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Vinson & Elkins LLP

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Austin, Beijing, Dallas, Dubai, Hong Kong, Houston and 10 more

Thomas Leatherbury

Work +1 214 220 7792
Vinson & Elkins LLP

Work Department

Supreme Court and Appellate


Tom has a wide range of experience in state and federal appeals and trials. He has tried or handled the legal issues in more than 20 jury trials, and has argued 25 appeals. His experience includes commercial, intellectual property, and healthcare litigation, and class actions. He has represented publishers and broadcasters in all aspects of media litigation throughout his career.

Tom is a practice group leader of the firm-wide Appellate practice and currently serves as the chair of the Talent Management Committee.


  • Editorial Board: Communications Lawyer
  • Board of Trustees: National Association of Law Placement (NALP) Foundation
  • Fellow: American Bar Foundation; Texas Bar Foundation; Dallas Bar Foundation
  • Research Fellow: The Center for American and International Law
  • Faculty Member: ABA Forum Committee on Communications Law Media Advocacy Workshop
  • Lead Facilitator: ABA Forum Committee on Communications Law Annual Meeting, Hot Issues in Libel and Privacy
  • Member: American Law Institute (since 1998); Forum Committee on Communications Law, Council of Appellate Lawyers, Litigation and Tort & Insurance Practice Sections, American Bar Association; Litigation and Appellate Practice Sections, State Bar of Texas; Appellate and Business Litigation Sections, Dallas Bar Association; State Bar of Texas Pro Bono College
  • Past Director and Past President: Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas
  • Past President: Defense Counsel Section, Libel Defense Resource Center (now known as the Media Law Resource Center)
  • Past Chair: Media Relations Committee, Dallas Bar Association
  • Past Member: Governing Committee, Forum Committee on Communications Law, American Bar Association; Texas Supreme Court Rules Advisory Committee; Yale Law School Executive Committee
  • Co-chair: MLRC/NAA/NAB Conference, Fall 2010 and Fall 2012
  • Adjunct Professor: Southern Methodist University, Spring 2004 - Spring 2007 (Ethics of Communication; Communications Law)
  • Advisory Board Member: Lawyer Metrics
  • Board Member: Dallas Downtown, Inc., Texas Appleseed
  • Member: Dallas Citizen's Council; Mayor's Business/Arts Action Team; Business Council for the Arts
  • Chair: Business Council for the Arts, 2009 - 2012
  • Chair: Board of Trustees, Greenhill School, 2000 - 2002
  • Participant: The Aspen Institute, Justice and Society program, 1996


Tom graduated from Yale University, B.A. summa cum laude in 1976 (Phi Beta Kappa) and J.D. in 1979 (Chair, Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization). He served as law clerk to the Honorable Robert M. Hill, U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas, 1979 – 1980. Admitted to Texas Bar in 1979; United States Supreme Court; all federal courts in Texas; U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fifth, Second, Third, Fourth, Ninth, and Federal Circuits.

United States: Dispute resolution


Within: Appellate

Covering a wide variety of matters, Vinson & Elkins LLP’s practice is jointly chaired by Dallas-based Thomas Leatherbury and Houston-based Marie Yeats, and has strong expertise in the energy sector, environmental affairs, regulatory issues, mass torts, and intellectual property. Leatherbury led the team on securing a victory for Herring Bancorp in a dispute before the Texas Supreme Court over the redemption of preferred shares held by the opposing party as part of the bank’s conversion into a 'Subchapter S Corporation'. Yeats and Michael Heidler (Austin) successfully represented Anadarko Petroleum in a $100m insurance coverage appeal against Lloyd's of London before the Texas Supreme Court; the Court reversed a judgment of the Ninth District Court of Appeals in Beaumont and confirmed that Anadarko may recover its defense costs arising out of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico. At the US Supreme Court, Washington DC-based duo John Elwood and Jeremy Marwell successfully served as co-counsel to the petitioner in White v United States concerning the interpretation of the Speedy Trial Act; the Court sided with White in rejecting the government’s position and remanded the case to the Sixth Circuit. Sandra Rodriguez departed to accept an in-house position.

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