Litigation: General Commercial: Texas
THE FIRM The firm is at the forefront of litigation across Texas, with a deep and powerful bench in Houston and Austin. The group handles high-level matters on both sides of the docket, drawing upon its prolific litigation talent and record. The firm has its roots in the energy field and has seen ongoing success in this area and others, including legal malpractice defense.
Sources say: "The jury responded positively to the earnestness in which the case was presented and how the key points were made intelligible."
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Beck is cited as "the dean of the trial Bar," a "superb lawyer" with whom clients love to work. Recent work has seen him leading the charge in defending legal malpractice actions.
Appellate specialist David Gunn is also a popular choice among clients, with one source describing him as "a procedural guru of the first order, highly logical and a brilliant orator." Frequently seen before the Supreme Court, he is also hailed for being "innovative and a very good writer."
Murray Fogler, who is said by one source to be "both understated and brilliant at once," has more than 30 years' experience, and a practice covering the spectrum of commercial litigation. Recent work includes legal malpractice defense and complex energy-related arbitrations.
Russell Post is a former Fifth Circuit clerk who has established a thriving appellate practice throughout the circuits. He is experienced in a variety of appellate matters, including pretrial and procedural points of law.
Thomas McDade is of counsel at the firm and best known for his work in the energy field. He has an enormous amount of experience in all manner of disputes.
Alistair Dawson focuses on defending companies in commercial and business litigation. He is commended for having a "great presence with juries."
Joe Redden is a "top-notch trial lawyer" and "a terrific guy," according to sources. A cofounder of the firm, his practice incorporates commercial litigation, product liability and IP.
THE FIRM This full-service firm has more than 400 lawyers across its Houston, Austin and Dallas offices, giving it the breadth and depth to handle all manner of commercial disputes as well as maintain a notable pro bono program. Recent work includes acting on behalf of ConocoPhillips and Chevron Phillips in a significant international natural resource damage dispute with the potential for widespread ramifications.
Sources say: "They have the right team, the right approach and the resources. Top-notch."
KEY INDIVIDUALS William Wood is a highly experienced litigator who is described by sources as "another big energy player." His excellent advocacy skills are a source of confidence for clients, who state: "I can lay down everything, all our concerns and problems, and he will be able to come up with a good defense."
Daniel McClure, also a noted litigator in the energy space, has experience in class actions and qui tam matters. His impressive list of clients includes names such as BP Exploration and Spectra Energy.
Gerard Pecht has a broad practice covering securities and energy matters. Commended for being "very knowledgeable and very responsive," his name frequently appears on Texas briefs for clients such as Cameron and NuStar Energy.
Rodney Acker is "tremendous; a very talented, terrific lawyer" who "knows the securities space very well." Commended for his deep legal knowledge and excellent trial skills, he is a trusted hand for clients like Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse.
Otway Denny is "the master of mass tort litigation in Texas," according to sources, an "extraordinarily gifted" lawyer with a "wonderful courtroom presence." He is renowned for his work following plant explosions and industrial catastrophes.
"Dogged cross-examiner" Reagan Brown is a senior litigator with a reputation to match his many years' experience. He is noted for his resolute commitment to clients and his ability on any legal platform.
Stephen Dillard, chair of the firm's litigation department, maintains a varied commercial practice with clients such as Kinder Morgan and Chevron Phillips.
THE FIRM Over the past twelve months, this litigation boutique has seen unprecedented success, most notably in the form of an $8.5 billion settlement with Bank of America. Quality is woven right through the 29-lawyer bench, which comprises some of the state's most highly regarded lawyers and which has the capacity to handle a wide array of complex commercial, energy and securities litigation and appellate work.
Sources say: "There is no substitute for hiring experts; they didn't research the case, they either knew them or had participated in them; they knew the law, the judges, what our judge was likely to do, what local counsel to bring in - they just knew everything right off the bat. Once we engaged them, I didn't have to be quite as worried as before."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Robin Gibbs litigates in general commercial and energy disputes. Able to captivate a jury with his advocacy, he is cited as a notch above the rest: "He is always prepared, incredibly talented and a statesman in court." He recently secured a $196 million judgment for Bobbitt Noel in a lengthy and highly publicized trial.
Barrett Reasoner also covers energy and commercial litigation. "Insightful, quick and eloquent," he earns praise for being "very good on his feet" and "a worthy adversary." He appeared on behalf of Pioneer Natural Resources in a dispute following Hurricane Rita, and U.S. Pipeline in an industry-related dispute; both matters were settled on terms favorable to the client.
