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Willie Wood is a Principal in McKool Smith's Houston office.  He concentrates his practice on the defense and prosecution of US and international commercial, business litigation and arbitration cases, with an emphasis on energy industry matters.

Willie has been involved in the trial and arbitration of numerous cases of domestic and international origin, obtaining defense verdicts when defending, and significant monetary verdicts and settlements when prosecuting.

He has prosecuted and defended claims involving breach of contract, tortious interference, state and federal antitrust, common law and statutory fraud, misappropriation of trade secrets, negligent misrepresentation, business disparagement, state and federal securities actions, product liability, nuisance, trespass, conversion, insurance coverage, corporate governance, breach of fiduciary duty, shareholder oppression, and qui tam. Willie has litigated these claims arising from a variety of US and international contractual arrangements, including:

  • Area of mutual interest agreements
  • Asset purchase and sale agreements
  • Confidentiality and exclusivity agreements
  • Crude oil trading agreements
  • Earnout agreements
  • Energy based incentive/bonus compensation agreements
  • Drilling contracts
  • Farmout agreements
  • Gas purchase and sale contracts
  • Gathering and transportation agreements
  • Geophysical/Seismic data acquisition and use agreements
  • Joint exploration agreements
  • Joint operating agreements
  • Joint venture agreements
  • Letters of Intent
  • LNG agreements
  • Manufacturing agreements
  • O & M agreements
  • Oil and gas leases
  • Partnership and joint venture agreements
  • Pipeline construction contracts
  • Pipeline operating agreements
  • Power purchase and sale agreements
  • Preferential rights and right of first refusal provisions
  • Production sharing contracts and other, similar, international upstream licensing agreements
  • Processing agreements
  • Refinery construction contracts
  • Shareholder agreements
  • Stock purchase and sale agreements
  • Transportation and exchange agreements  

Typical claims litigated include disputes relating to price redetermination provisions, oil and gas royalty obligations, representations and warranties, purchase price adjustments, take or pay provisions, capital contribution obligations, oil and gas well drilling obligations, implied lease covenants, delivery of goods requirements, force majeure provisions, area of mutual interest, right of first refusal and other preferential rights provisions, trade secret protection, contract termination provisions, indemnity obligations, fiduciary obligation, and corporate and partnership governance issues.

Willie's active trial, arbitration and litigation practice also includes advising clients on litigation avoidance strategies, and litigation preparedness in connection with surfacing disputes that appear likely to result in litigation. He also assists clients in internal, federal and state investigations and enforcement actions.

His practice often involves evaluating and addressing competing (and often conflicting) dispute resolution, forum selection and choice of law provisions, and parallel proceedings in state, federal and bankruptcy courts, and US and International arbitral tribunals.

He has litigated matters on behalf of domestic and foreign corporations and other entities and individuals involved in the energy, real estate, brokerage, insurance, banking, manufacturing, retail, construction, and agribusiness industries. He works with an extensive network of industry consultants and with legal practitioners in foreign jurisdictions.

In connection with his international practice, Mr. Wood has worked on matters involving the following countries:  Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, El Salvador, England, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Iraq (Kurdistan Region), Israel, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Spain, Syria and Venezuela.

Willie's domestic practice has involved working in various state, federal and bankruptcy courts, and involved proceedings in the following states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

His Texas practice has included litigating cases in many Texas counties including: Bell, Bexar, Brazoria, Brooks, Cameron, Dallas, Duval, Frio, Fort Bend, Galveston, Hardin, Harris, Hidalgo, Jefferson, Jim Hogg, Johnson, Liberty, Live Oak, Matagorda, Montgomery, Nueces, Potter, San Patricio, Starr, Tarrant, Taylor, Travis, Tyler, Val Verde, Victoria, Webb, Wharton and Zapata.

Willie is admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court, United States District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, Southern and Western Districts of Texas, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court.


Representative Matters

Over the past several years, Mr. Wood has been representing energy companies in litigation and arbitration matters involving Gulf of Mexico, California, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming exploration, development, production, gathering, processing, fractionation, transportation, power generation, physical and financial trading and marketing activities, and involving unconventional resource plays in the Bakken Shale, Barnett Shale, Eagle Ford Shale, Haynesville Shale, Marcellus and Utica Shales, and the Permian Basin, among others. 

Internationally, over the same time period, Mr. Wood has represented energy companies and other owners of oil and gas interests in connection with oil and gas exploration and development activities in Argentina, Chile, China, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Kurdistan/Iraq, Mexico, Nigeria, Oman, Peru, and Syria, and power generation facilities in Colombia and Guatemala.

