Partner Thomas Hagemann Receives Legal Writing Excellence Award


Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP trial partner Thomas Hagemann has been named a winner of a Burton Award for excellence in legal writing for his article, "The Sea and the Mirror: Some Reflections on Corporate Honest Services Fraud and the (Hypothetically) Innocent Corporation." The award is bestowed on only 30 authors annually from the mass of entries submitted by the 1,000 largest law firms in the United States.

Mr. Hagemann will receive the Burton Award on June 13 in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., where guest speakers and honored guests for the 12th annual ceremony will include U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer.

In these days of complex corporate failures, one of the most vexing questions in criminal law is this: Under what circumstances will and should employee knowledge be imputed to a corporation when the corporation is an alleged victim? The lone federal criminal case to consider the issue of imputation and the corporate victim was a 1998 “honest services” case. In a series of cases since then, the government has charged individuals with crimes against their corporations when it could have just as easily attributed the individuals’ actions to the corporations. Mr. Hagemann’s paper discussed these issues and circumstances.

"Gardere is excited to learn that Tom's writing has been recognized as the best of the best," says Gardere Managing Partner Steve Good. "With 25 years' experience as a trial lawyer and as the spearhead of the Firm's white-collar criminal defense practice in Houston and Dallas, Tom has developed a national reputation for handling highly complex situations. We're proud that he is able to use his writing expertise to share his extensive knowledge with others."

The national Burton Awards program was established in 1999 and dedicated principally to reward effective legal writing. It honors partners in law firms and law school students who use plain, clear and concise language and avoid archaic, stilted legalese.

In 2009, Gardere received recognition as one of the top 20 law firms honored for its legal writing by The Burton Awards. The top 20 law firms in the nation were selected based on the number of awards they received in the program during the past ten years. The Burton Awards began in 1999. Other Gardere lawyers who have been recognized by the Burton Awards are Richard O. Faulk, James J. Sentner, Jr., Randy D. Gordon and John S. Gray.

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