Since 1997, Houston-based trial boutique has forged a national practice representing clients from the boardroom to the courtroom.
Twenty-five years after the Hick Thomas law firm opened its doors, the founders’ original vision has held firm: To improve the client experience by focusing on business-first solutions to legal problems, taking advantage of emerging technology, and reducing overhead costs by working smarter and more efficiently. Today, Hicks Thomas represents plaintiffs and defendants across the country from offices in Houston, Austin, Sacramento, Amarillo, and Beaumont.
“From day one, we realized that the key to success was doing good work for our clients,” says firm co-founder Taylor Hicks. “We made our mark as a firm by trying cases and had a tremendous amount of success.”
Founded by attorneys Taylor Hicks, Jr., John B. Thomas, and O. Clayton Lilienstern, who passed away in 2021, the firm has expanded more than five-fold and continues to grow strategically through lateral hires and by attracting young talent from prestigious law schools. Recently, Hicks Thomas moved into state-of-the-art offices in Houston’s central business district.
“It’s been a great run,” says firm co-founder John Thomas. “But we don’t take it for granted. We’ll continue to build this firm on two questions we ask every client: ‘What can we do to help?’ and ‘What can we do better?’”
Hicks Thomas has consistently delivered successful results in highly complex cases involving energy, environmental and toxic torts, antitrust and anti-competitive practices, employment and labor disputes, and product liability. Some highlights include:
- The 120-year-old King Ranch Case: Hicks Thomas is well-known in Texas for successfully defending the world-famous King Ranch, the largest ranch in the continental United States with approximately 825,000 acres. In this dispute, the heirs of a former business partner claimed that King swindled them out of their rights to a portion of the ranch. The Texas Supreme Court put to rest the more than a century-old dispute over the rightful ownership of the land, which had become the centerpiece of the King Ranch empire.
- Landmark Dry-Cleaning Decision: In a landmark defense verdict, the firm represented dry cleaning equipment manufacturer R.R. Street & Co., which was being sued by Pilgrim, the largest independent dry-cleaning company in the U.S. Dry cleaners across the country watched the case, which was the first of its kind to be tried in the U.S. After nearly seven years of briefing and argument, Hicks Thomas won a unanimous decision by the Texas Supreme Court. The ruling had far-reaching effects on a wide range of manufacturers and suppliers of chemicals and equipment, especially those involving hazardous substances and waste.
- Massive Litigation Management on Behalf of Mattress Firm: During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hicks Thomas worked around the clock in partnership with in-house counsel to manage and coordinate wide-ranging litigation resulting from pandemic-related lockdowns. The litigation involved retail lease disputes in 36 states ultimately involving hundreds of disputes.
- Union Pacific Traffic Interruption Cases: Hicks Thomas defended railroad giant Union Pacific when it faced an onslaught of business interruption cases following the merger of Union Pacific and Southern Pacific Railroads and efforts to merge the two companies' operations.
- Big Arbitration Awards: Hicks Thomas represented an offshore drilling company in a dispute with a major oil company that refused to take a drilling rig following the Macondo disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. An arbitration panel awarded $136 million in damages, plus interest and attorney’s fees, for breach of contract for the failure to comply with the agreement.
Hicks Thomas has won numerous accolades, including recognition by the prestigious Chambers & Partners, which has described the firm as having “an incredibly strong work ethic and an unfailing drive to win.” The firm has also been named among the Best Law Firms by U.S. News – Best Lawyers in America for the last six years. Its attorneys are regularly recognized by Best Lawyers, Texas Super Lawyers, and Benchmark Litigation and have been named to the American Board of Trial Advocates.
To mark its 25-year anniversary, Hicks Thomas will hold a special charitable initiative in September. The official anniversary celebration will be held on October 27.
“We are eager to say thank you to those who have supported us all these years,” said partner Stephen Loftin, one of the original lawyers to join the firm from Andrews & Kurth. “And we look forward to the next phase of our business as we groom the next generation of fine trial lawyers.”
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