Prior to Joining the Firm

Representative Energy Industry Cases

  • Representing major crude oil and natural gas producer on claims by several royalty interest owners relating to post-production costs associated with transportation, processing, and fractionation charges, involving numerous oil and gas leases in South Texas.
  • Representing mineral interest owner in one of the largest ranches in the State of Texas in claims against lessee under oil and gas lease, relating to deficient observance of royalty formula in royalty clause.
  • Representing international supplier of oilfield equipment in breach of contract against with PDVSA, Bariven and PDVSA Services Inc.
  • Represented marketing and trading arm of major international energy company in prosecuting enforcement of crude oil purchase and sale agreement involving substantial quantities of oil produced in the Texas Permian Basin for ultimate delivery to Gulf Coast and overseas markets.
  • Tried to a successful jury verdict a case involving petroleum concession in Syria.  Represented major international oil and gas company and obtained defense jury verdict on fraud and duty of good faith and contract issues.  Also, obtained successful jury verdict on breach of contract on the client's counterclaim.  Case included international customs for petroleum concession negotiations and every aspect of production sharing contracting administration and all geoscience disciplines.  (Harris County, Texas)
  • Tried to a jury verdict a case involving breach of duty to protect the leasehold from drainage; bad faith pooling; slander of title and tortious interference. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff clients and a judgment in the clients' favor was entered (Wharton County, Texas).
  • Tried to a jury verdict a case involving claims by holders of an oil and gas interest in undeveloped lands claiming loss of an opportunity for development of leasehold. Plaintiffs claimed they could have drilled seven Wells and claimed damages of over $50,000,000. Jury delivered a complete defense verdict. (Starr County, Texas)
  • Tried to a jury verdict a case involving claims for royalty underpayments; breach of the duty to reasonably develop the lease premises; breach of the duty to protect the leasehold from drainage; breach of the duty to market gas as a reasonably prudent operator for a declaratory judgment on royalty clause language; plaintiffs asked the jury for $225,000,000. Jury awarded a portion of the damages claimed on the drainage and development claims and returned a defense verdict on other claims. (Zapata County, Texas)
  • Tried to a jury verdict a case on behalf of a natural gas transmission company involving take or pay and ratable take provisions in a natural gas purchase contract. (Federal District Court, Amarillo, Texas)
  • Tried to a jury verdict a case involving a dispute between the operator of a prolific oil and gas field and a working interest owner alleging that the operator failed to drill additional development wells and failed to implement a gas cycling program. (Hardin County, Texas)
  • Tried to successful evidentiary bench trial special appearance on behalf of major Mexican and international oil field services companies case brought by Canadian drilling company alleging damages in excess of $55 million for breach of drilling contracts executed for operations in Mexico. (Harris County, Texas)
  • Tried to a successful AAA Arbitration Award where Claimants brought the lawsuit in Harris County, Texas state district court, alleging that they had been damaged by selling oil and gas property interests to an entity in which joint interest owners and others owned an equity interest, and that the alleged failure by the interest owners to disclose their interest in the purchaser entity violated alleged fiduciary duties. The sale of the properties resulted in sales proceeds of $75 million, and the properties were further developed and later packaged with other interests for a sale by the purchaser entity at a sales price of over $225 million. Claimants sought damages in an amount equal to what Claimants alleged participation in the second sale would have yielded.
  • Tried to successful ICC Arbitration award after final hearing, claim over an oil and gas concession in Kurdistan.  Claimant asserted causes of action for breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, fraudulent inducement of continued performance, anticipatory repudiation, and declaratory judgment. Claimant sought more than $240 million in actual damages, and $480 million in punitive damages and a net profits interests.  After a five-day arbitration hearing in Fort Worth, Texas, the sole arbitrator denied all claims for damages, finding no breach, repudiation, or fraudulent inducement of the contract.
  • Tried, as co-counsel, to successful bench opinion and judgment a case involving preferential rights claims to acreage in Marcellus Shale, with $66 million sought.
  • Successful ICC arbitration representation of international E&P company involving milestone payments, net profits interest, and project termination payment issues relating to a Kurdistan Production Sharing Contract and related Consulting Agreement.  Trial involved Geoscience experts, and financial modeling experts.  US law governed, with a sole arbitrator, with arbitration seated in Fort Worth.
  • Represented an international E&P company in ICC Arbitration over JOA dispute over cash calls, involving a Peruvian Block.  Interim emergency measures under Article 29 were requested and awarded.  English law, seated in New York.
  • Represented an international E&P company in dispute over major pipeline and associated facilities infrastructure project in the Marcellus Shale play.  Dispute involved AFEs, gather and transportation charges, and valuation of project.  More than $250 million in dispute.
