National Law Journal Names Chrysta Castañeda to 2018 Elite Trial Lawyers List

Chrysta Castañeda has been awarded The National Law Journal’s Elite Trial Lawyers Award for 2018.

The Elite Trial Lawyers award recognizes exemplary performance in the courtroom, according to NLJ. The publication’s editors and reporters reviewed about 300 submissions across 23 categories to select the winners. Ms. Castañeda’s profile is available here (subscription required).

One of Ms. Castañeda’s most notable recent victories was a $146 million verdict on behalf of T. Boone Pickens and Mesa Petroleum, which was recognized as one of the largest in the nation in 2016 by NLJ and one of the largest in Texas by Texas Lawyer.

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New Courts: New Legal Landscape?

On November 6, the Blue Wave hit Texas like a tsunami. You didn’t hear? Perhaps you are not a close follower of the Texas courts of appeals. Democrats took control of the Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio courts of appeal. The change is historic: these courts have been controlled by Republicans for the past two decades.

What impact could this have for businesses involved in litigation? Among other things, court watchers expect the following:

  • Fewer summary judgments to survive,
  • That use of arbitration clauses to avoid court will be reined in, and
  • That high-dollar judgments will have a greater chance of survival.

For clients who have faced the expense and delay of Anti-SLAPP motions to dismiss, closer scrutiny of that overused tactic is also expected. And, businesses in the oil patch may face increased litigation costs from courts of appeals that favor maintenance of the jury system. Read more

Texas Super Lawyers Recognizes Chrysta Castañeda on 2018 List of Outstanding Lawyers

Congratulations to Chrysta Castañeda for being selected to the 2018 Texas Super Lawyers list of outstanding Texas attorneys. Read more

How to Beat the Pros in Court

You’ve probably had your share of “Best Lawyers” and “Super Lawyers” tell you about their selection in the past several months. While I’m pleased to be recognized on several such lists, what I really want to convey to my up-and-coming colleagues is this: Don’t be intimidated by those who have a lot of accolades, or even decades in the chair. There is no head-to-head matchup behind these marketing awards that determines who is the “best” lawyer.

While experience and expertise cannot be bought, information is free. Here are a few free tips to help the less experienced or less-connected attorney out-do the opposition in a courtroom battle. Read more

National Law Journal Names Chrysta Castañeda a Finalist for Elite Trial Lawyers Honor

Chrysta Castañeda has been named a finalist for The National Law Journal’s inaugural list of Elite Women of the Plaintiffs Bar award. Read more

Kirkland Partner’s $11M Salary = Big Win for Women

Author’s note: This article was originally published in Texas Lawbook on June 4, 2018.

The New York Times broke the news recently that a woman commercial litigator had achieved a stratospheric salary guarantee with one of the largest law firms in the world. By moving from Cravath, Swaine & Moore to Kirkland & Ellis, Sandra Goldstein has reportedly secured an $11 million annual salary guaranteed for five years.


Not only is it remarkable for any litigator to sign for NFL-like cash, it is doubly notable because women lawyers are still underpaid compared to their male peers. Read more

Does Your Lawyer Treat You Well?

I regularly write status reports to my clients, something I assumed most lawyers did. Surprisingly, however, my clients often tell me that they don’t get status reports on their matters from other lawyers.

With that in mind, I decided to write this blog post to raise clients’ expectations of what they should be getting from their lawyers, both in terms of service and communication.

Most people don’t regularly have teams of lawyers working for them, so they have no point of reference on what to expect from their outside counsel. Even if you do, you may be asking yourself, “Am I being treated well? What should I expect?”

Having a good working relationship with your outside attorney will help your deal or litigation succeed. But, like all relationships, it takes work on both sides. Here are a few things to look for to make sure you are getting your money’s worth out of your legal representation, and a few tips for you, the client, on how to help your attorney help you: Read more

Chrysta Castañeda Named to D Magazine ‘Best Lawyers in Dallas’

Congratulations to Chrysta Castañeda for her inclusion in the 2018 D Magazine list of the Best Lawyers in Dallas for her work in commercial litigation.

Chrysta Castañeda named to 2018 Best Lawyers in Dallas

Chrysta Castañeda

Ms. Castañeda, the founding partner of The Castañeda Firm, focuses on oil and gas litigation in the upstream sector, as well as commercial litigation and products liability disputes involving technical evidence. A former engineer, she frequently represents operators, working interest owners, mineral owners and investors on contract and operational questions.  She also has served as national coordinating counsel for products manufacturers in products liability and toxic tort claims.

Her 2016 verdict on behalf of T. Boone Pickens and Mesa Petroleum in Mesa Petroleum Partners v. Baytech et al. was recognized as one of the largest in the nation by the National Law Journal and one of the largest in Texas by Texas Lawyer. A judgment was entered in December 2017.

Ms. Castañeda also received the “Women in Energy” Award from Texas Lawyer in 2016 and was recognized by Texas Super Lawyers, published by Thomson Reuters, in 2012.

She received her Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering from Kansas State University and her law degree from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.

About The Castañeda Firm

The Castañeda Firm represents litigation clients in the energy industry and beyond. From offices in Dallas, the firm provides extensive experience in a variety of complex litigation, including oil and gas disputes, complex commercial cases, products liability suits, and toxic torts and other environmental matters. For more information:

Caveat Emptor: Texas Supreme Court Puts Greater Due Diligence Burden on the Backs of Oil & Gas Asset Buyers

Buyer Beware in purchase of oil and gas assetsThe Permian is a hotbed of deal activity, with the Dallas Morning News declaring that an “arms race” is breaking out to acquire the best acreage positions.

But what are purchasers really buying? Does the due diligence process move too fast (or not at all, making it an empty exercise)? Do purchasers really know that their title is good? Are they unknowingly wasting their money, only to discover that they have done so decades after the investment is made and the profits are owed to the true owner?

The Texas Supreme Court has now strongly moved to put the risk of title loss on the oil and gas interest purchaser or lessee, holding that a purchaser/lessee was not even entitled to a trial on the question of whether it had reasonably relied on the lessor’s own admitted misrepresentations about its title.

In an opinion delivered March 23, the court upheld the dismissal as a matter of law of the purchaser’s claims arising from title failure. In so doing, the court upended the rule that a seller always remains liable for its own fraudulent statements, instead placing the risk on sophisticated buyers. Read more

Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Craig Enoch’s New Trial Tip – plus more!

I was honored to have had the opportunity to work with former Texas Supreme Court Justice Craig Enoch recently on the Mesa Petroleum Partners case, which resulted in a $117 million judgment plus interest for our client, T. Boone Pickens.

I sat down with Justice Enoch to ask about his insights into trial and appellate practice based on his decades of experience as a trial judge, court of appeals chief justice, and Supreme Court justice – as well as an advocate at his own law firm. Not only did he share inside knowledge about how judges view cases, he gave me a tip about new trial motions that not many trial lawyers know.  Read more