W. Mark Lanier

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William Mark Lanier (born October 20, 1960 in Dallas, Texas[1]) is an American trial lawyer.[2]

Mark Lanier
Mark Lanier Speaking at a Podium
Mark Lanier in Wall Street Journal

He lives in Houston, Texas, and maintains offices in New York, Houston, and Los Angeles. Mark Lanier also writes about the Bible and teaches Biblical classes in person at Champion Forest Baptist Church, via the internet[3] and through print. He is the author of Christianity on Trial, published in May 2014.


After graduating from Coronado High School in Lubbock, Texas, Lanier attended Texas Tech University for two years. Lanier finished his undergraduate degree at David Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. He received a B.A. in Biblical Languages with a minor in Economics in 1981. His awards included the Granny White Bible Award for the highest G.P.A. among those planning to preach.

From Lipscomb, Lanier then attended the Texas Tech University School of Law, completing his J.D. in 1984. Lanier was selected as the Texas Tech University School of Law Distinguished Alumnus for 2005.[4] Lanier also serves on the law school's Foundation Board.[4]

In May 2015, Lanier received an Honorary Degree from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.

Personal life[edit]

Lanier is married to Becky (Smith) and they have five children.[5] Lanier and his wife have contributed to building the Mark and Becky Lanier Professional Development Center at the Texas Tech University School of Law.[6]

Legal career[edit]

Lanier began his legal career working in Houston for Fulbright & Jaworski on June 1, 1984. Lanier worked in the appellate and trial divisions through August 1989.[7] On September 1, 1989, Lanier began working for Ernest Cannon and Associates, a small plaintiffs trial practice firm in Houston, Texas. Lanier stayed there until launching his own firm with Bill Vernon on June 1, 1990.

Lanier's own firm went through several iterations before taking the name "Lanier Law Firm." It expanded from a small two-person firm into one with 65 lawyers in four cities: New York, Houston, Palo Alto and Los Angeles.[8]

Lanier's firm specializes in civil trial work, for cases ranging from personal injuries to corporate disputes and asset recovery. Lanier's noteworthy verdicts have included $480 million in a business fraud case (Rubicon v. Amoco),[9] $118 million in an asbestos case (Aaron v. Carborundum)[10] and $253 million in the first Vioxx verdict in America (Ernst v. Merck).[11] Among his most recent verdicts is a $56.2 million verdict against Caterpillar, Inc. on behalf of a crippled driver of a Caterpillar Tractor Scraper.[12]

In 1998 and 2006, The National Law Journal recognized Mr. Lanier as one of nation's top trial attorneys,[13] and in 2006, The National Law Journal designated him as one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.[14] The journal also named him among the country's 40 top attorneys under the age of 40.[15]

He was named by The American Lawyer magazine as one of the top 45 attorneys in the nation under the age of 45.[16] In a Texas survey of legal peers published by Texas Monthly magazine, Mr. Lanier was selected a "Texas Super Lawyer" in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 (in 2007-2009 he was one of the top vote getters in the state).[17] For many years, Texas Lawyer newspaper named Mr. Lanier as one of the top 5 "Go To" personal injury plaintiff attorneys in Texas. In 2007, it selected Lanier as the "Go To" lawyer in Texas in the area of personal injury work.[18] In addition, Texas Lawyer named him its 2005 "Impact Player of the Year."[19]

In 2010, the The National Law Journal selected Lanier as one of Decade's Most Influential Lawyers (2000–2010). The list included only 40 lawyers out of the 1.1 million in America. Lanier was the only plaintiff's attorney selected.[20] The Texas Lawyer honored Lanier as one of the twenty-five greatest attorneys of the past twenty-five years.[21] The Lanier Law Firm wins the Texas Lawyer 2015 Litigation Departments of the Year. [22]

Lanier's experience in the courtroom has resulted in feature articles in The Wall Street Journal, The American Lawyer, Texas Lawyer, The New York Times, New York Lawyer, The National Law Journal, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, Houston Chronicle, and Bloomberg L.P., among others.[8] He is also a frequent guest on news shows on CNBC, Fox Business News, ABC, and others.

Some of Lanier's trials have been carried on the Court TV website and have been the subject of articles and books emphasizing his communication techniques and legal accomplishments. Cliff Atkinson's book, Beyond Bullet Points describes in Chapter 1 the approach used by Lanier in the Ernst trial,[23] which Fortune magazine described as "frighteningly powerful".[24] Legal write-ups frequently reference Lanier's usage of multi-media in his presentations.[25]

Lanier is also featured in the book Texas Justice: The Legacy of Historical Courthouses for his accomplishments in the Rubicon trial.[26]

In 2011, Lanier was the principal subject of the book, All The Justice Money Can Buy, by ex-NPR reporter Snigdha Prakash. Prakash was embedded in the Lanier trial team for the high profile Vioxx trial of Lanier in Atlantic City, New Jersey.[27]

Lanier is the founder of the Christian Trial Lawyers Association, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to create a network of principled attorneys to minister to others through civic-minded endeavors.[28]

The 2011 film Puncture is roughly based on one of Lanier's cases. In the movie, Lanier is found in three scenes playing himself.

