Gavin R. Villareal

Department Chair - Litigation (Austin) Partner

[email protected]

Austin

P: +1.512.322.2652
F: +1.512.322.8341
villareal photo

Gavin Villareal is the Partner in Charge of the Austin office and the Austin office Litigation Department Chair. He represents clients in a wide variety of complex business-related disputes in state and federal trial and appellate courts, as well as before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). Recognized by Best Lawyers in America (2021), he has significant first-chair experience litigating claims alleging professional negligence, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, and financial services fraud, as well as claims involving state and federal constitutional and preemption issues.

Mr. Villareal won a landmark U.S. Supreme Court victory as lead counsel in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, 139 S. Ct. 2356 (2019). The case overturned almost half a century of precedent interpreting Exemption 4 to the Freedom of Information Act. Commentators described the case as "one of the most important business-related cases on the Supreme Court's docket" in the 2018-19 term.

Before law school, Mr. Villareal worked for five years at the Texas General Land Office as special assistant to Texas Land Commissioner Garry Mauro. During law school, he served as an intern to Justice Rose Spector of the Supreme Court of Texas.

Mr. Villareal has held leadership positions in numerous professional and community organizations. He is past chair of the ABA's Professional Liability Litigation Committee for the ABA's Section of Litigation. He is an Elected Member of the American Law Institute, a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, and he has held leadership roles with the Austin Bar Foundation, the Austin Bar Association, the Austin Young Lawyers Association, the Hispanic Bar Association of Austin, the HBAA Charitable Foundation, the Mexican-American Bar Association of Texas, Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas, the Mexic-Arte Museum and the Harvard Club of Austin. He currently serves on the board of Austin PBS and is a member of the President's Council of Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

Related Experience

Trade-Secret Misappropriation

  • International silicone and silicone-based technology manufacturer – lawsuit alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and business processes
  • Texas computer supply manufacturer – lawsuit alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and business opportunities
  • International semiconductor research consortium – lawsuit alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and business disparagement
  • National prepaid debit card provider – multiple lawsuits and state-court appeal alleging breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets and business processes

Professional Liability

  • Big Four accounting firm – representation before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in a matter relating to audit services for an oilfield services company
  • Big Four accounting firm – complex, multiforum litigation relating to audit services performed for an international investment company, a matter that involved a state court class action lawsuit, multiple interlocutory state court appeals, an adversary proceeding in U.S. Bankruptcy Court and a suit in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands
  • Big Four accounting firm – arbitration involving audit and consulting services performed for a regional healthcare organization
  • Big Four accounting firm – arbitration involving audit services performed for an office products wholesaler
  • Big Four accounting firm – lawsuit and subsequent appeal involving defamation claims arising from a consulting engagement for a municipal entity
  • International law firm – lawsuit involving claims arising from a putative collateralized loan obligation transaction
  • National law firm – matter involving alleged unauthorized practice of law in Texas
  • National financial services advisory firm – lawsuit arising from disqualification under a municipal ordinance
  • Major semiconductor manufacturer – numerous contractor and premises liability lawsuits

Energy

  • Representation of pipeline company in claims challenging the constitutionality of Texas eminent domain law

Appellate

  • Lead counsel for petitioner in the U.S. Supreme Court and for appellant in the Eighth Circuit in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, involving Exemption 4 to the Freedom of Information Act relating to U.S. Department of Agriculture food-assistance program store-level sales data
  • Fifth Circuit appeal involving the reliability of medical expert testimony in a medical malpractice lawsuit
  • Supreme Court of Texas and intermediary state court of appeals matters involving statutory construction and rulemaking authority of state agency
  • Supreme Court of Texas appeal involving supervision and control issues in the context of a contractor personal injury lawsuit
  • Supreme Court of Texas appeal involving allegedly improper judicial remarks in the context of an employment discrimination lawsuit
  • Texas court of appeals matter involving the scope and applicability of the Texas Citizens Participation Act
  • Texas court of appeals matter involving the finality of a class-action settlement in the context of subsequent claims by a governmental entity
  • Texas court of appeals matter involving the finality of a summary judgment following severance by a trial court

Pro Bono

  • Numerous pro bono representations of indigent clients in family law cases through Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas

Awards & Community

Recognized by Austin Monthly Magazine in Austin's Top Attorneys for Commercial Litigation, 2021

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America for Commercial Litigation, 2021-2022

"Litigator of the Week" Nominee (Law.com), June 28, 2019

Recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer-Rising Star (Thomson Reuters), 2007-2009

Recipient of the Hispanic Bar Association of Austin's Elizabeth Garcia President's Award, 2017

Recipient of the Spirit of Community Award from the Chicano/Hispanic Law Students' Association of The University of Texas School of Law, 2008; Outstanding Alumnus Award, 2015

Austin Under 40 Finalist (Legal), 2007; Finalist (Mentor of the Year), 2015

News

results Page of

Thought Leadership

results Page of