Archives: Attorneys

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Kenneth W. Starr

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Ken Starr joined The Lanier Law Firm in 2018, building on a distinguished career in the law, academia and public service. He works with the firm in an Of Counsel capacity in a range of appellate matters, as well as in other legal issues and causes of special interest.

Judge Starr has argued 36 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including during his service as U.S. Solicitor General. He served as United States Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, as Counselor and Chief of Staff to U.S. Attorney General William French Smith, and law clerk to both Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and to Fifth Circuit Judge David W. Dyer.  He was appointed to serve as Independent Counsel for five investigations, including Whitewater, from 1994 to 1999.

He served as President and Chancellor of Baylor University and Dean of the Pepperdine School of Law. For 25 years he taught constitutional issues as an adjunct or visiting professor at five law schools, and has served as a partner at two national law firms. He continues to serve on the Boards of Advocates International, the Supreme Court Historical Society, and the Christian Legal Society. Throughout his professional career, he has championed the cause of religious liberty and freedom of conscience for all persons.

Judge Starr is the author of more than 25 publications and has received numerous honors and awards, including the J. Reuben Clark Law Society Distinguished Service Award, the Jefferson Cup award from the FBI, the Edmund Randolph Award for Outstanding Service in the Department of Justice and the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service.  He has received honorary doctoral degrees from Hampton Sydney College, Shenandoah University, and Pepperdine University.

He earned his undergraduate degree from George Washington University, a master’s degree from Brown University, and his law degree from Duke University Law School. He is admitted to practice in Texas, California, the District of Columbia, Virginia and the United States Supreme Court.

Monica A. Cooper

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Monica A. Cooper is a trial lawyer with both civil and criminal experience. She joined The Lanier Law Firm in 2018 where she has an important role as a member of the trial team.  She is also engaged in product liability, personal injury, pharmaceutical liability among other practice groups. Ms. Cooper is a former prosecutor with more than four years of courtroom experience prosecuting felony and misdemeanor trial cases from jury selection to closing arguments. She has tried more than 23 cases to verdict as lead counsel, and numerous others as second-chair, in matters ranging from murder, domestic violence, online solicitation, human trafficking, intoxication assault and sexual assault of children.

As an Assistant District Attorney with the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office in Conroe, Texas, she was a chief of the domestic violence division. As chief, she worked to restructure the division to better address emergency response and intake within the first 24-72 hours after the crime. She was also a member of the Vehicular Crimes Team, where she responded to the scenes of intoxication manslaughter and assault crimes.

Before becoming a prosecutor, she was an associate in the labor and employment division at Locke Lord LLP in Houston. Her work there included EEOC complaint responses for corporations and handling misappropriation of trade secret and conversion cases. As an associate, her pro bono work included representing indigent clients in a social security administration hearings to obtain disability benefits.

Ms. Cooper completed her undergraduate work at The University of Texas in Austin, earning a B.A. in Sociology with Highest Honors.  She was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  She then completed her J.D., with honors, from University of Texas School of Law, as well. Her student attorney work included representing indigent defendants charged with misdemeanors and acting as attorney ad litem for children in cases in which the State sought custody or termination of parental rights based on allegations of abuse and neglect.  She was also a member of The University of Texas Interscholastic Mock Trial Team 2009-2011, where she was selected to compete every eligible semester.

Other honors, during this time, included being named to the International Academy of Trial Lawyers Award (Best Mock Trial Advocate in Graduating Class), Order of Barristers (Top Ten Advocates in Graduating Class), the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition 2010, Regional Champion & National Semi-finalist, the Stanley P. & Claudie P. Wilson Presidential Scholarship 2010 (Best Second-Year Advocate), the Strasburger & Price Senior Honors Mock Trial Competition 2011, Champion, the Voir Dire Competition 2011, Champion and the Thad T. Hutcheson Moot Court Competition 2009, Octofinalist.

Ms. Cooper’s is no stranger to taking on leadership roles within the industry, her school and her community.  She is a member of the Houston Bar Association.  She was a Chief Symposium Editor of THE REVIEW OF LITIGATION, Volume 31 (2009-2011), a member and Historian of the Black Law Students Association and further served as a mentor in The University of Texas School of Law Society Program from 2009-2011.  Ms. Cooper also served as a Teaching Assistant for Professor Sarah Buel (First Year Criminal Law Course) in 2009.

Most recently, Ms. Cooper was an integral part of The Lanier Law Firm trial team that achieved a groundbreaking verdict in which a jury awarded $4.69 billion to 22 women and their families who alleged that decades of daily use of Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE: JNJ) asbestos-laden talcum powder products caused their ovarian cancer.

Manny Cabrera

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Manny Cabrera joined The Lanier Law Firm as an associate, in 2018, focusing on plaintiff’s civil litigation with an emphasis on asbestos-related injuries.

Prior to joining The Lanier Law Firm, Mr. Cabrera served as an attorney at several defense firms in Houston representing commercial clients, including Fortune 500 companies, on general personal and catastrophic injury matters within trucking and premises liability cases. His practice provided him with extensive experience in federal and state district courts as well as appellate courts throughout Texas.  His exposure to multiple sides within the courtroom has given Mr. Cabrera the benefit of a well-rounded insight of litigation and what assures justice on behalf of his clients.

Mr. Cabrera is a native Houstonian. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University in 2008 and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law in 2015. He and his wife, Jenn, enjoy spending time raising their son. In his spare time, Mr. Cabrera enjoys rooting for the Houston Astros.

Austin Taylor

Austin Taylor

Austin Taylor is an associate attorney at The Lanier Law Firm’s Houston office. He was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 2017. Mr. Taylor focuses his practice on plaintiff’s civil litigation matters, with an emphasis on toxic tort and asbestos-related injuries.

Mr. Taylor was born and raised in the small town of Stephenville, Texas. After graduating from high school, Mr. Taylor moved to Houston to continue his education at The University of Houston, where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree with Honors in Political Science. He then received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law Houston, where he was a Dean’s Honor List recipient.

Mr. Taylor joined The Lanier Law Firm in 2015 as a law clerk while attending law school. During that time he gained valuable experience and knowledge in civil litigation and representing injured clients and their families who have been harmed by asbestos and other toxic substances.  Mr. Taylor’s professionalism, experience and work ethic led to him being hired as an associate after his admission to the State Bar of Texas.

Austin lives in Houston, Texas with his wife, Madison. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, American Bar Association, Houston Young Lawyers Association, the South Texas College of Law Alumni Association.

In his spare time, Austin enjoys spending time with his family, cooking barbeque, playing golf and watching every college football game he can.

Leydyluz “Luz” Symphorien-Restrepo

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Leydyluz “Luz” Symphorien-Restrepo joined The Lanier Law firm in 2017 with more than six years of experience in trial litigation. A native of Caracas, Venezuela, she practices throughout the firm’s offices and is dedicated to advocating on behalf of the firm’s Spanish-speaking clients.

Mrs. Symphorien-Restrepo has focused her practice on representing the injured party in court. Before joining The Lanier Law Firm, Mrs. Symphorien-Restrepo worked as an associate at one of the first law firms in Central Florida dedicated to championing the cause of the area’s Latino community in personal injury matters. In this capacity, she managed more than eighty plaintiff’s cases arising out of injuries from automobile collisions and premise-liability incidents.

Mrs. Symphorien-Restrepo’s  significant trial experience includes her work as a prosecutor for the office of the State Attorney at the Ninth Judicial Circuit, in Orlando, FL., where she tried more than 25 cases to verdict for drug trafficking and other felony-level offenses.

Mrs. Symphorien- Restrepo graduated cum laude from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, and received book awards for performing at the top of her class in International Criminal Law and Professional Responsibility.  During law school, Mrs. Symphorien- Restrepo studied for a short term at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Her strong passion for those who are victimized motivated her in spearheading an effort to volunteer and raise funds for Ikhaya Likababa, a home for abandoned children in Empangeni, South Africa. Upon graduation from law school, Mrs. Symphorien-Restrepo received her first license to practice law with high marks and was selected to serve as a reader for the Florida Bar. She is also licensed in Florida.

Mrs. Symphorien-Restrepo came to the United States at the young age of eight, following her father’s grueling work as a New York city taxi-cab driver. She is a member of West End Church, in Houston Texas, the Hispanic Bar Association of Houston and is a volunteer at Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston. Mrs. Symphorien-Restrepo is married, with two daughters. She claims to be a runner and an excellent cook.