As chairman and a founder of McKool Smith, Mike McKool is largely responsible for creating what The Wall Street Journal describes as “one of the biggest law firm success stories of the past decade.” Since founding the firm in 1991, Mike’s leadership and courtroom achievements have helped McKool Smith grow from an 11-lawyer litigation boutique to a national litigation powerhouse with 185 trial lawyers across eight offices coast to coast.
Mike’s rigorous case preparation and superlative courtroom skills have earned him a reputation as one of the country’s most prominent trial lawyers. Over the course of his 40-year career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials and developed an enhanced understanding of the psychology that governs how juries decide cases. His trial wins have secured substantial verdicts and settlements for clients, including major airlines, energy companies, telecommunications firms, investment banking houses, and industrial conglomerates, among others.
In September 2015, Mike was profiled in Law360’s “Trial Aces” special feature, which recognized his “reputation as one of the country’s top trial lawyers.” The article notes that he is “one of the best closers in the business” and “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.”
Mike is also consistently recognized as one of the country’s leading trial lawyers by legal directories such as The Legal 500, Lawdragon, and Benchmark Litigation, among others. In Chambers USA, he is ranked Band 1 in both commercial and intellectual property litigation. His Band 1 national ranking for "Trial Lawyers" puts him among a small and elite group of the nation’s best courtroom lawyers. In Chambers Global, he is again recognized as one of the country’s most esteemed trial attorneys and is also ranked Band 1 in patent litigation.
Chambers USA describes Mike as “simply one of the best,” stating that he is “extraordinarily focused and extremely quick on the uptake” and that “judges have the highest respect for him.” Chambers Global notes that he is “sought by companies needing a powerful and effective litigator for their most sensitive cases.” Citing his “huge intellect and superb courtroom skills,” Best Lawyers in America lists Mike in several categories, including Bet-the-Company Litigation.
In 2015, Mike received the Texas Lawyer Lifetime Achievement Award for "Professional Excellence." He was also included in Benchmark Litigation’s listing of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America" and Law360’s listing of the Top 50 U.S. trial lawyer. The same year, 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. Mike 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.
- Quincy Jones. Lead trial counsel in securing a $9.4 million jury verdict on behalf of legendary music producer Quincy Jones against the Michael Jackson estate in a breach of contract and royalty dispute. Mike was recognized as The American Lawyer's "Litigator of the Week" as a result of his success in the case.
- Alcoa. Lead counsel for Alcoa Power and Gas Inc. in defense of a case brought by the state of North Carolina concerning ownership rights to North Carolina's second-largest river system and the right to control hydroelectric power in the Yadkin Valley.
- Freddie Mac. Lead counsel for Freddie Mac in litigation against Deloitte in which Freddie Mac is alleging more than $1 billion in damages resulting from Deloitte’s flawed audits of Taylor Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. (TBW), which was the largest independent mortgage lender in the United States that collapsed into bankruptcy in 2009.
- Versata. Represented Versata as lead counsel in successfully defending its significant patent infringement judgment against SAP before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
- Ericsson. Represented Ericsson as lead counsel in its patent infringement dispute against Samsung. The matter included two ITC actions and district court litigation regarding a number of standard essential and implementation patents related to LTE, WCDMA, GSM/GPRS/EDGE, and 802.11 wireless technology.
- Lockheed Martin. Represented Lockheed Martin in an antitrust lawsuit filed by L-3 Communications in the Northern District of Texas.
- Affiliated Computer Services. Represented Affiliated Computer Services in a suit by JPMorgan Chase regarding patented technology of processing child support payments. The suit was pending in U.S. District Court in Delaware.
- American Airlines. Represented American Airlines as lead counsel in a patent suit filed by Ronald A. Katz Technology Licensing alleging infringement of patents coving interactive voice applications relating to American Airlines call centers. The U.S. District Court judge in California entered a final judgment in favor of American Airlines.
- Highland Capital. Served as lead counsel in a case filed by James Cable alleging tortious interference with a contract and civil conspiracy. All causes of action against Mike's client were dismissed.
- Toll Brothers. Represented Toll Brothers and five other national home builders in a case brought by Wachovia Bank, N.A. in the Southern District of New York. The suit alleges that the home builders breached completion guaranties that were executed in connection with a 1,700-acre tract of property that was purchased from the United States Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management for more than $500 million in 2005.
- Medtronic Vascular Inc. Board of Regents, University of Texas System v. Setagon, Inc. et al. Represented Medtronic in a dispute involving patent applications for stent devices with porous layers for eluting therapeutic agents. The University of Texas alleged breach of contract, fraud, conversion, misappropriation of trade secrets, misjoinder of inventors, and correction of inventors. The case settled favorably for Medtronic, including the dismissal of all of the University of Texas's claims.
- Ericsson. Represented Ericsson in Ericsson v. Interdigital Communications, a defense of patent infringement action involving mobile telephones, and in Ericsson v. Qualcomm, litigation involving digital wireless communications patents.
- EDS. Represented Electronic Data Systems, EDS, in some of its most significant litigation, including EDS v. Xerox, a breach of contract matter involving a $3 billion outsourcing contract. In EDS v. Computer Associates, represented EDS in case involving its right to use CA software for its outsourcing clients. In both cases, Mike negotiated settlements and licensing agreements that benefited both parties.
- Excel Communications. Successfully represented Excel in landmark software patent litigation.
- BTG International Inc. Represented BTG against Samsung, Apple, Dell, and others in a patent infringement action before the International Trade Commission regarding MLC flash memory devices and products used in MP3 players, cameras, and laptops.
- Eolas Technologies Inc. Represents internet technology provider Eolas in a patent infringement suit against Adobe Systems and others regarding advanced browser technology that allows websites to add fully interactive, embedded applications to their online offerings.
- Hall Phoenix/Inwood Ltd. et al. v. The Hallwood Group Incorporated, et al. Represented Hall/Phoenix/Inwood Ltd. and Hall Performance Energy Partner 4 in this suit in Dallas County District Court regarding investments made in a limited partnership engaged in the business of drilling for and producing natural gas in West Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
- National Instruments. National Instruments Corp. v. The MathWorks, Inc. Represented National Instruments in patent infringement action involving software technology. Jury verdict in favor of National Instruments was upheld on appeal.
- Parental Guide. Represented plaintiff Parental Guide in patent infringement action involving V-Chip technology. Case settled favorably for client. Parental Guide v. Funai.
- Holly Corporation. Served as lead trial counsel for Holly Corporation in Frontier Oil Company v. Holly Corporation. The suit alleged that Holly wrongfully failed to perform under an agreement to merge the two companies when it invoked a material adverse change. The case was tried in the Delaware Chancery Court in February 2004, resulting in Mike's client being absolved of all wrongdoing.
Rankings & Honors
- Recognized as The American Lawyer's "Litigator of the Week" following his success as lead counsel for legendary music producer Quincy Jones in securing a $9.4 million jury verdict against the Michael Jackson estate in a breach of contract and royalty dispute (July 2017)
- Awarded the 2017 Benchmark Litigation "Lifetime Achievement Award" for outstanding achievements in the practice of law
- Recognized as an "Icon of IP" by Law360 (2016). The publication’s IP Icon series honors the top 25 lawyers in the country who have shaped today’s IP landscape.
- Ranked in Chambers USA as a leading national Trial Lawyer (Band 1) as well as a leading lawyer for Intellectual Property (Band 1) and Commercial Litigation (Band 1). In the 2016 edition, Nike is described as a "very seasoned, talented, respected trial lawyer who knows how to prepare a case for trial and how to examine a witness." The publication also notes that he "has a great courtroom presence and an amazing amount of experience. There is no question that he is one of the top lawyers..."
- Recognized as a leading patent litigator in the United States by The Legal 500. Mike has a "a terrific reputation" and is "a consummate professional with tremendous trial skills." (2016); he is "strong in maintaining client relations and has excellent judgment" (2014).
- Recognized as a "Lion of the Texas Bar" by Texas Lawbook in a special profile on the "Top 50" lawyers in Texas
- Received the Texas Lawyer Lifetime Achievement Award for "Professional Excellence," 2015
- Recognized as one of the top 50 trial lawyers in the nation in Law360’s 2015 special feature on “Trial Aces"
- Recognized as a leading U.S. patent litigator in World Intellectual Property Review’s (WIPR) directory of “World IP Leaders," 2016-2017
- Named an Outstanding Alumnus by the University of Texas Law Alumni Association, 2015
- Recognized in Benchmark Litigation as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer; a national IP litigation star, and a Commercial Litigation and IP Star in Texas. The 2018 edition of Benchmark notes that Mike is "a luminary of the trial lawyer circuit, with near-unanimous acclaim for his appeal to juries and genuinely court-honed demeanor,"(2010-2018)
- Named the Best Lawyers in America Dallas Bet-the-Company Litigation “Lawyer of the Year," 2015
- Recognized as one of the top 50 lawyers in Texas in Texas Lawbook’s feature on the "Lions of the Texas Bar," 2015
- Received the Texas Lawyer "Top Verdicts Hall of Fame" Lifetime Achievement Award, 2014
- Named the "Trial Lawyer of the Year" by the Dallas Bar Association, 2012
- Ranked in Chambers Global as a leading trial lawyer in the United States (Band 1) and a leading lawyer for Intellectual Property – Patent Litigation (Band 1), 2012-2017
- Named an "IP Star" by Managing IP, 2013-2015
- Named Dallas "Lawyer of the Year" for M&A Litigation (2013) and Banking/Finance Litigation (2012) by Best Lawyers
- Awarded the Anti-Defamation League's 2010 Larry Schoenbrun Jurisprudence Award
- Named a "National IP Litigation Star" and "Texas Litigation Star" by Benchmark Plaintiff
- Featured in the guide to The Best Lawyers in America® in Commercial Litigation every year since 1993 and in Bet-the-Company Litigation every year since 2006. Also ranked as a leading lawyer in Litigation: Banking & Finance, Intellectual Property, M&A, Patent, and Securities.
