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Overview

For Judge Eckels, achieving client goals is about careful preparation, anticipating challenges and marshalling the right resources at the right time to overcome obstacles.

Judge Eckels is recognized as a national leader in issues of transportation, public finance/public private partnerships (P3), crisis management, disaster preparation, response and recovery, homeland security, education and health care. He served six terms in the Texas state legislature before being elected County Judge of Harris County, and served on advisory committees to President George W. Bush and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

He brings deep problem-solving experience to large-scale projects. As County Judge of Harris County, he was nationally lauded for his leadership in response to Hurricane Katrina, during which he oversaw the conversion of the Astrodome and Reliant Park into the largest shelter operation in U.S. history, housing a quarter of a million people displaced by the storm. Judge Eckels was also indispensable to the creation of the Houston TranStar Transportation and Emergency Operations Center, which assists local governments and emergency responders to serve and protect residents during disasters and emergencies. Most recently, Eckels was a founder and director at Texas Central Railway, the company undertaking the development, design, construction, finance and operation of a new high-speed passenger train line between the Dallas Metroplex and Greater Houston.

Having served on the boards of both publicly traded and private companies, Judge Eckels is well-versed in corporate governance, stakeholder and shareholder issues and routinely assists clients with litigation and negotiation, as well as planning, risk management and compliance.


Industry

Services

Education

  • J.D., South Texas College of Law Houston
  • B.S., University of Houston

Admissions

  • Texas
  • District of Columbia
  • New York
  • Colorado
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Professional Memberships and Certifications

  • State Bar of Texas
  • College of the State Bar of Texas
  • Houston Bar Association
  • State Bar of New York
  • New York City Bar Association
  • DC Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • National Association of Bond Lawyers
  • Republican National Lawyers Association
  • National Association of Corporate Directors, Board Leadership Fellow
Experience
  • Served as principal negotiating with team owners and leagues for construction of NRG Stadium, home of the Houston Texans; Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros; and Toyota Center, home of the Houston Rockets.
  • Served as Chair of Harris County Toll Road Authority and completed 500-mile regional toll road system, creating partnerships with neighboring counties and Texas Department of Transportation (TxDoT) to develop their toll roads in the region.
  • Assisted foreign nationals in creating U.S.-based company to export U.S. environmental remediation technology and corresponding Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) compliance program.
  • Assisted international partnership in preparation of bid documents for copper mine and FCPA compliance.
  • Assisted U.S. real estate development company in negotiations for tax treatment by local governments.
  • Advised U.S. petrochemical company on tax abatements.
  • Assisted U.S.-based floating production storage and offloading shipbuilding project with foreign permit issues.
  • Presented domestically and abroad on public-private partnerships.
Alerts | May 24, 2019
Texas Amends Israeli Anti-Boycott Law

The new law clarifies legislative intent that the previous anti-boycott Israel law does not pertain to small contracts and individuals, but is it enough to address the Court’s constitutional concerns?

Alerts | May 20, 2019
Texas Supreme Court Defers to Government Declaration of Public Use, at Least for Now

The decision’s ramifications are significant for both public condemnors and private landowners.

Alerts | March 12, 2019
Texas Supreme Court Affirms Cuts to Future Public Pension Benefits

On Friday, March 8, a unanimous Texas Supreme Court affirmed the Fifth Court of Appeals and upheld the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System’s decision to cut the future interest rate on accounts established under a deferred retirement option plan (DROP).

Speaking Engagements | September 26, 2019
Speaker, "Road Infrastructure," Infraday South
Media Mentions | February 20, 2019
Law360: Real Estate Lawyers on the Move
Media Mentions | February 04, 2019
Texas Lawyer Newsmakers: Week of Feb. 4 (log-in required)

Texas Lawyer reports on three new attorneys joining the Houston office of Husch Blackwell.

News Releases | January 28, 2019
Husch Blackwell Adds Three Partners in Houston

Robert Eckels, Arturo Michel and Sandy Hellums-Gomez join the Houston office of Husch Blackwell.

Media Mentions | January 28, 2019
Texas Lawyer: Husch Blackwell Adds 3 Partners to Houston Public Law Team

The lateral hires include former Harris County Judge Robert Eckels, former Houston City Attorney Arturo Michel and governance and compliance lawyer Sandy Hellums-Gomez.

Community Leadership
  • Texas County and District Retirement System, Chairman
  • Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District, President
  • K9s4Cops Inc., Board of Directors
  • Do the Write Thing Texas Inc., Chairman of the Board
  • South Texas College of Law Houston, Board of Directors
  • Rotary Club of Houston, Board of Directors
  • Lombardi Foundation Inc., Board of Directors

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