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Biographical Information

As the senior partner in the well-known firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels & Friend, Nick C. Nichols handles major litigation involving catastrophic injuries, wrongful death, products liability, representation of sports celebrities, and business litigation.

His courtroom success as a civil trial litigator and the esteem in which he is held by the legal profession have led to invitations to join the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers, International Academy of Trial Lawyers, International Society of Barristers and The Inner Circle of Advocates. He has been listed consistently in Woodward White’s “The Best Lawyers in America.” Nichols received the Southern Trial Lawyers Association War Horse Award in 2003 in recognition of his outstanding professional accomplishments. He has been an adjunct professor at South Texas College of Law and a frequent lecturer at law schools, legal seminars and Rice. Nichols is a Keeton Fellow at the UT School of Law, where the Nick Nichols Endowed Presidential Scholarship has been established. Rice Athletics is the beneficiary of the Nick and Linda Nichols Men’s Basketball Scholarship Endowment.

One of Nichols’ noteworthy victories resulted from a case known as “The Punch,” which involved the serious injury of Houston Rockets forward Rudy Tomjanovich, a victim of a vicious punch thrown by an opposing player. This case resulted in a substantial judgment and had a profound effect on professional basketball and sports law. The NBA responded with important safeguards to discourage recurrences of such misconduct, and the precedents set by this case provide the opportunity for redress for future victims.

A Profile in Professionalism

The key words honesty, integrity, morality, credibility, candor, fairness, responsibility, civility, and preparation rise to the surface to clearly define and prescribe the standards expected of lawyers in the performance of our profession.

These ethical standards for professionalism guide and direct the fundamentals of our legal system and the proper representation of our clients as well. In my opinion, the true definition of professionalism is, quite simply, PLAYING BY THE RULES. Playing by the rules demands:

  1. Complete understanding of the rules of our legal system
  2. Strict adherence to the rules of court
  3. Full and complete representation of one’s client
  4. Ethical consideration of one’s opponent

We became professionals the day we took our oath. Playing by the rules should be our code of conduct exemplified in our finest scholarly, moral, and ethical attributes that we take to work every single day regardless of the arena, the circumstances, or the competition. The true professional will not waiver or be tempted to overreact to Rambo behavior or unethical conduct by opposing counsel. The true professional represents his client with the highest degree of honesty, integrity, responsibility, civility, courtesy, and always plays by the rules

Scholars define professionalism as the art of having assured competence handling matters within the individual’s expertise and experience. Many lawyers possess a high degree of competence, expertise, and experience, but I believe the true professional is one who exercises these while always playing by the rules. The practice of law will remain and honorable and valued pursuit as long as each of us continues to aspire to the lofty principles of the profession.

Areas of Practice

  • 18 Wheeler & Commercial Truck Accidents
  • Personal Injury
  • Catastrophic Injuries
  • Wrongful Death
  • Product Defects
  • Business Litigation
  • Aviation Accidents
  • Admiralty & Maritime Accidents
  • Birth Injuries
  • Brain Damage
  • Burns
  • Construction Accidents
  • DWI Accidents
  • Electrocutions
  • Environmental Law
  • Explosions
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Nursing Home Negligence
  • Offshore Injuries
  • Paraplegia
  • Patent Infringement
  • Petrochemical Accidents
  • Pharmaceutical Litigation
  • Quadriplegia
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Swimming Pool Accidents
  • Workplace Accidents
  • Vehicular Accidents

Admission Dates & Jurisdictions

  • Texas, 1961
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Education

  • The University of Texas School of Law, Austin, Texas
    • LL.B. – 1961
  • Rice Institute
    • B.A. – 1958
    • Major: History/Pre-Law

Honors & Awards

  • AV Preeminent® Rated, Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Selected to Texas’ Top Rated Lawyers of 2014, Leagal Leaders and Martindale-Hubbell Lawyer Ratings
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, presented by the Association of Rice Alumni
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Personal Injury Litigation, Plaintiff
  • Top 100 Lawyers in Houston – Texas Super Lawyer
  • Recipient, War Horse Award, Southern Trial Lawyers Association
  • Outstanding Adjunct Professor, South Texas College of Law
  • Keeton Fellow, University of Texas Law School Alumni Association
  • Fellow, Board of Governors, Southern Trial Lawyers Association
  • Life Fellow, Houston Bar Foundation
  • Life Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
  • The Nick Nichols Endowed Presidential Scholarship Established at the University of Texas School of Law
  • Life Fellow, Foundation of the American Board of Trial Advocates
  • Texas Super Lawyer and Rising Star honors as presented by Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters Business, in Texas Monthly
  • H Texas Top Lawyers for the People honor as presented by H Texas Magazine
  • “Houston’s Top Lawyers 2013” list, Personal Injury, H Texas Magazine
  • Texas’ Best Lawyers honor as presented by The Houston Chronicle Best Lawyers – The World’s Premier Guide, an Incisive Media publication
  • Law Dragon 500
  • Top Lawyers List, Personal Injury, Admiralty and Maritime, Aviation and Aerospace, Houstonia Magazine
  • Nation’s Top One, Percent The National Association of Distinguished Counsel

