Press Release

Munsch Hardt Announces 2024 Equity Shareholder and Shareholder Promotions

Apr 1, 2024

(DALLAS, TEXAS) – Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, P.C. (Munsch Hardt) proudly announces today the promotions of 12 attorneys – four to Equity Shareholder and eight to Shareholder. These promotions, spanning multiple practice groups across the Firm’s Austin, Dallas and Houston offices, are a testament to the exemplary service these attorneys provide to Munsch Hardt’s valued clients.

“This is a significant and memorable milestone in one’s legal career, and these individuals have distinguished themselves through their dedication to client service, significant legal accomplishments and integrity,” said Phil Appenzeller, CEO of Munsch Hardt. “It is their dedication and commitment that remain integral to the Firm’s success, as well as the ability to deliver first class legal advice to our clients.”

The Firm’s Newest Equity Shareholders:

  • Thomas D. Berghman (Dallas) is a member of the Firm’s Bankruptcy, Restructuring + Insolvency practice, where he represents virtually all constituencies in bankruptcy proceedings. He has served as lead debtor’s counsel in bankruptcy cases across a wide variety of industries, and regularly represents Chapter 7 trustees, landlords and creditors in matters across the country. Berghman has been recognized as a “Texas Rising Star” by Thomson Reuters each year since 2018, and in the Best Lawyers “Ones to Watch” directory for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law each year since 2022.
  • Andrew “Drew” McDonald (Dallas) is a member of the Firm’s Real Estate practice, where he focuses on assisting clients ranging from institutional investors to individuals in the acquisition, disposition, development, leasing, financing and management of raw land, retail, office, mixed-use, multifamily, hospitality, medical, industrial and other real estate assets. In 2023, McDonald was named to D Magazine’s Best Lawyers Under 40 list and has been named as one of the Best Lawyers “Ones to Watch” for Real Estate Law each year since 2021.
  • Justin K. Ratley (Houston) serves as the leader of the Firm’s Insurance practice. His primary goal is to help his clients identify and avoid litigation exposure when possible and navigate legal disputes when necessary. Ratley has handled a wide variety of complex commercial litigation matters, with a focus on recovering insurance benefits. Ratley represents publicly and privately held companies in both federal and state courts in contract, first-party insurance coverage, personal injury, construction, products liability, intellectual property, D&O and other complex commercial litigation matters. Prior to the practice of law, Ratley spent more than a decade working in federal law enforcement and as a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community. He has been recognized as a “Texas Rising Star” by Thomson Reuters each year since 2019 and in the Best Lawyers “Ones to Watch” directory for both Commercial Litigation and Insurance Law consecutively since 2022.
  • James R. Ray, III (Austin) is a member of the Firm’s Litigation practice where he focuses his practice on real property, intellectual property, commercial and consumer disputes. Ray has successfully litigated multi-million dollar disputes to verdict, including condemnation matters; administrative and regulatory issues at the State and local government levels; the prosecution and defense of disputes involving trademark, patent and copyright infringement; as well as commercial and consumer lending disputes. Ray also represents individuals and entities in the development, licensing and transfer of intellectual property rights, including trademarks, copyrights, and name, image, and likeness (NIL). Before starting his legal career at Munsch Hardt, he worked as both a Field Chemist and Project Manager in the engineering and environmental arenas. Ray has been named to Austin Monthly’s list of the city’s “Top Attorneys” each year since 2022, was inducted into the Honorable Lee Yeakel Intellectual Property Inn of Court and remains heavily involved in alumni activities with Texas Exes.