- Received Gold Star ranking for Texas Patent Litigation by IAM Patent 1000: The World's Leading Patent Practitioners, 2014
- Named Best Lawyer in Dallas five different times by D Magazine
- Texas Lawyer named Mike one of only five “Go-To Attorneys” for civil litigation
- Recognized as one of the "Top 100" lawyers in Texas by Super Lawyers
- Named by the Dallas Business Journal as one of the five Top Business Trial Lawyers in the DFW Metroplex
- Named to the Lawdragon 500 list of “Leading Lawyers in America” each year since its inception
“Mike McKool brings a valuable mix of experience, trial skills, attention to detail, and common sense in handling some of American's most complex litigation. We have been expanding our relationship with Mike and his firm over the last few years, and the work and the results have been excellent. Mike understands the importance of being responsive to client needs and inquiries, and works well with inside counsel and other counsel in achieving good results.”
Associate General Counsel
“Mike McKool for years has represented the pinnacle of trial lawyers. His preparation is legendary and his command of the courtroom is incomparable. Mike has uncanny instincts which add to his amazing recall, yielding an orchestrated trial experience. His passion for the law coupled with an unyielding commitment to his clients has earned him a larger than life respect and a reputation as one of the top trial lawyers in the United States. He has assembled and leads a team of incredible attorneys that have won more verdicts over the past several years than any other law firm regardless of size. I give Mike my highest recommendation. It's about results and he delivers.”
The Amend Group
“I want Mike McKool next to me anytime one of my companies is at the courthouse. His preparation, reputation, and skilled advocacy give me an edge that I can't get with other lawyers or other firms. He brings an intensity and focus to my cases that make me feel like I am his most important client and I have the full resources of the firm behind me. Mike is the lawyer I trust to take care of cases that must be won.”
Monts & Ware
“Mike McKool played a crucial role in quarterbacking a large litigation matter a few years ago that was of great importance to my Company's future. Mike led a trial team that included lawyers from major law firms located in several parts of the country. In addition to critical personal contributions in the trial, Mike's leadership brought out the best in each of the lawyers on the team. The result for my Company was a successful outcome obtained as quickly as circumstances permitted.”
W. John Glancy
Senior Vice President & General Counsel
Community & Professional Activities
- Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
- Member, Advisory Council of the Federal Circuit
- Associate, American Board of Trial Advocates
- ABA Advisory Panel
- Advisory Board for the Patent Case Management Judicial Guide to promote improvements in judicial administration for all federal courts in the United States
- Executive Committee, University of Texas Law School Alumni Association
News & Events
- Mike McKool, Douglas Cawley and Robin Cohen Recognized as “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” by Benchmark Litigation10.18.2017
- McKool Smith Recognized as a 2017 Leading U.S. Firm for Insurance and Patent Litigation by The Legal 50006.01.2017
- McKool Smith's IP Practice along with Mike McKool and J. Michael Hennigan Recognized in 2017 edition of Chambers Global03.27.2017
- Mike McKool Receives Benchmark “Lifetime Achievement Award” and Robin Cohen Named “Insurance Litigator of the Year”02.17.2017
- McKool Smith's IP Practice along with Mike McKool and J. Michael Hennigan Recognized in 2015 edition of Chambers Global03.24.2015
- Benchmark Litigation Recognizes Mike McKool, Sam Baxter, and Douglas A. Cawley Among “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America”10.29.2014
- McKool Smith's Intellectual Property and White Collar Defense Practices Recognized in 2010 Chambers USA rankings06.10.2010
- Ericsson, Other Major Telecommunications Companies Prevail In Antitrust Lawsuit Over Wireless Technology Standards09.11.2007
J.D., with honors, University of Texas School of Law, 1974
- Order of the Coif
- Texas Law Review
B.A., magna cum laude, University of Notre Dame, 1971
- Debate team president
- Phi Beta Kappa
- State of Texas
- The U.S. Supreme Court
- The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Fifth and Federal Circuits
- The U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, Southern, and Western Districts of Texas
- American Bar Association
- State Bar of Texas
- Dallas Bar Association