About Michael Corcoran

Michael Corcoran Articles written 16

Articles written by Michael Corcoran

Liza Farrow-Gillespie’s Heart Song

The lyrics tell of beating cancer, then sailing ‘round the world

“There was no turning back,” says Liza Farrow-Gillespie, sitting under a giant Robert Rauschenberg painting in the conference room of her 37th-floor downtown Dallas office. “It required a full commitment on my part.” Farrow-Gillespie is not referring to the six years she and her anesthesiologist husband, Alan, spent sailing around the world on a 54-foot sloop. Nor is she talking about starting law school at 36, nor about co-founding one of the first female-owned firms in North Texas, …

Trey Crawford’s Vintage Venture

How a weekend wine-sipper turned his passion into an excellent cabernet

You could say wine-making is a bit like litigation. There are no shortcuts to quality, whether the process begins with harvest or research; moves on to fermentation or deposition; then becomes clarified while sitting—for however long it takes—in a French oak barrel or a courtroom chair. But to Trey Crawford, his wine-producing venture—a partnership with his best friend from college—is an escape from the competitive business of law.  A partner at Gruber Hail Johansen Shank in Dallas, he …

Detail Work

In Robin Russell’s world, practicing law and quilting are both fine arts.

To most people, a quilt is just a comfy bed covering. But for Robin Russell, managing partner at Andrews Kurth Kenyon’s Houston office, it’s a means of artistic expression that belongs on a wall or a table.  Her whimsical work “Summer Salad” was chosen for display at the 2015 Houston International Quilt Festival. It looks good enough to eat—until, on closer inspection, you see that Russell has sewn ladybugs into the lettuce and broccoli. In art—as in law—it’s all in the …

Far from Pearsall

How Manuel Berrelez worked his way from his hometown to Yale to Dallas

When Manuel Berrelez was in kindergarten, his mother pointed to the name across the front of Ted Flores Elementary School (then Ted Flores Kindergarten) in Pearsall and told him, “Ted Flores was your great-grandfather.”  For decades, Flores was the school’s janitor and groundskeeper. After he passed away, the facility was renamed for him. “Your great-grandfather didn’t have a high school diploma; and yet, because of hard work and dedication, he has a school named after him,” Gloria …

On to the Next One

Jeff Blackburn is freeing one wrongly convicted Texan after another

Texas is No. 1 in the nation—by far—but it’s not exactly something to brag about. Last year, the state led in exonerations, with 52 wrongful convictions overturned; New York was a distant second at 17. Even the 52 figure was just a fraction of the “thousands of innocent people” sitting in Texas prisons today, according to Amarillo criminal defense and civil rights attorney Jeff Blackburn. Why is this so? Blackburn blames an underfunded and overmatched public defender system. “I have …

‘An Orderly Mind’

Austin litigator Stephen McConnico puts his straightforward style to work for clients ranging from big pharma to a former governor of Texas

Stephen McConnico, the “quintessential gentleman,” as colleague Paige Amstutz calls him, has tried over 200 cases through the years and is one of Texas’ top business litigators. A trace of his small-town upbringing lingers in his light East Texas drawl.  On a recent afternoon, from his 24th-floor office overlooking downtown Austin, McConnico is talking Big Mama Thornton, Lightnin’ Hopkins, T-Bone Walker, and other colorfully named blues legends.  “I’d go to Tyler to see Freddie …

Jessica Janicek’s Game Plan

The Southlake family attorney has already tackled 2 national headline-grabbing cases

Jessica Janicek credits two extensive stints at a Houston legal-training institute with invigorating her as a family law attorney. But her level of empathy with clients was boosted by an experience last October: the birth of her first child, Riley. “That instant love you feel as a parent is something that’s hard to explain; you just have to experience it,” says Janicek, who practices law at KoonsFuller in Southlake. “My work isn’t going to change. But I now have a better understanding …

From DJ to J.D.

Former reporter, campaign manager and disc jockey Adam Milasincic holds one other title: No. 1 on his Bar exam

The call came from a Texas Supreme Court justice, delivering the news that Adam Milasincic, now a business litigator at Houston’s Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing (AZA), had topped all the other 2,463 test-takers on the 2011 Texas Bar. “To tell you the truth, I didn’t get a sense that I was acing the test,” says Milasincic. “My main feeling was one of relief that it was over.” But ace it he did, as he found out from then-Justice Dale Wainwright. Soft-spoken in …

Shannon Schmoyer Finds Her Groove

Once an aspiring drummer, the San Antonio attorney discovered a new love in labor law

As a young girl, Shannon Schmoyer would stand admiring her grand-uncle’s wall of books and panoramic office view at Baker Botts and think, “I want to do what he does when I grow up.” But her plans soon switched from lawyering to professional drumming. In grade school, Schmoyer had gone right for the drums at her heritage-fostering “Indian school” in Edmond, Oklahoma; in high school, she played snare in the all-state marching band and toured China in a youth orchestra. She kept a full …

Coming to America

Gordon J. Quan helps shopkeepers, laborers and cooks step out of the shadows

Gordon Quan’s forefathers loved America so much, they kept coming here. His grandfather arrived as a teenager, becoming a citizen but traveling back and forth to China. Quan’s father was only 14 when he sailed from China to San Francisco’s Angel Island in 1941, before later going back to China, where Quan was born. The family went back to the U.S. for good around 1950, after the communists took over in China. But a rich history of coming to America is not the main reason Quan gravitated …

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