Seven Bell Nunnally attorneys – Alana K. Ackels; R. Heath Cheek; Andrew Dowdy; Kristopher D. Hill; Brent D. Hockaday; Brent A. Turman; and Ross A. Williams – have been named to the 2019 “Texas Rising Stars” list published by Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters publication and rating service.
“Texas Rising Stars” recognizes lawyers across more than 70 practice areas who are 40 years old or younger or in their first 10 years of practice. Inclusion is based on a highly selective process comprised of detailed and comprehensive peer nominations, evaluation and research – yielding only those who have both a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Just 2.5 percent of eligible lawyers in Texas are named to the list, set to be featured in the April issue of Texas Monthly.
Ackels is a partner in Bell Nunnally’s Labor, Employment and Benefits; Litigation; and Workplace Culture and Misconduct Investigation practices. She works for companies of all sizes, advising them on minimizing risk, protecting key business assets, and navigating the state and federal laws governing the employer-employee relationship. When necessary, Ackels advises on difficult terminations and reductions in force, conducts workplace investigations and tackles related litigation. She also handles complex business disputes, non-subscriber negligence claims, certain employee benefit challenges under ERISA, and insurance coverage disputes. Ackels earned both her legal and undergraduate degrees at Southern Methodist University (J.D., cum laude, 2009; B.A., cum laude, 2006). Recently named to the Dallas Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list, this is her fifth consecutive year on the “Texas Rising Stars” list.
Cheek is a partner in the firm’s Litigation group. He focuses on trials and disputes, representing Fortune 500 companies to start-up businesses and high-net-worth individuals in industries including private equity, financial services, energy and real estate. Cheek has served in various board or leadership positions for the Dallas Museum of Art, State Fair of Texas Development Team, Cotton Bowl Council, North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee, Texas Tech Alumni Association, Republican Lawyers of Dallas and Christian Legal Society, among others. He is a graduate of Baylor Law School (J.D., 2006) and Texas Tech University (B.A., magna cum laude, 2003). This is his sixth consecutive selection to the “Texas Rising Stars” list.
Dowdy is a partner in Bell Nunnally’s Corporate and Securities, Mergers and Acquisitions and Tax practice areas, focusing on business formation and structures, contract drafting and negotiation, merger and acquisition transactions, and federal tax issues. He assists clients in a broad range of general corporate matters, mergers and acquisitions, and tax issues, including tax-efficient structures for corporate mergers, acquisitions, and reorganizations, and the formation and operation of tax-exempt organizations. He is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center (LL.M., 2010), Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law (J.D., 2009) and the University of Texas at Austin (B.A., 2005).
Hill is a partner, practicing in the Litigation; and Labor, Employment and Benefits practices. He focuses on complex and high-stakes business disputes, trials, and arbitrations matters involving non-compete; confidentiality, and non-solicitation agreements; business divorces; fiduciary duties; trade secrets; oil and gas investments; and construction defects. He also advises both employers and employees regarding the terms of non-compete agreements and related departing employee issues. Hill is a graduate of Baylor Law School (J.D., 2008) and Texas Tech University (B.B.A., cum laude, 2005). This is his sixth consecutive appearance on the “Texas Rising Stars” list.
Hockaday is a senior associate in Bell Nunnally’s Litigation and Labor, Employment and Benefits groups. He represents, advises, and counsels businesses of all sizes in the legal aspects of their business, focusing on labor and employment and complex commercial litigation. Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in labor and employment law, Hockaday defends employers in federal and state court, as well as arbitration and in matters before administrative agencies. His employer-side litigation experience extends to defending against claims of wage and hour violations (both on individual and class and collective action bases) and various federal and state anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, and anti-retaliation laws. In addition, Hockaday enforces and defends against the enforcement of restrictive covenants, including disputes involving the protection and misappropriation of trade secrets. On the commercial litigation front, Hockaday takes on complex business disputes at the state and federal levels for companies of all sizes. An important component of his practice involves counseling business leaders on litigation avoidance strategies. He is a graduate of Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law (J.D., cum laude 2012) and Baylor University (B.B.A., 2005). This is Hockaday’s first selection to the “Texas Rising Stars” list.
Turman is a senior associate in the Litigation and Entertainment, Advertising and New Media practices. His experience includes business disputes, breach of contract, complex arbitration, and intellectual property matters. Turman’s entertainment law practice touches various industries, including film and television production, literary publishing, and media development and distribution. He serves as the president of the Texas Association of Motion Media Professionals and is a past chair of the Dallas Bar Association Entertainment, Art & Sports law section. Turman earned both his legal and undergraduate degrees from Southern Methodist University (J.D., cum laude, 2012; B.B.A. and B.A., cum laude, 2007). This is his third selection to the “Texas Rising Stars” list.
Williams is a partner in Bell Nunnally’s Cryptocurrency, Litigation, Employment, IP and New Media groups. He tackles complex disputes involving trade secrets, cryptocurrency and blockchain, non-competes and other restrictive covenants, unfair competition, contracts, business torts, real estate and internet defamation. Williams has briefed appellate matters before Texas and Federal courts of appeal, the Supreme Court of Texas and the U.S. Supreme Court (twice at certiorari). A passionate Dallasite, in 2017, Williams served on Dallas’ first-ever Citizens Bond Task Force Economic Development and Housing Subcommittee, helping shape a billion-dollar ballot initiative to support key infrastructure projects. He is a city official, serving as District 14’s commissioner on the City of Dallas’s Community Development Commission. Williams is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law (J.D., with honors, 2008) and Tulane University (B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 2005). Named to D Magazine’s “Best Lawyers Under 40 in Dallas” in 2018 and 2019, and a past recipient of the “One to Watch” designation by the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, this is his sixth consecutive year on the “Texas Rising Stars” list.