Famous attorneys might not be what you expect. There are certainly a few famous Houston criminal defense attorneys who might meet your television courtroom expectations. However, many famous attorneys with incredible track records are made famous equally by, if not more, their approach, contributions and work outside of the courtroom.

Why Talk About Famous Attorneys?

It’s important we appreciate and recognize famous attorneys who serve as outstanding role models in both personal and professional senses. For example, if you’re looking for a Houston DWI attorney, status as famous Houston criminal defense attorney could help your search. But you want to make sure the attorney you hire also has substance, success and diligence at every turn—your freedom depends on it.

I want to share with you some famous attorneys I admire. But more importantly, I want to share why I admire them and some of the qualities I share with them that you should know about. Let’s meet some famous attorneys!

Richard “Racehorse” Raynes

The late Richard “Racehorse” Haynes was an incredible defense attorney whom I certainly looked up to. (Sadly, Richard passed last April.) He embodied every element you would expect from a famous Houston criminal defense lawyer. Haynes was a Houston native who joined the ranks of famous Houston lawyers after representing a series of seemingly impossible cases, including The State of Texas v. John Hill.

He’s also the owner of one of the most famous lawyer quotes, “Say you sue me because you claim my dog bit you. Well now, this is my defense: My dog doesn’t bite. And second, in the alternative, my dog was tied up that night. And third, I don’t believe you really got bit. And fourth, I don’t have a dog.”

Like some other famous attorneys, Haynes was known for some impressive showmanship in the courtroom. And few other famous Houston criminal defense attorneys can claim the honor of shocking themselves with a cattle prod in front of a jury. But more importantly, he had a reputation for meticulous study of every angle in his cases and healthy competition in the form of boxing outside of the courtroom.

Justin McShane

Justin McShane is a famous DWI attorney whom I both respect and look up to. Working out of his law offices in Pennsylvania, Justin is a highly acclaimed and successful attorney in his state. A key part of his success is similar to that of Richard Haynes: an intense study of the law and the fields that matter in our practices.

In the fields of DWI and criminal defense, forensic science is a key field that can truly unlock evidence and innocence for citizens. To that end, Justin McShane is a scientist, an ACS-CHAL Lawyer-Scientist, to be specific. I’m proud to share that distinction with him, using science and technical fields to help defend clients in criminal cases.

Mark Lanier

Mark Lanier is another famous Houston attorney whom I also respect. Richard Haynes and and Justin McShane are famous attorneys by way of strong courtroom poise and exceptional technical aptitude outside of the courtroom. Mark Lanier is famous for yet another important aspect among Houston criminal defense lawyers: storytelling.

Mark has won tremendous cases against heavyweight companies involving complicated plaintiffs and complex defendants. The victories were often achieved in large part by masterful narratives that demonstrate intimate knowledge of the law and crucial rapport with the jurors.

What do Great, Famous Attorneys Have in Common?

Do you want to hire a great attorney, or a famous attorney? Maybe you don’t have to choose. There are some common qualities you can look for in an attorney that may help you find a great one:

  • Domain and Technical Mastery
  • Professional Milestones
  • Motivation and Investment

Domain Knowledge and Technical Mastery

If you needed knee surgery, would you choose a surgeon that had never operated on a knee before? Doubtful. You’d probably want a leading orthopedic surgeon who is highly specialized in knees and helps advance the field. (Related reading: Signs of a Bad Lawyer)

It’s a similar concept for lawyers, only you’re dealing with a live, full courtroom! Let’s say you’re facing your 2nd DWI in Texas, do you want a generalist attorney who only dabbles in DWI cases? So how many scientists do you know of that can hold their ground in a courtroom? Better yet, how many lawyers do you know of that can hold their place in a science lab? Not many! The fact is, you can’t argue with—well, the facts.

Especially, facts that are backed up with scientific evidence. I’m both fortunate and humbled to be one of Houston’s only ACS CHAL Lawyer-Scientists. It’s not just a pretty title, and it certainly is no easy feat. In order to become a certified lawyer-scientist, successfully practicing law is just the price of admission.

This specialty education requires many hours of rigorous work: conducting technical, scientific research, on top of fighting for clients daily while running your own law firm. More importantly though, this holds a ton of weight for you, the client. Having the technical discipline and the scientific knowledge of being an ACS CHAL Lawyer-Scientist elevates my perspective in the courtroom. I can use precise, direct measurements and data that non-scientist lawyers cannot defend.

Professional Milestones

Technical and domain knowledge is the foundation of many famous attorneys and Houston criminal defense lawyers. But it’s more than understanding DWI records or knowing what to do if you have a warrant. An accountable, consistent track record of turning expertise into reclaimed freedom for clients is just as important.

Let’s say you’re looking for a Pearland DWI attorney. How can you know if an attorney is credible and prove? The answer is accreditation. There are tons of lawyers in Houston, but only a handful have been officially rated from accredited legal services like Avvo. For example, my Avvo rating is a perfect 10 out of 10, which Avvo describes as a “Superb” score and the best available for a lawyer using their rating system.

What else can you look for? A track record of successful cases. For example, many attorneys may claim to defend intoxication manslaughter, but they haven’t actually won any cases! On the other hand, I’ve been fortunate to win a number of tough intoxication manslaughter cases for clients, including a quadruple intoxication manslaughter case. Cheap criminal lawyers in Houston won’t be able to show you the same results.

Motivations and Investment

You might sense a running theme here about successful and famous attorneys, we’re not one of those trick ponies. Outside of being a lawyer-scientist, with an accredited track record, I’m also a fighter, literally. Similar to Richard “Racehorse” Raynes, my competition in the (Jiu Jitsu) ring builds strength and toughness for you, the client.

For those of us who have trained, we know that earning a purple belt is no easy feat. It requires years and years of dedication, discipline and mental fortitude. The payoff is an incredibly humbling experience that teaches you how to fight for your teammates that come from so many different walks of life. Every lesson I learn in the dojo is applied to cases in the courtroom.

Jiu Jitsu isn’t the only adrenaline-rushing hobby that I practice outside of the courtroom. I’m proud to be an avid athlete and adventurist who skis, scuba dives, bungy jumps, plays tennis and skydives. These adrenaline-invoking, head-rushing experiences have taught me to be open to ideas that may seem crazy to some people, but valuable to others. I won’t leave any stone unturned, and I’ll go as far as it takes for you.

Win With a Famous Houston Criminal Defense Attorney

As a local Houstonian, I know my roots and my neighbors. I take pride in helping them win their cases so that they can go on living happy lives with their families. I’m involved in the legal community too, such as being a part of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and know all the players in the Houston area, an often unmentioned part in what it takes to win a case.

Make sure you get one of the best criminal defense lawyers possible. The Thiessen Law Firm has a proven record reclaiming freedom for our clients’ lives. Whether navigating a criminal defense case such as Texas drinking laws, or pretrial diversion in Texas or fighting for your family with emergency temporary custody or seeking grandparents rights in Texas, we bring everything we have to bear for you.

Schedule a free consultation today, or call 713-864-9000 to see how we can help your case.

Related Resources

Thiessen Law Firm

Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.