Nathan Butler Schattman left this earthly life on December 28, 2020.
Even before he was born, Nathan B. Schattman was in the courtroom. During his mother’s pregnancy, Mary Ellen Schattman was fired from her job for simply being pregnant. He was part of the Schattman in Schattman v Texas Employment Commission case. His parents sued for the right to work while pregnant. The case was handled by a new ACLU lawyer named Ruth Bader Ginsburg. They were denied cert at the Supreme Court, but that case led to the law being changed and now being pregnant is no longer an immediate firing offense.
Nathan was the oldest of three and although he hopped around from Austin to Houston as a toddler, by the time he was 2 years old, he knew he was a Fort Worth boy. Following in his father, Mike’s, footsteps, he graduated from Nolan High School in 1987, Georgetown University in 1991, and University of Texas Law School in 1994. Nathan was sworn into the Texas Bar by Judge Schattman, while his proud grandfather looked on, happy that a Schattman practicing law in Texas, a legacy begun in 1945 would continue.
After graduating from law school, Nathan was selected by John Hill, then Chief Justice of the Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth, to serve as his briefing attorney from August 1994 through August 1995. Each attorney serves at the pleasure of the justice, so when Justice Hill, a Democrat, lost to Republican John Cayce in November 1994, Nathan was concerned the new chief justice would select his own briefing attorney. To his surprise, Nathan was asked to stay on for the remainder of his year and, not surprisingly, led the seven briefing attorneys through many themed parties and a group picture in Old West garb gifted to the court in appreciation.
Despite being steeped in Fort Worth history and culture, he had to be taught—painstakingly—to two-step so that he was prepared for the Clinton Inauguration “Black Tie and Boots” Ball. Nathan will be fondly remembered as a better lawyer and friend than dancer.
Nathan was recognized in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012, and 2014 as a Top Attorney by Fort Worth, Texas Magazine. In 2007, he was named a Rising Star by Thomson Reuters in Texas Monthly magazine for his success in representing both employees and employers in labor and employment matters. This year, he was selected as a Fellow in the Texas Bar Foundation. In his final years, Nathan practiced law at Brown, Proctor & Howell, LLP specializing in corporate litigation, labor and employment matters, and civil commercial matters representing the Union Pacific Railroad, insurance companies and financial institutions.
Nathan traveled frequently to Portugal and Brazil and truly adopted the culture, bringing much of it home with him to Texas. He loved his family with a ferocity that was palpable and shared by the many friends he treated as family. From letting Rita borrow his Mustang for her high school reunion, to flying internationally right after 9/11 so he could give Virginia away at her wedding in England (he got a receipt). He brought donuts to his niece Eliza and nephew Bret all the time and purchased tickets to HAMILTON on Broadway for niece Rachel. He played the drums with his niece Amy and was always available for anything his parents needed. And even though he still had an AOL email address, he accepted the good-natured ribbing from his cousins, the only people to challenge his superiority in social oratory. Anyone who knew Nate, knew he was always there for everyone that needed him; his love knew no boundaries.
Nathan turned 50 this year. The milestone was to be celebrated with Virginia and Rita in a summer driving trip through ancestral stomping grounds in Nova Scotia and upstate New York. And even though it was technically HIS birthday, he was game to visit Prince Edward Island so his sisters could see the home of Anne of Green Gables. COVID-19 scuttled the trip, but there were plans to reschedule in 2021.
Nathan suffered from Conn’s syndrome, a rare metabolic disorder that causes an imbalance in the salt and potassium levels in the blood, frequently leading to dangerous high blood pressure. This chronic disorder and 20 pills daily reminded him of the importance of health insurance for pre-existing conditions.
Nathan, Nate to his friends, will be remembered for his love of Georgetown and the Hoyas, UT and the Longhorns, Politics (a lifetime Democrat and unapologetic Friend of Bill (FOB), science fiction, storytelling, golf, basketball, gaming, Portuguese, Ireland and Irish whiskey, especially Connemara and Teeling (attributed to his extended family), and You and Yours (if you were lucky enough to know him).
Nathan is survived by his parents Judge Michael D. Schattman and Mary Ellen Brannigan Schattman and siblings Virginia Thornton and husband Guy Thornton, and Rita Rubins and husband Dan Rubins. His nieces and nephew – Rachel and Amy Rubins and Bret and Eliza Thornton – will be his legacy. He knew they can change the world. He will also be survived by all of the people he helped through his decision to be an organ donor.