About Us

Serving You Since 1912

Crain Caton & James provides legal counseling and client-focused solutions locally and around the world.  Our attorneys are recognized for their contributions to the legal community, their practical expertise, and their legal scholarship by contributing to standard legal texts and presenting papers and speeches to lay and legal audiences.

Leading Today

In addition to the traditional areas of oil, gas, and real-estate law, Crain Caton & James provides legal services in several other areas. Those areas include: administrative, appellate, banking and financial services, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, business planning and taxation, commercial litigation, employment and labor law, energy, environmental, estate planning, fiduciary litigation, insurance and personal injury, intellectual property, international business transactions, probate, trust and guardianship, real estate, and securities.

Crain Caton & James is a Houston based law firm that not only represents clients in Houston and all over the state of Texas but also represents clients across the U.S. and its borders.  Depending on the practice area, some areas have more clients outside of Houston and Texas than other areas.  At the end of the day we are able to represent clients either locally or from abroad.

The firm’s attorneys are graduates of prestigious law schools and universities. Over 10 attorneys affiliated with the firm are jurists on both the federal and state benches. Four members of the firm have served as president of the Houston Bar Association.

Founded in 1912

Founded in 1912 as Kennerly & Warnken, Crain Caton & James has grown into a stable law firm of over 40 lawyers and their highly-qualified support staff without a merger.

Thomas M. Kennerly and Charles A. Warnken established the Houston firm Kennerly & Warnken in 1912. Initially named for its founders, the Firm name changed over the years to include new shareholders. In 1985, the Firm institutionalized the name of Crain Caton & James.

Thomas M. Kennerly received no formal legal education, but taught himself the law by reading numerous law books. He apprenticed for a judge in Giddings, Texas before passing the Texas state bar exam at 19. In 1931, he was appointed United States District Judge, affecting Texas jurisprudence for generations to come.

The Houston Oil Company kept attorneys busy with land law in the East Texas oil fields in the early years of the Firm. During the early 1900s, the Houston Oil Company owned or controlled about 800,000 acres of timberland in East Texas and Louisiana. As a result, the Firm played a key role in shaping the modern-day interpretation of real estate and energy law in Texas.

Although the Firm eventually branched into other areas of law, these early years began a strong tradition of oil, gas, and real estate law that continues at Crain Caton & James today.

Firm Culture

Crain Caton & James understands the importance of Firm Culture and the need to have a collegial and collaborative environment.  After all its employees spend a considerable amount of time at the office and finding a way to make is somewhat enjoyable just makes sense.  Longevity of both staff and attorneys can be found at Crain Caton & James.  Over 55% of the staff have been at the firm for more than 10 years which goes a long way in supporting the importance of culture by management.  Attorneys also tend to remain at Crain Caton & James once they get here.

Industries Served

Our clients are found in various industries, including:

  • Chemical
  • Construction
  • Energy
  • Financial Services
  • Franchising
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing & Industrial
  • Midstream and Downstream
  • Private Clients
  • Real Estate
  • Restaurant, Food and Beverage
  • Software