Nathan Smith

Nathan M. Smith

PARTNER

Honored as a Texas Rising Star by Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers since 2012

Education


  • University of Chicago Law School
    • J.D., with Honors, 2004
    • Robert S. Fiffer Scholar; Hinton Cup Winner (First Place, moot court competition), 2002-2003; Co-Chair, Moot Court Board, 2003-2004
  • Brigham Young University
    • B.A., German, summa cum laude, 2001
    • University Honors; Trustees Scholar; Karl G. Maeser and Edwin S. Hinckley Scholar; Humanities Convocation Speaker; Phi Kappa Phi

Judicial Clerkships


  • Law Clerk, The Hon. Jennifer Walker Elrod, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • Law Clerk, The Hon. David C. Godbey, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas

Honors & Awards


  • Texas Rising Star, Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers, Since 2012

Professional & Community Involvement


  • Texas Bar Foundation, Sustaining Life Fellow
  • Greater Houston Partnership, K-12 Education Subcommittee Member
  • J. Reuben Clark Law Society, Houston Chapter, Vice Chair
  • German American Chamber of Commerce, Firm Liaison
  • National Eagle Scout Association, Life Member
  • Sam Houston Area Council Boy Scout Troop 47, Troop Committee Chair
  • Houston Bar Association, including Litigation and Appellate Sections
  • Federalist Society

Presentations & Publications


  • “Privilege and Confidentiality Principles for Lawyers in the Ward Council,” J. Reuben Clark Society, Houston Chapter, 2015
  • “A Young Lawyer’s Perspective on Legal Ethics,” Texas Center for Legal Ethics Justice James A. Baker Guide to the Basics of Law Practice Course, Houston 2009.

Languages


  • German

Previous Affiliations


  • Baker Botts LLP

Biography


Nathan Smith has a remarkable track record of translating his clients’ stories into effective arguments for why the law entitles them to prevail. Sophisticated clients and colleagues rely on Nathan when cases are complicated and when every word matters on the most critical briefs. His strategic thinking and strong writing have allowed Nathan to build an impressive record of resolving cases efficiently and to his clients’ advantage, often before trial. He has represented plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of issues in federal, state, and arbitration proceedings, with particular depth in complex contract, fiduciary duty, and fraudulent transfer claims.

Repeatedly honored as a Rising Star in the Texas legal market, Nathan has devoted most of his career to tackling complex cases with hundreds of millions of dollars at issue. Nonetheless, some of his most rewarding engagements involved stakes that were smaller in dollar amounts, but that represented the financial future of an individual or an emerging company.

Nathan has lived in Germany and has leveraged his German language skills to represent German clients and handle cases that involved German witnesses and German-language documents.

Nathan is committed to community service and professional leadership. He currently serves on the Greater Houston Partnership K-12 Education Subcommittee, is Vice Chair of the Houston Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, and is a Sustaining Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation.

Nathan served as a law clerk for Judge David C. Godbey of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas and for Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod of the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Representative Matters


Cooper Industries

Have served since 2013 as a key strategist, hearing team member, supervisor of large-scale discovery, and preparer of critical briefing for Texas state court litigation and (after compelling arbitration) AAA arbitration of fraudulent transfer, tortious interference, and other claims relating to a challenge to a multi-hundred million dollar settlement from 2011. (Pepsi-Cola Metropolitan Bottling Co., Inc., et al. v. Cooper Industries LLC, et al., American Arbitration Association and 80th Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas).

Wallace Pack Unit Prison Litigation

Have served since 2015 as local counsel and advisor for trial and appellate strategy for prisoner lawsuit challenging conditions of confinement in the Wallace Pack Unit, a Texas geriatric prison.  Helped to secure a preliminary injunction in federal court requiring provision of clean water during the Summer of 2016 to prisoners held without air conditioning in a facility whose water supply did not meet EPA standards.  (Cole v. Livingston, et al., United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas and United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit).

Petrohawk Energy Corp.

Appeared with the firm as new counsel several months before scheduled trial in Texas state court.  Successfully obtained an appellate stay of trial, pending consideration of appeal on a motion to compel arbitration.  Shortly thereafter, the case settled favorably to the client as the defendant.  (Overwatch Enterprises, LLC v. Petrohawk Energy Corporation; 36th Judicial District Court of McMullen County, Texas and Texas Fourth Court of Appeals).

DCP Midstream

Conducted large-scale legal and historical research on key questions with limited direct authority, to advise the client, as plaintiff, on negotiation and critical motion strategy for Colorado state court litigation over multi-billion dollar long-term natural gas contracts affected by corporate mergers and acquisitions.  The case settled favorably for the client prior to trial. (DCP Midstream v. Anadarko Petroleum Co., et al., District Court of Weld County, Colorado).

Lone Star Funds/Hudson Advisors & Related Individual Fiduciaries

Served as the lead associate and preparer of critical motions for defense against asserted multi-hundred million dollar fraudulent transfer, fiduciary duty, and preference claims in Texas federal court, arising from the bankruptcy of Bruno’s Supermarkets, LLC.   Argued summary judgment motion targeting fiduciary duty claims, with case settling favorably for the client soon after summary judgment hearing.  William S. Kaye, Liquidating Trustee of BFW Liquidations, LLC f/k/a Bruno’s Supermarkets, LLC v. Lone Star Fund V, et al., United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas).

Seashore Investments Management Trust

Prepared pre- and post-hearing briefing, and served as part of the final hearing team for multi-week AAA arbitration of contract, fraud, fiduciary duty and related claims, resulting in complete defense victory for the client, and $20+ million award for the client on counterclaims, including punitive damages.  The award was later confirmed and made subject to confidential settlement.  (PBF Investments, Ltd. v. Toby Shor and Seashore Investments Management Trust v. Paul Black, et al., American Arbitration Association).

ASARCO LLC

Conducted and supervised legal research, crafted legal theories, and drafted critical trial briefing on fiduciary duty and damages issues, in groundbreaking fiduciary duty and fraudulent transfer litigation resulting in $5 billion+ judgment for client Asarco LLC against Americas Mining Corporation in Texas federal court, contributing to remarkably favorable resolution of Asarco LLC bankruptcy proceedings.  (Asarco LLC v. Americas Mining Corporation, United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas).