David Berg


Pennzoil Place, 700 Milam, Suite 1300
Houston, Texas 77002
Phone: (713) 529-5622
Fax: (713) 529-3785


From David’s interview for the Masters of the Courtroom series on ReelLawyers.com.

David Berg is a member of the Texas and New York State Bar Associations, and the founding partner of Berg & Androphy. Within eighteen months of opening his offices, in 1970, David argued and won a case in the U.S. Supreme Court, Schacht v. United States, a criminal conviction unanimously reversed on First Amendment grounds.

Listen to Mr. Berg’s argument before the United States Supreme Court

During the next quarter-century, David tried criminal and civil rights cases, among the more notable, the lawsuit against the Ku Klux Klan he filed as co-counsel with his friend, Morris Dees, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which resulted in forcing the Klan to end its harassment of Vietnamese fishermen along the Gulf Coast and its paramilitary training in east Texas.

In 1991, he tried his first civil cases, winning a record $12.25 million verdict in a wrongful death action at a railroad crossing and, later that year, obtained a verdict exonerating Robert Sakowitz, heir to a merchandising empire, of charges of breach of fiduciary duty related to the family’s estate.  As a result, the National Law Journal named him to its annual list of Top Ten civil trial lawyers in America.  Since then he has successfully represented individuals and corporations in major commercial litigation, such as Robert Bass’s investment group (then called Acadia Partners, Ltd.), for which he won a jury verdict worth $52 million; Samsung, in a patent infringement case that threatened its billion dollar line of business, which ended when the judge dismissed the case following a pretrial evidentiary hearing on inequitable conduct; Deutsche Bank (as co-counsel) in the Enron class action, resulting in its dismissal from the case on summary judgment; a verdict finding intentional infringement on the design of Crystal Head Vodka, owned by actor/comedian and entrepreneur Dan Aykroyd.  He also led a team of lawyers in obtaining a $531 million settlement against Marriott Corporation on behalf of its limited partners.

Throughout his career, David has maintained a pro bono practice, including, on behalf of the City of Houston, a recent case in which Texas’s leading polluter agreed to (and has) lowered its emissions of the carcinogen 1,3 butadiene to statistically insignificant levels–ending its effect on surrounding neighborhoods. In another case involving the emission of toxic chemicals into the poverty-stricken neighborhood adjoining it, upon learning that the city council had approved retaining David, the company in question closed its plant and left town.

The firm of Berg & Androphy has been awarded many years for the prestigious “Best Law Firms” Tier 1 Ranking for Multiple Practice Areas by U.S. News & World Report. Berg & Androphy has also been named Top NY Lawyers.

Learn more about this achievement

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) selected David Berg as the recipient of the 2014 Karen H. Susman Jurisprudence award.

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Watch video of the award acceptance luncheon

David Berg is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.

David Berg has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America, multiple times for more than a decade, in eight practice areas, which include:

  • Bet-the-Company Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Criminal Defense – White Collar
  • Litigation – Antitrust
  • Litigation – Patent
  • Litigation – Real Estate
  • Litigation – Securities
  • Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs

David is a frequent CLE lecturer on trial skills for such organizations as the ABA, the ABA Litigation Section and the Texas Bar Association.  He has spoken on the same and related topics at such law schools as Georgetown, Fordham, Columbia, the University of  Texas and the University of Houston Law Center. David is a frequent contributor to legal and other periodicals on wide-ranging topics and has authored two books. His 2003 book, THE TRIAL LAWYER: WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN, became one of the ABA’s best-sellers and is available with 6 hours of CLE Credit. The ABA published the second edition in 2018, updated with how Joe Jamail won a $10.5 billion verdict in Pennzoil v. Texaco in 1985, the largest award to that date and the largest ever affirmed on appeal.

View Recent Review in The Paris Review Daily

Purchase David’s Book – The Trial Lawyer: What It Takes to Win, Second Edition


Learn more about Mr. Berg’s results

Early Career

In 1970, at the age of 28 and only eighteen months after opening his law office, David argued and won a case in the United States Supreme Court, which reversed his client’s conviction for his part in an anti-war demonstration and struck down a federal statute prohibiting the wearing of “distinctive parts of an armed forces uniform” and legitimizing “guerrilla theater” as a form of protest. (United States v. Schacht, 90 S.Ct. 1555; 398 U.S. 58).

