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Professional biography.

Professional ​
Summary

Seth is a member of the Senior Leadership Team in the nation’s third-largest county attorney’s office He handles special projects such as developing a $6 million program to improve criminal defendant court appearance rates, supervised approximately 30 attorneys and staff, and litigated 60 high-profile civil appeals in six years in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Texas Supreme Court, and Court of Criminal Appeals. Before serving Harris County, he represented private clients in complex commercial, employment, contract, intellectual property, environmental, wrongful death, and civil rights cases. Seth also represented the longest-serving exonerated Texas inmate and was lead counsel for the prevailing plaintiff in the largest single-client Title II Americans with Disabilities Act case in history.  

Legal
Experience

Harris County Attorney's Office, Houston, Texas

Special Assistant County Attorney  

February 2022 - Present

Appellate litigator in high-profile, complex cases for the nation’s third-largest county. Supervise training and technology for more than 250 attorneys and paralegals during the selection and anticipated transition to a new case and document management system. Developed and now implementing a $5.95 million program to improve court appearance rates for criminal defendants. This will include developing MyHarrisCountyCase.com and related applications, creating educational videos shown to 100,000 arrestees per year, and improving courthouse wayfinding, kiosks, and data collection. Serve on numerous County committees, including the Joint Technology Committee and Records Management Committee.

 

Managing Counsel of Defensive Litigation & Real Estate          

January 2021 - February 2022

Supervised more than 30 attorneys and staff responsible for defending all litigation and property condemnation for Harris County and its 18,000 employees. Rebuilt one division after it lost nearly half its staff during the pandemic by hiring experienced civil rights, employment, and tort litigators, conducting weekly training, and improving morale and quality of client representation. Supervised attorneys during jury trials, appeals, hearings, and mediations, and developed litigation practice guides, settlement procedures, and a Microsoft Teams-based library and case monitoring application.  

 

Assistant County Attorney, Litigation Practice Group                 

January 2017 - December 2020

Served as lead counsel in appellate, civil rights, employment, and tort litigation for the nation’s third largest sheriff’s office, district attorney, medical examiner, district and county clerks, budget management office, public health department, flood control district, and juvenile justice center, as well as the county judge and district judges, commissioners, and elected officials. Maintained a heavy docket, which included:    

  • Election strike team. Successfully defended the county clerk and voter registrar before the Texas appellate courts and Supreme Court in numerous challenges to the 2020 elections.
     

  • COVID-19 litigation. Successfully defended emergency COVID-19 stay-home and face covering orders affecting 4.8 million residents through four emergency injunction hearings, three emergency petitions for writ of mandamus to the Texas Supreme Court, and one brief to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Also developed the County’s Public Health quarantine forms.
     

  • Brown v. City of Houston. Represented Harris County in death-row wrongful conviction case in the district court, federal appellate court, and on certified question to the Texas Supreme Court. 
     

  • Harris County v. Annab. Obtained unanimous Supreme Court reversal of significant sovereign immunity case. The Texas Solicitor General joined in oral argument as an amicus curiae.
     

  • Green v. Harris County. Secured summary judgment in a highly technical case where a jail detainee died from a rare and virulent form of meningitis caused by Steptococus sanguinis bacteria.
     

  • Shestawy v. Conservative Club of Houston. Awarded sanctions at a rate of $500 per hour.
     

  • Grant v. Harris County. Successfully defended Harris County in the trial and appellate courts in a complex employment case involving a juvenile supervision officer.

Raley & Bowick, L.L.P., Houston, Texas

Commercial Litigation Associate  

June 2013 – August 2016

Served as commercial and intellectual property litigation associate for boutique Galleria firm that recovered $200 million for its clients in four years.

  • Commercial litigation & insurance: Represented clients in multi-million dollar disputes regarding offshore oil platform assets, employment and shareholder litigation, legal malpractice, and a Louisiana legacy oilfield contamination case. Initiated arbitration under the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration in Singapore on behalf of National Oilwell Varco to recover $19 million owed by a Kazakhstani company for offshore oilfield equipment.

  • Intellectual property: Assisted in defense and prosecution of oilfield patent litigation for NOV and Peak Completion Technologies and patent prosecution of Kaneka Corporation’s proprietary microbe and fermentation process for making Co-Q10, a pharmaceutical enzyme. 

  • Appellate: Prepared appellate briefs in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals and Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in significant intellectual property and civil cases.

 

  • Civil rights: Represented the longest-serving exonerated Texas inmate in a § 1983 case following his release after 31 years in prison.  The case resulted in approximately $2.5 million in state compensation (plus a comparable annuity) in the largest award of its kind in history.

