Attorney at Law
Peter William Low grew up in Corpus Christi and graduated from high school in Dallas. After being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 1974, he earned degrees in Accounting and Law from the University of Texas at Austin, and has been licensed to practice law since 1981. Peter worked for three years at the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals, and has concentrated his practice on ad valorem tax law, public law, and appellate law since 1985.
Peter is one of the few lawyers who has had extensive experience representing taxing authorities as a delinquent tax attorney, as an Appraisal District attorney, and as an Appraisal Review Board attorney, and he has represented these taxing authorities in administrative, ARB, District Court, or Appellate proceedings in more than 100 Texas Counties. He has served as lead counsel or co-counsel in property tax litigation that has resulted in dozens of appellate court opinions which sought to resolve various Appraisal District, ARB, and delinquent property tax disputes, and he has appeared repeatedly before the Texas Supreme Court and in most of the Texas Courts of Appeals. He has followed the Legislature closely since 1985, and has drafted position papers and legislation on myriad issues involving the Property Tax Code. He has been a guest lecturer for Texas professional tax organizations, and he has conducted countless regional training seminars for Appraisal District Directors and ARB members. Peter has represented appraisal districts and ARBs in both metropolitan and obscure Texas Counties. He has authored a Public Law Course, which has since been offered throughout the State, and he has also worked with Appraisal Districts and school districts to resolve appeals and other disputes arising from the state’s property value study. In 2018 he joined with Kirk Swinney to form Low & Swinney, PLLC; later that year Peter and Kirk joined with Jim Evans and Ryan James to form Low Swinney Evans & James, PLLC. Peter is an American Contract Bridge League Life Master, but he is not, unfortunately, any good at golf.
Attorney at Law
Kirk Swinney has been representing Texas appraisal districts, cities, counties, and school districts for 34 years. Particularly in the realm of valuation, exemption, and special appraisals for appraisal districts, he has litigated many cases. He also has represented entities in challenge hearings, contract disputes, eminent domain, occupancy and sales tax, effective and rollback tax rate issues, employment, real estate transactions, and property value studies.
Starting his legal career with the City of Midland City Attorney’s Office, he moved to appraisal district litigation with a collection firm in 1990. In 2018, he joined Peter Low, representing appraisal districts and appraisal review boards. Later that year, they joined with Jim Evans and Ryan James in forming Low Swinney Evans & James, PLLC., to offer appraisal districts and other local governments a broad based, high quality litigation and general counsel service.
Mr. Swinney is a graduate of Texas Tech University School of Law, 1984. Besides being a member of the State Bar of Texas, he is a member of the State Bar Subcommittee on Ad Valorem Taxation, the Austin Bar Association, Christian Legal Society, and the bars of the United States Supreme Court, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and all federal courts in Texas and Arkansas. He is a frequent speaker for the State Bar subcommittee, Real Estate Center Seminar on Ad Valorem Taxation, and local chapters of TAAD and TAAO.
Attorney at Law
Jim Evans grew up in Houston. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of St. Thomas where he graduated magna cum laude and a J.D. degree from South Texas College of Law. Jim went through law school while working full time. His career has focused on local government representation, litigation of valuation disputes, and real property law.
With Peter Low, Kirk Swinney, and Ryan James, Jim founded Low Swinney Evans & James, PLLC in 2018 where he represents appraisal districts and appraisal review boards in litigation and other legal matters as he has done since 1995. He also has a background in eminent domain litigation, real estate conveyancing, and title examination. Jim is admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the United States District Courts for the Eastern, Northern, Southern, and Western Districts of Texas.
Jim is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He was certified in 1996 and recertified in 2001, 2006, 2011, 2016, and 2021. He is a past member of the Real Estate Forms Committee of the State Bar of Texas and is currently a Fellow of the College of the State Bar of Texas.
Jim is past president of the Alamo Chapter of the Texas Association of Assessing Officers. In 2012, he received the Good Neighbor Award from the Texas Rural Chief Appraisers Association in recognition of his dedication and friendship to rural appraisal districts, their chief appraisers, and the property tax profession. He was on the board of directors of the Austin Child Guidance Center and has served as president of the board. Jim has been elected to that organization’s emeritus board.
Attorney at Law
Ryan James has represented Texas appraisal districts and other governmental entities since 2013. In 2018, Ryan founded Low Swinney Evans & James, PLLC with Peter Low, Kirk Swinney, and Jim Evans, where he represents appraisal districts and appraisal review boards in litigation and other legal matters.
Ryan earned his J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law where he was an editor for the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, & Energy Law. He has a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies with Honors from the University of Texas at Austin. As an undergraduate student, Ryan also received the Business Foundations Certificate with Highest Honors from the McCombs School of Business.
Prior to working for appraisal districts and other governmental entities, Ryan worked at the Texas House of Representatives, focusing on local government legislation. He has also practiced business litigation and worked at Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid.
