It was tough. Some of my friends were
definitely well-to-do and some of them
were legacy, but at least among my
group of friends, no one held that over
anyone’s head. I felt like there was sort of
this egalitarian ethos where your social
standing wasn’t based on who your parents
were, it was really based on how fun you
were, how cool you were.
I wasn’t recruited to play varsity sports,
but I did play JV basketball my freshman
year, and then on a whim my senior year, I
ran track for a couple of meets. I was very
active in club basketball.
Q: Didn’t you serve as an intern at the
A: I had a friend whose father, he
was a senior exec and ran the NFL’s
management council. The fall after I
graduated, September through December,
I worked at the National Football League
in their Management Council. It was an
incredibly cool experience. They handle
a lot of the labor/employment issues.
They drafted the collective-bargaining
agreement. Whether a player was signed,
waived, et cetera, I would go through their
contract, see what the financial terms were,
enter that into this database, and it would
show the impact that it had on the team’s
salary cap. This was right after I graduated.
I got married a year after college; I took
three years off between college and law
Q: What did you do during those
A: I wanted to get some real-world
experience. I graduated in June 1999, and
this was during the dot-com boom. One of
my good friends started an Internet startup
company. That summer he asked me—until
I started with the NFL—to come out and
help him start the company with some
other guys. We went out to Silicon Valley
and started a soccer e-commerce site, and
I was VP of marketing for that summer.
I did my internship with the NFL in the
fall, and after I finished the internship, I
went to work at the consulting firm of A. T.
Kearney [in New York], where I’d worked
the summer between junior and senior
year of college. After three months, my firm
mentor and my summer coordinator left
for this exciting new startup opportunity
called ICG Commerce, this e-procurement
company. And they told me, Taj, this thing’s
going to IPO in six months; you’ll be able
to retire by the time you’re 25. That was the
commercial landscape at the time.
Since all the guys who had drawn me to
A. T. Kearney were leaving to go do that,
I went with them. I worked there for 2 ½
years, and it was really an extraordinary
experience. I got really early experience
in client management, working with big
companies like United Stationers and J.
Crew as a 23-year-old.
Q: Then it was back to Harvard for
A: My dad always told me growing up
that if he’d gone to college, he probably
would’ve become a lawyer. I knew it also
sort of played to my strengths: writing
and public speaking. Working at the NFL
with a bunch of lawyers reintroduced the
concept that maybe law school would be
a possibility. After working for three years
in New York and [also] looking at a lot of
my historical heroes—John Adams, who
was a great abolitionist; Abraham Lincoln;
Thurgood Marshall; Charles Hamilton
Houston—a lot of my heroes were lawyers.
That played a part in it, too.
[So] my wife and I decided to go back
to Cambridge. She went to the Harvard
Business School; I went to Harvard
Law School, and then my last year in
law school, we had our first daughter.
We quickly realized that we needed
Q: And that’s when you moved to Dallas?
A: In 2006. I [had been] a summer associate
at Fish & Richardson after my first year
in law school, which was the summer
of 2004. Tom Melsheimer, who’s the
managing principal here in the Dallas office,
recommended very strongly that I consider
a clerkship, and his reasoning was that one
year clerking was equivalent to three to four
years of practice. When you have someone
of Tom Melsheimer’s skill and abilities
making a recommendation, it usually
behooves you to follow it. I clerked for
Judge Mark Wolf, who was the chief judge
of the [U.S. District Court for the] District of
Massachusetts, after I graduated in 2005.
Q: And ever since then, you’ve worked
Q: Were you always interested in your
A: I was open-minded, but I knew business
law was probably where I would be headed.
As I got experience in the consulting world
and the NFL, I think I was driven more
toward business. It was just sort of the
language that I spoke and where a lot of my
classmates and peers had gone.
Q: Is there a case that stands out in your
A: One of my very first cases. Deep Ellum
Pictures was our client, and there were
some individual clients. They were local
filmmakers who made this documentary
called TV Junkie. It was an incredible
documentary that chronicled the life and
addiction of this nationally prominent TV
journalist named Rick Kirkham, who was
on Inside Edition.
Rick Kirkham chronicled over 3,000 hours
of video footage of himself from the time he
was a teenager, aspiring to be this national
television correspondent, to actually making
it, showing him experimenting with drugs
and then sort of devolving into a really
hard addiction. Rick Kirkham’s ex-wife sued
the production company, the producers,
for breach of contract and for invasion of
privacy on the allegations that she wasn’t
paid money that was owed to her and they
didn’t receive the proper permission to
depict their children.
We took it to trial, where I sat second chair,
and we won a take-nothing verdict. The jury
found for us on every single count. It was
an incredible victory for some really good
filmmakers who had done nothing wrong.
As a former athlete, I always love
competition. We won the state track
championship when I was a sophomore
in high school, and when you’ve put that
name "Pottstown" on your chest and you
represent others—and you win for your
hometown or you win for a client—it makes
it that much more gratifying. That was my
first taste of victory on behalf of a client as
a lawyer. I think the practice of law, when
it’s done at its highest level, is a form of