Joel attended the University of Texas from 1987 to 1991. Originally, he majored in mechanical engineering. However, after negative experiences with Differential Equations and Electricity and Magnetism, he decided that Political Science was a better fit for his particular talents. At the same time, he decided to study Russian. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Russian Language Studies in 1991.
He then attended South Texas College of Law in Houston where he would ultimately receive his J.D. in 1994. He worked full time during law school to pay for his expenses. During this first year, he was in the top 10 percent of his class and became a member of the South Texas Law Review. An interesting fact about Joel is that he has the distinction of being one of the few persons to have both graded and written onto Law Review. He was also very active in the famed South Texas Board of Advocates. He was elected vice-president of this organization in 1994. He also won several mock trial tournaments during his time in law school. At the end of his law school tenure, Joel graduated in the top 12 percent of his class.
From 1994-1999, Joel was an associate with the firm of Thornton, Summers, Biechlin, Dunham & Brown, in San Antonio, Texas. During this time, his practice focused on the defense and trial of a wide variety of matters ranging from personal injury, premises liability, insurance code, DTPA, RCLA, construction defect, and legal malpractice claims. Being responsible for a large docket allowed him to try multiple cases in both county and district court very early in his career. Moreover, he was responsible for his team’s appellate matters. Joel has several cases that have been reported including Smith v. Heard, 980 S.W.2d 693 (Tex. App. – San Antonio 1998, writ denied) and Gonzales v. American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, 948 S.W.2d 794 (Tex. App. – San Antonio 1997, writ denied).
Upon moving to Austin as an Associate (he would later become a Shareholder) with Davis & Wilkerson in 1999, he continued to practice in the areas of construction defect litigation, personal injury, commercial litigation, DTPA, RCLA, and related matters. During his time at D&W, Joel developed a proficiency in handling large construction disputes involving multiple parties and thousands of documents. Over the last 9 years, Joel has been involved in many large commercial and multi-family (condominium) construction related disputes in the Austin-area. This work has evolved into the direct representation of numerous general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers and other construction-related entities in transactional matters such as lien filings, contract negotiation and drafting, employment matters, and many other issues. He continued to have a very active trial practice having tried numerous cases in both State county and district court.
Joel has also developed a burgeoning estate planning practice over the years. While estate planning (wills, probate, powers of attorney) started out as a small part of his practice, over the last few years, this aspect of his practice has grown substantially. Joel believes that providing reasonable priced estate planning services to people is a vitally important aspect of his practice.More...