A seasoned attorney with many years of experience in construction, contract, environmental, international, maritime and civil law, Patricia McGarvey Rosendahl excels as of counsel with Greenberg Traurig LLP. In her current practice, she focuses on construction and environmental matters while advising clients on governmental regulations and environmental aspects in public and private construction projects, oil and gas recovery projects, insurance coverage matters, and remediation projects, among other matters. Prior to her current position, she practiced law with the Coats Rose Law Firm from 2005 to 2011; with the St. Paul Companies, Inc./Travelers Insurance from 1995 to 2005; and with McLeod, Alexander, Powel & Apffel, PC, from 1987 to 1995.
Prior to becoming an attorney, Ms. Rosendahl was a compliance officer for long term care facilities with the Texas Department of Health and Human Services from which she was recruited into a special task force established by the Texas attorney general to prosecute non-compliant facilities. Having never previously considered law as a career, this experience made her re-evaluate the legal profession and she immediately thereafter applied to law school, effectively commencing her career as a lawyer. Ironically, she had been urged to apply to law school immediately after receiving her undergraduate degree with a 4.0 GPA, but she had initially rejected this option. At the time, she was a mother with a small child and financial obligations, so she felt the need for immediate gainful employment. She also wanted time to reflect on her choice of a lifetime career before pursuing a post-graduate degree. As events unfolded, her years working for the state of Texas eventually led back to the practice of law. She now believes that life experiences have a way of creating paths meant to be followed.
Ms. Rosendahl considers the highlight of her career to be, not only the successful resolution of many intractable high-value disputes that potentially affected not just clients but the livelihoods of countless others, but the opportunities she has had to travel extensively, both nationally and internationally, due to the nature of her litigation work, which has led to meeting a wide variety of interesting and talented people. She attributes her professional success to hard work, intellectual curiosity, good communication skills, fearlessness and a reputation for being very thorough.
Alongside her primary responsibilities, Ms. Rosendahl has contributed her skills to a number of other professional endeavors. A member of the Texas Bar Foundation, she has authored, over a period of years, a number of appellate briefs and a variety of articles for professional journals, including Law360 and her firms’ websites. She also previously served as the head articles editor for the Houston Journal of International Law. Ms. Rosendahl remains aware of changes in the legal field through her professional memberships in the international, environmental and construction sections of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas and the Houston Bar Association.
In 1975, Ms. Rosendahl earned a Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, from the University of Texas at Austin before being admitted to the University of Houston Law Center, where she obtained a Doctor of Jurisprudence and was inducted into the Order of the Barons in 1987. Since obtaining her law degree, she has been admitted to practice law through the State Bar of Texas, the U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Northern, Eastern and Western Districts of Texas, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
In her community, Ms. Rosendahl has done considerable work in environmental conservation and is an active member of the Arbor Day Foundation. Notably, she and her husband purchased a neglected piece of rural property in Texas with the intent to restore it. After restoring the 100-year-old farmhouse and an antique wooden railcar that was found in a collapsing barn, they began working to turn the property into a nature conservancy by replanting native vegetation to encourage the return of native wildlife. Currently, Ms. Rosendahl is trying to grow San Jacinto apples, an endangered variety of Southern heirloom apple that is unique to Texas. For her work with this property, she was presented with the Conservancy Award from The Nature Conservancy, a global environmental organization.
For her professional excellence, Ms. Rosendahl, together with her firm, received an award for Best Multi-Disciplinary Law Firm and was named USA & Environmental Liability Expert of the Year by Houston Legal Awards in 2017. She was listed in the Chambers USA Guide for Environmental Practice in 2015-16, and her work with her firm was recognized in the U.S. News and Best Lawyers’ “Best Law Firms” edition as Law Firm of the Year in Environmental Law that same year. In 2015, she was knighted by the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem at Balgonie Castle in Scotland. Earlier, she was highlighted in Women in Business Magazine in the United Kingdom and was named Boss of the Year by the Galveston Legal Secretaries Association. Looking toward the future, Ms. Rosendahl is planning for her retirement, though she intends to continue working in some capacity even in retirement.
Ms. Rosendahl advises those looking to pursue a similar legal career to avoid cynicism, take pride in your work, and strive to develop a deep sense of your own worth and your role in helping others. When you look back over your career, you will want to know that you have upheld the rule of law for future generations.
Ultimately, Ms. Rosendahl feels that a meaningful life cannot be built solely on a successful career. She attributes having the good fortune to live her life in the midst of a close extended family as the strong foundation on which all other achievements have been built. Born in Galveston, Texas, to parents James Ligon McGarvey and Elvera McCoy McGarvey, she has been married to her husband, Torben Rosendahl, for many happy years. She is also the proud mother of five children, James, Erik, Alicia, Jennifer and Katherine, and grandmother to five wonderful grandchildren, Elaine, Clara, Lorelei, William Henry and William. Ms. Rosendahl’s extended family also includes a number of people who, like her, have entered the field of law, including her daughter Katherine, now in law school; daughter-in-law Cassandra, who specializes in real estate law; sister-in-law Genevieve, who specialized in family law; and cousin Kenneth, who specializes in criminal law. She is deeply grateful to all those who have continually reminded her of what is truly important in life.