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Twelve Attorneys Named to "Best Lawyers in America" List

The Best Lawyers in America® 2017 (Copyright 2016 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC) features 12 Bell Nunnally & Martin LLP attorneys – Mikel J. Bowers, W. Bennett Cullum, Karen L. Hart, Jeffrey S. Lowenstein, Danica L. Mathes, James A. Skochdopole, Christopher B. Trowbridge, Beverly A. Whitley, Tammy S. Wood, Nikki Hurst Gibson, George W. Coleman and Walter N. (“Nick”) Kuntz.

“Best Lawyers is one of the most respected legal guides and a key barometer when vetting attorneys and their firms. We are honored to have been selected by our peers for inclusion,” said James Skochdopole, managing partner of Bell Nunnally.


Bowers (Litigation – Construction) is an experienced trial lawyer whose practice encompasses a wide range of commercial litigation matters, with emphasis on construction- and oil and gas-related disputes. His clients include homeowners associations, residential and commercial contractors, health care companies, oil and gas exploration companies and mid-size-to-large business organizations. Bowers received his J.D. from Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law (1987) and his B.J. from the University of Texas at Austin (1983).

Cullum’s (Trusts and Estates) practice is focused on estate planning, probate, real estate and bank lending, with support for civil litigation related to these matters. With more than 40 years of experience, Cullum routinely handles matters involving the preparation of wills, trust agreements, family limited partnership agreements and other estate planning documents, and the probate of wills and administration of estates. He also assists clients in real estate transactional matters. Cullum provides substantive law support in civil litigation arising out of the administration of estates and trusts and real estate transactions. He earned his J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin (1974) and his A.B. from Stanford University (1971).

Hart (Commercial Litigation) is a business attorney with over a decade of experience litigating commercial disputes. She counsels clients on real estate and landlord-tenant matters as well as various contract and business disputes, providing guidance on business legal matters including: lease, purchase and sale; brokerage and property management disputes; specific performance claims; commercial evictions; lis pendens; lien and bond claims; lien priority disputes; promissory note claims; commercial foreclosures; bankruptcy claims; professional ethics and liability matters; bills of review; confidentiality, non-competition and non-solicitation agreements and related disputes and injunctive proceedings; and business tort claims – including tortious interference with contracts and business relationships, civil theft, fraud and misappropriation of trade secret claims. She received her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law (2001) and her B.A. from the University of Texas at El Paso (1997).

Lowenstein (Commercial Litigation) is chair of the firm’s Litigation practice and represents businesses and individuals in a variety of complex commercial matters and business disputes. He has substantial experience representing developers, investors, management and owners in claims involving real property including construction defects, leasing disputes, contract disputes and partnership disputes. Lowenstein frequently represents clients in lawsuits involving intellectual property claims, including patent, copyright and trademark infringement; misappropriation of trade secrets; and related claims. He has tried lawsuits, both jury and nonjury, in a variety of forums at both the state and federal level. Lowenstein earned his J.D. (1998) and his B.A. (1995) from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Mathes (Entertainment Law - Motion Pictures & Television, Entertainment Law – Music) is a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property, Entertainment, Advertising and New Media practice areas and has been listed in Best Lawyers each year since 2007. Some of the most well-known national and international brands and biggest names in entertainment have trusted Mathes with their creative assets and brand reputation. She has represented Grammy-winning recording artists, songwriters and producers, Oscar-nominated filmmakers, independent record labels and music publishers, amateur and professional athletes, reality television show participants, mobile app and game developers, e-commerce, interactive media and startup ventures, as well as international food, beverage, toy, cosmetics, fashion, literary publishing, retail and traditional media companies. A frequent presenter and author, including on her “I’M WITH THE B(R)AND®” blog, Mathes also served as an Adjunct Professor of Entertainment Law at Washington University School of Law for five years. She earned her J.D. from Washington University School of Law (2001) and her B.A. from DePauw University (1998), and is licensed in both Texas and Missouri.

