Florence T. Chen is a former investment banker turned lawyer who leverages her finance background to help clients understand complex legal issues and navigate business implications. Florence was a key member of the team that, in 2023, secured $787.5 million for Dominion Voting Systems in its high-profile defamation litigation against Fox News. Dominion’s CFO called Florence a “rock star” for her work on this case and praised the unwavering effort she put in while litigating. This case has attracted widespread media attention from outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, CNBC, The Associated Press and LA Times, among many others.
Ms. Chen is skilled in a wide range of complex litigation areas across industries such as retail, insurance, financial services, oil and gas, media, and technology, as well as across practice areas such as breach of contract, trade secret misappropriation, defamation, partnership disputes, mass torts, personal injury, and civil rights. Ms. Chen’s clients are as diverse as her litigation expertise; she successfully represents Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and individuals.
Ms. Chen joined Susman Godfrey after clerking for Judge Debra Ann Livingston of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Prior to clerking, she served as a fellow for the Public Interest Law Initiative and as an associate board member for Chicago non-profit, Life Span Center for Legal Services and Advocacy. During law school, Ms. Chen served as Managing Editor for the Columbia Law Review and as a judicial extern for Judge Edmond E. Chang of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Ms. Chen spent four years in Hong Kong as an investment banker prior to attending law school. She previously studied finance and international studies through the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business, a dual-degree program with the Wharton School and the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.
Since joining Susman Godfrey, Ms. Chen remains committed to pro bono work and community service. In addition to serving as pro bono counsel in a prisoner civil rights case, she is also part of the SG team that launched the Minority-Owned Business (“MOBUS”) Pro Bono Program to help provide legal representation to minority-owned businesses in Houston. Ms. Chen is also an active leader of the Asian American Bar Association of Houston, having served as its Vice President of Programs, its Secretary and on its Community Service & Pro Bono Committee. Ms. Chen was also nominated by the Mayor and confirmed by City Council in May 2023 to serve on Houston’s Independent Police Oversight Board.
- Florence was a key member of the team that, in 2023, secured $787.5 million for Dominion Voting Systems in its high-profile defamation litigation against Fox News. Dominion’s CFO called Florence a “rock star” for her work on this case and praised the unwavering effort she put in while litigating. This case has attracted widespread media attention from outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, CNBC, The Associated Press and LA Times, among many others.
- Florence helped achieve a 2023 bench trial victory, defeating a permanent injunction sought against a large industrial client in a major trespass and negligence case.
- Ms. Chen and a team of lawyers from Susman Godfrey represented energy trading company, Vitol, in a contract dispute in which the team won a major victory for Vitol in $4 billion litigation. A federal court in San Juan, Puerto Rico rejected PREPA’s claims to void six fuel-oil supply contracts and recover $3.89 billion. The court also ruled that Vitol was entitled to recover $28.4 million, plus interest, on its counterclaim against PREPA. Read more in Law360’s coverage and The American Lawyer’s award of Litigators of the Week.
- Ms. Chen second-chaired a two-week jury trial in a case involving claims of partnership formation, breach of contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, trade secret misappropriation, and tortious interference with contracts. Representing the defendants, Ms. Chen directed and cross-examined witnesses, briefed and argued the jury charge conference, and also argued part of closing. Over the course of the fiercely contested case, Ms. Chen also briefed, argued, and won several hearings. Due to Ms. Chen’s efforts, the plaintiff was limited to recovering only 8% of total damages sought.
- Ms. Chen represented international oil and gas company, Anadarko Petroleum, in a series of lawsuits involving contractual indemnity, insurance coverage, and personal injury claims. Ms. Chen briefed, argued, and won an opposition to a motion to dismiss in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, which resulted in a major insurance company remaining in the lawsuit. The cases later resolved on confidential terms.
- As counsel for Mostyn Law Firm, Ms. Chen successfully defeated a $40 million breach of contract claim brought by a lawyer seeking bonus and compensation in connection with the transvaginal mesh multidistrict litigation. Ms. Chen prevailed on summary judgment as to the Plaintiff’s claims, obtained a final arbitral award dismissing all of the Plaintiff’s claims, and the Plaintiff recovered nothing.
- In a separate case, Ms. Chen defended another law firm against breach of contract claims brought by a financial services company. Ms. Chen successfully opposed a motion for summary judgment and the case later resolved on confidential terms on the eve of trial.
- Ms. Chen was appointed by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown to serve as pro bono counsel in a prisoner civil rights case. Ms. Chen ran this case, taking and defending key depositions, and arguing at several hearings. After briefing, arguing, and winning a key motion to compel, Ms. Chen successfully mediated the case to secure a favorable settlement for her client.
- Honorable Debra Ann Livingston, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- Columbia Law School (J.D.)
- The University of Pennsylvania (B.S. in Economics, Concentration in Finance, magna cum laude)
- The Wharton School
- The University of Pennsylvania (B.A., International Studies, magna cum laude)
- The College of Arts and Sciences
Leadership & Professional Memberships
- Vice President - Programming, Asian American Bar Association of Houston
- Chairperson - Corporate Counsel Committee, Asian American Bar Association of Houston
- Chairperson - Solo & Small Firm Committee, Asian American Bar Association of Houston
- Former Secretary, Asian American Bar Association of Houston
- Community Service and Pro Bono Committee, Asian American Bar Association of Houston
- Former Fellow, Public Interest Law Initiative
- Former Associate Board Member, Life Span Center for Legal Services and Advocacy