Law firm representing Spring Branch ISD withdraws from redistricting lawsuit


The law firm Thompson & Horton LLP has represented Spring Branch ISD in multiple legal matters since 2005.

While Thompson & Horton were originally representing SBISD in the Voting Rights Act lawsuit that Virginia Elizondo filed against the district and its trustees, the firm announced earlier this month that it would be withdrawing as counsel on the case.

“All I can really say is that Thompson & Horton requested to withdraw because we believe it to be in the best interest of the school district,” said lead attorney Chris Gilbert. “And that we believe the issues in the lawsuit are too important for the focus to be on who is legal counsel as opposed to the lawsuit itself.”

Gilbert would not give more details, citing attorney-client privilege.

The only statement from the district expressed similar ideas, saying, “On December 3, 2021, Thompson & Horton informed the Spring Branch ISD Board of Trustees of their desire to withdraw as counsel in Elizondo v. SBISD. Thompson & Horton believes this request is in the district’s best interests. The firm also believes the issues surrounding this lawsuit are very important and should be the focus of the community rather than who is legal counsel. SBISD is grateful to Thompson & Horton for their legal representation and their integrity in ensuring SBISD’s interests are best represented.”

As of Dec. 22, the district had not announced new counsel.

See here and here for some background. As the story notes, attorney Gilbert filed a response to the lawsuit on August 20, so whatever has come up to cause this change likely happened after that. I don’t want to speculate because I have no basis for it, but this feels a little weird to me. Maybe it’s nothing, maybe it has no practical effect even if it’s not nothing. Maybe we’ll find out more at a later date. For now, noting it for the record.

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3 Responses to Law firm representing Spring Branch ISD withdraws from redistricting lawsuit

  1. Frederick says:

    Very intriguing.

    The law firm had a couple specialists in election law.

    I wonder if the firm didn’t want to have a big L around their collar after they lose the case.

  2. Ross says:

    Jared Woodfill is probably available to take over. Bwahahaha

    Hard to believe in this day and age that there are still people who think at large elections for all positions on a board are legitimate.

  3. Kibitzer Curiae says:

    Well, supposedly we don’t have no corporate practice of law in Texas, so how can a law firm withdraw? Imprecise, for the sticklers, at least.

    Only attorneys can appear in court (other than living human persons representing themselves, which entities can’t even do since they are creatures of law only).

    So what’s happening here? … It might help to have a link to the relevant filing.

    There has to be at least one attorney on the pleadings, and then the withdrawl would involve that attorney filing the Rule 10 motion (if it’s state court), either for good cause (such as nonpayment, which is a common reason in the case of clients who are breathing persons short of funds) or by mutual agreement with the client or unilateral dismissal of the attorney by the client, accompanied or followed by substitution of another attorney form the same law firm (by designation under Rule 8) or a different one (by notice of appearance).

    Entities can only litigate through licensed attorney and if they don’t have an attorney then the pending action is presumably eligible for dismissal or default judgment, depending on whether the abandonded or otherwise lawyerless client is the plaintiff or the defendant.


    An attorney may withdraw from representing a party only upon written motion for good cause shown. 

    If another attorney is to be substituted as attorney for the party, the motion shall state: the name, address, telephone number, telecopier number, if any, and State Bar of Texas identification number of the substitute attorney; that the party approves the substitution; and that the withdrawal is not sought for delay only. If another attorney is not to be substituted as attorney for the party, the motion shall state: that a copy of the motion has been delivered to the party; that the party has been notified in writing of his right to object to the motion; whether the party consents to the motion; the party’s last known address and all pending settings and deadlines. If the motion is granted, the withdrawing attorney shall immediately notify the party in writing of any additional settings or deadlines of which the attorney has knowledge at the time of the withdrawal and has not already notified the party. The Court may impose further conditions upon granting leave to withdraw.

    Notice or delivery to a party shall be either made to the party in person or mailed to the party’s last known address by both certified and regular first class mail. If the attorney in charge withdraws and another attorney remains or becomes substituted, another attorney in charge must be designated of record with notice to all other parties in accordance with Rule 21a.

    For a few hundred more rules – latest edition – look here:

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