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Quentin L. Smith
Quentin L. Smith
Partner — Commercial & Business Litigation
Partner — Commercial & Business Litigation

Quentin L. Smith

Quentin L. Smith

1001 Fannin Street
Suite 2500
Houston, TX 77002

Quentin L. Smith

Quentin is a commercial litigator who focuses on business, petrochemical, and energy disputes.

He represents clients in a wide array of disputes, including complex contract disputes, shareholder disputes, disputes arising out of fiduciary duties, property tax valuations, and condemnation actions. Quentin is a versatile advocate, having represented clients in various forums: state court, federal court, domestic arbitration, and international arbitration. He has shown a keen ability to adapt to his audience, whether it be a judge, jury, or an arbitrator.

Quentin has developed unique experience with Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), having litigated and advised clients on various UCC Article 2 matters.

Quentin is a Fellow of both the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) and Texas Bar Foundation. He also serves as General Counsel for the Theatre Under the Stars and as a Trustee for the Houston Symphony. At Vinson & Elkins, Quentin serves as a Houston Office Lead on the Diversity Council and as member of Houston Recruiting Committee.

Experience Highlights

  • (La. Dist. – Orleans Parish) — Representing a major petrochemical company in a breach of contract dispute with its raw materials supplier

  • (S.D. Tex.) — Representing a publicly traded consumer goods and farm products company in a breach of contract dispute with an international distributor

  • (Tex. Dist. – Harris Cnty.) — Representing commercial property owners in property tax litigation

  • (Tex. Dist. – Harris Cnty.) — Representing a civil contractor in a theft of trade secrets dispute

  • (S.D. Tex.) — As counter-plaintiff’s counsel, represented an aviation company in a suit brought by its former maintenance service provider in a breach of contract case; in a bench trial, successfully defeated plaintiffs’ claims and prevailed on a counterclaim, winning a million dollars (net) on the counterclaim

  • (Tex. Dist. – Harris Cnty.) — As plaintiff’s counsel for a major petrochemical company, won partial summary judgment on contractual interpretation issues under the Texas UCC and won a plaintiff’s verdict as second chair lawyer in a three-week jury trial

  • (Tex. Dist. – Harris Cnty.) — As plaintiff’s counsel, represented various commercial property owners in property tax litigation, obtaining millions of dollars in refunds

  • (Tex. Dist. – Harris Cnty.) — As lead plaintiff’s counsel, prosecuted a breach of contract claim for failure to pay for services on various construction projects that led to a favorable settlement for a construction company client

  • (S.D. Tex.) — As plaintiff’s counsel, prosecuted breach of warranty claims under Article 2 of the Texas UCC concerning the failure of a warranted good that led to a favorable settlement for the client

  • (International Centre for Dispute Resolution [ICDR]) — As respondent’s counsel, represented a major oil and gas company in a breach of contract arbitration arising from oil and gas interest in Papua New Guinea

  • (International Chamber of Commerce [ICC]) — Represented an international drilling company in a multi-million dollar dispute involving claims for breach of contract and breach of warranty related to drilling rigs in an arbitration; the arbitration team’s filings caused the opposing party to file for bankruptcy on the eve of the tribunal hearing and drop its claims against our client

  • (International Chamber of Commerce [ICC]) — Represented an international oil and gas company as the claimant in a breach of contract case involving oil and gas interests in Argentina; helped to guide the client to a favorable confidential settlement

  • (International Chamber of Commerce [ICC]) — Represented an international construction company in a breach of contract case involving a services contract stemming from a multi-billion-dollar construction project in Qatar; obtained a favorable settlement for the client

  • Tex. Dist. – Harris Cnty.) — Obtained settlement where client received exact dollar amount of requested relief after we drafted and filed a Rule 91a motion to dismiss the opposing party’s counterclaim

  • (Tex. Dist. − Harris Cnty.) — Argued and prevailed on a motion for summary judgment, winning a full judgment in favor of a client defending against libel per se and invasion of privacy claims

  • (Tex. Dist. − Harris Cnty.) — Participated on a trial team that won a $17 million (net) verdict in a breach of contract dispute

  • (Tex. Dist. − Harris Cnty.) — Prompted the voluntary dismissal of a lawsuit, without any subsequent refiling, in Texas state court by drafting and filing a Rule 91a motion

  • (Tex. Dist. − Harris Cnty.) — Obtained dismissal of a lawsuit in Texas state court based on improper venue

  • (Del. Ch.) — Drafted motions and pleadings on behalf of a midstream energy company in merger challenges in Delaware Chancery Court

  • Represented a large construction company in matters involving alleged Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations


  • University of Michigan Law School, J.D. cum laude, 2010 (Phi Kappa Phi; Executive Editor, Michigan Journal of Race & Law; Student Tutor, Administrative Law and Enterprise Organizations)
  • Morehouse College, B.A., Political Science magna cum laude, 2007 (Phi Beta Kappa)
  • Judicial clerk to The Honorable Lavenski R. Smith, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, 2011–2012
  • National Black Lawyers Top 40 Under 40, 2015 & 2019
  • Lawyers of Color (On Being A Black Lawyer), Hot List Honoree, 2014
  • General Counsel: Theatre Under the Stars
  • Trustee: Houston Symphony
  • Member: Houston Symphony, Young Associates Council
  • Steering Committee Member: Texas Minority Counsel Program
  • Fellow: Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD)
  • Fellow: Texas Bar Foundation, Membership Committee
  • Fellow: Houston Young Lawyers Foundation
  • Member: Houston Bar Association, Houston Lawyer Referral Service
  • Co-Chair: Houston Bar Association, Communities in Schools Committee (2016–2017 bar year); Member: (2014–2020 bar years)
  • Member: Houston Bar Association, Membership Committee Houston Bar Association (2017–2018 bar year)
  • Ambassador: Houston Bar Association (2019–2020 bar year)
  • Member: University of Michigan Alumni Association
  • Member: Morehouse College Alumni Association
  • Texas
  • Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • “Removing Securities Act Class Actions to Federal Court,” V&E Securities Litigation Insights, October 2, 2012 (co-author)