WHY SUSMAN GODFREY?
For more than thirty years, Susman Godfrey has focused its nationally recognized practice on just one thing: high-stakes commercial litigation. We are one of the nation's leading litigation boutique law firms with offices in Houston, Dallas, Seattle, Los Angeles and New York. We have a unique perspective, the will to win, and an uncommon structure, which taken together provide the way to win.
A Unique Perspective
Susman Godfrey represents an equal number of plaintiffs and defendants. Ours is not a cookie-cutter practice turning out the same case from the same side of the bar time after time. We thrive on variety, flexibility, and creativity. Clients appreciate the insights that our broad experience brings. "I think that's how they keep their tools sharp," says one.
Many companies who have had to defend cases brought by Susman Godfrey on behalf of plaintiffs are so impressed with our work in the courtroom that they hire us themselves next time around — companies like El Paso Corporation, Georgia-Pacific Corporation, Mead Paper, and Nokia Corporation.
We know from experience what motivates both plaintiffs and defendants. This dual perspective informs not just our trial tactics, but also our approach to settlement negotiations and mediation presentations. We are successful in court because we understand our opponent's case as well as our own.
The Will to Win
At Susman Godfrey, we want to win because we are stand-up trial attorneys, not discovery litigators. We approach each case as if it is headed for trial. Everything that we do is designed to prepare our attorneys to persuade a jury. When you are represented by Susman Godfrey, the opposing party will know that you are willing to take the case all the way to a verdict if necessary; this fact alone can make a good settlement possible.
The American Lawyer award confirmed Susman Godfrey's longstanding reputation as one of the premier firms of trial lawyers in the United States. We are often brought in on the eve of trial to "rescue" troubled cases or to take the reins when the case requires trial lawyers with a proven record of courtroom success.
We also want to win because we share the risk with our clients. We prefer to work on a contingency-fee basis so that our time and efforts pay off only when we win. Our interests are aligned with our clients-we want to achieve the best-possible outcome at the lowest possible cost.
Finally, we want to win because each of our attorneys shares a commitment to your success. Each attorney at the firm — associate as well as partner — examines every proposed contingent fee case and has an equal vote on whether or not to accept it. The resulting profit or loss affects the compensation of every attorney at the firm. This model has been a tremendous success for both our attorneys and our clients. In recent years, we have achieved the highest profit-per-partner results in the nation. Our associates have enjoyed performance bonuses equal to their annual salaries. When you win, our attorneys win.
An Uncommon Structure
At Susman Godfrey, our clients hire us to achieve the best possible result in the courtroom at the least possible cost. Because we learned to run our practice on a contingency-fee model where preparation of a case is at our expense, we have developed a very efficient approach to commercial litigation. We proved that big cases do not require big hours. And, because we staff and run all cases using the same model, clients who prefer to hire us by the hour also benefit from our approach.
There is no costly pyramid structure at Susman Godfrey. As a business, we are lean, mean and un-leveraged — with a tw0-to-one ratio between partners and associates. To counter the structural bloat of our opponents, who often have three associates for each partner, we rely on creativity and efficiency.
Susman Godfrey's experience has taught what is important at trial and what can be safely ignored. We limit document discovery and depositions to the essential. For most depositions and other case related events we send one attorney and one attorney alone to handle the matter. After three decades of trials, we know what we need — and what is just a waste of time and money.
Susman Godfrey prides itself on a talent pool as deep as any firm in the country. Clerking for a judge in the federal court system is considered to be the best training for a young trial attorney, and 91% of our lawyers served in these highly sought-after clerkships after law school. Seven of our attorneys have clerked at the highest level — for Justices of the United States Supreme Court.
Our associates are not document-churning drones. Each associate at Susman Godfrey is expected to second-chair cases in the courtroom from the start. Because we are so confident in their abilities, we consider associates for partnership after seven years with the firm, unless they joined us following a federal judicial clerkship. In that case, we give credit for the clerkship, and the partnership track is generally six years. We pay them top salaries and bonuses, make them privy to the firm's financials, and let them vote — on an equal standing with partners — on virtually all firm decisions.
Each trial attorney at Susman Godfrey is invested in our unique model and stands ready to handle your big-stakes commercial litigation.
