Direct: 512-381-1300 ext.101
SKILLS & EXPERTISE
John has had the opportunity to develop and steward vital legislation on both state and national levels. While serving the lieutenant governor, John directed the effort to draft and pass the historic water legislation, SB 1. He has successfully represented clients from a broad range of industries including numerous Fortune 500 companies, major trade associations and national nonprofits. His clients represent a cross section of legislative issues including: transportation, water, health, education (public and higher), technology, finance, tax, banking, agriculture, affordable housing, appropriations, pensions, criminal justice, juvenile justice, ethics, insurance, gaming, and alternative energy.
His distinguished career includes serving as partner at Vinson & Elkins LLP, as senior counsel at Akin Gump Hauer & Feld LLP, providing counsel to a Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice and holding several clergy positions with The Episcopal Diocese of Texas. A popular public speaker, John often speaks at State Bar of Texas conferences, University of Texas School of Law conferences, public affairs roundtables, professional association meetings and other continuing legal education seminars.
Driven by a passion to improve our communities, John is honored to serve on many organizations including the board of the Texas Association of Business; board chair of Big Brothers Big Sisters Greater Houston; board vice-chair of Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star; board of Park Plaza Hospital and Medical Center; founding board member of Houston City Hall Fellows; board of The Hope Center Houston; board of St. John’s School in Houston; board and co-Founder of Trinity Episcopal School of Austin; board and co-Founder of LIFE Houston; board of Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia; board of the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas; board member of UTHealth Development Board and as vice-chair of its Government Relations Committee and chair of its PAC Committee.
John is a graduate of Southern Methodist University where he earned a B.S., an MBA and a J.D. In addition, John has received a Master of Divinity from the Virginia Theological Seminary. He has two sons and he and his wife call both Houston and Austin home.
John has been recognized as the 6th most influential lobbyist in Austin by the online publication, Capitol Inside. He has also been recognized as one of Texas’ Top Rated Lawyers in 2014 by Martindale-Hubbell and, selected by his peers, as one of the Best Lawyers in the United States in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Big Brothers Big Sisters selected him as Board member of the year in 2010.
John R. Pitts
Government Relations Experience
Texas Star Alliance, Founder and Managing Principal, Present
Responsibilities: Develop and coordinate a firm of six lobbyists and an educational consultant. Develop relationships with strategic partners, Jackson Walker, LLP, Pitts Lucas and Pierpont Communications.
Develop and identify new business opportunities and strategic relationships for the Alliance.
John R. Pitts, Attorney at Law, Present
Responsibilities: Develop new business and work with current clients regarding public law and policy with the Texas Legislature and State agencies, Congress and Federal agencies. Coordinate teams of government relations consultants for strategic results. Prepare, draft and lobby complex legislative initiatives.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, of Counsel, 1997, Senior Counsel, 1999 – 2005.
Responsibilities: Develop new business and work with current clients of the firm regarding public law and policy with the Texas Legislature and State agencies, Congress and Federal agencies. Other responsibilities include: serve as counsel for a hi-tech start-up, locate and work with venture capital firms; participate and coordinate the negotiations of a water settlement for an Indian tribe in Arizona, the largest Indian water settlement in history; participate and coordinate efforts regarding educational reform legislation and funding; participate and coordinate tax revisions for affordable housing developers.
Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock, General Counsel, 1995 – 1997.
Responsibilities: Handle all open records and open meeting inquiries, criminal executions responsibilities. Coordinate policy and serve as the Lieutenant Governor’s liaison the offices of the Lieutenant Governor, Senators, Speaker of the House and staff. Draft and assist in the passage of Senate Bill 1, the omnibus water legislation. Coordinate the passage of Senate Bill 1 with the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, Senate and House Natural Resources Committees, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, the Texas Water Development Board and Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. During the legislative session, over 800 bills would pass over my desk for review and assignment to staff.
The Texas Senate, Chaplain, 1993 – 1997.
Responsibilities: Offer prayer and Bible support to the Lieutenant Governor and the State Senators.
The Texas Supreme Court, The Honorable Joe Greenhill, Chief Justice, Briefing Attorney, 1972-1973.
Responsibilities: Research and prepare briefs for Chief Justice and presentation of briefs to full Court.
Vinson & Elkins, Houston, Texas, Associate, 1973-1979, Partner, 1979 – 1984.
Responsibilities: Develop and head the Estate Planning and Taxation section which grew from one to 10 attorneys and professional staff.
St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, Houston, Texas, Associate Rector, 1987 – 1989.
Responsibilities: Create a pastoral and teaching ministry to couples, singles and young adults.
Episcopal Diocese of Texas, Canon to the Ordinary, 1990 – 1991.
Responsibilities: Assist, from the position of executive assistant to the Bishop, 50 small congregations to become self-sufficient and serve as liaison between the Bishop and the congregations of the Diocese.
St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Austin, Texas, Rector, 1991 – 1995.
Responsibilities: Develop and maintain the spiritual health of the fastest growing Episcopal congregation in the nation. Nurture and offer leadership to the congregation suffering from financial hardship turning it into a vibrant, growing community.
