Hugh Ray is a principal in McKool Smith's Houston and New York offices as well as head of the firm’s national Bankruptcy Practice Group. During more than 40 years as a practicing lawyer, he has played a lead role in many of the country’s most recognizable bankruptcy proceedings. In addition to making several appearances before the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to testify on proposed amendments to the Federal Bankruptcy Code, Hugh has served in leadership positions with several notable bankruptcy and business groups and co-authored three books on bankruptcy, including Last Rights (Oxford University Press) and Creditor’s Rights-Texas Practice Guide, (Thomson Reuters).

Hugh is the former chair of both the American Bar Association (ABA) Bankruptcy Committee and the Bankruptcy Committee of the State Bar of Texas; a former member of the ABA’s Standing Committee on Judicial Selection, Tenure, and Compensation; a member of the American College of Bankruptcy; and a life member of the American Law Institute. He is also former chair of the ABA Joint Ad Hoc Committee on Bankruptcy Court Structure. Prior to his work in private practice, Hugh served as an assistant United States attorney in Houston. He is consistently recognized as a top lawyer in his field by leading legal publications and directories, including Chambers USA, Benchmark Litigation, and The Best Lawyers in America, among others.


Representative Matters

  • The official statutory producer's committee of SemGroup
  • The trustee for the Bank of New England Corporation
  • The debtor in Friede Goldman Halter Inc.
  • Enterprise Products, Lyondell Petrochemical
  • The debtor in Physicians Resource Group
  • The debtor in ProMedCo
  • The debtor in ForceEnergy
  • The debtor in Crown Pacific Partners
  • The unsecured creditors' committee of Flagstar Corporation (Denny's)
  • The unsecured creditors' committee of Encompass Services
  • The unsecured creditors' committee of In re First Republic Bank Corporation
  • The unsecured creditors' committee and petitioning creditors of First City Bancorporation of Texas
  • The creditors' committee of Rubus Realty (Furrs Supermarkets)
  • The creditors' committee of Drypers Corporation
  • The creditors' committee of Doskocil (Wilson Foods)
  • The ad hoc bondholders' committee of American Rice Inc.
  • The agent bank and bank syndicate for William Herbert Hunt, Nelson Bunker Hunt Trust Estates, et al., ("Hunt Brothers")
  • The institutional lenders of Storage Technology
  • The institutional creditors of Continental Airlines Inc. (both cases)
  • The insurance company lenders of In re Braniff Airlines Inc.
  • The bank lenders of CompuAdd Corporation
  • The bondholders in the CalFed and GlenFed restructurings 


Rankings & Honors

  • Recognized by "Best Lawyers in America" for Litigation: Bankruptcy; and Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law (Houston & New York) 2015-2024
  • Ranked as a leading Bankruptcy and Insolvency lawyer by Chambers USA. The 2024 edition notes that "He offers extensive experience in Chapter 11 proceedings."
  • Named to the Lawdragon 500 Leading Global Restructuring & Insolvency Lawyers by Lawdragon, 2020 - 2024
  • Ranked as a Bankruptcy "Litigation Star" by Benchmark Litigation, 2015-2024
  • Named by his peers to the list of Texas Super Lawyers in Bankruptcy and Creditor/Debtor Rights
  • Ranked in the Best Lawyers in America as a leading lawyer in Litigation: Bankruptcy, Bankruptcy, and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law
  • Designated as a 2020 Top Rated Lawyer by Martindale Hubbell
  • Profiled as one of the leading Bankruptcy lawyers in the Southwest, The Legal 500 (U.S.), 2009
  • Named #1 in Texas in Bankruptcy Law, Texas Lawyer – Go To Guide, October 2002


“Hugh Ray is not only a top-notch expert bankruptcy attorney, but he brings with him a top-notch team of lawyers. Moreover, Hugh knows everyone who is anyone in the field of bankruptcy law. He has participated in one way or another in the vast majority of bankruptcy cases over the last 30 years. He knows the players and he knows the plays. You can't do better than Hugh Ray if you need help in a bankruptcy case.”

Ben Branch
Isenberg School of Management
University of Massachusetts


Community & Professional Activities

  • Business bankruptcy specialist, Texas Board of Legal Specialization
  • American College of Bankruptcy
  • American Law Institute
  • Chair of the ABA Business Law Section's Business Bankruptcy Committee, with approximately 1,400 practitioners, 1993-1996
  • Council of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association, 1997-2001
  • Member of the Standing Committee of the American Bar Association on Judicial Selection, Tenure and Compensation
  • Chair of the ABA's Energy Business Committee
  • Chair of the ABA Joint Ad Hoc Committee on Bankruptcy Court Structure and Insolvency Processes
  • Chair of the ABA Committee on Trust Indentures and Indenture Trustees

Media & Events



LLB, Vanderbilt University Law School, 1967

B.A, English, Vanderbilt University, 1965

Court Admissions

  • State of Texas
  • State of New York
  • District of Columbia (Inactive Status)
  • The U.S. Supreme Court
  • The New York State Supreme Court
  • The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fifth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits
  • The U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Western, and Northern Districts of Texas
  • The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana

Bar Associations

  • State Bar of Texas, past chair, Bankruptcy Committee, 1986-1989, and past program director, Advanced Business Bankruptcy Institute
  • American Bar Association
  • Houston Bar Association
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