team, Nichols is a member of the Sports & Entertainment Section of the American Bar Association and the Sports Lawyers Association. He previously served on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Track & Field Association and was vice chairman of the association’s Athletes Advisory Committee for 12 years. He currently serves on the board of directors for the San Francisco College Football Bowl Association.

Nichols earned his law degree from the University of California in 1982 and his master’s degree from Stanford University in 1977. He holds an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College.

Southwestern Bell

In 1996, Congress rewrote the laws for telecommunications service and Southwestern Bell’s parent company, SBC Communications Inc., bought
local phone systems in California, the Midwest and New England.

Today it is one of the largest communications firms in the world. Along the way, hundreds of new competitors have claimed new legal rights to access SBC’s local phone networks.

But the rules for new competition were unclear and, as disputes grew with the new competitors, the phone company asked Hughes & Luce to represent it in a wide variety of litigation and arbitration matters. The disputes cover a broad range of business issues, from complex financial structures to the amount of space telecommunications equipment can occupy in the basement of an office building.

And the arbitration process differs from ordinary court proceedings because of its rapid pace and extensive pre-filed testimony. In 2001, Hughes & Luce obtained a ruling vacating and remanding a summary judgment and clarifying principles of appellate jurisdiction and mootness of district court judgments in AT&T v.City of Dallas and SWBT.

In another case, we obtained an opinion affirming the action of a trial judge in denying a motion to dismiss on 11th Amendment grounds, and overruling a Fifth Circuit ruling in SWBT v. City of El Paso. In a third, we obtained judicial approval for a novel class action settlement from a Texas Court of Appeals in Northrup et al. v. SWBT.

In the arbitration arena, a Hughes & Luce team obtained a precedent- setting ruling before the Texas Public UtilityCommission against CoServ Communications which limited jurisdiction under the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996.

We also successfully arbitrated a case before the Texas PUC that resulted in significantly lower rates being set when a competitive carrier delivers the telecommunications traffic of our client, resulting in a savings of $50 million a year to Southwestern Bell.

Hughes & Luce has been asked to learn a lot through the years. Our lawyers  now have new expertise to assist Southwestern Bell in its fast changing business.

Hughes & Luce in the Digital Age

At Hughes & Luce, our depth of experience in the Internet, e-commerce, broadband and media arena is unrivaled. We have pioneered progressive policies that today are considered industry standard and have represented technology companies since 1994 — long before the Internet explosion made dot-coms a household commodity.

Not only did we put together the first Internet IPO but we also negotiated the first click-through and banner ad contracts. We have earned our reputation in this arena by working closely with Internet companies like Massage Warehouse from their inception through various stages of growth and development. Additionally, our attorneys are technologically proficient and Internet sophisticated. Many of them have single-handedly programmed and launched their own operating web sites.

In fact, many of our attorneys are among the best in the country.

Practice Areas: Class Action Defense, Commercial Lending, Complex Commercial Litigation, Corporate & Securities, Corporate Governance, Internet & E-commerce, Labor & Employment, Outsourcing & Technology Transactions, Privacy, Professional Defense, Tax, Trusts and Estate Planning

Industries: Banks and Financial Institutions, Health Care, Information Technology, Internet and e-Commerce, Telecommunications

DALLAS — Fourteen lawyers from Hughes & Luce, LLP were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2006.

Included in the publication this year are:

Kim Askew, Commercial Litigation

Robert Davis, Tax Law

David Ellis, Labor and Employment Law

Kathryn Henkel, Trusts and Estates

Bruce F. Howell, Health Care Law

John E. Howell, Information Technology Law

Vester Hughes, Tax Law

Chad W. King, Information Technology Law

Robert Mow, Commercial Litigation and Legal Malpractice Law

Gary Null, Banking Law

Cynthia Ohlenforst, Tax Law

Mark Shank, Commercial Litigation and Labor and Employment Law

Phillip M. Slinkard, Corporate Law and Securities Law

Arlene Steinfield, Labor and Employment Law

Since its inception in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence in the United States.

Because Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which 16,000 leading attorneys throughout the country cast more than a half million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their specialties, and because lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed, inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”

Privacy Spot Named A Top 50 Legal Blog

DALLAS — PrivacySpot.com, a web blog covering legal issues in the privacy and data security spheres, has been chosen as a Top 50 legal blog by the Electronic Data Discovery Information Exchange.

The blog is the product of Hughes & Luce’s new privacy group, which advises clients about compliance with privacy and data protection laws, and managing the privacy and data protection risks associated with technology transactions, health law, lending and employment.

EDDIX was looking for legal blogs (also referred to as blawgs) that provide relevant news and authoritative commentary delivered in a timely, clear and professional manner. Beyond that, the editors were looking for blogs that offered news and commentary in areas related to EDD, including, but not limited to:  legal technology; storage and search technology; corporate governance and compliance (esp. Sarbox); securities law; law firm management; general legal developments; political, legislative and regulatory; knowledge management, intellectual property; privacy; cybrary science.

EDDIX provides independent research, analysis and reporting on the EDD marketplace to provide clients with integrated, real-time views of the EDD players, technology, products, services, regulation, law and trends.

Stories on PrivacySpot.com cover categories such as the FTC, Cases & Lawsuits, Technology, E-Mail, Legislation, and International issues.  Users can register at the site, which allows them to post comments and maintain a personalized list of bookmarks to privacy sites.