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International Alumni Spotlight Ann Robertson J.D. '77, LL.M. '05

Ann Robertson

Oral advocacy has played a large role in Ann Robertson's legal career since her days at the University of Houston Law Center.   Her litigation skills took her to top law firms in Houston, and it didn't take long before she expanded her practice overseas. Over the years, she has earned numerous honors and lectured across world on subjects related to international arbitration. 

Robertson came to the Law Center in the mid 1970's. She excelled in her studies and was inducted into the Order of the Barons, a prestigious scholastic honor's society.  

"I think the whole purpose of law school is to teach you to think and to think in a certain way," she said. "Professors did a good job of teaching you how to think like a lawyer. The Law Center certainly gave me a strong foundation on which to build my career."

After graduation, Robertson clerked with the First Court of Appeals before joining the ranks of Reynolds Allen & Cook in 1981. Working on a number of complex commercial litigation disputes, she became the firm's first female partner.  In 1988, she joined Winstead Sechrest & Minick as an associate, and made partner one year later.  At Winstead, Robertson extended her practice to a number of industries, including oil and gas, insurance, banking and finance, and others.

Robertson has an impressive track record in the courtroom. She successfully defended an African oil company in a $100 million suit.  She also defended a prominent Swedish company as well as three of its domestic subsidiaries in a $48 million contract dispute that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Turning her focus on advancing her legal career, Robertson returned to the Law Center in 2004 to pursue an LL.M. degree in International Economic Law. Fascinated by the different people and cultures she experienced in her international practice, she stressed the importance of bridging cultural barriers. "I knew the additional knowledge and training would enhance my skills in my practice, much of which had an international component," Robertson said.

Sharing her expertise with Law Center students, Robertson serves as a coach of the International Arbitration Moot Court team. During competitions, she encourages her students to practice against civil law teams and to observe their different oral advocacy styles as well as the difference in how they analyze problems.

Robertson is a member of a number of prominent organizations, including the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the U.S. delegation to the NAFTA Advisory Committee on Private Commercial Disputes to name a few. She is also a member of the American Law Institute (ALI), a group comprised of lawyers, judges, law professors, and other leaders in various practice areas.

Robertson recently spoke at the New York State Bar International Section Meeting in Lisbon on International Commercial Mediation and the future of commercial dispute resolution in the global economy.  Last year, she also traveled to Dublin for an Arbitral/Women Forum, where she discussed Arbitral Tribunals' application of mandatory public law provisions.