Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced Monday the appointment of Daniel Hodge as First Assistant Attorney General and David S. Morales as Deputy First Assistant Attorney General.

Morales is the son of Lupe and Maria Morales, of Robstown.

Hodge and Morales are both veterans of the Texas Attorney General's Office who began their legal careers at the agency and have held senior positions there since 2006. Hodge and Morales will assume their new roles when the current First Assistant Attorney General, Andrew Weber, departs the agency and returns to private practice on Aug. 12.

"As the Deputy Attorney General for Civil Litigation, David Morales has successfully led and directed more than 300 litigators who are responsible for a docket of more than 10,000 active cases on behalf of the State of Texas," Attorney General Abbott said. "Importantly, David has earned the trust and respect of the dozens of state agency clients and officials who have turned to him for legal representation for more than 15 years.

"Fortunately, with David as Deputy First Assistant, divisions all across the agency will now benefit from the wealth of knowledge, experience and legal talent that he brought to the civil litigation divisions."

A graduate of St. Mary's University School of Law, Morales has been the chief litigation counsel for the State of Texas since January 2007. He began his career at the Office of the Attorney General as a law clerk in 1994, soon becoming an Assistant Attorney General in the General Litigation Division. In that capacity,

Morales was lead defense counsel in over 120 cases, trying 13 civil trials to verdict, 10 of which were jury trials. Morales worked his way up the agency's ranks over the next 12 years, including appointments as Associate Deputy Attorney General for Litigation, Chief Ethics Advisor and ultimately, Deputy Attorney General for Civil Litigation. Under Morales' management and direction, his attorneys have tried more than 300 cases to jury verdict and handled thousands of contested hearings in trial and appellate courts throughout Texas. Morales is a graduate of Leadership Austin and the Governor's Executive Development Program, and has been named by Texas Monthly as a "Rising Star" in their annual listing of Super Lawyers. Also a native Texan, Morales grew up in the Corpus Christi area. He and his wife, Mary, live in Austin with their five daughters.

The appointment of Hodge and Morales comes with First Assistant Attorney General Andrew Weber's decision to return to private practice. Thanking Weber for his service, Attorney General Abbott said: "Andrew Weber has been not only a highly successful agency administrator-but also a trusted counselor whose advice I valued tremendously over the last three years. His steady guidance and thoughtful leadership instituted an effective approach to agency governance that will be felt for years to come. We wish Andrew and his wife, Lin, well as he embarks on his next professional challenge-and thank him for his extraordinary service to the State of Texas."

With Morales' appointment as Deputy First Assistant Attorney General, he vacates his role as Deputy Attorney General for Civil Litigation, a position that will be filled by William J. Cobb III.