Firm News and Updates

Why We Are Thankful This Season

We don’t take our success or our good fortune for granted. We recognize, especially during this time of the year, that our work to fight for commercial property owners involved in tax disputes would not be possible without our staff and the collaborative efforts of our partners and the experts and professionals we work with every day.   

Thank you for your partnership and support.  

This month our partner Lorri Michel was honored to receive the 2019 Women in Real Estate Award from Connect Media, a national online commercial real estate news and marketing platform with over 150,000 subscribers. Lorri joins a prestigious group of influential women who are impacting the real estate industry, and she is the first Texas attorney to be recognized by Connect Media. 

We are also grateful that Lorrifor the second year in a rowhas been recognized in the 2019 listing of Texas Super Lawyers for her work in tax law. Texas Super Lawyers is a peer-review guide compiled from nominations of attorneys across the state. We are thankful that Lorri is included in such a prestigious list and we congratulate and celebrate her for obtaining this recognition. 

The accolade comes as no surprise because people who know and work with Lorri consider her one of the most-hard working and successful property tax attorneys in the state. Her work, this year alone, demonstrates not only her success but her deep insights into commercial property tax law. Lorri has litigated property tax cases that have established legal precedents for commercial property owners across Texas, including establishing case law that financing appraisals and sales prices are not discoverable in an equal and uniform challenge to property values.   

Most recently, Lorri prevailed at trial involving a landfill property that led to a 90% value reduction, the recovery of more than $300,000 dollars in interest on the property tax refund as well as over $100,000 in attorney fees for her client.   

These successes would not be possible without the entire Michel, Gray & Rogers team. Lorri’s partners, Raymond Gray and Shane Rogers, contribute greatly to the firm’s overall success, as well as the firm’s other experienced lawyers and support staff. 

How We Are Giving Back  

We are fortunate to have built a successful practice representing commercial property owners in property tax disputes. We believe in giving back on a pro bono basis by representing people in our community, often elderly and disabled, who need an advocate when their homestead exemptions and over 65 exemptions have wrongfully been removed. We also help when churches have had their religious exemptions unlawfully removed. 

Recently, a retired army colonel, who honorably served our country for years and oversaw the trust established to care for his disabled brother, needed help after being hit with a $50,000 tax bill due in just 30 days. The homestead exemption and over-65 exemption were removed on his brother’s home, which his brother has lived in since the 1950’s. The Travis Central Appraisal District claimed back taxes were owed because both the over-65 and homestead exemptions should have been removed after their mother died in 2013. Attorneys Shane Rogers and Lorri Michel worked on the case for a year and through a series of formal hearings were able to have the over-65 exemption and homestead exemptions reinstated. 

Another case involved an 84-year-old Austin woman, who also faced overwhelming tax bills based on the removal of her homestead exemption and her over-65 exemption.  She co-owned her residence with her sister and resided in the home since 1989. When her sister died in 2017, Travis County revoked both exemptions. Lorri Michel along with Texas Protax fought hard to get her exemptions rightfully back in place. 

These situations make us appreciate the importance of our legal system, due process and the rights we share, regardless of whether we are homeowners or business owners. 

For this, we are truly thankful. We wish you all the best this season.