Jack H. Emmott, III
Jack H. Emmott III, a senior counsel of Gray Reed's Family Law Section, is Board Certified in both Family Law and Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and recognized as a Master Credentialed Collaborative Lawyer by Collaborative Divorce Texas.
Jack’s practice is entirely devoted to divorce, child custody, collaborative family law process and mediation.
Jack has discovered that his true calling is family law. Jack attributes his switch from civil trial practice to family law in part to his ability to understand the sense of loss and frustration that is an inevitable part of any divorce. Such an appreciation was distilled in Jack at age 6 when he contracted polio. In many cases, clients need and deserve the courtroom warrior that Jack is and can be. However, Jack believes that litigation should be a matter of last resort, especially for divorcing couples and their children who are caught up in the emotional underbrush of divorce. As a pioneer in Texas collaborative family law, he attributes the success of the collaborative resolution process to the fact that it provides the parties privacy, "therapeutic justice", and a way to work through their divorce together without the high level of stress and harm that is often caused by adversarial litigation. The collaborative law process provides a client-centered approach to the resolution of property and parenting issues. Jack finds that most couples prefer to resolve their own differences and not leave their fate or outcome to a judge, a jury, an arbitrator or the lawyers. Jack believes that all lawyers have a duty to explain the various resolution processes available to the client before the client selects the legal process to pursue.
The length, diversity and depth of Jack’s prior legal and litigation experience adds value to the services he renders in the family law arena. When clients are making the most important decisions at often the most difficult emotional and financial time in their lives, Jack can explain what the litigated results are likely be and assist the clients in evaluating and comparing those results to an out of court negotiated settlement. He has successfully assisted clients in matters involving property characterization, valuation and division of property, child support modification, modification of custody and parental rights, termination of parental rights, paternity, enforcement of court orders, premarital and post-marital agreements, adoptions, mediations, and collaborative law divorces with marital and separate property estates in the many millions of dollars.
Jack has tried cases in Harris, Galveston, Montgomery, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Angleton, and Bexar Counties. Jack's significant jury and non-jury trial work and over 100 successful collaborative law matters over the last 14 years includes representing entrepreneurs, empire builders, business owners, sports professionals, medical professionals and other attorneys.
Prior to focusing solely on family law, Jack’s extensive civil trial experience included trials in breach of contract, wrongful termination, recovery of real estate commission, wrongful death, personal injury, real property disputes between land owners, insurance claims, guardianship and will contests and infringement of patent rights. Because of such experience Jack has insight to protect and preserve a client’s property rights as many husbands and wives in divorce have property rights such as employment agreements, patent and copyrights, intellectual property in music, books, songs and software and hardware to name a few. Family law is often complex and involves insurance, estate and tax planning, business and real estate needs. At Gray Reed Jack has an array of fellow lawyers who are in house and readily available without the need of delay or expense of searching for other needed resources. That adds value to the services Jack renders.
- Winning a multi-week jury trial for a divorce client who founded a business serving over 300 disabled clients.
- Winning custody in a two-week jury trial for a client who was married to a minister.
- Serving as counsel for a husband in which the collaborative process was used to successfully negotiate a marital partition agreement dividing up the parties' estate valued in the many millions of dollars.
- Successfully using the collaborative process in a divorce case with allegations that the husband was addicted to internet pornography.
- Successfully defending a husband in a divorce from claims of wife that he had established an offshore trust for purposes of defrauding wife of her interest in property.
- Securing for a wife a favorable settlement in a divorce case where allegations were made that husband had placed the lion's share of marital assets in offshore locations.
- Successfully representing an NBA professional athlete in a contested divorce.
- Representing a successful physician in a divorce case using the collaborative law process with the assistance of an allied neutral financial advisor.
- Successfully representing a husband in a Bill of Review action against a divorce decree that had been rendered against him more than nine years previously.
- Successfully representing former wife using the Declaratory Judgment statute to assert jurisdictional claims in a post-divorce action tried to the court. The verdict in favor of wife was upheld on appeal. Monk v. Pomberg, 2007 S.W.3d (01-05-00429-CV), not yet published (CA, Houston - 1st).
