Matthew D. Shaffer, Partner

Matthew Shaffer


Matthew D. Shaffer
3200 Travis Street, 3rd Floor
Houston, Texas 77006
Phone: (713) 524-3500
Fax: (713) 751-0412
Toll Free: (800) 917-1318

Awards & Certification

Houstonia_Badge_matthew_shaffer    tbls-smallgI_92994_Houstons Top Lawyers 2013    Best Lawyer America LOGO  maritime-avvo-10.jpg    SL-logo-270x65

In 1992, Matt Shaffer joined Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., the continuation of a firm that has focused on representing injured men and women since 1964. As a managing partner of the firm, Mr. Shaffer has represented thousands of clients across the United States. Most recently, he successfully settled the largest single victim Jones Act case on record for a client with a brain injury.

He has played a significant role in litigation related to several major maritime disasters, including the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Mr. Shaffer takes pride in bringing an experienced and thorough approach to every case. He is dedicated to providing a high level of support for his clients, who are often surprised to get return phone calls and emails from him well after business hours are done.

More than 25 years ago, Mr. Shaffer began his career in law by representing large corporate clients. In 1992, he came to SMSH and began using his experience to help working men and women recover damages for on-the-job injuries.

Mr. Shaffer is among the small percentage of Texas attorneys who are certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Personal Injury Trial law. He has previously served as chairman of The Texas State Bar’s Grievance Committee for District 4C. He’s also licensed to practice law in Colorado.

Every year since 2006, Mr. Shaffer has been named a Texas Super Lawyer by Texas Monthly Magazine, an honor bestowed on only 5% of the state’s attorneys. He’s also been recognized by H Texas magazine as one of Houston’s Top Lawyers for the People and was selected for inclusion in the 22nd Edition of The Best Lawyers in America (2016) in the practice area of Admiralty and Maritime Law.

Follow Matt on Twitter @ JonesAct

Current Employment Position

  • Partner

Areas of Practice

  • Jones Act
  • Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act
  • Maintenance and Cure
  • General Maritime Law
  • DOHSA – Death on the High Seas Act
  • Maritime Piracy
  • Public Vessel Act
  • Suits in Admiralty
  • Merchant Mariners Act
  • Admiralty Extension Act
  • OSCLA – Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act
  • Military Sealift Command
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents – Plaintiff
  • Texas Trucking Accidents – Plaintiff
  • Houston Motorcycle Accidents – Plaintiff
  • Premises Liability – Plaintiff
  • Railroad Accidents – Plaintiff
  • FELA Claims – Plaintiff
  • Products Liability Law
  • Medical Malpractice

Certifications & Specialties

  • Personal Injury Trial Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, 1998

 Litigation Percentages

  • 100% of practice devoted to litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Texas, 1987
  • Colorado, 1989
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit, 1994
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, 1998
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Texas, 1993
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Texas, 2006
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan, 2009


  • University of Houston Law Center, Houston, TX, 1987, J.D., Doctor of Jurisprudence
  • South Texas College of Law, Houston TX
  • Law Review South Texas Law Review, 1985-1986
  • Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, 1984
  • B.B.A., Bachelor of Business Administration

Representative Clients

  • National Maritime Union

Classes/Seminars Taught/Papers Presented

  • University of Texas Admiralty Seminar
  • Occupational Illness in a Maritime Context—A Plaintiff’s Perspective, 1998
  • Multiple Causes of Action Seminar—Jones Act and FELA, Texas Trial Lawyers Association, 1994
  • Railroads, Repetitive Stress and Restitution, Trial Magazine, September 2011

Honors and Awards

  • Texas Super Lawyer – Selected to top 5% of Texas Lawyers in 2005-2014
  • Texas Top Lawyer for the People – Multiple Consecutive Years Including 2010
  • American Jurisprudence Award – Criminal Law
  • Toxic Tort Seminar – Highest Score
  • South Texas College of Law Law Review
  • Listed in 22nd Edition of The Best Lawyers in America© (2016) for Admiralty and Maritime Law

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Houston Bar Association
  • State Bar of Texas
  • Texas State Bar, Grievance Committee, District 4C, Chairman and Member 2000-2006
  • City of Bellaire Board of Adjustment, 1996-1998
  • Southwest Regional Board of Directors – Anti Defamation League, 1994-1996
  • Colorado Bar Association
  • Association of Trial Lawyers of America
  • Maritime Law Association of the United States
  • Texas Trial Lawyers Association
  • Houston Trial Lawyers Association – Board of Trustees Representative to Houston Lawyer Referral Service
  • Board of Directors, Houston Lawyer Referral Service, 2010-Present
  • Board of Directors, Congregation Beth Israel, 2010-Present
  • Phi Delta Phi




Mr. Shafer helped my family out when I was hurt on a ship offshore. Nice and fair people.

David Q. – Citysearch

Matthew Shaffer is a fantastic Jones Act attorney. He is tough and very experienced. He does so much more than just file a claim. He explains everything, including all of your options.

Peter F. – Insiderpages

Mr.Shaffer was very helpfull through my ordeal and I was very confident he was going to bring out the truth out about the accident of why and how I almost lost my life.

Vincent – Avvo

Matt is a World Class lawyer and the results in my case have allowed me to live in the same high standard I did when I was working. Matt traveled to California too many times to count and despite the flights and headache of travel, Matt always brought his A game. We faced repeated negotiation attempts which seemed many times to be a joke and would have broke lessor men. Failure was not an option for Matt. Matt also has very friendly staff that saw to my needs for various deposition and made sure I had a Hotel room, I only had to show up. Matt also worked with me so that I could give my deposition with ease and how to avoid pitfalls and traps the opposing lawyers would try to set. Today when anyone I know has need of an injury attorney I refer them to Matt because he has the tools and experience you need. When your hurt you need a pro to help you advance and preserve your case. I have worked with many lawyers in the past and Matt is the only one who stands out from the crowd, always ready and aggressive. My employer took me aside at one point and told me that they were very impressed with how Matt was handling my case. That is coming from a World Class company and a great compliment.

Gary – Avvo

These people really care. My husband had an accident on a barge that he was working on and had to have his leg amputated. Mr. Shaffer helped us along the way and so did the rest of the staff. We are very grateful to them! We would recommend them as great maritime lawyers.

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