Bracewell has one of the nation’s premier litigation practices. For more than 70 years, our lawyers have handled almost every type of commercial dispute in venues throughout the country and the world. Every case is important to us. Every issue that matters to our clients matters to us. In building our much-celebrated practice, we have earned the respect of judges, arbitrators, colleagues, and opponents.
Our outstanding courtroom advocacy, creative thinking, and grit continuously receive extraordinary recognition. In 2019, we were named Commercial Litigation Firm of the Year at the inaugural Chambers USA Texas Awards. Chambers USA (2019) commended our “deep bench with a reputation for creative approaches to disputes.” Texas Lawyer named our team the Large Law Firm Litigation Department of the Year in 2017. Legal 500 (2016) called us a “litigation powerhouse,” noting our “broad range of high-value disputes.” Law360 (2016) likewise recognized our leading litigation practice, naming us to its inaugural list of Litigation Powerhouses, which identified the top 50 litigation practices in the nation. Law360 (2016) further highlighted Bracewell as being part of an “elite group” of only five firms with fewer than 200 litigation attorneys included on its list of “litigation heavyweights.”
Bracewell’s appellate practice and lawyers are recognized nationally and regionally by publications such as Chambers USA and The Legal 500 United States. Headed by one of Texas’ most experienced appellate lawyers, the team has briefed and presented oral arguments before the Supreme Court of Texas, federal courts of appeals nationwide and state appellate courts throughout Texas. Bracewell’s appellate team has a wealth of experience in high-stakes commercial cases and in a wide variety of subject-matter areas, including energy, environmental, insurance and intellectual property.
Clients rely on Bracewell’s appellate lawyers to analyze legal issues rigorously and creatively; write briefs that are sophisticated yet readable; and efficiently use the limited time at oral argument to persuade judges on the most critical points. We are frequently sought to handle appellate work from clients represented in the trial courts by other firms. We also regularly join a client’s legal team early in order to shape strategy and preserve error with a view toward success on appeal.
Bracewell’s construction litigation team brings first chair courtroom experience and technical industry knowledge to construction disputes, representing clients in state and federal courts and in arbitration proceedings. Clients reported to Chambers USA 2020 that “the team’s strengths are responsiveness, knowledge of the law and ability to give good advice and counsel” and are “always really responsive and easy to deal with.” In addition to litigation and arbitration matters, we counsel an array of owners, product manufacturers, homebuilders, general contractors, and design professionals in internal investigations and in developing strategies to minimize or resolve potential claims without undermining business objectives and relationships.
Bracewell’s labor and employment group has great depth of experience in litigation, with trial experience including Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective actions, complex Employee Retirement Income Securities Act (ERISA) litigation, and employment discrimination jury trials. Bracewell takes a business-minded approach to employment litigation and has an exceptional record of avoiding trials with successful dispositive motions and favorable settlements. In situations in which it is appropriate for a case to go to trial, Bracewell’s team is ready. In addition to employment trial experience, Bracewell’s team has substantial jury experience in non-labor matters, including criminal proceedings.
Bracewell’s energy focus—We Know Energy®—extends to our trial lawyers, who excel in disputes involving issues unique to the energy industry. In the oil and gas arena, we have fought and won cases involving joint operating agreements, development agreements, royalty disputes, title disputes, surface use agreements, environmental issues, damaged well bores, and oilfield intellectual property, including patents and trade secrets. Our power practice includes representing some of the largest power producers in the world in litigation and arbitrations throughout the United States and before state and federal regulatory bodies. From cross-border disputes to renewables, our team has addressed every major issue faced by the power industry.
Legal 500 (2020) clients recognized Bracewell’s litigation practice as “a major force in the energy sector,” and as an “effective group of litigators…able to focus on the overall outcome of a case while handling important minute details.” Chambers USA (20202) reported our clients' noted “the team’s strengths are responsiveness, knowledge of the law and the ability to give good advice and counsel.”
Recognizing that many industries face ever higher expectations for compliance with state and federal mandates, ESG assists companies in developing, implementing, and continually improving strategies for cost-effective compliance with all major state and federal environmental programs. We represent clients in enforcement proceedings and incident investigations, including parallel civil and criminal actions in high-profile matters. Our attorneys are also widely recognized for their strength in auditing, audit disclosures, and compliance management systems. In the litigation context, we are able to combine the experience and talents of our nationally-recognized environmental regulatory practitioners with our seasoned trial lawyers, drawing on decades of experience in the courtroom as well as familiarity with the regulatory and technical details on which these cases often turn.
Bracewell’s financial institutions litigation practice draws upon the firm’s full global resources in areas of law that directly impact financial institutions. In every matter we handle, we develop a strategic plan that aligns with the clients’ goals and meets expectations as efficiently as possible. We represent U.S. and international banks, thrifts, trust companies, broker-dealers, specialty finance organizations, and private equity groups. We have years of broad and diverse experience representing financial institutions and financial services industry clients in complex litigation, arbitration, and mediation. We work closely with our transactional and regulatory lawyers to advise our clients of risks in the current environment so that they are able to avoid future litigation.
