Joseph Y. Ahmad


Joseph Y. Ahmad


Joseph Y. Ahmad, a founding partner in the Houston law firm of Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C., is a lawyer for executives and has been recognized nationally as one of the best lawyers in his field. He represents executives in a variety of matters, including breach of contract, trade secrets, covenants not to compete, breach of fiduciary duty and other matters.

He was elected to the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates, an elite group of the country’s leading judges and civil trial lawyers. He has been selected by his peers as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” since 2003 and he was named a “2015 Lawyer of the Year” in the Houston area. Mr. Ahmad has been recognized as a leading lawyer in “Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.” He has been named to the Texas Super Lawyers list since 2003, been on the Texas Super Lawyers Top 100 in Houston since 2006, and been in the Texas Super Lawyers Top 100 in Texas every year but one since 2006. He was also named a Benchmark Litigation Star in 2016.

Having tried more than 50 cases to a verdict, and argued more than a dozen cases on appeal, he is a nationally recognized expert and frequent lecturer on a variety of law topics for organizations such as the American Bar Association, State Bar of Texas, The University of Texas School of Law, and the University of Houston Law Foundation.  He has been a frequent commentator on legal issues for various media entities, including The Wall Street JournalThe New York Times, Houston Chronicle, and local television stations.

His more recent engagements include representing: a general counsel sued for trade secret theft, an owner of an accounting practice who signed a covenant not to compete and employment agreement with the buyer of his practice, and a group of physicians with senior administrative roles within their medical center to represent them in a breach-of-contract dispute.


Mr. Ahmad also maintains a blog, Legal Issues in the Executive Suite, where he explores issues involving trade secrets, covenants not to compete, executive compensation and other matters of importance to executives. Click here to read Legal Issues in the Executive Suite.


Nine Attorneys from Houston’s AZA Named to Texas Super Lawyers List

Nine AZA Lawyers Named Among Nation’s Best for Commercial, Patent Litigation

AZA Wins Sanctions Order Against Wells Fargo in Securities Fraud Lawsuit

Chambers USA Ranks AZA Again Among Top Texas Commercial Litigation Firms

AZA, Firm Attorneys Again Earn Chambers USA Commercial Litigation Honors

Houston’s AZA Law Firm, 3 Name Partners Earn Benchmark Litigation Honors 

Houston Litigation Boutique AZA Again Earns ‘Best Law Firms’ National Ranking

AZA Co-Founder Joseph Ahmad Offers Tips on Courtroom Effectiveness in Interview with Law360

Eight Lawyers with Houston Litigation Firm AZA Chosen for Texas Super Lawyers List

Eight Lawyers from AZA Named Among Nation’s Best for Commercial, Patent Litigation

AZA Spotlighted in News Story “‘Two Greeks and a Sheik’: AZA is Exhibit A for Litigation Boutiques”




  • Law Clerk to Hon. Benjamin F. Gibson, U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan, 1987-89.
  • University of Michigan, J.D., 1987.
  • Lawrence University, B.A. with honors, 1984.


  • Admitted to bar 1987, Michigan; 1989, Texas.
  • Admitted to all state and federal courts in Texas; U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan; U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin; U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York; U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York; U.S. District Court, District of Colorado; U.S. District Court, District of North Dakota;U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit; U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, 1996.


  • Houston and American Bar Associations (Sections: Litigation; Labor and Employment Law; Co-Chair of Trade Secrets, Covenants Not to Compete and Duty of Loyalty Subcommittee)
  • State Bar of Texas (Sections: Labor; Litigation)
  • Texas Trial Lawyers Association
  • The Association of Trial Lawyers of America
  • National Employment Lawyers Association
  • Houston Chapter, National Employment Lawyers Association (past president – 2000)
  • Fellow, Houston Bar Foundation
  • Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation


  • Brady v. Fort Bend County and R. George Molina, 58 F.3d 173 (5th Cir. 1995), reh’g en banc granted (Aug. 25, 1995), appeal dismissed (Nov. 17, 1995)
  • Primeaux v. Conoco, 961 S.W.2d 401 (Tex.App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1997, no writ)
  • Washinton v. HCA Health Services of Texas, Inc., 152 F.3d 464 (5th Cir. 1998), cert. granted 119 S.Ct. 2388 (1999)
  • Brady v. Fort Bend County, 145 F.3d 691 (5th Cir. 1998), cert. denied 119 S.Ct. 873 (1999)
  • Pratt v. City of Houston, Tex., 247 F.3d 601 (5th Cir. 2001)
  • Siler-Khodr v. University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, 261 F.3d 542 (5th Cir. 2001)
  • Mota v. University of Texas Houston Health Science Center, 261 F.3d 512 (5th Cir. 2001)


The Federalization of Trade Secrets – Working with the Defend Trade Secrets Act, American Bar Association, Section of Labor and Employment Law, July 2016

Counterclaims and Anti-SLAPP Actions: What Happens When the Tide Turns?, American Bar Association Employee Rights and Responsibilities Committee, March 2016

Voir Dire: Finding Your Enemies, The University of Texas School of Law CLE – Trial Skills Training Camp, October 2015

SOX, OSHA, and Beyond: Litigating Whistleblower Claims at the U.S. Department of Labor, HBA Labor & Employment Law Section – Newest Developments in
Litigating Whistleblower Claims, October 2015

Covenants Not to Compete: Where We Are Now, TX Employment Lawyers Association Annual TELA Conference, October 2015 in San Miguel, Mexico

Recent Developments In Whistleblower Law: From a Whistleblower Lawyer’s
NELA Webinar – Recent Developments in Whistleblower Law, September 2015

Trade Secrets and IP in the Age of Employee Mobility, ABA National Symposium on Technology in Labor and Employment, Panelist, March 2015 in Naples, Florida

Covenants Not to Compete and Trade Secrets, ABA Section of Labor Employment Law – Technology in Labor & Employment Law, March 2015 in San Francisco California

Code Red: Emergency Injunctive Relief in Non-Compete Cases, ERR Midwinter Meeting – ABA Section of Labor & Employment Law Employment Rights and Responsibilities, March 2015

Trade Secrets and Non-Compete Agreements in Texas: The Law is Changing. Are You Keeping Up? Texas Bar CLE Webcast, Panelist, December 7, 2010.

The Dodd-Frank Act: What it Means for Employment Lawyers, Texas Bar CLE Webcast, Panelist, November 30, 2010.

What the Texas Attorney Needs to Know About Unfair Competition and Non-Compete Claims,; Online CLE Seminar; 2010.

The Generational Effect of Juror Attitudes – Panelist, American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law Annual Meeting, August 5-10, 2010, San Francisco.

Employee Handbooks: The Good, The Bad, The Useless – Panelist, South Texas College of Law CLE, 23rd Annual Employment Law Conference, July 15-16, 2010, Houston.

What You Need to Know About Unfair Competition and Non-Compete Claims, Houston Bar Association Continuing Legal Education; January 28, 2010, Houston.