  • Represented an international E&P company in boundary dispute involving claims by seventy Taiwanese citizens to mineral rights under the South China Sea, licensed to company's predecessor by the Peoples Republic of China.  Houston federal district court dismissed for lack of standing, and the dismissal was affirmed by the 5th Circuit.
  • Represented an independent E&P company in prosecuting preferential rights to purchase provision in Austin Chalk, Eagle Ford, and Buda plays, and defending against claims of tortious interference relating to the acquisition of a top lease.  Case involved geoscience, petroleum engineering and financial impact experts.  Case filed in Dimmitt County, Texas.
  • Litigated and obtained a significant settlement on behalf of a plaintiff oil and gas company against a defendant seller of oil and gas properties. The case involved common law fraud and statutory fraud claims arising out of the plaintiff's purchase of oil and gas properties based on represented reserve numbers. (Arbitration-AAA)
  • Litigated and obtained a significant settlement on behalf of a plaintiff gas purchaser in a case involving a gas producers' breach of an unfavorable gas sales agreement involving production in Louisiana and Arkansas. (Harris County, Texas)
  • Litigated and obtained a significant settlement on behalf of a major independent energy company in a matter involving theft of trade secrets relating to drilling activity in a shale gas play. (Federal District Court, Houston, Texas)
  • Represented an international oil and gas exploration and production company in connection with disputed payments based on oil production and gas processing accounting issues, including issues involving PSC/Service Contract delineation and relinquishment issues.
  • Represented a major gas transmission company in Bolivia in connection with claims resulting from the construction of a large diameter pipeline transporting gas from Bolivia to Brazil. (ICC Arbitration, seated in Montevideo, Spanish language)
  • Represented a power generating company in Guatemala regarding claims relating to a power purchase agreement. (Arbitration under UNCITRAL Rules, seated in Miami, Spanish language)
  • Represented an oil and gas mineral owner in a claim by an oil and gas lessor to preferential right to leases. (Tens of millions of dollars in dispute)
  • Represented an oil and gas interest owner in obtaining a settlement attributable to his interest in a major oil and gas field in West Africa.
  • Represented a major international energy company in a dispute over the termination of a contract to sell an oil and gas concession in Oman. (LCIA Arbitration, Seated in London)
  • Litigated and obtained a settlement on behalf of a major oil and gas company in a lawsuit against a pipeline company which, following Hurricane Ike, failed to restore transportation services allowing the client to produce and sell substantial quantities of gas from its offshore Gulf of Mexico leases.
  • Represented an independent oil and gas exploration company in arbitration, litigation and alternative dispute resolution proceedings, relating to a shareholder's agreement, a participation agreement, a farmout agreement and a joint operating agreement with respect to a dispute with the holder of the exploration license in a property offshore Nigeria. (AAA/ICDR Arbitration; State District Court in Dallas County for interim equitable proceedings)
  • Represented an energy company over its ownership and operating rights in an oil and gas concession in Ecuador. (Harris County, Texas)
  • Represented an international energy company in a dispute involving an area of mutual interest agreement and a production sharing contract in the Kurdistan Region in federal Iraq. (Case tried to conclusion and award, ICC Arbitration)
  • Litigated dispute relating to conflicting claims of title to oil and gas properties in Starr County, Texas, including related litigation and arbitration, bankruptcy proceedings, state and federal appeals, and receivership and injunctive proceedings. (Harris County, Bell County, Starr County, Federal District Court (Houston), Bankruptcy Court (Houston), San Antonio Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals)
  • Represented a major independent oil and gas company in defending claims by family members claiming an undivided mineral interest to lands in Brooks County, which interest is claimed to be derived from land titles over one century old. Case dismissed in the district court; dismissal affirmed in San Antonio's Court of Appeals. (Brooks County and San Antonio Court of Appeals)
  • Represented a Canadian-based manufacturer and marketer of agricultural products in paralleled AAA Arbitration and California Federal and State Court Litigation in a matter concerning warranties and representations made in connection with the purchase and sale of a fertilizer plant and associated facilities. A primary issue in the case involved whether a gas purchase contract conveyed in the sale of assets contained a gas warranty provision that required seller of gas to deliver to the fertilizer plant all of the gas needed for the plant to operate at full capacity.
  • Representing an oil and gas exploration and production company in a dispute over termination of an exploration agreement, and the alleged misappropriation and use of seismic and other geologic data. (Harris County, Texas)
  • Represented a gas producer and power generating company with respect to a dispute over the right to produce gas from a city landfill and to convert the gas to power for sale to a utility. (McLennan County, Texas)
  • Represented a defendant operator/lessee in connection with a claim by the plaintiff/lessor that the lessee failed to protect the leasehold from drainage. The case was settled after the voir dire examination. (Duvall County, Texas)
  • Represented a seller of oil and gas properties as a creditor in a Bankruptcy Court trial on the issue of the value of developed and undeveloped properties and reserves in connection with the debtor's request to continue as a going concern versus liquidating under Chapter 7. (Bankruptcy Court - Houston)
  • Obtained a temporary injunction on behalf of an operator (an independent international oil and gas company) enjoining a non-operating working interest owner from wrongfully putting the other working interest owners to an election on a proposed ten-well drilling program. Succeeded in obtaining a final summary judgment interpreting the operating agreement in the operator's favor. Court awarded the operator all attorneys' fees requested. The case was upheld on appeal on all points. (Harris County, Texas)
  •  Litigated a "material change in financial condition clause" with respect to a retail electric power supply contract in Harris County District Court and at the Public Utility Commission.
  •  ICC Arbitration involving alleged $50 million in damages for alleged breaches of representations and warranties in purchase and sale agreement relating to power generation facilities in Colombia.
  • Litigated a wholesale power purchase contract on behalf of power purchaser, involving lost profits resulting from the wholesale power supplier's breach of its supply obligations. (State Court, Harris County, Texas)
  • Litigated a case on behalf of major gas transmission company's trading subsidiary relating to a force majeure condition (icing of otherwise navigable waterways) excusing a failure to deliver a barge cargo of natural gasoline products. (Federal District Court - Houston)
  • Litigated a case regarding force majeure defenses to gas delivery obligations resulting from serious supply shortages caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. (Harris County, Texas)
  • Representing a natural gas and power trading and marketing company in prosecuting an action against a trading counterparty's allegations that the company should have delivered full quantities of gas to it, despite the force majeure events that disrupted the gas markets after Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. The case involves the interpretation of the force majeure provision in the standard NAESB form natural gas trading contract widely used in the United States.
  • Litigated a case involving force majeure defenses to performing liquids exchange obligations at tailgate of a fractionation plant that experienced feedstock shortages resulting from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. (Harris County, Texas)
  • Representing owner of liquids processing, fractionating, and transporting facilities in a dispute over alleged non-performance of exchange agreement, obligations which non-delivery was caused by the damage to energy infrastructure resulting from Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. (Harris County, Texas)
  • Litigated a dispute involving crude oil sale and exchange transactions impacted by a 2008 Hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. (Harris County, Texas)
  • Litigated a dispute involving a force majeure clause under a natural gas purchase/sale contract relating to a natural gas pipeline's inability to deliver gas during extended freezing conditions in Louisiana. (Harris County, Texas)
  • Litigated a dispute between a non-operator and an operator relating to the operations proposal provisions in an operating agreement regarding the construction of a gas pipeline and concerning the operator's conduct in submitting an inflated AFE (Authority For Expenditure) on a proposed development well and on a gas gathering facility. (Harris County, Texas)
  • Defending a False Claims Act case on behalf of gas pipeline and gas marketing company defendants involving allegations that defendants knowingly mis-measured and undervalued natural gas produced from Federal and Indian lands and leases leading to underpayment of royalties to the United States. The case was recently dismissed in a multidistrict litigation proceeding in the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming, and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal.
  • Litigated a purported national class action case involving allegations that defendants failed to accurately measure gas produced from lands other than Federal or Indian lands. (Stevens County, Kansas)
  • Represented a large independent oil and gas company in a multi-defendant case involving allegations of aquifer pollution allegedly resulting from oil and gas activities. (Starr County, Texas)
  • Litigated a matter involving operations issues relating to a water-flood hydrocarbon recovery project. (Dallas County, Texas)
  • Defending entities involved in gas and power trading in connection with disputes arising out of supply and price volatility, and claims of unfair competition.
  • Litigated numerous cases involving enforcement of operator and non-operator rights in Joint Operating Agreements.
  • Litigated numerous cases involving take-or-pay provisions in natural gas purchase contracts.
  • Litigated numerous gas contract dispute cases involving the interpretation of gas pricing, price redetermination, delivery and measurement provisions.
  • Litigated numerous cases involving the interpretation of royalty clauses and division orders as respects a lessee's obligations to a lessor.
  • Litigated numerous cases involving the implied covenant to market as a reasonably prudent operator.
  • Litigated numerous cases involving the duty implied in oil and gas leases to reasonably develop the leased premises and to protect the leasehold from drainage.
  • Litigated numerous cases involving claims for significant damages and other impairment remedies related to preferential rights to purchase oil and gas interests.

Representative General Commercial/Business Litigation Cases

  • Obtained $30 million jury verdict, including exemplary damages, on behalf of an elite breeder of Akaushi Cattle in a dispute with Breed Association, its Parent Company and their common chairman of the board, relating to failure to keep and maintain DNA data, and failure to provide parent verification reports, resulting in losses of domestic and international sales of genetics and live cattle, as well as lost herd value. The jury found breach of contract, tortious interference, fraud and alter ego. (2021, Fort Bend County State District Court).

  • Represented Chapter 11 discharged debtor agriculture company, in a trial and Fifth Circuit Appeal on case filed by creditor, obtaining judgment against creditor and sanctions in the amount of $500,000.
  • Obtained a multi-million dollar jury verdict for actual damages on behalf of the heirs of South Padre Island founding developer. (Cameron County, Texas)
  • Obtained a multi-million dollar jury verdict for actual and exemplary damages on behalf of a plaintiff manufacturing company against defendants that interfered with the company's proposed lending transactions. The causes of action included tortious interference with prospective business relations, business disparagement, fraud, violations of the Texas Free Enterprise Act, and breach of contract. (Harris County, Texas)
  • Obtained a jury verdict for actual damages and exemplary damages on behalf of a family ranching partnership and one of its partners against the other partner. The case involved causes of action for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract. (Harris County, Texas)
  • Obtained a complete defense verdict in favor of an investor against allegations made by foreign and domestic companies regarding numerous complex real estate partnerships. The allegations included fraud and breach of contract. (Harris County, Texas)
  • Tried to a jury verdict a case for a component part manufacturer in a lengthy trial in connection with a case alleging lost profits and lost business value from the alleged defective manufacturers of parts. Jury found in favor of primary client on four issues attempting to hold client responsible for subsidiaries' acts (no alter ego, no agency, no other vicarious liability). The case involved issues relating to the application of Mexican Law. (Cameron County, Texas)
  • Obtained a jury verdict for a manufacturer of concrete products in a breach of contract matter concerning a customer's failure to honor its contract to purchase specially manufactured goods. The case involved unique legal issues arising under the Uniform Commercial Code. (Montgomery County, Texas)
  • Tried an ICC Arbitration matter in Mexico City, involving a Mexican television network's claim against one of the three largest American television networks for breach of a joint venture. Many of the witnesses testified in the Spanish language.
  • Represented a major manufacturing group in Mexico in a case involving purchase price adjustment issues in multiple PSA transactions with over $400 million in dispute. Case involved parallel proceedings in Mexico City, New York state court, and Arbitration. (Mexico City; New York)
  • Represented a major independent exploration oil production company and members of its board of directors in defending shareholders derivative action allegations of breach of fiduciary duty in connection with company's announced intention to sell business divisions in separate bid processes. (Harris County, Texas)
  • Represented a diamond jewelry manufacturer in an action to recover diamond inventory in the millions of dollars from a group of individuals claiming to be partners with the manufacturer. (Federal District Courts - Houston and Atlanta)
  • Represented a major electronics/defense firm in a case involving allegations of lost profits resulting from alleged breaches of fiduciary duties and tortious interference with contracts in connection with an alleged joint venture relationship. (Federal District Court - Houston)
  • Litigated a case regarding a shareholder demand to a corporate Board of Directors relating to a disposition of stock in a business.
  • Prosecuted and defended numerous cases involving allegations of fraud in stock and asset transactions.
  • Prosecuted and defended numerous cases involving claims under asset purchase agreements and stock purchase agreements relating to the representations and warranties made in the agreements and relating to allegations of fraud and other business torts in connection with the transactions.
  • Prosecuted and defended numerous cases on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants involving tortious interference, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and other business torts.

