Steve Lawson is a partner in the Texas and Southern California offices of Gordon & Rees. He has a foot in both sides of the Firm’s practice, moving between corporate counseling and transactions on the one hand, and litigation on the other. He brings his experience in litigation to his corporate and transactional work to reduce the risk of future disputes in deals, and in his cases he ensures that liability-reducing doctrines in corporate and contract law are not overlooked in defending the firm’s clients. In an era of increasing legal specialization, clients value the common sense he brings to the solving of their problems as a true generalist.
After beginning his career in a large national law firm and corporate boutique, Mr. Lawson served as Vice President, Legal Affairs, General Counsel, and Secretary to a New York Stock Exchange biotechnology company for several years before returning to private practice. In that role, he supervised all legal aspects of company operations, including corporate governance, securities (SEC, NYSE) transactions, litigation, corporate communications, safety and environmental, contract administration, trade regulation, intellectual property prosecution and licensing, employment, and general legal and business counseling to the company’s senior management.
On the corporate side, Mr. Lawson conducted an overhaul of the company's intellectual property estate and management, including termination and hiring of patent firms and hiring of patent specialists. He served on all management committees, and kept the minute book for all board and shareholder meetings. He supervised and prepared public disclosures for the company (8-Ks, press releases, and annual reports).
He supervised major corporate litigation, including cases claiming securities fraud, patent infringement, wrongful termination, and misappropriation of trade secrets. He also resolved numerous internal and external disputes short of litigation.
On the transactional side, Mr. Lawson negotiated and prepared major product and patent license agreements and amendments (outlicensing and inlicensing) with domestic and international companies and not-for-profit institutions.
His recent corporate practice has included corporate governance and general corporate counseling, along with acquisitions, divestitures, and private financings.
On the litigation side, Mr. Lawson is considered a dispositive motion and appellate specialist. Colleagues call on him to unpack complex fact and legal issues for busy judges and to craft deeply researched but highly readable filings. During his tenure at Gordon & Rees, he has worked with his Firm colleagues on numerous successful motions to dismiss and for summary judgment. He has also successfully argued five appeals in state and federal courts.
Mr. Lawson has taught corporate law at a West Coast law school, and legal research, reasoning, and writing at a top-rank national law school. He has a special interest in oral advocacy, and formal adversarial and transactional writing. With email and social media now dominant, he also has an interest in how attorneys should present more casual communications to colleagues, clients, and adversaries to convey the right tone and attitude to achieve successful resolution of conflicts and negotiations. He frequently uses graphical representations of complex fact patterns or deals to clarify issues for colleagues, clients, adversaries, and judges.