W. Mark Lanier

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William Mark Lanier (born October 20, 1960 in Dallas, Texas[1]) is an American trial lawyer.[2] In October 2012, Mr. Lanier was awarded the coveted Clarence Darrow Award.[3][better source needed] In 2015, Mark Lanier was named the 2015 Trial Lawyer of the Year by The National Trial Lawyers and The Trial Lawyer magazine during the Trial Lawyers Summit in Miami.

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[4] 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.[5] Lanier also serves on the law school's Foundation Board.[5]

In 2013, Mark Lanier was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Forensic Association in 2013 recognizing his active support in high school debate and forensics, as well as his participation in debate at the high school and collegiate level.

In May 2015, Lanier received an Honorary Degree from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. In June 2015, Mark also received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from St. John’s University School of Law in New York, New York.[6] Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL honored Mark Lanier with his third honorary doctorate in December of 2015.

In February 2016, Mark was honored by Texas Tech University with the 2016 Distinguished Alumni of Texas Tech University. The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed to alumni by the TTAA and the university. The award recognizes and honors alumni who have made significant contributions to further the excellence of Texas Tech through outstanding accomplishments, careers and/or through extraordinary measures of service. [7]

Mark is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law.

Personal life[edit]

Lanier is married to Becky (Smith) and they have five children. His daughter is Sarah Michelle Lanier. [8] Lanier and his wife have contributed to building the Mark and Becky Lanier Professional Development Center at the Texas Tech University School of Law.[9]

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.[1] 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.[10]

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),[11] $118 million in an asbestos case (Aaron v. Carborundum)[12] and $253 million in the first Vioxx verdict in America (Ernst v. Merck).[13] 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.[14]

In 1998 and 2006, The National Law Journal recognized Mr. Lanier as one of nation's top trial attorneys,[15] and in 2006, The National Law Journal designated him as one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.[2] The journal also named him among the country's 40 top attorneys under the age of 40.[16]

He was named by The American Lawyer magazine as one of the top 45 attorneys in the nation under the age of 45.[17] 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, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 (in 2007-2009 he was one of the top vote getters in the state).[18] For many years, Texas Lawyer newspaper named 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.[19] In addition, Texas Lawyer named him its 2005 "Impact Player of the Year."[20]

In 2010, 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.[21] The Texas Lawyer honored Lanier as one of the twenty-five greatest attorneys of the past twenty-five years.[22] During this year, Lanier was also named to the Top 100 and Top 10 lists for Texas Super Lawyer.[23]

In 2011, Lanier was named to The Trial Lawyer Magazine’s America’s 100 Most Influential Trial Lawyers of 2011.[23] During this year, he was also named to the Top 100 lists for Texas Super Lawyer and Houston Super Lawyer.[23]

In 2012, Mark Lanier was awarded the 2012 Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business List. He also received special recognition as one of their “Leaders in Their Field” based on his work in product liability and mass tort cases.[24] In October 2012, Mr. Lanier was awarded the coveted Clarence Darrow Award.[3][better source needed] Mark Lanier was also named by the Texas Lawyer newspaper as one of the Top 5 “Go To” Personal Injury Plaintiff Attorneys in Texas. Lanier received further recognition in the Verdict Search/Texas Lawyer Top 50 Verdicts of 2012. During this year, Mark was also named to the Top 10 and Top 100 lists for Texas Super Lawyer and the Top 100 list Houston Super Lawyer.[23]

In 2013, Texas Best Lawyers magazine listed Lanier on their Texas Best Lawyers list for nine consecutive years including the 2013 list. U.S. News and World Report’s Best Lawyers has named Mark Lanier to its Best Lawyers in America list for nine consecutive years and most recently as the 2013 Top Class Action Attorney in America.

In 2014, a Louisiana jury has awarded $9 billion to a New York man and his wife following a trial over the man’s claims that his bladder cancer was caused by the popular prescription diabetes drug Actos. Attorney W. Mark Lanier of The Lanier Law Firm, and others represented the plaintiffs in the two-month trial before the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. Mark Lanier was also named to the Top 100 and Top 10 lists for Texas Super Lawyer.

In 2015, Mark Lanier was named the 2015 Trial Lawyer of the Year by The National Trial Lawyers and The Trial Lawyer magazine during the Trial Lawyers Summit in Miami. The Lanier Law Firm won the Texas Lawyer 2015 Litigation Departments of the Year.[25] Acclaimed trial lawyer Mark Lanier of The Lanier Law Firm is being honored by the Texas Bar Foundation with the 2015 Ronald D. Sechrest Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award. U.S. News and World Report’s Best Lawyers recognize Lanier by naming him to their Best Lawyers list for 2015. Mark Lanier was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Association for Justice (AAJ) at the organization’s annual convention.[26] Lanier was also awarded the Ronald D. Secrest Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award in 2015.[27] The National Law Journal named Mark a Litigation Trailblazer for his use of technology in court cases. [28]

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.[10] 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,[29] which Fortune magazine described as "frighteningly powerful".[30] Legal write-ups frequently reference Lanier's usage of multi-media in his presentations.[31]

Lanier is also featured in the book Texas Justice: The Legacy of Historical Courthouses for his accomplishments in the Rubicon trial.[32]

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.[33]

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.[34]

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.[35] The library has been featured on HGTV along with a replica 6th century chapel built onsite.[36]

Mark Lanier also authored the book, Christianity on Trial: A Lawyer Examines the Christian Faith.[37]


  1. ^ a b Koppel, Nathan. "Lone Star Rising: Is Mark Lanier America's Next Great Trial Lawyer," The American Lawyer. March 2004.
  2. ^ a b Moline, Michael. "Profiles in Power: The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America," The National Law Journal. June 19, 2006.
  3. ^ a b Clarence Darrow
  4. ^ http://www.Biblical-Literacy.com
  5. ^ a b Texas Tech University School of Law
  6. ^ http://www.stjohns.edu/about/news/2015-05-04/acclaimed-trial-lawyer-w-mark-lanier-speak-st-john-s-university-school-law-s-2015-commencement
  7. ^ http://today.ttu.edu/posts/2016/02/ttaa-to-honor-three-distinguished-alumni
  8. ^ W. Mark Lanier - The Lanier Law Firm
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ a b Houston Law Firm, New York Law Firm, Los Angeles Law Firm – The Lanier Law Firm
  11. ^ Pybus, Kenneth R. "Giant Amoco loses $417 million jury verdict to small Rubicon," Houston Business Journal. November 29, 1993.
  12. ^ Olafson, Steve. "21 Steelworkers who contracted asbestos disease win $115 million," Houston Chronicle. February 20, 1998.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ "Lopez v. Caterpillar" http://www.pjstar.com/business/x1878080022/Cat-hit-with-56-3-million-verdict-in-Texas
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Fisk, Margaret Cronin. "40 Under 40: Rising Stars in the Law," The National Law Journal. November 20, 1995.
  17. ^ Beck, Susan, et al. "45 Under 45: The Rising Stars of the Private Bar," The American Lawyer. January 2003.
  18. ^ "Texas Super Lawyers," Texas Monthly. October 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007,2006,2005,2004, and 2003.
  19. ^ "Go-To Lawyer: W. Mark Lanier – Personal Injury – Plaintiffs," Texas Lawyer. October 8, 2007.
  20. ^ Donald, Mark. "Impact Player of the Year – W. Mark Lanier – God, Family, and Pharmaceuticals," Texas Lawyer. December 19, 2005.
  21. ^ http://www.jdjournal.com/2010/03/29/national-law-journal-names-decades-most-influential-lawyers/
  22. ^ http://www.law.com/jsp/tx/PubArticleTX.jsp?id=1202463010495
  23. ^ a b c d http://www.superlawyers.com/texas/lawyer/Mark-Lanier/3c9351bd-734c-46c5-8935-3cee7a8f9be4.html
  24. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/
  25. ^ http://www.texaslawyer.com/id=1202725647388/Texas-Lawyer-Announces-Its-2015-Litigation-Departments-of-the-Year#ixzz3ZO1W5MWd
  26. ^ https://www.justice.org/what-we-do/enhance-practice-law/professional-recognition-awards-scholarship/awards/association-13
  27. ^ http://txbf.org/grants/ronald-d-secrest-outstanding-trial-lawyer-award/
  28. ^ http://pdfserver.amlaw.com/nlj/flipbook/Litigation_TP2015/Litigation_TP2015.html#p=24
  29. ^ Atkinson, Cliff. Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 to Create Presentations that Inform, Motivate and Inspire. (Microsoft Press 2007)
  30. ^ Parloff, Roger. "The Preacher Who's Raising Hell with Merck," Fortune, Aug. 8, 2008.
  31. ^ http://www.law.com/jsp/tx/PubArticleTX.jsp?hubtype=TxCaseAlert&id=1202462812182
  32. ^ Martana. Texas Justice: The Legacy of Historical Courthouses. (Red Bandana Publishing 2004).
  33. ^ Prakash.All The Justice Money Can Buy. (Kaplan Publishing 2011).
  34. ^ Jeffreys, Brenda Sapino. "Texas Christian Trial Lawyers Association Formed," Texas Lawyer. February 23, 2004.
  35. ^ http://www.LanierTheologicalLibrary.org
  36. ^ http://www.hgtv.com/million-dollar-rooms/a-2-story-library-a-backyard-zoo-zen-man-cave-and-a-indoor-nightclub/index.html
  37. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Christianity-Trial-Lawyer-Examines-Christian/dp/0830836675

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