HOW WE HANDLE CASES
We pride ourselves as trial lawyers, not discovery litigators. Everything we do is to prepare us to persuade a jury. Moreover, fifty percent of our time as a firm is spent in handling contingent fee matters for plaintiffs. Preparation in these cases is on our own nickel. We cannot afford to lose. And we cannot afford to win inefficiently.
From this, we have two guiding principles for complex litigation, which sets us apart from our competitors and adversaries. First, less is often best. Second, early discovery is effective discovery.
Neither compromise our chances of success on your case. Excess discovery is not just unproductive, it is counterproductive to the extent it educates the other side or forces them to get prepared earlier than they otherwise would. And minimal discovery doesn't mean being ill-prepared. It means learning the case quickly and by other means, such as thoroughly interviewing our client's employees and the other side's ex-employees, and conducting jury simulations.
When we walk into the courtroom, we believe we are at a natural advantage. All of our efforts are designed to retain that natural advantage. We are great believers in jury simulations or mock trials, and we conduct them early and frequently in most cases. They help us predict the outcome, hone our arguments, and conduct discovery with an eye to telling a simple story to a jury. They let our clients see how their lawyers will look and sound during the real thing. The cost is well worth the information and strategic guidance we gain.
In trial, we are tireless. Distractions are cut away. All of our focus and attention is on victory at trial. We set up and staff a "war room" close to the courthouse. Our attorneys move to the venue several weeks in advance of trial. Witness Q&As and cross-examinations are in the can. Demonstratives are ready to go. We have already determined who our optimal jurors will be, and a voir dire or jury questionnaire is ready to help us select and seat them. Anticipated evidentiary or legal points have been researched and briefed. Opening arguments are polished.
How do we handle cases? To win.
AREAS OF PRACTICE
|Seth Ard||Jessica Levy|
|Patrick C. Bageant||Neal S. Manne|
|Barry C. Barnett||Kenneth S. Marks|
|Matthew Behncke||Eric J. Mayer|
|Matthew R. Berry||Ashley L. McMillian|
|Vineet Bhatia||Kenneth E. McNeil|
|Rachel S. Black||Brian D. Melton|
|Amanda Bonn||William R. Merrill|
|Jeremy Brandon||Stephen E. Morrissey|
|Amy Brantly||Justin A. Nelson|
|Jonathan Bridges||Weston O'Black|
|Jacob W. Buchdahl||David H. Orozco|
|Warren T. Burns||Karen Oshman|
|Bryan Caforio||Terrell W. Oxford|
|Ophelia F. Camiña||Thomas W. Paterson|
|Bill Carmody||J. Hoke (Trey) Peacock III|
|Johnny W. Carter||David Peterson|
|Ryan Caughey||Joseph C. Portera|
|Daniel H. Charest||Shawn J. Rabin|
|Jeffrey Chi||Shawn L. Raymond|
|Jordan Connors||Robert Rivera|
|Victoria L. Cook||Jonathan J. Ross|
|Ian B. Crosby||Robert S. Safi|
|Oleg Elkhunovich||Mary Kathryn Sammons|
|Charles Eskridge||Edgar G. Sargent|
|Parker C. Folse||Marc M. Seltzer|
|Brian Gillett||Sandeep Seth|
|H. Lee Godfrey||David Shank|
|Lindsey Godfrey Eccles||Daniel J. Shih|
|Joseph S. Grinstein||Floyd G. Short|
|Katherine Hacker||Steven G. Sklaver|
|Drew D. Hansen||James T. Southwick|
|Erica W. Harris||Kalpana Srinivasan|
|Zenobia V. Harris||Arun Subramanian|
|Geoffrey L. Harrison||Harry P. Susman|
|Richard W. Hess||Stephen D. Susman|
|Kathryn P. Hoek||Brooke A. M. Taylor|
|Alexander L. Kaplan||Katherine G. Treistman|
|LeElle Krompass||Max L. Tribble|
|Katherine H. Kunz||Genevieve Vose|
|Stuart V. Kusin||Mani S. Walia|
|John P. Lahad||Mark L. D. Wawro|
|Chanler A. Langham||Alexandra G. White|