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Smyser Kaplan & Veselka, LLP

At a Glance


“Strong chances of making partner.”

“The firm culture.”


“Lack of formality given size of firm.”

“Lean staffing is a gun that kicks as hard as it shoots.”

About Smyser Kaplan & Veselka, LLP

Founded in 1995 in Houston, Texas, Smyser Kaplan & Veselka is a litigation boutique with just under 30 attorneys. The firm’s practice includes commercial disputes, white collar, energy, intellectual property, healthcare, and securities. The firm is known for litigating high-profile matters to trial but also skillfully steers cases to arbitration when necessary. Among Smyser’s clients are Shell Oil Company, Michael’s Organization, Celotex, Visa, Quantlab Financial LLC, BNSF Railway Company, and BHP Billiton Petroleum.

Jury Whisperers

While Smyser Kaplan’s ranks may be small, its litigation chops are mighty. Stacked with a team of career trial lawyers and former law clerks, the firm is no stranger to high-stakes cases. It boasts a bustling white collar practice, including such past matters as Enron and Deepwater Horizon, to name a few, And its attorneys are pros in front of juries in all types of complex litigation. Recently, the firm obtained a $5.8 million jury verdict for its client Southbrook Development Corporation based on a breach of agreement and obtained a “Not Guilty” verdict for a client indicted on insider trading stemming from the acquisition of Shaw Group by Chicago Bridge & Iron. 

Supporting the Scouts

When they’re not in the courtroom, Smyser Kaplan attorneys can be found engaging with the Houston community—including by volunteering and giving back. Some of the firm’s recent good will has included donating books to Sky High for Kids, contributing to the Houston Bar Association’s Campaign for the Homeless Clothing & Diaper Drive, and participating in a corn hole tournament to support the Houston Urban Debate League.

COVID-19 Update

SKV is committed to the continued health and safety of our employees, and recruits. We offer virtual interviews, as well as ensuring social distancing for in person interviews to maintain safety standards.

News & Awards

  • SKV partners Lee Kaplan and Land Murphy, along with associates Eugene Zilberman and John Mondel represented Vitol Americas Corporation in a breach of contract and fraud lawsuit against Targa Channelview LLC over the construction of a splitter facility in Channelview.  Following a hotly contested 5-week bench trial—held entirely over Zoom and believed to be one of the longest virtual trials in Texas state court—SKV obtained a $158 million judgment.
  • SKV partners Karima Maloney and Sydney Scott represented Kirbyjon Caldwell in criminal and civil proceedings arising out of a scheme to defraud investors related to the sale of Historical Chinese Bonds. SKV negotiated a favorable plea agreement with the Government in the criminal matter, reducing Mr. Caldwell’s exposure from 20 years imprisonments to between 5 and 7 years; and resolved the civil matter with the Securities and Exchange Commission without further financial liability. 
  • Quantlab (Reynolds):  Is a case Alex, Rex, and Ty Doyle defeated involving the ex-wife of a key former employee of a high-frequency trading company who sought more than $1 billion in damages over alleged divorce fraud that was allegedly aided and abetted by the company.  The case was won on summary judgment and it is likely that substantial sanctions will be awarded for defeating a repeat litigant, who will no doubt appeal.
Smyser Kaplan & Veselka, LLP

717 Texas Avenue
Suite 2800
Houston, TX 77002
Phone: (713) 221-2388

Firm Stats

Managing Partners: Jarod Stewart, David Isaak, Karima Maloney, Craig Smyser, Larry Veselka
Hiring Partners: Jarod Stewart, David Isaak, Karima Maloney, Craig Smyser, Larry Veselka
Total No. Attorneys (2021):
1 - 50

Base Salary

1st year: $205,000
2nd year: $215,000
3rd year: $240,000
4th year: $275,000
5th year: $305,000
6th year: $330,000
7th year: $350,000

Employment Contact

Ginger Cavanaugh
Director of Operations
(713) 221-2322

No. of U.S. Offices: 1

No. of International Offices: 0

Major Office Locations

Houston, TX

Major Departments

General Litigation Appellate
Commercial Disputes
Health Care
Intellectual Property
White Collar
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.