Texas Lawyer Honors Mary Emma Karam and Amanda Zimmerman with 2017 Professional Excellence Awards


Jackson Walker is proud to announce that Texas Lawyer has honored partners Mary Emma Karam and Amanda Zimmerman with its 2017 Professional Excellence Awards. The awards recognize attorneys who have made noteworthy contributions to the legal community in Texas. Honorees are recognized in one of three categories, including Lifetime Achiever, Distinguished Leaders, and Lawyers on the Rise.

Mary Emma Karam was listed as a Distinguished Leader while Amanda Zimmerman was listed as a Lawyer on the Rise. Both attorneys have displayed excellence not only in their respective practices, but also in working to advance the legal profession, providing pro bono representation, and contributing volunteer service to their communities.

Mary Emma Karam, Distinguished Leader

With a determined approach, pioneering spirit, and a laundry list of successful clients, Mary Emma Karam has established an esteemed reputation in the legal profession. Her forward-thinking nature has been the impetus of her success as a healthcare attorney and as a leader in the legal community at large.

Sensing an opportunity in managed care law, in the early 1990s, Mary Emma helped establish Jackson Walker’s healthcare group which has grown into one of the largest dedicated healthcare law practices in Texas. Assisting clients with managed care contracts has become a significant part of her practice along with counseling clients on strategic planning and helping them navigate the innate uncertainty of the healthcare industry. She has even served as Special Outside Counsel to the Office of the Texas Attorney General on healthcare and managed care issues.

Mary Emma also displays leadership in her outstanding dedication to pro bono service, contributing over 200 pro bono hours each year to organizations and individuals in need.  For her efforts, she has been recognized several times as a Pro Bono Champion by the American Health Lawyers Association. She is also a member of the Pro Bono College of the Texas Bar Association.

Having achieved marked success in her individual practice, Mary Emma has taken on an active role in influencing the careers of younger attorneys. In addition to mentoring several young attorneys, she hosts workshops and gives speeches that teach others how to better serve their clients.  She often advises up-and-coming attorneys to be an advocate, counselor and friend to each client and that short-term gains should never obstruct their efforts to provide effective and ethical service.

Mary Emma continues to distinguish herself as a leader by remaining at the cusp of changes in the evolving legal field. Within Jackson Walker, she serves as Partner Chair of the Business Development and Marketing Committee and advocates for the use of technology in ways that help the firm connect with, understand, and provide an elevated standard of service to clients. Through all industry changes, she emphasizes the importance of ethics and the idea that strong relationships are the ultimate measure of success.

Amanda Zimmerman, Lawyers on the Rise

 Since joining Jackson Walker in 2008, Amanda Zimmerman has rapidly emerged as a leader within the firm as well as in the greater legal community. Her work on several high-stakes cases underscores her legal skills while her pro bono service and volunteer efforts reflect her commitment to the communities she serves.

Amanda, whose practice includes both labor and employment and media law, has an impressive resume of representative matters, including her work on the team that obtained the dismissal of charges brought by the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct against the Chief Justice of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the team that obtained summary judgment on behalf of a large homebuilder client in an FLSA collective action.

As her practice continues to thrive, Amanda maintains a pro bono practice that provides legal services to those in need. Her counseling has helped clients navigate issues dealing with guardianship and the right to make medical and educational decisions on behalf of a child, as well as landlord/tenant disputes.

Outside of her legal practice, Amanda donates much of her time to a variety of community organizations, including Scene (the Alley Theatre Young Supporters Group) and the Houston Children’s Chorus. As a founding member of Scene, Amanda played a pivotal role in establishing the group which supports the Alley Theatre, one of Houston’s most prominent art institutions.

Within Jackson Walker, Amanda applies her experience to mentor young attorneys and serves on Jackson Walker’s recruiting committee. She takes an active role in the firm’s Summer Associate program and maintains contact with participants after the program has ended.

The honorees were recognized at an awards ceremony on September 6, 2017 at the Belo Mansion in Dallas. Each attorney was also profiled in the September 2017 issue of Texas Lawyer.