Plaut Spouts: Reflections of an Old Guy with a Corner Office

March 7th, 2018 By David L. Plaut

One of the great things about practicing law here at Hanna & Plaut is that you’re surrounded by quality people wherever you look.  Besides my savvy, highly accomplished trial lawyer partner Catherine – and yes, I know she needs no introduction – we have terrific lawyers, young and old.   I couldn’t be happier than practicing law here with these people.

Last week I had the great pleasure of going to trial with two of our lawyers, Sheila Tan and Sarah Scott in a car wreck case here in Travis County.  I didn’t do much more than help with voir dire; a third set of eyes in the courtroom.  Sarah conducted the voir dire in the 345th District Court on the Fifth Floor at the Travis County Courthouse.  That’s Judge Dustin Howell’s courtroom and it’s a small peculiar L-shaped courtroom, which makes picking a jury feel like you’re performing in the round (before a relatively disinterested audience).   Sarah did a great job.  She was confident and put the venire panel at ease.  She also showed great poise under pressure as the other side sought to bust the panel with twenty-two challenges for cause.  We ended up with a great jury that played straight into Sheila’s hands.  Sheila handled opening statement, witness examination, and closing argument.  Plaintiff sought $32,000 and the jury ended up awarding $6100.  A great result for our clients.  Tough for me to relinquish control in the courtroom, but there’s no way to learn except by doing and Sheila and Sarah have shown repeatedly that they’re attaining mastery.  Hard to have more fun in the courtroom.

That is unless you get to argue an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court, which I got to do the Thursday after our trial finished.  One of our appellate attorneys, Jeff Glass, did the heavy lifting and the lion’s share of the briefing on the appeal, which arose out of a slew of insurance subrogation/waiver cases.  Super technical, really tedious stuff, but extremely important to the insurance industry involving hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements annually.  Anyway, we did several moot courts in preparation for oral argument and all the work that Jeff and Catherine and Eric Peabody put into the case got me ready.  I was well prepared and loved every minute of it.  Shameless plug here: check out the video of the oral argument in Wausau v. Wedel at