Education & Clerkship

  • J. D., University of Texas School of Law
    – Texas Law Review
    – Chair, Board of Advocates
    – Class Outstanding Advocat
  • B.A., Plan II with honors, University of Texas
    – Cum laude, phi beta kappa


Craig Smyser tries and appeals a broad range of complex business and personal injury cases.

  • Mr. Smyser has tried more than 50 cases to a jury verdict, with trials in both state and federal courts.
  • Mr. Smyser has arbitrated dozens of cases, domestic and international.
  • Mr. Smyser has recovered verdicts and settlements in excess of half a billion dollars.

Mr. Smyser is a member of the American Law Institute, the International Society of Barristers, and has been designated as a “Super Lawyer” every year since 2003, making the list of “Top 100 Houston Super Lawyers,”and “Top 100 in Texas.” He has also served as the President of the Houston Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates as well as President of the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas appointed Mr. Smyser to the SDTX Attorney Admissions Committee in 2012 and reappointed him twice to serve as Chair.

Mr. Smyser has authored numerous articles on contracts and commercial litigation and co-authored a text book on Texas Contract Law with Professor David Dow. Prior to law school, Mr. Smyser served as a reporter at the Houston Chronicle, where he became the youngest Political Editor in Chronicle history, after he began on the police beat working the lobster shift from midnight to 8 a.m. where he was part of the team that won national UPI and AP awards for outstanding coverage of a major crime story. 

Craig Smyser did a masterful job for me in what could only be called a complex business situation. He understood the problem, developed the best options, and absolutely obliterated the target. If you need legal help that is deadly accurate, give him the case.

- General Merrill A. McPeak USAF (Ret.), former Chief of Staff of the USAF

Representative Matters

Mr. Smyser’s current and recent representations include:

  • McKesson Corporation – Lead Counsel in the Texas opioid litigation; Texas MDL Liaison Counsel for
    entire Distributor Defendants’ group.
  • BNSF Railway Co. – Lead Counsel as plaintiff in multiple arbitrations with an integrated retail and power
    generation company.
  • Shell Offshore, Inc. – Lead Counsel in accounting and contract disputes with other major oil companies
    over operation of offshore drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Cheniere Energy, Inc. – Lead Counsel as plaintiff and defendant in a dispute with Parallax Enterprises,
    Inc., Tellurian, Inc., and certain related individuals regarding breach of a note and tortious interference
    with a contract.
  • Black Elk Litigation Trustee – Lead Counsel as plaintiff in multiple lawsuits in multiple jurisdictions to
    recover, among other damages, more than $100 million fraudulently transferred to Platinum Partners and
  • Counsel for individual defendant in the Travis Scott/Astroworld MDL.


Mr. Smyser has been lead counsel in some of Houston’s – and the nation’s – largest, most important and
heavily publicized matters.

  • Lead counsel for former Enron CFO Andrew Fastow in more than 100 civil cases around the country.
  • Lead counsel for Yukos International UK B.V., the international arm of the former Russian oil company,
    Yukos Oil, dismantled by the Russian Government after Yukos’ CEO Mikhail Khodorovsky became a
    political opponent of Vladimir Putin, in various matters in the United States.
  • Lead trial counsel for Schlumberger Technology Corp in action against former in-house counsel for
    breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, misuse of confidential information, and breach of
    fiduciary duty.
  • Co-lead counsel for David’s supermarkets case against a Fortune 50 company. Obtained a $450 million
    jury verdict.
  • Lead counsel for the City of Houston in multiple matters, including obtaining a mandatory injunction of
    behalf of the City in State District Court, reversal of a temporary injunction entered in federal court against
    the City, defeating a request in federal court for a Temporary Restraining order against the City’s “Safe
    Clear” ordinance, and representing the City and Houston Sports authority in negotiating a confidential
    settlement related to construction of the Toyota Center.


  • Chair, Attorney Admissions Committee for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas American
  • Law Institute, Member (2017 – 2021)
  • International Society of Barristers, Member
  • Texas Association of Board Certified Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists, Former President
  • Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law
  • Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Member and Past President Houston Chapter
  • Houston Urban Debate League, Member, Board of Directors
  • Houston Tennis Association, 2007 Board of Directors
  • Former member and chair of the Board of Directors of the Houston City / Harris County Cultural Arts Council,
  • Non-Profit Organization charged by the City of Houston and Harris County with allocating public funds to
  • various area arts organizations.
  • Member and former President of the Board of Directors of Inprint, a non-profit organization dedicated to the support of writing in the Houston area.
  • Texas Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • American Bar Foundation
  • Houston Bar Association
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