Member of the Bar, State of Texas, admitted 1991
Member of the Bar, State of Mississippi, admitted 1995
FEDERAL COURT ADMISSIONS
- Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
- Southern, Northern, Eastern and Western Districts of Texas
- Southern and Northern Districts of Mississippi
- District of North Dakota
- Northern District of Florida
- Western District of Michigan
Solo Practitioner, Texas (centrally located in Austin)
Owner, July 2006 – present
Federal criminal defense nationwide, state criminal defense in Texas, and federal civil rights in Austin. From December 2008 forward, I often accepted cases in collaboration with my husband under the umbrella of the Silverman Law Group. There are too many representative cases to list here, and so I defer to the case story list in order to avoid leaving off a case that is important to the particular reader.
McNabb Associates, P.C., Houston, Texas
Associate, October 2005 to July 2006
Federal criminal defense nationwide. This was a short term project in order to recover from the complete loss caused by Mother Earth with Hurricane Katrina. I am grateful to Mr. McNabb for giving me this opportunity at my time of greatest need. I left Mississippi with nothing but my car, the clothes on my back, my daughter and the child inside me who I did not know about yet. Things were a bit rough for a minute. I was lucky to get to travel all over the country for Mr. McNabb’s clients. I managed to keep a client accused of narcotics trafficking in Montana from being charged and managed to negotiate a probation sentence for a client accused of violating the trade embargo. I tried to convince the DOJ in NYC to work with DOJ in another state. This effort failed miserably because NYC is the center of the universe according to those who live within its borders.
Solo Practitioner, Gulf Coast, Mississippi
Owner, June 1997 to September 2005
Federal and state criminal defense, personal injury, corporate law, wills and estates. Life relocated to Texas by Hurricane Katrina. Representative cases include not guilty verdicts on two capital murder cases and the granting of a motion to dismiss by a trial judge after hearing expert testimony regarding cross racial identifications.
Robert A. Pritchard, Pascagoula, Mississippi
Associate, July 1996 to June 1997
Complex personal injury litigation including asbestos, tobacco, and premises liability as well as estate probate for our personal injury clients. My favorite case at this firm was suing Walmart on behalf of a child who was snatched off the pony in front of Walmart. These ponies are attractive nuisances that entice both children and parents to think it is safe to ride while mom or dad shops. Walmart knew they were not safe. Our client was not the first snatching. In our case, the criminal let the child out of the car without any of the terrible things that you are thinking about as you read this that could have happened, but the snatching itself will be imbedded in both the child and parent’s hearts forever. And after the lawsuit, the snatching is embedded in Walmart’s heart. You might notice the ponies are not normally seen outside of Walmart anymore.
Judge Pritchard (for whom I was honored to work until I was totally overwhelmed as the only associate on over 5000 cases) was an amazing force of nature.
Judge Pritchard decided that virtually every worker who was exposed to asbestos also smoked. As a result, he believed the combination of those toxins enhanced the risk of severe lung disease and death and that it was time to see if liability should be spread among additional defendants. He selected precisely the right case, and he (read I) drafted a lawsuit that sued the tobacco industry in a case with our usual asbestos defendants. The lawyer for the tobacco industry at the time was Joe Colingo. Following orders I sent the draft to Mr. Colingo. Mr. Colingo invited Judge Pritchard to come over to his office to talk about possible resolution of the case. Mr. Pritchard brought me with him. We were seated in an office. Mr. Colingo walked in and sat down. I see you brought the pretty one to help open my pocket book. Mr. Pritchard didn’t say anything. He just looked at me and smiled. There was an ashtray on the table. Mr. Colingo lit a cigarette and pushed the pack across the table to Mr. Pritchard who lit his cigarette. They stared at each other for a minute or so. Mr. Pritchard asked me to tell Mr. Colingo the facts. He wasn’t much on facts. I shared the suffering and death of our client from the view of the widow. The men were silent again and stared at each other. Mr. Colingo looked at me and looked at Judge Pritchard. Judge Pritchard excused me. I don’t know exactly how that conversation went after I left, but I know they discussed how this one case could impact this type litigation nationwide. The men selected a large number, not even I know that number. The case never got filed.