Skochdopole (Corporate Law, Tax Law) is active in the firm’s tax, mergers and acquisitions and corporate practices and serves as managing partner. He is well-versed in structuring, negotiating and closing a wide variety of business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, debt and equity financings and start-ups. Skochdopole has negotiated and drafted a multitude of commercial arrangements, including partnership and LLC agreements; service, supply, vendor and customer contracts; employment-related agreements; and compensation plans. He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School (1986) and his B.A. from Lawrence University (1983).

Trowbridge (Commercial Litigation) is a commercial litigator with a particular emphasis on complex business and intellectual property disputes. In the past few years alone, he has represented his clients in multi-million dollar disputes in state, federal and appellate courts and arbitrations in California, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Arkansas, South Carolina and cities across Texas. Trowbridge’s litigation docket routinely includes business torts including theft of trade secrets; trademark, trade dress and patent infringement; non-compete matters; private equity, investment and securities litigation; the pursuit of injunctive relief; FINRA and AAA arbitrations; and state and federal appeals. He routinely tries cases before judges, juries and arbitration panels across the country. In addition to litigation, Trowbridge also provides clients – which range from high-net-worth individuals to Fortune 500 companies - with pre-litigation counseling and assistance with complex contract negotiations. He earned both his J.D. (1998) and his B.B.A. (1995) from Baylor University.

Whitley (Appellate Practice) is a trial lawyer with more than two decades of experience in commercial litigation and appeals. She has tried cases involving non-competition agreements, property value, easements, insurance contracts, creditor’s rights and leases. Whitley has handled state and federal appeals at all levels. She earned both her J.D. (1990) and B.A. (1986) from Louisiana State University.

(Commercial Litigation) concentrates her practice on civil, commercial and labor and employment litigation and also represents fiduciaries and beneficiaries in probate court litigation. She handles commercial trials, arbitrations and appeals, representing corporate entities, individuals and governmental entities in cases involving various industries and businesses, including telecommunications, energy, manufacturing, insurance, health care, food products, oil and gas, advertising, retail sales, construction, franchising, real estate, debt servicing and high technology. Wood received her J.D. from Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law (1993) and her B.S. from Texas Woman’s University (1990).

Senior Counsel

Gibson (Commercial Finance Law) has extensive experience representing financial institutions and borrowers on commercial and consumer lending transactions; structuring, drafting and negotiating loan documentation for asset-based financing transactions, including accounts receivable, inventory and equipment secured loan transactions; senior and subordinated debt financings; securities as collateral; and real estate transactions. She received her J.D. from Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law (1985) and her A.B. from Duke University (1980).

Of Counsel

Coleman (Corporate Law) has extensive experience in structuring and negotiating complex business transactions and in negotiating complex partnership and LLC structures, including handling the acquisition and disposition of businesses, the financing of business activities, the creation of business entities, family succession planning and assisting committees of boards of directors. In addition, he is co-author of a treatise on Texas limited liability companies under the Texas Business Organizations Code. Coleman earned his J.D. from Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law (1963) and his B.S. from the University of Oklahoma (1961).

Kuntz (Corporate Law) focuses his practice on real estate, finance and general commercial matters. He represents his clients in the purchase, development, sale, leasing and financing of primarily commercial real estate. Kuntz represents lenders and borrowers, buyers and sellers, lessors and lessees in a wide variety of real property acquisitions, financing, development, leasing and sales and has experience in the purchase and sale of developed and undeveloped properties, both urban and rural. A significant portion of his current practice is the representation of lenders or borrowers in commercial real estate lending, workouts, and refinancings. Kuntz received his LL.B. from the University of Texas School of Law (1966) and his B.A. from Southern Methodist University (1963).

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Over 79,000 leading attorneys globally are eligible to vote, and we have received more than 12 million votes to date on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world. For the 2017 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©, 6.7 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in more than 55,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers "the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice."