The Talent

November 29, 2010 11:42 AM

Former Weil Partner, Texas Solicitor General Killed in Plane Crash

Posted by Brian Baxter

Gregory Coleman, the former head of the national appellate practice at Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Texas's first state solicitor general, was killed in a plane crash just before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Texas Lawyer, a sibling publication, reports that Coleman died when a private plane went down near Destin, Fla., on the night of November 23. A spokeswoman for the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office told Texas Lawyer that the body of the plane's pilot was recovered and identified as Coleman.

The plane crashed in Choctawhatchee Bay, landing in about five feet of water about 200 yards from Destin Airport, according to Texas Lawyer. Two passengers killed in the crash were identified as Coleman's mother-in-law, Charlene Black Miller of College Station, Texas, and James Patrick Black, according to Texas Lawyer.

Coleman was a name partner at Texas litigation boutique YetterColeman. He began his legal career as an associate at Weil in 1993 after clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, according to a profile of Coleman when he was named one of The American Lawyer's Fab 50 Young Litigators in 2007.

Weil put the young lawyer in charge of its appellate work and even reserved a spot for Coleman when he left the firm to become the first solicitor general of Texas in 1999. He returned to Weil as a partner in 2001. (Then Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, now a U.S. senator, created the solicitor general position, Texas Lawyer reports.)

Coleman left Weil's Austin office in March 2007 to become a name partner at 28-lawyer Yetter, Warden & Coleman. He launched the Houston-based firm's Austin office later that year. (Weil subsequently shuttered its operations in the Lone Star State's capital two years later.)

Coleman, who has argued numerous cases before the Supreme Court, helped his new firm get an honorable mention from The American Lawyer in its 2009 Litigation Boutique of the Year awards.

YetterColeman announced the passing of its cofounder with a "very heavy heart" in a statement posted on the firm's Web site.

"In all that he did, Greg exemplified the highest values of our profession--an abiding sense of decency and fair play, a strong belief in public service, and a tireless dedication to his clients and professional colleagues," the firm said.

Coleman was 47.

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