Lest you think Judge Pritchard did not respect the legal skill of the associate, he did. Probably my most empowering moment occurred in an asbestos case before Judge Kathy King Jackson. The general plan of the asbestos industry was to harass our 1000s of asbestos clients by getting all of their medical records and uncovering things they did not want uncovered. In April 18, 1996, the Mississippi Supreme Court decided Scott v. Flynt in which the court found that the scope of a medical waiver is limited to medical information relevant to the injury placed in issue by the plaintiff. I had read the decision before I went to work for Judge Pritchard. I received unlimited waivers in the discovery requests from the defendants, and I refused to require my clients to sign them. Instead, I modified the waiver to allow the defendants access only to information relevant to the injury I had placed at issue in the lawsuit, and I defined the injury. Judge Pritchard thought I was a smart ….. I thought it was the right thing to do and would protect our clients from harassment about their mental health and divorces and such. The asbestos industry thought they should put me in my place. They filed a motion to compel and requested sanctions. Judge Pritchard laughed and sent me to court. I really did not want to go to such a hearing by myself, and so I convinced Alwyn Lucky, another asbestos lawyer who helped us occasionally to go with me. Judge Jackson called the case. I stood up for the Plaintiffs and I turned around to see the rest of the courtroom, probably over 100 lawyers, stand up for the defendants. The asbestos industry had sent its nationwide top lawyers and every other lawyer on their team they could muster to confront and stamp upon this young lawyer, who had been out of the Navy about a year at this point. The defendants made their argument. I argued Scott v. Flynt. Defendants said to the Judge in rebuttal, “but even Mr. Lucky doesn’t do what this young lawyer did.” Judge Jackson called Mr. Lucky to the podium and inquired his position since he had come with me. He said he had no excuse for signing those waivers, that I was a better lawyer than he was. Judge Jackson denied the motion without any hesitation, and with that one ruling she smashed the defendants main method of attack, and she empowered this young lawyer to always believe in the justness of the Court and to stand up for her understanding of the law in the face of any army on the opposite side of the case.
Rushing & Guice, Biloxi, Mississippi
Associate, July 1995 to July 1996
Commercial law, federal criminal law, corporate law, domestic relations, real estate transactions, estate planning and personal injury. I worked for William L Guice, III who I know as “Billy.” His photo on his website does not begin to reflect his delightfully joyful spirit, brilliant legal mind, and fearless Mr. Guice is the remaining family member in a family lawfirm that probably goes back 100 years. At the time Mr. Guice hired me out of the U.S. Navy, he had been operating the commercial litigation and corporate practice as established by his family. He was intellectually bored and wanted to expand the practice. He sought to add white collar crime and personal injury. He would allow me to review the personal injury cases and give him a report. This allowed me to practice investigating skills.
United States Navy Reserves, Strategic Command, reserve duty, Omaha, Nebraska
Assistant to Staff Judge Advocate, October 2004 to December 2005
Advised installation commands on various legal issues related to security.
United States Navy Reserves, NRLSO Central 109, reserve duty, New Orleans
Legal Assistance Attorney, October 2002 to October 2004
Supported Naval Legal Service Office Central with legal assistance including will preparation prior to deployment, immigration matters, and other issues of importance to individual Sailors.
United States Navy, active duty, Gulfport, Mississippi
Staff Judge Advocate, September 1993 to June 1995
Advised installation commander and tenant commanders on multiple legal issues including military justice, environmental law, government standards of conduct, labor law, and the Freedom of Information Act. Wrote monthly “Ask the Lawyer” column for base newspaper addressing legal issues relevant to the lives of service members.
Provided training to the center and to tenant commands regarding multiple legal issues. Most notably, in 1994, the U.S. Navy decided to permit women to serve in the fighting units of the Seabees – the Battalions. I was enlisted to assist the battalion commanders to integrate women into the battalions including providing training about relevant regulations specifically sexual harassment. The best thing about the military is that when it decides to change a social wrong, such as sexual discrimination, it issues an order and the order is followed. I found that the Seabees welcomed women to their battalions. I found that the military women who were selected were highly qualified and served their country honorably. The hardest part was speaking to the wives of the male battalion members. I was sent to their meeting to make peace. They were furious. They feared the women would entice their men into sexual misconduct. I told them their men were well capable of finding enticement in the women in the countries to which they deploy if they were so inclined.
United States Attorney, additional duty, Jackson, Mississippi
Special Assistant, September 1993 to June 1995
Prosecuted misdemeanor and felony violations of the United States Code occurring on board Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport and John C. Stennis Space Center. Handled approximately 25 cases by trial or plea bargain.
United States Navy, active duty, Gulfport, Mississippi
Criminal Defense and Legal Assistance Attorney, November 1991 to August 1993
Tried 24 court-martials and defended 17 individuals at administrative separation hearings including a Tailhook case. Successfully salvaged the career of one of the pilots responsible for organizing and directing Tailhook. Sole attorney providing defense services to all Navy bases in Southern Mississippi. Received Navy Achievement Medal for exceptional trial skill. Finalist in Trial Advocacy Competition at Naval Justice School.
Provided legal assistance including will preparation and intervention in other legal disputes on behalf of sailors attached to commands at the Naval Construction Battalion Center.
PROFESSIONAL and PERSONAL ASSOCIATIONS
National Lawyers Guild
- Treasurer of Texoma Region
- Regional Vice President of Texoma region
- Point person, Houston Chapter
Rotary Club of Houston
- Founding Chair of Rotaract Committee
- Chair of Youth Committee
- Rotary Ambassador
- Chair of Distinguished Citizen Award Committee
Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
Austin Bar Association
University of Houston Law Center
Juris Doctorate, May 1991
- Top 1/3rd
- Phi Delta Phi
- Environmental Law Society (President)
Southern Methodist University
Bachelor of Science, Computer Science/Math, May 1988
- GPA 3.44
- Mortar Board (Vice-President)
- School of Engineering & Applied Science Scholar
- Program Council (Vice-President of Administration)
- Student Senate
- Association of Computing Machinery (Founder)