Recognized as one of the top 100 lawyers in Texas and as one of the top appellate lawyers in the state by Texas Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters), Mark Trachtenberg represents major companies in high-stakes appeals. He is ranked in Chambers USA, 2019-2021 (Chambers and Partners) for appellate law in Texas, which notes his “excellent ability to see the broad picture and evaluate appellate issues before they even arise at the trial stage” and describes him as “very responsive, a superlative writer, and a good ideas person.”
Mark’s accomplishments for clients include:
- Obtaining reversal in the Texas Supreme Court of a $22 million tortious interference and trade secret misappropriation judgment
- Obtaining a summary judgment in a False Claims Act case in which the plaintiffs had sought billions in damages against a major oil company, and successfully defending the appeal of the take-nothing judgment in the Fifth Circuit
- Successfully defending a Fifth Circuit appeal of a $3.6 billion bankruptcy plan of reorganization
- Obtaining a reversal in the Texas Supreme Court of a $14 million products liability judgment
- Prevailing on a special appearance that shielded the firm’s Singaporean client from a potential $500 million judgment
A highlight of Mark’s career has been his work on behalf of Texas public schools, an opportunity that arose from a law review article he authored on the history of Texas’s school finance litigation while at Yale Law School. Mark played a lead role in a lawsuit that resulted in an infusion of more than $2 billion for public schools in Texas. He later served as lead counsel at trial and on appeal for a coalition of 88 school districts in a second lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s school finance system.
Mark is a member of the American Law Institute, recently served as the chair of the Houston Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Section, and is on the board of directors of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society. Mark is also dedicated to his community, serving as the chair of the Southwest Region of the Anti-Defamation League and on the Education Policy Committee of the United Way of Greater Houston.
Mark writes and speaks prolifically on a variety of topics, with a recent focus on arbitration issues, brief writing, and Fifth Circuit and Texas Supreme Court trends. He is board certified in civil appellate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
- Past Chair, Appellate Subcommittee of the Business and Corporate Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association's Business Law Section
- Past Chair of the Appellate Practice Section of the Houston Bar Association
- Member, Executive Committee of the Yale Law School Association, 2015-2017
- Member, American Law Institute (ALI)
- Board member, Houston Volunteer Lawyers, 2017-2018
- Board member, Texas Supreme Court Historical Society
- Board member, The Houston Lawyer editorial board, 2005-2011
- Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
- Member, Education Council, United Way of Greater Houston
- Frequent speaker at State Bar and Houston Bar Association Continuing Legal Education programs, on a variety of topics, including arbitration-related litigation, the Texas Supreme Court, school finance litigation, and oil and gas law
- Chair, Anti-Defamation League, Southwest Region
- Special Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, Texas Commission for Lawyer Discipline
- Chambers USA, Chambers and Partners, Litigation: Appellate, Texas, 2019-2021
- Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America, Woodward/White, Inc., for Appellate and Commercial Litigation, 2016-2022
- Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization
- Recognized as one of the top 100 lawyers in Texas by Texas Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2020
- Recognized as one of the top 100 lawyers in Houston by Texas Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2016-2020
- Selected for inclusion in Texas Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2013-2020
- Selected for inclusion in Texas Super Lawyers - Rising Stars Edition, Thomson Reuters, 2004-2013
- Named a Future Star in Benchmark Litigation, Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC, 2013-2020
- Profiled in cover article of 2010 Texas Super Lawyers magazine - Rising Stars Edition, Thomson Reuters, 2010
- Justice Rebeca Huddle & Mark Trachtenberg, Texas Supreme Court Update, State Bar of Texas 35th Annual Advanced Civil Appellate Course, Dec. 2, 2021. [Presentation Slides]
- “Arbitration-Related Litigation in Texas,” co-author and presenter, State Bar of Texas, 13th Annual Advanced Business Disputes Course, August 2021. [Presentation Slides]
- “Arbitration for Appellate Lawyers,” co-author and presenter, Houston Bar Association, Appellate Practice Section, May 13, 2021.
- "Briefing Beyond Words: How to use Visuals to Enhance your Written Advocacy and Transform your Briefs," presenter, UT CLE’s 30th Annual Conference on State and Federal Appeals, Austin, TX, June 4, 2020. [Presentation Slides]
- "Appellate Year-in-Review: The Fifth Circuit and SCOTX," co-author, Texas Lawbook, December 26, 2019.
