McKool Smith has announced that veteran litigators William D. Ellerman and Ari Rafilson have joined the firm as Principals in its Dallas office. Ellerman focuses on complex commercial and IP litigation, and Rafilson focuses on patent matters. Both attorneys have extensive experience in disputes involving universities, research institutes, and technology companies. 

“Will and Ari are wonderful additions to our firm,” said McKool Smith Chairman and Managing Partner David Sochia. “They will add even more depth to our core strengths in high-stakes trials and patent litigation and help bolster our expanding practice representing universities in IP disputes and licensing matters.”  

Mr. Ellerman is an accomplished trial and appellate lawyer with more than two decades of experience representing plaintiffs and defendants in IP matters and complex commercial litigation, including contractual disputes, business torts, banking, securities, oil and gas, and media law, among other areas. He has secured several multimillion-dollar jury and bench trial verdicts and has significant appellate experience. He has briefed matters to the U.S. Supreme Court and multiple federal and state courts of appeal and has argued before many appellate courts, including the Texas Supreme Court. Mr. Ellerman is a graduate of Baylor University School of Law and Tulane University.

“McKool Smith is a very formidable firm that offers best in class technical savvy and high-stakes courtroom experience,” said Mr. Ellerman. “We are thrilled to join the firm’s deep bench of litigators.” 

Mr. Rafilson represents plaintiffs and defendants including universities, research institutes, software companies, and patent-licensing firms in complex patent disputes and licensing matters. His experience includes a broad range of technologies such as integrated circuits, video streaming, magnetic resonance imaging, object-relational mapping software, and mobile, motion-sensing, display, and internet search technologies, among others. Mr. Rafilson is a graduate of SMU Dedman School of Law and earned a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from Bradley University.

“McKool Smith practices patent litigation at the highest level, and the firm’s results speak for themselves,” said Mr. Rafilson. “We look forward to collaborating with our new colleagues and contributing to the firm’s success.”

With 120 trial lawyers across offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Marshall, New York, and Washington, D.C., McKool Smith has established a reputation as one of America’s leading trial firms. The firm has secured 13 nine-figure jury verdicts and 15 eight-figure jury verdicts, obtaining more VerdictSearch and The National Law Journal “Top 100 Verdicts” than any other law firm. These courtroom successes 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, insurance recovery, and white collar defense matters.

For more information, please contact Keith Hill at (903) 923.9005 or email

Jump to Page