Class Notes

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Melissa Andrews '04

Melissa Andrews

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Melissa Andrews has been appointed by Governor Abbott to the new Third Business Court Division in Austin. Andrews, who is an equity partner at Holland & Knight, will work to resolve complex commercial disputes in Texas.

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Scott Field '95

Scott Field

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Scott K. Field has been appointed by Governor Abbott to serve as one of the first three members of the Fifteenth Court of Appeals. Field, who previously served as a justice of the Third Court of Appeals, will be working to ensure the Texas Constitution and state statutes are applied uniformly throughout Texas.

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Portrait of Vincent Perini

Vincent Perini

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Vincent Perini passed away on June 3, 2024. Perini served as president of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association in 1979-80, president of the Dallas Bar Association in 1986, and was inducted into the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Hall of Fame in 2019.

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Portrait of Peggy Walsleben Thompson

Peggy Walsleben Huffman Thompson

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Peggy Walsleben Huffman Thompson passed away on May 29, 2024. Thompson served as the executive director of the Fort Worth Legal Foundation’s Legal Aid Clinic for almost 10 years; she then became an attorney advisor in the Real Estate Division of the Fort Worth District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, where she served for 20 years before her retirement.

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Portrait of Lisa Salinas

Lisa Salinas Schneider

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Lisa Salinas Schneider has been appointed as the first general counsel at SpyCloud, a leader in Cybercrime Analytics. Schneider, who joined SpyCloud in 2020 after establishing the legal department at TrendKite and holding in-house roles at Apple and Xerox Services, will now oversee all legal and regulatory affairs for the company.

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David J. Beck

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Founding Partner

David J. Beck was honored in the Chambers USA 2024 Guide in the practice areas of Litigation: Trial Lawyers and Litigation: General Commercial and named a 2024 Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyer. Beck is a trial lawyer and founding partner at Beck Redden LLP. Beck is a trial lawyer and founding partner at Beck Redden LLP and is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

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Alistair Dawson

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Alistair Dawson has been honored in the Chambers USA 2024 Guide in the practice area of Litigation: General Commercial and named a 2024 Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyer. He also was appointed to Texas’ Supreme Court Advisory Committee.  A partner at Beck Redden, Dawson serves on the Texas’ Supreme Court Advisory Committee, a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Board of Trial Advocates, and a commissioner on the Texas Equal Access to Justice Commission.

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Fields Alexander

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Fields Alexander was honored in the Chambers USA 2024 Guide in the practice area of Litigation: General Commercial and was named a 2024 Lawdragon 500 Leading Energy Lawyer. Alexander is a partner at Beck Redden LLP, where he specializes in trial law involving commercial transactions, business torts, professional malpractice, and energy litigation.

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Kate Goodrich headshot

Kate Goodrich

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Kate Goodrich was ranked by Chambers as a “Nationwide Associate to Watch” in the Government Relations: State & Local category. She has been a government affairs consultant with Jackson Walker for four years after working in the Texas Senate.

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Jesse Pierce

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Jesse Pierce, partner at Pierce & O’Neill, has been recognized by Chambers USA for the 16th year for his commercial litigation practice in Houston. He also received national Band 1 rankings—the highest honor—for excellence in oil and gas matters. Pierce has tried cases in state and federal courts, representing both plaintiffs and defendants across all areas of complex litigation, including oil and gas matters, environmental issues, product liability, securities and corporate matters, and others.

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Jack O’Neill

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Jack O’Neill, managing partner at Pierce & O’Neill, has been honored by Chambers USA or his commercial litigation expertise. With more than 50 years experience, O’Neill handles large-scale commercial litigation including disputes involving energy and trade secret issues, and has successfully tried numerous cases relating to virtually all aspects of the oil and gas business.

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Scott Clark

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Scott Clark of the Houston trial law firm Alavi Anaipakos has earned selection in the 2024 Chambers USA guide based on his work in high-stakes intellectual property lawsuits.

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Brad Caldwell

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Brad Caldwell of the Dallas law firm Caldwell Cassady & Curry has earned selection in the 2024 IAM Patent 1000 based on his work in high-stakes intellectual property trials.

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Kenneth Perez

Kenneth Perez

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Kenneth Perez passed away on May 29, 2024. A native of New Orleans, Perez dedicated his legal career to people’s welfare. He and his wife were avid travelers.

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Portrait of Thomas Terrell

Thomas Terrell

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Thomas Terrell passed away on Jan. 19, 2024. At Texas Law, Terrell was a member of the Order of the Coif and Texas Law Review, in addition to serving as a quizmaster. A U.S. Army veteran, he started his legal career in Austin before establishing a practice in Kerrville, Texas.

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Portrait of Gilbert Prud'homme

Gilbert Prud’homme

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Gilbert Prud’homme passed away on May 24, 2024. Prud’homme worked as an attorney in Austin for six decades and devoted time to serving his community.

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lynda tealer headshot

Lynda Tealer

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Lynda Tealer was announced as the new senior vice president of championships for the NCAA. Tealer will be overseeing 84 NCAA championships after having spent the past 21 years at the University of Florida, where she oversaw the Gator women’s programs and men’s basketball.

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Portrait of Jack Maroney

Jack Maroney II

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Jack Maroney II passed away on May 18, 2024. A United States Marine Corps veteran, was the last survivor of the Marine Detachment that served on the USS Enterprise (“Big E”) during WWII. Maroney completed law school after the war and worked for multiple law firms over a 50-year career.

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Mike Cotton

Mike Cotten

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Mike Cotten passed away on May 25, 2024. Cotten played varsity football for the University of Texas before serving in the US Marine Corps and building a successful 42-year career in the practice of law with Clark, Thomas Law Firm.

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Susan Salch

Susan Salch

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Susan Salch married Ty Sanders on March 23, 2024, in Austin. Texas Law alumna Edythe Payan was a bridesmaid, and many other alumni were in attendance, including Elizabeth Pearsall Lippincott, Cindy Olson Bourland, John Gillard, David McDowell, Jackie Lain Nussbaum, Katie Carmona, Tim Tyler, Bill Hopkins, Leslie Strauch, Greg Shields, Tiffany Roper and Mike Marcin. Salch has been a managing partner at Cantilo & Bennett, LLP since 2018.

Robert L. Tobey

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Robert L. Tobey has been appointed to the Board of Legal Aid of Northwest Texas and elected to the Texas Bar College Board of Directors. Tobey is a shareholder at Johnston Tobey Baruch.

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Jon Burrows

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The Hon. Jon Burrows recently retired after 20 years as County Judge of Bell County. Burrows served on the boards of directors of the Texas Association of Counties and the National Association of Counties. He was past president of the North & East County Judges and Commissioners Association and served two terms as president of the National Conference of Republican County Officials. He had practiced law in Temple, where he was board certified in Residential and Commercial Real Estate Law.

Jan Soifer

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The Hon.

Judge Jan Soifer recently was honored with the Austin Bar Association’s Larry F. York Mentoring Award. Judge Soifer is the judge of the 345th District Court in Travis County, a civil and family trial court. This award is given to a local lawyer or judge who has demonstrated exceptional skill and generosity in mentoring younger members of the bar.

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Joel P. Kay '61

Joel P. Kay

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Joel P. Kay passed away May 16, 2024. Kay began his professional career as a lawyer in the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice before becoming assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of Texas, then name partner at Sheinfeld, Maley and Kay, P.C. where he worked for more than three decades. He spent the remainder of his legal career as of counsel at Hughes Watters Askanase.

 

 

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Mary Kate Raffetto headshot

Mary Kate Raffetto

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Mary Kate Raffetto has been named a 2024 Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyer.  Raffetto, who also was recognized as a 2024 Texas Rising Star by Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers, is a partner at Beck Redden LLP as a trial and appellate specialist.

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William Harris Connor '67

William Harris “Bill” Connor

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William Harris Connor, “Bill”, passed away on May 5, 2024. An active member of the Georgetown community, Connor served as District Attorney for the 26th Judicial District, Georgetown City Council member for three terms, and Mayor for one term.

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Jesse Coomer

Jesse Coomer

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Jesse Heber Coomer passed away on May 18, 2024. A diligent attorney, Coomer served as chief counsel for the Universities Research Associates, Inc., Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory. He also was appointed by the Secretary of State, George P. Shultz, as the contract manager for E-Systems, Inc. in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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Elizabeth Brandon

Elizabeth Brandon

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Elizabeth Brandon, a partner at Reed Smith, LLP,  has earned a place on the 2024 INvolve Empower Executive Role Model List for her advocacy work in diversifying the legal and business communities.

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Lance Currie '08

Lance Currie

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Lance Currie, a partner at Carrington Coleman, has been elected to the Dallas Independent School District Board of Trustees. Currie’s practice centers on construction and real estate law.

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Brooke Colaizzi

Brooke Colaizzi 

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Brooke Colaizzi has started a new position as co-leader of Litigation, Trials & Appeals at Sherman & Howard L.L.C in Denver. Colaizzi has extensive experience in employment litigation, labor employment and employee benefits, and workplace counseling.

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Portrait of Alphonso Ragland

Alphonso Ragland

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Alphonso Ragland lll, “Fonse,” passed away on May 13, 2024. Ragland served as a Judge Advocate Officer, JAG, in the United States Air Force stationed in New York until June 1967. From there, Ragland moved back to Dallas to practice law before working as a stockbroker for more than 50 years.

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Janet Carl

Janet Carl

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Janet Carl passed away on May 4, 2024. Carl worked in environmental law before retiring to live near family and give back to her community through charitable giving.

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Jennifer de Haro headshot

Jennifer de Haro

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Jennifer de Haro has been promoted to Managing Attorney of the Removal and Community Integration Services department (RCIS) at RAICES, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, in San Antonio, Texas. She also serves as a board member of the Multi Cultural Alliance (MCA),

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Brad Estes

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Brad Estes joined the partnership at Lewis & Llewellyn, LLP, a litigation boutique based in San Francisco. Estes represents plaintiffs and defendants across a wide variety of industries at every stage of complex commercial litigation, including business tort, contract, fraud, regulatory, trade secret, trademark, employee mobility, and competition disputes. He has been recognized as a Northern California Rising Star by Super Lawyers in 2021, 2022, and 2023.

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Maidie Ryan

Maidie Ryan

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Maidie Ryan is the president and general counsel of Camp Aspen, an elevated loungewear brand founded by her brother and UT alumnus Patrick Ryan.

Headshot Manual Escobar

Manuel Escobar

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Manuel Escobar has been recognized as the 2024 recipient of the Joseph C. Parker Jr. Diversity Award from the Austin Bar Association. Escobar is a partner at McGinnis Lochridge.

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KC Waldron '00

KC Waldron

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KC Waldron has joined Empower as the new chief compliance officer where she will oversee the management and development of the company’s compliance program. Waldron spent 12 years at Charles Schwab, most recently as managing director, chief compliance officer of Schwab Wealth Advisory, Inc., and head of Wealth & Advice Solutions compliance.

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Paula Desel headshot

Paula Desel

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Paula Desel was selected to a three-year term on the Rice University Alumni Association’s board of directors. Prior to her retirement, Desel practiced law at Baker Botts in Houston and Arnold & Porter in New York, and was an in-house attorney at Altria.

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Rudy Metayer photo

Rudy Metayer

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Rudy Metayer had been named a recipient of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. The honorees will be celebrated on June 22, 2024 at the Community Impact Center in Austin, Texas.

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Barrett Robin

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Barrett Robin has been named partner at the Dallas plaintiffs’ law firm Hamilton Wingo. In addition to his trial success, Robin has secured multiple seven-figure settlements in catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases.

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John Varner

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John Varner passed away on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. Varner practiced law at three different firms, and co-founded Genprex, Inc., a biotechnology company fighting cancer and diabetes. He served as Genprex’s president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors.

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Timothy Tyler

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Timothy Tyler has joined Norton Rose Fulbright as counsel in its Houston office. Tyler practices international commercial arbitration, investor-state arbitration under treaties and state contracts, and associated U.S. litigation. He also is an adjunct professor at Texas Law, teaching courses in international arbitration.

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Richard Mills

Richard Mills Jr.

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On May 2, 2024, Richard Mills Jr. was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as incoming ambassador to the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria. He is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service.

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Samuel G. Encarnacion

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Samuel G. Encarnacion, first assistant public defender in the Lancaster County Public Defender’s Office, received the annual Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Civil and Equal Rights Champion Award during the PBA annual meeting. The award honors an individual who champions for civil rights for all Pennsylvanians.

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Thomas Renfro portrait

Thomas Renfro

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Thomas “Tom” Renfro passed away on Sunday, May 5, 2024. A double Longhorn, Renfro  practiced law in Ft. Worth as a litigator and medical malpractice defense attorney during his more-than-50-year career.

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Mark Burroughs

Mark Burroughs

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Mark Burroughs passed away on May 2, 2024. His legal career was based in Denton where he practiced business law, personal injury and property tax collection at his real estate law firm, Sawko & Burroughs. Burroughs also served as a city council member and mayor of Denton from 2008-2014.

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Ellie Sowanick headshot

Ellie Sowanick

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Ellie Sowanick has been promoted to counsel at Haynes Boone, working with the Trademark and Advertising Practice Group in Orange County. Her practice focuses on a variety of trademark, patent, copyright, and design patent matters, as well as brand management and resolving complex and multi-jurisdictional trademark and domain disputes.

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Paul Trahan headshot

Paul Trahan

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Paul Trahan has been appointed as the partner-in-charge at global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright’s Austin office. Trahan has been with the firm since 1996.

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Victor Obaseki headshot

Victor Obaseki

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Victor Obaseki started as the first diversity, equity, and inclusion director of Alameda County. Obaseki will help the county strategically and systematically act to improve the lives of all residents. Previously he worked at the Vera Institute of Justice.

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