Bigger in Texas Litigator joins Bodman affiliate in Dallas

By John Minnis

Legal News

Bodman LLP added some legal muscle to its Dallas affiliate with the addition of an experienced litigator, Patricia A. Nolan.

With the addition of Nolan, Bodman has three attorneys based in Texas.

In April, Bodman Chairman Ralph E. McDowell announced an affiliation with a Dallas law firm to serve the prestigious Michigan firm's clients' needs in Texas. The Dallas firm, Strong & Willcox LLP, a real estate and banking boutique, was formed by Staci Strong Heuvel and Misty Willcox who joined Bodman as "Of Counsel."

"Having attorneys based in Texas will open many new opportunities," McDowell said in announcing the affiliation. "The opportunities won't just lead to work in Texas, they will create more work for our Michigan-based lawyers, as well."

On June 1, McDowell announced Nolan, a commercial litigator, had been added to Bodman's Dallas team.

Nolan is a commercial litigation specialist with more than 25 years of experience, including several years in successful solo practice, 14 years in the trial department of Thompson & Knight, where she was a resident partner in both the Dallas and Houston offices, and five years as a trial attorney with Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld in Dallas.

"Patty Nolan's experience and capabilities greatly expand the range of services we can offer clients with business interests in Texas," McDowell said.

Nolan will work on matters for Bodman clients that are being litigated in Texas courts, are governed by Texas law or require a local presence in Texas. In addition to her work with Bodman, she, as well as Strong Heuvel and Willcox, will continue to serve local clients as partners of Strong, Willcox & Nolan.

"I look forward to giving Bodman clients the same outstanding level of service in Texas that they are used to experiencing in Michigan," said Nolan, who joined Strong Heuvel and Willcox as a partner.

Nolan is a 1984 graduate of Arizona State University Law School where she was editor-in-chief of the law review. She also earned an undergraduate degree in journalism from Arizona State University. Before becoming an attorney, she worked for six years as an editor for a major metropolitan daily newspaper.

Strong Heuvel and Willcox represent financial institutions and real estate owners and developers in a range of real estate-related transactions, including loan originations and workouts, acquisitions, dispositions and construction projects. They also have experience negotiating office, retail, industrial and data center leases, purchase and sale contracts and architect and other consultant contracts.

Strong Heuvel is a 2002 summa cum laude graduate of the University of Alabama Law School where she served as articles editor of the Alabama Law Review. Texas Monthly named her a "Rising Star" in real estate in 2010. Willcox is a 2004 cum laude graduate of the Texas Tech School of Law where she was a Regents Scholar and a member of the Board of Barristers.

Before forming their own firm, both Strong Heuvel and Willcox practiced in the real estate and banking practice at Thompson & Knight, one of the largest Texas-based business-law firms with more than 350 attorneys in 11 offices.

The Dallas affiliate marks the first time in its 83-year history that Bodman has attorneys based full time outside of Michigan. Founded in 1927 by two former Ford Motor Co. lawyers, Bodman is one of the state's largest firms with 140 lawyers. Bodman's Michigan offices are in Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor and Cheboygan.

The firm has maintained a continuous client relationship with members of the Ford family since 1927. Bodman has represented Comerica Bank since its merger with Manufacturers National Bank of Detroit. Bodman represented Manufacturers continuously since it helped form the Bank in 1933.

Bodman will initially target its Texas efforts toward serving banks.

"Our Texas practice is focused on banks with particular emphasis on transactions and disputes involving real estate," McDowell said. "(Nolan's) impeccable credentials and successful track record representing financial institutions, real estate owners and developers, and other business clients, makes her a perfect fit for us."

Published: Fri, Jun 4, 2010