 

  • Government: Assisted in successful representation of former Houston mayor Roy Hofheinz’s family after the University of Houston sought to rename the Hofheinz Pavilion in violation of a donor agreement.

The Hopkins Law Firm, Houston, Texas

Litigation & Transaction Attorney

October 2009 - June 2013

Advised and litigated in corporate, wrongful death, civil rights, and contract disputes.  Notable clients include regional entertainers, corporate and non-profit organizations, and Major League Baseball players Prince Fielder, Joseph Crede, and Bruce Chen.

  • Covington v. McNeese:  Lead counsel in Covington v. McNeese, a 12-year landmark case argued three times to the Louisiana Supreme Court which resulted in the largest single-client Title II Americans with Disabilities Act recovery in history. The case prompted a U.S. DOJ civil rights investigation, a $13.8 million injunction to correct 15,000 violations on a 1.3 million square foot campus, systemic changes at eight public universities, and national media coverage. See, e.g., “Texas lawyer wins hard-fought fees in bitter disability case”, The National Law Journal (9/6/2012). In awarding $1.5 million in fees, the appellate court referred to “young Hopkins” as “eloquent,” “truly devoted,” “gallant,” and presenting “a well-orchestrated case worthy of emulation by the most seasoned attorneys” for his “superior performance” in a “rare and exceptional” case. 98 So.3d 414 (La.App. 3 Cir. 9/5/12).

 

Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, Houston, Texas 

Litigation Attorney

February 2005 - October 2009

Assisted in the defense and prosecution of complex litigation for this Am Law 250 Fast Rise to the Top national firm.  Conducted all facets of trial preparation, including extensive deposition coverage (more than 100 depositions), document review and production, and substantial research, motion filings and argument.  Work included assisting with the defense of a significant premises liability docket in Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Massachusetts, and Louisiana.  Also assisted with a major New England soil contamination case, a significant international shipping antitrust case, a polyester staples antitrust case, a pipeline construction defect dispute, and a $65 billion chemical company merger. 

 

U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana

Federal Judicial Law Clerk

June 2003 – November 2004

Served as an elbow law clerk to the Hon. Patricia Minaldi, the only active Article III judge in a six-parish area with a major federal prison and immigration detention center.  Employment began on this newly appointed judge’s first day of work.  Assisted with administrative and legal aspects of setting up a new federal office.  Duties included writing and editing opinions, judgments, and jury charges, scheduling dockets, research, assisting with trials, and communicating with attorneys and other federal offices on behalf of the Court. Docket of more than 450 civil suits included a $1 billion telecommunications RICO suit and a complex international dispute between the Republic of Venezuela and numerous parties over the ownership of an offshore research module to be placed along its disputed border with Columbia. 

 

14th Judicial District Court of Louisiana, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Judicial Law Clerk

August 1999 - August 2000 

Served as a pool law clerk for nine judges in this court of general jurisdiction.  Workload focused on assisting judges with a diverse caseload of civil, criminal, and family matters. Duties included preparing jury charges, orders, and opinions, research, handling correspondence with attorneys, pre and post conviction relief applications, and helping to schedule dockets.  Responsible for drafting several regional landmark opinions, including judgments resolving challenges to the Louisiana tobacco litigation and Louisiana’s legalized gaming industry. 

 

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Federal Law Clerk

May 1998 - June 1999

Assisted Criminal and Civil Division Assistant U.S. Attorneys in prosecuting defendants and representing the United States. Duties included research, drafting pleadings, and participating with prosecutors and FBI agents in grand jury target and defendant interviews.  Areas of law included white collar and drug crimes, bank robbery, forfeiture, tort defense, civil rights, and environmental.

Legal Honors & Teaching

Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Houston, Texas

Professor of Alternative Dispute Resolution

2024 - Present

Developed and teach Alternative Dispute Resolution as an adjunct professor.

University of Houston Law Center, Houston, Texas

Professor of Appellate Advocacy & Moot Court Coach                

2020 - Present

Adjunct Professor of Appellate Advocacy, 2021. Coached and judged teams in the nation’s 24th best trial advocacy program (U.S. News & World Report, 2023).

Conference Presenter

Presented CLE courses on legal writing, business law, election law, and other subjects at in-house and external conferences, including the 2023 Texas District & County Attorneys Association. 

Purdue Global UniversityWest Lafayette, Indiana

Professor and Course Developer

2008 - 2019

Taught and developed courses for students in subjects such as Constitutional Law, Intellectual Property, Torts, Contracts, Legal Ethics, Trial & Courtroom Presentation.  

