JW Diversity & Inclusion Newsletter – April 2024

April 15, 2024 | Newsletters

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Celebrating Women’s History Month

Mary Emma Karam’s article, “Inspired Long Before I Became a Lawyer,” was featured in The Texas Lawbook in honor of Women’s History Month. She shared about her family, career, and her mother Isabel Zoghby Ackels’ influence. Through mentoring and dedication, Mary Emma continues Isabel’s legacy of compassion and excellence in both her personal and professional life. Read the article »

Retta Miller joined Jackson Walker’s Fast Takes podcast to share how her experiences have shaped her practice at Jackson Walker. From growing up on a farm to becoming a trusted trial lawyer, her story is a testament to perseverance and passion. Retta’s dedication to mentoring young lawyers, particularly women, has left a lasting mark on our firm. Listen to the episode »


Elevating Diverse Attorneys to Partnership

In February 2024, Jackson Walker announced the election of 5 attorneys to the Firm’s partnership. We are proud to share that of our new partners, two are women and are ethnically diverse. Congratulations to Shelisa E. Brock and Tiana DeLeo DunnRead more »

Appointing Our New Environmental, Regulatory, & Legislative Chair

Congratulations to Meghan Griffiths on her appointment as the firmwide chair of the Environmental, Regulatory, & Legislative practice! Read more »

Business Professional Spotlight

On December 7, Holly McCleary was honored with the 2023 President’s Award at the Legal Marketing Association Southwest Region’s leadership transition meeting in Houston. Pedro Rodriguez was honored with the 2024 Woodward Award. The award, named in memory of our late colleague Peter Woodward, celebrates Pedro’s exceptional excellence, dedication, and outstanding contributions to the firm.

Pamela Madere Receives RECA’s Highest Honor

IP’s Texas Litigator of the Year Award

On December 13, Pamela Madere received the Gary S. Farmer Commendation of Excellence Award at the Real Estate Council of Austin’s Annual Meeting and Awards Reception held at the JW Marriott Hotel in Austin, Texas. Read more » Nathaniel St. Clair, II has been named one of just six attorneys shortlisted for the Litigator of the Year – Texas award by Managing IP, a global resource for intellectual property news and analysis. Read more »

Developing Leaders

Jackson Walker selected Shari MaoMaggie Lu, and Devanshi Somaya to participate in two leadership training programs offered by the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD). Read more »

Welcoming New Diverse Talent

As we continue to intensify our efforts to recruit diverse talent, we are proud to have welcomed the following women and diverse attorneys from November 2023 through March 2024:

Heidi Angel
Partner, Fort Worth
Jenny Roan Forgey
Senior Counsel, Austin
Noé Hinojosa III
Associate, Dallas
Holly Hughes
Associate, Houston
Amy Pollard
Senior Counsel, Dallas
Melissa Samano Ruiz
Associate, Austin

Recognizing Achievements

During the fourth quarter of 2023 through the first quarter of 2024, the following women and diverse individuals received notable achievements:

