EDUCATION

Baylor Law School
LL.M., Litigation Management
J.D., magna cum laude

Texas Christian University
B.S., Political Science, summa cum laude
Highest Ranked Graduate
Phi Beta Kappa
Distinguished Military Graduate

JUDICIAL CLERKSHIP

Law Clerk for the Hon. Walter Smith
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas

ADMISSIONS

Texas

U.S. Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit

U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas

U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado

U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Central Districts of Illinois

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Will Thomas is an aggressive litigator, who brings his skills and lessons learned as an Army officer to his cases.

Will routinely represents energy companies, off-road vehicle manufacturers, consumer product manufacturers, and industrial facilities in complex and high-stakes litigation.

Because of his results, Will has been repeatedly recognized a Texas Super Lawyer “Rising Star.” To better serve his clients, he returned to law school to obtain an LL.M. in Litigation Management. He believes strongly in partnering early with clients to craft the litigation strategy and define what a “win” looks like. Will is also the firm’s Hiring Partner and serves on the firm’s Management Committee.

Before joining McDowell Hetherington, Will gained valuable insight into the judicial process as a law clerk in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. Prior to law school, Will was a field artillery officer (Army speak for shooting large cannons). He deployed to Iraq in 2008 during the “Surge” as a bodyguard, protecting high-ranking visitors. As a junior officer, he was assigned the miscellaneous task (that no one seemed to want) managing the Army’s Baghdad hotel for visiting dignitaries. During the year-long deployment, the hotel—a re-purposed Saddam Hussein palace—lodged over 2,000 visitors, including then Vice President Joseph Biden, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Stephen Colbert.

Outside the office, Will is a die-hard TCU sports fan, a certified wine enthusiast, and spends nearly every non-lawyering minute with his new daughter. He serves on the board of directors for ARTCO, a regional theater in Los Angeles, and has traveled to 46 U.S. states (and counting), arriving at two states by way of parachute.

EDUCATION

Baylor Law School
LL.M., Litigation Management
J.D., magna cum laude

Texas Christian University
B.S., Political Science, summa cum laude
Highest Ranked Graduate
Phi Beta Kappa
Distinguished Military Graduate

JUDICIAL CLERKSHIP

Law Clerk for the Hon. Walter Smith
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas

ADMISSIONS

Texas

U.S. Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit

U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas

U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado

U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Central Districts of Illinois

