Education and Clerkships

J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1994, Editor, University of Pennsylvania Law Review

B.S.E., Mechanical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, 1991

  • Honorable Clifford Scott Green, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1994-1995

Bar Admissions





Debra Gatison Hatter has negotiated and closed numerous transactions in the course of her 20 year career. Her clients appreciate her practical, results-focused advice. Debra concentrates her practice on corporate finance, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, strategic partnerships, financings, corporate governance, structuring and general business matters. Debra has experience in a range of industries in the U.S. and internationally including, energy, technology, telecommunications, waste management and industrial services. Among the clients she represents are private equity funds, public companies and privately held businesses.

Debra’s broad experience includes representing investors and sellers of businesses with a significant focus on technology assets as well as the organization of joint ventures and other strategic partnering arrangements and joint development agreements, including the governance aspects of these transactions. Additionally, Debra counsels clients on premerger regulatory compliance and filings under the competition laws (HSR Act) in U.S. based and cross-border transactions.

Debra is a frequent speaker and author on business law topics including a publication on social media law. As an active member of the bar and community, Debra co-founded and chaired the Houston Bar Association’s Mergers and Acquisitions Section, and now serves on the boards of Youth About Business and Houston Penn Law Alumni Club.

Professional Recognition

  • Honored as a "Top 25 Business Woman in Houston" by The National Women's Council, November 2014
  • Honored as a "Role Model" by Women's Chamber of Commerce - Houston, September 2013
  • Selected for inclusion in Texas Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2010
  • Executive Volunteer of the Year Award - Youth About Business M&A Camp, 2009

Selected Client Representations

  • Representing private equity fund co-sponsor in its initial leveraged buyout and purchase transaction and subsequent recapitalization of a decorative pillows and window coverings designer and manufacturer.
  • Representing Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. in its acquisition of an oil well data testing and analysis services company.
  • Representing public international full service restaurant chain in acquisition of minority interest in Korean restaurants.
  • Representing public international telecommunications company in acquisitions of FCC wireless spectrum licenses from private sellers in markets across the nation.
  • Representing public international telecommunications company in warrant investments in connection with strategic transactions.
  • Representing Waste Management, Inc., in a strategic equity investment in Peninsula Compost Company, LLC, which operates a composting facility in Wilmington, Delaware.
  • Representing Waste Management, Inc., in a majority equity investment in Garick, LLC which operates an organics recycling and composting company.
  • Representing Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. in its acquisition of an oilfield wireline services and equipment rental company.
  • Representing Geokinetics, Inc. in its purchase of onshore seismic and multi-client library business of Petroleum Geo-Services Onshore, Inc.
  • Representing Waste Management and its subsidiaries in a roll-up transaction by its contribution of assets and properties of two joint ventures to 1-800-Pack-Rat, LLC. Waste Management led the negotiations as a result of receiving a majority equity interest in 1-800-Pack-Rat, LLC along with board control. The transaction included the simultaneous contribution of assets and properties in exchange for equity by six other joint venture partners and franchisees to 1-800-Pack-Rat, LLC.
  • Representing bondholders of national restaurant chain in corporate restructuring.
  • Representing seller of multi-unit developer of retail mattress chain to pre-IPO private equity fund portfolio company in reorganization and merger and creation of new entity.

Professional and Community Activities

  • Director, Julia F. Thompson, Inc.
  • Former Director, Houston Area Urban League
  • Co-Founder and Past Chair, Houston Bar Association, Mergers and Acquisitions Section
  • Advisory Board, Youth About Business
  • Affiliate Member, National Association of Investment Companies
  • Member, Women's Energy Network Houston
  • Member, National Bar Association
  • Member, American Bar Association

News and Publications

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