W. Mark Lanier

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Lanier speaking

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

He lives in Houston, Texas, and maintains offices in New York, Houston, and Los Angeles. Lanier also writes about the Bible and teaches Biblical classes at Champion Forest Baptist Church, online and in print. He is the author of Christianity on Trial (2014) and Psalms for Living (2016).


After graduating from Coronado High School in Lubbock, Texas, Lanier attended Texas Tech University and David Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1984, Lanier attended the Texas Tech University School of Law, where he completed his J.D. Lanier was selected as Texas Tech's distinguished alumnus for 2005, and also serves on the board of the law school's foundation.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Lanier is married to Becky (Smith) and they have five children.[4] Lanier and his wife have contributed to building the Mark and Becky Lanier Professional Development Center at the Texas Tech University School of Law.[5] He is the brother-in-law of former state representative and former congressional candidate, Kevin Roberts. Lanier funded an opposing super PAC which ran ads against Dan Crenshaw's candidacy for the nomination leading up to the Republican run-off election between Roberts and Crenshaw in the 2018 race to replace retiring Congressman Ted Poe.[6]

Lanier has organized several events on behalf of Guatemala SANA, an organization which provides health and education services in Santa Maria de Jesus, a town near Antigua Guatemala. Performers featured at these events have included Faith Hill, Miley Cyrus, Bon Jovi, and others.[7]

Legal career[edit]

Lanier began his legal career working in Houston for Fulbright & Jaworski (now Norton Rose Fulbright) in 1984, working in the appellate and trial divisions.[1] In 1990, Lanier founded The Lanier Law Firm, which specializes in civil trial work for cases ranging from personal injuries to corporate disputes and asset recovery.[4]

Verdicts have included $480 million in a business fraud case (Rubicon v. Amoco),[8] $118 million in an asbestos case (Aaron v. Carborundum),[9] and $253 million in the first Vioxx verdict in America (Ernst v. Merck).[10]

Some of Lanier's trials have been carried on the Court-TV website and have been the subject of various articles and books. Lanier was the principle subject of All the Justice Money Can Buy, by ex-NPR reporter Snigdha Prakash. Prakash was embedded in the Lanier trial team for the Vioxx lawsuit against Merck & Co.[11] Beyond Bullet Points by Cliff Atkinson describes the approach used by Lanier in the Ernst trial.[12] Texas Justice: The Legacy of Historical Courthouses details Lanier's involvement in the Rubicon trial.[13]

Lanier appears as himself as a successful trial attorney in the 2011 film Puncture.

In 2004 Lanier founded the Christian Trial Lawyers Association.[14] In 2017, Lanier was elected president of The National Trial Lawyers for the following year.[15]

Professional recognition[edit]

Lanier has been recognized several times for his work in the legal profession. In a Texas survey of legal peers published by Texas Monthly magazine, Lanier was selected as a "Texas Super Lawyer" from 2003 to 2018, and a "Top 10 Texas Super Lawyer" from 2007 to 2018.[16]

In 2015, Lanier was named the 2015 Trial Lawyer of the Year by The National Trial Lawyers and The Trial Lawyer magazine. U.S. News & World Report's Best Lawyers recognized Lanier by naming him to their Best Lawyers list from 2006 to 2018.[17] The Texas Lawyer called Lanier one of the twenty-five greatest attorneys of the past twenty-five years.[18] Lanier was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Association for Justice (AAJ) at the organization's annual convention.[19]

In 2017, Lanier was inducted into The Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame.[20] In 2018, Lawdragon 500 recognized him as one of the Leading Lawyers in America.[21] Also in 2018, Lanier appeared on the Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers list for business trial lawyers, receiving recognition as one of their "Leaders in Their Field" based on his work in product liability and mass tort cases.[22]

Vioxx lawsuit[edit]

In 2005, Lanier represented Carol Ernst in a lawsuit against Merck & Co., a pharmaceutical company and manufacturer of Vioxx, an anti-inflammatory drug used to treat osteoarthritis and acute pain conditions. Ernst was married to Robert Ernst, a former marathon runner who passed away after taking the medication. Merck would eventually be sued by thousands of consumers claiming to have suffered heart attacks and strokes because of the drug. Lanier argued that Merck continued to market the drug, despite knowing about its negative side effects.

The case was eventually decided in Ernst's favor, with Lanier securing a $253 million verdict. Later, Lanier obtained consumer fraud findings against Merck, who was found to have misled doctors and patients by concealing information about Vioxx and its risks.[23][24]

Artificial hip litigation[edit]

Lanier has taken on several lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Synthes, which Johnson & Johnson acquired in 1998.[25] The lawsuits allege that DePuy marketed a faulty hip replacement system, despite knowledge that the devices were defective, and that the company failed to warn doctors and patients about the risks involved. This has led to several replacements being removed after failing prematurely.[26]

In March 2016, five North Texas residents being represented by Lanier were awarded $497.6 million for alleged complications arising from the hip implants.[27] On November 29, 2016, Lanier won a lawsuit in which Johnson & Johnson and DePuy were ordered to pay more than $1 billion to six plaintiffs affected by the implants.[28] On Thursday, November 16, Lanier won another suit. Here, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $247 million to six New York residents whose hips were removed.[29]

