Mike McKool (pictured), co-founder and chairman of McKool Smith, received the 2012 Trial Lawyer of the Year award from the Dallas Bar Association on Sept. 27 at a reception during the Dallas Bar Association’s Bench Bar Conference in Horseshoe Bay.
“I felt great about it,” McKool says. “I was honored by the award and felt really good about the speeches that were made.”
McKool says that, despite the award’s name, it wasn’t an award based on a year’s work.
“If you look at the list [of people who’ve won the award], it doesn’t have much to do with the year. It’s not like the most valuable player in one of the major league sports,” he says. “It is more of a lifetime achievement award.”
McKool says he became a trial lawyer because it was a life with which he was familiar.
“My dad was a trial lawyer,” he says. “From the time I was 10 until I was in high school, he made me go to work with him every day. He was mostly at the courthouse, and I saw him try many many cases.”
“It was an exciting life to me, and I understood it from an early age,” McKool says.
McKool says he has tried more than 100 cases throughout his career. “In the early days, we’d try 20 a year, so it wasn’t hard to get up over 100,” he says.
Now, he says, lawyers don’t try as many cases. “Cases are so big,” he says. “We try two or three in a year.”
McKool says many of the cases he tries now are patent cases because “the market is offering so much of it.”
However, he says his favorite types of cases to try are business tort or breach of contract cases.
“I’d love to get back into an old ‘he said, she said’ business civil case that I’ve tried so many of,” he says. McKool adds that he likes those cases because they are “fact-laden cases and cross-examinations mean a lot.”
— Christine Lesicko