 

Louisiana Bar JournalNew Orleans, Louisiana

Editorial Board  

2003 - 2005  

Wrote and edited articles for the award-winning Louisiana Bar Association journal, which is distributed to nearly 20,000 attorneys six times per year.  (“Local Justice: What every lawyer should know about Louisiana’s justices of the peace” Parts 1 and 2, Seth B. Hopkins, 52 La. B.J. 16 (2004); “Lee Hargrave’s LSU Law: The Louisiana State University Law School from 1906 to 1977”, Seth B. Hopkins, 52 La. B.J. 198 (2004)). 

 

Southwest Louisiana Bar AssociationLake Charles, Louisiana

Executive Committee, 2003-2005. Editor, The Sidebar, the Association’s official bar journal, 2002-05; President’s Award, 2002 and 2003.

 

OpeningStatement.com and WriteMySpeech.com

Developed the world's first online trial and jury consulting and speech writing service and operated it for nine years. Served as public speaker for national conferences such as the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses. 

 

KPLC-TV, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Television appearances

Served as a rotating attorney for this NBC affiliate’s Sunrise Show’s “Ask the Expert” live call-in program for legal advice.

Professional
Licenses

Admissions 

Admitted in Texas and Louisiana, the United States Supreme Court, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Texas Northern, Southern, and Western Districts, Louisiana Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts, Court of Federal Claims, Tax Court, Court of International Trade, and Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

Additional Bar Association Memberships

Member of the Texas Bar College and Texas Bar Foundation, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Bar Association, Houston Bar Association, Texas District and County Attorneys’ Association, and Southwest Louisiana Bar Association.

   

National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Boulder, Colorado

Attended NITA National Session and received highest mock trial jury verdict in 2017.   

Mediator, Dallas, Texas

Received 40-hour basic mediation training.

Louisiana State University Law Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Juris Doctor and B.A. in English. Also attended McNeese State University and Harvard University.

Non-Profit Service

Houston Hospice, Houston, Texas

Board of Directors & Governance Committee Chair

2021 - present

Board member and Governance Committe Chair of a historic hospital in the Texas Medical Center. Houston Hospice is the largest non-profit hospice in the greater Houston area.

 

East Downtown Redevelopment Authority & TIRZ 15, Houston, Texas

Board of Directors, Projects Committee, & Communications Committee

2020 - present

Serve on the East Downtown Redevelopment Authority and Tax Increment Reinvestment District 15, a quasi-governmental board with a $15 million budget responsible for capital improvement and development in East Downtown Houston.

Governor's Program for Gifted Children, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Board of Directors & Governance Committee

2000 - present

Board member to Friends of the Governor’s Program, which advises a quasi-public entity that operates the nation’s second oldest residential summer institute for gifted children. The Board makes legal, legislative, curriculum, and logistical recommendations and organizes major multi-generational reunions for alumni graduating over a 60-year period. Developed a social media presence that connects more than 400 alumni.

Artists' Civic Theatre & Studio, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Board of Directors

2000 - 2005

Assisted with acting, production, stage management, press relations, grant writing, casting, set production, light design and execution, and web site and e-commerce development for one of Louisiana’s oldest community theatres, which operates in a 300-seat building constructed in 1903.  

Southwest Louisiana Volunteer Center, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Board of Directors

2003 - 2005

Served on board of community volunteer center that assisted in matching grants and other funding to local non-profit groups. Assisted in the early phases of developing the community’s 211 network.

Brimstone Museum & Historical Society, Sulphur, Louisiana

Board of Directors

2002 - 2005

Served on the board of a local museum dedicated to preserving the history of Southwest Louisiana and explaining the Frasch sulfur mining process. 

Pre-law

The White House, Washington, D.C.

Intern

Summer 1995

Worked in the Presidential Personnel Office. Helped to maintain the Clinton administration's resume network, worked on special projects, and drafted letters on behalf of Bob Nash and President Clinton. Also worked in the News Analysis Office.  This involved evaluating news and opinion stories from national media and preparing and delivering daily media summaries to Vice-President Gore, Chief of Staff, and West Wing advisors.  Editor, The Internet, White House intern newsletter.

 

U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston & Congressman Jimmy Hayes, Washington, D.C.

Intern

Summer 1993

Assisted with press and constituent services and correspondence.  Drafted press releases, prepared position papers on legislative issues and White House nominees such as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, provided Capital tours, and handled visitors and callers such as Ross Perot and President Clinton.

 

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