Donald E. Godwin
Over more than four decades of practicing law, noted trial lawyer Donald E. Godwin has represented countless clients in high-stakes, complex litigation involving oil and gas matters, environmental issues, fiduciary duties, will contests, business torts, and major family law issues.
Today, the firm he founded in 1980, Godwin Lewis PC, has a national reputation for its thorough preparation, tireless dedication, and successful trial and appellate work on behalf of Fortune 500 and middle-market industry leaders. And Godwin shows no sign of slowing down.
“As the lead trial lawyer for Halliburton in all civil litigation concerning BP’s Macondo well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, I’m handling one of the most significant litigation battles of my career,” Godwin says. “For the past four years, my time has been almost exclusively devoted to defending Halliburton in that litigation. This litigation has brought some of the finest trial lawyers in the United States together to litigate in New Orleans over the responsibility for this disaster which has resulted in the largest environmental litigation ever filed in the United States.”
Godwin and his firm are currently awaiting a ruling from U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier over the first two phases of the consolidated trial against BP, Transocean, Halliburton, and other companies. Depending upon that ruling, Godwin and his firm could find themselves in court in New Orleans and possibly other venues for quite some time.
“I continue to be excited each and every day about leading a firm where the principal objective is helping our clients find solutions to their legal problems,” Godwin says. “And with the Halliburton case, I find that I’m as energized now in my practice as I’ve ever been.”
Previously, Godwin has represented such high-profile clients as Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys, Ross Perot Sr., Exxon Mobil Corp., Texaco Inc., Texas Capital Bank, Bank of America, and Mary Kay Cosmetics. He has served as a trial lawyer for Halliburton and its affiliates on major litigation across the United States for about two decades. Indeed, he represented Halliburton in its historic asbestos and silica litigation, for which he negotiated the global settlement of approximately 382,000 asbestos claims in just under a year.
“We’ve always had a strong and valued relationship with Halliburton, and the company has historically called upon our firm when it has very serious litigation needs,” Godwin says.
Godwin Lewis is the sole firm representing Halliburton in the BP oil-spill civil litigation. Godwin notes that Godwin Lewis has been able to meet the challenges presented by this unique case because of the firm’s considerable size—it currently consists of about 70 trial and appellate lawyers.
“If we didn’t have as many talented and experienced lawyers in our firm, it would be very difficult for me to serve as the lead lawyer for Halliburton in the BP litigation,” Godwin says. “In litigation of this complexity, magnitude and importance, you simply need many outstanding lawyers to combat the excellent lawyers representing the plaintiffs, BP and Transocean, all of whom are at odds with one another.”
Godwin adds: “There are larger law firms that are full service, but the trial and appellate departments at most of the large firms in the country don’t have as many lawyers as we do.”
In 2011, Godwin Lewis joined forces with respected family law Judge Marilea Lewis, who had recently returned to private practice. Lewis, who is board certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, has in just two years significantly developed the firm’s family law section, becoming a named shareholder at the firm. In 2013, she was also named managing shareholder and chief operating officer of Godwin Lewis.
“To my knowledge, there are no other law firms in Texas with 70-plus lawyers that have a woman’s name on the letterhead,” Godwin says. “And Marilea has brought to this firm her reputation and expertise as one of the most highly regarded, sought-after family lawyers in the state.”
Godwin and Judge Lewis have both been included in the 2014 edition of The Best Lawyers in America
, along with attorneys Carolyn R. Raines and George R. Carlton, Jr. For several years, Godwin has been recognized in Who’s Who in Energy
by the American City Business Journals; and in 2003 he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from his alma mater, SMU Dedman School of Law. He is also board certified in civil trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is a member of the invitation-only American Board of Trial Advocates.