The Organizational Genius of Dara Hegar

The Organizational Genius of Dara Hegar

A: i were running right here for three weeks. My first yr out of law college, i [had] clerked on the courtroom of appeals. Literally, [this] was my 2d 12 months of running, however my first actual “lawyer process,” so to speak. I passed off to be at the receptionist desk while mark [lanier] and every other one of the attorneys at our firm had been on foot out. He said, “good day, you”—because he didn’t understand my call yet. He goes, “have you ever seen a voir dire?” i stated, “no, sir.” he goes, “properly, include me. I’m getting ready to do one.” we went all the way down to the harris county courthouse. I was truly there just to take a look at. The plan become for mark just to do voir dire for [trial lawyer] john o’quinn due to the fact john become unwell at the time. Sooner or later early within the afternoon, the defense lawyer controlled to tick mark off. John o’quinn have been begging mark, “hello, mark, you’ve were given do this case for me.” mark’s like, “no, john, there are hundreds of depositions, there are a ton of witnesses; it’s going to be an eight-week trial. I don’t know anything approximately it and commencing statement’s tomorrow; i will’t do it.” once this different attorney decided to tweak mark a bit bit, mark turned to john and said, “all right, i’ll do it.” … mark accumulated a further attorney from our company and me, and he stated, “good enough, i don’t care what you’re doing for the subsequent couple months: we’re going to trial. Get each person to the office this night at five o’clock. … i thought, “wow, i don’t don't forget mastering about this in regulation faculty.” it became a quick and furious couple of months, however it become an super experience. We literally were in trial for the next 8 weeks. Q: that first night time have to have been a protracted one. A: we don’t sleep an awful lot in the course of trial, anyway. However on that one, we virtually did now not sleep in any respect. It was a whole lot of amusing and it turned into an extraordinary mastering experience. Q: and a fulfillment? A: we gained … became it $7 million? … against exxon. It turned into a benzene-contamination case, and exxon—well, considered one of its predecessors—had an oil well that had a blowout within the aquifer. And the benzene from the blowout had leaked down the aquifer and into the water wells of the subdivision. We had several clients with most cancers and distinctive infections. Q: how did you grow to be inquisitive about personal injury law? A: i type of simply fell into it. I clearly desired to do appellate regulation. I were given out of law college and that i went to clerk on the courtroom of appeals. I absolutely loved it. It changed into a pleasant blend of civil and criminal, and it turned into very exciting. Of path, your clerkship ends and you need to go out and make a bit bit more money because you’re just kind of at the heels of graduating from regulation school. I fell into this role, and at the time, i was the ninth attorney at our regulation firm. I used to be employed directly to do asbestos work; and, actually, that story that i instructed you approximately that exxon trial … changed the direction of even where i was going within the company, because i started out doing that trial work. It turns out that mark and that i, and any other one of the lawyers, bob [leone], just truly paintings well together. After that, we all became part of the trial group and i got to … start working on all of mark’s instances. I basically have become his proper-hand companion. I fell into this high-quality role and got to work with one of the excellent trial legal professionals in the united states of america. Q: and also you’re involved with the asbestos instances? A: i am. Obviously, we’ve carried out several mesothelioma trials at some stage in the thirteen years that i’ve been right here. It’s a completely large process and one i’m very commemorated to have. We've almost one thousand mesothelioma cases. I’m handling legal professional for the two houston offices in the asbestos branch. We've got asbestos attorneys in the big apple, here in houston and in l. A.. … what i’m certainly enthusiastic about is where we’re going with our asbestos branch. We’ve developed numerous trial teams. We’ll be able to be in trial at multiple locations across the nation. Q: is asbestos litigation the majority of your firm’s paintings? A: it’s honestly the largest practice area. We have a completely huge pharmaceutical exercise as properly. Q: you labored at the kingdom’s first vioxx case? A: vioxx was awesome—you recognize, being involved with … our massive three instances. The first one become the largest one, that made the maximum information, the $253 million verdict. I had simply come lower back from maternity go away, having my first infant. I’d been returned three weeks while we started out that trial. It was honestly a totally big turning point for our firm in widespread, because it become … the first vioxx case, so it garnered a ton of media attention. It’s a case where we did things decidedly special in phrases of presentation: making use of technology, and powerpoint, in distinctive ways that went on to make a number of news. Frankly, when you pass up in opposition to a pharmaceutical employer, your defendant may be very distinctive. It’s a big powerhouse, and they are able to go at you multiple ways, no longer simply in a courtroom however within the media. … it turned into actually a war on many fronts, and it changed into exceptional to be concerned, manifestly, with one of these a success final results. The