Kathy Patrick's reputation precedes her across Texas, with sources reporting being "really blown away by her." Lead lawyer in the spectacular $8.5 billion settlement with Bank of America, her practice extends across the commercial spectrum while including a focus on securities cases. "She is absolutely fearless, as strong as she is brilliant, and a delight to be around."
THE FIRM This dedicated litigation firm, with a bench of around 100 highly practiced advocates, enjoys a fine reputation for the breadth of its work and the quality of its lawyering. It has a client-focused business model and is well known throughout Texas for its trial work, acting for both plaintiffs and defendants with vigor and excellence across a range of commercial disputes.
Sources say: "Superb lawyers." "A very good firm all around." "A proper trial powerhouse."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Lee Godfrey is proficient in both commercial and energy-related litigation. He is commended for his "great personal charm" which complements his "really incisive mind and hard-hitting style."
Kenneth Marks is praised for his extraordinary diligence: "He thinks constantly about where the other side might find a weakness and then shores it up - he is obsessive about making sure no stone is left unturned." He handles general commercial and securities litigation.
The hugely successful Stephen Susman continues to enjoy a thriving commercial litigation practice. He is a heavyweight lawyer sought after for high-profile matters and is particularly well known for his plaintiff-side representations.
Neal Manne has a "wonderful reputation" among clients and peers, who commend "his ability to understand the central weakness or strength of the case and convey his judgment with analysis that is appropriately detailed and dispassionate and which carries no more certainty than is warranted by the facts."
Barry Barnett is an "excellent lawyer" with an active, predominantly plaintiff-side practice in the east of Texas. His experience includes claims involving, among other things, antitrust, IP, business fraud, energy and insurance.
Harry Susman is "a classy guy and a terrific trial lawyer," according to sources, who also make reference to his "excellent pedigree." He represents plaintiffs and defendants in a range of general commercial disputes.
Mark Wawro is held in high regard by peers, who tout him as "a very fine, very able lawyer" for complex business litigation.
THE FIRM This firm has a long-standing reputation as a leader in the energy market. It remains at the forefront of technical and industrywide disputes and is looked to for expertise in groundbreaking and emerging litigation. The team's litigation capabilities extend beyond this niche area, however, encompassing general commercial, securities and appellate work. It has seen recent action in the widely publicized Huntsman matter and also on behalf of Devon Energy.
Sources say: "A very distinct expertise in the energy field. We rely heavily on the firm for its energy and general trial lawyers."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Marie Yeates is, according to one source, an "outstanding appellate lawyer; very bright, very hard-working and known in particular for being meticulous." This reputation is clearly widespread, with Yeates described elsewhere as "truly amazing" and someone who "can take very complicated things and bring them together to form strong arguments." She is currently involved in a number of high-level appellate cases.
Guy Lipe earns "high marks" from his peers, who regard him as "a brilliant lawyer, very smart and very good with a jury as well." He handles civil litigation and arbitration with a focus on energy-related matters.
Former petroleum engineer James Thompson is duly commended for his excellent industry knowledge and business sense, and also for being "unflappable, easygoing, and very adept at being clear and concise in a way that business people can understand but without pandering to anyone either." His tireless work defending Gastar in multidistrict litigation seeking $1.3 billion in damages ultimately led to a favorable settlement.
David Harvin is a formidable opponent, hugely experienced in both energy-related litigation and business and commercial litigation. He is described by sources as "a brilliant strategist and a brilliant man."
Phillip Dye is also noted for his close ties with energy clients and led alongside James Thompson in the Gastar litigation. Clients praise him as "a real go-to guy who is not afraid to do anything; he is very knowledgeable and able to go off the cuff."
Harry Reasoner remains a force to be reckoned with, commanding an arsenal of experience in energy and commercial matters. He is celebrated as "just a legend in terms of being a fabulous trial lawyer and on Fifth Circuit appeals."
Senior trial lawyer William Sims is "very, very good," according to sources, who cite him as someone who has "obtained some tremendous results." His broad practice covers commercial and business disputes, IP, securities, antitrust and product liability, among other things.
Ferguson McNiel has a varied civil litigation practice, which, in more than 30 years of lawyering, has seen him engaged in numerous commercial, product liability, toxic tort, construction and energy disputes.
Robert Schick, another notable figure within the firm's commercial litigation team, has a practice broadly similar to his colleague McNiel, with experience in product liability, energy, pharmaceuticals, environmental and class actions. Sources say he is "a very able and honorable lawyer who is quite experienced."
THE FIRM This old-time Texas firm is renowned for its quality work and strength across the board. Its experienced commercial litigation team covers all aspects of the market, including securities and appellate work. One example of the fluid interplay between departments is the firm's work for Fluor relating to convertible notes: the litigation team succeeded in defeating a motion for summary judgment before making its own successful motion and obtaining a judgment affirming that decision on appeal to the Fifth Circuit.
Sources say: "I've had wonderful experiences with Baker Botts." "They are spectacularly qualified from top to bottom."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Gregory Copeland has almost 40 years' experience dealing with energy industry disputes and was called upon by BP recently to defend a dispute over royalties which was resolved by an 8-0 victory in the Texas Supreme Court.
Former Texas Supreme Court chief justice Thomas Phillips draws upon his vast experience to achieve top results for clients, with sources noting: "His time on the Bench has helped his practice because he understands the importance of fitting cases to the fabric of the law." He was part of the team involved in the CenterPoint Energy case in which the Supreme Court approved $900 million in stranded costs for the client.
Macey Reasoner Stokes is an "extraordinarily gifted" appellate lawyer who continues to enhance her already excellent reputation. She also worked on the CenterPoint matter and has also recently advised Shell and Accenture on several matters.
Mark Robeck dedicates his practice to energy litigation and regulation, and is called upon to counsel clients on complex and high-stakes matters all around the country. Recent work includes successfully negotiating the dismissal of four gas producers from a class action challenging industrywide practices relating to severance tax refunds.
Chair of the securities litigation practice David Sterling enjoys a "gold standard reputation" in the field. He defends class actions across various industries and is currently leading the team representing Frontier Oil and its directors in a series of merger-related stockholder class actions.
Rod Phelan is a "very talented" trial lawyer who earns himself "tremendous respect" among peers. He is renowned for his work defending law firms against malpractice and other claims, but also represents public and private clients in breach of contract, securities and patent infringement suits.
"All-around dean of the trial Bar" Irv Terrell is a "superb lawyer" whose sterling reputation has been enhanced further recently by a $6 billion win and a $14 billion settlement. His national practice covers the full spectrum of business litigation.
John Anaipakos has an established practice representing clients such as CenterPoint and Gen-On in energy-related and general commercial litigation. Recent work includes advising CenterPoint on a suit brought by the City of Houston alleging over-billing for street lighting services.
Robb Voyles has a lively litigation practice covering a range of disputes and industries. Recently, he has seen action in the securities arena on behalf of Halliburton and been to trial twice defending Accenture, a long-term client.
Richard Josephson is "a terrific lawyer" noted for his commercial litigation practice. He is best known for pharmaceutical litigation and has drawn upon his extensive jury trial experience to build a respected product liability practice.
Stephen Scheve's practice covers the full gamut of pharmaceutical litigation, including IP and commercial disputes and product liability matters.
THE FIRM This highly praised boutique is well known for the knowledge and talent of its trial lawyers and its client-oriented approach to litigation. Despite its relative small size, it is engaged in matters of national and international scale with clients such as TCW Global and GE.
Sources say: "The partners do a lot of the work themselves rather than delegating it down, they get stuck in: they read the documents and do the key depositions."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Firm head Mike Lynn is a tenacious advocate who brings his unique attitude and style to the case. "He is very talented; an exceptional lawyer," said one source. He enjoys a good spectrum of cases on both sides of the docket.
Trey Cox is younger and less experienced than Lynn but has already established a reputation as a very fine lawyer who is easy to work with. A $2.9 million award following a hotly contested arbitration in 2010 against Hanley-Wood demonstrates his top-notch advocacy.
Jeff Tillotson, "another very fine lawyer," is praised for his attention to detail and noted for his ability in commercial disputes. He is currently representing Laura Pendergest-Holt as part of the federal investigation into the alleged Stanford Ponzi scheme.
THE FIRM Litigation firm McKool Smith earns special distinction in the IP arena; however, this should not overshadow its evident trial prowess in commercial litigation, where it regularly handles claims involving, among other things, breach of contract, construction, joint ventures and class actions. The firm recently represented heating and air conditioning manufacturer Lennox in two consumer class actions in California that alleged it failed to disclose adequately that the sealed glass on the front of its gas fireplaces gets hot enough to cause burns.
Sources say: "It has a substantial core of pure courtroom performers, as well as a significant number of younger lawyers who provide all the support work, which is absolutely essential." "It is a firm that markets itself as doing high-stakes litigation because that is what it is good at. This was a high-stakes matter, we interviewed them, and we liked their presentation better than the competition."
KEY INDIVIDUALS "Simply one of the best," Mike McKool is noted for his rigorous preparation and for being "extraordinarily focused and extremely quick on the uptake." Sources note also that "judges have the highest respect for him." He played a lead role in the firm's recent representation and settlement on behalf of Lockheed Martin in an antitrust suit brought by L-3 Communications.
