Michael Cancienne is drawn by challenges and driven to win. His courtroom success is the result of two simple but powerful actions: listening and preparation.

Those skills have enabled him to prevail in a range of commercial matters across various jurisdictions including state and federal courts, regulatory bodies, and within alternative dispute resolution settings. Representing both plaintiffs and defendants, Michael enjoys all aspects of trial work, from factual investigation through trial. He maintains a broad practice, but focuses on commercial, construction, and insurance matters.

Clients find that by involving Michael in their case early on, he is able to add value at every stage of a dispute. This approach can often lead to resolution before the dispute goes into litigation, saving his clients time, money and resources. Becoming involved early also helps Michael build strong relationships with his clients, focusing his counsel on what is most important to them.

If a case does go to trial, Michael’s courtroom experience gives him a distinct advantage. Always thoroughly prepared, he has learned what to look for over the years, anticipating outcomes and crafting strategic, pre-emptive responses.

Michael’s collaborative approach with clients is rooted in the firm’s client-centered ethos. He and his colleagues seamlessly lend their skills and knowledge to each other’s cases whenever they think it will help. Their common goal is solving problems, effectively and efficiently.


Construction Dispute

  • Represented owner in claims related to the delayed completion of a chemical plant expansion and defended claims related to cost overruns in Louisiana state court.
  • Represented owner in claims related to construction of food processing facility in AAA arbitration.
  • Represented owner in claims related to delayed completion of offshore gas processing facility in private arbitration.

Breach of Contract

  • Represented supplier of frac sand related to breach of “take or pay” supply agreement in AAA arbitration.

Commercial Tort

  • Defended investment firm in tortious interference claims by financial advisory firm related to funding provided by investment firm to oil and gas exploration company in Texas state court.

Breach of Purchase Agreement

  • Represented industrial gas company in claims related to income taxes owed following purchase of corporation in Western District of Oklahoma.
  • Represented sellers in claims related to payment of taxes following sale of corporation, including claims for fraud and breach of contract in Texas state court.

Land Title Dispute

  • Represented sellers in arbitration involving title disputes in Utica shale stemming from asset sale.

Commercial Dispute

  • Represented manufacturer in warranty claims related to construction of pipe manufacturing facility in Baytown, Texas.

Personal Injury

  • Represented oilfield service company in personal injury claims in Texas state court.
  • Provided defense and negotiated settlements of personal injury claims, property damage claims, and first party claims, including completion of multiple jury trials as first chair.

Insurance Dispute

  • Provided counsel to petrochemical company regarding first party claims against insurer.
  • Defended claims related to insurance company’s duty to defend and indemnity in Texas state courts.
  • Louisiana State University Hebert Law Center, J.D., B.C.L, 2006
    • Member, Order of the Coif; Member, Louisiana Law Review
  • Louisiana State University, M.B.A., 2005
  • Louisiana State University, B.S., International Trade & Finance, 2002
  • Law clerk to the Honorable Frank J. Polozola of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana
  • Partner, Baker & Botts, LLP
  • Michael’s professional success has been recognized by his peers and he his clients. His honors and awards include:
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2021-2024
  • Named a Texas Super Lawyer by Thomas Reuters, 2021-2023
  • Named a Texas Super Lawyer-Rising Star by Thomson Reuters, 2013-2020
  • Named a 500 Leading Litigator in America by Lawdragon, 2023

  • “2016 Energy Litigation Outlook: How Low Hydrocarbon Prices Create New Litigation Risks.” Baker Botts CLE (with Jason Newman, Meghan McElvy and Bill Kroger).
  • “Early Dismissal: Rule 91a and Anti-SLAPP,” State Bar of Texas 38th Annual Advanced Civil Trial Course, July-October 2015 (with Adam Milasincic).
  • Guest Lecturer – Conflicts of Law, University of Houston Law Center (2011).
  • “Insurer Antitrust action Dismissed on Standing Grounds,” The Insurance Policy – Updates, 2005 (with William Katz).
  • “Smith v. LASERS: A Judicial Correction to a Legislative Miscalculation,” 65 La. L. Rev. 881 (January 2005).

In addition to his career, Michael provides pro-bono legal services for causes he is passionate about, contested family law disputes and immigration cases. Repeatedly recognized for his pro-bono efforts, Michael previously served on the board of the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Programs, a non-profit service of the Houston Bar Association that arranges for free legal services to low-income people in the Harris County area.