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Roger D. Townsend

Principal | Houston


Roger Townsend is recognized as one of the founders of the practice of civil appellate law in Texas. He has subsequently earned a national reputation, culminating in his election as president of the by-invitation-only American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. Due to the depth and breadth of his experience, Roger is frequently asked to moderate panels of appellate judges at national seminars.

Roger’s diverse, national practice includes virtually every type of civil appeal, ranging from antitrust to zoning and all subjects in between. He is a noted expert in energy, oil and gas, contracts, fraud, and business torts. His experience on the Pennzoil v. Texaco, Exxon Valdez, and South Texas Nuclear Project cases taught him how to handle the “monster” appeal. His four decades of experience have included managing complex litigation and presenting complex legal issues to trial courts. Roger has taught appellate advocacy at law schools, as well as taught legal writing at law firms, and demonstrated oral arguments for the State Bar of Texas as a recognized “Master.” He has written numerous articles, papers, and book chapters, as well as edited two books on appellate practice and advocacy.

Having begun his practice as a trial lawyer with 30 jury verdicts, Roger not only knows his way around the courtroom but also brings his tenacious advocacy to his appellate work. Many of those trials involved construction litigation and architect/engineer malpractice.


  • Harvard Law School – J.D., 1979
  • University of Texas at Arlington – B.A., with highest honors, 1976

Recognition & Distinctions

  • Past President and Fellow, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers
  • Past Chair, Appellate Practice Section, State Bar of Texas (1989 – 1990)
  • Past Vice Chair, Appellate Advocacy Committee, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, American Bar Association (1993 – 1995, 2005 – 2006)
  • Chambers USA: Ranked Lawyer in Texas Litigation: Appellate (2006 – 2024)
  • Named Best Lawyers in America Appellate Lawyer of the Year in 2012 and 2017
  • Best Lawyers in America (2006 – 2024): Appellate Practice
  • Texas Super Lawyers since its inception; listed as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Houston, 2019
  • Awarded Certificate of Merit by the State Bar of Texas in 1993 for “his truly outstanding service to the legal profession of Texas”
  • Board certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since its inception in 1987
  • Charter Member, Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit (1987 – 2023)
  • Life Fellow, American, Texas, and Houston Bar Associations


  • Editor-in-Chief, Texas Appellate Practice Manual (State Bar of Texas 1993).
  • National Editor, Superseding and Staying Judgments: A National Compendium (ABA TIPS 2007)
  • Author, A Defense Lawyer’s Guide to Appellate Practice (DRI 2004)
  • Author, Appellate Practice in Federal and State Courts (Law Journal Press 2011)
  • Author, Texas Practitioner’s Guide to Civil Appeals (ALM 2014).

Memberships & Affiliations

  • American Academy of Appellate Lawyers
    – Past President 2013
    – Fellow since 1997
  • Texas State Bar
    – Appellate Practice Section, Chair (1989 – 1990)
  • Houston Bar Association
    – Appellate Practice Section


  • State Bar of Texas
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Courts of Appeals for the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, & Eleventh Circuits
  • United States District Court: Eastern & Southern Districts of Texas

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