Robert Manley is a trial lawyer who represents clients in high-stakes, complex commercial, intellectual property, trade secrets, investment, fiduciary duty, probate, and insurance recovery matters. Robert is recognized by his peers, clients, and the legal media as a pre-eminent trial lawyer and routinely tries complex cases in courts across the country.

Market Feedback:
Here’s what the market says about Robert:

  • "There is no one I’d rather have out there fighting for us." – Client
  • "He has the ability to see a legal dispute and convert it into something that real people can understand and package it for a jury, which is a skill. He also has the ability to manage a large team." - Chambers reported client feedback
  • "Robert is an outstanding lawyer. He is methodical, detail-oriented and confident in the courtroom." – Chambers reported client feedback

Representative Clients

Robert’s clients have included Halliburton Energy Services, Maxus Energy, TIAA, Fidelity Investments, American Airlines, CenturyLink, Ericsson, City of San Francisco, Ca., City of Oakland Ca., Zachry Construction, 7-Eleven, Nationstar d/b/a Mr. Cooper, ORIX Capital Markets, Hayman Capital, BearingPoint, Pilgrim's Pride, NXP Semiconductors f/k/a Freescale, MediaTek, Inc., Trinity Industries, Inc., Cisco Systems, Inc., InFocus, SAExploration, Applied Biosystems, Safeway/Albertsons, Igloo, AptarGroup, Inc., BNSF Railway Company, Celanese, and many others.

Representative Trials

One of Robert’s recent cases made the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Robert represented a family in a significant will contest.  As lead trial lawyer for the plaintiffs, Robert lead an all-star legal team comprised of top lawyers from seven different firms.  For trial, the court sent out over 700 jury summons, the parties spent two days picking a jury at the local assembly center, and two weeks into the jury trial as Robert was poised to begin his cross-examination of the main defendant, the matter resolved on a confidential basis.  [That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.--Robert] The matter was reported to be one of the, if not the, largest will contest matters ever to go to a jury trial.

Robert secured a complete defense jury verdict for his clients CenturyLink and several of its officers in a three-week securities fraud jury trial in Houston, Texas. Jo Ann Schermerhorn et al v. CenturyLink f/k/a/ CenturyTel, Inc. et al.  CenturyLink, its former Chief Financial Officer, and its past General Counsel were accused of fraud and securities fraud.  Robert secured a complete defense verdict exonerating his clients from all allegations of wrongdoing.  

Robert secured a substantial plaintiffs’ jury verdict—including punitive damages--for Canyon Ridge Resorts against an investment bank in a fraud and breach of fiduciary duty trial.  Canyon Ridge Resorts, LLC et al v. Sterne, Agee and Leach, Inc. et al. Robert and his team tried the matter for seven weeks in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and secured a complete plaintiffs’ verdict, punitive damages, and final judgment.  The verdict is recognized as a VerdictSearch “Top 100 Verdict” and helped secure McKool Smith’s inclusion in Law360’s listing of the “Most Feared Plaintiff Firms.”

Robert secured a take-nothing defense jury verdict for his client Halliburton Energy Services in a patent infringement/theft of trade secrets matter following a two-week trade secret and patent infringement jury trial in Houston, Texas.  Legacy Separators, LLC v. Halliburton Energy Services, LLC et al.  The trial followed seven years of litigation that has been reported to be nation’s trade secret case with the greatest number of filings reported to date. 

Robert secured a complete plaintiffs’ verdict for his client TIAA-CREF in a significant insurance coverage jury trial in Wilmington, Delaware.  TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC et al v. Illinois National Insurance Company et al.   The jury verdict forced several insurers to honor the insurance policies they sold TIAA covering substantial losses it suffered resulting from a failed computer ERP implementation.  The jury also awarded TIAA-CREF attorney fees at trial, finding that the nearly $10 million in legal defense costs incurred by the entity were reasonable and recoverable. The final judgment was appealed to, and upheld by, the Delaware Supreme Court.

Robert secured a complete Plaintiff’s verdict for his client Enterprise Financial Group in a two-week jury trial in Dallas Texas. Enterprise Financial Group, Inc. v. Santander Consumer USA, Inc. The matter involved a failed joint venture between the parties for the creation and administration of a GAP insurance program in the new and used automobile sales industry and cross allegations of breach of contract.  Following a two-week trial, the jury returned a complete Plaintiffs’ verdict for Robert’s client and a take nothing verdict on Santander’s counterclaims.  

