Donald E. Godwin

Donald E. Godwin

Chairman and CEO

  • Civil Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Divorce Litigation
  • Eminent Domain and Zoning Litigation
  • Energy / Oil and Gas Litigation
  • Environmental Litigation
  • Wills, Probate, Estate Planning and Estate Litigation

Donald E. Godwin is considered one of the most respected and tenacious trial lawyers in Texas. For nearly 40 years Don has tried significant jury cases in courts throughout Texas and across the United States. He has the ability to translate complex matters of law and fact into easily understandable language for courts and juries. Don's practice covers a broad range of areas with an emphasis on complex litigation, including oil and gas, environmental, fiduciary duties, will contests, major family law disputes and business torts. He has been the Lead Trial Lawyer in the Firm's successful defense of Halliburton in connection with all civil litigation and investigations concerning BP's Macondo well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

Don was the lead counsel for Halliburton in its asbestos and silica litigation. He negotiated the global settlement of Halliburton's approximately 382,000 asbestos claims throughout the United States that took him approximately one year to accomplish. Additionally, Don serves as trial counsel for Ray Hunt and Hunt Consolidated Company in matters related to the many companies owned by the Ray Hunt family, and in personal litigation matters. As well as being recognized as a leading trial lawyer in the United States, Don has also earned the reputation among corporate executives, their legal departments, and other highly visible individuals as a master negotiator where the risks are substantial and the future and successes of such clients are on the line.

Don is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). He received a J.D. from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in 1973, an M.S. in Accounting from the University of Memphis in 1970 and a B.S. from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington in 1969. Reflecting the standard of long-term excellence established in his legal practice, he has been named one of the "50 Lions of the Texas Bar" by Texas Lawbook, honoring 50 of the most influential senior attorneys in Texas; recognized since 2014 by Chambers USA in the area of General Commercial Litigation, honored by selection on the list of The Best Lawyers in America since 2012 in the area of Commercial Litigation, and has recently been named for the second consecutive year (2015, 2016) to the Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America.

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  • Representative Experience

    Representative Experience

    Commercial Litigation

    • Federal and state securities fraud
    • Officers and Directors liability
    • Contract disputes
    • Breach of confidentiality agreements
    • Breach of trade secret agreements
    • Breach of supply agreements
    • Sherman, Clayton, and Robinson-Patman actions
    • Environmental Litigation
    • Defend companies against claims involving hazardous waste dumping allegations
    • Defend companies against personal injury and property damage claims resulting from plant emissions

    Mass Tort Litigation

    • Defended Halliburton, Dresser and Brown & Root in their asbestos- and silica-related litigation throughout Texas
    • Defend major apparel company in its asbestos litigation in South Texas
    • Defend major manufacturing company in its asbestos litigation in Montana

    Energy Litigation

    • Disputes involving take-or-pay gas contracts
    • Gas processing and gas balancing agreements
    • Disputes involving cross-licensing agreements
    • Royalty disputes between producers and interest owners
    • Gas well blowout disputes in Louisiana and Texas
    • Actions for theft of oil from tank farms
    • Refinery explosions involving multiple deaths and serious bodily injuries
    • Pipeline explosions in neighborhoods resulting in deaths, bodily injuries and property damages

    Professional Services Litigation

    • Defend attorneys against claims involving negligence, fraud, unjust enrichment and breach of fiduciary duties
    • Defend accountants against claims of negligence, fraud and failures to prepare financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
  • Presentations & Publications

    Presentations & Publications

    • Frequent lecturer on a variety of topics related to litigation, jury selection, cross-examination techniques and closing arguments at CLE seminars, institutes and trade-association groups throughout the United States
    • Frequent lecturer at Mealey's Institutes on a variety of topics involving defending companies against asbestos claims and how to successfully negotiate global settlements of asbestos and silica claims
  • Honors & Awards

    Honors & Awards

    • 3-time recognition in Chambers USA: America's Leading Business Lawyers General Commercial Litigation, Texas, 2014, 2015, 2016
    • 2-time selection to Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America, 2015, 2016 (by Lawdragon Inc.)
    • Chosen to the list of the "50 Lions of the Texas Bar" by Texas Lawbook, 2015
    • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2012 - 2016
    • AV rated "Preeminent" Martindale Hubbell
    • Designated as one of the “Top Five DFW Defenders,“ Dallas Business Journal, 2006, 2010
    • 7-time selection to Thomson Reuters' "Top 100 Lawyers in Texas" as published in Texas Monthly & Super Lawyers magazines (2003-2006, 2012, 2014, 2015).
    • 11-time selection to Thomson Reuters' "Top 100 Lawyers in Dallas/Fort Worth" as published in Texas Monthly & Super Lawyers magazines (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
    • 5-time selection to "Who's Who in Energy" in Dallas, Houston, Austin, Denver, St. Louis, Columbus, San Antonio and Pittsburgh by the American City Business Journals, 2011-2015
    • Selected to Texas Super Lawyers Advisory Board, 2010-2013
    • Received the Distinguished Alumni Award for Private Practice from SMU Dedman School of Law for 2003
    • 13-time selection to Thomson Reuters' "Texas Super Lawyers" as published in Texas Monthly and Super Lawyers magazines, 2003 - 2015
    • 9-time selection as one of the "Best Lawyers in Dallas" by D Magazine, 2003, 2005. 2009, 2011-2016
    • Selected in the Dallas Business Journal's list of the Top 10 Litigators/Trial Lawyers in the D/FW Metroplex, 2003
  • Admitted Practice

    Admitted Practice

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

    Member

    • American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
    • Dallas Bar Association, Chairman, Antitrust & Trade Regulation Section, 1980
    • State Bar of Texas
    • William 'Mac' Taylor, Jr. American Inn of Court (Master Member)
    • Executive Board Member, SMU Dedman School of Law, 2002 to present
  • Education

    Education

    • Board Certified, Civil Trial Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, 1979
    • Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law (J.D., 1973)
    • Memphis State University (M.S., Accounting, 1970)
    • University of North Carolina, Wilmington (B.S., 1969)
  • Community

    Community

    • Board of Directors, Haggar Clothing Co., 2003 to 2005
    • Chair, Dallas Symphony, AT&T Gala, 2004
    • Corporate Underwriting Chair, Prevent Blindness and UT Southwestern Department of Ophthalmology, Eye Ball event, 2004 and 2005
    • Executive Board Member, SMU Dedman School of Law, 2002 to present
    • Outside Counsel and Trustee, Episcopal School of Dallas, 2002 to 2011
    • Outside Counsel, Dallas Symphony Association, 2002 to 2006
  • Representative Clients

    Representative Clients

    • Hilltop Securities, Inc.
    • First Southwest Company
    • Halliburton Company
    • Ray Hunt
    • Hunt Consolidated, Inc.
    • Hunt Oil Company
    • Hunt Realty, Inc.
    • PlainsCapital Bank
    • Andrews Distributing Company-Distributor of domestic and import beers including Miller and Coors
    • Haggar Clothing Co.
    • Phillip Romano-Restaurateur/Entrepreneur
    • Texas Capital Bank
    • PlainsCapital Corporation
    • Lon Smith Roofing Company