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Robert S. Harrell

Head of Financial Institutions and Insurance Litigation, United States

Robert S. Harrell


T:+1 713 651 5583

Bob Harrell is Norton Rose Fulbright's Head of Financial Institutions and Insurance Litigation, United States.

Bob has over 32 years of experience trying complex commercial cases in federal and state courts and before arbitration panels. He has tried over 50 cases to verdict or judgment. Bob has been certified in civil trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1986, and is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).

Bob has represented a wide variety of companies, including companies in the financial, manufacturing, telecommunications/networking, energy, and insurance sectors. He has handled cases involving  shareholder and other corporate disputes, class actions, RICO claims, patent infringement, breaches of contract, violations of fiduciary and other professional duties, complex insurance coverage issues, and other types of commercial disputes.  He has also had an active practice representing professionals, especially attorneys.

Bob has been active in representing clients in securities cases. These clients include issuers, underwriters, attorneys, accountants, broker-dealers, and other professionals. He is listed in the National Union Panel Counsel Directory of approved counsel for handling securities litigation. In addition, he regularly represents clients in shareholder derivative matters, and other disputes involving corporate governance issues.

Bob has handled lawsuits and arbitrations in numerous areas involving technology, including computer systems integration, software development, and network privacy. He also handles intellectual property matters, including patent, copyright, and trade secrets lawsuits. Among the industries in which he has been active are computer software and hardware, telecommunications, wireless technology, electronic components, and energy-related products and services.

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  • Education

    1977 - JD, with honors, The University of Texas School of Law
    1974 - BA, summa cum laude, Government, The University of Texas at Austin

    Prior to joining the firm, Bob served as a law clerk to the Honorable Joe Ingraham, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He is licensed to practice law in the state of Texas and in the United States District Courts for the Southern, Northern, Eastern and Western Districts of Texas and the District of Arizona. He has argued appeals before the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fifth and Tenth Circuits, as well as the appellate courts of Texas.


  • Admissions
    • Texas State Bar License
  • Rankings and recognitions
    • Legal 500 US, Intellectual property: patent litigation – hi-tech electronics/IT, The Legal 500, 2008
    • Legal 500 US, Patent litigation - full coverage, The Legal 500, 2013
    • The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers, 1995 - 2018
    • Lawyer of the Year, Houston: Information Technology Law, Best Lawyers, 2015
    • Texas Super Lawyer, Thomson Reuters, 2003 - 2017
    • Local Litigation Star, Texas: intellectual property, general commercial, securities, Benchmark Litigation, 2013 - 2015
    • Texas Top Rated Lawyer, LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, 2012 - 2014
  • Speaking engagements

    Bob has been a frequent speaker at continuing legal education programs (sponsored by law schools and the State Bar of Texas) and in conferences before industry groups and clients. These are the most recent:

    Corporate Governance/Professional Liability

    • "Managing Directors' Liability," 3rd Annual Energy Industry Directors Conference, Rice University, Houston, Texas, March 2010
    • "2009 D&O Market Trends," sponsored by Chartis, Houston, Texas, October 2009 
    • "Law Department Cost Control Tactics," sponsored by Huron Consulting Group, Houston, Texas, May 2009
    • "Managing Directors' Liability," 2nd Annual Energy Industry Directors Conference, Rice University, Houston, Texas, October 2008
    • "Managing Corporate Litigation Risks," cosponsored by H.S. Grace & Company, Inc. and AIG, Houston, Texas, April 2008
    • "The Expanding Securities Enforcement and Litigation Net: In-house Counsel as a Target," El Paso Corporation, Houston, Texas, December 2007
    • "Officers and Directors Liability," 2006 Texas College for Judicial Studies, Austin, Texas, April 2006
    • "Professional Negligence," 2006 Texas College for Judicial Studies, Austin, Texas, April 2006
    • "2005 D&O Market Trends Seminar," National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, Houston, Texas, February 2005
    • "How to Defend a Legal Malpractice Case," Grievance Procedures in Texas, Lorman Education Services, Houston, Texas, November 2004
    • Corporate Continuity Plans: Effects and Liabilities of Not Having a Tested Plan," Business Continuity Strategy - Implementation in the Real World, Petroleum Equipment Suppliers Association (PESA), Houston, Texas, September 2004
    • "Duty of Good Faith: A Wake Up Call for Corporate Directors," The Directors Roundtable Program for Boards of Directors and Senior Management, Houston, Texas, September 2004
    • "The Whistle Blew: What Does the GC Do Now?, The Texas General Counsel Forum, Houston, Texas, February 2004
    • "Director Panel Discussion," Audit Committee Institute Roundtable, Houston, Texas, May 2000

    Intellectual Property/Technology

    • "Avoiding Pitfalls in Patent Litigation," LES (U.S.A. and Canada) Annual Meeting, San Francisco, California, October 2009
    • "Mistakes and Problems in Licensing--Avoiding Them in Negotiating and Drafting; Litigation /Arbitration Considerations When They Are Not Avoided," LES Annual Meeting, Vancouver, Canada, October 2007
    • "Strategic Litigation Considerations in Negotiating and Drafting Global License Agreements," LESI Annual Meeting, Zurich, Switzerland, June 2007
    • "Antitrust Claims," Business Disputes and Litigation in the Digital Age 2005, TexasBarCLE, Dallas, Texas, May 2005
    • "Special Damages Considerations in Patent Cases: A Guide for General Litigators," The Damages Institute, UTCLE: The University of Texas School of Law, Houston, Texas, October 2004
    • "Treatment of IP Related to Standards, Licensing in a Controversial Environment," LES International Conference, Paris, France, March 2004


    • "Document/Data Preservation & Writing Smart," Presentation to Legal Department of Houston-headquartered Company, Houston, Texas, April 2008
    • "De-Bunking the Transactional Lawyer Versus Litigator Myth," Pro Bono Summit, ACC America--Houston Chapter, Houston, Texas, August 2007
    • "Evidence of Lost Profit Damages under the Reasonable Certainty Test and Robinson/Daubert," Advanced Expert Witness Course, Texas Bar CLE, Dallas, Texas, February 2004
  • Memberships and activities
    • American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
    • American Bar Association
      • Litigation Section, Securities Litigation Committee
      • Litigation Section, Intellectual Property Litigation Committee
      • Tort and Insurance Practice Section, Professionals', Officers' & Directors' Liability Committee
    • State Bar of Texas
    • Houston Bar Association
    • American Bar Foundation, Fellow
    • Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow
    • Houston Bar Foundation, Fellow
    • Compliance and Legal Division of the Securities Industry Association
    • University of Texas School of Law, adjunct professor, trial practice skills (1987 - 1992)
    • Alley Theatre, Advisory Board of Directors (1986 - 1992); Board of Directors (2010 - present) 
    • St. Luke's United Methodist Church, Board of Stewards (most recent term, 2003 - 2006)
    • Houston Symphony, Board of Trustees (2003 - 2006)
    • University of Texas, Chancellor's Council
    • University of Texas School of Law -- Keeton Fellow