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Texas Lawyer Professional Excellence Awards Recognize Marie Yeates for Lifetime Achievement

Marie Yeates

Texas Lawyer has recognized Vinson & Elkins partner Marie Yeates with a Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring her lasting imprint on the Texas legal community.

Marie Yeates

Yeates serves as co-head of V&E’s Appellate practice and is one of the country’s leading appellate lawyers. Over the course of a nearly four-decade-long career at V&E, Yeates has presented more than 130 appellate oral arguments in federal and state appellate courts across the country and has argued dozens of cases in the Texas Supreme Court.

Spanning Yeates’ career are landmark cases which represent victories not only for her clients, but for the energy industry at large.

As a young partner at V&E in 1994, Yeates was tasked with handling the appeal after a Texas jury decided that an affiliate of Unocal, then a prominent oil company, had committed fraud in a dispute involving the ownership of mineral rights in Louisiana. Thanks to her efforts, the Texas Court of Appeals in Beaumont handed Unocal a complete victory, reversing the $80 million judgment and rendering judgment in favor of the Unocal affiliate.

At the time, V&E had only recently launched its appellate practice, among the first big law firms in the country to do so, and Yeates was called upon to lead the practice.

More recently, Yeates obtained reversal in the Texas Supreme Court of an intermediate appellate court ruling that had denied Anadarko Petroleum Corp.’s claim against Lloyd’s of London for Anadarko’s multimillion-dollar defense costs arising out of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident. The decision has far-reaching effects on interpretation of insurance policies and statutes that base consequences on what liability is insured in a liability policy.

Yeates served for 13 years on V&E’s Management Committee and as the Managing Partner of the firm’s Houston office from 2007 to 2014. A graduate of Louisiana State University School of Law where she was first in her class, and admitted to the Louisiana Bar in 1980, Yeates also has significant experience arguing appeals in Louisiana courts.

Before entering private practice, Yeates served as a judicial clerk to The Honorable Alvin B. Rubin in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. She has been a fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers since its inception in 1997.

Yeates was recognized in a virtual awards ceremony hosted by Texas Lawyer on September 17, 2020.

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