Terry O. Tottenham

Of Counsel
Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

United States
T:+1 512 536 4555
United States
T:+1 512 536 4555
Terry O. Tottenham

Terry O. Tottenham


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Terry Tottenham's practice encompassed complex litigation in both federal and state courts throughout the United States. 

Terry formerly was head of our pharmaceutical and medical device litigation practice group and Partner-in-Charge of the Austin location. Terry was certified in Personal Injury and Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1987. He also is certified in Civil Pretrial Practice and Trial Advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

Tottenham initiated Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans, a state-wide coalition of Texas lawyers who provide pro bono legal services to needy veterans and their families.  This popular program has been replicated in 14 states and is under consideration in many others.

He also was the first recipient of the David Garner Pro Bono Award by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and received a Texas Law Fellowship Excellence in Public Interest Award.

As Chair of the American College of Trial Lawyers Teaching Trial and Appellate Advocacy Committee, he created a CLE program for public interest lawyers that is being used throughout the United States and Canada. 

For 30 years, he has taught Pretrial and Trial Civil Litigation Strategy at the University of Texas School of Law.

Professional experience

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LL.M, Law, Psychiatry and Criminology, George Washington University, 1974
JD, with honors, The University of Texas School of Law, 1970
Registered Pharmacist, 1967
BS in Pharmacy, magna cum laude, The University of Texas School of Pharmacy, 1967

Terry was admitted to practice law in Texas in 1970, in the District of Columbia in 1973 and before the federal courts in 1973.

  • Texas State Bar
  • Successfully defended a landmark Texas case alleging that cellular phones cause brain cancer
  • Served as national trial counsel for an international pharmaceutical company in PPA and Hemophilia/AIDS litigation
  • Served as regional trial counsel for different pharmaceutical companies in the IUD and DES litigation
  • Represented as co-counsel an international biotechnology company in a patent infringement case that resulted in a $7.8 million dollar jury verdict for the company
  • Represented a major hospital system in successfully defeating a class action in the non-profit hospital litigation
  • Outstanding 50 Year Lawyer Award, Texas Bar Foundation, 2021
  • Legal 500 USA, intellectual property: patent litigation - hi-tech electronics/IT, The Legal 500, 2008
  • Chambers USA, nationwide products liability & mass torts, Chambers & Partners, 2007 - 2014
  • Lawdragon 500, Lawdragon, 2007 
  • Who's Who Legal, product liability defense, Law Business Research Ltd., 2005, 2014, 2018
  • Litigation Star, United States: product liability, Benchmark Litigation, 2013 - 2015
  • Local Litigation Star, Texas: product liability, Benchmark Litigation, 2013 - 2015
  • Texas Top Rated Lawyer, LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, 2012
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers, 1993 - 2021
  • Best Lawyers - Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Health Care Law, Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants, Best Lawyers, 2022 - 2024
  • Texas Super Lawyer, Civil Litigation: Defense, Thomson Reuters, 2022
  • Texas Super Lawyer, Thomson Reuters, 2003 - 2020
    • Top 50 Central and West Texas, 2003 - 2012
    • Top 100 Texas, 2003 - 2004, 2006 - 2010
    • Top 10 Texas, 2008
  • The Best of the Best USA, Expert Guides, 2012
  • Litigation and Product Liability Lawyer, Expert Guides, 2012, 2014
  • Honorary Barrister Award, University of Texas School of Law Board of Advocates, 2009
  • Honored Alumnus, University of Texas Friar Society, 2003
  • Excellence in Public Interest Award, Texas Law Fellowships, 2011
  • Excellence Award, Texas Veterans Commission, 2010
  • Bryan Spencer Award, State Bar of Texas Military Law Section, 2011
  • James B. Sales Boots on the Ground Award, Texas Supreme Court's Access to Justice Commission, 2012
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award, Brenham Independent School District, 2011
  • Distinguished Lawyer Award, Austin Bar Association, 2013
  • Pro Bono Service Award, Texas Legal Services Center, 2012
  • Tom Garner Distinguished Service Award for Pro Bono Work, inaugural recipient, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, 2003
  • Gene W. Cavin CLE Excellence Award, State Bar of Texas, 1992
  • Faculty Service Award, University of Texas School of Law, 1991
  • Philip R. Overton Annual Lectureship in Medicine and the Law, inaugural recipient, Texas Medical Association, 1991
  • Hall of Honor, Blinn College, 2013
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, University of Texas Law Alumni Association, 2014
  • Jurisprudence Award, Austin Anti-Defamation League, 2014
  • Contributor, Texas Medical Jurisprudence, Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.
    • This is a textbook used in Texas medical schools and a study guide for physicians seeking licensure in Texas
  • Author and Presenter, Hospital Liability Update, Advanced Personal Injury Law Course, State Bar of Texas

