14-Lawyer Team Led by A. Martin Wickliff, Jr. & Alton J. Hall, Jr. Join Cozen O'Connor in Houston Additions Enhance Firm's Labor and Employment and Energy Law Practices

HOUSTON, May 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A. Martin Wickliff, Jr., Alton J. Hall, Jr., and 12 lawyers from the Houston office of Epstein Becker Green Wickliff & Hall have joined Cozen O'Connor, a full-service litigation and business law firm with more than 550 attorneys practicing in 22 offices throughout the United States and in Toronto and London.  Wickliff and Hall previously founded the largest minority-owned law firm in the state of Texas and are two of the country's leading practitioners in labor, employment, energy, and environmental law, including litigation and trials.  

Their team enhances Cozen O'Connor's presence in Texas, where the firm has offices in Houston and Dallas, and brings a high-profile roster of major business clients to its nationally recognized labor and employment group and commercial litigation practice. It also strengthens Cozen O'Connor's capacity to serve energy and public utility clients in the geographic heart of that vital economic sector.

Martin Wickliff and Alton Hall joined together in practice more than two decades ago as Wickliff & Hall and then became part of Epstein Becker & Green in 2002. Not only are Mr. Wickliff and Mr. Hall outstanding litigators and trial lawyers, they are also pioneers in Texas as founders of the state's first African-American-owned law firm that represents major corporate clients. They provide civil defense counsel to Fortune 500 companies, local entrepreneurs, and public, government, nonprofit, and charitable organizations.  Key practices include labor and employment, energy, environmental, public utility law, and litigation. The team that they lead is also highly respected for civic and community service.  

"The addition of the Wickliff & Hall team is our most important development in Texas since the opening of our Houston office in 2004," said Cozen O'Connor President and CEO Tad Decker. "Marty Wickliff is not only a giant in the state's legal community, as Texas Lawyer Magazine recognized when it named him one of the 25 greatest Texas lawyers of the last 25 years, but he is also recognized as one of the leading labor and employment lawyers in the United States.  Similarly, Alton Hall is an outstanding litigator and has established one of the most successful and respected public utility, energy, and environmental practices in Texas.  They and their team bring us immense legal talent, and reinforce our commitment to diversity."

Jeffrey Weil, chair of the firm's commercial litigation practice and Mark Foley, chair of the firm's labor and employment Group, echo Mr. Decker's words. "Adding Wickliff and Hall to the firm is fulfillment of a key part of our strategic plan: expand our commercial litigation and labor and employment capabilities and reinforce their national scope."

Mr. Wickliff is a veteran trial lawyer with more than 37 years of experience devoted to the representation of management in all phases of labor and employment law, with a trial and appellate practice that is national in scope.  In addition to his 2010 honor from Texas Lawyer Magazine, he has been selected as a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. A past president of the Houston Lawyers Association, Mr. Wickliff has served on the boards of various civic and community associations in Texas and currently chairs the Board of Trustees of the State Bar of Texas Insurance Trust.

"The business of our clients is without borders, and by joining forces with Cozen O'Connor, our team will benefit from the national and international resources of the firm to meet those business needs," Wickliff stated. "We wanted to expand the depth of our labor and employment and corporate litigation practices, as well as have the support of a full-service business practice, and this combination gives us worldwide scope within the framework of the strong commitment that Cozen O'Connor has to building an inclusive firm that reflects the global marketplace."

Mr. Hall graduated from Harvard Law School and has practiced for over 27 years. He represents both public and private sector clients in complex commercial cases, environmental, and toxic tort litigation.  His clients represent such diverse industries as energy, petrochemical, automotive, banking, and other sectors.  He also has extensive litigation experience in the energy field, including a wide variety of matters relating to electric utility deregulation. Mr. Hall has served on numerous bar and industry boards and committees, including the City of Houston Mayors' Task Force for Electric System Reliability and the Texas Committee for Legal Ethics and Professionalism. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Gulf Coast Legal Foundation and is active in the governance of many other professional organizations.

"Cozen O'Connor has built an international reputation for effectively representing clients in a broad spectrum of business, commercial, and regulatory disputes, and we welcome the opportunity to add our litigation capabilities to their strengths," Hall declared.  "Their tradition of vigorous advocacy and courtroom success is one that reflects our own, and we are proud to become contributors to this strong litigation group."

The team of lawyers that Wickliff and Hall lead has exceptional legal capabilities to serve employment, employee benefits, health care, pharmaceutical, retail, and energy clients, and embodies diversity as a core strength.  Senior lawyers joining Cozen O'Connor include:

  • David L. Barron, board certified in Labor and Employment law and providing companies and organizations with employment-related counseling and litigation;
  • J. Cal Courtney, Jr., with nearly 40 years of experience providing counsel to clients on employee benefits and executive compensation matters;
  • Terrence Bouvier Robinson, an experienced litigator who is board certified in Labor and Employment law and concentrates on the litigation of complex employment matters;
  • Charles H. Wilson, a board certified Labor and Employment lawyer who has litigated on behalf of employers in more than 20 states; and  

Eight other lawyers, all focusing in the areas of labor and employment, energy and environmental, and public utility law, including litigation and trials, are also joining Cozen O'Connor as part of the Wickliff-Hall team.  They are Jennifer Joy Cooper, Nelsy C. Gomez, O. Darcele Holley, Michelle Rebecca Moore, Greta Ravitsky, Daniel J. Schuch, Tammy R. Shea, and Norasha L. Williams.  The full 14-lawyer team is also accompanied by a number of skilled support staff members.  

Wickliff, Hall and their colleagues will maintain their current offices during a transition period, and then relocate to the Cozen O'Connor office at One Houston Center in the downtown area.  The firm's Houston and Dallas offices provide clients with a wide variety of services in the areas of commercial litigation, business law, environmental and energy law, insurance coverage and defense, marine and maritime law, and subrogation and recovery.

Established in 1970 and ranked among the 100 largest law firms in the United States, Cozen O'Connor has 550 attorneys who help clients manage risk and make better business decisions. The firm counsels clients on their most sophisticated legal matters in all areas of the law, including litigation, corporate, and regulatory law. Representing a broad array of leading global corporations and ambitious middle market companies, Cozen O'Connor serves its clients' needs through 22 offices across two continents.

SOURCE Cozen O'Connor




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