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Record Number of Chamberlain Hrdlicka Attorneys Named to US News 2020 Best Lawyers in America® and Four Attorneys Recognized as Lawyer of the Year

August 15, 2019

Record 29 Chamberlain Hrdlicka Attorneys Named to US News 2020 Best Lawyers in America® and Four Attorneys Recognized as Lawyer of the Year

Attorneys Ranked in Construction, Criminal Defense: White-Collar, Eminent Domain & Condemnation, Employee Benefits (ERISA), Government Relations, Immigration, Insurance, Litigation – Construction, Litigation – Trusts & Estates, Real Estate, Tax, Litigation and Controversy - Tax, Trademark Law and Trust & Estates Categories

A record 29 attorneys with national law firm Chamberlain Hrdlicka have been selected by their peers for inclusion in the 2020 edition of Best Lawyers in America®. Selected attorneys span the firm’s Atlanta, Houston, Philadelphia and San Antonio offices and include attorneys with experience in the practice areas of construction law and construction litigation; criminal defense/white collar; eminent domain and condemnation law; employee benefits (ERISA) law; government relations; immigration law; insurance, real estate, tax law and tax litigation & controversy; trademark law; as well as trusts & estates.

Attorneys named to The Best Lawyers in America were recognized by their peers in the legal industry for their professional excellence in 145 practice areas. For the 2020 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America, 7.8 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in almost 60,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition.

The following Chamberlain Hrdlicka attorneys were named to the “2020 Best Lawyers in America®ranking:


  • Nicholas Papleacos – Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law, Construction Law



San Antonio

  • William Lester – Tax Law
  • James McNeel – Trusts and Estates; Litigation – Trusts and Estates
  • Charles Muller – Tax Law
  • Joshua Sutin – Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
  • Jaime Vasquez – Litigation and Controversy – Tax

Lawyers of the Year

In addition to being named in Best Lawyers in America®, David D. Aughtry of Chamberlain Hrdlicka’s Atlanta office, and James M. McNeel, Charles J. Muller, and Joshua A. Sutin of San Antonio have been recognized as “Lawyer of the Year” in the categories of Litigation and Controversy – Tax (Aughtry); Tax Law (Muller); Litigation – Trusts & Estates (McNeel); and Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (Sutin).

"Lawyer of the Year" honorees receive this award based on their extremely high overall feedback within specific practice areas and metropolitan regions. “Lawyer of the Year” recognitions were awarded in 133 practice areas across 183 metropolitan regions.

David Aughtry

David Aughtry is recognized as a national authority in tax litigation, and his practice focuses on civil and criminal tax litigation. He has been listed in Best Lawyers in America since 2007. Mr. Aughtry has tried (and/or argued on appeal) more than 70 cases. He was the Chairman of the Budget and Investment Committees of the State Bar of Georgia (1989-1994), has served as President and Chairman of the Southern Federal Tax Institute and continues to serve on the Board of Trustees. He is a nationally recognized speaker, including presentations for TEI, Mississippi Tax Institute, American Tax Institute, Georgia Tax Conference, Tennessee Tax Institute, Kentucky Tax Institute, AICPA Valuation Conferences, and various other tax programs. He graduated from The Citadel with a B.A. in English, from the University of South Carolina with a Master's in Accounting and a law degree, and from Emory University with a Masters in Taxation (LL.M.).

James McNeel

James McNeel maintains a fiduciary litigation practice exclusively in the areas of estates, trusts, contested guardianships, and other related litigation. He handles claims by and against estate administrators, trustees, beneficiaries, and closely held family businesses in all areas relating to estate, trust, guardianship, and tax-related litigation. He has been listed in Best Lawyers in America since 2011. McNeel earned a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, a J.D. from Howard University School of Law, and an LL.M. (Estate Planning) from the University of Miami School of Law. 

Charles Muller

Chad Muller has more than 40 years of experience in federal and state tax controversies. As a Department of Justice Trial Attorney and as an Assistant United States Attorney, Muller represented the government in the largest criminal tax prosecutions in the country. He has played a vital role in several key organizations within the tax sector, including the IRS Commissioner's Advisory Group and Integrity Review Panel, as well as the Department of Justice Tax Division Advisory Committee. He is also a former Chair of the American Bar Association Committee on Civil and Criminal Penalties and the Penalties Tax Force. Mr. Muller also served as Chair of the Office of Professional Responsibility Subgroup of the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council.

Muller has been listed in Best Lawyers in America for more than 20 years and was among the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award by Texas Lawyer in 2018. He earned a B.A. and a J.D. from St Mary’s University, and a LL.M. (Taxation) from Georgetown University Law Center.

Joshua Sutin

Joshua Sutin helps clients unravel complex legal and business issues related to employee benefit plans, tax-exempt organizations, and business tax planning. He counsels both businesses and not-for-profit organizations on the full range of tax and employee benefits issues, including qualified retirement plans, tax-exempt entities, executive compensation, transaction-related benefits counsel, welfare plan compliance, and privately held businesses, advising clients on succession and transition planning. He represents clients in retirement plan and distribution planning, including analysis of income tax, estate tax and excise tax issues.

Sutin has been listed in Best Lawyers in America list since 2006, and was named San Antonio Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law “Lawyer of the Year” in 2017. He earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Lewis & Clark College, a J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law, and a LL.M. (Taxation) from the University of Florida College of Law.

About Best Lawyers (Provided by Best Lawyers)

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Almost 87,000 industry leading lawyers are eligible to vote (from around the world), and it has received almost 10 million evaluations on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world. For the 2019 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America, 7.8 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in almost 60,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore, inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers "the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice."

About Chamberlain Hrdlicka

Chamberlain Hrdlicka is a diversified business law firm with offices in Atlanta, Houston, Philadelphia and San Antonio. The firm represents both public and private companies as well as individuals and family-owned businesses across the nation. In addition to commercial and business litigation, the firm has expertise in tax planning and tax controversy, corporate law, securities and finance, employment law, employee benefits/ERISA, energy law, estate planning and administration, intellectual property, international and immigration law, real estate, and construction law.