Neal S. Manne
Neal Manne, a Managing Partner of Susman Godfrey, is well-recognized as one of the premier trial lawyers in America. Chambers USA's comprehensive surveys of clients and other lawyers repeatedly rank Manne as one of the best commercial litigators in Texas. According to Chambers:
"Clients consider the passionate and thoughtful Neal Manne one of the finest commercial litigators around due to his astute, incisive and nimble mind, and his rare gift of penetrating dense rhetoric and complex facts to get quickly to the heart of the matter. Clients praise the quality analysis, organizational skills and cogent and articulate arguments of Neal Manne, who, unlike many attorneys, can command a courtroom as well as submit to reason. Manne has a wonderful reputation among clients and peers, who commend his ability to understand the central weakness or strength of the case and convey his judgment with analysis that is appropriately detailed and dispassionate and which carries no more certainty than is warranted by the facts.”
Manne is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious and exclusive organization within the Bar. Manne's fellow trial lawyers also have elected him to the American Board of Trial Advocates. In 2010, 2012 and 2013, Lawdragon named Manne to its list of the 500 lawyers in America who “embody the best of lawyering, displaying intellect, passion, judgment, dedication and extraordinary achievement.” Click here to read Lawdragon's May 2013 profile of Manne. Click here to read a letter from Lawdragon’s founder about Manne. In 2009 and 2010, “The Best Lawyers in America” named Manne as one of the “Bet-the-Company” litigators in Texas. Manne regularly has been named a "Super Lawyer" in peer rankings. International Commercial Litigation named Manne one of the best litigation attorneys in the United States in its "Best of the Best" rankings (those same rankings named Susman Godfrey LLP the best litigation firm in the country). HTexas magazine has touted Manne as one of Houston's best attorneys in each of its annual surveys. More than a decade ago, The American Lawyer profiled him as one of 45 lawyers "who are making their mark today and will lead the profession tomorrow."
Manne's trial victories have come for both plaintiffs and defendants, and extend far beyond Texas. He has handled high-profile cases in New York, Michigan, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, Alabama, Minnesota, Florida, Kansas, Washington State, Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, South Carolina, Kentucky, New Jersey, Toronto, Bermuda and throughout Texas. Manne's jury verdicts have been profiled in The National Law Journal, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The American Lawyer and many other publications.
Energy industry litigation has taken Manne to the courthouse often. He has won major trials for Hilcorp Energy, Intratex Gas Co., Panhandle Gas Co. and Houston Pipeline, successfully defending them in various trials in which the plaintiffs sought damages totaling more than $1 billion. For plaintiffs, Manne has recovered hundreds of millions in cases involving gas contracts, joint ventures in the former Soviet republics, pipeline disputes and oil and gas joint operating agreements.
Manne has been an innovator in mass tort cases, for both plaintiffs and defendants. He helped devise the first mass subrogation claim, a legal theory which Susman Godfrey has used to make large recoveries for dozens of health care plans in national class action litigation involving issues as diverse as Vioxx, silicone breast implants and diet drugs. Manne served as lead counsel for defendants in the Rio Piedras Explosion Litigation in San Juan, Puerto Rico, directing the efforts of seven law firms in the defense of more than 500 consolidated lawsuits.
Manne has handled numerous employment class actions across the country. He served for 6 years as "national trial counsel" for one of the world's largest retailers, handling the largest employment class actions in the country. In 2011 he tried and won for The Rawlings Company the first employment class action ever tried to a jury verdict in Kentucky.
When CEO's and other top corporate executives are fired by their companies, they often call on Manne to represent them in breach of contract litigation. Most such cases settle before trial, but when they don't Manne has never lost. He's won trials for Brian Hughes, Paul Beck and Ray Weems against Cambrian Capital Partners; for Dan Pena against Great Western Resources; for Jonathan Carroll against Enserch; for John Dalton against WorldPort Communications; and for David Siegel against Budget Rent-A-Car.
Manne's work on complex insurance coverage disputes often crosses international borders. In cases involving environmental clean-up, officers' and directors' liability, asbestos litigation and products liability, Manne has been hired as lead counsel by many of the world's largest insurers in the U.S., Bermuda, London and the European continent. Manne represented a major insurer in both antitrust and securities fraud litigation relating to the use of contingent commissions in the insurance brokerage industry.
Antitrust litigation has been a specialty of Manne and his firm for decades. He has handled cases for both plaintiffs and defendants, in a wide range of industries, including airline tickets, Alaskan salmon processing, DVD rentals, commercial insurance, and many others.
Manne handles intellectual property litigation for both plaintiffs and defendants. With his partner Max Tribble, he successfully defended Dealix on patent infringement claims by Autobytel, and won large recoveries for SuperSpeed Software in separate patent cases against Oracle and IBM.
As a trial specialist, Manne often is hired to take over a case from another law firm as trial approaches. Certain Underwriters at Lloyds, on behalf of the Londoninsurance market, hired Manne to take over and resolve four huge pollution clean-up coverage cases, some of them pending for many years. Aetna did the same in an eight year old pollution coverage dispute. The Torrington Company hired Manne only months before trial to defend it in the re-trial of a helicopter crash case that had been pending for seven years. Only a few months before trial, Manne and his partner Steve Susman were hired to try investment banker Frank Benevento's long-running case against RJR Nabisco, winning a large jury verdict in New York. In Baks v. Moroun, the plaintiffs had been in litigation against their family trucking empire for nearly eight years when they hired Manne and Susman a few weeks before trial. After an eleven week jury trial in Michigan, plaintiffs recovered an enormous settlement. When the Government of India's oil trading company was hit with a huge adverse judgment in federal court in Houston, the Government hired Manne, who got the judgment vacated and quickly resolved the dispute for a nominal amount. Modern art icon Robert Rauschenberg hired Manne after dozens of his paintings were seized from a museum to satisfy a default judgment. Manne won an injunction ordering the return of the art, and quickly resolved the underlying dispute. A grateful Rauschenberg gave Manne's law firm two of his paintings as a bonus.
Manne's fast-paced trial practice has not stopped him from finding time to serve the community and the legal profession. The ADL honored Manne with its 2011 "Jurisprudence Award," given for "commitment to equality, justice, fairness, and community service." In recognition of Manne's "lifetime of volunteer service to the community," the Houston Bar Association Auxiliary selected Manne as the 2003 recipient of the Leon Jaworski Award. In 1996, he was named the "Distinguished Alumnus for Community Service" by The University of Texas School of Law. His pro bono legal work on behalf of women's rights led the National Women's Political Caucus to honor Manne (along with then-Vice President Al Gore) as the national "Good Guy of the Year" in 1994. The Houston Press followed suit, calling Manne "Good Guy Lawyer of the Year" in Houston, and Planned Parenthood gave him its Public Service Award. On a pro bono basis, Manne has represented an indigent woman facing the loss of her home, a religious organization, women's health clinics targeted by violent protestors, a charitable trust, Houston's public access television station, Moslem jail inmates seeking accommodation of their religion's dietary restrictions, the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, the Texas Defender Service, and many other individuals and organizations. Manne takes seriously the legal profession's mandate that lawyers provide free legal services to the needy. He has donated more than $1.5 million of his time representing people and organizations who could not otherwise have obtained high quality legal services. Click here to read about some of Manne's more noteworthy pro bono cases.
University of Texas (B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1976)
University of Texas School of Law (J.D., with high honors, 1980)
Fraternities: Phi Beta Kappa, Friars, University Scholar, Order of the Coif, Chancellors
Law Clerk to The Honorable William A. Norris, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 1980-81
- Associate Editor, Texas Law Review, 1979-80
- Chief Counsel and Staff Director, U. S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Juvenile Justice, 1985-86
- Chief of Staff, U. S. Senator Arlen Specter, 1987-88
- Adjunct Professor of Law, George Mason School of Law, 1986-87
- Commissioner, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (appointed by Governor Ann Richards) 1992-93
- Member, Harris County-Houston Sports Authority (appointed by Mayor Bill White), 2005-06
- "Good Guy of the Year" (co-honoree with then-Vice President Gore), National Women's Political Caucus (1994)
- Profiled in "45 Under 45," The American Lawyer's profile of the 45 best young lawyers in America (1995)
- University of Texas School of Law "Distinguished Alumnus of the Year for Community Service"(1996)
- Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
- Included in Lawdragon's list of the 500 best lawyers in America (2010 and 2012)
- Repeatedly included in "Best of the Best," International Commercial Litigation's rankings of the world's best litigation attorneys
- Inside Houston's "Best lawyers in Houston" (every year published)
- Houston Bar Association Auxiliary's Leon Jaworski Award for "a lifetime of volunteer service to the community" (2003)
- ADL Jurisprudence Award for "commitment to equality, justice, fairness and community service" (2011)
- Ranked as one of the best attorneys in the state of Texas in Texas Monthly magazine's various surveys of "Texas Super Lawyers"
- Named one of the best 20 commercial litigation attorneys in Texas in multiple editions of Chambers USA client guides (based on survey of clients and other lawyers)
- Repeatedly named as one of the "Bet-the-Company" litigators in Texas by "The Best Lawyers in America"
- Board of Directors: Houston Bar Foundation, Texas Law Review Association, The Houston Zoo, Houston Food Bank, Texas Freedom Network, Texas Appleseed Foundation, Texas Defender Service, University of Texas Foundation, Women's Advocacy Project, Center for AIDS, Houston Area Women's Center, People for the American Way, Annie's List, Houston Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Congregation Beth Israel, Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, Anti-Defamation League, Planned Parenthood Federation of America Action Fund, University of Texas Development Board, University of Texas Chancellor's Council, Grand Teton National Park Foundation
Manne has served on numerous boards of directors, both within the legal profession and in the community at large. He was the founding Chair of the Board of Houston's Center for AIDS, Vice Chair of the Houston Bar Foundation, President of the Texas Law Review Association, Commissioner (appointed by Governor Ann Richards) of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, member (appointed by Mayor Bill White) of the Harris County Houston Sports Authority, and a member of the boards of directors of many organizations, including The Houston Zoo, the Houston Area Women's Center, People for the American Way, Annie's List, the Anti-Defamation League, the University of Texas Foundation, the Houston Food Bank, the University of Texas Development Board, the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America's Action Fund, the Houston Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, the Executive Committee of the University of Texas System's Chancellor's Council, Congregation Beth Israel, Texas Appleseed Foundation, the Women's Advocacy Project, the Texas Freedom Network, and the Grand Teton National Park Foundation.
- State Bar of Texas
- State Bar of California
- District of Columbia Bar
- American Bar Association
- Houston Bar Association
- Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
- Fellow, Houston Bar Foundation
- Texas Law Review Association
- Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
- Elected member, American Board of Trial Advocates