Michelle Stratton

Counsel

Whether before a trial judge, arbitrator, or appellate panel, Michelle Stratton brings rigorous analysis, powerful legal writing, and persuasive oral argument to each of her clients’ cases.  Michelle is an experienced appellate attorney who has successfully represented clients before the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fifth and District of Columbia Circuits, the Supreme Court of Texas, and intermediate Texas appellate courts.  Michelle has also obtained outstanding outcomes in complex commercial litigation and arbitrations.  Michelle draws from her experience as a former law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court of the United States and to Judge Edith Jones on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  She also honed her legal skills as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General of the United States, the branch of the Department of Justice that represents the United States before the Supreme Court and directs the federal government’s litigation in the federal courts of appeals.

Michelle graduated first in her law school class, having earned the top grade in twenty courses.  She was a member of the law review, where her legal analysis and writing were honored with the Scribes Award, the American Society of Legal Writers’ national award for the best student-written article in a law review or journal.  She also competed successfully on trial and appellate advocacy teams, gaining invaluable insights that still inform her practice.  Following her clerkships, Michelle was selected by the American Inns of Court as a Temple Bar Scholar.  In that role, Michelle spent four weeks in London observing English trial and appellate practice under the tutelage of prominent barristers and justices of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, a comparative experience that sharpened her understanding of the American legal system and international law issues.

At its core, Michelle’s job is to persuade judges.  Should her skills need any fine-tuning, Michelle routinely receives at-home training in the art of persuasion, courtesy of her three small children.  Michelle and her family are active participants in the Houston community, where they serve as members of a local church and support the University of Houston, her husband’s alma-mater and employer.

United States Supreme Court Cases

Successfully opposed certiorari on behalf of Episcopal diocese in church property dispute (The Episcopal Church v. The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, No. 13–1520)

Briefed merits case concerning whether the Bankruptcy Code permits attorney’s fees for time spent defending the attorney’s fee application (Baker Botts LLP v. ASARCO LLC, No. 14-103)

United States Courts of Appeals Cases

Successfully briefed appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit defending energy company’s mandatory pilot retirement age against Age Discrimination in Employment Act challenge (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Exxon Mobil Corp., No. 13-10164)

Successfully briefed appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on behalf of river authority in Endangered Species Act challenge, obtaining reversal of permanent injunctive relief (The Aransas Project v. Shaw, No. 13-40317)

Successfully briefed consolidated appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on behalf of energy companies, defending against conversion claims brought by Mexico’s national oil company (Pemex Exploracion Y Produccion v. ConocoPhillips et al., Nos. 14-20417, 14-20418)

Successfully briefed appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on behalf of high frequency trading firm in trade-secret misappropriation case, defending a multi-million dollar jury verdict. (Quantlab Technologies Ltd. v. Andriy Kuharsky et al., No. 16-20242)

Successfully briefed and argued appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, representing the federal governement in criminal defendant's sentencing challenge.  (United States v. Venture, No. 09-3101)

Texas Supreme Court Cases

Successfully petitioned for review of an intermediate Texas appellate court decision concerning the evidence a trial court may consider when determining whether a child support obligor is in arrears; the Texas Supreme Court agreed with petitioner and reversed (Ochsner v. Ochsner, No. 14-0638)

Successfully defended an intermediate Texas appellate court’s statutory interpretation of a public retirement system’s authority (Klumb v. Houston Mun. Emps. Pension Sys., No. 13­0515)

Successfully petitioned for review and obtained reversal on the merits in statutory interpretation appeal on behalf of phone and internet provider who requested reimbursement of equipment relocation costs from flood control district (Southwestern Bell Telephone, LP v. Emmett, No. 13-0584)

Additonal Representative Matters

American Inns of Court, Temple Bar Scholar, 2012

American Society of Legal Writers' Scribes Award for the best student-written article in a law review or journal, 2009

Federal Bar Association, Baton Rouge Chapter's Federal Courts Award, 2009

Vinson & Elkins Best Casenote or Comment Award for Excellence in Legal Writing, 2008

Washingtonian Magazine’s “Ten Women to Watch,” 2011

Bar Admissions:
Texas
Louisiana

Court Admissions:
Supreme Court of the United States
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

 
Organizations
:
The Federalist Society, Houston Lawyers Chapter, Board Member
LSU Young Alumni Leadership Council
Commercial Bar Association of England and Wales
Editorial Board Member for THE ADVOCATE, a quarterly journal published by the State Bar of Texas Litigation Section

"Percolating and Potential Legal Conflicts: Challenges for Lawyers and Judges,” Appellate Judges Education Institute, November 2014, (co­authors, Aaron M. Streett & Ernest A. Young)

“Advanced Appellate Briefwriting,” Course Instructor, LSU Law

 “United States Supreme Court Update,” Houston Bar Association, September 19, 2013

“Silencing Chicken Little: Options for School Districts after Parents Involved,” Louisiana Law Review, 2009 

 

Louisiana College
B.A., History, summa cum laude
2006

Louisiana State University
J.D. and Graduate Diploma in Civil Law, summa cum laude, 2009
Order of the Coif

Law Clerk
Honorable Edith Jones
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
2009-2010

Bristow Fellow
Office of the Solicitor General of the United States
2010-2011

Law Clerk
Associate Justice Clarence Thomas
Supreme Court of the United States
2011-2012

Associate
Baker Botts, L.L.P.
2012-2015

Of Counsel
Smyser Kaplan & Veselka, L.L.P.
2015-Present