Professional Associations

  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Director
  • American College of Trial Lawyers
  • International Society of Barristers
  • Inner Circle of Advocates
  • Texas Trial Lawyer Association, Director Emeritus
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, National Board of Directors
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, President, Houston Chapter
  • The Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Governor
  • State Bar of Texas, Tort and Compensation Section, Chairman
  • State Bar of Texas, Member, Grievance Committee, District Four
  • American Association for Justice
  • Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Board of Directors, Director Emeritus
  • American Bar Association
  • American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys, Diplomat
  • American College of Legal Medicine, Sports Lawyers Association
  • American Judicature Society
  • American Society of Law Medicine & Ethics
  • College of the State Bar of Texas
  • Houston Bar Association, Member
  • Houston Trial Lawyers Association
  • Inns of Court, Garland Walker Chapter
  • Roscoe Pound Foundation, Member
  • Texas College of Trial Advocacy, Member, Executive Committee
  • Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, Member
  • University of Texas School of Law, Chancellor’s Council
  • University of Texas School of Law, Dean’s Council
  • Houston Bar Foundation

Fraternities/Sororities

  • Delta Theta Phi
  • Phi Delta Phi

Speaking Engagements

  • Adjunct Professor and Faculty, Civil Trial Advocacy, South Texas College of Law
  • Speaker, “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Misdiagnosis and Maltreatment”, American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys’ Seminar
  • Speaker, “Pre-Suit Depositions (Rule 202): A Brief Journey”, Texas Tech/St. Mary’s Schools of Law Medical Malpractice
  • Speaker, “The Basics of Recreational Injuries, A Case Study of Rudy Tomjanovich v. Cal-Sports, Inc. dba Los Angeles Lakers”, CLE International Seminar
  • Speaker, “Sports Law (Recreational Injuries)”, Rice University, Kinesiology Department
  • Speaker, “A Quick Look at Referral Fees in Texas”, HPAL Meeting
  • Speaker, “Mediation: Should You Tip Your Hand? Stonewall? Or Just Show Up?”, Kentucky Academy of Trial Attorneys Annual Convention and Seminar
  • Speaker, “Crossing Over 4590i – Can it be Done? Fraud and Stowers”, Texas Trial Lawyers Association, 13th Annual Medical Malpractice Conference
  • Speaker, “Botox: Curse or Cure”, Texas Tech University/St. Mary’s School of Law Medical Malpractice Conference
  • Speaker, “Overcoming Settlement Obstacles at Mediation”, Texas Tech University/St. Mary’s School of Law Medical Malpractice Conference
  • Faculty Member, Texas College of Trial Advocacy
  • Faculty and Speaker, Specialized Courses in Trial Advocacy, The Association of Trial Lawyers of America
  • Speaker/Lecturer, “Sports Litigation”, Rice University

