Trial and appellate attorney with extensive public and private sector experience who prevailed in the largest single-client Title II Americans with Disabilities Act case in history, successfully represented the longest-serving exonerated Texas inmate, defends the nation’s third largest county in high profile litigation, and has argued before the Louisiana and Texas Supreme Courts and federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Harris County Attorney's Office, Houston, TX
Assistant County Attorney, Litigation Practice Group January 2017 – present
Serve as lead appellate counsel for the Litigation Practice Group in the nation’s third largest county in
the largest government law firm in Texas. Maintain a docket of high profile appellate, employment, and civil rights cases. Clients include the nation’s third largest sheriff’s office, district attorney’s office, medical examiner’s office, district and county clerks, budget management office, and juvenile justice center, as well as the county judge and district judges, commissioners, and elected officials. Representative cases include:
Election litigation. Successfully represented the county clerk and voter registrar before the Texas appellate courts and Supreme Court in numerous challenges to the 2020 elections.
COVID-19 litigation. Defended challenges to COVID-19 quarantine and mask orders affecting 4.6 million residents. Litigation included three emergency writs of mandamus in the Texas Supreme Court and am amicus brief on behalf of the City of Houston to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Tennyson v. Harris County, et al., 801 Fed.Appx. 295 (5th Cir. 2020). Successfully appealed the denial of qualified immunity to nine detention officers, resulting in unanimous reversal of the trial court.
Grant v. Harris County, 794 Fed.Appx. 352 (5th Cir. 2019). Successfully defended Harris County in the trial and appellate courts in an ADA 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, TX
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.
The Hopkins Law Firm, Houston, TX
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, TX
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.
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, LA
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, LA
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.
Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, Baton Rouge, LA
Medical Malpractice Law Clerk 1997 - 1998
Duties included research, trial preparation, and drafting pleadings in defense of state hospitals against medical malpractice suits. Student Worker, Administration Section, 1996.
Legal Honors & Teaching
Purdue Global University
Online Instructor 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. Also taught legal, economics, and writing courses at Delta School of Business, Lake Charles, La., 2000-2005.
Louisiana Bar Journal
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)). Also published in the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys’ Journal.
Southwest Louisiana Bar Association
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 to practice law in the State of Texas, 2001; Louisiana, 1999. Admitted in the Louisiana Eastern, Middle, and Western Federal Districts, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal, Texas Northern and Southern Districts, Court of Federal Claims, Tax Court, Court of International Trade, and Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. Trained mediator, 2001.
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.