Episcopal Diocese of Texas, Consultant, Present
Responsibilities: Work with clergy undergoing transitions in their lives as directed by the Bishop of the Diocese.
Christ Church Cathedral, Houston, Assisting Clergy, Present
Responsibilities: Assist and participate with the staff clergy in liturgical and preaching activities.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Houston, Chairman
Organization provides one-on-one mentoring for at risk youth
Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star, Founder and Board Member and Vice Chairman
Organization created from the merged entities of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Houston and
Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Texas providing one-on-one mentoring for at risk youth
Park Plaza Hospital, Houston, Board Member
A community hospital, which is a part of the family of Tenet hospitals.
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, UTHealth Development Board Member
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston – School of Nursing – Advisory Board Member
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston – Government Affairs Committee – Vice Chair
University of Texas health Science Center at Houston – Political Action Committee – Chair
City Hall Fellows, Houston, Board Member
Organization providing recent college graduates as paid interns in city offices.
Texas Affordable Housing Congress, Austin, Texas, Chairman and Founder.
Organization consisting of developers, financial institutions and contractors involved in affordable housing.
Texas Affiliate for Affordable Housing Providers, Austin, Texas, Board of Directors.
Organization consisting of developers, financial institutions and contractors involved in affordable housing.
Texas Association of Business, Austin, Texas, Board of Directors.
Political association of large and small business from throughout Texas.
The Houston Collaborative for Children, Houston, Texas, Advisory Board.
Children’s advocacy center for initiatives benefiting children.
The State Bar of Texas, Water Rights Subcommittee, Austin, Texas.
Consists of water lawyers focusing on water rights.
Lobby for Hope, Founder and Board of Directors.
A 501(c)(3) organization formed with Thomas Ratliff for the purpose of allowing lobbyists to make charitable contributions for emergency needs of the Central Texas community.
The University of Texas, School of Law, Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution, Austin, Texas, Fellow.
Concentrates on the training of public policy leaders in the State in the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution for public policy decision making.
Life/Houston, Founder and President.
A 501(c)(3) organization which serves as a food pantry for infants.
St. John’s School, Houston, Texas, Board of Trustees.
An independent college preparatory school for students from kindergarten through senior year.
Hope Center, Houston, Texas, Board of Directors.
A 501(c)(3) organization created by Bob Lanier (former Mayor of Houston) serving troubled youth.
Trinity School of Austin, Austin, Texas, Founder, Board of Trustees.
A kindergarten and elementary school created in 1999.
Standing Commission on Constitutions and Canons, Episcopal Church, USA, Member and Treasurer.
Committee of the national Church responsible for the canons (laws) of the church. Selected by the Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church, USA.
The Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, Virginia, Board of Trustees.
One of eight Episcopal Seminaries in the United States serving the Dioceses and churches throughout the United States. Elected to the Board and appointed to the Executive Committee.
The Episcopal Theological Seminary of The Southwest, Austin, Texas, Board of Trustees.
One of eight Episcopal Seminaries in the United States serving the Dioceses and churches primarily in the southwest. Nominated to the Board by the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas and approved by the Council of the Diocese of Texas.
Texas Bar Foundation.
Serves as a supporting charitable organization to the State Bar of Texas. Membership selection is by the members of the Bar.
Activities During Education
President of Student Body, School of Law, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.
President of Student Body, The Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, Virginia.
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting, 1968.
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. Master of Business Administration in Accounting, 1969.
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. Juris Doctor, 1972.
The Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, Virginia, Master of Divinity, 1987.
Speaker at numerous State Bar of Texas conferences, University of Texas School of Law conferences and other continuing legal education seminars.
Co-Chair of the 2005 Changing Face of Water Rights in Texas, Conference sponsored by the State Bar of Texas.
Co-Chair designate of the 2006 Changing Face of Water Rights in Texas, Conference sponsored by the State Bar of Texas.
Texas Water Law: An Update, by John R. Pitts and Robert Pressley, published in the Real Estate Probate & Trust Law Reporter, Texas Bar Association, Volume 38, Number 1, October 1999.
Judicial Deference to Legislative Regulation: The Status of Water Regulation in Texas, by Risher S. Gilbert and John R. Pitts, published in the Water Resources Committee Newsletter, Section of Environment Energy and Resources, American Bar Association, Volume 3, Number. 1, October 1999.
Texas Water Law for the New Millennium, by John R. Pitts and Janet L. Hamilton, published in the Journal of Natural Resources and Environment, Section of Environment Energy and Resources, American Bar Association, Volume 14, Number 1, Summer 1999.
The New Texas, by John R. Pitts, published by Pierpont Communications on its web site, Winter, 2011.
Anticipate the Curve-Legislative Update, by John R. Pitts et al., Texas CEO Magazine, January 2011.
Best Attorney’s in Texas – Native American Law and Lobby Law – Peer chosen award – 2009 – 2014
Texas’ Top Rated Lawyers of 2014 – Selected from Martindale-Hubbell AV Rated Preeminent® attorneys
Board Member of the Year – Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star – 2012
John Pitts is the best there is.Danny Smith, Vice President of Public Affairs, UPS