A highly experienced trial lawyer, Watt takes the reins from Ken Broughton, who served as Houston OMP since 2015. Like Broughton, Watt is an original founding member of the firm’s Houston office, which opened in February 2013 – the first of the now three offices in Texas, with openings in Austin in May 2018, and Dallas in May 2019. Watt served as co-chair of the Houston office’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) committee, and was the firm’s first hiring partner in Houston.
Alaniz is a respected Chapter 11 and restructuring lawyer who joined the firm in July 2020. He assumes leadership from Brian Mitchell, who has led the Dallas office since it opened four years ago. Alaniz previously served as the Dallas office’s hiring partner, and he is passionate about mentorship and cultivating the next generation of lawyers. Additionally, Alaniz is the U.S. chair of Reed Smith’s LGBTQ+ business inclusion group, PRISM.
“We have achieved great success since our Texas opening a decade ago, and I know the future of our Houston and Dallas offices are in great hands with Chris and Omar,” said Doug Cameron, Managing Partner - Americas. “We are grateful to have such brilliant, experienced, client-focused partners at the helm as we continue to build and expand in Texas.”
About Chris Watt
A founding partner of Reed Smith’s Houston office, Watt has built a reputation as a go-to first chair trial lawyer in complex commercial litigation and arbitration in the construction, energy, professional services and health care industries.
“Our clients greatly value Chris’s practical value-driven, client-focused approach,” said Ken Broughton, himself a renowned Texas litigator and mentor. “From the outset, Chris seeks to understand the client’s ultimate objectives, and craft a strategy that best serves those goals. And for any that find themselves before a jury or tribunal, Chris’s clients know they can rely on his more than two decades of experience to present their best, most persuasive case.”
“I am eternally grateful for Ken’s steadfast commitment and leadership these past eight years,” said Watt. “Ken has been a tremendous ambassador for our Houston office, both within the firm and throughout the greater Houston legal community, and I look forward to building on his success with the same enthusiasm and openness that he brought to the role.”
In addition to his litigation practice, Chris is active throughout the Houston community. He has served on the board of directors for Children at Risk for more than nine years, including a two-year term as board chair. Watt also is a member of the Houston Leadership Council for Lambda Legal – a pro-bono legal services organization dedicated to securing full recognition of the civil rights of the LGBTQ+ community, and he was the first LGBTQ+ ally asked to serve on the council. Watt also sits on the alumni steering committee for the University of Texas School Law, and he is a senior fellow of the American Leadership Foundation, Class LI.
About Omar Alaniz
Omar Alaniz has built a reputation as a highly creative and resourceful lawyer for distressed companies. He has appeared in bankruptcy and appellate courts throughout the country, including the Texas and U.S. Supreme Courts. His restructuring work has garnered national attention, including invitations to membership to the National Bankruptcy Conference and American College of Bankruptcy.
Reed Smith was named winner of the Cross-Border Special Situation M&A Deal of the Year Award at the M&A Global Network Turnaround Atlas Awards 2022, at which Alaniz was also named one of the top cross-border restructuring lawyers of the year. The honor was given in recognition of Reed Smith’s representation of Rockdale Marcellus in the Chapter 11 sale of its assets to Repsol for $222 million. Alaniz and his team were also honored for crafting an extremely well-received bankruptcy plan that returned more than $255 million in cash to creditors.
“Omar is well-known as the best and brightest of bankruptcy and restructuring lawyers," said Mitchell. “He is frequently commended by the judges in his cases for his courtroom advocacy and creativity in crafting restructuring solutions.”
“I am in Brian Mitchell’s debt for all he has achieved here in Dallas over the last four years,” Alaniz said. “I aim to build upon his work in paving a clear pathway to success for our up-and-coming lawyers and fostering the Dallas office’s engagement with our Reed Smith partners and clients throughout the globe.”
Named a Diversity Champion by Texas Lawyer at the 2022 Texas Legal Awards, Alaniz has fought for positive change throughout his career. Today, he serves as the 5th Circuit Council Member of the American College of Bankruptcy’s DEI committee, for which he also chairs the communications subcommittee. Alaniz also serves as a member of the DEI committee of the Bankruptcy Section of the Texas State Bar, a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute’s DEI working group, and as a member of the Boards of the Dallas Hispanic Law Foundation and the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association.
Also a committed mentor, Alaniz was an adjunct faculty member at SMU Dedman School of Law for several years, where he taught bankruptcy law courses. He teaches a 12-week Chapter 11 course to lawyers in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area entering insolvency and restructuring practice. He coached the SMU Duberstein moot court team to five national championships – the most in the competition’s history.
About Reed Smith
Reed Smith is a dynamic international law firm dedicated to helping clients move their businesses forward. With an inclusive culture and innovative mindset, we deliver smarter, more creative legal services that drive better outcomes for our clients. Our deep industry knowledge, long-standing relationships and collaborative structure make us the go-to partner for complex disputes, transactions and regulatory matters. Our team of 3,000 people (including more than 1,700 lawyers) operate across 30 offices in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia to drive progress for our clients, for ourselves and for our communities.
For more information, please visit reedsmith.com.