Governor Abbott Announces Appointments To New Austin Business Court Division

June 11, 2024 | Austin, Texas | Appointment

Governor Greg Abbott today announced his appointments to the new Third Business Court Division in Austin, which was created last year to provide an efficient mechanism for businesses to resolve complex commercial disputes in Texas. The Governor has appointed Melissa Andrews and Patrick Sweeten to be judges of the Third Business Court Division, effective September 1, 2024, for terms set to expire on September 1, 2026. The Third Business Court Division is composed of the counties of Austin, Bell, Blanco, Bosque, Burnet, Caldwell, Colorado, Comal, Comanche, Coryell, Falls, Fayette, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hamilton, Hays, Hill, Lampasas, Lavaca, Llano, McLennan, Milam, Navarro, Robertson, San Saba, Travis, and Williamson.

Melissa Andrews of Austin is an equity partner at Holland & Knight. Previously, she served as an attorney for Texas Supreme Court Justice Jeff Boyd and First Court of Appeals Justice Harvey Brown and was a law clerk for Judge Don R. Willett while he served on the Texas Supreme Court. She is board certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS). She is a member of the State Bar of Texas, TBLS Civil Appellate Advisory Commission, and Lawyers for Civil Justice Expert Evidence Committee and the Civil Appellate Section Chair of the Austin Bar Association. She is a volunteer for the Third Court of Appeals Pro Bono Program and an annual volunteer for Adoption Day Austin, Salvation Army Austin, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Andrews received a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Business from Texas A&M University and a Juris Doctor from The University of Texas (UT) School of Law.

Patrick K. Sweeten of Austin is the Principal Deputy General Counsel for the Office of the Governor. He is a seasoned trial lawyer with over 25 years of experience litigating in federal and state court, both plaintiff and defense side, including as lead counsel in pharmaceutical, securities, multi-district litigation, and deceptive trade practices and common law fraud actions. Previously, he served as the Deputy Attorney General for Special Litigation for the Office of the Texas Attorney General. In that role, he built a new division from the ground up, oversaw more than a dozen large trial teams managing complex litigation impacting the State of Texas, and secured well over a quarter of a billion dollars in settlements and recoveries. He also served as the state’s lead counsel in defense of the 2014, 2017, and 2022 rounds of redistricting litigation, and in 2018 successfully defended the state against challenges to its century-old method of electing Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals judges statewide. Prior to his service with the Texas Attorney General, he was an associate and shareholder for close to a decade at Delano Law Offices, L.L.C. in Springfield, Illinois. Sweeten received a Bachelor of Arts from UT Austin and a Juris Doctor from St. Mary’s University School of Law.

Last year, Governor Abbott signed House Bill 19 into law creating a new statewide specialty business trial courts to streamline resolutions of business disputes.