A lawsuit is a lot like a war. But wise people never enter a war without the end goal clearly defined. That's how we focus our emotions, control the costs and win our future. Trench warfare is horrific, but that's often the nature of the lawsuits I engage.
I do take the comparison between lawsuits and war seriously. My grand father Boates was a Canadian infantryman in World War I; and his son, my father, was an American POW in World War II. I am as intrigued by the application of the Art of War, by Sun Tsu, to law, as I am the application of Lao Tsu (Taoism, or Stoicism, as it manifests in the West) to life.
Apparently, Sun Tsu and Lao Tsu are not related, but it would be fun if they were.
In this life, I solve problems in any Texas Court ... often problems not solved by other lawyers.
In 2016-2018, I represented 7 Dads who won primary or equal custody (50:50) for their children. I love my Dads.
In the same period, I also represented 6 moms who withstood custody challenges from their babies' daddies. I love my Moms, too.
I also survived 2 child custody modifications of my own, for my own daughter.
The parents I represent tend to win, despite the fact that 'winning' isn't one of my ideals, any longer. Child custody litigation is about a young human's life. It's tough enough to survive insincere cultures, silly slogans about purpose, and the power struggles of life in general, let alone warring households between the parents we choose and love.
It's wiser to focus on the little human's future, not our personal egos.
So, these days, I tend to refer-out more cases than I accept, and I charge a lot more than I once did.
But here are a few war stories: as the 3rd lawyer on a 3-year old civil case, we obtained dismissal of a lawsuit through a successful Rule 12 motion challenging the authority of the plaintiff's attorney to sue my client. We danced between County Civil Court and a cool, old, Probate Court (overlooking Dealey Plaza), Montgomery County to Dallas County, and back again.
But it worked.
In Family Court, a young veteran who'd paid child support for several years for another man's child (WTF?!) was released from that burden through a successful Bill of Review on paternity.
In another Family Court case, Clients raising an undocumented child since her birth successsfully navigated international notice provisions to attain conservatorship and protection for their child.
Cases involving prosecution or opposition of guardianship and estates comprise the bulk of my Probate Court docket. I will venture into State District Court on select trust litigation cases.
In a feel-good pro bono case, a client saved her home (also the home of her disabled adult child) through combined persistent actions in both Probate Court and Civil District Court. In another well-publicized pro bono case, a Client 'without a country' who struggled for a decade to navigate State and Federal courts finally attained documentation -- again, dancing between multiple courts to find her answer and secure her future.
But it was a smarter colleague who actually carried the Client across the finish line. Still, the laterals we make in life can be critical, and often must be pin-point accurate. I made the pass; got the assist; and was delighted to have played.
Boom! as they say.
I enjoy solving puzzles and problems. There are lessons for each of us in the paths we choose together. It's my job to give you good counsel while the war rages around us. Our goal is your future, as carefully crafted as is possible (it's always a choice, not fate; otherwise, there'd be no growth and no point to this journey).
As a client, you come to me for a reason, and I treat our relationship with the dignity inherent in the mystery of why we choose certain friends, associates and counsellors over others. There's meaning for each of us in every battle we choose.
Maybe it's a good review, a referral or (preferably) a past-life tie that brings us together. Does it really matter?
Our paths matter, especially the intersections.
I'm the first lawyer, judge and would-be polico in my family. I truly love the diversity of my law practice, my clientelle and the lessons I'm learning along the way. What a ride.
If there's a path for us to share, let's make that choice and get moving.
|TX||Eligible To Practice In Texas||1992||03/07/2021|
|Award name||Grantor||Date granted|
|Trial Advocacy American Jurisprudence Award||University of Houston Law Center||1991|
|Managing Partner||Boates&Ridgeway, PLLC||2013 - Present|
|Judge||City of Houston||2005 - 2011|
|Attorney & Mediator||Reiner & Boates, P.C.||1998 - 2004|
|Attorney||Scott K. Boates & Associates||1992 - 1997|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|Federal Bar Association||U.S. District Court - Eastern Dist. of Texas||2012 - Present|
|U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas||Federal Bar Association||1993 - Present|
|Houston Bar Association, Litigation Section||Member||N/A|
|Houston Bar Association, Family Law Section||Member||N/A|
|National Alliance for the Mentally Ill -- Texas||Featured Speaker||2000 - 2004|
|United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit||Federal Bar Association||N/A|
|Houston Bar Association||A Day Like Mr. Lincoln's, No Doubt||1997|
|A.A. White Dispute Resolution Center||Certificate||1999|
|University of Houston Law Center||N/A||1991|
|University of Houston||Bachelors of Science||1988|
|University of Houston||Bachelor of Sciences||1988|
|Texas Mental Helath Law||Procedural Requirements in Mental helath Commitment Procedings||2002|
|Johnstone vs. State of Texas||Successful Appeal|
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