Rocket Docket | Dec. 2021 - Jan. 2022

Rocket Docket Newsletter

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January 31, 2022
Past Issues

Winners Announced for The Closer, Baylor Law's Elite National Transactional Law Competition

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Bess Fisher of University of Mississippi School of Law and Zachery Hunter of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law are this year's winners of The Closer, the nation's most challenging transactional law competition. Runners up were James Keegan of University of San Diego School of Law and Megan Sugrue of University of Denver Sturm College of Law. . . Full Story

Baylor Law Mourns Passing of Beloved Professor David Guinn, 'The Godfather'

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Baylor Law mourns the loss of Master Teacher David M. Guinn, the retired Lyndon L. Olson and William A. Olson Professor of Local Government and Constitutional Law. Lovingly referred to as "The Godfather," Professor Guinn earned this nickname not only for his long tenure at the Law School, but also for the wide influence he had on state policy and on generations of Baylor Lawyers. . . Full Story

First Wellness-Focused Program of 2022 a Success

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More than 100 Baylor Law students recently attended a special presentation by Adjunct Professor of Law Walt Shelton titled "Daily and Periodic Practices to Enhance Your Life Quality: Staying Focused and Keeping Balanced." The virtual session on mindfulness and balance, along with a signed copy of Professor Shelton's latest book were made possible thanks to a recent grant from the Texas Bar Foundation to implement comprehensive mental health and wellness offerings at the Law School. . . Full Story

Kristine Bridges to Lead Baylor Law's Career Development Office

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Kristine Bridges (JD '03), the former Director of Development for Baylor Law, has transitioned to become Baylor Law's Assistant Dean of Career Services. She took over the role previously held by now-Senior Assistant Dean Angela Cruseturner on January 18, 2022. . . Full Story

Matthew Maupin is Baylor Law's Fall 2021 'Mad Dog' Champion

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Baylor Law student Matthew Maupin has been named the most recent Baylor Law "Mad Dog," after winning the Fall 2021 Mad Dog Mock Trial Competition. Fellow student Kristopher Ruiz was the finalist. A long-running tradition at Baylor Law, every Practice Court class competes in the Bob and Karen Wortham "Mad Dog" Practice Court Competition, a week-long contest that occurs at the beginning of the second quarter of the famed Practice Court Program. . . Full Story

Baylor Law Hosts Tenth Successful Criminal Law Boot Camp

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The tenth Criminal Law Boot Camp, and third of 2021, offered an intense introduction to Texas state criminal practice taught by highly experienced prosecutors and defense lawyers. Over a period of three days, students were exposed to real-world criminal case theories and preparation skills that are essential for successful criminal prosecution and defense. The final Boot Camp of 2021 began on Friday, December 3, and ran through Sunday, December 5. . . Full Story

Baylor Lawyer Brit Featherston Sworn in as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas

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On Tuesday, November 16, Baylor Lawyer Brit Featherston (JD '92) was sworn in as United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas. Featherston was appointed by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and took the oath of office from fellow Baylor Lawyer, Chief District Judge Rodney Gilstrap (JD '81). . . Full Story

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Join us in celebrating the Baylor Law graduates of the Winter 2022 Commencement ceremonies. The JD ceremony begins February 5 at 10am CST and the LL.M. ceremony begins at 1:30pm CST. | Live Stream

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Whether you're looking for a summer clerk or full-time attorney, someone experienced or right out of school, the Baylor Law Career Development Office stands ready to assist you. You can post a job on our website or contact the Career Development Office at or 254.710.1210 to discuss your specific need. Hire a Baylor Lawyer today!

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Alumni Notes
Alumni Notes are published based on the information we receive from our alumni.
If you have been recognized or have other professional news to share, please e-mail for inclusion in a future issue of Rocket Docket.