Samuel Baxter is commended by sources for being nimble on his feet and superb on cross-examination. He is also praised for "his ability to relate to jurors and anticipate what they're going to be thinking about or what is going to be of concern to them." Noted for his expertise in IP, he is also highly regarded in general commercial litigation matters. Current work includes a groundbreaking case on behalf of Becton Dickinson involving issues of antitrust and product liability.
Lewis LeClair is known for his pragmatic approach to problems and his unique ability for picking the correct strategy in complex cases. "He's a thinker, a chess player," say sources. He is currently representing the trustee in litigation relating to the bankruptcy of Lake at Las Vegas Joint Venture.
Since publication, Tom Bayko has joined the team from Hogan Lovells. Bayko enjoys an equally successful energy and commercial litigation practice and is commended by sources for being "an excellent lawyer with an uncanny ability to build credibility and understanding with the judge and jury."
THE FIRM This trusted litigation boutique has recently been engaged in a number of high-profile litigation and appellate matters, such as the Skinner v Switzer appeal regarding the existence of a right for a convicted prisoner to request and receive DNA evidence used in their prosecution. The firm also remains active in general commercial litigation for clients such as American Airlines, ExxonMobil and GE. The recent addition of Reagan Simpson to the firm's bench is a notable coup.
Sources say: "In terms of bang for your buck, it is as good as any firm I've come across." "What really distinguishes them is that, in the discovery phase, they are diligent and thorough, which gives them a huge advantage for the remainder of the proceedings."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Reagan Simpson recently joined the firm as head of its appellate group, bringing with him bags of experience and ability in both trial and appeal. Sources have the "utmost respect for him," describing him as a "consummate lawyer and the kind of guy you would want anything handled by."
Paul Yetter can "take really complex issues and work out how to explain them to a Texas judge or jury," say sources. A frequent first chair, he has developed a thriving practice working on high-dollar class actions, such as on behalf of Vistaprint in the successful dismissal of allegations of unauthorized charging.
THE FIRM The firm's litigation department is renowned for its proficiency in serious and complex litigation involving alleged legal malpractice, high-end fraud and RICO. It is currently defending Morgan Keegan & Company in a national $10 billion claim arising out of a stock analysis report. The plaintiffs allege that the 'underperform' rating was misplaced and was arrived at in collusion with the named co-defendants. This is significant given the future implications for analysts to write critically and honestly about company performance.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Fletcher Yarbrough is a "fabulous Texas lawyer" who maintains a mixed litigation practice. He is particularly well known for his work in the financial services and securities arenas.
Founding partner James Coleman remains one of the best-known lawyers in Texas. In his 30-plus years as a civil trial lawyer, he has been involved in almost every type of business litigation imaginable; of late, he has mainly been defending firms and individuals in malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty claims.
THE FIRM The firm's 200-strong trial and appellate team has a diverse commercial practice, with particular expertise in real estate, energy, securities and class actions. Notable recent highlights include the ongoing representation of the NFL in a putative class action involving claims of breach of contract and fraud against the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys for allegedly not providing prescribed seats to ticketholders at Super Bowl XLV. Other recent clients include Shell, ATA Airlines and AT&T.
Sources say: "Good, clear advice - they understand our business concerns and have good commercial judgment."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Nina Cortell is praised for her exceptional organizational skills and her ability to frame complex matters in language meaningful to appellate judges. She was lead appellate counsel to ASARCO in its $3.6 billion reorganization, successfully fending off a challenge by stakeholders.
Lynne Liberato also focuses on appellate work. "A quick study" and "a worthy opponent," she recently secured the affirmation of a take-nothing judgment in the Fifth Circuit, defeating a multimillion-dollar claim against her client.
"Star of the group" George Bramblett has an excellent reputation for complex business and commercial litigation and is lead lawyer on the NFL representation mentioned above. Sources describe him as a "classy professional and straight shooter" and praise his "great people skills."
Karen Precella is "an excellent lawyer: very bright, very hard-working and really good at the analysis." She is commended also for her writing skills, with one source insisting: "She is the best writer I have ever seen."
THE FIRM Multinational clients are drawn to this group, not just because of the clear talent on show, but also because of the firm's huge global reach and bench depth. The team's work on behalf of Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire and Travelnow.com is hugely significant given the potential ramifications for the future of the e-travel industry and illustrates its capacity to manage and conduct litigation on a national scale.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Scott Fletcher is hailed as a superb securities lawyer by peers. He has earned this reputation through his involvement in headline cases, such as the firm's recent representation of Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, in which it successfully repelled a $43.1 billion hostile takeover bid by BHP Billiton.
