William "Bill" Drabble

I thrive on answering the tough legal questions raised in commercial litigation. A thorough approach is key to success at trial and on appeal. I give each client a direct and unvarnished assessment of the strengths, weakness and likely outcomes of the case so we can seize opportunities, avoid surprises and develop the best strategy to reach a favorable result.

Bill Drabble focuses his practice on appellate advocacy and complex commercial litigation. Known for his keen business sense, clear writing, and compelling oral advocacy, he has briefed, argued, and won cases in the Texas Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fifth and Tenth Circuits, and Texas’s intermediate courts of appeals. Bill also helps position cases for success before and at trial through strategic analysis, drafting and responding to dispositive and post-judgment motions, and serving as embedded appellate counsel at trial.

But Bill’s practice is not limited to appeals. He has extensive experience in the trial courtroom, representing property owners, landlords, tenants and developers in real estate litigation, including disputes over land sales, breaches of lease agreements, premises-liability claims, and other disputes involving commercial and residential properties. He also handles a wide variety of intra-company disputes, such as prosecuting and defending claims for breaches of shareholder or company agreements, breach of fiduciary duty claims against directors and officers, and contests for control over the company.

After graduating first in his class from the Baylor University School of Law, Bill served a two-year clerkship for Judge Walter S. Smith, Jr. in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, where he gained significant experience in multiple areas of federal practice and a behind-the-scenes perspective of the judicial decision-making process. While clerking, Bill also served as an adjunct law professor at Baylor University and coached three moot-court teams.

Representative Experience

Representative Appellate Experience

  • Houston AN USA, LLC v. Shattenkirk, 669 S.W.3d 392 (Tex. 2023) – Bill represented an automobile dealer seeking to compel arbitration of a former employee’s discrimination and retaliation claims. The supreme court held that the employee failed to show that the arbitration agreement was unconscionable.
  • DeLong Co. v. Syngenta AG, No. 21-3044, 2022 WL 1510596 (10th Cir. May 13, 2022) – Bill successfully argued that a fact issue existed on a statute-of-limitations defense and that the district court had erred in rendering summary judgment against Gray Reed’s client.
  • In re PFO Global, Inc., 26 F. 4th 245 (5th Cir. 2022) – Bill successfully defended the bankruptcy court’s orders prohibiting a non-debtor from asserting claims against Gray Reed’s clients and holding that non-debtor in contempt for violating that order.
  • Ravago Ams., LLC v. VInmar Int’l, Ltd., 832 F. App’x 249 (5th Cir. 2020) – Bill represented an employer in an appeal from an order holding a former employee in contempt for violating a preliminary injunction. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s contempt finding.
  • Jani-King Franchising, Inc. v. Jani-King (GB), Ltd., 738 F. App’x 262 (5th Cir. 2018) (per curiam) – Bill successfully represented a franchisor in a suit against its former franchisee in the British Isles and the franchisee’s principal, which resulted in a $3.15 million judgment in the franchisor’s favor. The Fifth Circuit affirmed on appeal.

Representative Trial Experience

  • Successfully represented a national truck leasing and management company in a breach-of-contract lawsuit against one of its lessees. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas granted truck lessor’s motion for summary judgment on lessee’s fraudulent-inducement counterclaim. And, after a one-week bench trial, the court ruled that lessee materially breached the contract and rendered a judgment for the lessor of $3.1 million.
  • Assisted with the successful arbitration on behalf of a tenant in a rental rate dispute with the landlord resulting in the return of overpaid rent and $4 million in savings over the life of the lease.
  • Successfully represented a telecommunications company in a lawsuit against the manager of its cell towers for breach-of-contract, fraudulent inducement, and civil theft. After a one-week bench trial, the court rendered a $2.1 million judgment in favor of the telecommunications company.
  • Successfully defended a seller of a business on claims brought by the buyer for breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, and tortious interference with prospective business relationships. The trial court rendered summary judgment on all of the buyer’s claims.
  • Obtained a temporary restraining order to prevent the winding up of a limited partnership and the dissolution of its corporate general partnership.
Thought Leadership / News
December 10, 2022 
 In the News

Texas Lawyer (subscription required)

November 9, 2021 
 Speeches and Presentations
Supreme Court’s 2020 Term in Review

Houston Real Estate Lawyers’ Council 

  • Named a Rising Star by Texas Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters company) as published in Texas Monthly and Texas Super Lawyers magazines (2019 - 2020)
Related Employment
  • Adjunct Professor, Baylor Law School, Waco, Texas (2010 - 2012)
    • Moot-court Coach
Organizational Involvement
  • Dallas Bar Association
  • Fifth Circuit Bar Association
  • Federalist Society
  • J.D., summa cum laude, Baylor University School of Law (2010)
  • B.A., summa cum laude, Political Science, Texas Tech University (2007)
Bar Admission
  • Texas (2010)
Court Admissions
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • United States District Court, Western District of Texas
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Texas
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas
  • United States District Court, Southern District of Texas
When I Feel Most At Home
  • Attempting to golf
  • Attending the symphony
  • Reading history books - gravitate toward late Roman Republic and early Roman Empire, American Revolutionary War, and British history since 1783