Bloomberg Law
July 27, 2023, 9:00 AM

They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40 - Chris Domingo of Jones Day

Lisa Helem
Lisa Helem
MP McQueen

Please describe two of your most substantial, recent wins in practice.

Last spring, I spent five weeks in San Francisco as a member of the trial team defending Sutter Health in the largest antitrust class action jury trial ever against a hospital system. Filed in 2012 on behalf of 3 million individuals and businesses, the plaintiffs alleged that Sutter used market power to overcharge for hospital services in Northern California.

I led various trial preparation efforts, coordinated, and argued evidentiary issues, and had a stand-up witness role at trial. It took the jury less than eight hours to return a take-nothing defense verdict for Sutter.

I’ve also spent significant time representing Chevron in scores of lawsuits pending in the United States and Nigeria related to a natural gas well blowout alleged to have caused widespread impacts in the Niger Delta. We recently obtained dismissal of five matters brought on behalf of thousands of plaintiffs and seeking over $100 million in damages.

What is the most important lesson you learned as a first-year attorney and how does it inform your practice today?

I learned as a first-year lawyer that if you want an opportunity, don’t sit around, and wait for it—put in the work to make it a reality. When I started at Jones Day, one of my goals was to find a way to get courtroom and trial experience at a young age—no easy task given the prevalence of settlements in the large-scale litigation matters Jones Day routinely handles.

To obtain the experience I yearned for, I spearheaded Jones Day’s involvement in the Houston Volunteer Prosecutors Program, a pro bono partnership with the City of Houston that allows Jones Day associates to prosecute Class C misdemeanors in Houston’s municipal courts. The program was a “win-win” for the city and the firm; the city saved hundreds of thousands of dollars by not needing to hire full-time prosecutors, and the junior associates received real-world jury trial experience.

As a participant in the program, I single-handedly tried 14 cases to verdict. And in coordinating Jones Day’s involvement for nearly eight years, our Houston associate team first-chaired more than 200 jury trials as volunteer prosecutors. This lesson of taking ownership of your career is something that has stuck with me all these years.

How do you define success in your practice?

Success in my practice means becoming a trusted adviser to Jones Day’s clients and helping to develop the next generation of lawyers. On the client side, it means proving that I have the grit, determination, creativity, and expertise to help with their most important—and oftentimes most difficult—legal problems.

It means creating a relationship of trust where I will be their first call when the need arises. I recognize that the work typically cannot be done alone, and I view the practice of law as a team sport.

Success depends on the strength of the team, and I view it as a critical part of my job to mentor and champion the next generation of Jones Day lawyers. Over the years, I’ve taken a lead role with our new associate training program, including teaching associates the art of taking depositions and helping lead our new lawyer persuasive writing program.

I’ve served on the faculty of the firm’s skills-based litigation training programs, and I’ve taken an active role with respect to recruiting talented and diverse candidates. I fully embrace the “Who’s here because you’re here?” mantra and take great pride in the team we’re building in our office.

What are you most proud of as a lawyer?

Although I am extremely proud of the results I’ve been able to obtain for Jones Day’s corporate clients, I am perhaps most proud of the pro bono work that has assisted those who are truly in need. In one such matter, I represented a 16-year-old Salvadoran girl who fled to the United States to escape longstanding abuse in her home country. After years of work on her behalf, she is now one administrative step away from obtaining permanent residency status and lives safely in Texas.

I also take great pride in the work Jones Day does to promote the rule of law in Africa and other developing countries around the globe. I recently traveled to Liberia to co-lead a five-day training program organized through Lawyers Without Borders that focused on combating child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking.

The training brought together more than a dozen Liberian stakeholders, including judges, prosecutors, and representatives from law enforcement and the Ministry of Labor. Our in-country work helped pave the way for identifying, investigating, and prosecuting these crimes, which remain prevalent throughout the country. The trip was a huge success, and we made lasting friendships in the process.

Who is your greatest mentor in the law and what have they taught you?

My greatest legal mentor has been Senior US District Judge Gray H. Miller. I first met Judge Miller as a law student when I obtained an internship in his court. In that role, I honed my legal research and writing skills, learned to argue persuasively, and saw how courts analyze and make decisions when confronted with difficult legal issues.

Judge Miller’s advice and encouragement helped me succeed, and I was thrilled when he contacted me years later to take on a pro bono prisoner civil rights action in his court. The client alleged in that matter that his Eighth Amendment rights had been violated when, after seeking protection from a threatened gang attack, the prison warden refused to transfer him to safety and instead forced him to confront his attackers, leaving him with serious injuries, including a broken jaw and injuries to his neck and face.

I managed the litigation leading up to and throughout trial, handling pre-trial strategy and filings, voir dire, witness examinations, and opening and closing statements. Following a three-day trial, the jury found for my client and awarded him substantial damages that far eclipsed the record recovery for this type of case in Judge Miller’s court.

Chris Domingo of Jones Day and family at a Houston Astros game.
Chris Domingo and Jonathan Hurtarte/Bloomberg Law

Tell us your two favorite songs on your summer music playlist.
“Free,” Zac Brown Band, and “Free Fallin’,” John Mayer. In Texas, you’ve got to have country on the summer playlist. And the Mayer version is a cool twist on a classic. Both oldies but goodies.

Chris Domingo has first-chair trial experience in state and federal courts and concentrates on complex commercial and business litigation, focusing on the energy industry. Domingo is a board member for the Hispanic Bar Association of Houston, where he has held every leadership role, including president. He has also won the Houston Bar Association’s “President’s Award” three times.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lisa Helem at; MP McQueen at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lisa Helem at; MP McQueen at

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