Businesses of all types and sizes throughout the United States, Mexico and beyond bring their disputes to Gardere's litigation team and receive practical, responsive, boutique-style attention in return. Our clients have access to the firepower and value of a well-known and highly-regarded Firm's capabilities and interdisciplinary strengths.
Gardere has a national and international energy practice formed around our Energy Industry Team, which is a multidisciplinary group of approximately 60 attorneys with diverse backgrounds, experience and skills specific to the energy industry. Our team includes attorneys who have served as in-house counsel for major energy companies, providing a depth of insight into our clients' needs, issues and concerns. We understand and regularly practice in virtually every sector of the energy, and we represent a wide variety of industry participants from multinational corporations to individuals.
From our offices in the United States and Mexico, our International Practice helps clients operate in today’s global economy. We have more than 30 professionals operating as a boutique within an Am Law 200 law firm and are able to provide focused service with the resources of a large firm. We understand that clients who are engaged in the global marketplace need lawyers who can operate seamlessly across multiple jurisdictions. Our international experts are multi-lingual, are culturally fluent and intimately familiar with various legal systems across the world, especially those in Latin America. Whether you need help with commercial transactions, regulatory matters, customs and import regulations, immigration matters, M&A and joint ventures, international disputes, or international tax planning, Gardere’s international team is here to assist you.
We represent domestic and foreign private funds in all aspects of fund formation, fund operations, platform and add-on acquisitions, and portfolio company operations. Our team has a reputation for being the go-to-lawyers for private equity funds, hedge funds, venture capital funds and family offices. We are known for our vast deal experience, the efficient way we staff and manage our work, and the way we maintain our relationships. We get deals done with sophisticated, strategic, and practical advice tailored to the needs of our clients.
*Not admitted to practice law.
When we talk about the performative aspects of law we could be thinking of things that are obvious and well documented (e.g., at a trial all the lawyers and witnesses are in some sense “acting”) to things that are hidden (often in plain sight) and rarely considered (e.g., legal spaces brim with semiotic significance). Then, too, we could be thinking of things pitched at an even higher level of theoretical abstraction (e.g., legal texts—like dramatic texts—are largely inchoate; they must be performed to make any actual or causal difference in the world). I think all these facets are worth close examination, but here I want to restrict my focus to just one: the lawyer’s performance as narrator in closing arguments. As a running example, I’ll ask us to consider Daniel Webster’s summation in Commonwealth v. Knapp, in which Webster deploys a framed narrative to serve as an exemplary narrative. Both those terms call for elaboration, so let me briefly detour before getting to Webster’s argument itself.
In a trial there is an inevitable tension between story and discourse, which is to say between what “really” happened in the past and the presentation of what happened in the specious present of the trial. In a classic murder scenario, Frank is hard up for money, while his aging uncle sits on an unused fortune. If the uncle dies, Frank will inherit. So Frank hires a hit man to do the uncle in. The hit man breaks into the uncle’s home through a garden window, and stabs the uncle while he sleeps. But the hit man unwittingly leaves footprints in the garden, footprints that bear the markings of an unusual shoe, which the police quickly trace back to the hit man, who—once arrested—confesses and implicates Frank in exchange for leniency. That is the story—what really happened, set out in more or less chronological and causal fashion. At trial, though, jurors will hear a jumble of evidence taken out of sequence. For example, the first witness may be the coroner, testifying that the uncle died of stab wounds. A casino manager may then testify that Frank had a gambling problem and that he owed thousands of dollars in gambling debts. Then the owner of a shoe store may testify about the rare shoes and how someone who looked like the hit man bought shoes with the unusual sole. The hit man may then testify that Frank hired him to kill the uncle. But each of these witnesses will be subject to cross-examination, and other witnesses may say contradictory things. From this discourse, the jury must construct a narrative that will justify (to them) the verdict that they render. How close that reconstructed narrative resembles the real narrative is of course another matter. What we’re concerned with today is how a lawyer can take trial discourse and (re)perform it in a way that guides the jury to one narrative version or another.
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