Publications

  • “Representing the Sports Injury Claimant: A Practical Approach to Handling Sports Injury Related Cases”
  • “The Development of Duty of Care in Recreational Tort Cases”
  • “Opinion and Expert Testimony Under the New Federal Rules of Evidence Article VII Rule 701-706″
  • “A Brief Glimpse at Article VII Rules 701-706: Federal Rules of Evidence on Opinions and Expert Testimony”
  • “A Brief Look at the Basics of Pre-Trial Preparation for the Plaintiff”
  • “Psychology of Jury Selection”
  • “A Brief Glimpse at Sports Injury Litigation”, Texas Trial lawyers Association
  • “Sports Injury Litigation – New Frontier for the Trial Lawyer”
  • “Innovative Use of Expert Witnesses – Looking at the Expert in Sports Injury Litigation”
  • “A Brief Glimpse at Opening Statement for the Plaintiff”
  • “Some Guidelines on Jury Argument”
  • “A Basic Approach to Jury Argument for the Plaintiff”
  • “How to Secure a Preferential Setting When You Really Need One in Civil Cases”
  • “Looking at Opening Statements”
  • “Direct Examination of the Plaintiff and “Before & After” Witnesses”
  • “Defective Medical Products”
  • “Direct Examination of Plaintiff-What It Takes to Get to the Jury”
  • “Legal Aspects of Sports Medicine”
  • “Sports Injury Revolution”
  • “Maximizing Compensatory Damages in Injury and Death Cases”
  • “Swimming Pool Injuries”
  • “Sports Spectator Injuries”
  • “Physicians as Expert Witnesses”
  • “An Approach to Jury Selection for the Plaintiff”
  • “A Lawyer’s Approach to Burn Injuries”
  • “Automobile Accident Reconstruction”
  • “Injured Sports Participant: Amateur& Professional”
  • “Analyzing, Preparing, and Arguing a Sports Injury”
  • “Protecting the Doctor From His Insurance Carrier”
  • “Emergency Room Liability”
  • “Expert Witnesses”
  • “Pitfalls in Hospital Liability”
  • “Voir Dire Examination and Opening Statement for the Plaintiff”
  • “Shared Discovery- Unsealing the File”
  • “Ethical Considerations in Medical Malpractice Cases”
  • “Voir Dire of the Jury”
  • “Motions in Limine”
  • “Cross-Examination for the Trial Annuities”, 1990
  • “Motions in Limine and Voir Dire in a Plaintiff’s Medical Malpractice Case”, 1990
  • “Handling the Rambo Litigator”, 1990
  • “Sports Injury Revolution: Rudy T. vs. Cal. Sports”, 1990
  • “Use of Non-Testifying Experts, Reports & Materials Through Mandamus”, 1990
  • “The Comatose Patient”, 1991
  • “Deposing the Defendant and Defendant Employees”, 1991
  • “Cross-Examination of the Defendant’s Annuitist in an Auto Case”, 1991
  • “Anesthesia Malpractice”, 1992
  • “Direct Examination of the Plaintiff”, 1992
  • “Pre-Trial and Trial Motions”, 1993
  • “Pleadings and Attacks on Pleadings”, 1993
  • “Dermatology and Malpractice Liability”, 1993
  • “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Misdiagnosis and Maltreatment”, 1994
  • “A Lawyer’s Approach to Burn Injuries”, 1994
  • “An Approach to Opening Statements”, 1994
  • “Approaching the Comatose Patient: The Right to Die”, 1994
  • “New Medical Technology and Litigation From the Plaintiff’s Attorney’s Prospective”, 1995
  • “Medical Standards for Burn Cases”, 1995
  • “A 1995 Lawyer’s Approach to Burn Injuries”, 1995
  • “Handling the Difficult Plaintiff”, 1996
  • “Motions in Limine: A Plaintiff’s Perspective”, 1996
  • “Theme, Schemes & Jury Consultants: Case Theme From Voir Dire to Jury Verdict”, 1996
  • “Active Ad Litems Add Additional Aid at Trial”, 1996
  • “Mediation: Should You Tip Your Hand? Stonewall? Or Just Show Up?”, 1997
  • “Analysis of the Pedicle Screw Litigation”, 1997
  • “Protecting Defendant Doctor from the Insurance Company”, 1998
  • “The Basics of Recreational Injuries”, 1998
  • “Stowers Doctrine: Malice, Clear and Convincing”
  • “Statute of Limitations – Sailing Through a Sea of Confusion”, 1999
  • “The Basics of Recreational Injuries – Sports Injury Litigation – New Frontier for the Trial Lawyer,” Book Chapter, 1999
  • “Voir Dire Examination and Opening Statement for the Plaintiff”, January 31, 2000
  • “Non-Health Care Providers Seeking Asylum Within 4590i”, Sept. 29, 2000
  • “Themes, Schemes and Jury Consultants: Case Themes from Start to Finish”, Oct. 3, 2000
  • “Masters of Trial/Million Dollar Closing Arguments”, Nov. 10, 2000
  • “Sports Law (The Basics of Recreational Injuries)”, March 15-16, 2001
  • “Pre-Suit Depositions (Rule 202): A Brief Journey”, November 16, 2001
  • “Classic Closing Arguments: Making A Lasting Impression Sports Law (Recreational Injuries)”, February 21-22, 2002
  • “A Quick Look at Referral Fees in Texas”, May 28, 2002
  • “The Ramifications of September 11 on various aspects of the Personal Injury Practice and How We Prepare and Try Cases”, August 18-23, 2002
  • “Mediation: Should You Tip Your Hand? Stonewall? or Just Show Up?”, September 20, 2002
  • “Crossing Over 4590i – Can it be Done? Fraud and Stowers”, September 26-27, 2002
  • “Botox: Curse or Cure”, November 7-8, 2002
  • “Sports Injury Revolution: Revisiting Rudy Tomjanovich v. Cal Sports Inc.”, November 15-16, 2002
  • “Voir Dire, Examination and Opening Statement for the Plaintiff”, January 27, 2003
  • “Overcoming Settlement Obstacles at Mediation”, Nov. 6-7, 2003
  • The Law Behind the Punch – “Sports and Entertainment Law: The Course”, December 13, 2004