Listen to Mr. Berg’s Argument before the United States Supreme Court

In the following years, he tried and won many other civil rights and criminal cases. In 1978, using the battered wife defense for the first time in Texas, he won an acquittal for a woman accused of murdering her husband and transporting his dismembered body across the country in the trunk of her car. In the early eighties, he acted as co-counsel with Morris Dees, founder of The Southern Poverty Law Center, in obtaining an injunction shutting down the Ku Klux Klan’s paramilitary training and prohibiting them from harassing Vietnamese fishermen along the Texas Gulf Coast.


In addition to his books, Berg has published dozens of articles and essays on legal and political topics in such publications as The New York TimesThe Los Angeles TimesNewsweekLitigation Magazine and The Houston Chronicle:


  • “The Trial Lawyer,” Litigation Magazine, Summer 2005
  • “Trade Secrets of the Silver Bullet (Excerpt from The Trial Lawyer: What It Takes to Win),” The American Lawyer, October 2003
  • “The Trial Lawyer,” Litigation Magazine, Spring 2000
  • “Timing in Cross-Examination,” Litigation Magazine, 1996
  • “Secrets of Cross Examination,” Litigation Magazine, Spring 1994
  • “Is Lawsuit Abuse a Problem,” Houston Metropolitan, September, 1993
  • “In Defense of Trial Lawyers –  and Juries,” Los Angeles Times, February 10, 1993
  • “Blind Cross Examination,” Litigation Magazine, Fall 1990
  • “The Frenzy in Friendswood: What About Probable Cause” The Houston Post, May 15, 1988
  • “Lawyers are Better than That,” The Houston Post, February 6, 1988
  • “Censorship Decision is Dangerous,” The Houston Post, January 17, 1988
  • “Preparing Witnesses,” Litigation Magazine, Winter 1987
  • “Cross Examination,” Litigation Magazine, 1987
  • “Ruling Trespasses on Confidentiality,” The Texas Lawyer, August 31, 1987
  • “RICO: As Pernicious As the Crimes it Targets,” The Texas Lawyer, April 6, 1987
  • “What the Civil Practitioner Needs to Know About RICO (Part 2)” (with Joel M. Androphy), The Texas Bar Journal, February 1987
  • “What the Civil Practitioner Needs to Know About RICO (Part 1)” (with Joel M. Androphy), The Texas Bar Journal, January 1987
  • “The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984,” Houston Lawyer, April 1986
  • “Commercial Racketeering: What the Civil Practitioner Needs to Know and Understand,” Houston Lawyer, May 1985
  • “Best Article of 1984,” (with Joel M. Androphy), The Texas Bar Journal, 1984
  •  “The Day The Grand Jury Ran Amok,” HoustonCity Magazine, August 1984
  • “Prudence and Jury Duty,” The Houston Post, June 2, 1984
  • “The RICO Statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1061-1968: The Business Client as Racketeer,” (with Philip D. Zeltkow), The Texas Bar Journal, February 1982
  • “The FBI’s Threat to Freedom,” Los Angeles Times, February 27, 1981
  • “Is There a Special Loathing for Lawyers?” Houston Chronicle, September 29, 1979
  • “If You Dislike Lawyers, Read This,” The New York Times, August 20, 1979