Representative Toxic Tort Litigation Cases

  • Tried to a successful defense jury verdict (seven weeks of trial) a wrongful death, personal injury and property damage matter involving allegations of aquifer pollution resulting from operations at a landfill. The case involved 480 plaintiffs, though only 9 were tried in the first case. (San Patricio County, Texas)
  • Represented a major refiner in a multi-plaintiff personal injury and neighborhood property damage case resulting from a hydrofluoric acid gas release. (Brazoria County, Texas)
  • Represented a major oil and gas industry equipment manufacturer in a multi-plaintiff and multi-defendant case involving alleged birth defects resulting from pollution emissions from "maquiladoras" along the Rio Grande River. The case involved legal issues implicating Mexican Law. (Cameron County, Texas)
  • Represented a major international grower, processor and marketer of food products in cases involving over 25,000 banana workers from 25 countries (including Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama and Ecuador) claiming sterility and other injuries from exposure to a pesticide containing 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane ("DBCP"), with one case filed in Jim Hogg County involving 1,500 Honduran plaintiffs. (Numerous Texas state district and appellate courts and federal district and appellate courts)
  • Represented a major refiner/chemical manufacturer in cases involving benzene and other potentially hazardous substance exposure at refinery worksites.
  • Represented an international oil field services company in a case involving allegations of property damage allegedly resulting from industrial plant emissions.
  • Represented a major international consulting firm in a case alleging mismanagement of clean-up activities on a Federal Superfund site.


Rankings & Honors

  • Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, 2021
  • Alumnus of the Year, The University of Houston Law Center, 2014
  • Associate Member, American Board of Trial Advocates
  • Lawyer of the Year, Houston: Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions- Defendants, Best Lawyers, 2014, 2018
  • Recognized Lawyer, Energy and Natural Resources, Expert Guides2013 - 2017
  • Chambers USA, General Commercial for Texas, 2021
  • Chambers USA, Texas Litigation (Energy & Natural Resources), Chambers Partners 2005 - 2020
  • Latin American Corporate Counsel Association (LACCA) Approved guide, Energy, Law Business Research Ltd, 2016 - 2019
  • Recognized among Lawdragon's 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers, 2019-2021
  • Local Litigation Star, Benchmark Litigation, Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC, 2016 - 2018
  • Texas Super Lawyer, Business Litigation, Thomson Reuters, 2006 - 2020
  • Texas Super Lawyer, top 100 attorneys in Houston, Thomson Reuters, 2006 - 2021
  • Texas Top Rated Lawyer, LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, 2012, 2014, 2016
  • Legal 500 US, Hall of Fame, Energy Litigation Oil & Gas, 2020
  • Legal 500 US, Leading Lawyer, Energy litigation-oil and gas, The Legal 500, 2017-2018
  • Legal 500 US, recommended lawyer, Energy: Litigation, The Legal 500, 2007 - 2018
  • Legal 500 US, recommended lawyer, Product liability, mass tort and class action - toxic tort - defense, The Legal 500, 2017
  • Named the Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year" for Oil and Gas Law, 2022
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers, Litigation: Commercial, Mass Tort/ Class Actions-Defendants, Oil and Gas Law 2008 - 2022
  • Who's Who in Energy, Houston Business Journal, 2013 - 2014
  • Who's Who Legal, energy, Law Business Research Ltd., 2017-2018


Community & Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association
  • American Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Houston Bar Association
  • Houston Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
  • State Bar of Texas
  • Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • International Bar Association
  • ABOTA Foundation – Fellow
  • University of Houston Law Foundation, President (2008 - 2010); Board Member (2004 - Current); Chair, Development Committee (2015 - 2016); New Building Development Committee (current)
  • University of Houston Law Alumni Association, Past President
  • Member, Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN)

  • Member, Advisory Director, and Long-Range Planning Committee, Institute for Energy Law (IEL)

  • American Heart Association, Houston Chapter, Board of Directors, 2008 - 2013); Board Member, Southwest Affiliate (2014 - Current); Chair, Health Equity Committee (2016)
  • Texas A&M 12th Man Foundation, Athletic Ambassador (2008 - Current)
  • Member, Texas A&M University 12th Man Foundation, Legal Committee

  • Alexis de Tocqueville Society – United Way – Member
  • Advisory Member, Energy Law 360

  • Latin Lawyer – Disputes Editor
  • Tourette's Association of Texas, Target for Tourette's Sporting Clay Event, Auction Chair (2011 - 2018)
  • Ezekiel W. Cullen Society, University of Houston - Member (2018 - Current)

Media & Events


Speaking Engagements

  • 08.19.2021
  • 06.28.2021
  • 05.14.2019
  • "U.S. Litigation Arising out of Corruption Scandals in Latin America," ABA International Law Annual Meeting, Miami, Florida
  • ABA Fall Meeting, presentation on "U.S. Litigation arising out of corruption scandals in Latin America, Miami, FL
  • Co-Chair, Latin Lawyer Oil & Gas Conference, Mexico City
  • William Wood and Xavier Cortina, "The Jurisdictional Front: Recent developments and cases in the US and Mexico," IMM Conference
  • "Navigating Predictable Disputes in Infrastructure Project Development," International Bar Association, Buenos Aires
  • "Navigating Predictable Disputes in Infrastructure Project Development," International Bar Association, Buenos Aires
  • "Conflicts and Dispute Resolution in Joint Operating Agreements," International Bar Association Annual Conference, Vienna
  • "Joint Operating Agreements and Allocation of Risks in the Oil Patch," AON's Energy Symposium, Mexico City
  • William Wood and Lauren Varnado, "Trends in Energy Disputes: Impacts on Valuation," National 2014 Energy Valuation Conference, Houston, Texas
  • William Wood and Cheryl Nolan, "The Intersection of Science, Law and Policy – Selected Thoughts on the Hydraulic Fracturing Debate," Energy Symposium - Fracking: The Cost of Energy Independence
  • "Anatomy of a Dispute Between Joint Interest Owners in the Hydrocarbons Exploration and Production Sector," Annual Conference of the International Bar Association, Boston, MA
  • "Post-Acquisition Disputes," International Bar Association, Latin America Forum, Lima, Peru
  • "Anatomy of a Multi-Jurisdictional Dispute Resulting from and M&A Transaction," International Bar Association, Latin America Forum, Lima, Peru
  • "Jurisdiction, Service of Process and Enforcement of Judgments (Selected Topics)," National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade, Product Liability in Latin America (A Seminar for U.S. Manufacturers, Exporters and Lawyers), Miami, Florida
  • "Impact of Shale and Gas on U.S. and International Markets," International Bar Association Second Conference of the Americas, Miami, Florida
  • "Current Issues in the U.S. Energy Industry," Peru Investment Forum 2009: Energy Sector in Peru, Peruvian American Business Council, Lima, Peru
  • "Predictable Litigation in an Unpredictable Energy Market," Texas Association of Defense Counsel, Spring CLE program, Houston, Texas
  • "Recent Judicial Decisions in the United States Relating to Arbitration," presented to The Mexican Mediation Institute, Mexico City, Mexico
  • "Partnering in the Oil and Gas Industry," AICPA Conference, Austin, Texas
  • "$4.00 A Gallon – Behavior Modification for Consumers, Energy Developers, Legislators and Regulators in the United States," presented at the 2008 International Bar Association Annual Conference, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • "The Texans Are Coming," Roundtable Participant, Latin Lawyer article featuring Latin America Practice Groups in Texas-Based law firms
  • "Foreign Direct Investment Outlook: Bolivia and Ecuador – International Litigation as a Potential Alternative," New York
  • Panel Moderator, "Challenges Faced by Independent Companies in the E&P Sector in Brazil: A Case Study – Perspectives on the 9th Bidding Round," Brazil Drilling to the Point, Institute for International Comparative Law, Dallas, Texas
  • "The Rule of Law, Mexico 2007 and Beyond: Challenges and Opportunities," Gonzalez Calvillo, S.C., 20th Anniversary Symposium, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Program Moderator, State Bar of Texas 20th Annual Advanced Evidence and Discovery Course, Houston, Texas
  • "Joint Operating Agreements Including International Issues," University of Houston Law Foundation, Oil, Gas and Energy Law Course, Houston & Dallas, Texas
  • Instructor, "International Litigation, Arbitration and Mediation," Maestría en Derecho Corporativo, Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Co-Panelist, "Recent Judicial Resolutions in Mexico and in Foreign Countries," CAM TEC Annual Event on Contemporary Practice on Mediation & Commercial Arbitration, Centro de Arbitraje de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
  • "Lease Royalty and Associated Provisions – Contemporary Issues," American Association of Mineral Owners 2006 Conference, Houston, Texas
  • "Lessons Learned: The Energy Industry after the Hurricanes," 5th Annual Gas & Power Institute, The University of Texas School of Law, Houston, Texas
  • "Controlling Outside Counsel Fees," West Coast General Counsel Roundtable – Balancing Risk and Reward in an Era of Global Competition, The Economist, San Francisco, California
  • Panel Moderator, "Managing Upstream Investment Risk in Developing Countries," NAPE Expo 2006, Houston, Texas
  • "Force Majeure – Contemporary Applications and Challenges – The Energy Industry after the Hurricanes: Dealing with Storms of Controversy," Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. Breakfast Seminar, Houston, Texas
  • "Trends in Energy Litigation," State Bar of Texas Oil, Gas and Law Section Annual Meeting, State Bar Convention, Houston, Texas
  • Panelist, "Measure of Damages Deferred or Lost Oil & Gas Production: Recovery/Exposure," When Something Goes Bump in the Night, Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. Breakfast Seminar, Houston, Texas
  • Conference chair and presenter, "Introduction to Mediation Strategies," Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. Mexican Mediation Conference, Houston, Texas
  • "Selected Current Topics in Energy Trading and Transborder Energy Sales," Fourth Latin American Regional Conference, Legal Challenges for the 21st Century, International Bar Association, Cuzco, Peru
  • Program Moderator, "Energy Reform in Mexico – New Opportunities for Energy Companies?" Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. Breakfast Seminar, Houston, Texas
  • "United States Energy Laws," Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. Program for Chinese Delegation of Future Executives from Zhejing Province, Houston, Texas
  • "A Day in the Life of a Business Litigator," Career Services of University of Houston Law Center, Houston, Texas
  • "Preparing Witnesses for Deposition and Defending Depositions," Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. Litigation Training Program Lecture Series, Houston, Texas
  • Trial Advocacy Program, Voir Dire, Cross Examination, Direct Examination, Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. presentation, Houston, Texas



