I’m an attorney and arbitrator; I maintain a limited private practice in Houston, representing technology-focused companies. I’m licensed to practice law in Texas and California, and am registered to practice in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
I’m a part-time law professor, teaching contract drafting as a blend of business law and upper-division writing skills.
As a side project, I write and maintain the Common Draft online deskbook of contract clauses and templates, with extensive annotations and commentary; I use those materials in my client work and law-school courses.
In response to a colleague’s suggestion, I’ve posted a detailed response to a published questionnaire about my arbitration style and preferences.
I was formerly a partner and member of the management committee at Arnold, White & Durkee, a 150-lawyer intellectual-property boutique litigation firm, one of the largest such firms in the United States.
I left AW&D to become vice president and general counsel of BindView Corporation, a publicly-traded, 500-employee software company, with offices in six countries. As outside counsel, I’d helped the founder to start the company. I served there until the company’s successful “exit” when we were acquired by Symantec Corporation, the world leader in our field.
I was the lead author and editor of the first edition of The Law and Business of Computer Software, a one-volume treatise now published by Thomson Reuters.
I’ve been active in bar-association work throughout my career:
- In the American Bar Association, I’ve chaired committees and served on the governing council of the Section of Intellectual Property Law.
- In the State Bar of California, I served as one of the two co-chairs of the Commercial Transactions Committee of the Business Law Section.
- In the Licensing Executives Society USA/Canada, I’m currently “on the ladder” to chair the Houston chapter.
In community service outside of work:
- I do a fair amount of pro bono mentoring for startup incubators and accelerators at UH’s RED Labs; at Rice University’s OwlSpark program; and at the nonprofit Houston Technology Center.
- I’m my parish’s representative on the board of directors of Houston’s Amazing Place, a nonprofit day center for adults with mild to moderate dementia; I chair the Risk Management & Operations Committee and serve on the Executive Committee.
- I’m semi-retired as an adult leader of Troop 55 (my son’s troop), which we think is the biggest Boy Scout troop in the U.S., with some 300 registered boys and more than 50 registered adult leaders; I served for four years in two different terms as chairman of the troop committee (the troop’s governing body), and before that as an assistant scoutmaster. I’m also an Eagle Scout myself.
- I was formerly a member of the vestry (the parish’s elected board of directors) at St. John the Divine Episcopal Church in Houston.
In between college and law school, I did my ROTC scholarship payback time as a U.S. Navy nuclear engineering officer (the Rickover program) and surface warfare officer, including three years of sea duty, with two overseas deployments, aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS ENTERPRISE.
My undergraduate degree (in math, with high honors) and law degree (law review) are both from the University of Texas at Austin.
Incidentally, my last name is pronounced “Tate” (it’s German), just as former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner’s name is pronounced “Bayner.” My given name is Dell Charles, but I go by “D.C.,” which my family has called me since birth to avoid confusion with my dad and my grandfather, for whom I was named.
Any views I might express here are my own and not necessarily those of my clients, my former employer, my former law firm, etc., etc. Please see also the Cautions page.
For more details about my experience and education, please see my LinkedIn profile.