During Covid, Robert tried a patent infringement and theft of trade secrets case in Dallas, Texas for an inventor client, Dr. Ford Albritton, against Acclarent.  Dr. Ford Albritton v. Acclarent, Inc. The trial required social distancing, facemasks and shields, remote TV monitoring for the legal teams, the witness sitting in the jury box while the jury were spaced out in the courtroom pews [pun intended].  The parties settled their dispute on a confidential basis just as Robert was concluding presenting the damages case and expert witness [Again, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  Robert]

Unconventional Dispute Resolution Case Studies:

Robert is equally known for his creative approach to resolving clients’ cases outside the courtroom. Robert has pioneered several unconventional dispute resolution approaches (“UDR”).  He has used these unconventional approaches to get clients’ cases resolved when they need to be, and can be resolved short of trial.

  • "Hire a judge ... and a jury." Robert represented a group of investors in a complex commercial mortgage backed securities litigation case against a group of financial institutions. The biggest challenge was the anticipated four to five-year wait before the court could actually hear the jury trial of the matter. Through Robert’s imaginative negotiations, the parties agreed by contract to: a) retain a retired judge to hear all pre-trial matters and preside over a “jury trial,” b) borrow a courtroom from the District Court, and c) to recruit and retain local citizens to act as jurors. The parties then proceeded to litigate the matter in normal fashion, including submitting pretrial motions, conducting voir dire, and proceeding to “trial” with the “hired judge” and the “hired jurors.”  In the end, Robert’s clients made a significant recovery in a fraction of the time that otherwise would have been required to try the matter.
  • "Saving face." Robert represented a multinational corporation that was sued for allegedly causing the demise of one of its clients as a result of alleged failures in the nationwide ERP software implementation. Robert favorably resolved the matter after requesting and making a diplomatic, unilateral presentation to the opposing party—who itself had fiduciary duties to its stakeholders— regarding its failure to maintain the alleged failed software system. The matter was resolved shortly after Robert’s presentation at the opposing party’s request without any public or express allegations of spoliation.
  • “Tell it to the judge.” Robert represented a Fortune 500 company in a contentious intellectual property dispute that was expected to last for years. Ultimately, the potential damages became the focal point of the case, and were to be decided by the Court. However, litigation was scheduled to drag on for another 2 years before the Court could try the case. So Robert convinced the opposing party and the Court to conduct a joint “summary trial” in the Court’s chambers and asked the Court to render an “non-binding indication” of what it anticipated the damages might be at the actual trial of the matter if based upon the evidence produced in the summary trial proceeding. After the summary jury trial and after receiving the Court’s “non-binding indication,” the matter resolved through negotiated settlement favorable to Robert’s client.
  • “Now that I’m here, where am I?” Robert’s teams routinely prepare early case assessments (ECA) for their clients—thereby the clients know very early in the litigation process the merits of positions, the likely course litigation will take, and are provided an early opportunity to explore a business resolution to the dispute. This practice of preparing ECAs has led to several successful settlements for Robert’s clients without extensive litigation or trial. Several of Robert’s client hire his teams to perform ECAs and jury tests in matters where they have other existing representation.
  • “We can do this the easy way, or …” When initiating a lawsuit, Robert often drafts and serves the defendant with a lengthy complaint, annotated to, and quoting from, case documents while publicly filing a “bare bones” complaint with the court. This allows the parties to evaluate some of the substance of the pending lawsuit without unnecessarily making public allegations, frequently leading to an early resolution.

Paying it Forward

Robert devotes a great deal of time to teaching and lecturing on trial advocacy and other trial related topics.  Robert has had the privilege of presenting for such groups as The Southern Poverty Law Center, Association of Corporate Counsel, Texas General Counsel Forum, The Center for American and International Law, Harvard Law School Student Association, The Texas Center for the Judiciary, The Texas Bar Association, the Dallas Bar Association, The Northern District of Texas, Countless Programs across the Country for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. Robert has been retained by countless law firms to conduct in-house trial advocacy programs for their trial lawyers.