Blending its specialist sector focus and know-how, our international energy disputes team handles matters spanning the full energy spectrum around the globe. In oil and gas, our lawyers advise on disputes concerning all aspects of the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors, including exploration, production, transportation, pricing, refining, processing and marketing. In the power industry, we are trusted advisors to clients involved in both conventional and non-conventional power disputes, including generation, transmission, networks and related infrastructure. Our international energy disputes team presents a comprehensive suite of dispute resolution services, drawing in particular on its extensive experience in leading all forms of complex, high-stakes investigations, litigation and international arbitration proceedings, including under the ICC, UNCITRAL, ICSID, SIAC, HKIAC, SCMA, LMAA, GAFTA, CIETAC, DIFC and LCIA rules.
Bracewell’s IP lawyers combine their litigation and technology experience to provide efficient and effective representation of our clients in complex IP matters in venues across the United States, including the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Our team members, many of whom are registered patent attorneys with advanced technical degrees, are able to present persuasively technical details to judges and juries, and represent U.S. and international companies in a variety of industries including computer, software, energy, media, retail, telecommunications, and finance.
Our renewable energy disputes team draws upon their experience across the entire energy spectrum to assist our renewable energy clients when issues arise. Our team includes skilled trial lawyers with experience in arbitrations, courts and regulatory proceedings in both U.S. and foreign jurisdictions including the International Chamber of Commerce. Our clients include developers of solar, wind, waste-to-energy, hydropower, and power generators along with investors, financial institutions, manufacturers and contractors who have faced a myriad of issues including force majeure, construction delays, breach of warranties and governmental proceedings affecting their renewable projects.
Public and private companies, boards of directors, committees of boards, individual directors, and individual officers regularly turn to Bracewell to defend them in all aspects of securities litigation. Our practice includes defending securities fraud class actions, fiduciary duty claims, shareholder derivative actions and M&A, proxy and corporate governance litigation. Bracewell’s securities litigators have represented clients in numerous federal and state courts across the country, including Delaware. Our securities litigators conduct audit committee and special litigation committee investigations in response to shareholder, governmental and internal demands. Our teams are prepared to take our cases to trial, recognizing in reality that many cases in the securities arena are dismissed at the pleading stage or otherwise are resolved prior to trial. Lawsuits, claims and investigations frequently run on a parallel basis, and our team is adept at managing all aspects of these actions to optimize efficiency and results.
Recent Notable Matters
Major chemical manufacturer — defense of owner of chemical manufacturing facility in cost allocation arbitration involving highly-complex Superfund site and consisting of 35 trial days over a four-month period before a three-member JAMS panel
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC — defense of FERC-certificated $2 billion interstate natural gas pipeline against multiple environmental and Natural Gas Act challenges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth and D.C. Circuits, including briefing and oral argument
Pier 1 Imports, Inc. — Defended the company and its former CEO and CFO in a putative class action asserting claims of securities fraud. The firm obtained dismissal of all claims in 2016, and the claims were dismissed again in 2018 with prejudice.
Apache Corporation — Defended the company against two Texas-based energy companies and a third from Oklahoma. The plaintiffs have alleged potential damages of more than US$1.1 billion relating to certain purchase and sale agreements, mineral leases, and mutual interest agreements concerning properties located in four Texas counties in the Permian Basin.
Baker Hughes Incorporated — Lawsuit filed by a German company that operates numerous natural gas storage caverns in Germany. The plaintiff sued Baker Hughes alleging that equipment sold by a Baker Hughes affiliate was defective. The arbitration is now complete and the case is proceeding.
Manchester Financial Group/Hunt Construction Company — Representing the owner/developer with respect to construction matters on the $300+ million Fairmont Convention Hotel – Austin. This is a large matter with disputes in the millions related to the construction by the general contractor, among others.
Apache Corporation — a widely watched case where the plaintiffs claim that Apache has failed to pay correct royalties and failed to account correctly for co-tenancy rights in more than 100 horizontal wells over 13,000 acres in the sought-after Permian Basin Region
City of Irving, Texas — $200+ million construction and development of the Toyota Music Factory venue. The firm is advising on outstanding construction disputes relating to completion of construction and the issuance of TIF reimbursement funds. Currently the firm is counsel to the City in three lawsuits filed against the City in Dallas County District Court.
The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A. — obtained dismissal of all claims against client in several federal securities fraud lawsuits brought by unitholders of oil & gas royalty trusts against the client in its capacity as trustee
Valero Energy Corporation — litigating cases in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals and in the Northern District of Texas challenging US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rules implementing the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS)
Southern Copper Corporation — defending client and certain members of its board of directors in shareholder derivative class action complaint asserting alleged breach of contract and alleged breach of fiduciary duties
NBH Bank — Representing lender in connection with the default of a $49 million loan for the development of more than 1,700 acres of raw land in Georgetown, Texas into a high-end, master-planned residential community. After two years of litigation in the bankruptcy court, NBH Bank prevailed and foreclosed on the property. NBH Bank is currently pursuing claims against more than 20 guarantors in Dallas state court for the multi-million deficiency. In addition, significant disputes between the bank, as the new property owner, and the other developers in the area have arisen relating to the parties’ entitlement to millions of dollars in Municipal Utility District reimbursements.
Wawasan Agrolipids SDN BHD — favorably resolved cases filed by distributors of products in the United States. Plaintiffs asserted claims under the RICO and Robinson-Patman Acts, alleging that the clients conspired with each other and the other defendants to improperly usurp business opportunities, acquire their customers, and obtain their trade secrets