It’s easy for us to think of people in a state as kind of monolithic. We know that Californians are weird and Floridians are inclined to hurt themselves or others in bizarre ways. Such is the way of life.
As such, we tend to think of Texans as being pro-Second Amendment.
However, it seems a Texas law firm is acting in a very un-Texan way.
The Texas-based plaintiffs’ attorneys representing Mexico in a lawsuit against U.S. firearm manufacturers will discount their hourly rates by half and charge up to $1 million annually until the case is resolved, according to an agreement disclosed this week.
Shadowen PLLC’s contract with Mexico was publicly filed by the U.S. Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires U.S. law, lobbying and public relations firms to disclose certain advocacy relationships with foreign clients.
The contract said the Shadowen firm will cut $1,000 hourly rates for senior lawyers to $500 and will cap its hourly rates for junior lawyers at a discounted $275. The firm said it would not bill more than $1 million in a year “unless otherwise agreed by the government and the firm.” The paid legal services are expected to start in January 2022, the contract said.
The contract said Shadowen must get Mexico’s permission before engaging the services of any lawyer outside of the firm. “Those lawyers will bill for their time and expenses, and be paid for them, through this contract,” the agreement said.
Shadowen, who is based in Austin, Texas, said the government of Mexico reached out to him after the 2019 mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, in which 22 people were killed. For many years earlier, he said, he had worked with Mexican government lawyers on matters tied to Mexican nationals killed by U.S. agents on the border.
Now, I don’t begrudge anyone working for the Mexican government in and of itself. I wouldn’t have taken their side over these matters, but someone had to do it, so my capitalistic heart can’t really get upset that someone stepped up to fill the need.
But this smacks of more than just someone filling a need. This feels an awful lot like someone who doesn’t believe in our Second Amendment and is working with a foreign government to hurt our right to keep and bear arms and is using their law firm to help.
Keep in mind, legal action can be long and expensive. They’re not fun, which is why even the threat of a lawsuit is enough to shut down a lot of things, and this is a suit on a whole other scale.
To promise to bill no more than $1 million a year for a case like this? I don’t know. It feels like they wanted to make this lawsuit happen, so they reduced their rates to facilitate it. That tells us that Shadowen isn’t likely to be kicking the proceeds of the case to the NRA.
And again, this is someone in Texas.
All that said, Shadowen must feel pretty confident that he can win. After all, I suspect he’ll spend more than $1 million a year pushing this case. The only way he can recoup the losses would be with a percentage of the winnings, which would be sizeable considering what Mexico is asking for.
Of course, if he loses, it could ruin his law firm, which at this point could be amusing as well.