- “Arbitration-Related Litigation,” co-author, TexasBAR CLE’s Business Disputes Course, September 2019.
- “Arbitration-Related Litigation in Texas,” co-author and presenter, TexasBarCLE's 10th Annual Business Disputes Course, Austin, Texas, September 26, 2018. View the presentation and paper.
- “Fifth Circuit Update,” speaker, TexasBarCLE’s 32nd Annual Course: Advanced Civil Appellate Practice, Austin, Texas, September 6, 2018.
- “Preservation of Error,” speaker, TexasBarCLE’s 41st Annual Course: Advanced Civil Trial, Dallas, Texas, August 23, 2018.
- “Strategies for Preparing the Respondent's Brief on the Merits in the Texas Surpreme Court,” presentation at the State Bar of Texas’ Practice Before the Texas Surpreme Court course, Austin, Texas, April 28, 2017.
- “Effective Use of Technology on Appeal,” presentation at the American Bar Association Business Law Section’s Spring Meeting, April 7, 2017.
- “Preservation of Error,” presentation to the State Bar of Texas, 6th Annual Advanced Trial Strategies Course, New Orleans, Louisiana, February 10, 2017.
- "Arbitration-Related Litigation in Texas," presentation to the State Bar of Texas, 30th Annual Advanced Civil Appellate Practice, September 8-9, 2016.
- "Texas Supreme Court Update: Focus on Business, Energy and Interesting Cases," presentation to the Association of Corporate Counsel Houston, April 22, 2016.
- "Recent Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation Chapter 2: Appellate Practice," co-author, American Bar Association, June 2016.
J.D., Yale Law School, 1998, Editor, Yale Law Journal
B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1994, summa cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa
Law Clerk, the Honorable Lee H. Rosenthal, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Texas (1998-99)
United States Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas
Persuaded the court of appeals to vacate a $7 million arbitration award on the basis of evident partiality.
Persuaded the Austin Court of Appeals to reverse the trial court’s orders dismissing Travis Central Appraisal District’s lawsuit on pleas to the jurisdiction. As a result, TCAD may proceed with its challenge to the Appraisal Review Board’s $20 million reduction to TCAD’s appraisal of a major commerc [...]
Persuaded the Texas Supreme Court to grant mandamus relief enabling the client to obtain discovery from third-party medical providers regarding amounts and rates paid or incurred by patients who were similarly-situated to plaintiffs. This discovery was sought in connection with client's defense agai [...]
Persuaded Fifth Circuit to affirm a take-nothing summary judgment in favor of fracking engine manufacturer in products liability action seeking $15 million in damages arising from fire at a wellsite.
Represented in the trial court and Fifth Circuit a partner at a major law firm who had rendered an arbitration award that was later vacated by the district court, based on allegations that had acted improperly in agreeing to serve as an arbitrator. Our client sought to intervene in the lawsuit to ad [...]
Persuaded the Texas Supreme Court to vacate a $16.5 million judgment and deny injunctive relief in a highly contentious trade secret dispute. The suit was filed after the assets of a partnership, EMC Products, LP, were sold to our client VHSC in a foreclosure sale. Following the foreclosure, EMC Pr [...]
Successfully defended Tokai Carbon, Ltd. against one of its principal competitors, Orion Engineered Carbons, LLC, defeating a request for a temporary injunction that could have negatively impacted Tokai’s business. Following a full-day hearing and a post-hearing briefing, a Harris County court found [...]
Represented client injured on the job in a unique "appellate arbitration" proceeding arising from a $15 million arbitration award in our client's favor. After the defendant-employer appealed the initial award to a second arbitrator (per the parties' arbitration agreement), Haynes and Boone briefed [...]
In this ERISA stock drop case, persuaded the district court to dismiss the plaintiffs' second amended class action complaint for failure to state a claim under the Supreme Court's heightened pleading standard for ERISA breach of fiduciary actions.
Obtained multi-million dollar settlement of client's indemnity claims against primary and excess insurers arising out of personal injury settlements paid out by our client. Our client's hand was significantly strengthened by obtaining the dismissal of the insurers' declaratory judgment claims for la [...]
Haynes and Boone, LLP had another impressive showing in The Best Lawyers in America directory published by Woodward/White, Inc., with a cross section of lawyers from offices across the country recognized in the 2022 edition. The guide includes more than 100 firm lawyers from the Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Costa Mesa, Dallas, Dallas-North, Denver, Fort Worth, Houston, New York, Palo Alto, San Anto [...]