- Selected by his peers for inclusion in Woodward/White, Inc.'s The Best Lawyers in America in the field of Family Law in 2018-2019.
- Named a "Divorce, Trusts & Estates Trailblazer" by the National Law Journal in 2017.
- Named a Houstonia Magazine Top Lawyer in Houston in 2016.
- On July 16, 2016 at the State Bar of Texas Annual Leadership Conference the Texas Access to Justice Commission presented its 2016 Pro Bono Service Award to the Collaborative Law Section of the State Bar of Texas and Collaborative Divorce Texas (formerly the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas). Receiving the award for Collaborative Divorce Texas was Camille Milner, its current President. Receiving the award for the Collaborative Law Section of the State Bar of Texas was Jack H. Emmott III, its former Chair.
- Named an H-Texas Top Lawyer in Houston in 2013-2016.
- In June of 2013, Jack was named Chair of the Collaborative Law Section of the State Bar of Texas.
- AV Preeminent® rated (the highest possible Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating designation) in 2016.
- In 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 Jack was named a Top Lawyer by H Texas Magazine for his contributions in the Family Law section.
- Received Texas Governor's Citation, The Governor's Council for Employment of the Handicapped, Governor Dolph Briscoe, 1974, award presented to M.I.G.H.T. (University of Texas organization of disabled students).
- In August of 1986, Jack was one of ten selected from 38,000 former patients of the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research to be the first group inducted into TIRR'S Portraits in Living.
- In October of 1986, Jack received an award for Meritorious Service from the Harris County Committee for Employment of the Handicapped.
- In March of 1993, Jack received the District Award of Merit from the Boy Scouts of America, Disabled Division.
Jack is a fourth-generation Houstonian whose familial mark can be seen throughout Houston. His great-grandmother, Catharine Mary Emmott, was nicknamed "The Mother of Memorial Park" because she was instrumental in the founding of Memorial Park to honor the soldiers of the Great War (WW1). Emmott Circle in Houston's Arboretum is named in honor of her. Jack's parents have been active for many years in Cy-Fair I.S.D. and a school, Jack and Lucile Emmott Elementary, is named in honor of them.
Publications & Speeches
- On December 13 2017, Jack's article "Your Dirty Laundry is Our Business" was published on the Collaborative Divorce Houston blog.
- On September 13, 2017, Jack presented "A Collaborative Lawyer’s Reflections on the Aftermath of Harvey, Polio from Floodwaters and Rotary’s Polio Plus Campaign" to the Rosenberg Rotary Club.
- On September 7, 2017, Jack presented "A Collaborative Lawyer’s Reflections on the Aftermath of Harvey, Polio from Floodwaters and Rotary’s Polio Plus Campaign" to the North Shore Rotary Club.
- On June 7, 2017, Jack presented "Rotary’s Polio Plus Campaign and the Collaborative Law Process: Therapeutic Healing for the World" to the Pasadena South Rotary Club.
- On April 7, 2017, Jack presented "Finding the Treasure in the Darkness" to the Oyster Creek Rotary Club.
- On April 4, 2017, Jack presented "The Intersection of Polio, The Polio Plus Campaign and Collaborative Divorce Law Practice" to the Magnolia Rotary Club.
- On March 21, 2017, Jack presented "CIntersection of Polio, The Polio Plus Campaign and Collaborative Divorce Law Practice" at the Highlands Rotary Club.
- On March 2, 2017, Jack presented "Collaborative Lessons from the Iron Lung" at the Tenth Annual Collaborative Law Conference hosted by the State Bar of Texas.
- On January 31, 2017, Jack presented "Nuts and Bolts of Collaborative Divorce" at the Houston Pro Bono Joint Initiative between Houston Pro Bono Network and In-House Counsel.
- Jack presented "An Introduction to Collaborative Law" to the Wharton County Bar Association on April 5, 2016.
