Clients call María Amelia Calaf in times of crisis, when immediate action is required. A seasoned first chair litigator, María Amelia practices complex commercial litigation with a focus on non-compete, non-solicit, and trade secret litigation. María Amelia has a track record of both helping clients protect their trade secrets and defeating unsubstantiated accusations of misappropriation.
Alongside her practice in trade secret litigation, María Amelia also regularly represents clients in disputes concerning business torts, breach of contract, defamation, and constitutional challenges. She has represented clients in a wide range of industries including life sciences, financial services, ag-biotech, oil and gas, renewable energy, semiconductor trading, mortgage companies, online publishers, defense contractors, software developers, and digital media companies. A trusted partner to her clients, María Amelia provides clear-eyed strategic advice that is results oriented and allows clients to make informed business decisions. She is a fierce advocate when litigation is called for, and helps clients understand when a negotiated resolution is the wiser course. In addition to her legal practice, she is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas School of Law, where she teaches a seminar on trade secrets.
María Amelia also has significant experience litigating against the State of Texas. As the former Manager for Complex Litigation for the Attorney General of Texas, she leverages her knowledge of state government to help clients involved in actions against the State of Texas. She is particularly well-versed in pursuing constitutional challenges to state regulation, prosecuting disputes in the state’s administrative tribunals, and navigating Texas Public Information Act (PIA) requests.
María Amelia has been recognized as a Super Lawyer by Thompson Reuters and as one of Austin’s Top Attorneys by Austin Monthly from 2020 to the present, and in 2024 was selected to The Best Lawyers in America. In 2022, Texas Lawyer named María Amelia a Diversity and Inclusion Champion for her commitment to opening doors for women and minorities, especially Latina lawyers. María Amelia is a member of the Latina Commission for the Hispanic National Bar Association and founded the Austin chapter of Cafecitos, a network dedicated to advancing Latina lawyers.
María Amelia is licensed to practice in Texas and New York. Before moving to Texas, she practiced securities and commercial litigation in the New York offices of Goodwin Procter and Boies Schiller Flexner. She began her career as a law clerk for the Honorable Jon P. McCalla in the Western District of Tennessee. María Amelia is a native Spanish speaker.
- University of Texas School of Law, Adjunct Professor, Trade Secret Law
- Hispanic National Bar Association, Latina Commission 2022 to present; Latina Executive Leadership Program, 2021-2022
- Austin Women’s Fund, Grants Committee, 2021-2022; Steering Committee, 2022-2023
- Cafecitos (Latina Network), Austin chapter founder, 2022 to present
- Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association (MAMAs), Board Member, 2017 to present
- Travis County Women’s Lawyers, Member and Mentor, 2019 to present
- Austin Bar Association, Litigation Section Board Member, 2020-2022
- Texas Minority Counsel Program, Steering Committee Member, 2018-2021
- Lloyd Lochridge Inn of Court, Barrister, 2016-2019
- ATX Kids, Board Member, 2017-2020
- State Bar of Texas Foundation, Fellow
- Super Lawyers, published by Thomson Reuters, 2022–present
- Austin’s Top Attorneys, Civil Litigation, Austin Monthly Magazine, 2020–present
- Best Lawyers in America 2024, Commercial Litigation
- Diversity and Inclusion Champion, Texas Lawyer, 2022
Trade Secret, Non-Compete and Non-Solicit Litigation
- Conclusively defeated request for preliminary injunction, at the trial and appellate levels, on misappropriation of trade secret charges against fast-growing newcomer in the used semiconductor trading industry;
- Resolved breach of non-compete and non-solicit covenants on behalf of mortgage provider that had sought to enforce restrictive covenants after a group of former employees joined a competitor and solicited former clients using mortgage company’s resources;
- Successfully negotiated settlement for IT-service provider on trade secret theft charges filed by prior employer, enabling client to fairly compete for clients and market share;
- Prosecuted breach of non-compete covenants and trade secret misappropriation claims against former employee on behalf of life-science company, after employee with proprietary files in his possession joined a direct competitor mere weeks after termination;
- Favorably settled breach of non-compete, non-solicitation and trade secret theft claims against former employee who upon termination misappropriated files containing proprietary client information before joining a direct competitor.
Business Disputes and Business Torts
- Secured dismissal with prejudice, upheld on appeal, of all federal claims including RICO, fraud, and racial discrimination claims for largest privately held Ag-Tech company in the United States;
- Successfully defeated motions to dismiss filed in Texas’s state courts pursuant to the Texas Citizens Participation Act (Texas’s Anti-SLAPP law), including defending dismissals on appeal;
- Leveraged procedural rules to successfully settle breach of contract and business torts claims filed against publicly traded wind-power company across several jurisdictions;
- Confidentially resolved multiple cases involving fraud claims, including lawsuits following the sale of a business;
- Advised multiple clients on how to manage pre-litigation issues relating to disparaging, false online reviews and unlawful online impersonation issues;
- Represented privately held corporation in eight-figure arbitration involving violations of state securities laws and business torts.
Litigation Against the State of Texas and Public Information Requests
- Guided clients subject to Public Information Requests Act through responses and objection process to ensure proper protection of proprietary and confidential information, while minimizing the risk of court intervention;
- Confidentially counseled companies seeking to resolve breach of contract disputes against state agencies through all aspects of a dispute, including advising on administrative proceedings, pre-litigation, and litigation;
- Litigated actions under Texas Public Information Requests Act to protect proprietary information belonging to companies contracting with government agencies.
- Currently seeking to vindicate First Amendment rights of library patrons after a county board selectively banned books discussing race and LGBTQ issues from its collection and eliminated access to online books;
- Challenged the constitutionality of Texas’s voter-take-all law, which awards a presidential candidate all electoral college vote for the state;
- Defended the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in constitutional challenge under the commerce and equal protection clauses to Texas regulatory scheme governing the sale of liquor in retail stores;
- Represented the State of Texas in a First Amendment challenge to credit card regulations in federal district court, prevailing on a motion to dismiss upheld by the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
- “Federal Trials for the State Court Litigator,” panelist, Austin Bar Association’s Civil Litigation Section’s Ultimate Trial Notebook Seminar, Sept. 29, 2023
- “Power in Numbers: Enhancing Latinx Representation in the Legal Profession,” Hispanic National Bar Association Region XII Annual Summit, panelist, Aug. 30, 2021
- Austin Bar Association Council of Firsts, podcast guest, July 5, 2023
- Inside Job: How Businesses Can Protect Valuable Trade Secrets, Corporate Compliance Insights, October 5th, 2022
- Ethical Considerations for Technology Solutions, CLE presentation to Hispanic National Bar Association, 2020 Annual Conference
- Taking, Defending and Preparing for Depositions, CLE presentation to Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association, November 2020
- Austin Technology Council: Roundtable – Women in Tech Discussion on Maternal/Parental Leave Policies, May 22, 2018
- SLAPPED! Understanding Texas’s Anti-SLAPP Lawsuits and Their Implications for Business Litigators, CLE presentation to Business, Corporate & Tax Law Section, March 28, 2018
- Texas Citizens Participation Act: Current and Future Boundaries of “Anti-SLAPP” in Texas, The Advocate, Fall 2018, Volume 84
- Protecting Trade Secrets and Confidential Information, Presentation to SIIA FISD General Meeting, December 15, 2017