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

BUSINESS & ENERGY DISPUTES
  • Obtained summary judgment in dispute over devulcanization technology and related non-compete agreements, where opposing party sought over $150 million in damages and exclusive use of technology. Excel Fortress Ltd. v. Wilhelm, No. CV-17-04297-PHX-DWL, 2020 WL 1330664 (D. Ariz. Mar. 23, 2020)
  • Represented large fertilizer company against Oklahoma municipality in significant water rights dispute impacting operations at a billion-dollar facility. Case resolved pre-litigation following successful negotiations.
  • Will currently represents several energy companies in high stakes disputes involving the February 2021 winter storm and firm obligations to deliver gas for use by Texans and Oklahomans during a historic cold snap. The total value of pending cases exceeds $200 million.
  • Represents pipeline company in right-of-way disputes and cases involving third-party damage to pipeline.
CLASS ACTIONS & CONSUMER DISPUTES
  • Argued and defeated class certification in case involving Telephone Consumer Protection Act, where Plaintiff sought statutory damages exceeding $5 billion. Burk v. Direct Energy, LP, No. 4:19-CV-663, 2021 WL 4267146 (S.D. Tex. Sept. 20, 2021).
  • Currently representing large retail electric provider in dispute over unlawful marketing claims, where Plaintiff seeks to certify a class and over $2 billion in statutory damages.
  • Significant experience defending over 100 TCPA cases. For example, obtained summary judgment defeating TCPA claims and held judgment on appeal. Worsham v. Direct Energy Servs., LLC, No. CV SAG-20-00193, 2021 WL 948819, (D. Md. Mar. 12, 2021) and aff’d, 2022 WL 1261998 (4th Cir. Apr. 28, 2022).
  • Represented large life insurance company in complex class action involving pricing of insurance products. After significant discovery and motion practice, case settled favorably on a class-wide basis.
  • Obtained favorable arbitration award in matter involving funeral home’s disposition of remains.
  • Obtained favorable arbitration award in land use dispute involving cemetery. Currently on appeal.
  • Represented life insurer at trial against bad faith allegations. Following several days of trial in federal court, the case settled on favorable terms.
  • Obtained summary judgment for life insurer against former NFL owner’s estate alleging Prompt Pay Act claims.
PERSONAL INJURY & PRODUCT DEFECT CASES
  • Nationwide counsel for off-road vehicle manufacturer. Represented manufacturer in dozens of catastrophic personal injury cases.
  • Argued and obtained dismissal for oilfield services company on demurrer in high profile case involving alleged liability for employees convicted of hate crimes in California.
  • In trucking dispute involving multiple fatalities, successfully obtained summary judgment on nearly all claims and disqualified plaintiffs’ liability expert. Case settled favorably soon thereafter.
  • In catastrophic injury case against wood manufacturer, obtained highly favorable settlement. Following settlement, plaintiff attorney reneged, and plaintiff refused to sign settlement papers. Will successfully argued and obtained a court order enforcing the settlement, dismissing case. Other co-defendants proceeded to trial.
CONSTRUCTION DISPUTES
  • In a matter of first impression of state indemnification statute, successfully obtained summary judgment dismissing municipality’s multi-million dollar claim for damages arising from construction defects in downtown bridge. Affirmed on appeal. First Mercury Ins. Co. v. Westchester Surplus Lines Ins. Co., 152 F.Supp.3d 1320 (D. Or. 2016), aff’d, 731 Fed. Appx. 716 (9th Cir. 2018).
  • Represented private country club in Palm Desert in construction dispute against general contractor that significantly mismanaged the project. Matter resolved on favorable terms before final arbitration hearing. Because Will does not golf (to his golf-enthusiast father’s dismay), he could not fully enjoy the benefits of representing a premier golf course.
  • Obtained favorable resolution in matter involving roof damage from Hurricane Harvey that destroyed a large industrial client’s central plant control building.
  • In dispute against industrial facility, successfully defended facility against general contractor change orders and overages.
WHITE COLLAR & FRAUD DISPUTES
  • Obtained multi-million-dollar judgment against national energy company’s former employees, who engaged in a sophisticated money laundering and embezzlement scheme. Employees were subsequently convicted and incarcerated. (Link: Employees Sentenced in Pipeline Fraud Scheme).
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of life insurer on fraud claims against broker that defrauded life insurance company into issuing a multi-million-dollar policy on his terminally ill brother. Successfully defended on appeal. Laschkewitsch v. Legal & Gen. Am., Inc., 725 Fed. App’x. 252 (4th Cir. 2018).
  • Successfully represented precious metal supplier against vendor engaged in check fraud. Following aggressive litigation, vendor repaid all sums owed.
  • Drafted appellate brief challenging sentencing guidelines that resulted in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacating prisoner sentence.
  • Life Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
  • Texas “Rising Star” (Business Litigation), Thompson Reuters, 2017 – 2022
  • Highest ranked TCU undergraduate (Spring 2007)
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Military Awards: Bronze Star, Army Commendation Metal, Joint Services Achievement Metal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Parachutist Badge, German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge.
  • Franka v. Velasquez, What Is The Prognosis For Negligent Causes of Action Against Texas Government Employees? (64 BAYLOR L. REV. 622 | 2012)
  • “Careful Comms” (Client Presentations | 2019-2022)
  • “Recent Trends in TCPA Litigation” (Client Presentations | 2021)
  • “ESI is Soooo Hot Right Now!” (Client Presentation | 2018)
  • “Parallel Civil and Criminal Investigations and Proceedings” (Client Presentation | 2015)