- In 2016, Jack published Prayerful Passages: Asking for God's Help in Reconciliation, Separation and Divorce (Bending Angel Publications).
- On April 7, 2009, Jack presented "Collaborative Law, Therapeutic Justice for the Professional Athlete," at the University of Houston Law Center, Randall Hendrick's Heritage Room, Houston, Texas.
- On March 25, 2009, Jack presented "Contrasting Adversarial Divorce with Collaborative Divorce," at the 2009 Boot Camp at the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas Spring Retreat, Fort Worth, Texas.
- On January 27, 2009, Jack was a panelist at a presentation of the Houston Bar Association Entertainment & Sports Law Section along with N. D. Kalu, a former NFL Player, and J. D. "Bucky" Allshouse. The panelists spoke on "Representing Sports Professionals in Family Law Matters".
- On January 24, 2009, Jack presented "Contrasting Collaborative Divorce with Divorce Litigation" at Leisure Learning, Houston, Texas.
- On May 16, 2007, Jack co-presented a presentation entitled, "Dialogue with Family Law Attorneys, Financial Advisors and other Professionals: When to Refer to a Parenting Coordinator and What to Expect," at Christ Church Cathedral, which was sponsored by the Alliance of Collaborative Family Law Attorneys.
- On November 10, 2006, in Houston, and on November 17, 2006, in Dallas, Jack presented "Collaborative Law: How to Do It so It Works" for the University of Houston Law Foundation, Family Law Practice Seminar.
- On September 23, 2006, Jack was a panelist and co-presented with Roger Brooks, Strategic Investment Management, and Willie Miles, Miles Wealth Management, a presentation entitled, "Representing Sports Professionals in Family Law Matters and Investments," at the 2006 Sports Law Conference sponsored by Texas Southern University, Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Sports and Entertainment Law Society.
- On November 8, 2005, Jack participated in an interactive panel discussion along with Steve Bavousett and Barbara Runge entitled "Avoiding Impasse in Mediation and Collaborative Law" at a meeting of the ADR Section of the Houston Bar Association.
- On June 18, 2005, Jack co-presented with Larry Cook, CPA, a speech entitled, "The Rules Have Changed-Litigation vs. Collaboration," at the Fifth Annual National Convention of the National Institute of Sports at the Marriott Riverwalk, San Antonio, Texas.
- On March 16, 2005, Jack participated in a role play presentation entitled, "The Attorney's Initial Consultation With Potential Collaborative Divorce Client," at a meeting of The Alliance of Collaborative Family Law Attorneys.
- On October 15, 2004, Jack was Chair of "Collaborative Training for Financial Advisors," a workshop presented by Chip Rose, J.D., and Larry R. Cook, CPA, in Houston, Texas. The workshop was sponsored by The Alliance of Collaborative Family Law Attorneys.
- On July 23, 2004, Jack was Chair of "Training Your In-House Collaborative Team," a workshop presented by Janet Brumley in Houston, Texas. The workshop was sponsored by The Alliance of Collaborative Family Law Attorneys.
- On September 14, 2004, Jack was moderator of a panel discussion on the collaborative law process at a nationwide seminar presented by the Financial Consulting Group in Houston, Texas.
- On January 16, 2004, Jack delivered an inspirational collaborative law process speech entitled, "Cheryl Hagler, The Girl On The Sixth Row Of Bubba Wilborn's Bus," at the Texas Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Convention.
- On January 16, 2004, Jack delivered an inspirational collaborative law process speech entitled, "Cheryl agler, The Girl On The Sixth Row Of Bubba Wilborn's Bus," at the Texas Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Convention.
- On January 16, 2004, Jack was a Co-Presenter of "The Attorney's Perspective On Collaborative Law Process," at the Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Convention, Adams Mark Hotel, Houston, Texas.
- On January 13, 2004, Jack delivered a speech entitled, "Divorce with Dignity-The Collaborative Model," at the Houston Association of EAPA.
- On November 13, 2003, Jack delivered a speech entitled, "Lessons Mediators Could Learn From Old Donk," at the Family Law Mediation Training Institute at South Texas College of Law. He was also the presenter of the 2003 Frank G. Evans Mediator of the Year Award at that event.
