DIRECT PHONE: 512.480.5673
DIRECT FAX: 512.480.5873


Pete Schenkkan specializes in serving as lead or lead Texas counsel in major state and federal litigation requiring strategic leadership and economic and political as well as legal analysis.

Practice areas include insurance, water, electricity, natural gas, telecommunications, oil and gas, federal and state administrative law, environmental law, antitrust, preemption, dormant commerce clause and other federalism/supremacy issues, attorneys’ fees and fiduciary duties.

Pete is better known as the father of Ben McKenzie, star of “The O.C.” and “Southland.”


  • Member of the bars of the State of Texas, U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. Court of Appeals for DC, Federal, Fifth and Tenth Circuits; and U.S. District Courts for the W. and S. Districts of Texas.
  • Special Assistant Attorney General of Texas, 1977-1978.
  • Visiting Professor, University of Texas School of Law 1992-1995
  • Vinson & Elkins, 1975-77, 1979-92, founder and managing partner 1982-92 of Austin office


  • University of Virginia (B.A., with high distinction, 1969); Phi Beta Kappa; Omicron Delta Kappa; The Raven Society.
  • Oxford University (B.A., with first class honors, 1972; M.A., 1989); .
  • University of Texas (J.D., with high honors, 1975); Order of the Coif; Chancellors; Note and Comment Editor, Texas Law Review, 1974-1975.


  • Defending the Lower Colorado River Authority against a $1.23 billion contract claim by the City of San Antonio; trial court dismissed February 1, 2010, San Antonio’s appeal pending.
  • Representing Texas Mutual Insurance Co. in challenges to the Texas bad-faith cause of action.  Argued in the Texas Supreme Court April 14, 2010. Listen to the oral argument, Case No. 08-0751, (40.1MB mp3 file).
  • Successful challenge to state rule limiting Medicaid eligibility. Camacho v. Texas Workforce Comm’n, 408 F.3d 229 (5th Cir. 2005).
  • Successful defense against class actions, including State Farm v. Lopez, 156 S.W.3d 550 (Tex.2004).
  • Successful defenses of Texas electric restructuring stranded cost securitization statute and $800 million financing order. City of Corpus Christi v. PUC, 51 S.W. 231 (Tex. 2001).
  • Successful challenge to PUC wholesale transmission subsidy rule. PUC v. City PSB of San Antonio, 53 S.W.3d 310 (Tex. 2001).
  • Successful challenge to six outside plaintiffs’ lawyers’ $3 billion contingent fee contract claims against the State of Texas (1998-2000 on behalf of seven state legislators allied with then-Governor George Bush).


  • Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee.
  • American Law Institute
  • Fellow: American Bar Foundation; Texas Bar Foundation.


  • State Bar of Texas, Frank J. Scurlock Award for outstanding pro bono work, 2014
  • Texas Law Fellowship, Excellence in Public Interest Award, 2014
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® published by Woodward/White, Inc., Administrative/Regulatory Law; Appellate Practice; Energy Law; Insurance Law; Litigation – Environmental; and Natural Resources Law, (1999 – 2017).
  • Selected by The Best Lawyers in America® published by Woodward/White, Inc., as 2010 Austin Energy Law Lawyer of the Year, 2011 Austin Natural Resources Law Lawyer of the Year, and 2017 Austin Environmental Litigation Lawyer of the Year.
  • AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating, 
  • Texas Monthly, Super Lawyers®, published by Thomson Reuters, 2003-2012, 2014 – 2016
  • Texas Monthly, Super Lawyers® Corporate Counsel edition, published by Thomson Reuters, 2008
  • Listed in Texas Lawyer as one of four Go-To Lawyers in Administrative and Regulatory Law, 2007
  • Rhodes Scholar, two Oxford University prizes in economics


  • Board Member, President, Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas (1979-1993)
  • Founder, The New Century Fund (raised $1 million for minority law scholarships 1972-75)


Pete Schenkkan has published in the Texas Law Review, the Baylor Law Review, and the Texas Tech Administrative Law Journal and spoken and presented papers at many CLE conferences on administrative law, appellate law.  Most recent publications include

  • “Pleas to the Jurisdiction in Texas Administrative Law,” 11 Texas Tech Admin. L. J.  71 (2009)(with Matt Baumgartner)
  • “UDJA Declaratory Judgments in Texas Administrative Law,” 9 Texas Tech Admin. L. J.   195 (2008)