Rusty Hardin, the name partner of his fifteen-attorney firm in Houston, Texas, is the 2017 President of the Litigation Counsel of America.
Mr. Hardin has more than 40 years of litigation experience, having begun his career as an assistant district attorney for Harris County in 1975. He served as chief of one of the office’s felony divisions for eight years and was named Prosecutor of the Year in 1989. In 1991, Mr. Hardin moved to private practice and in 1996 established Rusty Hardin & Associates.
The firm manages a wide variety of cases and appeals, focusing primarily on civil matters, including complex commercial litigation, contract disputes, and claims involving serious personal injury. The firm also engages in a substantial white collar criminal defense practice in both federal and state court. While an assistant district attorney, Mr. Hardin tried over 100 felony jury trials. Since entering private practice in 1991, he has tried over 70 jury trials, fairly evenly split between civil and criminal cases. His clients have been as varied as Arthur Andersen in both its civil and criminal cases; Dow Jones, for whom the firm won a new trial in the face of the largest libel verdict in history; the J. Howard Marshall II estate in the nationally-followed probate trial involving claims made by Anna Nicole Smith; ExxonMobil Corporation; Rice University; Las Vegas Sands; and a lengthy roster of professional athletes that includes Wade Boggs, Warren Moon, Rudy Tomjanovich, Calvin Murphy, Adrian Peterson, and Roger Clemens.
Mr. Hardin’s reputation and skill have led to numerous honors. He served as chief trial counsel for Independent Counsel Robert Fiske and his successor Kenneth Starr in the Whitewater investigation. He is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL), the International Academy of Trial Lawyers (IATL), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). Since 2009, he has served on the Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee. In 2013, Mr. Hardin was selected as a Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America and serves on its Advisory Board. Mr. Hardin was named one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America by The National Law Journal in 2013 and one of “The 25 Greatest Texas Lawyers of the Past Quarter-Century” by Texas Lawyer in 2010. Benchmark Litigation selected him as a Litigation Star in Texas in General Commercial Litigation in 2013, and he was the recipient of the 2013 Lifetime Excellence in Advocacy Award from the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists. In 2016, the firm was selected as a Litigation Department of the Year honoree by the publishers of Texas Lawyer, and Hardin was selected as a member of America’s Top 100 Attorneys. Additionally, Mr. Hardin was ranked as one of the Top Ten “Super Lawyers” in the state by Texas Monthly for four consecutive years and was named by Texas Lawyer as a “Go-To Lawyer” for civil defense litigation in 2002 and commercial litigation in 2007. In 2011, he received the Houston Press Readers’ Choice award for Best Lawyer in Houston and in 2009 he received the Houston Press Readers’ Choice awards for Best Civil Attorney and Best Criminal Defense Attorney in Houston. Mr. Hardin has held a number of leadership positions on committees for the State Bar of Texas and has served on the faculty of numerous public and professional institutions. He is also a highly sought-after speaker for national and regional bar associations and business groups.
A native of North Carolina, Hardin received his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and his J.D. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.