- On August 23, 2002, Jack delivered a speech entitled, "Uncivil Marriage, Civilized Divorce," at the Anger In August 2002 seminar hosted by The Center for Anger Resolution.
- Jack was Chair of "Collaborative Training for Mental Healthcare Professionals," a workshop presented by Chip Rose, J.D., in Houston, Texas, on December 11, 2002. The workshop was sponsored by The Alliance of Collaborative Family Law Attorneys and the Houston Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
- On November 1, 2001, Jack moderated a panel discussion entitled, "When Collaboration Ends And Litigation Begins," dealing with evidentiary issues in a collaborative law case, at the Gulf Coast Family Law Specialists Monthly Meeting.
- On September 13, 2001, Jack delivered a speech entitled, "Collaborative Divorce," at the National Association of Social Workers/Texas Chapter.
- In September of 2001, Jack delivered a speech entitled, "Saying Goodbye The Collaborative Way," at the quarterly meeting of the Houston Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (HAMFT).
- Jack authored an article entitled, "Collaborative Divorce," which appeared in the August 2001 issue of the Houston Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Monthly Newsletter.
- On November 6, 1999, Jack delivered the keynote speech at the 15th Anniversary Celebration of the Texas Polio Survivors' Association (TPSA).
- Jack was Master of Ceremonies at the 20th Annual Awards Luncheon of the Houston Mayor's Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities on October 27, 1995. At this event, NBA Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes, "The Big E," was the featured speaker.
- Jack was Master of Ceremonies at the 19th Annual Awards Luncheon of the Houston Mayor's Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities on October 20, 1994. At this event, attended by over 600 guests, former United States President George Herbert Walker Bush presented the first Bush Award to United States Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa for his involvement in the authorship of the Americans with Disability Act.
- In October of 1997, Jack delivered a speech entitled, "Mediation as a Calling: My Wounds Are My Eyes" at the Third Annual Family Law Mediation Training Seminar at South Texas College of Law, which was sponsored by The Center for Legal Responsibility. This event was attended by attorneys, judges, mediators and law students.
- In August of 1995, Jack delivered a speech entitled, "Divorce: Out of the Underbrush of a Broken Relationship, You Can Be an Instrument of Hope, Growth and Even Healing" at the 1995 Family Law Mediation Training Seminar at South Texas College of Law, which was sponsored by The Center for Legal Responsibility. This event was attended by attorneys, judges, mediators and law students.
- Jack was a host of "Focus on Abilities" for the Houston Mayor's Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities which appeared on the Municipal Channel during 1992-1993. This television program received the coveted Martha Arbuckle Award from the Governor of Texas Committee for Employment of Persons with Disabilities in October of 1993 for the best educational program on disabilities.
- Jack was Master of Ceremonies at the presentation of Outstanding Judge of the Year 1989 to The Honorable Alice Oliver Trevathan, Judge, 151st Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas, by the Texas Association of Civil Trial Law Specialists, Houston Chapter.
- In December of 1987, Jack delivered a speech entitled "Pitfalls in the Courtroom Presentation of a Closed Head Injury Case," to a five-state seminar for attorneys on brain injury litigation (in Atlanta, Georgia).
- Jack has appeared on Channel 2, Channel 8, Channel 11, Channel 13, Channel 20, Channel 26, Channel 39, CNN National Network News, ABC Nightline with Ted Koppel, Public Access Television and FM 104. He has spoken on a broad range of topics including the rights of the disabled, the effects and after-effects of polio, architectural accessibility, mobility awareness, the Americans with Disabilities Act, family law, the collaborative law process, guardianships, probate matters, and employment of the disabled.