  • “Texas Democrats Can Send a Message of Sanity Today,” The Houston Chronicle, March 2008
  • “Road to Redemption for Clintons: Embrace Obama,” The Houston Chronicle, February 2008
  • “Please Note, Your Wild Rhetoric is Not Helping,” The Houston Chronicle, June 12, 2005
  • “Houston to Detractors from N.Y.: Drop Dead,” The Houston ChronicleJune 10, 1994
  • “My Favorite Teachers,” The Houston Post, 1992
  • “Summit Won’t Fix What Ails U.S.,” The Houston Chronicle, July 8, 1990
  • “What Dr. King is Still Teaching Us,” The Houston Post, January 22, 1989
  • “All the Hearts That Never Will Mend,” The Houston Post, November 22, 1988
  • “Too Much Democracy,” The Houston Post, November 13, 1988
  • “Something Special Happened in Houston,” The Houston Post, July 14, 1988
  • “Southern Baptists’ Stance on AIDS Goes Too Far,” The Houston Post, July 14, 1988
  • “Fathers, Sons, and Hidden Feelings,” The Houston Post, June 19, 1988
  • “The Play’s the Thing, but not at SJC,” The Houston Post, April 23, 1988
  • “Edgar Speakes, Charlie McRegan,” The Houston Post, April 10, 1988
  • “The Devils Made Me Do It,” The Houston Post, April 10, 1988
  • “We Must Set Economic House in Order,” The Houston Post, March 6, 1988
  • “Market Crash Was Not a Coincidence,” The Houston Post, March 5, 1988
  • “Why Cuomo is Still Best Bet,” The Houston Post, January 8, 1988
  • “Mr. McLuhan, Where are You When we Really Need You?” The Houston Post, December 30, 1987
  • “Paul Always Had a Theory,” The Houston Post, December 23, 1987
  • “Racism and Justice: The Brandly Case,” The Texas Lawyer, November 2, 1987
  • “The New Hite Report: Lite Research,” The Houston Post, October 17, 1987
  • “Media Must Avoid Invading Privacy,” The Texas Lawyer, June 15, 1987
  • “Fish Story,” The Houston Post, March 15, 1987
  • “The Once and Future Kennedys: One Hundred Years of Attitude,” Vogue, February 1987
  • “Bring Me Home From the Ball Game,” HoustonCity Magazine, December 1984
  • “Is It An Operation or a Sideshow,” The Houston Post, December 14, 1984
  • “Get Partisan Politics Out of Judges’ Races,” The Houston Chronicle, November 12, 1984
  • “The Landslide Erodes,” The Houston Post, November 3, 1984
  • “Passion for Politics,” Vogue, November 1984
  • “Aristotle Might Have Gone Fishing,” The Houston Chronicle, September 11, 1984
  • “Journalism So Flawed?”- Letters to Editor, The New York Times, June 17, 1984
  • “Carter Presidency will be able to Pass the Test of History,” The Atlanta Constitution, March 29, 1984
  • “More Than Just Books,” The Houston Post, March 18, 1984
  • “A Woman in ’84? No Way,” Vogue, March 1984
  • “Remember When a Man’s Word Was His Bond?” The Houston Post, January 27, 1984
  • “Creationist Threaten Our Democratic Institutions,” The Houston Chronicle, January 18, 1984
  • “Prolific Columnist” reaction to deficits ‘blatant terrorism’ –  reaction to Lynn Ashby article, The Houston Post, January 18, 1984
  • “The Right to Bear Arms,” Newsweek, December 29, 1980
  • “Face to Face with Carter’s Icy Glare,” The Houston Chronicle, December 1, 1980
  • “The Carter Promise,” The New York Times, November 23, 1980

Honors and Awards

  • Awarded “Best Law Firms” Tier 1 Ranking for Multiple Practice Areas by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Lawyers, 2017-2019
    • Bet-the-Company Litigation
    • Commercial Litigation
    • Criminal Defense: White-Collar
    • Litigation – Antitrust
    • Litigation – Patent
    • Litigation – Real Estate
    • Litigation – Securities
    • Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Recipient of the Anti-Defamation League’s 2014 Jurisprudence Award
  • David Berg is AVVO rated 10
  • David Berg has been recognized for years as an AV Preeminent Peer Rated Attorney.
  • ABOTA’s Seventh Amendment Warrior Award, 2019


David Berg discussed the Second Edition of his book, THE TRIAL LAWYER: WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN (© David Berg) (ABA 2018).

Click here to watch the video series.

Civic Activities

From 2000 to 2009, David served as Chairman of the Board of the Houston Area Water Corporation, a municipal corporation charged with negotiating and awarding the contract for the builder/operator of a regional water purification plant, a $135 million project to secure a safe water supply in the region. In 2001, David and his wife, Kathryn, commissioned a children’s opera from St. Exupery’s THE LITTLE PRINCE, which won widespread acclaim after its opening at the Houston Grand Opera, and has played in London, New York and San Francisco. In 2002, Berg received the Theatreworks USA Goodworks Award, in New York, in recognition of his contributions to that group, which brings theater to children. In 2006, Mayor Bill White enlisted David to handle pollution suits on a pro bono basis for the City of Houston. That same year, David became one the first honorees of the Houston Shakespeare Festival, receiving the Willie Award for his longtime service on that board.

In years past, Berg has served on the Board of Directors of Camp for All, which successfully raised $10 million to erect a barrier-free facility for seriously ill children. He has been a Member of the University of Houston Law Foundation, Houston Holocaust Museum, and the Tulane University President’s Council. David has been a member of Mensa since 1953.

David has served as special counsel for the Texas State Bar Commission on Lawyer Discipline, a pro bono group that prosecutes lawyer misconduct.

Bar Associations

Berg is a member of the Texas and New York State Bar Associations, a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and an Advocate, American Board of Trial Advocacy (ABOTA).


David is married to Kathryn Page Berg, also a lawyer.