The experienced Patricia Villareal maintains a respected securities-focused practice and was also a lead member of the team advising PotashCorp. She is currently partner-in-charge of the firm's Dallas office.
James Karen is commended by sources for his excellent trial skills and has made his mark on Texas by taking the lead on numerous high-profile matters. His key involvement in the e-travel litigation mentioned above will impact every business in the industry.
THE FIRM This firm continues to do highly reputable work in the energy space, including domestic and international arbitration matters, and has also seen recent activity in securities and shareholder derivative litigation. The team is currently representing KBR and Halliburton in federal litigation relating to KBR's work as a contractor supporting military operations in Iraq.
Sources say: "I was pleasantly surprised how quickly they got to grips with our business; I received excellent service from start to finish."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Robert Meadows is a well-known commercial and energy litigator who earns praise as a "really superb lawyer with a terrific amount of trial experience." He is a lead lawyer in the KBR/Halliburton litigation.
Doak Bishop specializes in international arbitration, particularly in the context of energy, construction and environmental disputes, and is duly regarded as "one of the best in the country." He also handles major business litigation.
THE FIRM This Dallas-headquartered national firm offers a broad litigation practice with additional capacity in appellate matters. A recent example of its strong appellate group is its representation of Service Corporation International and SCI Texas Funeral Services, in which the team was able to overturn a multimillion-dollar judgment for intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and trespass with potential national significance. The firm has also built an extensive practice representing banks and other financial institutions in recovery and mortgage-based litigation.
Sources say: "It is involved in some high-quality litigation - one of the more substantial firms."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Mike Hatchell, cited as the "godfather of appellate law in Texas," is noted for his "great gift for seeing the points that would be persuasive to an appellate court and condensing them into clear and concise terms." He has a wonderful reputation for his work before the Texas Supreme Court, where he recently represented Columbia Rio Grande Healthcare in successfully reversing a healthcare liability judgment. He was also a key figure in the SCI representation mentioned above.
James Leahy has a varied litigation practice with an emphasis on energy work, and actually chairs the firm's energy litigation group. A formidable courtroom attorney, he is hailed by one source as "one of the best cross-examiners I have ever seen."
Michael Powell is a trusted hand for both trial and appellate work, offering expertise in a range of commercial, energy, construction, product liability and professional malpractice disputes. Of particular note has been his work in the aviation arena defending against various passenger actions.
Firm chair Jerry Clements is "a highly practiced commercial litigator who is not only an outstanding trial lawyer but also an outstanding businessperson." She has more than 30 years' experience in contract, oil and gas, environmental, technology and other litigation.
The experienced Robert Beatty focuses on oil and gas disputes, handling litigation, arbitration and mediation.
THE FIRM This team of ten trial-hardened lawyers is frequently involved in complex, high-value disputes on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants. Its capability is evidenced by recent work on behalf of Toby Shor and Seashore Investments in which, following a two-week hearing, a $57 million arbitral award was secured on behalf of the client and the plaintiff's claim of $64 million was defeated in its entirety.
Sources say: "A phenomenal group of lawyers."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "very smart and extremely hard-working" Christopher Reynolds is, according to sources, "a brilliant lawyer" and "the complete package." His practice encompasses energy and general commercial litigation.
Jean Frizzell has "great judgment and a great work ethic" and a respected commercial practice working for clients such as Toby Shor and Seashore Investments. He was involved in the $64 million dispute mentioned above.
THE FIRM This boutique is a familiar sight in Texas courts and has, over the past 15 years, established an impressive reputation and track record. This has enabled it to attract and retain big-name clients such as ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil. In April 2011, the firm secured a key ruling on behalf of another major client, Del Monte, preventing the plaintiff from recovering any of the $30.6 million in damages claimed.
Sources say: "Extremely efficient, smart and very selective."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Lee Kaplan is a personable lawyer, "good on his feet and unassuming before the court." He works a lot with ConocoPhillips, handling a broad range of litigation, and drawing upon his extensive trial experience and knowledge of hi-tech industry disputes.
Craig Smyser impresses with his client skills, in particular his ability to "explain to the client what the issues are and what the best way to approach them is." He is also commended for his "strategic insight," which comes in useful in trials and appeals, and in matters ranging from securities to IP to mass torts.
THE FIRM This national firm draws on its extensive breadth and depth to deliver top-class service out of its Houston and Dallas offices. Recent highlights include guiding the Texas Rangers Baseball Partners through a contentious Chapter 11 process, ultimately leading to an unprecedented sale. The team also defended Verizon against claims of fraudulent transaction and breach of fiduciary duty following a failed business spin-off transaction.
