Education & Clerkship

  • JD cum laude, Harvard Law School (2018)
  • MSt in History, University of Oxford (2010)
  • BS with Honors, United States Military Academy at West Point (2009)
  • Law Clerk to the Hon. Lee H. Rosenthal, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, 2018-19
  • Law Clerk to the Hon. Gregg J. Costa, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 2019-20


Rick Houghton successfully represents clients in complex commercial litigation and white collar criminal matters. His broad commercial litigation experience includes cases involving energy assets, healthcare issues, partnership interests, real estate, and qui tam claims.

Before joining Smyser Kaplan & Veselka, Rick clerked for the Honorable Gregg Costa, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the Honorable Lee Rosenthal, U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Texas.

Rick is an honor graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was awarded a Rotary Scholarship to the University of Oxford, where he earned a Master of Studies in History. Before attending Harvard Law School, Rick served as a U.S. Army officer for six years in a variety of domestic and overseas assignments, including as the commander of an Air Defense Artillery training battery at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Rick is active in the Houston legal community and currently serves as a director of the Houston Young Lawyers Association (HYLA) and as a trustee of the Houston Young Lawyers Foundation. In addition, Rick is co-chair of the HYLA Military & Veterans Committee and the Houston Bar Association’s Miliary & Veterans Committee. Previously, he served on the committee for—and participated in—the HYLA Leadership Academy. Rick is also an Eagle Scout.

Representative Matters

  • Qui Tam Litigation: Defeated motion to dismiss in a False Claims Act case pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas seeking over $100 million from a large government contractor for improprieties during the U.S. War in Afghanistan
  • Energy Litigation: Briefed summary-judgment motion in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas regarding the meaning and effect of a mineral lease’s severance-tax provision; secured $3 million ruling in client’s favor on summary judgment; then, successfully represented client in a bench trial and, after winning a multi-million dollar victory, in negotiations that resulted in a favorable global settlement
  • Healthcare Litigation: Successfully represented healthcare insurance company in a multi-week jury trial, resulting in plaintiff award of only a small fraction of requested damages
  • Confidential Commercial Arbitration: Successfully represented the nation’s largest railroad against one of the country’s largest electric power generation corporations that resulted in a favorable settlement
  • Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act: As lead counsel, secured recognition of a Canadian final judgment in Texas state court
  • Real Property Litigation: Won offensive summary judgment in a real property dispute in Texas state court; obtained final judgment and permanent injunction in client’s favor; successfully represented client in defending judgment on appeal




  • Director, Houston Young Lawyers Association (HYLA)
  • Trustee, Houston Young Lawyers Foundation
  • Co-Chair, HYLA Military & Veterans Committee
  • Co-Chair, Houston Bar Association’s Military & Veterans Committee
  • Fellow, Houston Bar Foundation
  • Fellow, Houston Young Lawyers Foundation
  • Member, HYLA Leadership Academy Committee (2020-2021)


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