Tim Shelby


Tim Shelby


Tim Shelby focuses on complex commercial litigation, oil and gas-related litigation, trade secret litigation, and professional liability matters. He was appointed to the State Bar of Texas oil and gas pattern jury charge committee, which updates and revises the way the law is typically presented to juries in Texas trials.

Mr. Shelby is recognized by Best Lawyers in America for commercial litigation in Texas 2015 – 2020. He was named to the Texas Super Lawyers list  2014 – 2019. He was on the Texas Rising Stars list in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014, which honors the best Texas lawyers under age 40 and those who have practiced less than 10 years. H Texas Magazine recognized him as a Professional on the Fast Track – Law in 2009.

Prior to joining AZA, Mr. Shelby practiced for eight years in the litigation department of Baker Botts in Houston.

Mr. Shelby received his law degree from Harvard Law School in 2002. While at Harvard, he served as a Teaching Fellow in Harvard’s Department of Economics. Mr. Shelby received a Masters of Public Service and Administration from the Bush School of Government at Texas A&M University in 1999, where he was recognized as a Bush Fellow. Mr. Shelby received his undergraduate degree, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, in economics and political science from Baylor University in 1997.

Tim and his wife Melissa Shelby are actively involved in the Houston Chapter of Cure JM Foundation, which is a nonprofit dedicated to finding a cure for Juvenile Myositis (JM).  JM is an autoimmune disease in which a child’s immune system attacks its own cells and tissues. In 2019, Tim and Melissa served as Co-Chairs of the first Walk Strong for Cure JM – Houston. Tim also serves on Cure JM’s Board of Directors. If you are interested in learning more about Cure JM, please go to http://www.curejm.org/


Texas Super Lawyers Again Honors Seven AZA Lawyers; Three Are Top 100

AZA Lawyers Again Named Among Nation’s Best for Commercial, Intellectual Property Litigation and Appellate Law

AZA Lawyers Named Among Nation’s Best for Commercial, Patent Litigation and Appellate Law

9 AZA Lawyers Again Named Among Nation’s Best for Commercial, Patent Litigation

Houston’s AZA Law Firm Defeats Key Motion in Federal Patent Case for Versata

Houston Litigation Boutique AZA Again Earns ‘Best Law Firms’ National Ranking

AZA Named 2015 Litigation Department of the Year by Texas Lawyer Newspaper

Houston’s AZA Wins Client Choice – Texas IP Law Firm of the Year Honors

AZA’s $11.4 Million Verdict in False Accusations Case Ranked Top Texas Jury Award of 2014 for Intentional Torts

Eight Attorneys from Houston’s AZA Earn Texas Rising Stars Recognition

Houston Jury Awards Tech Company $11.4 Million Over Competitor’s False Accusations to Government Agencies, Customers

AZA Partner Tim Shelby Appointed to Texas State Bar’s Oil & Gas Jury Charges Committee

AZA Wins Texas Supreme Court Patent Agent Privilege Case That Could Have National Import

Former NOV Employee Begins Serving Prison Term for Felony Theft

AZA Obtains Judgment for Apache Corp. in Fraud Suit

AZA Patent Agent Privilege Appeal Named ‘Texas Case to Watch’ by Law360

9 AZA Lawyers Again Named Among Nation’s Best for Commercial, Patent Litigation

Court OKs Litigation Financing in Delaware Intellectual Property Case

Houston Litigation Boutique AZA Again Earns ‘Best Law Firms’ National Ranking

Former NOV Employee Convicted of Felony Theft by Houston Jury

National Oilwell Varco Beats Mud King In Stolen Trade Secrets Case

AZA Partner Tim Shelby Earns Martindale-Hubbell’s Highest Peer Review Ranking

AZA Partner Tim Shelby Quoted in Texas Lawyer, Law360 on Litigation Amid Low Oil Prices

Houston Litigation Boutique AZA Earns National Best Law Firms Ranking


  • Energy companies – Mr. Shelby routinely represents exploration and production companies, refining and petrochemical companies, pipeline companies, oilfield tool manufacturers, and oilfield services companies in a wide variety of energy litigation matters, including breach of contract claims, tortious interference claims, and trade secret misappropriation matters.  Recent victories include:
  • Breach of contract claims – Mr. Shelby took on an oilfield tool manufacturing client that had $35 million in breach of contract claims against it based on supposedly “non-conforming” equipment delivered just after the drop in the price of oil in July 2008.  Within six months of representing the client, he completely changed the dynamic of the case and his client received a multimillion dollar settlement.Mr. Shelby and AZA Partner Todd Mensing recently won a trial verdict for Air Liquide, a Houston-based industrial gases company, in a nearly $4 million fraud and breach of contract case. The jury rejected all of the $2 million plus claims against Air Liquide and then awarded $1.7 million to Air Liquide, representing full damages, including attorneys’ fees.
  • Business claims – Mr. Shelby recently defended an oil purchasing and marketing company against over $150 million in claims brought by multiple producers under various lien statutes.  The producers filed suit after their crude purchaser, SemGroup, filed for bankruptcy as a result of struggles related to the drop in the price of oil in 2008.  The producers claimed that Mr. Shelby’s client had repurchased the oil from SemGroup and the producers’ liens extended to that oil.  After over 200 depositions and a three-day summary judgment hearing, the plaintiffs abandoned their claims against his client.Mr. Shelby also defended a crude purchasing company against over $100 million in trespass claims brought against the company by a large landowner in the Permian Basin.  After securing a summary judgment ruling that significantly reduced the liability in the case, the landowner gave up and dismissed the remaining claims against his client on the eve of trial.
  • Trade secret claims – Representing plaintiffs, Mr. Shelby has secured multiple temporary restraining orders, temporary injunctions, and permanent injunctions for oilfield tool and service companies.  He recently served as the lead trial lawyer for an oilfield tools company in a high-profile bench trial against a competitor who bribed an employee to get manufacturing drawings and then provided them to Chinese manufacturers.  The competitor was forced to take the unusual step of agreeing to the entry of a permanent injunction at the end of the trial.  See this Houston Chronicle story about the case.Representing defendants, Mr. Shelby recently forced one of the largest oilfield services companies in the world to abandon its trade secret claims and dismiss the lawsuit within two weeks of filing suit.
  • Breach of fiduciary duty claims — Mr. Shelby, along with AZA’s Joseph Ahmad and Adam Milasincic, have vigorously defended a former in-house lawyer for Schlumberger against Schlumberger’s trade secret and breach of fiduciary duty claims.  The district court ultimately dismissed the majority of the claims against AZA’s client under the Texas Anti-SLAPP statute and hit Schlumberger with $600,000 in sanctions and attorneys’ fees.  This case has received widespread media attention.
  • Inventors – Mr. Shelby routinely represents inventors in disputes related to the ownership of patents and royalties owed under licensing agreements.
  • Electric and gas utilities – Mr. Shelby represented a large electric and gas utility in commercial, environmental, property-damage, and personal-injury disputes. He also defended a large retail electric utility against breach of contract and deceptive trade practice claims.
  • Insurance brokers – Mr. Shelby defended against professional-liability and business-tort claims asserted against one of the largest insurance brokers in the world.


  • State Bar of Texas
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • United States District Courts for the Southern, Eastern, Western and Northern Districts of Texas
  • Texas State Bar Oil & Gas Pattern Jury Charge Committee 2018-2021
  • Institute for Energy Law, Advisory Board, 2010-2011
  • Houston Bar Association, CLE Committee, 2008 & 2010
  • Houston Young Lawyers Association


Witness Credibility in Trial and Depositions, Texas Lawyer’s In-House Counsel Summit, March 2013.

Strategies for Corporate Representative Depositions, 33rd Annual Corporate Counsel Institute, Houston, Texas, April 2011

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