Best Civil Lawyer (2006)

Mark Lanier

Mark Lanier is an ordained minister in the Church of Christ, but he's also a God-given pain in the ass to pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. Lanier is a leading lawyer among the legions who are suing Merck over the arthritis drug Vioxx, and he was the first one out of the gate with a big, big victory: a $253 million verdict in Brazoria County last year. The boyish attorney insists he's doing the Lord's work winning his sizable victories, although those who hate plaintiff's attorneys think of him as a master of junk science and a whiz at actively recruiting perfect clients. To his clients, he's a hardworking, caring advocate who pierces through all the delays, traps and tricks that corporate lawyers specialize in. Lanier is also famous for the annual Christmas parties he hosts on his large spread north of town: Entertainment for the 8,000 or so guests includes performers such as the Dixie Chicks and Barry Manilow, and a narrow-gauge train that can hold 100 passengers. (But no liquor is served, much to the chagrin of those people reduced to surreptitious nips from contraband flasks.)


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