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AZA Client Raymond Chang Named ACC General Counsel of the Year  After Hard-Earned Jury Win 
April 26, 2023

HOUSTON – DistributionNOW (DNOW) General Counsel Raymond Chang was honored for his perseverance by the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Houston Chapter and The Texas Lawbook with the 2023 Houston Corporate Counsel Award for General Counsel of the Year for a Midsized Legal Department. 

Mr. Chang won in large part for the way he managed a grueling piece of litigation which AZA helped him win. 

 The Texas Lawbook story about Mr. Chang is Raymond Chang ‘Takes Extreme Ownership of Everything’ at DNOW (subscription required). The story states:  

“As we realized the gravity of the case — and serious nature of the claims we had and the number of defendants initially involved, which continued to grow as we discovered more and more wrongdoing — we realized we needed more legal resources to handle this growing case,” Chang said. 

(AZA’s John) Zavitsanos’ history with Chang and NOV (National Oilwell Varco) dates back to 2009 when AZA represented A&B Bolt Supply, which had been sued by NOV for $33 million in a trade secrets theft case. Zavitsanos won the case. 

NOV’s general counsel, Dwight Rettig, was so impressed with Zavitsanos that he hired AZA to represent the company in future litigation because he never wanted to face off against Zavitsanos in court ever again. 

“Because of that, in the back of my mind, I knew if I ever had to win a court case, I would call AZA,” Chang said. “John is like the glass case with the hammer that says, ‘Break in case of an emergency.’” 

AZA nominated Mr. Chang for this award after seeing how he rooted out theft by former employees of DNOW, a Houston-based global supplier of oil and gas drilling equipment. Mr. Chang’s investigation resulted in a lawsuit against Odessa businessman Toby Eoff, whose family had sold Odessa Pumps to DNOW in 2015 for $170 million. Mr. Eoff joined DNOW after that sale. More than a dozen others were also named as defendants. 

  The trial lasted three months, ending in February 2023 when a Fort Bend County jury awarded Mr. Chang’s company nearly $9 million. The jury found that Mr. Eoff willfully and maliciously conspired with other former DNOW employees to steal the energy sector giant’s trade secrets. The verdict included a finding that Mr. Eoff breached his fiduciary duty. See Texas Jury returns nearly $9M verdict against Toby Eoff and others involved in conspiracy against energy giant.  

AZA partner Jason McManis told the reporter: “Mr. Chang’s dedication to DNOW knows no ends, and he is not shy to pursue novel and complicated legal strategies to best support the company. Rather than wait to see what unfolded, Mr. Chang authorized an investigation that revealed several key individuals had stolen DNOW confidential information and trade secrets on their way out the door.”  

In his eight years since creating his own legal team at DNOW, Chang has also completed 19 acquisitions. One of those was Odessa Pumps in 2015 for $170 million. DNOW has a market capitalization of $1.57 billion.  

AZA, or Ahmad, Zavitsanos & Mensing, is a Houston-based law firm that is home to true courtroom lawyers with a formidable track record in complex commercial litigation, including energy, healthcare, intellectual property, and business dispute cases. AZA is recognized by Chambers USA 2022 as among the best in Texas in commercial law and intellectual property; has been listed by U.S. News – Best Lawyers’ Best Law Firms as one of the country’s best commercial litigation firms for 11 years running; has been named Litigation Department of the Year by Texas Lawyer three times, including for 2021; and was previously dubbed a Texas Powerhouse law firm by Law360.  

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