Attorneys

William J. Brotherton
Practices in the areas of civil litigation, business and corporate matters, energy, transportation, insurance, environmental issues, land use, real estate, estate planning, and probate. He was admitted to the Texas State Bar in 1994 after graduating the same year from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (Now Texas A&M). He is also licensed in the State of North Dakota. He is a member of the Insurance Section of the Texas State Bar, in addition to the Native American Law Section. When William J. Brotherton obtained his law degree in 1994 at the age of 44 after five years of night classes, he was the regional manager for BCM Engineers, Inc., a national environmental engineering firm. Prior to becoming an attorney, William worked at developing complex treatment plans for national Superfund sites and RCRA facilities as an environmental scientist. He received his MS in Environmental Science from the University of Texas at Dallas, and his undergraduate degree from the University of North Dakota. After obtaining his law degree, he then went on to teach environmental law as an adjunct professor for 12 years at Texas Christian University, and lectured in environmental and land-use law at the Center for Environmental Research and Training at the University of Texas at Arlington. He has also lectured at Lamar University, the University of North Texas, and the University of Texas at Dallas. William has served as a court-appointed special commissioner to determine the value of condemned property since 2006. Knowledgeable in that area as a result of his experience serving on the Planning & Zoning Commission for Flower Mound, Texas for over 6 years in addition to his service as a director of the Upper Trinity Regional Water District. Besides being licensed in the States of Texas and North Dakota, William is licensed in the United States District Courts for the Northern District of Texas and the Eastern District of Texas. He is also licensed in the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

William thoroughly enjoys the game of golf and all aspects of the sport, and works every year on the 14th hole at Augusta National during the Masters Tournament, One of the benefits he receives from Augusta National is a round of golf every year at Augusta in late May.

William is a proud member of the of the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi in Swanton, Vermont, through his grandmother Nellie Bourgeois Lamphere, who was born in Québec. The tribal language is Algonquin, and William travels frequently to Vermont to work with tribal members in an effort to improve the economic circumstances of the Abenaki. Most recently, he met with tribal leaders of the St. Regis Mohawks in New York State to collaborate on the possibility of gaming enterprises in Vermont. In October of 2016, William was elected to a four-year term on Tribal Council. He is currently representing the tribe as a councilmember in regards to the Vermont Public Service Board review of the sale and decommissioning of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Active in Native American matters, he worked to resolve the Dakota Access protest, and traveled throughout the Standing Rock reservation to meet with tribal leadership, organizations, and members. He is licensed in North Dakota as well as Texas, and in the summer of 2016, he became an adopted member of the Spirit Lake Sioux Nation in North Dakota, and was given the Sioux name of Tasunka Masa, which translates as Iron Horse. He is a proud graduate of the University of North Dakota and a Fighting Sioux forever.

William is proud of his North Dakota roots. Although he was born in South Carolina, and raised in Atlanta by a mother who grew up in Vermont and a father that grew up in Augusta, Georgia, he graduated from the University of North Dakota and became a part of the Fighting Sioux family. The name was formally given to the University of North Dakota by both the Standing Rock and Spirit Lake Sioux tribes in a Chanupa (sacred pipe) ceremony performed on the campus in 1969, and had been in use at UND since 1932. When the NCAA threatened UND with sanctions because of the “hostile and abusive” nature of the name, William was hired by Sioux tribal members and a state representative to lead the fight to stop UND from changing the name. Unfortunately, political correctness for now has prevailed and UND is now known as the “Fighting Hawks”.

There is also another reason for William’s fondness for North Dakota. William worked as a brakeman and conductor for the Burlington Northern Railroad in North Dakota, and also worked as a “Boomer” railroader working freight trains all across the Midwest, including Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska and Minnesota. As a Boomer, he lived out of his 1976 Chevrolet van, parking it at various terminals in the Burlington Northern system. He still has that van today, now with over 1 million miles on the odometer, and it has been feted by General Motors and even featured in the Wall Street Journal.

After several years as a brakeman/conductor, William was promoted to trainmaster and transferred to the Colorado & Southern Railway in Denver. There, while conducting investigations as part of his responsibilities, William developed a taste for the law which ultimately led to his law degree. Once he started practicing law in Texas, he began telling railroad stories in the courtroom which led to the publication of his book Burlington Northern Adventures: Railroading in the Days of the Caboose published in 2004 by South Platte Press, it continues to sell all over the world.

Shawn M. Brotherton
Practices in the areas of civil litigation, real estate, title issues and easements. She is also head of the appellate law section of the firm. She frequently serves as a court-appointed guardian ad litem. She is a graduate of Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (now Texas A&M) and Texas Tech University, and prior to obtaining her law degree, was a land title escrow officer where she has prepared or handled over 300 sets of closing documents, including real estate purchase contracts and much more. She managed the Brotherton Law Firm fee title office for over seven years, and continues to serve in that capacity as the firm administrator.

Ms. Brotherton has a special knack for drafting dispositive motions that win. She does this by researching and knowing the law, understanding the evidence in each case, linking it with the right case law, and then writing her motion in clear concise language that a judge can understand and follow. Ms. Brotherton recently filed a dispositive motion in a very complicated easement case. The firm represents the defendants, who have been using a private road across the plaintiffs’ land for over five years. The same road had been in use for many decades prior to that. The plaintiffs filed suit over three years ago and much discovery has ensued. Ms. Brotherton marshaled the evidence, including antique maps that showed the driveway as part of an old farmstead, and pertinent deposition testimony, and drafted a motion for summary judgment on the counterclaim of easement by estoppel. She also drafted objections and a response to the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment on all claims. In March of 2012, the court agreed with Ms. Brotherton and granted the motion for summary judgment on the easement by estoppel claim. The court further denied in full the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment.

Shawn is also a proud member of the Sokokie, St. Francis band of the Abenaki Nation in Swanton, Vermont, through her great grandmother Nellie Bourgeois Lamphere, who was born in Québec. Shawn’s interests include Border Collie rescue and doting on her niece Annabel and nephew Maxim

Serena Mergiani
She is a trial attorney who joined the Firm in 2019. She practices in the areas of insurance defense, including personal injury, premises liability and coverage issues, and also business law and family law. She received her BA in International Studies from Southern Methodist University in 2010 and her JD from the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in 2015.

She was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in November 2015 and she is also a member of the Dallas Bar Association, the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers and the Texas Association of Defense Counsel. She is fluent in French and Romanian.

Steven J. Manderfeld
Steven J. Manderfeld is a 2005 graduate of Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, (now Texas A&M University School of Law), having also received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of North Texas. Mr. Manderfeld joined the State Bar of Texas in 2007 and the United States District Courts for the Northern and Eastern districts of Texas in 2016. Mr. Manderfeld has been with the firm since 2013 and has successfully litigated, in both state and federal courts. Mr. Manderfeld practices in the areas of city government, civil rights, zoning, real property, oil and gas, and private finance. Having entered the legal profession at later age, Mr. Manderfeld combines practical business experience with a common-sense approach to legal matters.

During his down time, Mr. Manderfeld enjoys golfing and fishing and spending time with his two young daughters.

Ana M. Olarte
Ana practices in the areas of civil litigation and energy law. She is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center, where she was a member of the Barristers Council Appellate Advocacy Division and a student attorney at the Georgetown Appellate Litigation Clinic. Before obtaining her law degree, Ana received a bachelor’s degree in Translation and Interpreting from Universidad Alfonso X el Sabio and a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Universidad San Pablo-CEU (Madrid, Spain), graduating first and third in her class, respectively.

Prior to joining the Brotherton Law Firm, Ana practiced in the area of immigration law at the Law Offices of Jaime Barron in Dallas, Texas. Before relocating to Texas, she served as a law clerk at Passman & Kaplan, P.C., in Washington D.C., where she drafted numerous pleadings in employment cases before administrative judges, as well as requests for reconsideration of Office of Personnel Management’s determinations in retirement matters and Merit Systems Protection Board and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission appeals. While in law school, Ana also served as a law clerk at the Legal Aid Justice Center, where she assisted individuals in relation to consumer protection, employment, housing, and immigration matters.

Ana is bilingual (English/Spanish) and possesses a sworn legal translator/interpreter certification awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She enjoys spending time with her husband and her two children, traveling, and reading.