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About John J. Deis

Some cases are complex because of the mountains of ​evidence at issue; others because of the technical complexity of the industry involved. Either way, John Deis has a knack for distilling his cases down to the core issues and clearly presenting his client’s side to judges and juries.

Mr. Deis once spent four days living aboard an oilrig offshore of Libya in order to understand how various equipment worked and the crew's performance. This was key to disproving his opponent’s contention that the rig’s equipment and crew were not fit for purpose. The resulting expert reports and witness statements that he presented to an arbitration tribunal proved that the rig was fully operational and capable of meeting the requirements of a long-term assignment.

Mr. Deis honed his legal writing skills working as the managing editor for the Houston Law Review. It was his experience as an undergraduate and his enjoyment of business law classes that motivated him to pursue a career as an attorney. His understanding of complex issues and his willingness to get his hands dirty have benefited his clients in cases ranging from catastrophic oil and gas accidents to industrial construction projects, contract disputes and trade secret matters.

He is a former Marine Corps officer who spent four years on active duty and four more in the reserves. He attributes his effectiveness in front of judges and juries to the lessons he learned while serving: quickly assess the situation, develop a plan of action and out execute your opponent, even in the most stressful environments. It’s this ability that allows him to keep calm under pressure and to be a leader, even when going up against some formidable opponents.

Practice Emphasis


  • University of Houston Law Center (JD, 2000, magna cum laude)
  • Houston Law Review (Managing Editor), Order of the Coif, Order of the Barons, 2000 Blakely Butler Moot Court Champion
  • Texas A&M University (BBA, 1993)

Court Admissions

  • State Bar of Texas
  • Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • United States District Courts for the Southern, Western and Eastern Districts of Texas
  • Houston Bar Association

Honors & Distinctions

  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America (2021-2024)
  • Recognized in Lawdragon’s 500 Leading Litigators in America (2023-2024)
  • Recognized in Lawdragon’s 500 Leading Lawyers in Environmental Law (2023-2024)
  • Named to Texas Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters (2022-2023)
  • Named to Super Lawyers® Texas Rising Stars™ List (2004-2007, 2009)
  • Captain, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve (1993-2001)

Professional Memberships

  • State Bar of Texas
  • Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • United States District Courts for the Southern, Western and Eastern Districts of Texas
  • Houston Bar Foundation

Community Involvement

  • Boy Scouts of America, local Assistant Scoutmaster.
  • Board of Directors for Hope Healing & Hooves, providing horseback riding-based afterschool activity to at risk-youth.
  • Host committee for Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, helping coordinate fundraising for scholarships provided to the children of Marines.

Representative Cases

Complex Construction Litigation
  • Represented engineering and construction contractor in litigation over alleged construction cost overruns and design defects in a crude oil refinery project. Damage claims among the parties exceed $40 million.
  • Advised engineering and construction contractor on impact of force majeure provisions in billion dollar construction project.
  • Represented electrical contractor in arbitration concerning electrical installation of automated equipment in an automobile factory.
  • Lead counsel for offshore construction and service provider in multimillion dollar arbitration concerning offshore automated pipe welding services and offshore pipeline construction.
Oil and Gas Litigation
  • Counsel for major drilling contractor in numerous disputes concerning rig readiness and compliance with contract and regulatory standards. Litigated cases involving offshore rig mooring and wire rope failures, hurricane damage, jack-up rig emplacement and punch-throughs, rig audits and inspections and fitness of well control and drilling equipment.
  • Counsel for major pipeline company in litigation over transportation and gas purchase agreements and processing and compression facilities.
Environmental Litigation
  • Defense counsel for a six-month jury trial involving a $160 million environmental contamination claim that led to a defense verdict. He took the lead role in managing engineering and environmental experts to defeat causation claims in the case.
  • Litigated numerous metals, hydrocarbon, and chlorinated solvent contamination cases across the country, including California, Montana, New York, and Texas. Represented a broad range of industries and claims from defending an equipment and chemical manufacturer in claims of personal injury and property damage, to representing a safety services company, materials fabricator, oil and gas refiner, pipeline operator, and producer in claims arising under The Clean Water Act, RCRA, CERCLA, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program, Texas Solid Waste Disposal Act, California Health & Safety Code, contractual indemnity claims and tort causes of action.
  • Represented refinery owner in litigation to recover RCRA response costs under an indemnity agreement with the prior owner.
  • Regularly consults with clients on litigation risks that are associated with environmental contamination investigations and transactions involving contaminated property.
Commercial Litigation
  • Represented various clients in shareholder disputes and securities fraud matters.
  • Represented various clients in trade secret and unfair competition matters, with an emphasis on protection of trade secrets from disclosure by former employees.