Kelly Hart expands with second Louisiana office

Kelly Hart & Pitre, the Louisiana office of Kelly Hart & Hallman, has opened a location in Baton Rouge, it’s second in the state after opening in first office outside Texas in 2014 in New Orleans.

The Baton Rouge office is led by former U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Louis M. Phillips and transactional attorney Peter A. Kopfinger. As part of the new group, Rick Shelby has joined the New Orleans office. The additions bring Kelly Hart & Pitre up to 13 lawyers in Louisiana.

“We are pleased to bring these excellent lawyers into our Louisiana operation,” said partner-in-charge Loulan Pitre Jr. “They have already hit the ground running and we are excited about their future.”

The new lawyers provide bankruptcy experience, with accompanying transactional and litigation capabilities, and give Kelly Hart & Pitre the opportunity to expand its public law and regulatory practices in Louisiana.

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Phillips has a bankruptcy/debtor-creditor practice, providing legal representation and consultation for debtors, creditors and trustees over a practice area that includes transaction and business structuring and restructuring, bankruptcy reorganization, and bankruptcy and commercial litigation. He tries civil cases in state and federal courts, and has handled matters before the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Phillips is the permanent chairman of the annual Bankruptcy Law Seminar sponsored by the Louisiana State University Center for Continuing Professional Development. He has taught educational programs on bankruptcy law for state judges and has been an adjunct professor at LSU Law School since 1988. He is a contributing editor to the Norton Bankruptcy Law and Practice 2nd and has written numerous articles for law reviews and other periodicals.

From 1988-2002, Phillips was the U.S. bankruptcy judge for the Middle District of Louisiana. During his tenure, he wrote numerous opinions of first impression of Louisiana state law and bankruptcy law and a number of opinions that ultimately were adopted by the Fifth Circuit and other courts as the law of those courts.

Kopfinger represents clients in all aspects of commercial real estate, with an emphasis on acquisitions and dispositions of real property, commercial leasing and financing transactions representing a variety of corporate clients and individuals in all types of complex real estate matters, including office, hotel and retail. He also has experience in the areas of debtor/creditor rights in bankruptcy and restructurings, including negotiating and drafting sale and bidding procedures in Section 363 asset sales, debtor-in-possession financing documents, and also representation in preference matters.

Shelby specializes in bankruptcy, restructuring, oil and gas litigation, commercial litigation and corporate governance. Shelby has handled all aspects of bankruptcy work from complex Chapter 11 cases representing debtors, creditors’ committees and secured creditors to consumer bankruptcy cases in Chapters 7 and 13. Shelby also represents clients in oil and gas litigation including the Louisiana Oil Well Lien Act, master service agreements, permitting, adjudication, lease renewals, work orders, and decommissioning offshore projects.

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Varghese Summersett names Jumes partner

Steve Jumes has been named a partner at Varghese Summersett PLLC. Since joining the firm, Jumes has led the White Collar Crime and Asset Forfeiture Division. He has overseen the growth of the division, both in personnel and in business development.

Jumes has also been a prolific author, contributing to the firm’s website, state Continuing Legal Education materials and publications for the defense bar.

He is frequently called on by other attorneys throughout the nation to not only assist with representation in complex cases but on occasion to represent attorneys who have found themselves in the crosshairs of the federal government.

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“As a former federal prosecutor and as a board certified criminal law specialist in Texas, Steve brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that continues to be extremely valuable to our white collar and federal clients whose defense requires a level of understanding and sophistication that is often hard to find,” said managing partner Benson Varghese.



Immigration attorney Susan Lane joined Cantey Hanger LLP as a partner.

Since being licensed in Texas in 1986, Lane has focused her practice exclusively on immigration and nationality law. She has represented a range of employers – such as universities, high tech companies, multinational corporations, startup businesses, manufacturers and churches – in complex, employment-based immigration matters.

Her practice includes non-immigrant petitions as well as immigrant cases, including PERM labor certifications, petitions for outstanding professors and researchers, petitions for multinational executives and managers, and national interest waivers.

Lane is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the State Bar of Texas, the Tarrant County Bar Association and Southlake Chamber of Commerce.



Michael J. Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College, received the 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Justice Award presented by the Dallas Bar Association at the 24th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon on Jan. 18 in Dallas.

The award is presented to local leaders whose lives and practice exemplify the principles embodied by King’s leadership.

Sorrell has received numerous awards and honors, including the President’s and C.B. Bunkley awards from the J.L. Turner Legal Association for his contributions to the Dallas legal community.



Tarrant County Bar Association (TCBA) and the Fort Worth Chapter Texas Society of CPAs (Fort Worth CPAs) are teaming up to add tax help to LegalLine in February and March.

Volunteer certified public accountants will be on hand, along with volunteer attorneys, to answer phone calls as part of the TCBA program during individual income tax filing season.

“CPAs in Fort Worth have a long history of volunteering to answer taxpayer questions through community programs,” said Fort Worth CPAs executive director Kathy Kelly. “Teaming up with the TCBA means that callers to LegalLine will have access to the skills of both volunteer attorneys and CPAs on four occasions this spring.”

Dates and times for the expanded LegalLine service are 6-8 p.m. on Feb. 11, Feb. 25, March 10 and March 24.

Fort Worth CPAs is a voluntary membership association for certified public accountants in the Fort Worth region. The organization, founded in 1929, has a membership of 2,400 and is affiliated with the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants. Fort Worth CPAs maintains offices in Fort Worth and conducts programs that build CPAs’ professional skills, broaden public perception of CPAs’ knowledge and services, and facilitate members’ delivery of services to meet market needs.