Thought Leadership / News
January 3, 2023 
 Press Releases
Gray Reed Announces Attorney Promotions

Gray Reed is proud to announce that eight attorneys have been promoted to Partner: Scott Bayer, Amber Carson, Christian Dewhurst, Aaron Dobbs, Chad Kell, Joshua Smeltzer, Brian Waters and Jeff Watters. In addition, Shanna Davar, Tim Fandrey, Kelly Leonard and Emily Radke have been promoted to Counsel.

“It is always exciting to recognize the contributions of our attorneys to our firm and to our clients,” Managing Partner Kyle Sanders says. “These individuals are beyond deserving of their new roles and I look forward to witnessing their continued contributions in the years to come.”

Scott Bayer

Bayer helps high-net-worth individuals and families develop trust and estate planning strategies to protect considerable assets and business interests, preserve and transfer wealth, achieve their charitable goals, and minimize estate and gift taxes. He has substantial experience preparing wealth transfer agreements tailored to each client’s unique needs and objectives, including wills, revocable trusts, generation-skipping transfer trusts and a variety of other sophisticated estate planning techniques. He is Board Certified in Estate Planning & Probate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Amber Carson

Carson guides debtors, creditors, official committees and other parties through every phase of commercial bankruptcy and creditors’ rights matters before courts in Texas and across the country. She has helped clients achieve positive outcomes in difficult cases spanning many industries, from oil and gas, healthcare and retail to restaurants, construction and manufacturing. Carson also handles bankruptcy-related litigation involving a number of complex issues, including fraudulent transfers, preference actions, contract disputes and many more.

Christian Dewhurst

Dewhurst’s practice is primarily focused on resolving the entire spectrum of claims and litigation that arise during commercial and residential construction projects, including delay in performance claims, design and construction defects, payment disputes, productivity claims, lien claims, work injury claims, plus many more. His client list includes all the various players involved in the construction process, ranging from project owners, developers and general contractors to subcontractors, suppliers and distributors.

Aaron Dobbs

Dobbs guides beneficiaries, trustees, executors, other fiduciaries, families and charitable organizations through all aspects of estate and trust administration, probate, fiduciary litigation, and trust and probate litigation. He has extensive experience handling litigation that involves the validity of wills, trusts, beneficiary designations and gift transfers; breach of fiduciary duty claims; creditor claims; and contested guardianships before trial and appellate courts across Texas. He is Board Certified in Estate Planning & Probate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Chad Kell

Kell guides businesses across the country through a wide variety of transactional and corporate matters, including mergers and acquisitions, complex commercial transactions, project development, debt financing, entity structuring, and day-to-day operational and governance issues. He represents clients spanning a number of industries, ranging from energy, real estate and logistics to manufacturing and technology.

Joshua Smeltzer

Formerly a tax litigator for the U.S. Department of Justice, Smeltzer defends clients in tax audits, tax appeals, and litigation in Federal District Court, U.S. Tax Court, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and tax issues in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. He also represents individuals, corporations, partnerships, and estates in a variety of tax issues involving tax reporting for cryptocurrency and foreign bank accounts, captive insurance arrangements, investments in conservation easements, charitable donations, a variety of tax deduction and tax credit disputes, as well as various transactions involving cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

Brian Waters

Experienced at both the trial and appellate court levels, Waters is a commercial litigator that focuses on insurance and indemnity matters, as well as real estate and construction disputes. He handles a wide variety of complex litigation for clients throughout Texas, from pre-suit negotiations through trial.  A significant part of his practice also includes insurance coverage evaluation, advice and claims negotiation.

Jeff Watters

Watters focuses on trusts and estates litigation and administration matters for clients throughout Texas. His litigation practice is largely devoted to resolving fiduciary duty claims arising from the administration of trusts and estates, a unique and challenging area of law where significant dollar amounts are typically at stake and no two cases are ever alike. He also takes lead on a variety of traditional trust and estate litigation matters, including will contests, will interpretation suits and accounting disputes, from the filing of the petition all the way to the Texas Supreme Court.

Shanna Davar

Davar focuses her practice on helping financial institutions, private lenders and borrowers structure a wide variety of commercial financing transactions spanning a number of industries. Her broad experience includes acquisition financings, mezzanine financings, syndicated and non-syndicated transactions, and secured and unsecured commercial transactions. Davar also handles transactions involving equity and asset acquisitions, equipment financing, working capital lines of credit, and real estate acquisition, construction, and renovation loans.

Tim Fandrey

Fandrey’s practice is primarily focused on helping general contractors, subcontractors, property owners and developers resolve the wide variety of claims and litigation that can arise in commercial and residential construction projects, including payment disputes, lien and bond claims, delay in performance claims, productivity claims, construction and design defects plus many more. As a lawyer and former civil engineer, he also provides real-time advice through every phase of construction projects to help clients resolve developing issues proactively before they become expensive problems in the courtroom.

Kelly Leonard

Leonard principally serves clients in the energy and manufacturing industries with a focus on contract interpretation and construction. She has successfully advised clients in disputes related to purchase and sale agreements, joint operating agreements, trespass to try title, natural gas processing and gathering agreements, rights of first refusal, company agreements, trade secrets, non-competition agreements and tortious interference with contract, among other matters. Leonard’s experience also extends to appellate work, including briefs in the United States Supreme Court, Fifth Circuit, Texas Supreme Court and Texas intermediate courts of appeals.

Emily Radke

Clients throughout Texas rely on Radke to advise on all aspects of estate, gift and generation-skipping tax planning, as well as trust and estate administration and related matters. She develops tailored solutions for clients with diverse estate planning needs and goals, ranging from high-net-worth individuals and families that want to protect substantial assets, real property and business interests, to young spouses and parents with smaller estates who need a comprehensive will. Radke is Board Certified in Estate Planning & Probate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

About Gray Reed

A full-service Texas law firm with offices in Dallas, Houston and Waco, Gray Reed provides legal services to companies ranging from start-up to Fortune 100 as well as high net worth individuals. Gray Reed attorneys assist clients with a myriad of legal issues including commercial litigation, corporate transactions, oil and gas, tax planning and litigation, real estate, construction, healthcare, trusts and estates, employment law, family law, intellectual property and bankruptcy. For more information, visit