Niles was born in Dallas and attended Good Shephard Episcopal School before being admitted to Jesuit College Preparatory School. After graduating from Jesuit, Niles spent more than a decade in academia, first as an undergraduate student, then a graduate student, and finally a law student.
When Niles graduate from the University of Houston’s Law Center he started his real legal education—a coveted clerkship on Houston’s First Court of Appeals under the Honorable Evelyn V. Keyes. Niles attributes nearly everything he knows about legal writing and legal analysis to Justice Keyes.
Since leaving the Court, Niles has worked primarily as an appellate attorney representing clients in a variety of criminal and civil matters. These varied representations have covered the legal spectrum but include:
Criminal (Federal and State)
- Capital Murder
- Aggravated Robbery
- Aggravated Assault
- Variety of Sex Offenses
- Variety of Drug Offenses
- Variety of Intoxication Offenses
- Variety of Firearms Offenses
- Burglary, and many other offenses (including some misdemeanors).
Niles has also represented a variety of clients (both plaintiffs and defendants) in civil appeals. These include representation in federal and state courts in cases concerning:
- Property Division
- Maritime Appeals
- Shareholder Liability
- Personal Injury and,
- Protective Orders and a variety of other civil appeals
In addition to appellate practice, Niles also represents clients on writs of habeas corpus, writs of mandamus, and 2254/2255 motions. This representation has included:
- Claims of ineffective assistance of counsel
- Challenges to requirement to register as a sex offender and,
- Challenges to federal sentences.
Writs are a particular challenge for any attorney. But many writs require considerable research into nuanced psychological conditions. Niles’ experience in academics permits him to do the required academic research into a particular condition to establish whether that condition provided a legitimate basis for a defense.
Finally, Niles has a limited administrative practice which has included seeking administrative relief for:
- Wrongful requirement to register as a sex offender, and
- Complex challenges to sales tax assessments.
Niles also has an active motion practice in which he writes or responds to motions in civil or criminal cases in state and federal court. Niles was often hired by other attorneys to write or respond to their motions.
Niles is admitted to all State Courts in Texas and has practiced before nearly all of the fourteen intermediate-appellate courts, the Court of Criminal Appeals (highest criminal court in Texas), and the Texas Supreme Court (highest civil court in Texas). The Court of Criminal Appeals is a discretionary court and thus very few defendants have a right to have the Court hear their case. Most cases that the Court hears are brought forward on a petition for discretionary review. The Court has granted leave to hear cases that Niles has brought.
Additionally, Niles has been admitted to numerous federal courts including the Northern District of Texas, the Eastern District of Texas, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (Chicago).
For many years, Niles had his own office, The Law Office of Niles Illich, Ph.D., J.D. Niles and Scott worked together and eventually Scott encouraged Niles to join Scott H. Palmer, P.C., which Niles was delighted to do.
When not at work, Niles is usually taking his daughter to a birthday party. But if he has a free moment he can often be found at the Interabang bookstore looking for a new novel to read. Niles’ favorite book is either Catch-22 or East of Eden.
Niles, his wife, and their daughter live in Dallas but dream about the mountains.