  • Katherine Staton obtained Board Certification from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS) in Aviation Law. This marks the first year that attorneys can obtain certification in this area. Read more »
  • 69 Jackson Walker attorneys were selected to Thomson Reuters’ 2024 “Super Lawyers – Rising Stars” list for Texas. Congratulations to Alisha Mehta Adams, Allison Allman, Victoria Argeroplos, Vienna Anaya, Gabriela Barake, Meredith Brewster, Shelisa Brock, Lindsey Brown, Maggie Burreson, Jordan Byrne, Elizabeth Cone, Amanda Crouch, Taylor Cummins, Anne Derrig, Andrea Thai Egan, Tori Emery, Roderick Faulk, Alicia French, Josué Galván, Gracie Garcia,Alyca Garrison, Genevieve Graham, Kayla M. Hackerott, Mahira Khan, Lindsay Killeen, Taylor Lamb, Daniel Maldonado, Amanda Neinast, Kati Orso, Brian Pettis, Valery Piedra, Elizabeth Pittman, Veronica Polnick, Selby Rains, Matthew Rodriguez, Leah Smith Sanchez, Jessica Schwartz, Jocelyn Slater, Devanshi Somaya, Jackie Staple, Chandler Stephens, Meredith Tavallaee, Sara Thornton, Ashley Withers, and Catharine Yen on their recognition! Read more »
  • 31 Jackson Walker attorneys who were included in the Texas Top Women 2024 Magazine published by Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers. The annual Texas Top Texas Women edition includes the highest-rated women attorneys across the “Texas Rising Stars” and “Texas Super Lawyers” lists. Included, Vienna Anaya, Sue Ayers, Amy Baird, Gabriela Barake, Kathleen Tanner Beduze, Jamila Brinson, Lindsey Brown, Marilyn Brown, Jennifer Caughey, Stephanie Chandler, Greta Cowart, Amanda Crouch, Jennifer Freel, Alyca Garrison, Genevieve Graham, Meghan Griffiths, Dawn Holiday, Taylor Lamb, Julia Mann, Retta Miller, Amanda Neinast, Cynthia Nelson, Kati Orso, Sarah Patel Pacheco, Leisa Talbert Peschel, Veronica Polnick, Jessica Schwartz, Kathy Silver, Jocelyn Slater, Jackie Staple, and Catharine Yen. Read more »
  • Dallas attorneys Vienna Flores Anaya and David Schlottman were included in D Magazine’s 2024 “Best Lawyers Under 40” list recognizing outstanding young attorneys in the North Texas area. Read more »
  • Ali Abazari and Lindsey Moorhead were recognized in Lawdragon‘s third annual guide to the nation’s leading environmental lawyers. Read more »
  • Amy Baird, Jennifer Ferri, Meghan Griffiths, and Jesse S. Lotay were recognized among Lawdragon‘s lists of the 500 leading practitioners in energy law. Read more »
  • 16 Jackson Walker Fort Worth-based attorneys were included in Fort Worth Magazine’s “Top Attorneys” list for 2023. Lauren Azopardi, Taylor Cummins, Brittani Rollen, and Ginger Webber were recognized. Read more »

Achieving Results for Clients

Attorneys across various practices and backgrounds come together to serve the needs of our clients. From the pitch to the end result, our teams include women and diverse attorneys who are involved at every stage of the representation. The following matters from November 2023 to March 2024 were handled by teams that were led by or included women and diverse attorneys:

  • April Vasquez Leibman represented Group 1 Automotive, Inc., a Houston-based automotive dealer, with a long-term lease agreement. The finalized agreement with Moody Rambin will facilitate the relocation of their headquarters to the newly developed Town Centre Two. Read more »
  • April Vasquez Leibman and Taylor Lamb represented Houston-based Hines in finalizing a lease agreement at Texas Tower for British law firm Clifford Chance. Covering an expansive 60,400 square feet across two floors within the 47-story, 1 million-square-foot tower situated at 845 Texas Ave. in downtown Houston, this lease is a significant expansion of Clifford Chance’s footprint within Texas Tower. Read more »
  • Jackson Walker along with Smith Clark Pennington PLLC prevailed in Austin’s Third Court of Appeals in a case concerning the naming rights of the Tom Green County Public Library, which has been intended to be named for Duwain E. Hughes since 1994. Danica Milios successfully representing Charles Hughes in this matter. JW and Smith Clark Pennington PLLC continue to assist Mr. Hughes in fighting for his uncle’s legacy to be honored by Tom Green County as agreed to nearly 30 years ago. Read more »
  • Cirrus Logic has been listed among the top 300 U.S.-issued patent assignees for 2023 by the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO). The Jackson Walker team, that included Paige Welch, Andrea Thai, and Tori Emery, assisted in obtaining 150 of Cirrus Logic’s 169 patents issued in 2023. Since 2012, the team has had a hand in helping Cirrus Logic secure 852 granted U.S. patents and 368 foreign patents. Read more »
  • On January 18, the Texas First District Court of Appeals ruled unanimously in favor of Jackson Walker client Houston PT BAC Office Limited Partnership, the owner of the Bank of America Tower in downtown Houston, in the appeal of a commercial lease dispute arising from a contractual real estate appraisal and arbitration process. Jennifer Caughey led the appellate effort. Read more »
  • Hot on the heels of announcing plans to relocate its headquarters to the newly developed Town Centre Two, Houston-based automotive dealer Group 1 Automotive, Inc. entered into an agreement with Doggett Industries to sell six dealerships and collision repair centers located in Beaumont, Texas. The team included April Vasquez Leibman and Mahira Khan. Read more »
  • On March 7, a jury delivered a unanimous verdict in favor of Cresta 6415 Melody, LLC in a commercial dispute over the interpretation of a purchase and sale agreement of an apartment complex in the Dallas area. In addition to pouring out the plaintiff, the jury awarded more than $500,000 in attorneys’ fees to Jackson Walker’s clients.  the team included Meredith Tavallaee. Read more »
  • On March 20, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hansen dismissed all charges against Jackson Walker client Mitchell Hennessey and co-defendants, ruling that the government failed to state an offense in a case alleging securities fraud. Laura Kidd Cordova led the defense. Read more »

Pro Bon Results

  • On January 22, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in the case of Richard Glossip, who was convicted in 2004 of a murder-for-hire based on the testimony of the confessed killer, Justin Sneed, who struck a deal to avoid the death penalty. Christina Vitale is the co-lead of the independent investigation into Glossip’s case. Read more »
  • Trevor Paul represented an indigent criminal defendant alongside a court appointed criminal defense attorney in Northern District of Texas pro bono. Trevor made an immediate and consequential impact in the defense of his client who was able to successfully negotiate a favorable plea agreement.


  • Alisha Mehta Adams has been elected as a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. Read more »
  • Art Cavazos, Jr. has been selected as a member of the 48th Class of Leadership San Antonio (LSA). Read more »
  • Erica Benites Giese has been selected to the Latina Commission of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA). Read more »
  • LaRessa Quintana has been named to Austin Woman Magazine’s Change Makers List. Read more »
  • Georgina Buckley-Graham has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Bexar County Women’s Bar Association (BCWB) Read more » and as a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. Read more »
  • Pamela Madere has been appointed to the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Austin Chamber of Commerce Read more » and as Secretary/Counsel on the 2024 Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA). Read more »
  • Josué Galván has been elected as a fellow of the San Antonio Bar Foundation (SABF). Read more »
  • Julia Mann has been selected to the Board of Visitors of St. Mary’s University School of Law. Read more »
  • David Schlottman has been appointed as Chair of the Dallas Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Section. Read more »
  • Dana Nguyen has been elected to the Board of Directors for the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers (DAYL). Read more »
  • Joshua Romero has been elected president of the Hispanic Bar Association (HBAA). Read more »
  • Natalie Kosydar has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Women’s Business Council-Southwest (WBCS). Read more »
  • Graham McCall has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Capital for Kids (CFK). Read more »
  • Ginger Webber has joined the Board of Directors of Powerful Purses, Inc. Read more »
  • Sang Shin has joined the Houston Advisory Council Development Committee of Wonders & Worries.
  • Emily Little has joined the Board of Directors of Texas Music Partners.
  • Yenmi Tang has been selected as Vice President of the Asian American Bar Association (AABA) Community Relations and Pro Bono Committee.
  • Kendahl Lee has joined the Asian American Bar Association (AABA) Pro Bono Committee.
  • Amanda Crouch has been selected to the “40 under 40” list by the San Antonio Business Journal, as an Associate Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America, and to the 48th Class of Leadership San Antonio (LSA) Steering Committee.


Minority Bar Associations

Joshua Romero hosted the 2024 Minority Bar Associations Candidate Forum in our Austin office. The Candidate Forum showcased incumbents and challengers running for District Attorney, various Travis County judicial races, the Texas Supreme Court, and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The forum provided participants a great opportunity to hear firsthand from the incumbents and candidates.

UNCF Annual Gala

JW served as a sponsor at the UNCF (United Negro College Fund, Inc.) South Texas-Houston 34th annual “A Mind Is….” Gala in Houston on November 18, 2023, where the theme was “Houston’s Night In Havana”.

Pathfinders Spring Meeting

Devanshi Somaya and Maggie Lu attended Pathfinders Spring Meeting event on February 21-February 23 in San Diego, California.

Sensory Bag Assembling

Our San Antonio office teamed up to assemble sensory bags for Any Baby Can of San Antonio, an organization supported by United Way. Any Baby Can is a non-profit agency providing vital services, completely free of charge, to families with children aged birth through 17 years. From medical diagnoses to developmental delays, they offer support to families across a wide range of counties in Texas.

SALSA President’s Award

On April 10, Robert Soza, Jr. received the President’s Award at the annual San Antonio Legal Services Association (SALSA) Justice Luncheon, recognizing his dedicated service to SALSA. The event celebrates the legal volunteers who provide free legal services to those with limited means, who are vulnerable, or who are at risk.

Holiday Giving and Festivities

Our JW2 group in San Antonio hosted a wrapping party for the young adults of Roy Maas Youth Alternatives, Inc. The wrapped gifts and thoughtful gift cards were delivered to 12 amazing individuals at Turning Point, a transitional living house for homeless/aged out foster youth.

Our JW2 group in Dallas hosted a Neiman Marcus Holiday Party that featured a holiday fashion show presentation to get everyone excited for the season.

Every year, the HYLF Adopt-an-Angel gift drive brings the Houston legal community together to create some holiday magic for some of Houston’s most underserved children. The JW Houston Committee, led by Dawn Holiday and Maggie Lu, adopted a total of 65 Angels.

On November 11, JW hosted a Holiday Trunk Show benefiting Texas Women’s Foundation. The event featured a personal appearance by Christian Siriano and a preview of his 2024 runway collection.

Evening of Chocolate & Champaign

74th Annual Harvest Celebration

Jackson Walker and Origin Bank hosted the 2024 Chocolate & Champaign Annual Event celebrating Kids-U and their commitment to the Dallas community. Miguel Ortiz serves as Vice Board Chair of Kids-U, a local 501c3 nonprofit with a mission to improve the lives of children living in under-resourced communities by focusing on educational, personal, social, and environmental issues. On November 13, Maggie Lu, Yenmi Tang, Carter Dickson, Gabriela Barake, Jennifer Caughey, and Shannon Wright attended the Houston Bar Foundation’s 74th Annual Harvest Celebration at River Oaks Country Club.

Leadership Academy and Convention

On November 8-12, Caroline Capili attended the National Filipino American Lawyers Association Leadership Academy (NFALA) and National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Convention (NAPABA) in Indianapolis, IN.

Catholic Charities Bishop’s Gala

On January 20, Jackson Walker sponsored the Catholic Charities Bishop’s Gala. Mary Emma Karam represented JW and attended with her husband, Dr. Al Karam.

Minority Women Pursuing Law

First-Gen Lawyers

On December 4, Jackson Walker Austin office hosted Minority Women Pursuing Law (MWPL) for a networking event for prelaw students. On November 16, Jackson Walker hosted the Youth Justice Alliance first-gen lawyers for a great night of networking, drinks, and lessons on trademarks.

TCWLA Pathfinders Luncheon

The Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association (TCWLA) Pathfinders Luncheon was held on January 25. Ali Andrews, Katie Carmona, Lenora DuBose, Danica Milios, Morgan Ward, and Jennifer Wertz represented JW.

JW D&I Retreat

On February 7, Jackson Walker hosted our 2024 Diversity & Inclusion Retreat. Our inaugural event included meaningful dialogue, education, and action planning to foster a culture of inclusion, understanding, and belonging for a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

Pickleball for a Cause

Jackson Walker sponsored the Big Brothers Big Sisters Pickleball For Kids’ Sakes fundraiser on December 2. April Vasquez Leibman and her family represented the firm. JW also sponsored the 2nd Annual Mixed Doubles Pickleball Tournament benefiting A Shelter for Cancer Families. Genevieve Tarlton and her doubles partner, Geoff Nelson, played on behalf of the firm and won their division.

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.

© 2024 Jackson Walker