Melanie Gray is a litigation partner in the firm’s Houston office who concentrates her practice in complex commercial litigation, with a focus on complex bankruptcy cases. She has extensive experience litigating contract and business disputes and serves as a trusted advisor to companies who find themselves facing “bet-the-company” litigation risks or financial distress.
Ms. Gray is best known for managing complex cases requiring diverse teams of lawyers in different practice areas. As one of the lead attorneys representing Enron in its chapter 11 case, she coordinated the multitude of attorneys and firms working for Enron. She was a lead attorney in more than 30 lawsuits seeking to recover more than $1 billion due to the company under various financial derivative contracts. Her experience also extends to managing corporate internal investigations.
Ms. Gray’s client representations include Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Brookfield Power Corporation, General Growth Properties, Lockton Companies, Alliant Insurance Services, Inc., American Airlines, General Electric, General Motors, J.C. Flowers & Co., and Pilgrams.
Honors & Awards
Ms. Gray has earned multiple recognitions for professional excellence and public service. Recently, she was selected as a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America as a result of her exceptional accomplishments in litigation, both at the trial and appellate levels, and superior ethical reputation. In both 2013 and 2014, Benchmark Litigation named her as one of the Top 250 Women in Litigation and she is listed in the 2015 edition of Best Lawyers in America in the Bankruptcy and Creditor/Debtor Rights category. In 2011, she received the Distinguished Alumna Achievement Award from Syracuse University College of Law. In 2010, she was recognized as one of Texas’s Most Powerful Women by Texas Diversity Council. Ms. Gray has been named a Texas Super Lawyer in each year since 2003 and was named one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas in 2005 for her work in business litigation and bankruptcy. In 2003, she was recognized as a Woman Achiever by the New York YMCA and as one of ten Houston Women on the Move by Texas Executive Women in 2001. Litigation Management named her as a “Lone Star All Star” for being among the state’s “effective litigators and communicators with great judgment.”
Ms. Gray has served in leadership roles in a number of legal organizations, including serving on the board of the Houston Bar Foundation, the Interdisciplinary Committee on Law and Accounting of the Houston Bar Association, the Texas Accounting and Lawyers for the Arts. She is a Founding Member of the Center for Women in Law at the University of Texas School of Law. Ms. Gray is a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas, and a life member of the Texas Women Lawyers. She holds membership in other invitation-only organizations, including the American Bar Foundation, the Texas Bar Foundation, the College of the State Bar of Texas, and Litigation Counsel of America.
Ms. Gray is widely known for her community service and contributions to the arts, education, and the advancement of women and currently serves on the following boards:
- Syracuse University
- Girls Inc. (Vice Chair)
- Greater Houston Community Foundation
- Society for the Performing Arts (Board Chair)
- Foundation for Jones Hall
- Legacy Community Health Services Endowment
- Teen & Family Services
Ms. Gray has chaired or co-chaired numerous capital campaigns, including the recently-concluded $1 billion Campaign for Syracuse University.
Publications & Speaking Engagements
Litigation in the 21st Century: The Jury Trial, The Training & The Experts -- Musing & Teachings from David J. Beck, Lisa Blue, Melanie Gray & Stephen D. Susman, 56 The Advocate, State Bar of Texas Litigation Section Report at 8 (Sofia Adrogue & Hon. Caroline Baker ed., Fall 2011).
M. Gray, S. Collings, Bankruptcy Strategy 101 for In-House Counsel, 26 Texas Lawyer, no. 46, In-House Texas Special Issue at 16 (Feb. 14, 2011).
M. Gray, V. Chandis, K. Echemendia, Striking the Right Balance: Public Versus Private Enforcement Laws – What Will We Learn From This Financial Meltdown?, 60 Syracuse L. Rev., no. 3, 449 (2010).
M. Gray, Texas Non-Compete Law: The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same,” Employer Update, April 2007.
“Avoiding Common Contract Drafting Mistakes,” Association of Corporate Counsel Chapter Meeting, February 2013.
“Negotiating Tips: Considerations from the Boardroom to the Court House,” Texas Minority Counsel Annual Meeting, Sept. 2011.
“Governance Challenges and Hot Topics: The New Normal,” Association of Corporate Counsel Chapter Meeting, July 2011.
“Law and the Financial Crisis: Economic Regulations During Turbulent Times,” 60th Anniversary Syracuse L. Rev. Symposium, April 2010.
“Collateral Damage: Litigation Response to the Credit and Economic Meltdown,” Syracuse University College of Law CLE, 2009.
“The Legacy of Enron: Observations on Legal, Economic, and Social Consequences of its Demise,” Syracuse University College of Law CLE, 2007.
Keynote Speaker, Opening Convocation for First Year Law Students, Syracuse University College of Law, 2006-2011.
- Syracuse University, JD, 1981