Emery Gullickson Richards


Emery Richards focuses her practice on commercial litigation and labor and employment matters. She has a proven track record representing clients at trial in federal and state courts across Texas and through arbitration. She has successfully litigated a diverse docket of commercial cases, including in the energy, maritime, financial, life sciences, and technology sectors.

Emery applies thorough diligence to conducting internal investigations, crafting employment-related agreements and policies, and providing advice regarding business transactions and evolutions. She counsels clients with straightforward guidance and her sensitivity to nuanced dynamics.

Emery is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Clients value her analytical approach, responsiveness, and communication skills to achieve their business goals.


Commercial Litigation

  • Defended the largest tugboat operator in the Port of Houston in a bench trial in federal court regarding an oil tanker allision resulting in a fire that closed the Houston Ship Channel for 14 hours; examined tug master.
  • Defended a Fortune 100 telecommunications company as sole trial counsel in a bench trial in state court that resulted in a take-nothing judgment on breach of contract and all other claims.
  • On the eve of trial, obtained dismissal for lack of Article III standing of all of the plaintiffs’ Toxic Substances Control Act claims against a $10 billion manufacturer of a chemical at issue in an incident from which drinking water was suspended for 300,000 residents.
  • Obtained forum non conveniens dismissal for a global restructuring firm and a major international bank of a lawsuit brought by a foreign company; dismissal upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
  • Successfully resolved a $40 million construction dispute for an oil supermajor.
  • Defended a Fortune 500 hospital in an antitrust class action alleging a conspiracy to suppress employee wages.
  • Defended a major nonprofit corporation in a personal injury trial in federal court, resulting in a take-nothing jury verdict.
  • Litigated complex disputes involving breach of contract, fraud, nuisance, declaratory judgment, jurisdiction, and bankruptcy issues, including on appeal; argued dispositive, discovery, pre-trial, and trial motions.
  • Defended a municipal official in a jury trial in state court over denial of a petition to repeal by referendum the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance; cross-examined a petition signature collector; the judge found the petition invalid after the jury returned a verdict finding forgery and false oaths throughout the petition.

Employment Law

  • Successfully arbitrated and defended a public Fortune 500 company in an employee termination case alleging race discrimination and retaliation; presented alleged comparator witness. Arbitrator issued a reasoned award in favor of our client and a take-nothing judgment on all legal theories.
  • Successfully prosecuted numerous cases and injunction hearings involving trade secret and restrictive covenant claims in state and federal courts, including with parallel criminal and contempt actions.
  • Recently obtained a temporary restraining order in Delaware Chancery Court for a consulting company against a former executive and defended a companion lawsuit for advancement of attorney fees.
  • Investigated numerous complaints against public and private companies and, separately, high-ranking government officials in Texas municipalities, regarding alleged employee misconduct. Led investigation of a complaint of discrimination and whistleblower retaliation against a major university.
  • Conducted labor and employment due diligence on behalf of private equity firms in dozens of acquisitions of companies in various industries; drafted diligence memoranda and purchase and sale agreement provisions; communicated directly with representations and warranties insurers in underwriting process.
  • Conducted due diligence for a bulge bracket bank for a commercial credit facility for a household-name tech firm, directly advising bank’s in-house counsel.
  • Favorably resolved claims against employers brought under Title VII, Section 1981, Fair Labor Standards Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Defend Trade Secrets Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act, Texas Labor Code, including the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act and Texas Payday Law, Texas Worker’s Compensation Act, and Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act, among other statutory and common law theories.
  • Negotiated employment, severance, separation, transition, restrictive covenant, and other employment agreements with executives and other key employees; drafted employee handbooks and policies for Fortune 500 companies.
  • Successfully arbitrated contested discipline imposed by a municipality against a police officer for use of excessive force. Arbitrator ruled in favor of client on all theories, issuing a 52-page reasoned award.

News & Views

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  • 2021–2024, Ones to Watch, Labor and Employment Law - Management and Litigation - Labor and Employment, listed in Best Lawyers in America© (Woodward/White, Inc.)
  • 2020–2023, Texas “Rising Star” in Employment & Labor, listed in Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters)
  • 2019–2020, HBA President’s Award for Outstanding Service as Co-chair of the HBA Gender Fairness Committee, by the Houston Bar Association



  • Houston Bar Association



  • Texas
  • U.S. District Court - Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court - Western District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court - Northern District of Texas
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit


  • Columbia Law School, JD
  • Rice University, BA, cum laude
  • Spanish