Industry analysts believe these lawsuits, of which more than 11,000 have been filed, will ultimately cost Johnson & Johnson billions of dollars.[30]

Johnson & Johnson talc litigation[edit]

In 2018, Lanier led the trial team representing 22 women who had filed suit against Johnson & Johnson. The lawsuit alleged that the company's talcum powder products contained asbestos and that, after several years of use, had caused each of the women's ovarian cancer. The trial lasted six weeks and resulted in $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages being awarded to the plaintiffs.[31]

Religious education[edit]

Lanier teaches regular classes on biblical literacy at Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. Lanier and his family built the Lanier Theological Library, one of the world's largest private religious studies libraries 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.[32] The library has been featured on HGTV along with a replica 6th century chapel built onsite.[33]

Lanier has published two books focused on integrating Christian faith into daily life, Christianity on Trial: A Lawyer Examines the Christian Faith (2014)[34] and Psalms For Living (2016).[35] In 2018, Psalms For Living won the Illumination Book Award in the Devotional category.[36]


  1. ^ a b 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. ^ University, State of Texas and Texas Tech. "- School of Law - TTU". www.law.ttu.edu.
  4. ^ a b "W Mark Lanier – Personal Injury Attorney – The Lanier Law Firm". www.lanierlawfirm.com.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "Attack ads in Houston race being funded by brother-in-law's business". Houston Chronicle. 2018-05-17. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  7. ^ "Bon Jovi Rocks the Lanier Christmas Party". Houston Chronicle. 2009-12-27. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  8. ^ Pybus, Kenneth R. "Giant Amoco loses $417 million jury verdict to small Rubicon," Houston Business Journal. November 29, 1993.
  9. ^ Olafson, Steve. "21 Steelworkers who contracted asbestos disease win $115 million," Houston Chronicle. February 20, 1998.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Prakash. All The Justice Money Can Buy. (Kaplan Publishing 2011).
  12. ^ Atkinson, Cliff. Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 to Create Presentations that Inform, Motivate and Inspire. (Microsoft Press 2007)
  13. ^ Martana. Texas Justice: The Legacy of Historical Courthouses. (Red Bandana Publishing 2004).
  14. ^ Jeffreys, Brenda Sapino. "Texas Christian Trial Lawyers Association Formed" Texas Lawyer. February 23, 2004.
  15. ^ "Civil Plaintiff – Officers & Executive Committee – Top 100". The National Trial Lawyers. 2015-02-20. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  16. ^ "Texas Super Lawyers," Texas Monthly. October 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, and 2003.
  17. ^ "W. Mark Lanier - Houston, TX - Lawyer | Best Lawyers". www.bestlawyers.com. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  18. ^ "The 25 Greatest: Mark Lanier".
  19. ^ "Lifetime Achievement Award". The American Association For Justice. 2014-02-26. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  20. ^ "Mark Lanier | Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame". www.triallawyerhalloffame.org. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  21. ^ "The 2018 Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers - Lawdragon". Lawdragon. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  22. ^ "Chambers USA Awards 2018 - Chambers and Partners". www.chambersandpartners.com. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  23. ^ Berenson, Alex. "Vioxx Verdict Raises Profile of Texas Lawyer". Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  24. ^ Herper, Matthew. "Merck Loses First Vioxx Trial". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  25. ^ "Johnson & Johnson acquires DePuy for $3.5B - Jul. 21, 1998". money.cnn.com. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  26. ^ Meier, Barry (2013-11-19). "Johnson & Johnson in Deal to Settle Hip Implant Lawsuits". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  27. ^ Firm, The Lanier Law. "Dallas Jury Awards Nearly $500 Million Against J&J Unit in Bellwether Hip Implant Trial". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  28. ^ "Johnson & Johnson hit with over $1 billion verdict on hip implants". Reuters. 2016-12-02. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  29. ^ "Dallas jury orders Johnson & Johnson to pay $247 million to hip implant patients". Dallas News. 2017-11-16. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  30. ^ Meier, Barry (2013-03-08). "Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay $8.3 Million in Hip Implant Case". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  31. ^ "Johnson & Johnson Told to Pay $4.7 Billion in Baby Powder Lawsuit". The New York Times. 2018-07-12. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  32. ^ "Lanier Theological Library - A Houston Theological Resource". www.laniertheologicallibrary.org.
  33. ^ http://www.hgtv.com/million-dollar-rooms/a-2-story-library-a-backyard-zoo-zen-man-cave-and-a-indoor-nightclub/index.html
  34. ^ Lanier, W. Mark (23 June 2014). Christianity on Trial: A Lawyer Examines the Christian Faith. IVP Books. ASIN 0830836675.CS1 maint: ASIN uses ISBN (link)
  35. ^ Lanier, Mark (2016-12-02). Psalms for Living: Daily Prayers, Wisdom, and Guidance. Place of publication not identified: Baylor University Press. ISBN 9781481306836.
  36. ^ "2018 Illumination Awards Results". Independent Publisher - feature. Retrieved 2018-01-25.

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