Sources say: "Something I feel sets them apart is that they seem to be genuinely interested in the business, so even when there is not a matter ongoing they think about your business and case." "I felt the firm was very client-focused; there were a lot of things that came up and they took care of every detail."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Yvette Ostolaza is described as "a force of nature" and has "every arrow in her quiver that you would want - incredibly well versed in commercial litigation." She is currently representing the board of directors at Halliburton in two stockholder derivative suits.
THE FIRM This 70-partner litigation team is particularly well known for its energy-related practice, attracting clients such as Anadarko, ConocoPhillips and Halliburton. It has been at the forefront of the surge in toxic tort and nuisance claims, defending the industry against class action filings. Current matters include work on behalf of Tide Natural Gas Storage in a groundbreaking $500 million dispute following the purchase of a storage facility.
Sources say: "The litigation group is spot-on; they are good lawyers, they get up to speed very efficiently on our projects; you can lean on them pretty heavily and they will work double."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Distinguished litigator Clifford Gunter brings to bear a huge arsenal of experience in the firm's major engagements. He was instrumental in winning the dismissal of suits against the outside directors of Anadarko on matters of fiduciary duty arising out of the Deepwater Horizon blow-out.
Warren Harris has a prominent appellate practice, with sources noting: "He's smooth, has great arguments, great clients, important cases." A diligent lawyer operating within a strong team, he can be relied upon to be "thorough, well prepared and hard-working."
Brett Busby is a young but accomplished appellate lawyer who is already gaining a statewide presence. He has had exposure at various levels, including state Supreme Court.
Litigation head Stephen Crain "is very bright and knowledgeable in the energy field" and enters the rankings this year thanks to strong market endorsement and an impressive workload, which includes the work on behalf of Tide Natural Gas Storage mentioned above. "He's diligent, he's on top of things, he's pragmatic; he takes complex situations and boils them down to their fundamentals and provides practical advice on how to move forward," said one source.
THE FIRM The firm has impressive strength in securities and appellate matters and a busy commercial and energy litigation practice acting for clients such PwC, Intel and Viacom. Work on behalf of the City of Irving has seen the trial and appellate teams in action, taking a lead role in the much-publicized dispute over a $200 million proposed bond issuance for the funding of the Irving Entertainment & Hotel development. At trial, the court affirmed the City's proposal, then on appeal, the team secured affirmations on two out of three trial rulings, with the remaining issue being remanded to the trial court.
Sources say: "They did an incredibly masterful job organizing a response and initiating a number of technical strategies to protect us." "Very responsive and efficient; I presented a bit of a crisis/emergency question that required a quick answer and they were able to deliver in an unreasonable timeframe."
KEY INDIVIDUALS William Dawson is a "terrific trial lawyer" and a new addition to the firm. He is a big name across Texas, with an established litigation practice covering malpractice claims, white-collar crime and energy-related disputes.
Appellate lawyer James Ho, who is a former Texas solicitor general, is described by sources as "a really creative thinker; very high energy and very collaborative." He has a substantial amount of appeals court experience, including three victories at the US Supreme Court. Recent work includes a notable victory in the Federal Court of Appeals regarding the use of affirmative action by the University of Texas in its undergraduate admissions. "He is extraordinarily bright; very compelling and persuasive at oral argument."
THE FIRM This Texas firm offers statewide coverage, with 125 litigators spread across offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, San Antonio and San Angelo. The commercial litigation and arbitration team has specific expertise in aviation, media and e-discovery solutions, representing clients such as ABC and Google. The department received public attention for its successful representation of Justice Sharon Keller.
Sources say: "They know me better than I know myself. When you have these cases going on, they are always available; they travel internationally and all over the USA." "There was never a time they weren't brilliantly prepared with every detail, so we were always well assured of what was going to happen."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Charles Babcock is a "tremendous lawyer, a crackerjack" who "fills the courtroom" with his sheer ability and intellect. Alongside complex commercial litigation, he has a successful record in First Amendment cases, and was recently successful on behalf of CBS in preventing the forensic analysis of a freelance journalist's computer. He also led on the Keller case mentioned above.
THE FIRM This relative newcomer to the Texas market has seen notable success since opening its doors in 2007. The commercial litigation practice covers energy, mass torts and product liability litigation, and services clients such as Tyco International; while the appellate team has been widely commended for its precedent-setting work on the Global-Tech v SEB case at the US Supreme Court.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Winstol Carter is a "very fine lawyer" with more than 30 years' experience of complex commercial litigation for clients such as Bell Helicopter and Toyota. He also cochairs the firm's IP practice and has a particularly keen understanding of disputes arising in that arena.
