The Last Trial of T. Boone Pickens (Texas A&M University Press) is a high-stakes courtroom drama told through the eyes of Chrysta Castañeda, the lead trial lawyer for T. Boone Pickens in his winning trial about an oil deal gone wrong. It’s the story of an American business legend still fighting in the twilight of his life, and the woman determined to help him make one final stand for justice.
Pickens, who died in September of 2019, was 88 by the time of the 2016 trial in Pecos, Texas. He had made and lost billions over his long career. He’d come to Pecos seeking his share of what had become the biggest oil play he’d ever invested in, an oil-rich section of far West Texas that was primed for an unprecedented boom at the time he invested. After years of dealing with the media, shareholders and politicians, Pickens would need to win over a dozen West Texas jurors in one last battle.
To lead his legal fight, he chose an unlikely advocate. Chrysta Castañeda was a Dallas solo practitioner who had only recently returned to the practice of law after a hiatus borne of disillusionment with big firms. They shared an unwavering determination to win and formed a friendship that spanned their differences in age, politics and gender.
The book was co-authored with Loren Steffy, a leading journalist who covered Pickens over the decades for Texas Monthly and other publications. Steffy is the author of three other books: George P. Mitchell: Fracking, Sustainability and an Unorthodox Quest to Save the Planet (Texas A&M University Press, 2019), Drowning in Oil: BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit (McGraw-Hill, 2010) and The Man Who Thought Like a Ship (Texas A&M University Press, 2012).
Castañeda is a Dallas trial lawyer and head of The Castañeda Firm, a litigation boutique specializing in complex commercial oil and gas disputes. Chrysta formed her own firm in 2014 and has won accolades including the National Law Journal’s Elite Trial Lawyers award and has been named to the Texas Lawyer’s Verdicts Hall of Fame. Chrysta is a candidate in the 2020 Democratic Primary for Texas Railroad Commission, running on an environmental platform.
Loren Steffy is a journalist and author of three other books: George P. Mitchell: Fracking, Sustainability and an Unorthodox Quest to Save the Planet (Texas A&M University Press, 2019), Drowning in Oil: BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit (McGraw-Hill, 2010) and The Man Who Thought Like a Ship (Texas A&M University Press, 2012).