Why do property rights matter? The right to property is the constitutional right that guarantees all others. When property protections are weak, the state and other powerful institutions can more easily bend the will of vulnerable landowners, compelling the masses to surrender important liberties.
With deep commitment to protecting property rights, our lawyers represent landowners facing eminent domain in pipeline, road, electric-line, and other condemnation cases and in other disputes involving property. Combining theory with practice, Chris also teaches eminent domain and private property rights as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law.
At its core, constitutional law is about honoring limits on the power of government. The U.S. Constitution—the oldest written national constitution—provides protection for both weak and strong, rich and poor, popular and despised, every American without exception. By dividing power vertically (states versus federal) and horizontally (among three branches in the federal government), the Constitution aims to prevent any particular person or group from grabbing too much power. And by elevating some rights above the tyranny of the crowd, the Constitution also creates space for individuals and groups to chart their own path.
We practice constitutional law because we believe deeply in protecting this space for exercising personal liberty and personal responsibility. Our past and present clients include prominent politicians seeking to vindicate the constitutional rights of constituents, individuals seeking to practice their religion, property owners with takings claims, and religious organizations.
While appeals matter a great deal to the parties in a dispute, appellate decisions often reach far beyond just one case, influencing outcomes in future disputes. With that in mind, appellate judges take a different approach than juries in deciding cases. What worked in trial doesn’t always work on appeal. Strong appellate advocates have a special skill set—clear thinking, good storytelling, and a sense of dramatic structure. After the chaos of trial, good appellate lawyers strip away needless complexity and get to the heart of the matter.
We have briefed and argued high-stakes and complex cases in the United States Supreme Courts and courts of appeals across the country. Our appellate clients have included both individuals—ranging from landowners in eminent-domain appeals to Enrique Peña Nieto, now serving as the 57th President of Mexico—and companies large and small in admiralty, business, property, insurance, securities, and constitutional disputes.