second one vioxx trial changed into approximately 10 weeks long and the third one become 12 weeks lengthy, and we attempted those in atlantic metropolis, new jersey, with a hit effects. It was a super experience to be part of this type of historic litigation. Mark’s powerpoint in that first vioxx trial … instructed a story. It became set in a storyboard format as opposed to the traditional bullet-point format. There have been more pix, and it turned into a improvement rather than lists. Not one, two, and three. To be able to drag the jury in and inform them a tale versus giving them a recitation of statistics definitely was fantastic. It truly revolutionized the way we do cases. Q: the manner your company does instances or different companies as nicely? A: honestly at our firm, and i’ve visible that now lots greater [at other firms] for the reason that vioxx case. Over the last, especially, the remaining four years, you’ve visible humans certainly expand their era scope in trials and in displays. Q: what become your function in that first vioxx case? A: the same aspect i’m doing now for mark in trial: second-chairing … coordinating all of the files, supporting prepare, giving mark what he wishes—the ammo he desires for his examinations—making sure all the criminal ends are tied up, and making sure each person else is running on teams. Q: i keep in mind that you furthermore may serve as treasurer in your husband, nation sen. Glenn hegar. Is there ever any struggle of opinions over your husband’s political positions as a conservative flesh presser and yours as a trial legal professional? A: what i try and hold in thoughts is that the ingredients have elected my husband and now not me. That enables me keep matters in attitude. Thankfully, i'm one among his ingredients, and that i do voice my opinion. It counts as one constituent, much like anybody else, and so there are times that he’s voted in methods that i may additionally have now not voted the equal. But i’m not the elected authentic, he's. Q: do you usually attempt to keep away from those touchy subjects? A: oh no, no, no. We don’t avoid them; we speak about them, and he knows wherein i stand on some problems. From time to time it makes for lively dialogue. I assume he’s fantastic at what he does. Q: did the big tort reform bill in 2004 have an effect on your exercise, or no longer too much? A: for all intents and purposes, scientific malpractice is essentially useless in texas. Despite the fact that we didn’t have a ton of those cases, we did have some. And we nevertheless get loads of telephone calls about medical malpractice problems, but now we’re simply not able to take those cases. Q: you also have 3 children—do you have got greater hours on your day than different people? A: i'm surrounded with the aid of tremendous people, and i’m kind of an organizational nut, in order that enables. It’s humorous, my oldest daughter … became born proper before the first vioxx case. She grew to become 1 proper at the beginning of our second vioxx case, and she or he became 2 right after our 1/3 vioxx case. She lived through the vioxx wars; luckily, she doesn’t take into account mom being long gone a little bit in the course of that point. Q: when you have spare time, what do you want to do? A: on those uncommon occasions, we do experience touring very a lot. … in my younger days i’ve been lucky sufficient to tour in a foreign country. I’ve been to russia, which is extraordinarily exciting. I was in a management program in high faculty, and the nationwide software picked sure humans to go on essentially an ambassadorship-type application. The soviet union fell approximately 3 weeks when i came domestic. It became one of those moments i look back on my lifestyles and say … it was a pivotal second in which i was modified. Q: what made it so memorable? A: to be an 18-yr-vintage child who’s just come out of excessive college, you found out the sheltered view that you had on the world. It simply helped me [to] not take matters with no consideration, and to be very thankful for the entirety that i had, but [also] what our u . S . A . Has. It also taught me that there may be a whole one-of-a-kind lifestyle and an entire special manner that people stay, and to appreciate the ones variations. Q: are you at the beginning from texas? A: i was born within the houston location. I grew up right here. Q: what do you love approximately houston? A: the huge draw is family, due to the fact maximum of my family is here, in addition to my husband’s now. I’ve usually loved houston. It’s a completely pleasant location and, doing as lots journeying as i have, there aren't that many locations which are as friendly as houston. Q: any early affects and mentors? A: manifestly, mark is number one and [has been] instrumental in the entirety that i’ve accomplished within the regulation. So much of the entirety that i do and what i've has come from what mark has enabled me to do. Another one is dr. Robert leone, some other attorney here and a expensive pal of mine. Q: what do you want first-class approximately your task? A: each case is distinct; each factual situation is unique. I really like going to trial. It doesn’t get any greater exciting than that. I like being able to work with so most of the lawyers in our office, and the unique instances and the distinct exercise areas, as it sort of gives me a sneak peek into all of the distinct areas. I am never bored. Q: seems like a charming practice. A: i inform you what: it is terrific. I look lower back on it and simply realise how lucky i am to were in the right vicinity on the right time, status on the receptionist table manner again when.