Bash With Bushes Marks a Very Good Year for McKool Smith

George W. Bush and Mike McKool
George W. Bush and Mike McKool

Dallas’s Belo Mansion may have been a funeral home for 50 years, even hosting the funeral of Clyde Barrow back in the ’30s. But Friday night the old joint was anything but a dead zone, as roughly 1,000 people turned up for a raucous holiday shindig there marking the 20th anniversary of McKool Smith, an IP/commercial litigation law firm.

Think casino games. Exotically clad drink servers (one, pictured after the “jump,” wore a steel “skirt” holding dozens of champagne flutes). Plus multiple live bands — including a group (called Vocal Trash) at the valet entrance that sang and banged out tunes like Footloose using garbage-can lids and drums made out of empty water-cooler bottles.

The Dallas-based firm’s Mike McKool blew out all the stops for this year’s annual holiday party, no doubt. Example: Lawyers from the firm’s other six U.S. offices, including from its newest outpost in L.A., were flown in and put up at a local hotel (presumably not a Super 8). McKool also went above and beyond on the season’s giving side, presenting not one but two $100,000 checks to nonprofit groups during the evening.

Dallas’s Vogel Alcove snagged one of the checks. The other went to Barbara Pierce Bush’s Global Health Corps. The daughter of George W. and Laura Bush was there to accept the dough in person, while her parents sat watching at a table nearby.

The 2011 economy may be continuing to struggle in many ways. If the McKool Smith bash was any indication, though, it’s been a stupendous year for the lawyers. (Photos by Jeanne Prejean)

Champagne lady
Champagne lady


  • Declan MacManus

    This is a bit staggering. One should never really question the perception of attorneys when this kind of hubris is exhibited. I thunderously applaud the success, certainly in light of ongoing global austerity measures being seized on both the macro and micro levels. But I simply don’t want it shoved in our faces. Not now, not for a while. Have fun, smash some plates, write (big)checks, reward those whose hard work is growing the firm, but use caution when hiring a server with champagne flutes on her dress and a band for the valet station. Chances are strong that many of your clients aren’t having such decadent blowouts.

    …then again maybe I’m wrong. [soapbox abandoned]

  • Arec Barrwin

    Yes, law firms that host over the top parties often regret them. I remember the Dreier law firm had William Shatner and Diana Ross at one of its Christmas parties. A couple of years later, the firm was kaput.

  • Brent D.

    Nothing says generosity like a press release.

  • The pic of the champagne lady really captures the reason the season is so pleasing. I believe that is a remake of the actual dress Mary wore during the virgin birth. And what can put one in the spirit of His birthday more than Footloose?

  • CollinBabs

    Oh ick. I didn’t need to see this. Why did I click through…What sleazy self-promotion and excess.

  • D. Shapiro

    In a bad economy it becomes even more important for IP rights holders to defend those rights. The rights holders need to protect their intellectual property from infringement, so their attorneys make money when they defend those rights. It’s hard work. Let them celebrate. And realize it’s also an advertisement to potential clients – if you want a great firm and you can afford it. Try not to lump all attorneys into one group. There are a heck of lot more out there grinding out a living and giving away their time and expertise for free. But someone has to be the best.

  • I say way to go McKool! Just think how many folks were employed to stage the party!

  • as a caterer, i would have loved to have been working for this firm. the waiters, chefs and bartenders made money they can take home to their families. if the firm hadn’t exhibited their “hubris”, those people wouldn’t have been working that night. careful what you wish for.

  • DGirl

    I’ve got no problemo with them celebrating – they work hard, they deserve it. Like jonfromjts said, it pays people who need the money. What is kind of spooky, is that Mike McKool looks an awful lot like Ray Liotta and the photo with him and W looks very Goodfellas. Right?

  • mpgym

    Why wasn’t I invited???

  • Bobotronic