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
Sean W. Hester
Practices in the areas of personal injury, business and probate law. Sean has been Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2002. He is licensed to practice law in all Texas state courts. He is also admitted to practice before the district courts in the United States Eastern District of Texas and United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Sean received his Bachelors of Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma graduating with high honors in 1989. Sean went to the University of Oklahoma because of his lifelong love of football. In 1992, Sean received his Juris Doctorate from Baylor University Law School. While in law school, Sean clerked for Magistrate Dennis Green at the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas earning a Certificate of Service to the Court.
Sean has spent more than twenty years practicing law in Texas. Sean has tried jury trials in courts in Dallas, Smith, Gregg, Angelina, Panola, Van Zandt, Bell, Harrison, Freestone, and Lampasas counties. He has also tried cases in federal courts in the Eastern District of Texas, in the Lufkin, Marshall, and Tyler divisions.
Sean is a member of the State Bar of Texas, where he served on the Federal Judicial Relations Committee. Texas Monthly rated Sean a Super Lawyer – Rising Star in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Sean maintains an excellent rating by AVVO.
Sean is married and has two children. He remains an avid sports fan as demonstrated by his having coached little league and select baseball. Sean has also served his community by holding leadership positions in the Jaycees, and at his church.
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.
Matthew L Smith
Practices in the areas of business law. Prior to joining the Brotherton Law Firm, Matthew practiced at Shawver Perez, where he litigated large commercial litigation matters and scheduled and managed litigation throughout the United States.
Before becoming an attorney in 2012, he spent 12 years at International Restaurant Group, where he served as controller, while attending evening law classes.
Matthew is married and has two children. He is a volunteer with the March of Dimes and an active member of his church.
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.
Ryan practices in the areas of business law, environmental law, energy, administrative law, land usage, and general civil litigation. First licensed in 2007, Ryan began the practice of law as a criminal defense attorney. For nearly a decade, Ryan appeared in courtrooms across the states of Arizona and Colorado honing the craft of trial practice and obtaining acclaim for his courtroom demeanor, professionalism, knowledge of the law, and ability to get results. Ryan has now returned home to Texas to shift his focus to the civil arena and new emerging areas of law.
Ryan was born in Fort Worth. He graduated from Texas A&M University in 2001 with a degree in Marketing and International Business. Afterward, Ryan received his Masters of Business Administration from Baylor University in 2003 and his Juris Doctor from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (Now, Texas A&M University School of Law) in 2007. After law school, Ryan felt a desire to expand his world view by living in another state. Ryan was quickly licensed in Arizona and began his practice as a trial attorney..
In Phoenix, Ryan ascended to the role of managing attorney at a medium sized law firm where he also served as an active litigator. Ryan handled nearly 1000 cases during this time, serving as first chair for over 30 jury trials and well over 100 bench trials. His unique blend of relationship driven customer service and zealous advocacy garnered respect from both his clientele and the legal community. Judges and opposing counsel often lauded Ryan’s paradoxical ability to be both a gunslinger and soft spoken negotiator as each individual case required. After seven years in Arizona, Ryan and his wife moved to Colorado where Ryan served as court appointed criminal counsel for the State of Colorado as well as the Colorado municipalities of Loveland and Greeley. Ryan has now returned home to be closer to family and to raise his children in the State of Texas. He lives in his original home town of North Richland Hills with his wife and son, and is eager to serve the businesses and municipalities of North Texas.