Eric Nichols practices both civil trial and criminal law, and joined the Austin office of Butler Snow in 2019.  His background includes not only many years representing companies and individuals in private practice but also experience in both Texas state government and the federal government, having served as Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice for the Office of the Texas Attorney General, as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, and a law clerk to a federal judge.  Eric is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Biography – View PDF Bio

Narrative Bio

Eric’s work for clients in civil and criminal cases has been profiled in and on, among other places, 60 Minutes, CNN, A&E, truTV, the National Law Journal, Texas Monthly, the Texas Lawyer, and local newspapers from across the country.

Eric has authored a number of publications on civil and criminal trial practice and procedure for treatises, legal journals, and law reviews, and he actively writes and lectures for various legal education programs and seminars throughout the United States.  His publications include a co-authored chapter on jury selection for the Thomson/Reuters treatise Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts, now in its fourth edition.

Associations

Bar Admissions

  • Texas, 1989
  • U.S. District Courts
    • Texas: Eastern, Northern, Southern, Western
  • U.S. Court of Appeals
    • 5th Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Civic Involvement

  • Grievance Oversight Committee of the Supreme Court of Texas
    • Chairman, 2018-Present

Distinctions

  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Texas)
  • Martindale-Hubbell®
    • AV® -Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated
    • Top Rated Lawyer, White Collar Criminal Defense, 2013
  • Benchmark Litigation
    • Local Litigation Star, 2018
  • BL Rankings, The Best Lawyers in America®
    • Lawyer of the Year: Bet-the-Company Litigation (Austin), 2018
    • Lawyer of the Year, Criminal Defense: White Collar (Austin), 2014-2015, 2017
    • Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation and/or Criminal Defense: White Collar, 2006 and 2012-2020
  • Thomson Reuters Texas Super Lawyers®
    • Business Litigation, 2014-2019
    • “40 Under 40” 2001
  • Lawyer of the Year - Texas, Wall Street Journal, 2017
  • Lawyer of the Year - Austin and San Antonio, Austin Monthly, 2017
  • Top Rated Lawyer in Criminal Defense, American Lawyer Media, 2013
  • Lone Star Prosecutor Award (for service to the state of Texas), Texas District and County Attorneys Association, 2010

Education & Honors

  • The University of Texas School of Law, J.D., with honors, 1989
    • Editor-in-Chief, Texas Law Review, 1988-1989
    • Outstanding Federal Practice and Procedure Note Award
    • Outstanding Second-Year Law Student Award
    • Member, Legal Research Board
    • Best Memo Award
  • University of Virginia, B.A., with distinction
    • Editor-in-Chief, Cavalier Daily (student-run daily newspaper), 1984-1985
    • Echols Scholar
    • Dean’s List, 1982-1985
    • Omicron Delta Kappa
    • Raven Society
    • Student Leadership Council
    • Lawn Resident, 1984-1985

Experience

  • Trial practice currently involves a wide variety of trial and arbitration matters, including both criminal and civil trial matters. Criminal private practice experience has included matters related to securities, tax, government programs, health care, insurance, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, internal corporate investigations, and defense of public officials and employees. Civil trial and arbitration experiences has included contractual disputes, business tort and fraud claims, intellectual property disputes, securities matters, employment claims, and personal injury and wrongful death claims. In private practice has continued to assist local Texas jurisdictions with criminal investigations and/or prosecution of particular cases as State’s attorney pro tem or as an appointed assistant prosecutor for a jurisdiction.
  • As Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice for the Office of the Texas Attorney General, Eric oversaw the Texas Attorney General’s prosecutors, peace officers, and investigators in the investigation and prosecution of criminal matters, including prosecutions in the areas of violent crime, crimes against children, and white-collar crime, including cyber crimes, public corruption, and Medicaid fraud. He also oversaw the Attorney General’s programs to assist crime victims throughout the State and the Postconviction Litigation Division, which represents the State in federal proceedings that contest the validity of criminal convictions and sentences from Texas state courts. 
  • As the Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, Eric prosecuted cases involving white collar crime (including health care fraud, business fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and labor fraud), violent crime (including firearms violations, bank robbery, and alien smuggling), drug cases, and appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He served as Security Officer for District, achieving Top Secret security clearance. 
  • As Law Clerk to Judge David Hittner of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Eric assisted with trial proceedings and motions practice. He participated in Continuing Legal Education programs as speaker and as draftsman of program materials.

Papers, Presentations, & Publications

  • Co-Author, Chapter 34 “Jury Selection,” Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts, Thomson/West Publishing (4th ed. 2017) (1st ed. 1998).
  • Co-Author, “ESI Discovery in Texas Criminal Practice,” Essentials of E-Discovery, State Bar of Texas Publications (2d ed. Forthcoming 2018) (1st ed. 2014).
  • Speaker, “Perspectives From the YFZ Ranch: Seven Years Later,” Texas Attorney General’s Office, Austin, Texas, October 2015.
  • Speaker and Author, “White Collar Crime: Criminal Side of Business,” State Bar of Texas CLE Business Disputes Course, Houston, Texas, September 2014.
  • Speaker, “Dealing with the Media: When Your Case is Up Front and Center,” Texas Association of Defense Counsel 2014 Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, September 2014.
  • Speaker, “The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Texas,” Mormon History Association National Conference, San Antonio, Texas, June 2014.
  • Speaker, “Courts of Inquiry,” Austin Bar Association Civil Litigation Section, Austin, Texas, March 2013.
  • Speaker, “Perspectives From the YFZ Ranch: Crossroads of the Constitution and Law Enforcement,” Teachers’ Law School, Austin, Texas, August 2010, 2011, 2012.
  • Speaker, “Effective Use of Demonstrative Exhibits,” Texas Association of Defense Counsel Summer Conference, Destin, Fla., July 2012.
  • More...