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About Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody

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.  

Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody

401 Congress Avenue
Suite 2200
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: (512) 480-5600

Firm Stats

Executive Director: James Cornell
Hiring Partner: David Lein
Total No. Attorneys 2020:
1 - 50

Base Salary

1st year: $135,000
Summer associate: $2,500/week

Employment Contact

Diane Dettmann
Director of Human Resources
(512) 480-5667

No. of U.S. Offices: 1

No. of International Offices: 0

Major Office Locations

Austin, TX

Major Departments

Administrative & Regulatory Litigation
Appellate Law
Banking & Finance
Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Remedies
Civil Litigation
Commercial Transactions
Construction Law
Corporate & Securities
Employment Law
Environment & Natural Resources: Oil, Gas, Land & Water
Estate Planning, Tax & Probate
Federal Tax Planning & Controversy
Intellectual Property
Internet & Information Security
Media, First Amendment & Public Access
Mergers & Acquisitions
Real Estate
Spanish Fluency / Latin American Capacity
Tax Exempt/Non-Profit Organizations
Water Law