The Firm’s Newest Shareholders:

  • Julia Gasc Beckman (Dallas) is a member of the Firm’s Real Estate practice. She represents commercial real estate investors, borrowers and developers in the acquisition, disposition and development of multifamily, hospitality, industrial, retail and mixed-use properties in Texas and across the country. Beckman also represents real estate investors in transactions involving public-private partnerships, state and local incentives, and traditional equity and debt financing. Each year since 2022, she has been named among Thomson Reuters’ Texas Rising Stars as well as in the Best Lawyers “Ones to Watch” list for her excellence in Real Estate Law.
  • Casey Minnes Carter (Houston) is a member of the Firm’s Litigation practice, where she focuses on a wide range of commercial disputes. Frequently called upon to handle complex disputes in a wide variety of lawsuits—including business divorce, personal injury, environmental, insurance, real estate, employment, and probate matters—she has extensive experience in all stages of litigation in federal and state courts throughout the country. Carter also counsels clients on ways to avoid litigation, preparing and revising internal policies and procedures and advising clients on potential litigation risk and ways to avoid it. Carter recognizes the importance of giving back to the community, and she serves as a Fellow of both the Houston Young Lawyers Foundation and Houston Bar Foundation. She has been recognized as a 2024 Texas Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” list for Civil Litigation: Defense and has been named to the Best Lawyers “Ones to Watch” list for Commercial Litigation each year since 2022.
  • George “Jack” Casanova, Jr. (Dallas) is a member of the Firm’s M+A practice. He specializes in mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, commercial transactions and tax law. He regularly advises clients on corporate governance, entity formation and structuring, recapitalization and executive compensation matters, including stock options and equity incentives. Jack has been recognized consistently in the Best Lawyers “Ones to Watch” directory for his excellence in M+A Law, Tax Law and Trusts and Estates. 
  • Earl L. Ingle (Houston) is a member of the Firm’s Litigation practice. Ingle’s practice focuses on commercial litigation in state and federal courts, and arbitration, with an emphasis on the oil and gas industry. He represents a wide range of clients from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from individuals and small businesses to national and publicly traded companies. Prior to the practice of law, Ingle spent more than six years working as an Independent Petroleum Landman in locations across Texas and West Virginia. He has been recognized for his excellence in Commercial Litigation by Houstonia Magazine’s “Top Lawyers” publication and in the Best Lawyers’ “Ones to Watch” directory each year since 2022.
  • Zachary A. “Zack” Schneider (Houston) is a member of the Firm’s Real Estate practice, where he focuses on a broad scope of real estate, finance and corporate transactions. In particular, he regularly advises private investors and developers in connection with the acquisition, disposition, financing and leasing of retail centers, multi-family developments, light industrial and warehouse developments, office buildings, vacant land, and other commercial projects in Texas and throughout the U.S. He also represents tenants in office, retail, warehouse and light industrial, and other commercial leases. He has been named a “Top Lawyer” in Real Estate by Houstonia Magazine.
  • Garrick C. Smith (Dallas) is a member of the Firm’s Bankruptcy, Restructuring + Insolvency practice. He represents debtors, creditors, trustees, landlords, lenders, third-party purchasers and equity sponsors in a range of out-of-court workouts, bankruptcy cases and insolvency litigation across the country. Smith has also represented clients in Chapter 7 and 11 cases, as well as in contested matters and adversary proceedings before the state and bankruptcy and federal district courts. Smith has been named to Thomson Reuters’ Texas Rising Stars directory and to the Best Lawyers “Ones to Watch” list for Bankruptcy Litigation and Creditor-Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law each year since 2021.
  • Scott B. Smith (Austin) is a member of the Firm’s Real Estate practice. He focuses on representing local, regional and international developers, institutional owners and tenants in all aspects of real estate transactions, including industrial projects, high-rise office buildings, condominiums, retail shopping centers, airports and apartments. He also represents investors and private equity funds in all areas of real estate due diligence and the formation of joint ventures. Smith is actively involved in the Austin chapter of NAIOP and the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
  • Kelly E. Wise (Dallas) is a member of the Firm’s Litigation and Transportation practices. She focuses on a range of litigation matters, including construction liability and defects, premises liability and transportation and trucking liability. She is a member of the Dallas Bar Association’s WE LEAD: Women Empowered to Lead in the Legal Profession for 2024. She was also included in the 2024 Best Lawyers “Ones to Watch” directory for her excellence in Commercial Litigation, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants.