JW Diversity & Inclusion Newsletter – February 2021

February 11, 2021 | Newsletters

View the February 2021 Diversity & Inclusion Newsletter »

In Focus

Introducing Our New Diversity & Inclusion Counseling Practice

As employers increasingly seek to create formalized diversity and inclusion (D&I) programs, Jackson Walker’s Labor & Employment attorneys have established a subgroup focused on helping businesses achieve their D&I goals and objectives while adhering to workplace laws and regulations.

Jamila Brinson, who leads our new Diversity & Inclusion Counseling practice, noted: “Having a robust D&I program is important for creating an inclusive and welcoming workplace that respects and celebrates the differences among employees. So, we wanted to formalize a subgroup so that our clients and potential clients know that we’re here, we understand that D&I is a business imperative, and that Jackson Walker can help them achieve their goals.”

Explore our Diversity & Inclusion Counseling practice »
View our summary of the elements of a successful D&I program »


Diversity-Led Teams Achieve Results

  • After a four-day in-person trial, a Jackson Walker team led by Wasif Qureshi delivered a complete defense jury verdict for Roku in what started as a five-patent infringement case brought by ESW Holdings. Prior to trial, the Court granted Roku’s summary judgment motion of no infringement as to two of the five patents. Another patent was dismissed with prejudice. On Friday, April 9th, a six-person jury returned a verdict of no infringement on the two patents-in-suit, invalidated the sole asserted claim in one of those patents, and awarded no damages in the $228 million trial. The team included Leisa Talbert PeschelLearn more »
  • Partnering with Kirkland & Ellis, a JW team led by Kristhy Peguero represented Belk in emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in record time. The team included Liz FreemanGen GrahamVeronica Polnick, and Victoria ArgeroplosLearn more »
  • Stephanie Chandler and Daniel Maldonado advised Geekdom Fund in raising about $1.17 million in a sidecar equity funding round for cloud-based software provider MP Cloud Technologies. Learn more »

Jackson Walker Announces LCLD Participants for 2021

We are pleased to announce the selection of Jesse S. LotayJosué J. Galván, and Eric Wong to participate in two training programs offered by the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity.

Suzan Kedron, chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, said “Jesse, Josué, and Eric are all high-performing attorneys who have demonstrated strong potential to step into leadership positions, which is a key area that our D&I Committee is focused on addressing. We are pleased that they were included in this year’s class.”

Our Firm is a proud supporter of LCLD. Notably, last year was the third time in Firm history that LCLD recognized Jackson Walker among the top 20% of law firms as a 2020 Top Performer.

Read more »

Minoo Blaesche Joins WE LEAD Program

Minoo Blaesche has been selected to participate in the Dallas Bar Association’s WE LEAD program, which is designed to address challenges facing women lawyers by preparing participants for leadership roles within their firms and the communities they serve. Read more »

The Journey of Diversity: A Family Story

In honor of Black History Month, Courtney White shared her mother’s experiences as a “crossover” teacher in Houston and her own experiences as a diverse lawyer with The Texas Lawbook.

“Today, my mom is Director of Mathematics Programs for the Rice University School Mathematics Project in Houston. She instructs teachers from various school districts and shares insights and lessons learned during her 50-plus years in education. Her dedication to her profession and commitment to professional development have always inspired me to do the same in the field of law.”

Read more »

All In

In the 2021 Texas Rising Stars MagazineJamila Brinson was featured in a profile sharing her experiences volunteering for the AIDS Action Foundation in Saint Lucia, the Houston Bar Association’s AIDS Outreach Committee, and the University of Houston Law Center. “I’ve had so many mentors and scholarships that I feel the only reason I’m here and able to be a partner at Jackson Walker is because of the help and encouragement that pushed me along. So I feel like it’s crucial to give back as much as I can,” she noted.

Discover Jamila’s story »
Listen to her Fast Takes interview »

Embracing Diversity in the Law

In an interview with Law360Priya Coffey shared insights about her transition to the Houston managing partner during the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of the legal industry in Texas, and how the legal industry can improve by increasing diversity.

“When I started at the Firm, I was the only diverse person in my section and on my floor. What I love about JW is we’ve always adapted and grown, and they let me be me. I know a lot of my friends who have gone to other places felt like they needed to conform.

The faces of our clients are changing, too. You see a lot of in-house counsel who are diverse and they’re looking for that, and for firms to offer that. I’ve had clients lately saying, ‘Wow, you’ve got such a great mix of people,’ and that to me is great – especially in Houston with how diverse the city is.”

View Priya’s Q&A »

Recognizing Achievements

Jackson Walker proudly congratulates the following women and diverse attorneys on their recent notable achievements:

UHLC Pre-Law Pipeline Program 1L Book Award Scholarship

Congratulations to Bria Jones on being named a recipient of the Jackson Walker 1L Book Award Scholarship!

“Since 2018, the UHLC Pre-Law Pipeline Program has given me the opportunity to gain experience in the legal field through internships with the Juvenile Capitol Advocacy Project and Dena Fisher Law Office. I was able to meet lifelong friends and expand my network to include people with similar career aspirations from all over the world. The Scholar II track helped me prepare for law school, and I can proudly share that I am attending the Southern University Law Center this fall. I would like to thank my supporters and the UHLC Pre-Law Pipeline Program for helping me flourish on a personal and professional level.”

Jackson Walker is a proud supporter of the UHLC Pre-Law Pipeline Program. To explore the Firm’s commitment to developing a pipeline of diverse talent through initiatives such as the UHLC program, visit JW.com/Diversity.


  • As a Family Compass board member, Judy Bennett Garner co-chairs the 2021 North Star Luncheon.
  • Willie Hornberger was named outside general counsel of the Dallas Chapter of Financial Executives International.
  • Sierra Quinonez joined The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as the 2021 Corporate Walk Chair for Light The Night for Tarrant County.
  • The American Bankruptcy Institute selected Tiara Seals as one of five young attorneys to participate in its inaugural Mentoring Program. Read more »
  • Nate St. Clair was named a director of The Family Place, the largest family violence services provider in Texas.


2021 North Star Luncheon

Jackson Walker is serving as the presenting sponsor of the 2021 North Star Luncheon held virtually on Monday, April 26th. The event, which is designed to raise awareness on how to stop child abuse before it occurs, will feature Liz Murray, author of “Breaking Night: My Journey from Homeless to Harvard,” as the keynote speaker.

SMU Women in Law Mentor & Mingle

On January 20th, Jackson Walker hosted its sixth annual speed networking event with the SMU Women in Law group. During this year’s virtual event, JW attorneys were grouped by practice area in breakout rooms and students rotated through the rooms to ask questions about their practice.

PracticePro Southern Career Conference

As a member of the PracticePro Board of Advisors, Bruce Ruzinsky spoke during this half-day virtual conference, which shared tips for job searches, career planning, professional branding, networking, interviewing, business frameworks, and project management.

Color of Justice: “Law as a Career – Preparing the Way”

As middle and high school students from underrepresented communities gathered on March 25th for the Color of Justice virtual speaker series, Chris Mugica joined a panel of attorneys as they discuss their careers in the law. Hosted by the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association (TCWLA) and the National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ), the Color of Justice Program highlights judges, attorneys, and law students as they introduce the legal profession as a potential career path to young diverse students.

“Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession”

Shari Mao joined a panel discussion presented by the St. Mary’s University School of Law Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to share her perspective as a woman of color in the legal profession. Panelists included Anietie Akpan (METRO) as moderator, Judge Yolanda Huff (Bexar County Court #12), Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas), Judge Israel Ramon, Jr. (430th District Court), Stephanie R. Brown (Bexar County Public Defender’s Office), and Michael Ritter (Fourth Court of Appeals).

“Practicing Patent Law After the AIA”

During SMU’s 17th Annual Symposium on Emerging Intellectual Property Issues, Nate St. Clair spoke on a panel including Michael D. Pegues (Polsinelli), Aamir Haq (Hewitt Packard Enterprise), and Angela Oliver (Haynes and Boone).

These materials are made available by Jackson Walker for informational purposes only, do not constitute legal advice, and are not a substitute for legal advice from qualified counsel. The laws of other states and nations may be entirely different from what is described. Your use of these materials does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Jackson Walker. The facts and results of each case will vary, and no particular result can be guaranteed.

© 2021 Jackson Walker

In This Story

Ali Abazari
Partner, Austin

Vienna Flores Anaya
Associate, Dallas

Minoo S. Blaesche
Partner, Dallas

Jamila M. Brinson
Partner, Houston

Jennifer Caughey
Partner, Houston

S. Priya Coffey
Partner, Houston

Amanda N. Crouch
Partner, San Antonio

Josué J. Galván
Associate, San Antonio

Gracie Garcia
Associate, Fort Worth

Genevieve Graham
Partner, Houston

Meghan E. Griffiths
Partner, Austin

William H. Hornberger
Partner, Dallas

L. Suzan Kedron
Partner, Dallas

Jesse S. Lotay
Partner, Houston

Shari Y. Mao
Partner, San Antonio

James Carlos McFall
Of Counsel, Dallas

Lindsey C. Moorhead
Partner, Houston

Christopher R. Mugica
Partner, Austin

Kati Orso
Partner, Austin

Jorge A. Padilla
Partner, Austin

Leisa Talbert Peschel
Partner, Houston

Veronica A. Polnick
Partner, Houston

Sierra R. Quinonez
Partner, Fort Worth

Wasif Qureshi
Partner, Houston

Denise Rose
Partner, Austin

Bruce J. Ruzinsky
Partner, Houston

David Schlottman
Partner, Dallas

Jeremy I. Sheng
Partner, Houston

Michelle Moore Smith
Partner, Austin

Nathaniel St. Clair, II
Partner, Dallas

Jennifer F. Wertz
Partner, Austin

Courtney J. White
Research Attorney, Dallas

Ashley P. Withers
Associate, Dallas

Catharine Yen
Senior Counsel, Houston