The History of National Trial Law
The personal injury attorneys at Whitehurst, Harkness, Brees, Cheng, Alsaffar, Higginbotham, and Jacob, PLLC, comprise one of the oldest, and most well-established plaintiffs’ law firms in Austin, Texas. Since our firm was established in 1971, we have a history of achieving record verdicts and settlements in personal injury cases. Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge necessary to maximize our clients’ success.
Whitehurst, Harkness, Brees, Cheng, Alsaffar, Higginbotham, and Jacob, PLLC, also possesses the financial ability to fund complex litigation. Our opponents often have access to many more resources than our clients, and we help level the playing field by financing case expenses up front on behalf of our clients and being paid on a contingency-fee basis. Our lawyers are experienced at every stage of the case. We represent clients from pre-suit negotiations, administrative claims, through jury and bench trials in state and federal court, to appeals in the Texas Supreme Court, the 4th 5th, 6th, 9th and 10th Circuits, and appeals to the Supreme Court of the United States. At trial, we use the latest technology combined with the experience of our trial lawyers to present a case effectively.
These advantages have allowed us to obtain two of the largest verdicts in history under the Federal Tort Claims Act. In one medical malpractice birth injury case, we obtained a trial judgment of $44,717,681 on behalf of an Air Force family, ensuring our client lifetime benefits and medical coverage after attorneys’ fees and expenses following an appeal (The judgment after appeal totaled $20,000,000, with our clients receiving $15,752,732 and lifetime benefits after attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses). In another medical malpractice birth injury case, our firm obtained a trial judgment of $32,676,410 for an Army family, also ensuring our client lifetime benefits and medical coverage after attorneys’ fees and expenses following an appeal (The judgment after appeal totaled $23,250,000, with our clients receiving $18,967,710 and lifetime benefits after attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses).
We have obtained trial judgments and settlements across the country. In Tennessee, our lawyers obtained a trial judgment of $13,690,648 for a Navy family in a medical malpractice birth injury case, with the family recovering $9,183,752 and lifetime benefits after attorneys’ fees and expenses following an appeal. In Washington state, our lawyers obtained a settlement of $10,000,000 for an Army family in another medical malpractice birth injury case with the family recovering $7,384,854 after attorneys’ fees and expenses. From California to Florida, Texas to Minnesota, Oregon to Maine, our results span the United States.
Whitehurst, Harkness, Brees, Cheng, Alsaffar, Higginbotham, and Jacob, PLLC, has twice obtained trial verdicts against Ford Motor Company, in both Texas and Colorado. Both cases were settled for a confidential amount following an appeal affirming the verdicts. Our firm also obtained one of the largest civil rights violation settlements ever under Section 1983, with our clients receiving $6.8 million after attorneys’ fees and expenses.
Our firm has a rich history of public service. Lawyers at the firm have gone on to become a Texas Supreme Court Justice, a Texas Court of Appeals Justice, a U.S. Congressman, a State Senator, and a Mayor of Austin. Our attorneys have served as President of the State Bar of Texas, President of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, President of the National American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) Foundation, President of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association (TTLA), President of the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA), President of the Austin Young Lawyers Association (AYLA), President of the Travis County Women Lawyers Association (TCWLA), and Chair of the Federal Tort Liability and Military Advocacy Section of the American Association for Justice (AAJ).
Coaching the University of Texas Mock Trial Team
National Trial Law has a long history of coaching the University of Texas Mock Trial Team. Currently, Attorney Steven Haspel is the head coach, having succeeded Attorney Tom Jacob several years ago, who in turn succeeded Attorney Jamal Alsaffar.
Founded in 1991, Texas Mock Trial (TMT) is considered “one of the most competitive” mock trial programs in the country. It is nationally famous for creating a unique, hands-on learning environment to empower upcoming generations of litigators on both sides of the courtroom. The Texas Mock Trial Team has brought home numerous trophies throughout the decades and is currently on track to secure another major win in the 2023 American Mock Trial Association tournament under the coaching of Attorney Haspel.
To learn more about Texas Mock Trial, visit https://texasmocktrial.com/. For more information about the American Mock Trial Association competition, which is considered the legal equivalent to the NCAA, visit https://www.collegemocktrial.org/.
Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) Cases
Military Medical Malpractice
VA Medical Malpractice
Camp Lejeune Justice Act
Our firm has received awards and accolades distinguishing the attorneys as leaders among their peers. Click here to learn more about the firm’s awards and recognition.
We are deeply committed to our families and to community service. Our lawyers have long been active with Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas, Texas Rural Legal Aid, the Texas Bar Foundation, the Travis County Women Lawyers Foundation, and other organizations devoted to legal services for the poor. Our community service extends far beyond the legal field and includes the Austin Children’s Museum, Meals on Wheels, YouthLaunch, Communities in Schools, Leadership Austin, El Buen Samaritano, the Austin Children’s Shelter, local churches, and numerous youth soccer, baseball and basketball teams.
Three of our attorneys, William O. Whitehurst, Thomas R. Harkness and Eugene W. Brees II, are board certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and are members of the American Board of Trial Advocates, among other prestigious organizations. Our attorneys include a registered pharmacist, an engineer, two instrument-rated pilots, and several former adjunct professors of Trial Advocacy at the University of Texas School of Law. Two of our attorneys are former Air Force JAG attorneys.
For five decades, we have cultivated a team of seasoned professionals for one purpose: to be a powerful voice for the injured.
More attorneys* named Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters in the “Personal Injury Medical Malpractice: Plaintiff” category in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 than any other law firm in Texas (*Bill Whitehurst, Chip Brees, Michelle Cheng, Jamal Alsaffar, Laurie Higginbotham and Tom Jacob)
Founded in Austin with more than 40 years of trial experience.
National results in complex personal injury litigation.
Many experienced lawyers ready to serve you.
SE HABLA ESPAÑOL
Our team has multiple Spanish speaking staff members.