Bill Kessler, JD '71, was recently surprised with a celebration by family and friends for 50 years of law practice in Uvalde, Texas. He was awarded his 50-year pin from the Texas Bar Association. Bill joined his father's law firm in 1971 and has served the community well.
Honorable Diane Bell, JD '85, of Boerne, has retired as Judge of the Harris County Criminal Court at Law #11 and has been appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to the Specialty Courts Advisory Council.
Jana Litsey, JD '86, serves as the Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Huntington Bancshares and The Huntington National Bank.
Roy DeFriend, JD '90, Limestone County District Attorney, was inducted to the Texas Prosecutors Society (TPS). The Society brings together those who have demonstrated enduring support for the profession of prosecution. TPS membership is by invitation only and nominees must have a minimum of five years of service as a prosecutor or other criminal justice experience and have made a significant and sustained contribution to the advancement of the profession and criminal justice in Texas.
Honorable Rebecca DePew, JD '92, of Holland, is Judge of the Bell County Court at Law #3 and has been appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to the Specialty Courts Advisory Council.
Michael C. Smith, JD '92, recently received his master's degree in World War II Studies from a program offered jointly through Arizona State University and The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA. Michael's digital portfolio from the program can be viewed online. Michael is the author of two books on World War II subjects, Essex Class Carriers in Action and U.S. Light Carriers in Action, is the sole named inventor on two U.S. patents, and maintains websites on practice in local federal courts as well as intellectual property cases in all Texas federal courts. He is a partner in the Dallas-based law firm Scheef & Stone, LLP, manages the firm's Marshall office and assists clients in complex commercial litigation in Texas federal courts.
Bryan S. Dumesnil, JD '95, with Bracewell LLP in Houston, has been elected to serve a three-year term on the firm's management committee. Bryan is a litigation partner and chair of the firm's financial institutions litigation practice. He also serves on the Associate Evaluation Committee. In 2021, he was ranked as a leading lawyer by The Best Lawyers in America.
Derek Gilliland, JD '98, was selected as magistrate judge for the Western District of Texas Waco division.
Christopher B. Trowbridge, JD '98, managing partner of Bell Nunnally, has been named to the 2022 "Dallas 500" list. Trowbridge is listed in the "Law - Business and IP Litigation" category and is one of 18 in the "Law - Managing Partners" category, part of a larger roundup featuring 500 North Texas business leaders across more than 50 industries. Active in his community, Trowbridge is chairman of the board of directors for the Thanks-Giving Foundation – the non-profit group that owns and operates Thanks-Giving Square, a contemplation garden, exhibition hall, and interfaith chapel in Downtown Dallas. He is also a member of the Communities Foundation of Texas Advisory Council and a member of the Dallas Regional Chamber, Southern Dallas Task Force.
Jackie R. Claborn II, JD '00, has been appointed by Governor Greg Abbott as District Attorney of the 287th Judicial District in Bailey and Parmer Counties for a term set to expire December 31, 2022 or until his successor shall be duly elected and qualified.
Kristine Hale Bell, JD '01, received a promotion to Chief, Civil Law Division and Senior Civilian for the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth Office of the Staff Judge Advocate (OSJA). Kristine has over 10 years of Federal civilian service with the U.S. Department of the Army, and most recently served as the Senior Labor Counselor for the OSJA at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Gwen Walraven, JD '04, partner at Bell Nunnally, received the "Rotary Ethics Award" from the Richardson East Rotary Club (RERC). She received this prestigious honor based on her ethical principles and continued emphasis on justice, honesty, empathy, concern for others, integrity, inclusion and fellowship in all actions. Gwen has been a member of the RERC for four years, including serving on the board of directors and as a member of the group's strategic planning and membership committees. For 2020-2021, she served as Director of Club Services, providing unique and continued engagement for members during much of the pandemic. She was part of a leadership team that helped the RERC grow its membership at a time when Rotaries across the country were experiencing declines. Earlier this year she received the "Paul Harris Award" – given to a Rotarian or a member of the community who has made an outstanding contribution to society.
Crystal Y'Barbo Stapley, JD '09, has been promoted to counsel at Vinson & Elkins. Crystal's practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and arbitration matters, white-collar criminal and civil litigation, and government investigations.
Travis L. Johnson, JD '10, has been promoted to Senior Associate at BoyarMiller in Houston. He represents clients in corporate matters, mergers and acquisitions, business transactions, and contracts in the firm's business group. In 2021, Chambers and Partners recognized Johnson as an Associate to Watch in their legal rankings with remarks on his professionalism and legal acumen.
T. Hunter Lewis, JD '10, with Duffee+Eitzen in Dallas, has been selected for D Magazine's Best Lawyers Under 40.
A. Brook Fulks, JD '11, with O'Neil Wysocki, PC in Dallas, is now board certified in Family Law.
Andy Jones, JD '13, will serve at the 2022 President of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers.
Catherine Rowsey, JD '13, was promoted to Partner at Holland & Knight LLP. She focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation and arbitration matters, government investigations and enforcement actions, and corporate governance and internal investigations.
Matthew Myers, JD '14, recently founded Myers Immigration Law, a business immigration law firm based in San Antonio. Matthew also serves as the Immediate Past Chair of the State Bar of Texas Immigration & Nationality Law Section.
Rekha Roarty, JD '14, was named a Partner of Bollier Ciccone, LLP in Austin. Her practice focuses on construction and real estate litigation.
Phillip M. Gordon, JD '15, was recently promoted to partner at Holtzman Vogel Baran Torchinsky & Josefiak PLLC. Phil's litigation practice focuses primarily on voting rights, the First Amendment, redistricting, and other campaign finance and election-related matters.
Katie Wolters Mayo, JD '15 and LLM '21, has joined Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) in Austin as Senior Corporate Counsel supporting the company's rapidly growing Datacenter GPU and Accelerated Processing business unit.
Daniel P. Pellegrin, Jr., JD '19, has accepted an Associate Attorney position with the Houston office of Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP.
Kyli Cotton, JD '20, has joined Kaiser Hafezi Law in Bensenville, Illinois, focusing on personal injury matters.
Christian Carson-Banister, JD '21, has joined the McClure Law Group in Dallas.
Sarah E. Biemer, JD '21, has joined Munsch Hardt Kopf & Hart in Dallas as a new associate in the Real Estate practice.
Victoria A. Filoso, JD '21, has joined the Commercial Litigation group with Butler Snow LLP in Austin.
James D. Wilson, JD '21, has joined Munsch Hardt Kopf & Hart in Dallas as a new associate in the Real Estate practice.
In Memoriam
Honorable John Thomas Boyd, JD '50, Full Obituary
Lewis Lanier Williams, JD '57, Full Obituary
David M. Guinn, Sr., JD '63, Full Obituary
George "Stanley" Rentz, JD '67, Full Obituary
Rhonda King Harmon, JD '92, Full Obituary
William Maurice Blair III, JD '94, Full Obituary
Jordan Battersby McDonald, JD '14, Full Obituary

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