Professional Activities, Memberships & Affiliations
- Board Certified in Family Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, 1982
- Board Certified in Civil Trial Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, 1983
- State Bar of Texas, Collaborative Law Section
- Elected Council Member, 2016
- Chair, 2013 - 2014
- Chair-Elect, 2012 - 2013
- Officer to the Executive Counsel, 2011 - 2012
- Collaborative Divorce Texas (Collaborative Law Institute of Texas), board member 2014 – 2017
- Recognized as a Master Credentialed Collaborative Professional, 2017
- Gulf Coast Collaborative Law Professionals (Collaborative Divorce Houston), president-elect, 2016 - 2017
- Access to Collaboration Task Force of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, 2015
- Collaborative Law Institute of Texas, drafting committee member, 2014
- Gulf Coast Family Law Specialists, member, past president, treasurer, director
- Association of Board Certified Civil Trial Law Specialists - Houston Chapter, past president, treasurer, director
- State Bar of Texas (Section Member: Family Law, Entertainment & Sports Law, Litigation, and Real Estate, Probate & Trust Law)
- College of the State Bar of Texas, 1989 - present
- Texas Academy Family Law Specialist
- Alliance of Collaborative Family Law Attorneys and Allied Professionals, co-founder, past director and past president
- Collaborative Family Lawyers of Houston
- National Institute of Sports Professionals, past member
- Houston Bar Association, Entertainment and Sports Law Section, past chair
- Houston Bar Association, Collaborative Law Section, past chair
- Houston Bar Association, Judicare Committee (currently known as Elder Law Committee), past chair
- Houston Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
- Texas Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
- Phi Delta Phi, Legal Honorary Society
- Family Law Council, South Texas College of Law Center for Legal Responsibility, past member
- Institute for Responsible Dispute Resolution (charter member)
- International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, member, 2002 - present
Community Involvement, Memberships & Affiliations
- M.I.G.H.T. (Mobility Impaired Grappling Hurdles Together), University of Texas Student Organization
- Architectural Barriers Chairman, 1972 - 1973
- President, 1973 - 1974
- Former Chairman and Member of the Board, Coalition for Barrier Free Living (CBFL) and Houston Center for Independent Living (HCIL)
- Chairperson, Architectural Access Committee, Greater Houston Observance of the International Year of Disabled Persons, 1981
- Rotary International, River Oaks Chapter, 1989 - 1994
- Rotary International, Cypress-Fairbanks Chapter, 1984 - 1988
- Program Director, 1985 - 1986
- Vocational Affairs Director, 1986 - 1987
- Board Member, Children's Resource Information Center (CRIS), 1984
- Homes of St. Mark Adoption Agency
- Board Member, 1983 - 1990
- Executive Committee & Chairperson Legal Affairs Committee, 1985 - 1986
- Vice-President, Board of Directors, 1987 - 1988
- Past Advisory Board Member, Caring Choices, Inc., a Non-Profit Licensed Adoption Agency
- Past Legal Advisor, Auxiliary to Houston School for Deaf Children, 1985 - 1989
- Legal Advisor, Houston Center for Independent Living
- Past Volunteer, The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (T.I.R.R.)
- St. Francis Episcopal Church
- Vestryman, 1988 - 1991
- Chairman, Parish Life Committee, 1991
- Deputy clerk, 1989 - 1990
- Former Sunday School Teacher, sixth grade, senior high school and junior high school
- Co-Chairman of St. Francis Day Weekend, 1989
- Chairman of St. Francis Day Weekend, 1990
- Chancellor, 1992 - 1998
- Episcopal Diocese of Texas
- Chairman, Forum on Disabilities, 1997 - 1998
- Boy Scouts of America, Sam Houston Council
- Vice Chair, Financial and Administrative, 1991
- Chair, Disabled Division, 1992
- Chair, Friends of Scouting 1993
- Advisory Board Member, 1994 - 1996
- Houston Mayor's Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities
- Chair, Scholarship Committee 1992
- Vice Chair, Mayor's Committee 1993
- Chair, Mayor's Committee 1994
- Chair, Mayor's Committee 1995
- Medical Rehabilitation Education Foundation (MREF)
- Houston Executive Council Member of Kaleidoscope - America's Disability Channel (KTV), 1994 - 1995
- City of Houston Commission on Disabilities
- Commissioner, 2006 - 2007