J. Michał Zapendowski

PARTNER

J. Michal Zapendowski

PARTNER
Education

Columbia University School of Law, J.D.

Brown University, B.A., magna cum laude

Admissions

State Bar of Texas
Northern District of Texas
Eastern District of Texas
Appears on a pro hac vice basis in proceedings nationwide.

Michał Zapendowski is one of the most tenacious advocates that I have dealt with. I would highly recommend him. ~ Jonathan Collings, Litigation Counsel, Howard Kelford & DuBois

Experience

A native of Warsaw, Poland and a graduate of Columbia Law School, Michał Zapendowski brings an international perspective to his litigation practice. He is fluent in four languages – English, Spanish, French and Polish. Michał has represented financial institutions, businesses, high-net-worth individuals and individuals with strong claims in a wide variety of disputes, with a focus on civil litigation in the $1 million plus range. Michał takes particular pride in fostering a strong relationship with every one of his clients, as evidenced in the References section below.

Michał has experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants in high-stakes disputes in the courts of Texas, California, Delaware, New York and roughly half a dozen other jurisdictions across the United States and in U.S. territories. When representing plaintiffs, he has won three settlements in excess of $10 million, of which at least two-thirds was netted to the client in each instance. On the defense side, he has never seen a verdict or judgment entered against any client.

Despite several job offers from major national law firms, Michał has only ever agreed to work for small litigation boutiques where he can have the freedom to pursue “outside the box” litigation strategies and avoid the type of wasteful, double or triple-staffed and inefficient law practice favored by major national firms.

Michał tries to “think like a businessman, not a lawyer” both inside and outside of the courtroom. He knows that what matters to his clients is the economic bottom line: how much money can be obtained or saved through litigation, net of legal costs. As a result of this business-minded approach, which prioritizes efficiency and outcomes, he estimates his clients’ legal bills to be far smaller than their opponents’ in the vast majority of disputes, and as a rule he never takes on any matter if he does not believe he can generate a positive economic result to his client. He also takes on appropriate matters on a pure contingency basis.

Representative Matters
  • Complex commercial disputes in numerous jurisdictions including the Delaware Superior and Chancery Courts, the New York Commercial Division, California State and Federal Courts, and numerous other jurisdictions.
  • Legal malpractice: Obtained two eight-figure settlements in complex legal malpractice cases against prominent national law firms, while also obtaining the dismissal of another complex legal malpractice action at the pleading stage and with minimal expense to his client.
  • Lottery tickets: Successfully asserted a client’s joint ownership of a $160 million lottery ticket despite the fact that the defendant had physically purchased the ticket, the defendant had been the only person to come forward with the winning ticket, the defendant had never signed any agreement acknowledging joint ownership of the ticket, and the client had waited for many months after the defendant claimed the winnings before asserting any claim to the ticket.
  • Complex tax disputes against the IRS and tax advisors: Won a complex tax dispute with the IRS resulting in a multimillion-dollar tax refund with interest to the client, and another complex tax dispute with a prominent national tax advisor which had induced the client to participate in a tax shelter, and which resulted in a refund of all of the client’s out-of-pocket losses including back taxes and penalties paid to the IRS.
  • Complex fraud and civil claims related to crime: Won two disputes against defendants accused of complex fraudulent schemes, one of which had ties to Italian-American and Romanian organized crime, and the other of which was being actively investigated by the FBI.
  • Reversal of erroneous decisions: Obtained the reversal of an Arizona Superior Court Judge’s erroneous summary judgment decision through a motion for reconsideration before the same Judge, something Arizona local counsel stated he had not seen happen in decades of practice. Pursued a successful motion for reconsideration of a U.S. District Judge’s decision in Saipan, and a successful appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court that reversed the erroneous decision of a Delaware Superior Court Judge.

As noted above, Michał has successfully litigated several legal-malpractice actions and is well versed in how picking the wrong attorney can wreak havoc on a client’s legal strategy. If you have a case that is not going well, it is often not too late to hire new counsel to step in and attempt to turn things around, including by seeking the reversal of erroneous decisions made by the trial judge.

representative clients

Dallas-based Highland Capital Management, L.P., NexBank SSB, their affiliates and principals (in numerous disputes); Saipan-based Bridge Capital LLC, its affiliates and principals (in numerous disputes); Phoenix-based Master Developer Northeast Phoenix Partners and its principals (in numerous disputes); affiliates and principals of Dallas-based JRjr33, Inc. (in numerous disputes); numerous financial institutions, large and small businesses and high-net-worth individuals nationwide, as well as low-net-worth individuals with large claims.

Other Interests

Michał loves backpacking and travel and, together with his wife Meridith, has covered more than 30,000 miles traveling by land across more than 50 countries. His preference is to avoid expensive hotels and tourist venues and experience life with locals wherever he goes. During these travels, Michał reconnected his Polish and American families with long-lost relatives in Argentina descended from a great-great-grandfather who had emigrated there by boat in 1906. Michał has seen the Northern Lights in Newfoundland, traveled north of the Arctic circle twice, eaten tarantulas, various insects and rodents in Southeast Asia as well as snakes in South China, introduced Tex-Mex to a town in Siberia, taught citizens of several African countries how to make Polish potato pancakes. He once suffered a week-long bout of severe Dengue fever in South America, was roofied in an attempted theft in Zanzibar, and has had large, sharp knives thrown at him at a rural Texan Renaissance Festival. Through their travels, he and his wife have collected friends and family on six continents—most of whom remain in frequent contact through WhatsApp—opening windows to unique and differing perspectives on world events as they unfold.

More References

Mr. Zapendowski is extremely experienced, knowledgeable, and hard working. As soon as I approached him about my legal issue, he already had a plan in mind. More importantly, the execution of the plan was perfect. I was very impressed by how efficiently and quickly he worked. He put my needs at the forefront which led to a successful resolution of my matter. I would happily recommend him to anyone in need of a lawyer. ~ Dejan Princip, descendant of Gavrilo Princip

Michał is one of the brightest lawyers with whom I have ever worked. He thinks on his feet faster than anyone I know, lawyer or non-lawyer alike. He always comes up with creative legal options for our companies or family office, usually alternatives which nobody else has considered, and is now our go-to lawyer. ~ John Rochon, Sr., CEO, Richmont Capital Partners, former CEO of Mary Kay