Courtney E. Ervin


Her response is immediate. When you ask Courtney Ervin to describe herself as a lawyer, she says, “I’m a problem-solver.” While she is one of the top up-and-coming trial lawyers in Texas, she also finds immense satisfaction using her business acumen to defuse disputes early, when possible.

“Look, I welcome a good fight,” says Ervin. “That’s an essential part of a trial lawyer’s DNA. However, I never forget that my clients call me when they have a problem, which means they’d rather never have to call me. So when they do, it’s my responsibility to find quick and efficient solutions so they can get back to business with the least amount of disruption.”

Ms. Ervin literally grew up in business; her father spent his entire career in the energy industry - as a business executive at a major exploration and production company - based in Houston. His career moved the family to The Hague, The Netherlands and London, England, providing Courtney with a global perspective to relationships and problem solving. Her familiarity and nuanced understanding of solving complex business issues has made her an invaluable asset to her clients in finding creative and effective solutions to disputes. She takes particular pride in the fact that she has worked on important, cutting-edge energy matters involving first-of-its kind business ventures.

Her focus is on high-stakes commercial litigation in state and federal court and in arbitration. Her clients include business of all sizes in the oil and gas, energy, insurance, construction, real estate, private equity, information technology, and health care industries She has a wealth of experience involving energy-related and insurance coverage litigation serving as lead counsel for a global exploration and production company and for one of the largest commercial property casualty insurance companies.

While she is passionate about serving her clients and eschews personal accolades, she is piling up the honors. Ms. Ervin was recognized as Best Lawyers in America in 2021, identified as a Future Star by Benchmark in 2021, named a Texas Super Lawyer in 2020, and profiled as one of the leading Energy Litigation lawyers in the U.S. in 2016 by The Legal 500. She earned her law degree from the University of Houston Law Center, magna cum laude, and her bachelor’s of science degree from Colorado State University. Ms. Ervin is a member of the State Bar of Texas, Houston Bar Association and the Texas Bar Foundation.

Practice Areas/Industries:

  • Business Litigation
  • Commercial Arbitration
  • International Arbitration
  • Construction Litigation
  • Energy Litigation
  • Insurance Coverage


  • JD, 2005, magna cum laude, University of Houston Law Center, Houston Law Review, Publications Editor, Order of the Coif, Order of The Barons
  • BS Psychology, 2000, Honors, Colorado State University


  • Texas State Bar (2005)
  • United States Supreme Court
  • US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • US District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, Southern and Western Districts of Texas
  • US District Court for the District of North Dakota


  • Listed as Best Lawyers in America (2021)
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in America for Energy Law
  • Texas Future Star, Benchmark Litigation (2019-2020)
  • Named to Texas Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters (2020)
  • Texas Rising Star, Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters (published Texas Monthly) (2015-2018)
  • HBA Presidents Award (2017)
  • Top Lawyer in Houston, Houstonia Magazine (2016)
  • Profiled as a Leading Energy Litigation Lawyer, The US Legal 500 (2016)

Professional Associations

  • Houston Bar Association
  • Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Women's Energy Network, Member
  • UH Law Center Gala, Host Committee (2017-2020)
  • UH Law Center 100% Challenge, Chair (2017-2020)
  • The Periwinkle Foundation, Irom Sommelier, Wine Case Chair (2014-2019)
  • Houston Bar Association, CLE Online Videos Chair (2017-2018)
  • Houston Bar Association, CLE Institutes Co-Chair (2016-2017)
  • Houston Bar Association, Gender Fairness Committee, Member (2012-2014)
  • Houston Bar Association, Professionalism Committee, Member (2012-2013)
  • Awty International School Annual Fund, Member (2013-2016)

Representative Cases/Clients

Energy Litigation

  • Lead counsel for a major exploration and production company in a dispute with a pipeline provider concerning the breach of a transportation agreement regarding the development, construction and operation of pipelines in the ultra-deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Lead counsel for an exploration and production company in an eight-figure dispute under a joint development agreement regarding joint interest billing and royalty payments in the Harris County District Court, Texas.
  • Co-lead counsel for a major petroleum refiner in a multi-million dollar dispute between its contractor and subcontractor concerning construction damages relating to cost overruns and delay damages in a lien dispute in the district court in Minnesota.
  • Co-lead counsel for a major midstream company in construction litigation involving delay damages resulting from the construction of a pipeline in North Dakota.
  • Represented a large pipeline company in a dispute with a producer of natural gas involving claims for breach of natural gas purchase and transportation agreements.
  • Represented an independent energy company in litigation claiming tortious interference regarding an alleged finders’ fee relating to past due royalty payments.
  • Trial counsel for an independent exploration and production company in a surface use dispute in district court in Upton and Midland Counties concerning claims of breach of contract, excessive use, trespass and conversion regarding the operator’s right to use the surface and water impacting over half of the client’s oil and gas operations.
  • Co-lead counsel for an independent production company in a seven-figure dispute alleging fraud and breach of a joint operating agreement arising out joint interest billings for oil and gas operations, including saltwater disposal and overhead.
  • Lead counsel for a private equity backed power company in a dispute concerning the interpretation of an operations and maintenance agreement. The three-person arbitration panel unanimously granted summary judgment in favor of Courtney’s client’s interpretation of the agreement, resulting in over $100 million in cost savings.
  • Co-lead counsel for three major international oil and gas exploration companies in an eight-figure dispute concerning the design and fabrication of a state of the art offshore production platform in the Gulf of Mexico. After a full hearing on the merits, the arbitration tribunal unanimously awarded a take-nothing judgment in favor of Courtney's clients.
  • Represented an oil and gas company in a dispute pending in Harris County, Texas concerning a non-working interest owners’ alleged right to pay decks and well runs on producing properties in the Texas Panhandle.
  • Lead counsel for an oilfield services company regarding breach of contract and breach of warranty claims in district court in Louisiana.
  • Trial counsel for a private equity company, including its directors, officers and a portfolio company, in a breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference and breach of contract dispute concerning the acquisition of oil and gas leases. Obtained a nuisance-value settlement on the eve of arbitration.

