Joel S. Pace
Joel attended the University of Texas from 1987 to 1991. Originally, he majored in mechanical engineering. However, after negative experiences with Differential Equations and Electricity and Magnetism, he decided that Political Science was a better fit for his particular talents. At the same time, he decided to study Russian. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Russian Language Studies in 1991.
He then attended South Texas College of Law in Houston where he would ultimately receive his J.D. in 1994. He worked full time during law school to pay for his expenses. During this first year, he was in the top 10 percent of his class and became a member of the South Texas Law Review. An interesting fact about Joel is that he has the distinction of being one of the few persons to have both graded and written onto Law Review. He was also very active in the famed South Texas Board of Advocates. He was elected vice-president of this organization in 1994. He also won several mock trial tournaments during his time in law school. At the end of his law school tenure, Joel graduated in the top 12 percent of his class.
From 1994-1999, Joel was an associate with the firm of Thornton, Summers, Biechlin, Dunham & Brown, in San Antonio, Texas. During this time, his practice focused on the defense and trial of a wide variety of matters ranging from personal injury, premises liability, insurance code, DTPA, RCLA, construction defect, and legal malpractice claims. Being responsible for a large docket allowed him to try multiple cases in both county and district court very early in his career. Moreover, he was responsible for his team’s appellate matters. Joel has several cases that have been reported including Smith v. Heard, 980 S.W.2d 693 (Tex. App. – San Antonio 1998, writ denied) and Gonzales v. American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, 948 S.W.2d 794 (Tex. App. – San Antonio 1997, writ denied).
Upon moving to Austin as an Associate (he would later become a Shareholder) with Davis & Wilkerson in 1999, he continued to practice in the areas of construction defect litigation, personal injury, commercial litigation, DTPA, RCLA, and related matters. During his time at D&W, Joel developed a proficiency in handling large construction disputes involving multiple parties and thousands of documents. Over the last 9 years, Joel has been involved in many large commercial and multi-family (condominium) construction related disputes in the Austin-area. This work has evolved into the direct representation of numerous general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers and other construction-related entities in transactional matters such as lien filings, contract negotiation and drafting, employment matters, and many other issues. He continued to have a very active trial practice having tried numerous cases in both State county and district court.
Joel has also developed a burgeoning estate planning practice over the years. While estate planning (wills, probate, powers of attorney) started out as a small part of his practice, over the last few years, this aspect of his practice has grown substantially. Joel believes that providing reasonable priced estate planning services to people is a vitally important aspect of his practice.
He is licensed by the State Bar of Texas and belongs to many professional organizations and practice groups. These practice groups include the Austin Bar Association, The Austin Young Construction Lawyers, the Construction Law Section, the Family Law Section, and many other bar-related groups. He is also licensed in the Northern, Eastern, and Western Federal Districts of Courts of Texas.
Joel is rated "AV Preeminent" by Martindale Hubble, which is a peer-reviewed rating system for attorneys. Joel is also a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation.
In 2019 and 2020, Joel was named a Super Lawyer in Construction Law and Litigation by Super Lawyers. Joel was previously recognized as "Rising Star" by the same publication on two prior occasions.
Joel Scott Pace was raised in Baytown and Highlands, Texas. He grew up with his older brother Jonathan and younger twin sisters, Amy and Stacy.
Joel’s parents, Kenneth and Charlene Pace, were habitual entrepreneurs who have operated a number of restaurants, including several Mexican food restaurants. His mother currently owns and operates The Blanco Settlement (a bed and breakfast) in Blanco, Texas. From an early age, Joel’s father put him to work in the restaurants, completely ignoring all child labor laws. However, this instilled a work ethic in Joel that carries over to this day.
Joel attended high school at Baytown Sterling High School. While in high school he was a member of the water polo and swim teams. In water polo, he was voted First Team All-District (three years), First Team All-State (three years) and, in 1986, First Team All-American after leading his team to the finals of the State Championship. During this same time, he also excelled in swimming. He won over 10 individual district championships in various disciplines. He was elected captain of both the water polo teams and the swim teams in 1985 and 1986. After his senior year, he was selected by the local paper as the Bay Area Athlete of the Year in 1986.
In 1999, in conjunction with his new position at Austin’s Davis & Wilkerson, P.C., Joel relocated to Austin, Texas where he immediately fell in love with the city and all its offerings. He continues to enjoy living in Austin with his wife, young son and extended family and friends.
Joel has a number of interests other than law. First, Joel is a technology junkie and is an admitted Mac-Addict (Apple computers). He uses his Mac computers to put together digital movies and other projects. But, more than his ubiquitous Macintosh computer, Joel loves to cycle and enjoys collecting new and vintage Italian bicycles. He cycles over 2000 miles a year A.C. (“after child”), and has participated in various triathlons. In 2008 Joel, along with his law partner Steven Levatino, completed the MS150 (a 2-day bicycle ride from Houston to Austin) raising money for the MS Foundation. Joel has also taken several trips to France to ride. In 2011, he completed the E'tape du Tour, a difficult ride through the French Alps. He is most proud of having climbed Alpe du Huez, Mont Ventoux, the Galibier, and numerous other steep mountains.
Joel previously served elected to the Circle C Ranch Homeowners Association Board of Directors. He was significantly involved in the planning and construction of the Circle C Community Center and Pool.
Joel has recently served as a board member for the KidsActing Foundation, a local non-profit that provided free acting and theater classes to children with Down's Syndrome and on the Autism Spectrum. Joel recently accepted a board position with Variety, The Children's Charity of Texas and is excited to work with them in the coming years to help other differently able children live happy and productive lives.
Lastly, there is a rumor that Joel and his family may be that crazy family that puts on the crazy Harry Potter/Diagon Alley Halloween display.
A New Chapter
Currently, Joel has practiced law for more than 25 years in the state of Texas. In early 2008, Joel, along with Steven Levatino started the law firm of Levatino|Pace, LLP.
Joel’s practice areas include:
Insurance Defense Litigation
Wills and Estate Planning
Construction Law & Litigation
Joel looks forward to the opportunity to work closely with his clients to serve their legal needs. In doing so, Joel strives to develop close, personal relationships with his clients that will translate into better working relationships with them. Joel and the entire Levatino|Pace firm value their client relationships and want to become each client’s trusted advisor.