Mr. Seale is a partner in the Vorys Houston office and a member of the taxation group. His practice focuses on general business transactions, structuring closely held businesses and advising wealthy individuals on income, gift and estate planning matters. He has served on a number of boards of directors and advised directors and management on strategic planning matters. Mr. Seale has extensive experience in structuring partnerships and LLCs in business transactions involving real estate development, oil and gas exploration, and thoroughbred racing and breeding. He works as a team member with CPAs, life insurance professionals, trust officers and investment advisors in formulating the best solutions for client needs. In this regard, he routinely prepares gift and estate planning documents, and advises executors and trustees in the administration of trusts and estates. Mr. Seale is active in charitable affairs and advises tax exempt organizations in strategic planning.
Career highlights include:
- Lead U.S. legal counsel on a major natural gas exploration and development project in Sicily, with development funding provided by a publicly traded French firm.
- Coordinated title examinations of copper claims in Southwest Africa [now Namibia] and Argentina leading to merger of privately held U.S. company with NYSE company.
- Settled estate tax liability of largest estate tax case in Harris County (1973). Served as executor and trustee of estate and multiple family trusts for 18 years.
- Obtained IRS Private Letter Ruling confirming tax free nature of divisions of family corporations and partnerships engaged in oil and gas exploration, timber, rice milling and real estate development.
- Lead counsel in successful recapitalization of private bank operating under supervision of State and Federal Bank
- Examiners. Counseled controlling shareholder in selection of new bank management and subsequent sale of bank.
- Obtained favorable decision from Administrative Law Judge in contested matter of what constitutes a “small business,” resulting in client being awarded an SBA contract for the construction of an oil pipeline to The Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
- Coordinated successful re-structuring of “factoring” business after operating officers dismissed for conducting “Ponzi Scheme.” All investors received return of 100% of invested funds.
Mr. Seale was formerly of counsel at Liskow & Lewis and a partner of Phelps Dunbar, both in Houston. He also was formerly a partner of Vinson & Elkins, where he was chair of the Personal Tax and Estates Section. He is a member of the Tax and Real Property, Probate and Trust Sections of the ABA and the Tax and Business Law Sections of the Texas Bar Association. He is listed in Who’s Who in American Law, a life member of the Texas Bar Foundation and a sustaining life Fellow of the Houston Bar Association.
He has served on boards of numerous private businesses and charitable organizations in Houston including as Trustee, Executive Member and General Counsel to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Trustee of the Vivian L. Smith Foundation, the Margaret and James A. Elkins, Jr. Foundation. Mr. Seale is currently Chair and Trustee of The Lyons Foundation and a member of the UT Health Development Committee which is associated with the UT Health Science Center-Houston.
Honors & Awards
- The Best Lawyers in America, Tax Law, 2007-2013
- The Best Lawyers in America, Trusts and Estate Law, 2007-2013
- Martindale-Hubbell AV Peer Review Rated