McKool Smith, one of America’s leading trial firms, has announced that Dallas Principal Steven Wolens has been elected Chairman of the Texas Ethics Commission. Wolens was nominated by Speaker of the House Joe Strauss. The Commission is composed of eight commissioners, four Republicans and four Democrats, all appointed by the Governor, Lt. Governor and Speaker of the House.
“As the author of -- and acknowledged expert in -- state ethics legislation, Steve Wolens is the ideal chairman of the Texas Ethics Commission,” explains Chase Untermeyer, past chairman of the Texas Ethics Commission. “All his colleagues are pleased and excited that he has assumed this important leadership role for our state."
The Ethics Commission oversees compliance with laws concerning political contributions and expenditures, political advertising, and personal financial disclosure of state elected officials and employees, judges, certain county and municipal officeholders, and candidates for those offices, as well as lobby registration reports and activities.
For 24 years, Mr. Wolens served as a member of the Texas House of Representatives, authoring landmark legislation covering partnerships and limited liability corporations, ethics reforms, antitrust laws and electric deregulation.
Currently, he is a civil litigator at McKool Smith, representing governments on tax matters and businesses in commercial disputes. Mr. Wolens served as a lead counsel in suits representing, among others, San Francisco, the State of Hawaii and 173 Texas cities against online travel companies for non-payment of hotel occupancy taxes and is currently representing four Dallas city council members who are trustees of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System (the “Pension System”). The matter involves a significant dispute between the City of Dallas and the leadership of the Pension System over who bears responsibility for a potential multi-billion dollar shortfall in the assets of the pension system.
With more than 180 trial lawyers across offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Marshall, New York, Silicon Valley, and Washington, D.C., McKool Smith has established a reputation as one of America’s leading trial firms. Since 2006, the firm has secured nine nine-figure jury verdicts and ten eight-figure jury verdicts. The firm has also won more VerdictSearch and The National Law Journal "Top 100 Verdicts" over the last ten years than any other law firm in the country. Courtroom successes like these have earned McKool Smith critical acclaim and helped the firm become what The Wall Street Journal describes as “one of the biggest law firm success stories of the past decade.” McKool Smith represents clients in complex commercial litigation, intellectual property, bankruptcy, and white collar defense matters.