Representative Matters

Trade Secrets matters:

  • Legacy Separators and Guy Morrison, III v. Halliburton Energy Services, Inc., et al. Won a take nothing verdict in favor of Halliburton in a three-week jury trial in Houston Federal Court in a theft of trade secret, fraud, and patent infringement case. The jury hung on two patent infringement issues−also in favor of Halliburton.
  • Advanced Technology Group (“ATG”) v. Sperlonga Data & Analytics & DigitForge Enterprises, LLC. Represented ATG against Sperlonga and DigitForge in a theft of trade secrets matter in Dallas Federal Court successfully securing a Federal Court Order providing for software accounting, permanent, individual, and corporate injunctions, and 15 years of audit rights for ATG.
  • Collateral Analytics, LLC v. Nationstar Mortgage LLC, Xome Settlement Services LLC, and Quantarium, LLC. Represented Nationstar, Xome and Quantarium against theft of trade secret allegations dealing with automated valuation model (AVM) software, successfully securing a settlement in favor of his clients.
  • Monosite, Inc. v. Northern Telecom, et al. Represented Monosite, a start-up in the telecommunications cell-tower manufacturing industry, in a trade secrets and tortious interference lawsuit against Northern Telecom. The cased focused on certain non-disclosure agreements signed by the companies covering certain proprietary monopole designs and manufacturing processes for the installation of cellular towers.

Commercial/mortgage-backed securities/investment matters:

  • TIAA-CREF v. Illinois National Insurance Company, et al. Won a substantial verdict in a Wilmington, Delaware, jury trial against several insurers that denied coverage for TIAA-CREF following class actions resulting from TIAA-CREF’s software implementation effort. The verdict was returned in December 2016 and affirmed by the Delaware Supreme Court on July 30, 2018.
  • Schermerhorn et al. v. CenturyLink et al. Won a take-nothing defense verdict and judgment for CenturyLink and several individual executives in a securities fraud mass-action lawsuit involving 64 plaintiffs that brought claims relating to investment in and the subsequent sale of control of a distressed company.
  • Scenic Land Company LLC, et al. v. Sterne Agee & Leach Inc., et al. Won a substantial verdict in a seven-week jury trial for a hotel development client in a case against an investment bank for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract. The verdict and judgment were reported as the largest in Hamilton County (Chattanooga, Tennessee) history and helped McKool Smith to be recognized again in Law360’s “Most Feared Plaintiffs Firm” feature.
  • La Salle Bank, et al. v. UBS Warburg and UBS PaineWebber. Represented the interests of a group of certificate holders in a $704 million pool of mortgage-backed securities as part of a series of lawsuits against the securitization’s sponsors and loan depositors to recover the plaintiffs’ lost investment value.

Click here to view additional commercial/investment representations.

Bankruptcy matters:

  • John DeGroote Services LLC as Liquidating Trustee to the BearingPoint Liquidating Trust v. Ed Harbach, et al. Represented the liquidating trustee for BearingPoint Inc. in numerous adversary proceedings involving preferences, fraudulent transfers, and other matters, assisting the trustee in recovering over $476 million for distribution to BearingPoint Inc.’s creditors. As part of this effort, Robert represented the trustee in a breach of fiduciary duty/corporate governance lawsuit against BearingPoint’s former chief executive officer and its board of directors.
  • Represented the Liquidating Trustee of Buccaneer Resources and eight related entities in a lawsuit against former directors and officers for breach of fiduciary duties, in a suit involving the failed purchase, refurbishment, and deployment of a $100M offshore drilling rig to the North Sea.
  • Representing Zachry Construction Corporation, Zachry American Infrastructure, and Zachry Industrial Inc. in defense of related fiduciary duty and fraudulent transfer claims arising out of the construction of a billion-dollar public-private partnership toll road.
  • Lake Las Vegas. Lake Las Vegas Creditors Trust. (D. Nev) represented Creditors Trust in action for recovery of $470 million fraudulent transfer arising from transfers from Real Estate Resort Southwest in Las Vegas Bankruptcy Court.
  • In re: AgriBioTech, Inc. – Represented BearingPoint in an adversary proceeding brought by AgriBioTech’s Bankruptcy Trustee against its officers, directors, auditors, and consultants involving claims that BearingPoint’s four-year, nationwide implementation of computer systems caused or contributed to AgriBioTech’s insolvency.

