W. Mark Lanier, a graduate of the Texas Tech University School of Law, will be the featured speaker at the Spring 2016 commencement May 20-21 at United Supermarkets Arena.
Lanier earned his law degree from Texas Tech in 1984 and has been a staunch supporter of his alma mater since. Thanks to a $6 million gift, the Mark and Becky Lanier Professional Development Center opened in 2008, providing prospective law students a trial courtroom and the latest technology in order to produce some of the finest lawyers in the country.
“We are proud of Mark Lanier, his achievements and his contributions to Texas Tech University,” Texas Tech interim president John Opperman said. “The university appreciates his appearance at this momentous occasion for our graduates.”
Lanier serves on the Law School's Foundation Board and was honored as a 2016 Distinguished Alumni of Texas Tech University, which recognizes and honors alumni who have made a significant contribution to further Texas Tech through accomplishments, careers and extraordinary service.
Lanier has been recognized as one of the top oralists by the American Bar Association. Twice he has been named by the National Law Journal as one of the top 100 most influential lawyers in America and one of the top 10 trial lawyers in the nation.
He founded the Lanier Law Firm in 1990 in Houston and has since expanded to New York City and Los Angeles.
Just a few years out of law school in 1993, Lanier won a $473 million verdict for a small oil company in a business fraud case against one of the nation's top oil providers. Later, he earned a $253 million verdict for a client in the first Vioxx trial, Ernst v. Merck, which led to numerous other decisions regarding the drug.
He also secured a large settlement for syringe manufacturer Retractable Technologies in an antitrust suit against Becton Dickson and Company that served as the basis for the movie “Puncture”, then won a $118.3 million verdict on behalf of 21 asbestos victims in 1998, considered one of the largest asbestos verdicts in U.S. history.
He has been described by The New York Times as “one of the top civil trial lawyers in America” and in 2012 was given the Clarence Darrow Award. He has been on the U.S. News and World Report's best lawyers in America list for 10 consecutive years. Texas Monthly named him a Texas Super Lawyer from 2003 to 2014, and in 2015 he earned the Ronald D. Secrest Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award.