In this time of concern and disruption over Covid-19, I and my colleagues at Susman Godfrey (SG) are busy taking steps to safeguard our firm family while continuing to be proactive in protecting the interests of our clients and moving matters forward as necessary and appropriate. I hope that you, your colleagues, and your families are well, and I want you to know that we understand that this public health crisis and its related economic effects are challenging for everyone. We are here to help our clients to navigate these challenges. Below I provide basic information about what my colleagues and I are doing now, what you can expect from me going forward, and what clients might do avoid unnecessary loss.

I encourage you to contact me (or any of the other SG lawyers you are working with) if you have specific questions or concerns. It is important that you and we keep the lines of communication open and strong.

What SG is doing

We are open. Our offices—in Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle—remain open. Lawyers and staff are not required to come into the offices but may do so if needed. In-person meetings can be arranged if necessary. Phone and video conferences are preferred for real-time interactions to minimize the risk of transmitting the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19. The health and safety of our personnel and clients are paramount.

We are accustomed to working remotely (and securely). We have cases all over the U.S. and clients around the world, and as a result our lawyers and staff are pros at getting things done remotely. In addition, our Information Technology department remains online and actively monitoring our secure remote systems, including our virtual private network and secure document-sharing platforms. Our clients’ confidential data and documents are just as secure as they were before this crisis hit.

We are taking precautions. As a precaution, we have instructed lawyers and staff not to come to the office or interact in person with any other firm personnel if they have symptoms of Covid-19 or have been exposed to anyone who has had symptoms. Non-essential travel is discouraged. We will continue to monitor this situation closely.

What you can expect from us

We are pressing ahead. We will continue evaluating potential cases, moving existing cases forward, and filing new ones. Our lawyers and staff have access to robust platforms that enable us to work outside the office and conduct business remotely. These include facilities for communications (email, videoconferencing, text messages, and online collaboration) as well as for factual and legal research, document review and management, and filing and service of new litigation and arbitration matters as well as of pleadings, motions, notices, and briefs in existing ones.

Trial-team calls aren’t canceled. We expect periodic trial-team conferences will generally continue. Each of my cases has a trial team, typically headed by me or another SG partner and including one or more client representatives, and each trial team convenes weekly, generally by teleconference, to review case status and discuss items on the task assignment memo for the case. These trial-team conferences will continue as appropriate to make progress towards favorable resolution of disputes. With the scheduling of trials and hearings in question in the near term, weekly conferences may become less frequent, depending on the circumstances of the particular case.

Some deadlines are being generally extended. Courts and arbitral bodies across the U.S. have cancelled or postponed trials and hearings, and (in some instances) courts have authorized suspension of case deadlines and even statute of limitations periods. Many have also called for or authorized the conduct of proceedings that require multiple participants in real time by videoconference or other means, and these may notably include evidentiary hearings and depositions. We will be actively assessing the impact of and adjusting to these and future decisions, as the legal landscape continues to evolve in response to Covid-19.

I’ll update you periodically. I expect to provide updates periodically as well, including here and via Twitter if you are a subscriber (@contingencyblog). Stay tuned.

Expect a call from me. If you are a client or co-counsel, I am likely to call you in the coming days, if you and I haven’t already spoken recently, for a general check-in and to see whether you have specific questions, concerns, or needs.

Some things you can do

Feel free to contact me. My SG colleagues and I remain available to consult with clients as needed. Do not hesitate to call us when you have a question or concern we can help with.

Stay on top of deadlines. Although schedules, deadlines, and even statute of limitations periods may in some instances have been extended by a particular court or court system, it is imperative that you have accurate information to act on. It is not safe to assume that any schedule, deadline, or limitations period has been suspended or lengthened. If you have any questions regarding timeliness of taking any action, raise them promptly with me or any of the other SG lawyers you are working with.

Be alert for developing situations that could lead to loss. Force majeure provisions and related doctrines will be implicated by many circumstances that will arise from Covid-19-related disruption. Human nature being what it is, there will also be instances of opportunistic conduct. Because loss mitigation is the order of the day, be alert for (and ready to act on) situations that need attention in order to minimize negative outcomes.

Be safe and well. Our health and safety are the most important things, now and always. You don’t need me to remind you to wash your hands for a full 20 seconds, use plenty of soap, and sneeze into your elbow—so I will refrain from mentioning them!

But I do want to say that, during this challenging time, I am particularly mindful of your friendship—and especially grateful for it.

Call, text, or email me any time if I can get or do anything for you.

Truly yours,


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Photo of Barry Barnett Barry Barnett

Clients and colleagues call Barry Barnett an “incredibly gifted lawyer” (Chambers and Partners) who is “magic in the courtroom” (Who’s Who Legal), “the top antitrust lawyer in Texas” (Chambers and Partners), and “a person of unquestioned integrity” (David J. Beck, founder of Beck…

Clients and colleagues call Barry Barnett an “incredibly gifted lawyer” (Chambers and Partners) who is “magic in the courtroom” (Who’s Who Legal), “the top antitrust lawyer in Texas” (Chambers and Partners), and “a person of unquestioned integrity” (David J. Beck, founder of Beck Redden).

Barnett is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, and Lawdragon has named him one of the top 500 lawyers in the United States three years in a row. Best Lawyers in America has honored him as “Lawyer of the Year” for Bet-the-Company Litigation (2019 and 2017) and Patent Litigation (2020) in Houston. Based in Texas and New York, Barnett has tried complex business disputes across the United States.

Barnett’s background, training, and experience make him indispensable to his clients. The small-town son of a Texas roughneck and grandson of a Texas sharecropper, Barnett “developed an unusual common sense about people, their motivations, and their dilemmas,” according to former client Michael Lewis.

Barnett has been historically recognized for his effectiveness and judgment. His peers chose him, for example, to the American College of Trial Lawyers and American Law Institute. His decades of trial and appellate work representing both plaintiffs and defendants have made him a master strategist and nimble tactician in complex disputes.

Barnett focuses on enforcement of antitrust laws, the “Magna Carta of free enterprise,” in Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall’s memorable phrase. “Barry is one of the nation’s outstanding antitrust lawyers,” according to Joseph Goldberg, a member of the Private Antitrust Enforcement Hall of Fame. Named among Texas’s top ten antitrust lawyers of 2023, Business Today calls Barnett a “trailblazer” among the “distinguished legal minds” who “dedicate their skill and expertise to the maintenance of healthy competition in various sectors” of the Lone Star State’s booming economy. Barnett is also adept in energy and intellectual property matters and has battled for clients against a Who’s Who list of corporate behemoths, including Abbott Labs, Alcoa, Apple, AT&T, BlackBerry, Broadcom, Comcast, Dow, JPMorgan Chase, Samsung, and Visa.

Barnett commands a courtroom with calm and credibility and “is the perfect lawyer for bet the company litigation,” said Scott Regan, General Counsel of former client Whiting Petroleum. 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 trial involving mobile phone technology called Barnett “one of the best” and that his opening statement the finest he had ever seen. Another trial judge told Barnett minutes after a jury returned a favorable verdict against the county’s biggest employer that he was one of the two best trial lawyers he’d ever come across—adding that the other one was dead.

A versatile trial lawyer, Barnett knows how to handle a case all the way from strategic pre-suit planning to affirmance on appeal. He’s tried cases to verdict and then briefed and argued them when they went before appellate courts, including the Second, Third, Fifth, and Tenth Circuits, the Supreme Court of Louisiana, and (in the case of Comcast Corp. v. Behrend) the Supreme Court of the United States.

Barnett is a sought-after public speaker, often serving on panels and talking about topics like the trials of antitrust class actions and techniques for streamlining complex litigation. He also comments on trends in commercial litigation and the implications of major rulings for outlets such as NPR, Reuters, Law360, Corporate Counsel, and The Dallas Morning News. He’s even appeared in a Frontline program about underfunding of state pensions, authored chapters on “Fee Arrangements” and “Techniques for Expediting and Streamlining Litigation” (the latter with Steve Susman) in the ABA’s definitive treatise on Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts, 5th, and commented on How Antitrust Enforcers Might Think Like Plaintiffs’ Lawyers.

Clients and other hard graders have praised Barnett for his courtroom skills and legal acumen.

A client in a $100 million oil and gas case, which Barnett’s team won at trial and held on appeal, said Barnett and his team “presented a rare combination of strong legal intellect, common sense about right and wrong, and credibility in the courtroom.” David McCombs at Haynes and Boone said Barnett “has a natural presence that goes over well with juries and judges.”

Even former adversaries give Barnett high marks. Lead opposing counsel in a decade-long antitrust slugfest said “Barry is a highly skilled advocate. He understands what really matters in telling a narrative and does so in a very compelling manner.”

Barnett relishes opportunities to collaborate with all kinds of people. At the Center for American and International Law (CAIL), founded by a former prosecutor at Nuremberg in 1947 and headquartered in the Dallas area, he has served on the Executive Committee, co-chaired the committee that produced CAIL’s first-ever strategic plan, supported CAIL’s Institute for Law Enforcement Administration and other development efforts, and proposed formation of a new Institute for Social Justice Law. CAIL’s former President David Beck said “Barry is extremely bright” and is “very well prepared in every lawsuit or professional task he undertakes.”

Barnett is also a Trustee of the New-York Historical Society, a Sterling Fellow at Yale, a member of the Yale University Art Gallery’s Governing Board, a winner of the Class Award for his work on behalf of his college class, and a proud contributor to the Yellow Ribbon Program at Harvard Law. Barnett’s pro bono work includes leading the trial team representing people who are at greatest risk of severe illness and death as a result of being exposed to the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 while being detained in the Dallas County jail—work for which he received the NGAN Legal Advocacy Fund RBG Award.

At Susman Godfrey, Barnett has served on the firm’s Executive Committee, Employment Committee, and ad hoc committees on partner compensation, succession of leadership, and revision of the firm’s partnership agreement. He also twice chaired the Practice Development Committee.

Barnett understands that clients face many pressures. Managing the stress is important, especially in matters that take years to resolve. He encourages clients to call him whenever they have a question or concern and to keep the inevitable ups and downs in perspective. He wants them to know that he will do his level best to help them achieve their goals. He also strives to foster trust and to make working with him a pleasure.

Cyrus “Skip” Marter, the General Counsel of Bonanza Creek in Denver and a former Susman Godfrey partner and client, said Barnett is “excellent about communicating with clients in a full and honest manner” and can “negotiate for his clients from a position of strength, because he is not afraid to take a case through a full trial on the merits.” Stacey Doré, the President of Hunt Utility Services and a former client, said that Barnett is “an excellent trial lawyer and the person you want to hire for your bet-the-company cases. He is client focused, responsive, and uniquely savvy about trial and settlement strategy.” A New York colleague said, “Barry is a joy to work with as co-counsel. He tackles complex procedural and factual hurdles capably, efficiently, and without drama.”

Barnett’s wide-ranging experience and calm, down-to-earth approach enable him to connect with clients, judges, jurors, witnesses, and even opposing counsel. He grew up in Nacogdoches, Texas. He co-captained his high school varsity football team as an All-East Texas middle linebacker while also serving as the Editor of Key Club’s Texas-Oklahoma District, won the Best Typist award, took the History Team to glory, and sang in the East Texas All Region Choir. As Dan Kelly of client Vistra Corp. put it, Barnett is “a great person to be around.”

Barnett is steady and loyal. He has practiced at Susman Godfrey his entire career. He and his wife Nancy live in Dallas and enjoy spending time in Houston and New York. Their daughter works for H-E-B in Houston, and their son is a Haynes and Boone transactions lawyer in Dallas.

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. And he knows how important fighting all the way to the end is. 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.