Gwen J. Samora


Phone: 832-849-1808

Fax: 832-849-1799

Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, I have successfully resolved cases before the Supreme Court of Texas, the Texas courts of appeals, and the federal circuits, including the Fifth Circuit, for over 25 years.  I have presented oral arguments in complex commercial appeals, including appeals involving oil and gas and royalty-related disputes, federal income tax matters, commercial torts, and contract and indemnity disputes. I also regularly collaborate with leading trial lawyers to develop the legal issues for complex cases and to present the necessary briefs, arguments, motions, and objections to lay the groundwork for a successful appeal.

Best Lawyers in America (Woodward White, Inc.) and Texas Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters) have recognized me repeatedly over the last decade for my appellate expertise.  I graduated from the University of Houston Law Center magna cum laude and Order of the Coif.  I earned my undergraduate degree from Rice University, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.  While at Rice, I was also captain of the Rice Volleyball Team, which in itself was a priceless education on the importance of hard work and the immense value of relationships and teamwork.

After clerking for the Honorable Carolyn Dineen King on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, I spent the first two decades of my legal career in the Appellate Section of Vinson & Elkins LLP.  In 2015, I left the V&E partnership to form my own firm.  That entrepreneurial venture allowed me to work with trial lawyers from many strong firms and gave me the flexibility to handle appeals in a more personal and cost-efficient manner for my clients.  That value proposition is even stronger at Copeland & Rice, where I have the pleasure of working alongside top-flight trial lawyers who are not only former colleagues but also friends.  Copeland & Rice provides excellent trial and appellate services in a boutique setting focused on excellent client service, teamwork, respect, and integrity.

I am a proud native Texan who has spent my entire adult life in Houston.  My husband Dan and I raised our family here, and we are avid Houston sports fans.


  • American Law Institute, Member

Representative Matters

  • One of the principal authors of motion to dismiss that was granted and secured a full and final dismissal of qui tam action filed under the False Claims act against carbon dioxide producer.
  • Drafted amicus brief on behalf of pipeline company in high-profile case in the Texas Supreme Court concerning the enforceability of conditions precedent to the formation of a partnership.
  • Drafted amicus brief to Texas Supreme Court in connection with a taxation issue pending in a case before that Court.
  • Obtained reversal and rendition of a $4 million judgment on behalf of a major oil and gas company in a royalty dispute with lessors, who claimed that the market value royalty provision in the lease was modified by subsequent clause in lease dealing with the terms that were to be included in a gas purchase contract.
  • Obtained, on behalf of major technology company, reversal and rendition of tax court judgment sustaining a $13 million tax deficiency assessed by the I.R.S. on the basis of language in a closing agreement between the taxpayer and the I.R.S.
  • Obtained reversal and remand of a $100 million judgment against an engineering, procurement, and construction company in case involving claims for tortious interference with contract, business disparagement, and actual and exemplary damages.
  • Obtained, on behalf of major oil and gas company, reversal of summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of pipeline in a contract dispute regarding $9 million credit received by the pipeline; the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rendered judgment in favor of major oil company, holding as a matter of law that it was contractually entitled to the $9 million credit, as well as interest and attorney’s fees.
  • Obtained, on behalf of charitable organization providing subsidized housing to poor and impoverished Houstonians, reversal and rendition of judgment in favor of appraisal district denying a property tax exemption to the charitable organization.
  • Obtained mandamus relief from the Texas Supreme Court on behalf of client in case that had been improperly transferred from a Texas district court to a Texas probate court.
  • Obtained affirmance of class action settlement from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit on behalf of oil and gas company in a dispute between company and royalty interest owners over payment of royalties for carbon dioxide produced from leases in Colorado.
  • Obtained, in state appellate court, reversal of county court’s denial of special appearance by Massachusetts-based apartment rental agent in Dallas County resident’s action arising from alleged burglary during vacation to Paris; resident non-suited underlying action thereafter.
  • Represented pipeline company in mandamus action arising from trial court’s order compelling apex deposition of company’s Chief Executive Officer; proceeding stayed during mediation and dismissed, along with trial court action, upon settlement.