Key member of the Senior Leadership Team in the nation’s third largest county attorney’s office. Supervised approximately 30 attorneys and staff, handled special projects, and litigated 60 high-profile appeals in six years, including 23 in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, 13 in the Texas Supreme Court, and three in the Court of Criminal Appeals. Prior to serving Harris County, represented private clients in complex commercial, employment, contract, intellectual property, environmental, wrongful death, and civil rights cases. Represented the longest-serving exonerated Texas inmate and prevailed in the largest single-client Title II Americans with Disabilities Act case in history.
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 office training and technology for more than 250 attorneys and paralegals during the selection and anticipated transition to a new case and document management system. Serve on numerous County committees, including the Joint Technology Committee. Developed a $5.95 million program for multiple County departments to reduce nonappearance rates in criminal cases under a landmark bail bond consent decree in ODonnell v. Harris County, No. 4:16-cv-1414, in the Southern District of Texas.
Managing Counsel of Defensive Litigation & Real Estate
January 2021 - February 2022
Supervised two division directors over approximately 30 attorneys and staff responsible for defending all litigation and property condemnation for Harris County. Rebuilt one division after it lost nearly half its staff during a pandemic by promptly hiring competent attorneys, implementing efficient policies, providing detailed performance reviews, and improving morale and quality of client representation. Supervised attorneys during jury trials, appeals, hearings, and mediation, and developed settlement procedures, litigation templates, training, 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 & litigation. 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. Litigation included four emergency preliminary 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.
Shestawy v. Conservative Club of Houston, No. 4:16-cv-733, Southern District of Texas, Doc. 363. Awarded sanctions on behalf of Harris County at a reasonable billing rate of $500 per hour.
Green v. Harris County, No. 4:16-CV-893, Southern District of Texas, Doc. 330 (6/26/19). Secured summary judgment in a lengthy, complex, and highly technical federal civil rights case where a jail detainee died from a rare and virulent form of meningitis caused by Steptococus sanguinis bacteria.
Grant v. Harris County, 794 Fed.Appx. 352 (5th Cir. 2019). Successfully defended Harris County in the trial and appellate courts in a complex employment case involving a juvenile supervision officer.
Harris County vs. Annab, 547 S.W.3d 609 (Tex. 2018). Successfully argued significant sovereign immunity case on behalf of Harris County to the Texas Supreme Court, resulting in unanimous reversal of the appellate court. The Texas Solicitor General joined in oral argument as an amicus curiae.
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
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.
The Honorable Patricia Minaldi, Federal District Judge, Western District of Louisiana
Federal Judicial Law Clerk
June 2003 – November 2004
Served as an elbow law clerk for 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
University of Houston Law Center, Houston, Texas
Professor of Appellate Advocacy & Moot Court Coach
2020 - Present
Adjunct Professor of Appellate Advocacy, 2021. Coached national San Diego Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition teams in 2022 and 2020 (semi-finalists); Judged quarter-finals national championship round and brief grader at Hunton Andrews Kurth competition in 2022 and 2020.
Purdue Global University, West 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 Journal, New Orleans, Louisiana
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)). Also published in the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys’ Journal.
Southwest Louisiana Bar Association, Lake 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
1999-2005. Developed the world's first online trial and jury consulting and speech writing service, which later expanded into corporate communications, corporate branding, and lobbying.
KPLC-TV, Lake Charles, LA
Television appearances 2001 - 2005
Served as a rotating attorney for this NBC affiliate’s Sunrise Show’s “Ask the Expert” live call-in program for legal advice.
Houston Bar Association, Administration of Justice Committee, 2009-2010; Law & Media Committee, 2009-2010; American Bar Association and Louisiana Bar Association, LSU student representative, 1997-1999. Also a member of the Texas Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, Houston Young Lawyers, and Southwest Louisiana Bar Association.
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.
Houston Hospice, Houston, Texas
Board of Directors & Governance Committee Chair 2021 - present
Serve on a working board of directors for the only non-profit hospice in the greater Houston area.
East Downtown Redevelopment Authority & TIRZ 15, Houston, Texas
Board of Directors & 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.
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 and 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.
Journalism & Debate
The Contraband, Executive Editor, McNeese State University newspaper, 1994-1995. Supervised a staff of 30 for a paper with a readership of 22,000. News Editor, 1993-1994. Staff Writer, 1992-1993.
LSU Debate Team, member, 1995-1996. McNeese Debate Team, vice-president, 1992-1993. Received over 35 awards at regional and national tournaments. Participated in cross-examination debate, Lincoln-Douglas debate, extemporaneous speaking, and oratory. Ranked first in Louisiana in extemporaneous speaking, 1991 and routinely top-ranked nationally.