Insurance Coverage

  • Lead counsel for a property and casualty insurer regarding defense and indemnity obligations under commercial general liability policies and contribution and subrogation rights among co-insurers in long-tail environmental pollution claims.
  • Lead counsel for a property and casualty insurer regarding the assignability of insurance policies under an asset purchase agreement.
  • Trial and appellate counsel for a property and casualty insurer in a multimillion-dollar bad faith and coverage dispute regarding defense and indemnity costs incurred in connection with remediating an EPA Superfund site. The case proceeded in federal court in the Southern District of Texas, the Fifth Circuit and in the Texas Supreme Court.
  • Represented a property and casualty insurer in a dispute with co-insurers regarding contribution and subrogation rights relating to an underlying asbestos bodily injury suit.

Business Litigation

  • Lead counsel for an above-ground tank company in a subcontractor dispute regarding availability and quality of fresh water.
  • Lead counsel for an independent energy consulting firm in a trade mark infringement dispute.
  • Represented a property developer in a copyright infringement, breach of contract and tortious interference dispute.
  • Counsel to a Special Committee of a privately held bank regarding the investigation and evaluation of whistleblower allegations.
  • Represented an exploration and production MLP in a shareholder dispute in Delaware Chancery Court seeking to unwind a multi-million-dollar transaction including claims for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of the unitholder agreement.
  • Represented a methanol company in Delaware Chancery Court regarding claims for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of an oral shareholder agreement.
  • Represent a national retail company in a massive, multi-year fraud, bribery, and kickback scheme involving its senior officers and multiple real estate developers in Harris County District Court.
  • Lead counsel for an above-ground tank company in a construction dispute alleging faulty welding and asserting claims of subrogation, breach of warranty and breach of contract. Suit was pending in federal court in the Eastern and Middle Districts of Louisiana.
  • Represented a medical equipment company regarding the termination of an exclusive licensing agreement in an adversary proceeding before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas.
  • Trial counsel for a real-estate developer in nuisance lawsuit complaining about the construction of a high-rise apartment complex in Harris County District Court. After defeating plaintiffs’ request for temporary injunction, plaintiff stopped pursuing the lawsuit.

Publications/Speaking Engagements


  • Key Advice on Preventing or Preparing for a Business Dispute, Texas Lawyer (September 2020)
  • The Inevitability of Commercial Disputes and What You Can Do About Them, Texas Lawyer (August 2020)
  • Don’t Lose Your Privilege: Best Practices for the In-House Lawyer, Straightline (Fall 2017)
  • Arbitrator’s Manifest Disregard of the Law is No Basis for Vacating Arbitration Award – So Rules the Supreme Court of Texas, Client Alert (June 2016)
  • Guarding the Company Wallet: Trends in Insurance Law, Straightline(October 2015)
  • Texas Supreme Court Expands “Reasonable Certainty” Requirement for Damages, Client Alert (May 20, 2015)
  • Omnicare Clarifies Standards for Liability for Statements of Opinion Under Section 11, Client Alert (March 26, 2015)
  • Texas High Court Extends Limitations Period for Unpaid Partnership Liabilities, Client Alert (March 10, 2015)
  • “Right to Occupy” Surface Estate Bars Coverage for Property Damage,American Bar Association (November 2014)
  • Best Practices: HBA Committee Promotes Gender Fairness,The Houston Lawyer (July 2013)
  • "I’m All Verklempt!" (pdf) Presented at the UT CLE Conference on State and Federal Appeals (June 2, 2006)

Speaking Engagements:

  • Remote Mediation: Strategies, Technology and the State of the Practice, Texas General Counsel Forum (October 2020)
  • Commercial Disputes: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Legal Fees, Association of Corporate Counsel Houston Symposium (August 2020)
  • Best Practices for Oilfield Indemnity Provisions, Client Presentation (December 2018)
  • Assignability of Insurance Rights in Corporate Transactions, Client Presentation (November 2018)
  • Don’t Lose Your Privilege! Best Practices for In-House Counsel, Webinar (November 2016)
  • Drafting Contracts From A Litigator’s Perspective, Association of Corporate Counsel (August 2016)
  • The Co-Insurer’s Wild West: Allocation and Subrogation Rights Under Texas Law, Client Presentation (March 2016)
  • Guarding The Company Wallet: Trends In Insurance Law, Client Event (October 2015)

(713) 547-9163

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