Judge Ward, who retired on Sept. 30 after 12 years of service on the federal bench in the Eastern District of Texas, has joined the firm founded by his son, T. John "Johnny" Ward Jr.
"I'm very happy to have the opportunity to practice with my dad," says Mr. Ward Jr. "He brings a wealth of experience to our firm, and his decision to join us opens up an entirely new practice area in alternative dispute resolution."
Judge Ward earned recognition for establishing the speedy "rocket docket" handling of intellectual property cases in the Eastern District and will focus his mediation practice primarily on IP disputes.
"Mediation is a quicker, more effective way than trial to resolve many disputes," says Judge Ward. "Most copyright, trademark or patent disputes end up being settled, so mediation simply offers an alternative, and less expensive, way to achieve a resolution that's acceptable to all the parties involved."
Judge Ward, who was appointed to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton in 1999, implemented rules in his court in 2001 designed to expedite patent-infringement cases, which typically can take years to adjudicate. After those rules were adopted in all the federal courts in the Eastern District of Texas, the district quickly became the most popular venue in the United States for patent cases.
Having presided over more than 150 jury trials and 3,000 total cases during his time on the bench, Judge Ward brings his vast experience in intellectual property cases to Ward & Smith. The firm already handles contract litigation, trade-secret litigation, and personal injury, as well as intellectual property litigation.
Prior to his appointment to the federal bench, Judge Ward spent 31 years as an active litigator, trying more than 250 cases to jury verdict throughout Texas. After graduating from Texas Tech University with a B.A. in chemistry, Judge Ward earned his law degree from Baylor Law School.