About McKinney & Associates
I’m a lawyer. So are a lot of other folks. I’ve been a partner in big firms and I’ve run my own show. I’m not cheap, I don’t work with or for just anybody, and I expect my clients to pay their bills. But I’d like to think I’m different in several ways.
First, I’m fairly selective of the people I represent, but once I have a new client, I accept that they have put their trust in me to help them. That trust means a whole lot more to me than just another name and file, and you’ll have my commitment to do everything possible to achieve the very best results for you.
Second, at some point after we’ve begun our first meeting, I’m going to ask you, “tell me what your warts are.” In other words, I want to know not only your strong points, but all of your potential weaknesses UP FRONT. I don’t like surprises, and I expect my clients to be up front and honest with me. If you’ll tell me right off the bat about anything you even think may be “bad” for your case, chances are way better that we can work around any tough issues than if I get blind-sided later on in the case.
Third, after almost 30 years in this business, the one thing I’ve found to be most important to clients is they all just want to have some idea of what’s going on…even if there’s nothing going on. I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I was asked what time it was, only to respond with the details of how to build a watch. Fair enough, but I want to make sure my clients are aware of all the variables – not just the big, most-likely to happen things, but also the lesser-known possibilities that may or may not come to pass.
In addition, it’s easy enough to communicate by phone or e-mail or in person when the situation is active – whether that’s in negotiation or litigation. But like the tides, every case has its high points and its slow or quiet points. Just because there’s nothing of real interest to pass on to a client doesn’t mean they don’t want to hear that their lawyer is still out there and is still paying attention to the case. If we’re working together, you will hear from me, even if it’s just to say things are quiet for the time being.
Fourth, one of the hardest things to do sometimes – but what a lawyer ALWAYS MUST DO is to be honest with the client. People often don’t realize just how hard it is for a lawyer to accept a client’s money, work hard for them on whatever issues have arisen, and then have to tell the client that the case is not going the way they wanted. It may be new facts that have come into play, an uncooperative witness, or other extraneous elements over which neither the client, nor the lawyer has any control – but there you are. I’m always going to tell you the good news, but be aware, I’m always going to tell you about my concerns as well. It’s only fair to you and me, and if I were the client, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Fifth, by way of background, I was born and reared in South Texas. I spent as much time on my grandmother’s small ranch outside of George West, Texas, as I could, and I learned to love the rural life, hunting, and plain-speaking people. My parents – both survivors of the Great Depression – wanted more for me than they ever had, and they did whatever it took to get me through 12 years of Catholic school, an inordinate amount of time in College, and three years at a respected law school located in Seattle, Washington. I also love dogs and I love my daughter more than anything.
Finally, I spent a majority of my career representing law enforcement and governmental entities, as well as practicing employment law, most often representing management. Now, I’m at that stage of my career where I have the benefit of doing more of the things that interest me. As a result, I’ve helped clients – both gay and straight – going through divorce, worked with other clients to take over and run oil lease operations, and yet another try to develop a new piece of farm machinery that will likely revolutionize the way farmers and ranchers go about feeding their stock. I’m familiar with real estate, probate and estate, and oil and gas law, and I have a fairly broad general practice as well.
With regard to details, I am licensed to practice in all Texas state courts. Early in my career, I was the first law clerk for U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack, and I am also licensed to practice in the federal district courts of the Southern, Western, and Northern Districts of Texas, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. For those of you who like to see an “official” resume, click here to download my full resume.
- Phillip A. McKinney