  • Co-author, "The Current State of Renewable Energy Disputes," Parts 1-4, Law360, April 2017 
  • Founding, Contributing Editor, and Co-author with Neil Q. Miller, Lauren Hunt Brogdon, and Holly Stebbing, Energy Disputes Worldwide, Getting the Deal Through, 2016
  • Co-author, "LNG Disputes Under Sale And Purchase Agreements: Part 4," Law360, Nov 10, 2015
  • Co-author, "LNG Disputes Under Sale And Purchase Agreements: Part 3," Law360, Nov 4, 2015
  • Co-author, "LNG Disputes Under Sale And Purchase Agreements: Part 2," Law360, Oct. 28, 2015
  • Co-Author, "LNG Disputes Under Sale And Purchase Agreements: Part 1," Law360, Oct. 21, 2015
  • Co-author, "Texas Post-Production Costs Still Constrained By 4 Corners," Law360, June 23, 2015 
  • Co-author, "Reigniting Mexico's Energy Industry," Law360, February 2014
  • Co-author with Brian Boyle, "Obtaining Foreign Discovery in U.S. Litigation," The Advocate State Bar of Texas Litigation Report, Summer 2013
  • Co-author with Brian Boyle, "Minimize the Risk of Post-Deal Fraud Claims," Texas Lawyer, March 2013
  • Co-author with Brian Boyle, "2012 Year in Review - Energy Law," Texas Bar Journal, January 2013
  • "When Good Transactions Turn into Bad Litigation: A Perspective on Common Litigation Predictors in Oil and Gas Transactions," 59th Annual Oil & Gas Conference, Institute on Oil and Gas Law, Institute for Energy Law of the Center for American and International Law, Houston, Texas, February 21, 2008
  • Co-author with Kevin O' Gorman and Matthew Dekovich, "Dispute Resolution in 45 Jurisdictions Worldwide," Getting the Deal Through, Texas Chapter, 2012 - 2013
  • Co-author with Kevin O' Gorman and Lance Bremer, "Dispute Resolution in 45 Jurisdictions Worldwide," Getting the Deal Through, Texas Chapter, 2008 - 2011
  • Co-author with Laura McMahon, "Bienvenidos a Texas – article on Diversified Latin American Practices," LatinLawyer Magazine, June 2007
    Co-author with Anibal Sabater, "CAFTA - New Horizons For Free Trade Agreements," LatinLawyer Magazine, May 2007
    Contributing author, Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. Trends in Energy Litigation, 2007, 2011
    Contributing author, "Private Entities Now Allowed to Participate in Gas Development Projects," Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. Latin America Update, June 2006
    Contributing author, "Back to the Future: A New Wave of Nationalizations in Latin America," Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. Latin America Update, May 2006
    "Court Shopping: How to Get Your Case Heard Stateside," LatinLawyer Magazine, October 2005
    Contributing author, "Issues Impacting the Energy Industry After the Hurricanes," State Bar of Texas Oil, Gas, and Energy Resources Law Section Report, December 2005
    Contributing author, "Current Trends in Energy Litigation," State Bar of Texas Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Law Section Report, December 2002
  • Contributing author, "Energy Reform in Mexico: New Opportunities for Energy Companies?" Latin American Law & Business Report, February 2002


J.D., University of Houston School of Law, 1984.

B.B.A, Accounting, Texas A&M University, 1981.

Court Admissions

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

Bar Associations

  • Texas State Bar


  • Spanish
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