Thursday, May 26, 2022 May 26, 2022
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Law

How a 35-Year-Old Dallas Attorney Won a $500 Million Bluff

You got to know when to hold 'em.
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Dallas attorney Michelle Simpson Tuegel, photograph by Elizabeth Lavin

As I was clearing away the cheese plate after spending several hours reviewing all the nominations for our Best Lawyers Under 40 list for 2020, I paused to stop several of the panelists before they left the conference room.

“Did anyone really stand out to you this year?” I asked. “Michelle Simpson Tuegel,” said a senior lawyer from a top Dallas firm. There were nods all around. “You know, she was instrumental in getting a $500 million settlement against Michigan State University in that Larry Nassar gymnastics abuse case.”

I did not know.

I also wouldn’t discover until later that the half-billion dollar settlement came down to her bluff about a proposed amendment to a Michigan statute. Or that just last year, she and her gymnast clients, including Plano native Alyssa Baumann, were instrumental in stopping the Texas Legislature from taking away protections for survivors of sexual abuse.

Or that she’s a world-champion water skier.

Hers is a fascinating tale that will make you feel like an underachiever but also grateful for those who fight the good fight, both on the beam and in front of the bench. You can read it here.

 

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