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Lou Bright joined our firm in 2010 after more than 15 years as the General Counsel of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. This unmatched experience brings our firm unique insight into the application and interpretation of Texas liquor law.
Lou began his legal career in 1981 in Waco, Texas where his practice focused on criminal defense and general civil litigation. In 1985, he joined the Texas Attorney General’s office where he spent seven years litigating constitutional, civil rights and employment law matters, attaining the position of Deputy Chief for Civil Rights in the General Litigation Division.
In 1994, Lou became the General Counsel and ethics advisor for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and served in that capacity until his retirement from public service in January, 2010. As General Counsel, Lou was responsible for the provision of all legal and ethical counsel to the Commission and its employees, both personally and through oversight of the Commission’s staff of lawyers. Among other things, Lou’s duties involved drafting statutes and regulations; managing both rulemaking and contested case practice at the agency; and counseling commission staff, legislators and their staff, industry members and representatives of local governments and members of their communities across the state about the interpretation of, application of, and policy underlying alcoholic beverage law and regulation.
Lou also served as General Counsel for Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association from 2010 – 2013.
Lou graduated magna cum laude from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio Texas in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and from Baylor University School of Law in 1981. From 1988 until 1995 Lou was certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in both the Civil Trial and Appellate Law specialties. Lou is admitted to practice before the federal courts for the Northern, Western and Southern districts and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Lou served on the Executive Committee of the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators from 2003 until 2008, holding the office of President of that organization during the 2006–2007 term. Lou has served on advisory committees for the National Alcoholic Beverage Control Association, the Joint Committee of the States, and the National Restaurant Association, as well as for the Governor’s Executive Development Program at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the Administrative and Public Law section of the State Bar of Texas.
Lou is a frequent speaker in both state and national forums, speaking to alcoholic beverage industry members, regulators and lawyers on topics related to alcoholic beverage law and policy, regulatory and administrative law and practice and the joys, frustrations and challenges of ethical public service. Lou has also provided training to law enforcement officers at the Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the Department of Public Safety, the University of Texas System Police and police departments around the state on the subjects of civil rights litigation, alcoholic beverage law and enforcement techniques, the Fourth Amendment and the principles of ethical law enforcement.