Intellectual Property matters:

  • Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. v. LSI Corporation. Represented Freescale in an investigation before the International Trade Commission involving U.S. Patent Nos. 5,775,798; 6,473,349 B1; and 5,467,455 generally directed to the packaging and manufacture of semiconductor chips.
  • Mediatek, Inc. v. Sanyo Elec. Co., Ltd., et al. and Mediatek v. Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Represented Mediatek in patent infringement lawsuits involving U.S. Patent Nos. 5,867,819 and 6,118,486, which are generally directed to audio decoding and the synchronization and processing of multiple formatted video signals.
  • Maxim Integrated Products v. Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. Represented Freescale in a patent infringement case involving U.S. Patent Nos. 5,008,615; 5,172,214; 5,200,362; 5,476,816; 5,593,538; 5,776,798; 5,861,347; 4,951,005; 5,081,454; 5,089,722; 5,195,655; 5,434,739; 5,124,632; and 5,946,177. The patents are generally directed to the design, packaging and manufacture of semiconductor chips.
  • ConnecTel v. Cisco Systems. Represented Cisco in a patent infringement suit involving U.S. Patent Nos. 6,016,307; 6,144,641; 6,456,594; and 6,473,404, which are generally directed to multiprotocol telecommunications routing and optimization.
  • Brilliant Technologies v. InFocus Corp. Represented InFocus in an intellectual property licensing dispute covering a projection system with a folded optical path involving U.S. Patent No. 6,859,239.
  • Raindance Communications, Inc. v. WebEx. Represented Raindance in a patent infringement lawsuit involving U.S. Patent Nos. 6,535,909 and 6,621,834, which are generally directed to voice transmission over network protocols and the recording and playback of collaborative web browsing sessions.


Rankings & Honors

  • Chambers USA: Ranked as a leading general commercial litigation lawyer. The 2023 edition notes that "He is an outstanding lawyer. He is methodical, detail-oriented and confident in the courtroom."
  • Ranked as a 2024 Preeminent Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell®.
  • Top 100 Verdict: Scenic Land case was a Top 100 verdict by Verdict Search and helped McKool Smith to be recognized again as Law360’s "Most Feared Plaintiffs Firm"
  • Lawdragon: Repeatedly recognized as:  
    • 500 Leading Litigators in America
    • Leading Plaintiff Lawyer in America
    • Leading Financial Litigators in America  
  • The Legal 500: Repeatedly recognized as a leading lawyer in Patent Litigation
  • Best Lawyers in America: Repeatedly recognized for Insurance, Securities and Intellectual Property Litigation 
  • Texas Super Lawyer: Repeatedly recognized by Thomson Reuters’ legal division in Texas Monthlymagazine
  • Best Lawyers in Dallas: Repeatedly recognized as a by D Magazine
  • Client Choice Award for Litigation: Repeatedly recognized by Texas International Law Office and Lexology
  • Litigation Counsel of America: Senior Fellow
  • Best Lawyers Under 40: [… back when he was under 40] by D Magazine
  • Higginbotham American Inn of Court: Master of the Bench
  • College of the State Bar of Texas




Community & Professional Activities

  • Chapter Board Director, Texas General Counsel Forum
  • National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Gulf Coast Regional Program
  • Faculty, National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Southern Regional Trial Skills Program, 1998-present
  • Adjunct professor of trial advocacy at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, 2001-present
  • Co-chair, Dallas Heart Ball with Dana Manley
  • Co-chair, General Counsel Forum 12th Annual Conference
  • Member, Trial Law Institute 
  • Member, Diversity Law Institute

Media & Events




Other articles and presentations:

  • "Voir Dire” [In it to Win it], Presented to the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Southern Regional Trial Skills Programs.      
  • “Negotiation: Ten Things to Think About—A Non-Exhaustive List,” Co-presenter, Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, Dallas, Texas (July 2004 and September 2005) 
  • "Unconventional' Dispute Resolution" [Getting it Done], Presented to The Association of Corporate Counsel, The General Counsel Forum Annual Conference, and The Dallas Bar Association           




J.D., Southern Methodist University School of Law, 1993

The Pushkin Institute, Moscow, Russia, 1990

B.A. cum laude, University of Tulsa, 1989

Institute for European Studies, Vienna, Austria, 1988

Court Admissions

  • State of Texas
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • The U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas

Bar Associations

  • American Bar Association
  • Texas State Bar Association
  • Fifth Circuit Bar Association
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