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Jane Bland

Distinguished Former Appellate Justice Jane Bland Joins Vinson & Elkins

Published: 02-05-2019

Former Texas First Court of Appeals Justice Jane Bland has joined Vinson & Elkins as a partner.

Bland brings to the firm more than 20 years of experience as a state appellate justice and civil trial judge. She will be based in V&E’s Houston office. As a member of the firm’s Appellate practice, Bland will focus on civil appeals and litigation. 

“Jane Bland is among the most widely respected former jurists in Texas,” said V&E Chairman Mark Kelly. “I’ve personally known her for many years and am honored to have her join Vinson & Elkins. She is a top legal intellect who will be an invaluable asset to the firm and its clients.”

Appointed to the First Court of Appeals by Gov. Rick Perry in 2003, Bland sat as an appellate justice for 15 years, winning elections in 2004, 2006, and 2012. In the six years preceding her tenure as an appellate justice, Bland served as the judge of the 281st Judicial District Court, in Harris County, Texas, having been appointed by Gov. George W. Bush in 1997 and winning elections in 1998 and 2002.

As an appellate justice, Bland authored more than 1,200 signed opinions in cases involving a wide range of disputes. In March 2006, while sitting by special commission, Bland delivered the majority opinion for the Texas Supreme Court in Hyundai v. Vasquez, in which the court clarified principles of jury selection for the state’s trial courts.

In November 2010, United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts presented Bland with the William H. Rehnquist Award, given annually by the National Center for State Courts to a state court judge who exemplifies the highest level of judicial excellence, integrity, fairness, and professional ethics. The Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists named her Trial Judge of the Year in 2003 and Appellate Judge of the Year in 2007 and 2015.

Bland has received President’s Awards four times for her work with the Houston Bar Association and the Houston Young Lawyers Association. She serves on the boards of Houston Volunteer Lawyers and the UT Law School Foundation, and she previously served on the boards of St. John’s School and the UT Law Alumni Association Executive Committee.

“Jane was an incredible judge and is an outstanding appellate advocate and trial attorney,” said V&E Global Litigation Department co-head Jim Thompson. “Her reputation for excellence and the wealth of experience she brings make her a perfect fit at V&E.”

Bland is a member of the American Law Institute and serves on the Texas Supreme Court’s Rules Advisory Committee and its Commission to Expand Civil Legal Services. She is the chair of the Oversight Committee on the Texas Pattern Jury Charges and serves on the Civil Appellate Law Advisory Commission for the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Before her judicial service, Bland practiced law with Baker Botts L.L.P. from 1991 to 1997, focusing on civil trial and appellate work. From 1990 to 1991, she clerked for Judge Thomas Gibbs Gee on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Bland is board certified in civil appellate law and civil trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. 

Bland earned her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law with high honors, where she was Vice-Chancellor, an editor of the Texas Law Review, and a member of the Order of the Coif. She received her bachelor’s degree in accounting and honors business from the University of Texas at Austin, with highest honors.

“For decades, Vinson & Elkins has been home to so many top-flight trial and appellate lawyers, making it a particularly attractive destination,” said Bland.

V&E’s Appellate practice is among the best in the United States, receiving national recognition in Chambers USA (2018) and Legal 500 U.S. (2018). In state and federal courts across the country, the firm’s appellate lawyers have an enviable track record of success representing appellants and appellees, plaintiffs and defendants, amici, and intervenors in high-stakes litigation.

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