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Hugh M. Ray, III

Houston Office
Houston Office

600 Travis Street
Suite 7000
Houston, TX 77002
TEL: 713.485.7303 FAX: 713.485.7344

Hugh M. Ray, III is a Principal in McKool Smith's Houston office. Mr. Ray's practice focuses on complex reorganization, bankruptcy, and commercial litigation. He has represented publicly traded companies who successfully reorganized in bankruptcy and major creditors in their collection from complex bankruptcies. He has been the lead trial counsel in several high-profile and bet-the-company cases. 

Though he has been board certified in business bankruptcy law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2005, Mr. Ray works to avoid the expense of a chapter 11 bankruptcy when possible.  Mr. Ray has earned the preeminent “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell by, among other things, perfecting trial skill and boardroom skill.  He has been elected to the American Law Institute as a member consulting on several projects, including the Transnational Insolvency Project and the Law of American Indians.  He has been made a Life Fellow of the Fellows of the American Bar Association and is “Master” of both the Garland Walker Inn of Court and the Moller/Foltz Inn of Court, where he advocates for professionalism.  

Representative Matters

  • In re Armada Water Assets, Inc. Lead counsel for chapter 11 oilfield service company with operations in Texas, Utah and Colorado including trucking, brining, and processing facilities. 

  • In re Sneed Shipbuilding, Inc. Represented the official committee of unsecured creditors in chapter 11 case of vessel construction and drydock facility debtor.   

  • In re Tristream East Texas, LLC. Represented the official committee of unsecured creditors of chapter 11 debtor with over 400 miles of gas-gathering pipeline, numerous gas compression facilities and treatment operations.  

  • In re Dune Energy, Inc., et alRepresented Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors and acted as lead trial counsel for Committee in publicly-traded company, confirming chapter 11 plan of an oil production company. 
  • In re HII Technologies, Inc., et al.  Representing a publicly traded oilfield service company in chapter 11 proceedings. 
  • In re Chuza Oil CompanyRepresented multiple creditors in chapter 11 oilfield owner and operator and lead trial counsel in multi-million dollar litigation successfully tried to judgment. 
  • In re Lon Morris CollegeRepresented college as a chapter 11 debtor after significant financial distress and confirmed chapter 11 Plan.  The college spread over 100 acres, including multiple dormitories, classrooms, a library, athletic and artistic facilities. 
  • In re Deep Marine Holdings, et al.  Represented Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors pre-Plan and the Liquidating Trust post-Plan as lead trial counsel involving $95 Million in vessels sold and pursuit of claims against insiders that resulted in successful recovery for unsecured creditors of over 70%. 
  • In re Golden Oil Co., Inc.  Represented public oil production company and operator in successful reorganization, taking company private, and acted as lead trial counsel in litigation of over $40 Million in claims asserted for tribal royalties.  Obtained dismissal of tribal royalty claims and reimbursement of legal fees from United States agencies. 
  • Schermerhorn, et al. v. CenturyLink, et al.  Represented creditor in bankruptcy aspects of defense of a mass-action lawsuit, including significant sanctions against the plaintiffs.
  • In re Particle Drilling Techs., 2009 Bankr. LEXIS 2151 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. July 29, 2009).  Trial counsel for publicly-traded oilfield technology company in sale of patents free and clear of $300 Million in filed royalty claims. Lead trial counsel successfully winning "cram-down" plan of reorganization to convey the patents without royalty claims.
  • Bilstat v. Family Express (In re Bilstat), 314 B.R. 603 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. 2004).  Successfully defended Family Express.
  • Cage v. Wyo-Ben, et. al. (In re Ramba, Inc.), 437 F.3d 457 (5th Cir. 2006).  Successfully defended Wyo-Ben at trial level and on appeal in preference suit against oilfield service companies.
  • Tile Outlet and JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44130 (S.D. Tex. 2006).  Successfully represented Creditor's Committee by obtaining pre-briefing dismissal of appeals brought by Debtor and secured lender.

Professional & Community Activities

  • Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation
  • Member American Law Institute, serving on the Member's Consultative Group for the Restatement Third, The Law of American Indians
  • American Bar Association
    • Chair, Young Lawyer Division Professionalism and Ethics Committee, 2001-2002
    • Liaison to the Standing Committee on Professionalism 2000-2002
    • Liaison to the Commission on the Evaluation of the Rules of Professional Conduct 2001-2003
    • Young Lawyer Delegate 1998-2006
    • Business Bankruptcy Committee Subcommittee on Professional Ethics 2007-2008
  • "Master," Garland Walker Inn of Court and "Master," American Inns of Court

  • State Bar of Texas, Voting Member Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct Committee, 2000-2008
  • Houston Bar Association
    • Continuing Legal Education Committee, 2006-2009
    • Seminar Subcommittee Chair, 2008-2009
    • Chair of the CLE Institute Committee, 2009-2010

Awards & Recognition

  • Awarded Global M&A Network's 2016 Turnaround Atlas Award for Energy & Services “Restructuring of the Year” for outstanding contributions in Dune Energy’s Chapter 11 reorganization and sale of assets to White Marlin Oil & Gas Co.
  • Recognized as a "Top Lawyer" by Houstonia magazine 
  • Board Certified, Business Bankruptcy Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization
  • "AV" Peer-Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Listed in Super Lawyers for Bankruptcy Law 2004, 2010-2013
  • Named one of "Houston's Best Lawyers" by H-Texas Magazine
  • Fellow, College of the State Bar of Texas


Press Releases

Seminars & Speaking Engagements


  • “The 2005 Bankruptcy Amendments: New Traps Emerge for the Casual Practitioner,” ABA GP/Solo Section The New Lawyer Volume 4 Number 4, January 2007.
  • “Criminal Law for the Business Practitioner,” ABA GP/Solo Law Trends and News Vol. 1. No. 4, August 2005.
  • “Impacts of the Bankruptcy Reform Act,” The Young Lawyer Volume 9, Number 10, July-August 2005.
  • “Electronic Case Filing – The Future is Finally Here,” The Young Lawyer Volume 8, Number 7, April 2004.
  • “Negotiating a Westlaw or Lexis Contract,” The Young Lawyer Volume 8, Number 5, February 2004.
  • “Ethics for the Transactional Lawyer,” The Young Lawyer Volume 7, Number 11, September 2003.
  • “The Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2003: Good, Bad & Ugly,” The Young Lawyer Volume 7 Number 9, June 2003.