For more than three decades, business people like you have hired this "incredibly gifted lawyer" (Chambers and Partners) who is "magic in the courtroom" (Who's Who Legal) to help them navigate the risks and rewards of high-stakes business disputes.
Barnett is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, a career-long partner in Susman Godfrey’s Texas and New York offices, and an honors graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School. With over three decades of trial work representing both plaintiffs and defendants, Barnett is a master strategist in commercial litigation.
Barnett focuses on complex matters, particularly ones involving antitrust, energy, or intellectual property. He has represented elite corporations such as Cisco Systems, Encana Oil & Gas, Texas Instruments, Duane Reade, KKR, A.H. Belo, Virgin America, and Neiman Marcus Group. And he’s battled for his clients against behemoths like Alcoa, Abbott Labs, Alcatel-Lucent, AmerisourceBergen, Apple, AT&T, Bank of America, BlackBerry, Comcast, Samsung, and Visa.
Barnett projects a compelling courtroom presence. His performance before the Supreme Court in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend prompted the Court to withdraw the question on which it had granted review. The judge in a patent infringement trial called him "one of the best" and his opening statement the finest he had ever seen. Another trial judge said Barnett was one of the two best trial lawyers he'd ever come across. The other one was dead, he said.
Barnett can handle a case from start to finish. He’s briefed and argued appeals in cases that he had tried when they went before the Third, Fifth, and Tenth Circuits; Texas appellate courts; the Supreme Court of Louisiana; and (in the case of Comcast Corp. v. Behrend) even the Supreme Court of the United States.
The Contingency, Barnett’s law blog that provides insights on sharing the risks and rewards of high-stakes business disputes, is a resource for attorneys and senior corporate executives facing major litigation. Barnett is also a sought-after public speaker, serving on panels and speaking on topics such as the hottest claims, trying class actions, and techniques for streamlining litigation. He also comments on trends in commercial litigation and the implications of major rulings for outlets such as NPR, Reuters, Law360, Corporate Counsel, TexasLawbook, and The Dallas Morning News.
Clients and other hard graders have praised Barnett for his courtroom skills and legal smarts.
“Barry Barnett was magnificent in trying this case,” said Energy Future Holdings' general counsel after Barnett led a trial team that defeated $500 million claims relating to power plants and an aluminum smelter. “We couldn’t ask for more able trial counsel.”
A client in a $100 million oil and gas case, which Barnett won at trial and has held on appeal, said Barnett’s team “presented a rare combination of strong legal intellect, common sense about right and wrong, and credibility in the courtroom.”
Chambers and Partners calls him a "an incredibly gifted lawyer" who is “very strategic” and earns "widespread praise from peers", "particularly [for] his notable courtroom skills." Who's Who Legal says he does "a fantastic job for his clients" and is "magic in the courtroom".
A wide range of business clients have entrusted their critical matters to Barnett, including the ones you see below.
Barnett appreciates that clients face many pressures. Managing the stress is important, especially in matters that may take years to resolve. He encourages clients to keep the risks and rewards in perspective. He wants them to know that he has their back and will work hard to help them achieve their legitimate goals. He also strives to foster trust and to make working with him a pleasure. Winning makes that easier.
A Texas native and son of a roughneck, Barnett grew up in the piney woods of Nacogdoches. He co-captained his high school varsity football team, served as the Editor of Key Club's Texas-Oklahoma District, and sang in the East Texas All Region Choir.
Barnett’s East Texas upbringing led to college at Yale, where Barnett graduated magna cum laude, and then Harvard Law School, where he received cum laude honors. He knows how to get along with all sorts of people and comfortable in corporate boardrooms, factory floors, and country stores that sell Moon Pies. His broad experience, courtly manner, and Texas accent all help him connect with clients and judges, with jurors and witnesses, and — yes — with opposing counsel.
Barnett is steady and loyal. He has practiced at Susman Godfrey his entire career – 33 years and counting. He and his wife Nancy live in Dallas and enjoy spending time in Houston and New York, where they have apartments. Their daughter is in business school at Yale, and their son is a law student at Columbia.
As a member of Ivy League championship football teams in his junior and senior years at Yale and a parent of two Yalies, Barnett has no trouble choosing sides for The Game in November. On his last play from scrimmage, in the waning minutes of The Game on Nov. 22, 1980, he recovered a Crimson fumble.
Yale won, 14-0.