Judge Robert A. Eckels
Of Counsel

Sometimes solutions for our clients mean litigation, sometimes negotiation, but always it is best to avoid problems in the first place. I like to keep clients out of trouble with a clear understanding of the challenges they face, proper planning and procedures to insure compliance.

Judge Robert Eckels' legal practice at Gray Reed is built on a diverse background of business and government service. In a decades-long career in public service and leadership of the nation's third largest county, Robert earned recognition as a national leader in issues of transportation, public finance/public private partnerships, crisis management and disaster response and recovery, homeland security, the environment and health care.

As County Judge of Harris County, Robert partnered with TxDoT and local jurisdictions to build the Houston Transtar Transportation and Emergency Operations Center, a global model of interagency partnerships for transportation operations and sustained training and planning for homeland security and disaster mitigation, response and recovery. He was president of the County Executives of America and on the board of the National Association of Counties (NACo) where he chaired the Energy, Environment & Land Use Committee and the Taxation and Finance Committee. In Texas, he served as President of the Texas County Judges & Commissioners Association and on the board of the Texas Association of Counties. He served on advisory committees to President Bush (43) and the US Department of Homeland Security.

Judge Eckels received international recognition when Harris County responded to Hurricane Katrina and the floods, wind and storm surge that led to massive destruction and loss of life in New Orleans and the US Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Alabama. The Harris County Astrodome and Reliant Park became the largest shelter operation in US history as more than 250,000 residents of storm-ravaged areas fled to the Houston region.

Robert is one of the founders and a director at Texas Central Railway, LLC, a private enterprise seeking to build a high-speed rail system linking Houston with Dallas/Fort Worth. He has served on the boards of both publicly-traded and private companies and is a Board Leadership Fellow of the National Association of Corporate Directors.

Judge Eckels served six terms in the state legislature before being elected county judge - a role with executive, legislative and judicial functions - for Harris County, which is home to 4 million residents

Representative Experience
  • Assisted foreign nationals creating US based company to export US environmental remediation technology and build FCPA compliance program
  • Assisted international partnership in preparation of bid documents for copper mine and FCPA compliance
  • Assisted US Real Estate Development Company in negotiations for tax treatment by local governments
  • Advised US Petrochemical Company on tax abatements in SE Texas
  • Assisted US based FPSO shipbuilding project with foreign permitting issues
  • Presentations in US and UK on Public Private Partnerships
Thought Leadership / News
Organizational Involvement

Professional Activities, Memberships & Affiliations

  • State Bar of Texas
  • College of the State Bar of Texas
  • Houston Bar Association
  • State Bar of New York
  • New York City Bar Association
  • DC Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • National Association of Bond Lawyers
  • Republican National Lawyers Association
  • National Association of Corporate Directors - Board Leadership Fellow

Community Involvement, Memberships & Affiliations

  • Texas County and District Retirement System - Chairman
  • Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District - President
  • K9s4Cops, Inc. - Board of Directors
  • Do the Write Thing Texas, Inc. - Chairman of the Board
  • South Texas College of Law Houston - Board of Directors
  • Rotary Club of Houston - Board of Directors
  • Lombardi Foundation, Inc. - Board of Directors
  • J.D., South Texas College of Law Houston (1993)
  • B.S., University of Houston (1980)
Bar Admissions
  • Texas
  • District of Columbia
  • New York
  • Colorado
Court Admission
  • United States Supreme Court