Willie Cochran

Willie helps people solve hard legal problems.  

His docket is divided between appellate work and trial advocacy. He has resolved disputes through pre-suit negotiations, at trial, and on appeal.  

Willie represents individuals and all kinds of companies in complex business situations across a variety of industries.  He routinely handles disputes involving oil & gas, contracts, corporate governance, finance, restructuring, real estate, technology, trade secrets, intellectual property, legal malpractice, and the like.  He is often called upon to jump into ongoing cases to research and brief complicated legal issues.

Before joining the firm, Willie clerked for Judge Patrick E. Higginbotham on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.


Education

University of Texas, B.A. in Plan II, 2011 

Stanford Law School, J.D., 2014


Sample Oral Argument Recordings Available Online at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit


Selected Representative Matters

APPELLATE:   

Handled appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on behalf of oil and gas operator appealing from summary judgment on breach of contract claims seeking millions of dollars in damages arising from area of mutual interest agreement. Fifth Circuit reversed unfavorable summary judgment and rendered judgment for client. Glassell Non-Operated Interests, Ltd. v. EnerQuest Oil & Gas, L.L.C., 927 F.3d 303 (5th Cir. 2019).

Handled oral argument and appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on behalf of wrongfully imprisoned individual appealing from dismissal of claims seeking civil damages from state actors. Fifth Circuit reversed dismissals in part and remanded. On remand in the district court, obtained order retaining federal jurisdiction to allow remaining claims to proceed to trial. Moon v. City of El Paso, 906 F.3d 352 (5th Cir. 2018).

Handled, pro bono, appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on behalf of criminal defendant appealing from criminal conviction in connection with alleged drug trafficking conspiracy for which defendant was sentenced to more than twenty-six years in prison. Fifth Circuit vacated conviction on all counts based on Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause violation. United States v. Jones, 930 F.3d 366 (5th Cir. 2019).

Handled briefing on appeal to the Eleventh Court of Appeals at Eastland, Texas, on behalf of real estate agent appealing from unfavorable judgment on fraud claims following jury verdict. Court of appeals reversed judgment of the trial court, rendered take-nothing judgment on claims, and remanded for client real estate agent’s request for attorney’s fees. Nelson v. McCall Motors, Inc., 11-17-00307-CV, --- S.W.3d ----, 2020 WL 2837001, at *8 (Tex. App.—Eastland May 29, 2020, no pet.).

Represented, pro bono, hearing impaired clients in certiorari petition and merits briefing to the U.S. Supreme Court from Fifth Circuit’s dismissal of ADA claims against state agency. Case No. 15-486, Ivy v. Morath, on Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

OIL & GAS:

Represented EP Energy Corporation, a public oil and natural gas exploration and production company, and its affiliates, in chapter 11 cases involving approximately $4.9 billion in funded debt obligations, including in successful trial over contested plan confirmation.

Defended geologist against allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and fraud brought by mineral owner seeking millions of dollars in damages.

Defended publicly traded oil company against allegations by lessor of breach of lease and lease termination.

Defended oil and gas operator against allegations of breach of contract brought as crossclaim by mineral owner in dispute with nonparticipating royalty interest holder seeking millions of dollars in damages.

BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY:  

Defended hedge fund against allegations of fraud, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty brought by former investor seeking billions of dollars in damages.

Defended corporate directors against allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, usurpation of corporate opportunity, squeeze out, and conversion brought by co-investor seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

BREACH OF CONTRACT:

Pursued multimillion-dollar breach of contract and theft of trade secret claims on behalf of corporation while navigating internal corporate governance dispute among shareholders.

Pursued multiple million-dollar breach of contract and breach of warranty claims on behalf of industrial manufacturer against component suppliers.

Defended large technology company at trial in justice court against allegations of breach of warranty brought by retail consumer.

LEGAL MALPRACTICE AND RELATED CLAIMS:  

Defended lawyer and law firm against allegations of statutory fraud, slander of title, and related tort claims brought by opposing party landowner seeking millions of dollars in damages.  

Defended attorney against fraud and other tort claims brought by former adversary of attorney’s client.  Obtained Rule 91a dismissal of all claims and significant attorney fee award.    

OTHER PRO BONO WORK:  

Represented, pro bono, Nepalese refugee seeking asylum in the United States to flee persecution by Maoists in Nepal.  Obtained grant of asylum after merits hearing before federal immigration judge.


Bar Admissions & Activities

Admitted to the State Bar of Texas; U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas; the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Austin Bar Association

Austin Young Lawyers’ Association


Recognitions and Awards


Articles Editor, Stanford Law Review

Honorable Mention, 2013 Tannenwald Writing Competition


Articles & Presentations

Ethics of Representing Entities, 39 CORP. COUNS. REV. 41 (2020).

Author and Presenter, Ethics of Representing Entities, State Bar of Texas 11th Annual Business Disputes Course, September 2019

Searching for Diamond in the Two-and-Twenty Rough: The Taxation of Carried Interests, 66 STAN. L. REV. 953 (2014).


Community


Deacon, Providence Church

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