Karly Houchin thrives on being the most prepared person in the room. As a construction attorney, she guides her clients through each stage of the litigation process, from pre-claim disputes to arbitrations, discovery, negotiation, trial, and everything in between. Sometimes this means piecing together difficult, complex accounting for closeout disputes. Sometimes it means diving into the defect allegations from another party’s expert and grinding through fine details during depositions. Sometimes it means synthesizing complicated constitutional issues for water clients. Whatever the scenario, Karly is always prepared. Karly’s practice focuses on representing clients in water territory disputes, construction disputes, and insurance coverage disputes.
For water disputes, Karly primarily represents rural water districts enforcing federal protection of their territory from the construction and development of water infrastructure by competing water providers.
In construction disputes, Karly represents owners and general contractors in closeout disputes for multimillion-dollar projects. She also works with engineers and architects on professional liability cases and on complex, multiparty disputes.
More broadly, Karly represents all types of clients in insurance coverage disputes against carriers. She analyzes insurance policy terms and negotiates with carriers to maximize insurance coverage for her clients. She also analyzes insurance policies for clients at the early stages of contract negotiation to make recommendations for that specific project.
During depositions, more than one client has observed that she was “the most prepared” lawyer in the room. For Karly, there is no higher praise. An essential part of her preparation is working closely with her clients who have lived through a project and are an invaluable resource. An informed, involved client is every attorney’s best asset, as each case is ultimately about protecting and defending the client’s interests. It’s important to Karly to generate trust with her clients. By having the facts and details at her fingertips, she is able to address what might otherwise be delicate issues straightforwardly and effectively. And clients return to her in the future—they’ve learned to trust her, they know she puts them first, and they want to work with her again. She sees her role as helping them navigate the litigation process and demystifying what can otherwise be a frustrating and confusing affair.
Identifying what a case is really about is fundamental to Karly’s approach to litigation. She identifies and pursues the path that is best for her client, wherever it leads. Karly is prepared to settle the case, take it to arbitration, seek a jury’s verdict, or pursue an appeal.
This flexibility also extends to her attitude toward her cases and her behavior with opposing counsel. Preparation allows her to be collegial, friendly, and cooperative most of the time, but also able to switch gears and be assertive when needed. Her reputation for professionalism typically precedes her, making negotiations more productive and efficient.
When she’s not digging into her cases, Karly is an avid golfer—she played competitively in high school and enjoys exploring courses wherever she finds herself. She’s also an enthusiastic hiker on the trails in and around Austin.
- Successfully second-chaired nine-week bench trial on behalf of engineering firm, resulting in defense judgment (no liability) against eight-figure claims arising out of construction delays allegedly arising out of engineering firm’s design and construction phase services on a wastewater treatment plant project.
- Successfully represented special utility district in territorial dispute with neighboring municipality concerning water rights under 7 U.S.C. § 1926(b) in multiple administrative, state, and federal cases, ultimately securing favorable settlement and federal consent decree on behalf of district.
- Intervened on behalf of rural water district in declaratory judgment action and, after serving as second chair in bench trial, secured favorable ruling narrowing order to avoid interference with client’s state and federal rights.
- Obtained summary judgment dismissal on behalf of design professional for breach of warranty, negligence, and DTPA claims.
- Successfully negotiated settlement of insurance coverage dispute between client (insured) and insurer regarding a total loss claim caused by fire at the project.
- Represented general contractor through several large six- and seven-figure closeout and payment disputes, securing settlements with owners and subcontractors.
- Obtained Chapter 150 dismissal of negligence claim against design firm for its involvement with a City of San Antonio project.
- Obtained favorable negotiated settlement for architect in 10+ party dispute for claims involving alleged design and construction defects at municipal library in East Texas.
- Represented roofing contractor in dispute with insurers to secure seven-figure settlement for alleged construction defects.
- Assisted in securing favorable settlement on behalf of engineering firm on multi-million-dollar claims for alleged defects in wastewater treatment plant design.
- Represented rural water district in appeal to the Fifth Circuit stemming from a federal lawsuit to adjudicate the rural water district’s federal protections afforded by a loan program in 7 U.S.C. § 1926(b).
- Represented developer in dispute with insurers regarding duty to defend and payment of defense costs.
Presentations & Publications
- Virtual Trials and Tribulations
Co-presented to Austin Bar Association Construction Law Section (April 2023)
- Facing the Consequentials: How to Recover, Negotiate, and Waive Consequential Damages
State Bar of Texas 34th Annual Construction Law Conference (March 2021)
- Causes of Action for Construction Disputes in Texas
Basic Course in Texas Construction Law (2020)
- Harmonizing Dispute Resolution Provisions in Construction Contracts
Construction News (February 2020)
- Handle with Care: The Standard of Care for Design Professionals in Texas
Construction Law Foundation of Texas 32nd Annual Construction Law Conference (February 2019)
- Minimizing Risk by Maximizing Compliance with Rules of Professional Conduct
Presentation for HalfMoon Seminars, LLC: Managing Engineering Liability and Risk (January 2019)
- Rebuilding the Economic Loss Rule: A Request for Information on Texas Construction Law
Published in The State Bar of Texas Construction Law Journal Volume 14, Number 3 (Winter 2018)
- Drones: The Eye in the Sky on Construction Job Sites (Read More)
Published by Allensworth & Porter (October 24, 2017)
- State Bar of Texas, Construction Law Section | Member (2017-Present); Young Construction Lawyers Committee Chairperson – Austin (2022 – 2024)
- State Bar of Texas, Insurance Law Section | Member (2018-Present)
- State Bar of Texas, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section | Member (Present)
- State Bar of Texas, Texas Young Lawyers Section | Member (Present)
- Austin Bar Association, Construction Law Section | Member (2017-Present)
- Austin Bar Association, Austin Young Lawyers Association | Member (2017-Present)
- Urban Land Institute | Young Leaders Committee Chair (2020-2022); Young Leaders Committee Member (2019-2020); Impact Awards Committee Member (2018)
- Austin Young Women’s Alliance | Board Member (2018-2019)
- Travis County Women Lawyers Association | Member (2017-Present)
Super Lawyers by Thompson Reuters
- Rising Stars – Texas (2022-2023)
Best Lawyers by BL Rankings
- Ones to Watch: Construction Law – Austin, Texas (2022-2024)
- Ones to Watch: Construction Litigation – Austin, Texas (2022-2024)
Austin Monthly’s Austin Top Attorneys – Construction (2023)
J.D., St. Mary’s University School of Law (2017)
- The Scholar: St. Mary’s Law Review on Race and Social Justice: Managing Executive Editor
- Sandra Day O’Conner School of Law’s Law Review on Social Justice: Credit with honors awarded for publication
- William S. Sessions American Inn of Court: Student Member
- Judge K.K. Woodley Memorial Scholarship Recipient
- B.A., University of Texas at Austin (2014)
Licenses & Certifications
- Supreme Court of Texas
- Admitted to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
- Admitted to U.S. District Courts for the Western, Eastern, Northern, and Southern Districts of Texas
- Board Certified, Construction Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization