Leonard, David Photo

Our People

David Leonard

Jackie Kish
D: 713.730.5111
  • J.D., The University of Texas School of Law, Managing Editor, Texas Journal of Oil, Gas & Energy Law, 2011
  • B.A., with honors, The University of Texas, Phi Beta Kappa, 2008
Bar Admission
  • Texas
Court Admissions
  • United States District Court, Southern District of Texas
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Texas

David Leonard, a native Houstonian, is an associate in Gray Reed’s commercial litigation section – which was recognized as “Metropolitan Tier 1” by US News & World Report in 2016. David primarily represents businesses to resolve disputes in state and federal trial court proceedings, state and federal appeals, and arbitration proceedings. He was named a Texas “Rising Star” by Thomson Reuters in 2015 in the field of business litigation. 

David is a graduate of The University of Texas School of Law, where he was managing editor of the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law.  He received a B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Texas at Austin.

Representative Experience

Energy Litigation

  • Defended operator in lawsuit arising from East Texas mineral interest dispute.
  • Represented purchaser of mineral interests in Eagle Ford Shale in dispute with seller.
  • Represented oilfield equipment manufacturer in payment and performance disputes with vendors and customers.
  • Represented private equity group and individual shareholders in direct and derivative claims in connection with a hydraulic fracturing service company.

General Business Litigation

  • Second-chaired a successful AAA arbitration on behalf of global nutritional supplement manufacturer in dispute with its former South African distributor.  Obtained take-nothing judgment in defense of distributor’s counterclaim alleging millions in damages.
  • Represent global franchisor in various disputes with domestic and international franchisees arising from franchise agreements.
  • Negotiated favorable settlement for publicly-traded oilfield services corporation in dispute arising from a marine technology contract with a New York company.
  • Negotiated loan modification on behalf of creditor involving loan amounts exceeding $600,000.
  • Defended car dealership against claims brought by customer under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
  • Obtained take-nothing judgment for individual alleged to have converted and stolen personal property.

Real Estate Litigation

  • Represent Houston-based hospital system in disputes with medical tenants.
  • Negotiated resolution of lock-out on behalf of physician group. 
  • Represented purchaser of commercial real estate property in dispute regarding disbursement of earnest money.
  • Represented industrial tenant in dispute with landlord concerning usage of premises.

Tax Litigation

  • Lead associate in two-week trial on behalf of an owner of an underground natural gas storage facility (publicly-traded MLP) in its appeal of ad valorem tax assessments.

Appellate Experience

  • Presented oral argument to Fifth Court of Appeals in breach of fiduciary duty dispute involving an attorney-client dispute.
  • Drafted appellate briefing on behalf of global franchisor arising from special appearance asserted by Belgian defendants.
  • Drafted briefing in mandamus proceeding on behalf of minority shareholders in connection with a discovery dispute concerning the scope of discovery in advance of a motion to dismiss based on a Special Litigation Committee’s recommendation. 
  • Assisted with appellate briefing for the plaintiff/appellee in a breach of contract case and secured affirmance of favorable trial court judgment.
  • Assisted with appellate briefing for the plaintiff/appellee in a Fourteenth Amendment and Texas Whistleblower Act case.

Construction Litigation

  • Represented general contractor in billing dispute with subcontractor in commercial development project.
  • Represented high-rise condominium owners’ association in construction defect lawsuit against general contractor, sub-contractors, and product manufacturer.

Premises Liability Defense 

  • Asserted Chapter 95 defense on behalf of Fortune 500 chemical refining company in personal injury lawsuit in federal court.
  • Asserted Chapter 95 defense on behalf of Global Fortune 500 chemical refining company in personal injury lawsuit in state court.

Professional Activities, Memberships & Affiliations

Community Involvement, Memberships & Affiliations

  • Hermann Park Conservancy, Advisory Board Member
  • St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, Member
  • Texas Exes Houston Chapter


  • Named “Rising Star” in 2015 by Texas Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters business) as published in Texas Monthly magazine.


  • Contributing Author, Texas Business Litigation - Selected Causes of Action Unique to the Oil and Gas Industry (ALM 2014 Publication) July 2014
  • Deepwater Horizon Insurance Litigation: Unintended Consequences, Practical Responses, Ethical Issues, and Suggestions for Review, 2013 Annual Admiralty and Maritime Law Conference, University of Texas School of Law (co-author with Julia Palmer).