Austin firm Graves Dougherty is one of the preeminent firms in Texas and weaves deftly between banking, finance, trial and appellate litigation, labor and employment, real estate, corporate and securities, regulatory, tax and estate planning. The firm won the Texas Lawyer largest intentional torts verdict in the state for 2010, helping its client Texas Disposal Systems Landfill Inc. achieve $25.45 million in damages against Waste Management of Texas, Inc.
A Judge and His Son-in-Law and a Bunch of Generals
The story of Graves Dougherty begins with what was presumably a happy marriage, that between Judge Ireland Graves’s daughter and J. Chrys Dougherty. Graves and his son-in-law teamed up to form their namesake firm in 1946.
The firm has attracted the cream of the crop of Texas law and politics. Along the way, it has picked up an Assistant U.S. Attorney General, a Special Assistant Texas Attorney General, a general counsel to the Governor of Texas, a U.S. Solicitor General Office member, five U.S. Court of Appeals federal judges and a president of the Texas State Bar.
No client is too big or too small for Graves Dougherty, which transitions between individuals and multi-million dollar companies with ease. The firm draws upon its loyal client base, which it has built up over decades. Graves Dougherty has represented AT&T Inc., Advanced Micro Devices Inc., LCRA, Milkshake Media, St. David’s Healthcare Foundation and SXSW Inc.
Chambers USA ranks Graves Dougherty in Energy: State Regulatory & Litigation (Electricity) Insurance and Best Lawyers in America names attorneys in areas including Corporate Law, Energy Law, Commercial Litigation, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Trusts & Estates, Banking Law and Administrative Law. Best Lawyers also named 34 of the firm’s attorneys in its 2013 edition, more than any other law firm in Austin. Client and computer giant Dell Inc. nominated Graves Dougherty as a “Go-To Law Firm” for Intellectual Property Litigation in American Lawyer Media’s In-House Law Departments at the Top 500 Companies.
Oh Ye of Bad Faith
Graves Dougherty represented the Texas Mutual Insurance company in the Texas Mutual Insurance Company v. Timothy J. Ruttiger bad faith lawsuits, in which it won the landmark verdict that the suits did not hold up under the Texas state workers’ compensation system, overturning a Texas Supreme Court ruling made 14 years earlier.
Planned Parenthood Appeal
Graves Dougherty represented Planned Parenthood on appeal against the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Texas Health and Human Services put forth an injunction against Planned Parenthood, which excluded them from providing preventive health and family planning services to women without insurance and under the poverty level. The grounds for the injunction came from a clause in the Texas Women’s Health Program law, which prohibited funding organizations which perform or promote abortion. Though the Texas centers themselves did not perform abortions, they were denied funding by their affiliation with parent Planned Parenthood Branches which did. On the appeal team was Graves Dougherty lawyer Pete Schenkkan, father of The O.C. and Southland heartthrob Ben McKenzie.
Stars and TED in Austin
Graves Dougherty boosts Austin’s culture by sponsoring and hosting cultural events like the 2013 Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards Texas, which honors film and television professionals and generates proceeds to benefit the Austin Film Society’s grants and educational seminars for up-and-coming filmmakers and TEDxAustin, a locally and independently organized event in the vein of the popular TED Talks series.
And They Sing, Too
Graves Dougherty spreads holiday cheer in a more musical manner than most of its ilk. Every holiday season, the firm forms a choral troupe known as the Graves Dougherty Singers, which visits pre-schools, homeless shelters and retirement homes to perform seasonal tunes. But that’s not where the firm’s visiting stops; each day at lunchtime, a group from the firm delivers Meals on Wheels to hungry people throughout Austin.
401 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: (512) 480-5600
Employer Type: Private
Executive Director: James Cornell
Hiring Partner: David Lein
Total No. Attorneys 2016: 58
1st year: $135,000
Summer associate: $2,500/week
Austin, TX (HQ)
Administrative & Regulatory Litigation
Banking & Finance
Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Remedies
Corporate & Securities
Environment & Natural Resources: Oil, Gas, Land & Water
Estate Planning, Tax & Probate
Federal Tax Planning & Controversy
Internet & Information Security
Media, First Amendment & Public Access
Mergers & Acquisitions
Spanish Fluency / Latin American Capacity
Tax Exempt/Non-Profit Organizations