Religious Education[edit]

Lanier teaches regular classes at Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston, Texas on Biblical Literacy that are also posted on the Internet in video, audio, and written formats. Lanier and his family built the Lanier Theological Library, one of the world's largest private religious studies library open for public usage. The library houses nearly 100,000 volumes in areas of Biblical Studies, Judaic Studies, Church History, Greek and Latin Classical Studies, Linguistics, and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, including the collections of a number of now deceased scholars.[29] The library has been featured on HGTV along with a replica 6th century chapel built onsite.[30]


  1. ^ Koppel, Nathan. "Lone Star Rising: Is Mark Lanier America's Next Great Trial Lawyer," The American Lawyer. March 2004.
  2. ^ Moline, Michael. "Profiles in Power: The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America," The National Law Journal. June 19, 2006.
  3. ^ http://www.Biblical-Literacy.com
  4. ^ a b Texas Tech University School of Law
  5. ^ W. Mark Lanier - The Lanier Law Firm
  6. ^ Donald, Mark. "Impact Player of the Year – W. Mark Lanier – God, Family, and Pharmaceuticals," Texas Lawyer. December 19, 2005; see also http://www.law.ttu.edu.
  7. ^ Koppel, Nathan. "Lone Star Rising: Is Mark Lanier America's Next Great Trial Lawyer," The American Lawyer. March 2004.
  8. ^ a b Houston Law Firm, New York Law Firm, Los Angeles Law Firm – The Lanier Law Firm
  9. ^ Pybus, Kenneth R. "Giant Amoco loses $417 million jury verdict to small Rubicon," Houston Business Journal. November 29, 1993.
  10. ^ Olafson, Steve. "21 Steelworkers who contracted asbestos disease win $115 million," Houston Chronicle. February 20, 1998.
  11. ^ Berenson, Alex. "Jury Calls Merck Liable in Death of Man on Vioxx," The New York Times. August 20, 2005; Rendon, Ruth and Richard Stewart. "Vioxx Jury Awards Widow $253 Million," Houston Chronicle. August 20, 2005; McWilliams, Gary. "Jury Finds Merck Liable in Vioxx Death," The Wall Street Journal. August 19, 2005.
  12. ^ "Lopez v. Caterpillar" http://www.pjstar.com/business/x1878080022/Cat-hit-with-56-3-million-verdict-in-Texas
  13. ^ Fortado, Lindsay. "Winning: Successful Strategies from 10 of the Nation's Top Litigators," The National Law Journal. June 5, 2006; "Winning: Successful Strategies from 10 of the Nation's top trial lawyers," The National Law Journal. November 23, 1998.
  14. ^ Moline, Michael. "Profiles in Power: The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America," The National Law Journal. June 19, 2006.
  15. ^ Fisk, Margaret Cronin. "40 Under 40: Rising Stars in the Law," The National Law Journal. November 20, 1995.
  16. ^ Beck, Susan, et al. "45 Under 45: The Rising Stars of the Private Bar," The American Lawyer. January 2003.
  17. ^ "Texas Super Lawyers," Texas Monthly. October 2007,2006,2005,2004, and 2003.
  18. ^ "Go-To Lawyer: W. Mark Lanier – Personal Injury – Plaintiffs," Texas Lawyer. October 8, 2007.
  19. ^ Donald, Mark. "Impact Player of the Year – W. Mark Lanier – God, Family, and Pharmaceuticals," Texas Lawyer. December 19, 2005.
  20. ^ http://www.jdjournal.com/2010/03/29/national-law-journal-names-decades-most-influential-lawyers/
  21. ^ http://www.law.com/jsp/tx/PubArticleTX.jsp?id=1202463010495
  22. ^ http://www.texaslawyer.com/id=1202725647388/Texas-Lawyer-Announces-Its-2015-Litigation-Departments-of-the-Year#ixzz3ZO1W5MWd
  23. ^ Atkinson, Cliff. Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 to Create Presentations that Inform, Motivate and Inspire. (Microsoft Press 2007)
  24. ^ Parloff, Roger. "The Preacher Who's Raising Hell with Merck," Fortune, Aug. 8, 2008.
  25. ^ http://www.law.com/jsp/tx/PubArticleTX.jsp?hubtype=TxCaseAlert&id=1202462812182
  26. ^ Martana. Texas Justice: The Legacy of Historical Courthouses. (Red Bandana Publishing 2004).
  27. ^ Prakash.All The Justice Money Can Buy. (Kaplan Publishing 2011).
  28. ^ Jeffreys, Brenda Sapino. "Texas Christian Trial Lawyers Association Formed," Texas Lawyer. February 23, 2004.
  29. ^ http://www.LanierTheologicalLibrary.org
  30. ^ http://www.hgtv.com/million-dollar-rooms/a-2-story-library-a-backyard-zoo-zen-man-cave-and-a-indoor-nightclub/index.html

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