A member of the State Bar of Texas, Ryan is licensed to practice in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.
Attorney at Law
Barry Gaines joined the firm in December, 2019, opening the Houston office of LSEJ. Prior to joining the firm she spent nine years with the Harris County Appraisal District, where she was a senior legal counsel.
Barry will be assisting in the representation of LSEJ clients broadly, but particularly in the east and south areas of the state.
At HCAD, Barry was responsible for handling a variety of legal matters for the district including representing the district in litigation and appeals to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). She also presented the district’s legal arguments to the Texas Attorney General for Public Information Act requests. In addition, Barry was a member of the district’s legislative team and, as such, analyzed proposed legislation to determine its impact on the district’s operations and reviews enacted legislation to assist with the implementation of changes to appraisal district procedures.
Prior to joining the appraisal district, she was a prosecutor for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office in Conroe, Texas for six years where she gained a wealth of trial experience in felony and misdemeanor jury and bench trials.
Barry received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Texas in Austin in 2000 and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of Houston Law Center in 2003. She is a member of the Houston Bar Association and is a certified instructor for Property Tax Law by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
Attorney at Law
Marjorie Bachman joined Low Swinney Evans & James, PLLC in February 2020. Prior to representing appraisal districts, Marjorie spent fifteen years as a criminal litigator, where she first or second-chaired over 40 cases to jury verdict. She also served as a clinical instructor to the Criminal Defense Clinic and the first staff attorney to the Actual Innocence Clinic at the University Texas School of Law. She was a frequent lecturer on evidence, procedure, and jury selection for organizations around the state.
Marjorie earned her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law in 2005, where she was a member of the Texas Law Review and research assistant to Professor Steven Goode, author of the Courtroom Handbook on Texas Evidence. She has a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. A member of the State Bar of Texas, Marjorie is also licensed to practice in the Western District of Texas.
Odalis C. Suarez joined Low Swinney Evans & James in July 2021. Her professional journey began in California where she was raised. She attended the University of Southern California graduating Cum Laude with a double major degree. Subsequent to her undergraduate education, she attended Glendale University College of Law where she received her Juris Doctorate degree. Odalis left a mark during her California residency; she owned her own general litigation and trial practice for over 30 years. She was actively involved in the city via committees and appointments including the Civil Service Commission and assuming the role as a hearing officer. She was trained in the Pepperdine Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution and has conducted hundreds of mediations and arbitrations for the Superior Court in California.
In 2018, Odalis moved to Texas. While waiting for acceptance to the Texas State Bar, she worked with the City of Georgetown as a Real Estate Coordinator. There she reviewed real estate title, assisted in condemnation proceedings, and made recommendations to the City regarding real estate matters and proceedings.
Fast forward to present day, Odalis now holds admittances in both the California and Texas State Bars. She is also a real estate broker holding licenses in California and Texas. Additionally, Odalis is also admitted to practice law before the Central District Court, United States Supreme Court, and the United States Tax Court. Odalis is bilingual; she speaks English and Spanish.
Attorney at Law
Mario D. Zavala, Jr. joined Low Swinney Evans & James, PLLC in February 2023.
In 2013, Mario received his B.A. in Sociology of Law and Social Control and minor in music from Loyola University New Orleans. In 2016, he received his Juris Doctorate from Loyola University College of Law in New Orleans. As a law student, he worked as an extern at the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board and was a student practitioner in the Criminal Defense Clinic. At the Loyola law clinic, he was mentored by Professor D. Majeeda Snead and Professor Stephen Singer. In October 2016, he was sworn in to practice law by the Louisiana Supreme Court and became a registered notary. He then clerked for the Honorable Judge Lala Sylvester and the Honorable Desiree Duhon Dyess of the 10th JDC in Natchitoches, LA. In August 2017, he joined Miguel A. Elias, APLC. He is licensed to practice in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. In October 2022, he joined Salley and Salley, L.L.C.
In December 2022, Mario became a member of the State Bar of Texas. After much thought and prayer, he decided to follow his dream of moving to Texas in February 2023. Mario is bilingual; he speaks English and Spanish.
Attorney at Law
Robert Maier joined Low Swinney Evans & James, PLLC in January 2023.
Robert F. Maier is an attorney with extensive experience in CPS, Guardianship, Criminal, and Juvenile Law. He has worked at the Law Office of Robert F. Maier since 2008, specializing in mental health and substance abuse cases, as well as justice-involved veterans. Prior to that, he served as an Attorney for DFPS in CPS Cases and held the position of Misdemeanor Court Chief at the Williamson County Attorney's Office. Maier also worked as an Assistant Attorney General at the Office of the Attorney General.
In addition to his legal career, he served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve, holding the rank of Company Commander and serving as a combat veteran in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Robert is actively involved in his community, teaching Sunday School, coaching youth sports, and participating in various organizations. He holds a J.D. from St. Mary's University School of Law and a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas.