C. Thomas Kruse

Baker & McKenzie LLP


C. Thomas Kruse serves as the Firm's Litigation Practice Group Chair for Texas. He has three decades' worth of experience as lead counsel in the courtroom (jury and bench trials), and in appeals and arbitrations of complex commercial matters. He has represented clients before the ICC Court of Arbitration as well as in AAA arbitration. He is also a member of the Firm’s National Trial Team for North America. He clerked for the Hon. Ricardo H. Hinojosa in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas from 1989 to 1990. Tom is board-certified in Civil Trial Law by The Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has been recognized professionally numerous times by legal institutions and directories, including Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, The Best Lawyers in America and Texas Super Lawyers.

Practice Focus

Tom's practice focuses on commercial litigation in federal and state courts, both in trials and appeals, and in high-value arbitrations in national and cross-border disputes.. He is highly experienced in representing clients in the energy, engineering/EPC, oil field services industries, and in corporate and financial matters. Tom routinely advises clients in a number of matters involving both long-term and short-term implications, including advising clients before disputes arise. A supremely skilled litigator, he is also adept at keeping his clients' proceedings out of litigation where possible.

Representative Legal Matters

  • Took over as lead counsel for trial of ICC arbitration matter filed by two international integrated energy companies, involving operation and conversion of LNG plant terminal in Latin America, to pursue damage claims and counter claims of over half a billion USD; recently handled live hearing with 3 member ICC Arbitration panel in Mexico City in October 2021.

  • Acted as lead trial counsel in a Texas Court in Houston and obtained a jury verdict after a six-week trial with actual damages of USD 77 million in a judgment awarded in favor of his client, the Plaintiff, a publicly-traded corporation, for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and conspiracy, in an oilfield kickback scheme involving hundreds of millions in international transactions.

  • Working as lead counsel in prosecution of plaintiff case involving claimed insurance exclusion on indemnity provisions for upstream oil company, total indemnity of approximately USD 30 million.

  • Working as lead counsel in dispute matter in initial international arbitration and mediation proceedings for global LNG company based in Asia for failure to deliver at terminal on the Gulf Coast and resulting in damages including loss profit on the spot market.

  • Handled as lead appellate counsel a mandamus proceeding in commercial litigation to the Texas Court of Appeals involving fraud and fiduciary duty claims and the assertion of Fifth Amendment privilege over thousands of records; with the appellate court ruling in favor of the client, an international oilfield supply and services company.

  • Worked as co-lead trial counsel defending an alternative energy company in a supply contract lawsuit involving breach of contract, warranty, and quality claims for component parts for energy electric power fuel cells, with claim alleging over USD 20 million in damages in the U.S. District Court. The case settled successfully immediately prior to the trial.

  • Successfully defended, as lead trial counsel, a lawsuit against an international engineering firm for over USD 33 million in damages over the design and engineering of a petrochemical plant. The case was dismissed with no payment by his client after a year of investigations and litigation.

  • Defended and obtained a dismissal of claims by the US Department of Justice for over USD 42 million, in fines and penalties, over cross-border matters against a major automobile manufacturer. The DOJ dismissed all of its claims after motions, discovery and depositions.

  • Worked as lead counsel prosecuting a claim for a major international engineering firm as claimant in an arbitration before the American Arbitration Association in Houston, Texas, for over USD 50 million in damages under a contract against the owners of a petrochemical plant in Texas. After discovery and motions, the case was settled favorably for his client before trial.

  • Defended a major international energy firm in an arbitration case before the International Chamber of Commerce over claims involving construction and engineering of facilities in South America for electric power generation, processing of petrochemicals, and natural gas pipelines. After the arbitration, handled a related lawsuit challenging the award for a successful decision in the US District Court in Houston, Texas.

Professional Honors

  • BTI Consulting Group Client Service All-Star (2018)

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • International Association of Defense Counsel - Member
  • American Bar Association - Member
  • Texas State Bar - Member
  • Texas Bar Foundation - Life Fellow
  • Houston Bar Foundation - Life Fellow


  • U.S. Court of International Trade~United States (2009)
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas~United States (2005)
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas~United States (2001)
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas~United States (1994)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit~United States (1991)
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas~United States (1990)
  • Texas~United States (1989)


  • Vanderbilt University Law School (JD) (1989)
  • University of St. Andrews (Bobby Jones Scholar) (1986)
  • Emory University (BA Economics) (1985)


  • Speaker, Webinar, “Looking Ahead: Remote Court Proceedings & What All Lawyers Must Consider About Cybersecurity and Ethical Issues,” 12 February 2021

  • Speaker on Panel, "Developments in International Arbitration in the Energy Industry," 5th Annual Oil and Gas Institute, 10 May 2018

  • Speaker, Webinar, "The Perils and Pitfalls of Attorney-Client Privilege for the In-House Counsel," 25 April 2018