David Wilks Corban

Head of Compliance, United States Partner
Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

United States
T:+1 713 651 5251
United States
T:+1 713 651 5251
David Wilks Corban

David Wilks Corban


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A partner in the Houston office, David has served as the firm's Head of Compliance, United States, since 2014.  In that role, he oversees the work of Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP's team of compliance lawyers and analysts, coordinating their efforts with the compliance teams in Norton Rose Fulbright's other regions (EMEA, South Africa, Australia and Canada).  He continues to advise Norton Rose Fulbright's energy clients on government affairs.

David previously served as lead counsel in a wide range of litigation matters in the realms of energy, Constitutional law, and lawyer ethics and professional liability.  He also led internal corporate investigations related to alleged dealings with sanctioned countries, foreign corrupt practices, and officer/director claims.  In those contexts, he dealt with both federal and state prosecutors.  David's energy practice included trial work and legal advice for clients in the midstream, downstream, and oilfield services realms, in cases involving business disputes, class actions and shareholder derivative cases under both the Texas and Federal rules, intellectual property issues (including patent infringement), wrongful death, environmental and toxic tort claims, and eminent domain proceedings.

David's particular interest in Constitutional law also led to the handling of claims arising out of the First Amendment's Free Speech, Free Association and Free Exercise clauses; the Interstate Compact clause; the Takings Clause; and the Supremacy Clause.

Professional experience

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JD, Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California at Berkeley, 1986
BA, summa cum laude, History, English, Political Science, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, 1976

In 1986, David received his J.D. from the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley.  In law school, David was a member of the Ecology Law Quarterly and a research assistant to future Ninth Circuit Judge John T. Noonan, Jr.  Before attending law school, David held significant positions of responsibility and provided consulting services to several postsecondary institutions, including the George Peabody College for Teachers, Vanderbilt University, and the College of the San Francisco Art Institute.

David received his B.A. in history, English, and political science in 1976, summa cum laude, from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where he also was named a College Scholar, elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and chosen for the University's Torchbearer Award. He pursued graduate study in history at Oxford University and also at Vanderbilt University, where he served as a teaching fellow. 

In 1998, David attended the A. A. White Dispute Resolution Seminar and became a qualified mediator in the State of Texas.

  • Texas State Bar
  • Represented group of international air carriers in suit against 34 states' attorneys general, ultimately resolved in clients' favor by the US Supreme Court
  • Represented more than 20 pipeline companies as plaintiffs against state port authority and US Army Corps of Engineers concerning cost of relocating pipelines to accommodate federal-state navigation project
  • Lead counsel for pipeline companies in persuading Corps of Engineers to alter position on pipeline relocation cost reimbursements for deep-draft harbor projects
  • Represented oil field services company and affiliate in FCPA investigation in US and UK relating to alleged dealings with sanctioned countries
  • Lead counsel for energy companies in planning, supervising, negotiating and, where necessary, filing condemnation proceedings to acquire easements for pipeline projects
  • Lead counsel for independent crude oil and natural gas exploration and production company in multiple suits arising out of sale of stock of former chemical company subsidiary
  • Lead counsel for oil field services company in defense of claims of neighborhood contamination and in related arbitration with former parent corporation
  • Represented directors in shareholder derivative action arising out of sale of substantially all assets of Colorado-based mining enterprise
  • Represented state-sponsored insurer of last resort in connection with class actions related to hurricane damage
  • Lead counsel for plaintiff manufacturer in claims for breach of contract, breach of warranty and misrepresentation against provider of computer software and associated consulting services
  • Lead counsel for American licensee of Finnish patent in multiple suits in Texas and Ohio involving claims of patent and copyright infringement and challenges to validity of patent
  • Lead defense counsel for former general counsel of US Presidential campaign in defense of claims arising out of campaign investigation
  • Lead counsel for chemical manufacturers and construction companies in defense of numerous toxic tort claims
  • America's Most Honored Lawyers: Top one percent, American Registry, 2016 - 2022
  • AV Preeminent Rating – Judicial Edition, Martindale-Hubbell, 1998 - 2022
  • Texas Top Rated Lawyer, LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, 2013 - 2016
  • "Expanded Role for PMHSA Likely Result of Pipeline Concerns," Fulbright Trends in Energy Disputes 2011, June 8, 2011
  • Co-author with Ben Taylor and Layne E. Kruse, "Governor Signs Revised Texas Lawsuit Reform Legislation," Fulbright Alert, May 31, 2011

David has addressed both public and industry groups on legal issues arising out of the Free Speech, Free Association, Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment. He also has made presentations on behalf of the Texas Energy Coalition on issues related to oil and gas law in Texas, eminent domain law in various states, and proposed Federal legislation affecting the pipeline industry.

David is a member of the Houston and American Bar Associations; the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers; Defense Research Institute; the Texas Association of Defense Counsel; and the Supreme Court Historical Society. He has served as an adjunct professor of legal writing at the University of Houston Law School.

David has represented clients in both state and federal courts throughout Texas, and he has appeared pro hac vice in a variety of matters outside Texas, including California, Kansas, Ohio, New York and West Virginia. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the Southern, Eastern and Western District Courts of Texas.

A deacon at South Main Baptist Church in Houston's Mid-Town, David chaired the historic church's diaconate from 2009 through 2011. He has also served as chairman of the church's personnel committee, missions committee, and the task force that oversaw the construction of a new Youth Center.  He regularly teaches in adult Sunday School classes and recently made his first foray into teaching teenagers. 

David's civic involvement has also included service on the Coordinating Council of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Texas and as an officer and director for the Emergency Aid Coalition, a not-for-profit corporation assisting families in crisis in central Houston. Along with his wife and family, he continues to volunteer regularly with the EAC. 

In 2014, David was appointed to the Alumni Council of the College Scholars Program at his alma mater, the University of Tennessee College of Arts and Sciences.  He has been active in both the University of California and University of Tennessee Alumni Associations and has served as a mentor to law students at both schools.

In service to the legal profession and the community, David has handled a variety of pro bono matters, including the provision of legal advice to several charitable organizations and service as trial counsel for a disabled Vietnam veteran's due process claim against the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs.