One of Texas's elite firms, Bakers Botts has
deep roots in the Lone Star State-and a long history of counseling
the oil industry and Republican administrations. It also fields
sturdy teams in technology, energy, life sciences, complex
litigation, white-collar defense, and appellate advocacy.
From Agriculture to Oil
Baker Botts was Texan before Texas was a
state. The firm's origins date back to 1840, when Peter Gray
founded a firm in the land known then as the Republic of Texas.
Gray's first clients were agricultural interests-sugar, cotton, and
timber-and the Southern Pacific and Union Railroads. By 1874 more
partners had joined, forming Gray, Botts & Baker. Gray
subsequently stepped down from the firm in order to accept a seat
on the Supreme Court of Texas, leaving the practice in the hands of
Colonel W.B. Botts and Judge James A. Baker, who nudged Gray's name
off the firm stationery and began working as Baker & Botts.
The subsequent history of the firm runs
parallel to the story of Texas. A hurricane destroyed the
prosperous port of Galveston in 1900, shifting the state's
commercial epicenter to Baker & Botts' turf in Houston. The
following year, dozens of oil wells opened around Houston, and the
firm quickly became counsel of choice for the burgeoning industry.
Its clients included companies that evolved into Chevron, Texaco
Besides playing an integral role in Houston's
development, Baker & Botts became connected to Rice University
where Captain James Baker, son of founder Judge James A. Baker,
chaired the first board of trustees. The Great Depression and
ensuing New Deal laws inspired the firm to expand its corporate and
regulatory practices; in 1972, Baker & Botts opened a DC office
devoted to federal regulatory work (Former Secretary of State James
A. Baker III is a partner there).
More offices in Texas and a New York location
specializing in telecom, technology and financial services work
followed. The firm's name was streamlined to Baker Botts in 2000.
In the late 1990s and 2000s, Baker Botts took its eye for black
gold overseas, opening offices in the oil frontiers of Russia,
Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Today, the firm counts
energy bigwigs like Shell, Amoco, and Reliant among its
Baker Botts has had long, strong ties to both
Bush administrations: a 16-year-old George W. did a tour of duty in
the firm's mail room; James A. Baker III served as Bush/Cheney
campaign counsel during the acrimonious Florida recount of 2000;
and in 2009, Fran Townsend, former top homeland security adviser to
President George W. Bush, joined the Baker Botts DC office as a
partner. The firm's political connections have helped it score
engagements with the Saudi royal family and Halliburton, although
Baker himself has faced open criticism for his connection to the
Carlyle Group and Enron. The firm's entry to hot energy markets has
been eased by its powerful relations; James A. Baker IV, when asked
if his father's connections had anything to do with the firm's
emergence in Russia, affirmed that it would be "disingenuous to say
it hasn't been an asset."
Moving On Up
Baker Botts was named one of the top Texas firms among the
nation's highest-grossing firms on the Am Law 100 list.
Houston-based Baker Botts, is ranked 46th, up from 51st the year
before, with $704.5 million in gross revenue (a 7.9 percent
increase). The firm topped $1 million in revenue per lawyer for the
first time as rates per lawyer climbed 7.4 percent, to $1.01
million, and profits per partner increased 6.2 percent, to $1.805
million. "While commodity prices were down, we're more
diversified [than some other Texas firms], so we saw strong
performance across the board," says managing partner Andrew
The Stars at Night Are Big and Bright
The 2016 edition of Texas Super
Lawyers magazine named 38 firm lawyers as "Texas Rising
Stars." The ranked lawyers received the highest points total during
the nomination, research, and peer review process. Super
Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from
more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer
recognition and professional achievement. The selection process
includes independent research, peer nominations, and peer
Baker Botts' Antitrust Litigation practice is listed among
Global Competition Review's (GCR) Global Top Ten. In this
first-ever litigation ranking, GCR states the
global listing includes the top international competition practices
that "display considerable litigation prowess on both sides of the
Atlantic." In addition to the Global Top Ten, the firm's Antitrust
and Competition Law practice was recognized as one of the world's
"Global Elite" in the 16th edition of the GCR 100-an annual
ranking that highlights the antitrust work of global law firms
based on the difficulty and quality of work, reputation of lawyers,
size, jurisdictional reach, and casework over the past 12
Give Me Liberty…
Baker Botts successfully represented Liberty Media in the
settlement of its lawsuit against Vivendi Universal S.A. Under the
agreement, Vivendi S.A. has paid $775 million to Liberty. The
lawsuit stemmed from a complex transaction between Vivendi and
Liberty Media in 2001. After a four-week trial, a jury sitting in
the Southern District of New York found Vivendi liable for breach
of contract and securities fraud, and awarded Liberty Media €765
million (excluding interest). "This settlement brings to a close
one of the highest profile securities fraud cases in the last
twenty years," said Michael Calhoon, a partner in Baker Botts'
Washington D.C. office and the lead lawyer on this case.
Are You Going to San Francisco?
Baker Botts has officially opened its new office in San
Francisco, located in the heart of the Financial District at 101
California Street. With Patricia Stanton as the new Partner in
Charge, this will be the firm's second California office joining
its Palo Alto office which opened in 2008. This expansion will draw
upon the firm's reputation for outstanding client service and firm
wide expertise in areas such as technology, corporate, patent
litigation, real estate, life sciences, and white collar to add
significant value for their clients. The new San Francisco office
and the firm's growth in California continues to demonstrate Baker
Botts' commitment to being a world-class technology law firm.
As a result of the dramatically changed patent landscape due to
significant changes is the establishment of new post-grant patent
proceedings, including Inter Partes Review, Post-Grant Review, and
Covered Business Method Review, Baker Botts launches its Patent
Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Trials Blog
(PTABBlog.law). "Every week brings new decisions and rulings
that offer insight into how the PTAB is handling these proceedings
and interpreting statutes and regulations associated with the AIA.
As leaders in the patent prosecution and litigation arena, the
Baker Botts PTAB Trials Blog will provide a unique perspective on
news, trends, and analysis of PTAB proceedings as they evolve,"
said Luke Pedersen, Chair of Baker Botts' PTAB Trials practice.