Mike McKool, a founder and Chairman of McKool Smith, was recently awarded the Texas Lawyer 2015 “Lifetime Achievement Award” for Professional Excellence during a dinner and reception at the Omni Houston Galleria Hotel in Houston, Texas.
In bestowing the award, Texas Lawyer noted that Mr. McKool has “notched more than 100 jury trials in his 40-year-career, using his superlative courtroom skills to earn a reputation as one of the nation's most sought-after lawyers.” When asked about his many courtroom achievements, Mr. McKool started by explaining that "As a lawyer, it's never about you. It's all about clients and strategizing ways to cause a judge or jury to appreciate their rights and agree with your position." The full article covering the award can be found here.
Recently, Mr. McKool was recognized as one of the Top 50 “Trial Aces” in the United States by Law360. The feature article notes that Mr. McKool is “one of the best closers in the business” and that “clients bring him in when a trial appears inevitable and they can't afford to lose." He is also described as having “unrelenting focus and preparation in the run-up to a trial, which is rare in its intensity.”
Mr. McKool’s most recent courtroom victory includes a complete defense win as lead trial counsel for Alcoa Power Generating, Inc. in a dispute against the state of North Carolina concerning ownership rights to a 45-mile stretch of riverbed and four hydroelectric dams on the Yadkin River under the constitutional equal footing doctrine. With hundreds of millions of dollars of assets in dispute, the key factual question for trial was whether the Yadkin River was navigable for commerce at statehood. Reconstructing the river’s condition over two hundred years ago, McKool Smith’s team obtained a decisive trial victory on the navigability of the river at statehood. The Court then granted full judgment in Alcoa’s favor in post-trial motions on September 28, 2015.
Earlier this year, Mr. McKool was included in Benchmark Litigation’s listing of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America.” He received the “Outstanding Alumnus Award” from the University of Texas Law Alumni Association for outstanding contributions to the legal profession. He is the recipient of the 2014 Texas Lawyer "Top Verdicts Hall of Fame" Lifetime Achievement Award and the Dallas Bar Association “Trial Lawyer of the Year” award. Mr. McKool is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and has been selected by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to serve on the Federal Circuit Advisory Council.
With more than 185 trial lawyers across offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Marshall, New York, Silicon Valley, and Washington, D.C., McKool Smith has established a reputation as one of America’s leading trial firms. Since 2006, the firm has secured nine nine-figure jury verdicts, as well as ten eight-figure jury verdicts. The firm has also won more VerdictSearch and The National Law Journal "Top 100 Verdicts" over the last eight years than any other law firm in the country. Courtroom successes like these have earned McKool Smith critical acclaim and helped the firm become what The Wall Street Journal describes as “one of the biggest law firm success stories of the past decade.” McKool Smith represents clients in complex commercial litigation, intellectual property, bankruptcy, and white collar defense matters.