About Mike

MIKE FARRIS was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but grew up in Texas, where he attended Dallas's Woodrow Wilson High School, then the University of Texas at Arlington, where he obtained his B.A. in Political Science.  He is a 1983 cum laude graduate of Texas Tech University School of Law, where he was an associate editor on the Texas Tech Law Review and was inducted into the Order of the Coif.  Now retired, Mike’s practice in Dallas included commercial litigation as well as entertainment law, focusing on the movie and publishing industries. He currently is a writer, a book reviewer for the New York Journal of Books, and an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, teaching Constitutional Law and Entertainment Law.

Mike was lead counsel for the plaintiff in what has become known as the Fifty Shades of Grey lawsuit (Jennifer Lynn Pedroza v. Amanda M. Hayward and TWCS Operations Pty. Ltd. in the 153rd District Court in Tarrant County, Texas), involving publishing rights to the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, one of the most successful book franchises in publishing history.  The lawsuit resulted in a plaintiff’s judgment in excess of $13.2 million. Mike’s book collaboration with his client about the case, the award-winning Fifty Shades of Black & White: Anatomy of the Lawsuit behind a Publishing Phenomenon, was released in May of 2018.  Mike has partnered with a well-known Hollywood producer to adapt Fifty Shades of Black & White to the screen.

Mike has represented various university presses and successfully placed subsidiary rights to their published books, including negotiating the sale of movie rights to producers and Hollywood studios, such as The Free State of Jones, published by University of North Carolina Press. The movie Free State of Jones starred Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey and was directed by multi-time Oscar nominee Gary Ross. 

Mike was the 2017-2018 chair of the State Bar of Texas Entertainment and Sports Law Section, was past editor of the Section’s Entertainment and Sports Law Journal, and was the 2014 Chair of the Dallas Bar’s Entertainment Art and Sports Law Section, after also having served as Chair in 2009 and 2012.  He has been an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas in its Sports & Entertainment Management MBA program, where he served on the Sports & Entertainment Advisory Board. 

A multi-time published author of both fiction and non-fiction, Mike’s 2016 non-fiction book A Death in the Islands: The Unwritten Law and the Last Trial of Clarence Darrow follows the historical record of a rape/murder case in 1931-1932 Honolulu that saw Clarence Darrow come out of retirement at the age of 74 to travel to the Territory of Hawaii for what would be his final courtroom battle.  Film rights to the book have been optioned by Aaron Kandell and Jordan Kandell, screenwriters on the Disney hit Moana and screenwriters/co-producers of Adrift, starring Shailene Woodley and directed by Baltasar Kormakur. The project has been set up at a major Hollywood studio.

Mike has written a second true crime book from the Territory of Hawaii.  Titled Poor Innocent Lad: The Tragic Death of Gill Jamieson and the Execution of Myles Fukunaga, it draws upon trial transcripts, court records, and contemporaneous news reports to tell the story of the abduction and murder of a ten-year-old boy in 1928 Honolulu.

Mike previously collaborated with rodeo cowboy-turned-actor/producer/director Robert Hinkle on Hinkle’s memoir of his years in show business, Call Me Lucky: A Texan in Hollywood, for University of Oklahoma Press.  He also collaborated to ghostwrite former ABC-TV anchorman Murphy Martin’s memoir of his years in journalism, entitled Front Row Seat: A Veteran Reporter Relives the Four Decades That Reshaped America.  He is the author of eight published novels: Isle of Broken Dreams, The Bequest, Wrongful Termination, Kanaka Blues, Manifest Intent, Rules of Privilege, Every Pig Got a Saturday, and The Catch.

Mike is A/V rated by Martindale-Hubbell.    


Classes/Seminars Taught


        Entertainment Law, University of Texas at Arlington


Constitutional Law, University of Texas at Arlington


Legal Issues in Sports and Entertainment Management, University of Dallas Sports and Entertainment Management MBA, Adjunct Professor

Member, University of Dallas Sports and Entertainment Advisory Board


 Beyond Briefs: Other Forms of Fiction Writing for Lawyers, sponsored by Sports & Entertainment Law Section of Dallas Bar Association

 Trial Advocacy, Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (now Texas A&M Law School)

Creative Writing, Richland College


Published Cases (as an attorney)

        In re Hayward, 480 S.W.3d 48 (Tex. App. – Fort Worth 2015, orig. proceeding)

A&H Properties Partnership v. GPM Engineering, 2015 WL 9435974 (Tex. App. – Austin, no pet.)

Performance HR, Ltd., Inc. v. Archway Insurance Services LLC, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86683 (E.D. Pa. 2008)

Porcari v. OMDA Oil & Gas, Inc., 2007 Tex. App. LEXIS 8360 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2007)

Pinnacle Oil Co. v. Triumph Oklahoma Limited Partnership, 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8985 (SDNY 1997)

 Federal Deposit Ins. Co. v. United States Fire Ins. Co., 956 F. Supp. 701 (ND Tex. 1996)

Federal Deposit Ins. Co. v. United States Fire Ins. Co., 50 F.3d 1304 (5th Cir. 1995)

First Texas Sav. Ass’n. v. Reliance Ins. Co., 950 F.2d 1171 (5th Cir. 1992)

T.M.S. Mechanical Contractors v. Millers Mutual Fire Ins. Co., 942 F.2d 946 (5th Cir. 1991)

Fireman’s Fund Ins. Co. v. Murchison, 937 F.2d 204 (5th Cir. 1991)

 Neeley v. Bankers Trust Co. of Texas, 848 F. 2d 658 (5th Cir. 1988)

Marcus Stowell & Beye Gov’t Sec., Inc. v. Jefferson Investment Corp., 797 F.2d 227 (5th Cir. 1986)

Western Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Spears, 730 S.W.2d 821 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 1987, no writ)


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