About Judd Spicer

Judd Spicer Articles written 13

Articles written by Judd Spicer

The Two Epiphanies of Bonnie Eskenazi

Clients compare the entertainment attorney to Evander Holyfield and the T-100

Her dream was the stage. As a teenager, Bonnie Eskenazi trained as a coloratura soprano and studied theater at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. She loved all of it. But while preparing for college, she had an epiphany. “Going out on auditions and climbing that ladder of competition against people who are really good, I realized that I just wasn’t good enough to make a living in the theater,” says Eskenazi from her Los Angeles office, which overlooks the Avenue of the …

Here Comes the Boom

Paul S. Meyer may look like a kid in a candy store, but he has a lust for the jugular

In 1994, former prosecutor and veteran criminal defense attorney Paul S. Meyer was lead attorney with Robert Morvillo in the criminal defense of Merrill Lynch & Co., which was being sued by bankrupt Orange County, Calif., for $2 billion in risky investment losses. It was a case involving more than a dozen law firms, millions of documents, thousands of interviews with hundreds of witnesses and nine months before the grand jury. It was the largest municipal bankruptcy case in the history of …

The Polunsky Unit

Allan Polunsky has a Texas death row facility named after him and doesn’t mind

Allan Polunsky is not only the only person to have ever served on both boards of the state’s top two criminal justice agencies—The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) and the Department of Public Safety (DPS)—he’s the only person to have chaired them both as well. Not that you’d know it by looking at him. “I don’t look the part,” says Polunsky, who has been chairman of the DPS since 2008 and who practices real estate law at Polunsky & Beitel. “I look more New York …

Getting Around the Normal Armor Involved in Litigation

Mark Mueller adds Eastern thinking to the Western practice of law

Mark Mueller of Mueller Hillin may hail from rural Wisconsin and reside in Austin, but he isn’t a man whose body of work can be defined by wholly tangible properties. A teacher at Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College in Wyoming, Mueller’s 29-year career path has been noteworthy not only for the quality of his cases but his unique approach to them, which is rooted in Eastern philosophies. Whatever he’s doing, it’s working. His handling of the controversial “condom rape case” in …

Reign Man

Chris Smith takes on Ike and Rita       

Of the myriad homophones that accompany the word "mettle," there isn't one that Bush Lewis attorney Chris Smith can't spell forwards, backwards, sideways and while in a deep sleep. But these days, the two-time team competition spelling champ isn't analyzing mettle—he's exhibiting it. Smith hails from Orange, Texas, where he lives, practices and spells in a tournament aimed to combat adult illiteracy. But despite the sunny connotations of his home's name, Smith's plot in southeast Texas has …

Love Be a Lawyer Tonight

When he isn’t writing legal briefs, Jeffrey Abrams pens wedding ceremonies and poems for his friends and family

For many lawyers, writing is an arduous task. The contracts, the briefs, the complaints — not everyone relishes the process. But for Dann Pecar Newman & Kleiman attorney Jeffrey Abrams, the placing of pen to paper is a labor of love.   “My writing came along with my first practice at this firm,” Abrams — a one-time accounting student — recalls of his beginnings with Dann Pecar in 1979. “Phil Pecar, my mentor, and Norm Newman were brilliant people and great writers. They …

Picking His Place

Geronimo Rodriguez left the picking fields to go to high school; by age 22 he was working for the Clinton White House

Austin attorney Geronimo Rodriguez Jr. grew up a migrant farm worker, using his fingers as tools, traveling the country with his family to pick everything from grapefruit in Texas to asparagus and strawberries in Washington state. As a man, Rodriguez has stood hand-in-hand with some of the most powerful people in politics, most especially former President Bill Clinton. His story is the stuff of American legend.   “We used to migrate every year in the spring, leaving South Texas,” Rodriguez …

Beyond the Bar

Tom Barnard does his best work outside of the office – and the country

To understand Sommer Barnard attorney Tom Barnard, one must look beyond the law. “I have this concept of a balloon,” Barnard describes. “You blow it up and you think it’s full. You think you can’t expand it any more. I used to think like that. That I had no extra time, that I was committed 100 percent to my family and my practice. But the balloon has just kept expanding, and it’s not about to break.”   But don’t think Barnard is filled with hot air. This veteran of Indiana …

The 50 Masks of Judson Pierce

For Judson Pierce, the play’s the thing

Judson L. Pierce is a ghost. And a firefighter. A mathematician, a mattress salesman. And, yes, a lawyer. He estimates that he has inhabited nearly 50 personas by now. Such is the life of an attorney who moonlights as an actor. “My first show was in second grade. I played Jacob Marley’s ghost in A Christmas Carol,” says the 32-year-old Salem lawyer. “It’s so humbling looking back on it. Here I was in a white sheet. And for some reason, my mom put me in cowboy boots.” Despite …

All the World is Jeff Lewis’ Stage

A former football hero/movie star shines in his role at Holland & Knight

Jeff Lewis likes a good stage. Whether it be in the stadiums of college football, the arenas of live theater or the courtrooms of the legal world, Lewis has always felt comfortable before a crowd. This is easy to understand when considering his childhood.   “I was one of six siblings,” he says of an upbringing that often found his traveling salesman father on the road. “I had three older brothers, and there were times when they wouldn’t let me play with them, which just made me all the …

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