Brady Edwards, managing partner of the firm's Houston office, has an active product liability and tortious litigation practice. He works closely with Tyco International, dealing with silica and asbestos claims across the country.
The "extraordinarily talented" Allyson Ho has notable experience in the appeal courts, including at the US Supreme Court, and was part of the team working on the SEB matter mentioned previously. She has also led on a number of appeals, and represented Deutsche Bank Trust in securing a reversal in the Sixth Circuit.
THE FIRM This tight-knit team is noted for being highly responsive and is commended for its capacity to take a case to trial. It has an active commercial litigation practice with additional expertise in aviation-related litigation. In recent work, the group secured a $4.6 million jury verdict on behalf of MumboJumbo arising out of a breach of contract dispute.
Sources say: "We keep using them because they are incredibly proficient, and they get the idea that litigation isn't about farming revenue, it's about results."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Martin Rose is an "extremely knowledgeable" lawyer whose extensive practice covers fiduciary duty and IP litigation. He recently represented Illumination Innovation in a patent infringement claim against several manufacturers, distributors and retailers of LED flashlight bulbs.
Tenacious advocate Ross Cunningham is a consistently good performer. His commercial litigation practice has a focuses on product liability defense and aviation litigation.
THE FIRM This firm is deeply rooted in the Texas market, with offices in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston. The skill of the litigation team, which offers expertise in commercial, securities and energy disputes and appellate matters, is evidenced by recent work on behalf of Hunt Oil, in which a drilling dispute was taken to trial and then appeal court before being defended successfully.
Sources say: "An extremely good firm. Quality people."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Craig Haynes has experience in a variety of business litigation, but focuses mainly on energy-related matters. His recent clients include Hunt Oil, on whose behalf he litigated in the drilling dispute mentioned above.
Timothy McCormick has an established commercial practice focusing on M&A and securities litigation and corporate and stockholders' rights. Recent engagements have seen him successfully defend two board members of Allegiance Telecom in securities class action claim valued at $125 million.
Claudia Wilson Frost
recently joined DLA Piper LLP (US)'s Houston office. The successful trial and appellate lawyer adds depth in the areas of IP, healthcare, oil and gas and product liability, bringing with her well-established relationships within the legal community.
of Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP is hailed by sources as "a hell of a lawyer"
and "one of the finest appellate lawyers in the state."
His many years spent as a judge are useful in a private practice that has seen him take cases as far as the state Supreme Court.
of Ratliff Law Firm PLLC has an active litigation and appellate practice that focuses primarily on energy disputes. He has appeared across both state and federal appeal circuits.
of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates enjoys a successful securities practice and is hailed by sources as a "very smart, very hard-working"
lawyer who "really knows his stuff and is fun to be around."
He was retained by Anadarko in stockholder derivative litigation stemming from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
of Alexander Dubose & Townsend LLP is "a leading individual"
in the appellate arena and someone who "makes great arguments."
His work on behalf of Hanson Aggregates established several precedents, including that a nuisance finding has to be based on intent, negligence, or strict liability.
is another of the boutique's name partners. He has an impressive background in appellate work stretching back almost 30 years, and is noted in particular for the strength of his written arguments.
, also with Alexander Dubose & Townsend, is noted for his high-profile work with high-profile clients. "This is someone to whom the client can be assured the judges will listen and pay attention,"
said a source. His efforts on behalf of Brocade saw the reversal of an adverse $13 million judgment following a trial alleging fraud in the inducement.
The "extremely well-qualified" Deborah Hankinson
of Hankinson LLP is highly regarded for both trial and appellate work.
of Strasburger & Price LLP is an articulate appellate lawyer who makes "very cogent arguments."
He is "experienced in every type of case imaginable,"
according to sources.
of K&L Gates has a varied litigation practice, but has been especially busy of late defending legal malpractice suits. Other active areas include construction litigation.
of McGuireWoods LLP is extremely highly regarded, with sources noting: "He is a brilliant guy but he never wears his brilliance; he is understated and self-effacing, he listens carefully, he is a gentleman."
His busy securities practice has seen him defend against government agency-led cases and represent in matters on behalf of clients such as Maxxam in a case against two former Lehman Brothers brokers.
of Pierce & O’Neill, LLP an "outstanding lawyer: very intelligent, very organized and will work out how the client wants to work."
