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Jonathan R. Childers

Jonathan R. Childers is an experienced first-chair trial lawyer. Equally comfortable representing both plaintiffs and defendants, his victories, client focus, judgment, and work ethic place him among the elite business trial lawyers in Texas.

Jonathan has a special focus in energy litigation, business ownership and fiduciary disputes, trade secrets, high-stakes business torts, and complex financial issues and damages. Strategic, swift, and unafraid to try a lawsuit in court, Jonathan excels in synthesizing information, distilling facts to the truly important, and identifying and exploiting the business drivers underlying the dispute. Businesses and executives across Texas and the United States trust Jonathan to be their advocate, leading them through critical business challenges. He litigates boldly with the heart and resourcefulness to win.

Jonathan honed his disciplined work ethic as a walk-on varsity swimmer at SMU—a trait he still applies in the courtroom. After earning his J.D. from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, Jonathan served as a law clerk for the Honorable Sam A. Lindsay, United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas.

Jonathan is well-known by members of the local, state, and federal judiciary and bar community in Texas. He’s been recognized as a "Rising Star" from 2010-2020 and a “Top 100 Up-and-Coming Rising Star” from 2017-2020 by Texas Monthly and Law and Politics magazines; one of the “Top 20 Lawyers on the Rise” in 2016; and was listed as a “Best Lawyer in Business Litigation” by D Magazine from 2017-2022.

  • Southern Methodist University, B.A., English and History, cum laude, 2002
  • Southern Methodist University School of Law, J.D., 2005

Business Litigation

  • Obtained joint $93.8 million jury verdict for Fort Worth-based energy investment firm for breach of fiduciary duty and fraud (over $28 million for his clients).
  • Obtained $7.86 million jury verdict on behalf of medical consulting and services company for breach of contract and tortious interference.
  • Successful defense of international private equity firm and two of its executives in four week jury trial over alleged breach of fiduciar duty and contracts.
  • Obtained dismissals for internationally-renowned investor sued for alleged civil conspiracy.
  • Regularly pursues and defends cases involving temporary restraining orders and injunctions in state and federal courts.
  • Defends and pursues partnership and business divorce disputes, often under Texas and Delaware law.
  • Victory for private equity buyer against seller in earn-out dispute.
  • Successful prosecution of trade secret and contract dispute for major FinTech company.
  • Successful negotiation for limited partners against managing member in major commercial real estate project.
  • Favorable result in derivative action pursued by legacy owners after a private equity investment.
  • Win for prominent family in West Texas ranch dispute.
  • Successful prosecution of derivative action against investment services firm.
  • Victory for fitness club and owners accused of breaching fiduciary duties.
  • Successful defense of national commercial real estate investor accused of breaching alleged fiduciary duties.
  • Successful prosecution of FINRA suitability claim by prominent investor against national brokerage firm.
  • Victory for family member in dispute over family assets.
  • Successful defense of board member and removal of hostile board member.
  • Successfully prosecuted a substantial finder's fee dispute concerning the introduction of M&A targets, including the defense of counterclaims for alleged securities violations.
  • Favorable defense of an LLC and majority member in dispute involving a major mixed-use development project in North Texas; obtained an order cancelling lis pendens.
  • Successfully prosecuted significant commercial real estate fraud litigation involving numerous parties and cross-claims.
  • Obtained successful settlement of restrictive covenant dispute for major Dallas real estate developer.
  • Favorable defense of national retailer in contract and bailment dispute.
  • Handles contract litigation for large Texas-based employment search firm.
  • Pursues negotiable instrument litigation for national REIT; obtained numerous judgments on behalf of client.

Energy Litigation

  • Obtained Number 15 Verdict in the Nation in 2015 by The National Law Journal on behalf of Fort Worth-based energy investment firm.
  • Successful representation of oilfield services company in West Texas blowout dispute.
  • Favorable defense of substantial litigation involving alleged fraud in a mineral sale.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of national pipeline company accused of alleged ground water contamination on private landin West Texas.
  • Successful representation of oil and gas investor in tag-along rights dispute.
  • Successful defense of mineral buyer in Eagle Ford Shale.
  • Successful prosecution of securities actions pursued by mineral buyer in Barnett Shale.
  • Handles oil and gas catastrophic matters and environmental contamination cases.
  • Represents an international oilfield services company in indemnity disputes.
  • Successful defense of offshore operator concerning an ownership and insurance proceeds dispute; involved litigation in three
    federal forums.

