Those who have worked with Joel have come to depend on his straightforward approach. They know that when he’s asked a question, or to give his opinion, he answers honestly and thoughtfully, helping to make even the most complex legal matters easy to navigate. “Not everyone spends their day reading legal briefs and court opinions. They just don’t,” Joel says. “Part of my job is to break things down so that, if we’re working together, you understand what’s going on just as well as I do.”
Joel has watched the legal landscape change over the years, with cases being overstaffed and overcharged without ever seeing the inside of a courtroom. As a managing partner of Fernelius Simon, these are disadvantages he works to make sure his clients never have to face.
Throughout his career, Joel has achieved numerous trial and appellate victories for plaintiffs and defendants at both the state and federal level. Early in his career, he was routinely selected to serve as the only associate on multiple trial teams. To this day, Joel credits much of his success as an attorney to those “learn by doing” opportunities he was given early on in his career.
Joel’s engagements include:
Successfully defended a multinational energy company in a five-week trial in federal court in which the plaintiffs sought a significant amount in damages, but were only awarded a few thousand.
Represented an international energy company in two-month trial that resulted in a take-nothing verdict for the plaintiffs.
Served on defense team for a large firm in a five-week trial that resulted in a complete defense verdict.
Secured a directed verdict at trial for a private investment company and individual defendant involving allegations of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.
Achieved dismissal based on personal-jurisdiction grounds in federal court, which was upheld on appeal to the Fifth Circuit.
Negotiated favorable settlement on behalf of a pipeline operator in commercial litigation involving alleged contamination of jet fuel.
Tried and negotiated favorable settlement for private clients in their lawsuit for wrongful death.
Obtained summary judgment for a prominent financial firm in a breach-of-contract lawsuit, which was upheld on appeal.
Favorably resolved multiple product-liability and deceptive-trade-practice claims for client that manufactures electrical and lighting equipment.
Obtained confidential settlement for corporate client in its lawsuit based on fraud and intentional misrepresentations.
Successfully defended company in commercial litigation filed by a purchaser of offshore oil and gas interests who asserted numerous common-law and statutory claims.
Achieved multiple, confidential settlements in indemnity actions filed for Fortune 100 companies against subsequent operators of onshore E&P operations.
All Texas state courts
United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
Professional Activities and Memberships
American Bar Association
State Bar of Texas
Houston Bar Association
Honors and Awards
Best Law Firms – U.S. News – 2018, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions-Defense
Texas Rising Stars by Thomson Reuters, 2014, 2017, 2018
10 Best Attorneys, American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys, 2017
Publications and Presentations
Co-author, “Effective Representation in Difficult Times: Assisting Your Client in Times of Crisis,” Spring 2009, ABA Mass Tort Journal
Speaker, “Are you Ready? Managing the Major Corporate Crisis,” Texas CLE Presentation, 2012, 2013
2004–Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, University of Houston Law Center