He specializes in energy litigation.
of Schiffer Odom Hicks & Johnson PLLC also focuses on energy litigation, although he is adept too in a range of commercial disputes. In the past year, he has tried and won three jury trials.
's excellent work in the securities field has earned him a reputation for being "terrific, extremely bright and talented."
A new addition to the practice at Schiffer Odom, he is experienced in regulatory enforcement, securities litigation and the defense of securities fraud class actions.
of Watt, Beckworth, Thompson & Henneman continues to be highly rated in the energy litigation field. He focuses primarily on oil and gas disputes and is effective in arbitration and at trial on behalf of plaintiffs or defendants.
established Enoch Kever PLLC in spring 2011. He is an accomplished lawyer who maintains a strong appellate and litigation practice with an emphasis on finance-related disputes.
of Porter Hedges LLP is a well-known commercial litigation attorney with experience in, among other things, class actions, stockholder derivative suits, D&O and antitrust. William Knull
of Mayer Brown LLP has a broad practice with a prominent energy element. He receives recognition too for his commercial arbitration work, which is national and international in scope. Recent highlights include his representation of the estate of Ronald Jensen in which an adverse $63 million verdict was successfully reduced to $1.8 million and recovery proceedings for overpayment initiated.
Sources say Dick Sayles
of Sayles Werbner, PC is "a cut above."
He is a highly experienced advocate focusing on commercial disputes, particularly those involving securities and product liability.
His partner Mark Werbner
impresses with his trial skills, with one source noting: "I can't say enough good things about him."
He represents plaintiffs and defendants in litigation arising out of complex business disputes and fatal or catastrophic injury claims. "Prime lawyer" Leon Carter
of Carter Stafford Arnett Hamada & Mockler is highly regarded among his peers. He deals with a variety of commercial and IP litigation.
of Kane Russell Coleman & Logan PC is commended for his business-sensitive approach to litigation: "While he is spectacular in the courtroom, he does his best to keep you out."
His practice is far-reaching, encompassing litigation and arbitration in America and China and including a strong bankruptcy-related focus.
of Ajamie LLP is extremely popular with clients, with one noting: "I just think he does everying well; he listens well, has great judgment and isn't constrained by typical thinking or solutions."
He is further praised for being "very forthright and very straightforward."
He has built a broad commercial practice acting for clients such as Dell and JSW Steel. Orrin Harrison
of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is highly regarded in the securities arena, although his work extends to complex business disputes. A top-class advocate, he is called upon to deal with high-risk and high-value disputes at trial and appellate level.
, also of Akin Gump, has a respected appellate practice that follows many successful years as a judge on the Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas. He has seen action in a various Texas and federal courts.
of Hogan Lovells US LLP has an active commercial practice and is well known for his work on behalf of the aviation industry dealing with claims stemming from airborne catastrophes and product liability. His clients include Airbus and Pride International.
of Andrews Kurth LLP has "an excellent mind"
and is cited as "someone I would call on if I were wrestling with a serious question."
He spent 20 years in a judicial capacity before focusing his vast knowledge and experience on defending major clients such as BP. "He has a very objective view about the law and when he goes before the appellate court he gets great respect."
of Baker Hostetler focuses on energy litigation, where his background in geology gives him unique technical and commercial insights. "He has that ability to comprehend the big picture as well as a lot of the micro facts chatacteristics of the case,"
said one source. "He's a pleasure to work with and one of the most intelligent people I've ever met."
His colleague Thomas Kruse
is recommended for his expert handling of complex commercial disputes, proving himself to be "remarkably persuasive in arbitration"
as well as in litigation. Sources say: "He not only possesses all of the legal skills, but he balances those skills to mesh with the interests of his client."
of Shipley Snell Montgomery has many years of experience in general commercial disputes and earns praise for his ability to "think critically and strategically in positioning a case to put us in the best light in front of a jury."
He is also commended for his advocacy and his keen business sense. "He sees things which can get stuck in the weeds and avoids them; he's very efficient and very adaptable."
joins the Sidley Austin LLP influx following the firm's unveiling of its new Houston office. The former Baker Botts lawyer has "great ability in front of a jury and is well regarded by the judges,"
say sources, who also praise him as "fabulously smart."
He is regularly involved in large-scale, complex litigation, and is experienced across commercial, energy and securities-related matters.
Since publication, James Maloney
has joined Andrews Kurth LLP from Baker Botts. Maloney is a skilled securities lawyer with a particular focus on prosecuting or defending hostile acquisition bids.
Since publication, Samuel Cooper
has joined Paul Hastings LLP from Baker Botts. Cooper enjoys a flourishing securities litigation practice and is cited as "very talented"
and a "go-to guy in the field."