Terry has given over 300 presentations to lawyers, physicians and other health care providers throughout the United States..  Sample presentations include:

  • "Summary Judgment Update", State Bar of Texas Advanced Personal Injury Law Course, 2012
  • "Storytelling at Trial," TEX-ABOTA Annual Meeting, Sante Fe, New Mexico, June 19, 2008
  • "Preparing for Battle--The Early Stages of a Mass Tort Litigation," DRI Drug and Medical Device Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, May 2, 2008
  • "Storytelling for the Defense," ALI-ABA National Teleconference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 28, 2007
  • Texas Trial Academy, Texas Access to Justice Commission, University of Texas School of Law, Austin, Texas, May 7, 2006
  • "Ethical Issues in Electronic Discovery," ACI E-Discovery Preparedness for Pharma; New York, New York, March 27, 2006
  • "Theme Development," Page Keeton Civil Litigation Conference, Austin, Texas, October 28, 2005
  • Trial Academy for Public Interest Lawyers, American College of Trial Lawyers, University of Texas School of Law, Austin, Texas, May 15, 2005
  • "Latest Word on E-Discovery and Document Management," ACI Drug & Medical Device Litigation, New York, New York, December 13, 2004
  • "Closing Argument," American Board of Trial Advocates, Masters in Trial, San Antonio, Texas, October 22, 2004
  • "Preparing for Effective and Permissible Voir Dire and Trial," SBOT Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, June 24, 2004
  • "Practical Discovery & Courtroom Evidence," ABA Litigation Section CLE Roundtable, Houston, Texas, June 13, 2003
  • "Resisting Electronic Evidence Discovery," SBOT Advanced Evidence & Discovery, San Antonio, Texas, May 22, 2003
  • "Litigating in the 21st Century: Admission and Persuasion of Electronic Evidence," ABA Program, Houston, Texas, April 11, 2003
  • "A Strategic Approach to Voir Dire and Jury Selection in the Wake of Enron," SBOT Advanced Medical Malpractice 2003, Santa Fe, New Mexico, March 13, 2003
  • "Lawyer's Role in Juror Focus Groups," SBOT Advanced Expert Witness Course III, Houston, Texas, December 12, 2002
  • "Discovery and Admissibility of Electronic Evidence," St. Mary's University/Texas Tech University Schools of Law Medical Malpractice Conference, San Antonio, Texas, November 7, 2002
  • "Expert Witness Update: Update on Daubert Challenger," ExxonMobil Law Meeting, Austin, Texas, April 1, 2002
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
    • Teaching Trial and Appellate Advocacy Committee, Chair, Created nation-wide training program for improving trial advocacy skills of pro bono and public interest lawyers
    • Jury Committee, Chair
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Fellow, member of Board of Directors 
  • International Society of Barristers, Fellow
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, President of the Austin Chapter
  • International Association of Defense Counsel
  • American Bar Association
    • Medicine and Law Committee, former Chair
    • Litigation Section
    • Tort and Insurance Practice Section
    • House of Delegates
  • Texas Young Lawyers Association
    • Vice President
    • Chair of the Board of Directors
    • Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas
  • State Bar of Texas
    • Health Law Section, Founder and First Chair 
    • Litigation Section, former Chair
    • Board of Directors (2009 - 2012)
    • President-Elect (2009 - 2010)
    • President (2010 - 2011)
  • Supreme Court of Texas Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families
  • American Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
  • American Academy of Healthcare Attorneys, Board of Directors, former member
  • Defense Research Institute - Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Steering Committee
  • Texas Bar Foundation, former Board of Trustees and Life Fellow
  • Texas Association of Defense Counsel
  • Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Board of Directors, former member
  • Robert W. Calvert Inns of Court, Master of the Bench
  • Certified in Civil Trial Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization (1987)
  • Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization (1987)
  • Long Center for the Performing Arts, Board of Trustees
  • University of Texas Chancellor's Council - Executive Committee
  • University of Texas at Austin - Development Board
  • Paramount and State Theater Alliance - Advisory Council
  • Ballet Austin, Board of Directors
  • Capitol Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, Executive Committee
  • The University of Texas School of Law
    • Alumni Association, Past President
    • Adjunct Professor of Law
  • Baylor College of Medicine, Visiting Professor of Medical Jurisprudence
  • South Texas College of Law, Trial Advocacy Instructor
  • The University of Houston School of Law, Trial Advocacy Instructor
  • Texas College of Trial Advocacy, Trial Advocacy Instructor
  • Captain, U.S. Marine Corps (1971 - 1974)
  • Texas Center for Legal Ethics, Board of Trustees
  • Texas Access to Justice Foundation, Board of Trustees and Secretary
  • Headliners Club, Board of Directors
  • Headliners Foundation, Board of Governors