Unis, Joseph A.

Joseph A. Unis, Jr.




Joe Unis is a Partner in the Firm's Dallas office practicing in the areas of business and energy litigation. He has experience representing and advising various oil and gas exploration and production companies, individuals, health care companies, universities, financial institutions, insurance companies, and other corporate clients with respect to contract, title, and royalty disputes, in all phases of litigation and negotiation. Joe has also litigated patent, copyright, and trademark matters.

With his educational background in finance and sociology, Joe is a relationship-driven attorney, who is committed to understanding his clients’ businesses and their objectives. Joe likes to “think outside the box,” and prides himself in his ability to efficiently resolve cases. Joe assesses and values claims early, so that clients can effectively weigh the cost-benefit of litigation, to inform decisions and maximize returns.  While fully equipped to aggressively pursue matters through trial, Joe is constantly evaluating and reevaluating his clients’ positions—and leveraging their claims and defenses—to effect that common goal. Accordingly, Joe often finds practical business solutions to complex legal issues. 

Joe has federal and state jury trial experience, which includes delivering the opening statement on behalf of his client and cross-examining critical witnesses. He has developed litigation strategies from case inception through resolution, and has drafted, argued, and secured summary judgment motions for his clients. Joe has also taken, defended, and prepared witnesses for depositions, in addition to his experience arguing evidentiary hearings and cross-examining live witnesses. Joe has even represented clients at oral argument in the Dallas Court of Appeals.

Because Joe works to efficiently resolve disputes and conserve client resources, he has also negotiated numerous settlements in a broad range of contested matters, and he has experience preparing for arbitrations and mediations and representing clients at mediation. 

In addition to his litigation experience, Joe has negotiated and drafted leases, surface use agreements, and option agreements for his oil and gas clients, and he has also reviewed and helped draft licensing contracts and purchase agreements for other corporate clients.

Joe is actively involved in the Firm's sponsorship of the Cristo Rey Corporate Work Study Program, helping to develop and support that program within the Dallas Office, since its inception in 2015.

While in law school, Joe externed for the Honorable A. Joe Fish of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, in addition to interning for the Honorable Elizabeth Lang Miers of the Fifth District Texas Court of Appeals. He also served on the SMU Law Review, for which he chaired the Corporate Directors Institute.

Professional History

Firm Committees

  • Dallas office Co-Hiring Partner (2020 – Present)
    • Member of the Dallas Employment Committee (2015-Present)
  • Member of the Dallas Diversity Committee (2020 – Present)
  • Selected by Chair of Locke Lord LLP to serve on Associate Committee, which represents associates in 21 offices and serves as the liaison between associates and Executive Committee (2015-2019)
    • Committee Co-Chair (2018-2019)

Professional Affiliations and Recognitions

  • Board of Directors, SMU PwC Athletic Forum (2019-present)
  • Selected to the Institute for Energy Law's 2nd IEL Leadership Class (2018-2019)
  • Named, Rising Star by Super Lawyers magazine (2014-2020)
  • Patrick Higginbotham Inn of Court, Associate (2013-2014)
  • William "Mac" Taylor Inn of Court, Student Member (Fall 2010-Spring 2011)

Community Leadership

  • Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep, Executive Leader for Job Partner (Fall 2015 – Present)
  • Emerging Leader Board Member, SMU Dedman School of Law (2017 – Present)
  • Board Member, Lamplighter Alumni Council (2017 – Present)
    • Secretary (2018 – Present)
  • St. Cecelia Catholic School, Volunteer Tutor (Fall 2011 – Fall 2015)
  • Jesuit Dallas Young Alumni Association, Committee Chair (2010-2011)