Texas Supreme Court advisory

Contact: Osler McCarthy, staff attorney for public information
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Thursday, May 19, 2011
NEW RULES, MANDAMUS ATTORNEYS HIRED

Two attorneys have been hired to assist in the Texas Supreme Court’s key rules-making process and to advise the Court about mandamus petitions and other extraordinary writs.

Marisa Secco, an associate at Vinson & Elkins LLP in Austin, has been named rules attorney. She will report to Justice Nathan L. Hecht, the Court’s senior justice and liaison to the Supreme Court Advisory Committee, which drafts and vets court rules the Court issues.

Martha Newton, an associate at Baker Botts L.L.P. in Austin in its appellate-practice group, will be staff attorney for extraordinary writs. She will report to Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson.

Secco will replace Kennon L. Peterson, who returned to private practice in Austin. Newton replaces Jennifer Cafferty, who was promoted to general counsel to the Court.

“Marisa has a sterling academic record and the practical experience the rules position requires,” Justice Hecht said. “The constituencies she will work with – the Advisory Committee, the Legislature, the Bar, and the public – will quickly find they can trust and depend on her.”

Chief Justice Jefferson said: “Martha brings to her new position extensive experience in the quick-paced legal world of mandamus petitions and emergency matters. That experience is tailor-made for the unique demands on the mandamus attorney.”

Newton, a 2004 University of Texas law graduate, and Secco, who graduated from UT Law in 2007, both served as law clerks for the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals: Newton for Judge Edward C. Prado in San Antonio, Secco for Judge Fortunado P. Benavides in Austin.

Newton begins May 31. Secco begins June 20.