Trade Secret Litigation & Executive Employment Litigation

  • Victory for executive accused of stealing trade secrets and allegedly breaching his fiduciary duties; defeated request for TRO.
  • Obtained temporary restraining order and successfully negotiation for fitness industry business.
  • Negotiated buyout on behalf of female executive of national financial services company.
  • Obtained severance for female executive from major private company.
  • Successfully represented employee against affiliated entities of major investment bank, involving Sarbanes-Oxley and Sabine
    Pilot issues.
  • Represented digital graphics industry CEO in litigation over an employment agreement; successfully collected compensation from
    foreign company.
  • Defended international employer against claims of negligent hiring and wrongful death; obtained favorable settlement.
  • Recognized as a "Texas Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyers, 2021-2022
  • Recognized as a "Rising Star" by Texas Monthly and Law and Politics magazines, 2010-2020
    • Top 100 Up-and-Coming Texas Rising Stars, 2017-2020
  • Recognized as one of the “Top 20 Lawyers on the Rise” by Texas Lawyer, 2016
  • Recognized as a "Best Lawyer" in Business Litigation by D Magazine, 2018-2020, 2022
  • Recognized as a “Best Lawyer Under 40” by D Magazine, 2017-2018
  • Recognized on the "40 & Under Hot List" by Benchmark Litigation, 2018-2020
  • Dallas Bar Association
    • Board of Directors, Member, 2016-present
    • Business Litigation Section, Chair, 2019
    • Energy Section, Member of Advisory Council
    • Trial Skills Section
  • Dallas Association of Young Lawyers
    • President, 2015
    • Fellow, DAYL Foundation
  • Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation, 2013-present
  • American Bar Association
    • Litigation Section
    • Dallas Regional Chair, Judicial Intern Opportunity Program
  • Associate, Patrick E. Higginbotham Inn of Court, 2006-2007
  • Barrister, William “Mac” Taylor Inn of Court, 2011-present
  • Southern Methodist University Alumni Board
    • Board of Directors, Member, 2013-2016
    • Volunteer Engagement Committee, Chair, 2014-2016
  • Dedman College Executive Board, 2016-present
  • SMU Young Alumni Board, Chair, 2010-2011
  • Downtown Dallas YMCA
    • Board of Management, 2013-present
  • Highland Park Presbyterian Church
  • Dallas Aquatic Masters Swim Team
  • It’s a Secret: Trade Secrets are Becoming a Mainstream Issue in the Midstream, Midstream Business, January/February 2018
  • State of Texas Legal Market: Oil & Gas Litigation Trends, Law360, October 2016
  • Trends in Texas Oil & Gas Litigation, August 2014
  • Effective Depositions of Business Organizations, December 2011 DBA Headnotes, December 2011
  • Demonstrating Lost Profit Damages with Reasonable Certainty, August 2007
  • Opening Statements, DAYL Boot Camp, August 2018
  • Protecting the In-House Attorney Client Privilege, DBA Energy Law Section CLE, August 2018
  • Protecting the In-House Attorney Client Privilege, Ernest E. Smith Oil, Gas & Mineral Law Conference, April 2018
  • Texas Oil & Gas Litigation Update, DBA Energy Symposium, August 2016
  • Mission Creep: Anti-SLAPP Issues for the Business Litigator, DBA Business Litigation Section CLE, November 2015
  • Legal issues and Litigation Concerning Horizontal Drilling and Fracking, DBA Energy Section CLE, June 2015
  • Legal issues and Litigation Concerning Horizontal Drilling and Fracking, DBA North Dallas Friday Clinic, May 2015
  • Texas Fracking Ban Litigation and Regulation, Texas A&M University School of Law's 7th Annual Energy Symposium, April 2015
  • DBA Labor & Employment Section - Trade Secret Claims Under the Texas Uniform Secrets Act ("TUTSA"), November 2014
  • William 'Mac' Taylor Inn of Court: Trends in Texas Oil & Gas Litigation, November 2014
  • DBA Energy Section - Trends in Texas Oil & Gas Litigation, August 2014
  • 14 DBA Business Litigation Section – Pursuing and Defending Trade Secret Claims under the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“TUTSA”), May 2014
  • State Bar of Texas, 2005
  • United States District Courts for the Northern, Southern, and Eastern Districts of Texas
  • United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals