Alumni Class Notes

Abraham Kant, Class of

University of Texas School of Law alumnus Abraham Kant is proud to be one of the recipients of the "10 Best Attorneys in Texas" award for outstanding client service in 2017. Awarded by The American Institute of Family Law Attorneys, this honor is extended only to the selected family law attorneys who have reached the top of their profession, all while making the client's satisfaction paramount.

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Bill Shirer, Class of

Dallas Injury Attorney

Bill Shirer is proud to be one of only 2% of Texas attorneys who is board-certified in personal injury law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Shirer represents individuals in all areas of personal injury including car collisions, cycling accidents, product defects, and other tort claims. He is a proud partner of Mcgillberry & Shirer in Dallas and has over 28 years of trial law experience. Bill is a proud alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin.

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Linda L. Addison, Class of

KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm, is pleased to announce the appointment of Linda L. Addison '76 as an independent director to its U.S. Board of Directors. Addison is the immediate past U.S. Managing Partner (CEO equivalent) of Norton Rose Fulbright, one of the world's largest global law firms.

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Yvonne Puig, Class of

Yvonne Puig '78 received the 2018 Distinguished Service Award from the Health Law Council of the State Bar of Texas. The Distinguished Service Award is presented biannually to a Texas health lawyer who has encouraged the practice of health law, mentored lawyers new to the practice, fostered health law through participation in professional organizations or provided service to the Section or the community in matters related to health law.

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Abbe Miller, Class of

Abbe Miller has accepted a position as Assistant District Attorney in the Child Welfare section of Hidalgo County, Texas. Miller will be representing the Department of Family and Protective Services in child abuse cases.

Lauren Fitte, Class of

Lauren Fitte, an international tax and estate planning associate at the Austin firm of Giordani, Swanger, Ripp, & Jetel, LLP, has been named a Rising Star for 2018 by Texas Super Lawyers. Texas Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars recognizes up-and-coming attorneys who are either 40-years old and younger or have been practicing for 10 years or less. Each year, no more than 2 percent of lawyers in the state are named rising stars.

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Andrew F. Newman, Class of

Andrew F. Newman has joined the law firm Clark Hill Strasburger as a member of its Litigation Practice in Dallas. Newman handles complex contract and business tort issues and has significant experience representing technology providers in software development and licensing disputes. He also has a strong background in alternative dispute resolution. Previously Newman served as a law clerk for the Honorable A. Joe Fish of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Charles McFarland, Class of

Charles McFarland has again been selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2019 Best Lawyers in America® (25th Edition) in the practice areas of Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law. Charles has been recognized annually in Best Lawyers lists in the fields of Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law since 2011. His condemnation boutique law firm, McFarland PLLC, is also included in the 2019 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings for Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law.

James C. “Jim” Milton, Class of

Jim Milton was elected as the President-Elect of the Tulsa County Bar Association (TCBA). He will serve for one year as President-Elect before becoming President of the TCBA on September 1, 2019.

Steve Stodghill, Class of

Partner

Steve Stodghill, Class of 1987, is being honored with two prestigious awards, the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) 2018 Larry Schoenbrun Jurisprudence Award and, with his wife Anne, the Business Council for the Arts 2018 Obelisk Juror's Award. The Schoenbrun Award is presented in recognition of outstanding leadership, exemplary contributions to the community, and a commitment to the ideals of the ADL. The Obelisk Awards recognize contributions and achievements in the arts.

Daniel L. Butcher, Class of

Partner

The Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) has honored Daniel L. Butcher and Clark Hill Strasburger with a 2018 “Compass Award” in recognition of their support for and provision of career advancement opportunities for diverse attorneys. Butcher, formerly managing partner of Strasburger & Price, which combined with Clark Hill in April, is now a member of Clark Hill’s Executive Committee. The Compass Award recognizes LCLD members who demonstrate an exemplary commitment to the Council’s goal of creating a truly diverse U.S. legal profession.

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Sam Denton, Class of

Mr. Sam Denton with Denton & Fahring, PLLC has been elected to membership in the Fellows of the Texas Bar Foundation. Fellows of the Foundation are selected for their outstanding professional achievements and their demonstrated commitment to the improvement of the justice system throughout the state of Texas.

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Pete Broderick, Class of

In honor of his contributions to the legal profession and the local community, San Antonio Business Journal has named Jackson Walker partner Peter R. Broderick one of 12 honorees for the 2018 Outstanding Lawyers Awards. The ceremony takes place on the evening of October 10, 2018.

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Donald Gaffney, Class of

Partner

The Phoenix based law firm of Snell & Wilmer is pleased to announce that partner Donald L. Gaffney was recognized by the State Bar of Arizona as the 2018 recipient of the Bankruptcy Section Pro Bono Superhero Award. Gaffney accepted the award at the Bankruptcy Section breakfast held at the United States Bankruptcy Court, District of Arizona in Phoenix on October 4.

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Byron Egan, Class of

This year has been rewarding for Jackson Walker partner Byron Egan, who was recently honored with the Texas Lawyer Lifetime Achievement Award for impacting the legal profession in Texas. In addition to this honor, Byron also received the Distinguished Alumni Award from his alma mater, Highland Park Independent School District.

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Bryan Jones, Class of

Bryan Jones, B.S. ’00, J.D., M.B.A. ’05, was selected for the Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award which recognizes Texas Exes age 39 and younger who have made significant achievements in their careers and service to the university. Jones is an entrepreneur and technologist who has started several companies and been issued multiple technology-based patents. He is currently the COO at uStudio. Previously he co-founded Strive and Solve Ventures, GetHealthy, b.well Health, and Collider Media. While at UT, Jones was a 21-time All-American swimmer and captained the 2000 NCAA Championship team.

Danielle (formerly David) Healey, Class of

Senior Principal

Danielle Healey, a senior principal at Fish & Richardson, was selected as a 2018 “Women Who Mean Business” by Houston Business Journal in recognition of her career achievements, leadership and community involvement. Healey is an accomplished patent trial lawyer who has held various leadership roles over the past 24 years, including opening and growing Fish’s Houston office.

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Jack S. Wilson, Class of

John "Jack" Wilson has joined Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP as an associate in its Midland office. Mr. Wilson will focus his practice on oil, gas, and energy litigation and transaction.

Patrick Keel, Class of

Patrick Keel received the Professionalism Award from the Austin Bar Association and the Texas Center for Legal Ethics. The award is given annually to a lawyer “who best exemplifies, by conduct and character, truly professional traits, who others in the bar seek to emulate, and who all in the bar admire.”

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Arleas Upton Kea, Class of

Arleas Upton Kea, the President of Texas Law's Alumni Association, has been named Chief Operating Officer and Deputy to the Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Kea replaces Barbara Ryan, who retired as COO on July 27. Prior to her appointment as COO, Ms. Kea served as director of the Division of Administration, a post she has held since May 1999.

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Reid C. Wilson, Class of

Chairman

Reid C. Wilson, chairman of Wilson Cribbs + Goren, a leading, boutique real estate law firm in Houston, has been selected to the 2018 Texas Super Lawyers list. Each year, no more than five percent of lawyers in the state are selected to receive this honor.

Patrick Keel, Class of

Patrick Keel received the Professionalism Award from the Austin Bar Association and the Texas Center for Legal Ethics. The award is given annually to a lawyer “who best exemplifies, by conduct and character, truly professional traits, who others in the bar seek to emulate, and who all in the bar admire.”

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James P. Hill, Class of

James Hill was selected as one of The Daily Transcript’s “50 Influential Leaders” in the San Diego business community for 2018. Every year, the Daily Transcript bestows the “Top Influential” title on 50 leaders in the community who have made an impact on the industry sectors that keep San Diego’s economic engine running. Mr. Hill, is a founding member of Sullivan Hill, member of its Executive Committee and chair of its Insolvency and Commercial Bankruptcy practice group.

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Elizabeth Copeland, Class of

International law firm Clark Hill Strasburger announced that Member Elizabeth Copeland has been confirmed to the U.S. Tax Court. Senators approved her appointment on the evening of August 28, 2018 in a voice vote. Elizabeth was nominated by President Trump in August 2017 and was approved by the Senate Finance Committee in June 2018.

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Jeff Hearne, Class of

Director of Litigation

Jeffrey Hearne, Director of Litigation at Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc., was honored with the 2018 Florida Bar Consumer Protection Lawyer of the Year Award for his advocacy and commitment to tenants’ rights, mentoring young attorneys, and working on projects to benefit consumers across Florida. The award was presented June 15 at the Annual Convention of The Florida Bar in Orlando by state Sen. José Javier Rodriguez, a member of the Consumer Protection Law Committee.

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Kent McKinley, Class of

Associate

Kent McKinley has joined the Boston firm Hermes, Netburn, O’Connor & Spearing as a litigation associate. Kent counsels clients across a range of industries including corporate defense, product manufacturing, heavy machinery and automotive.

James P. Hill, Class of

James Hill was given special recognition as Best Lawyers® 2019 Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law "Lawyer of the Year" in San Diego. A founding member of Sullivan Hill Rez & Engel, member of its Executive Committee and chair of the firm’s Insolvency and Commercial Bankruptcy practice group, Hill practices primarily in the areas of bankruptcy, insolvency and commercial law. He is also the inaugural Chair of the California Lawyers Association.

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Christopher V. Hawkins, Class of

Christopher Hawkins was selected by his peers for inclusion in the 25th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® in the fields of Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization law. Hawkins is a shareholder at Sullivan Hill Rez & Engel and represents a variety of corporate debtors, bankruptcy trustees, receivers, banks, trade creditors, asset purchasers and other parties in interest in all aspects of commercial insolvency.

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Judge Aurora Martinez Jones, Class of

Judge Aurora Martinez Jones '07 has been elected to the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) Board of Directors. Currently, her judicial position is dedicated to the child welfare dockets in Travis County including the specialty Family Drug Treatment Court. She is the chair-elect for the Texas Children’s Justice Act Task Force, the past president of the Austin Black Lawyers Association and the former chair of the Austin Court Appointed Family Advocates (CAFA). She is also a Texas Bar Foundation Fellow and a member of the Robert W. Calvert American Inn of Court.

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Joe Hardt, Class of

Joe Hardt is CEO and owner of Presco Polymers LP, a vertically integrated manufacturer of safety marking products and custom engineered films in Sherman, Texas. Previously, he was an attorney at the Dallas law firm, Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr PC and CEO of AMX Corp.

Samuel Kan, Class of

Assistant Professor of Law

In August 2018, Samuel Kan began serving as the Assistant Dean of Academic Success and Bar Preparation at Barry University School of Law in Orlando Florida. As Assistant Dean, he will continue teaching tax, estate planning, and criminal law subjects as he taught during the 2017-2018 academic year. He initially joined the Barry law faculty as a tenured track Assistant Professor of Law after becoming a Florida licensed attorney and retiring from the Army JAG Corps, last serving as the Tax Counsel for the Department of Defense Office of General Counsel from 2014 to 2017 at the Pentagon.

Robin L. Miskell, Class of

Member Partner, Dickinson Wright

Chambers 2018 High Net Worth (HNW) Guide has named Robin Miskell a leader in her field. Ms. Miskell is a certified estate and trust law specialist by the State Bar of Arizona. She practices primarily in the areas of estate planning, probate and trust administration, taxation and exempt organizations.

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Reid C. Wilson, Class of

Chairman

Reid Wilson, chair of the Wilson Cribbs + Goren law firm in Houston, has been elected treasurer of the Real Estate, Probate and Trust Law Section of the State Bar of Texas for 2018–2019.

Thomas Laughlin, Class of

Kirkland & Ellis LLP recently announced that it is expanding with the opening of an office in Dallas. Thomas Laughlin, one of Dallas' top transactional lawyers, will join the new office as partner. Mr. Laughlin focuses on private equity investments, energy transactions and M&A.

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Karra Porter, Class of

Karra Porter has received the Utah State Bar Lawyer of the Year Award. The award is presented to a Utah State Bar member who, over a long and distinguished legal career, has by their ethical and personal conduct, commitment and activities, exemplified for their fellow attorneys the epitome of professionalism; who has also rendered extraordinary contributions to the programs and activities of the Utah State Bar in the prior year. Karra Porter has been President or Managing Director of Christensen & Jensen for 19 years. She is co-chair of the firm’s Commercial Litigation and Crisis Management practice groups, and is one of the most experienced and successful commercial and appellate lawyers in Utah.

F. Daniel Knight, Class of

Texas Lawyer named Daniel as one of 23 "Lawyers on the Rise" in the State of Texas for 2018. Daniel practices in the areas of Admiralty and Maritime law, as well as general and commercial litigation.

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Emerson “Buddy” Banack Jr., Class of

Shareholder

University of Texas School of Law Alumnus Emerson “Buddy” Banack Jr. has been recognized by Texas Lawyer for his significant contributions to the legal profession. Banack, co-founder and shareholder of Langley & Banack, one of San Antonio's largest and locally owned law firms, was awarded Lifetime Achievement. Banack, a distinguished trial lawyer, graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 1965.

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Becky Diffen, Class of

Becky Diffen has been recognized by Renewable Energy World on its inaugural "Solar 40 Under 40" list of solar industry professionals with unparalleled accomplishments. Diffen previously worked as a utility-scale wind developer before graduating from The University of Texas School of Law, where she now teaches a seminar on electric power and renewable energy law. She also co-founded the Texas Energy Law Association alumni organization at her alma mater and co-chairs the Austin chapter of Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE).

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Katie Coleman, Class of

Katie Coleman has been recognized as one of Texas Lawyer’s 2018 Lawyers on the Rise. The award recognizes 23 lawyers under the age of 40 who have made their mark on the legal profession in the Lone Star State. She is a Partner in Thompson & Knight LLP's Austin office, where she practices regulatory and administrative law with a focus on state and federal energy regulations, energy markets, energy litigation and appeals, and government affairs.

Adam Schramek, Class of

Adam Schramek is president of the Austin Bar Association for 2018-19. A commercial litigation partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, Schramek plans to focus his term on increasing participation by Austin lawyers in pro bono cases, such as working to reunite immigrant families separated at the Texas border.

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Chari Kelly, Class of

Assistant District Attorney, Travis County

Chari Kelly has been selected to receive the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Outstanding Prosecutor of the Year Award for Travis County. The award recognizes a prosecutor who has gone above and beyond in prosecuting DWI cases and ensuring that those who drink and drive face the appropriate consequences of their actions. Kelly is the Democratic nominee for Place 3 on the Third Court of Appeals.

Jenny Carroll, Class of

Wiggins, Childs, Quinn and Pantazis Prof. of Law

Jenny Carroll was appointed the Chair of the Alabama State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Jenny is the Wiggins, Childs, Quinn and Pantazis Professor of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law where she teaches criminal law, criminal procedure, juvenile justice and counter terrorism courses.

Steven Dahl Thomas, Class of

Steven Dahl Thomas passed away on June 21, 2018. Born August 25, 1952 in Lubbock, Texas, he was the oldest son of the late James Elbert Thomas and Joyce Dahl Thomas. He earned a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s College (SF74) and a law degree from The University of Texas at Austin. In 1983 he joined the prestigious law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. After six years, he left the law firm and joined Financial Security Assurance as Associate General Counsel.

Eva Sikes, Class of

Eva Sikes is a recipient of an Equal Justice Works Fellowship, one of the most prestigious and competitive post-graduate fellowships in the country. Eva is sponsored by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation. She will be hosted at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc., where she will combat displacement and housing instability of low-income homeowners in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas through legal advocacy and outreach.

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Reema Ali, Class of

Equal Justice Works has selected Texas Law alum Reema Ali for an Equal Justice Works Fellowship, one of the most prestigious and competitive post-graduate fellowships in the country. Reema will be hosted at the Equal Justice Center, where she will build a new model of integrated employment-and-immigration legal services for vulnerable immigrant working families by combining employment law expertise with immigration law expertise. She is sponsored by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation.

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Danielle (formerly David) Healey, Class of

Senior Principal

Danielle Healey, a senior principal at Fish & Richardson, the largest intellectual property law firm in the country, was named a top “Band 1” IP attorney in Texas in the 2018 edition of "Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business."

Ryan Chargois, Class of

Partner at Foster LLP

Ryan Chargois was honored in Who's Who Legal 2018 as a leading corporate immigration attorney. Ryan is a partner at Foster LLP and leads the global immigration practice out of the Austin office.

Avalyn Langemeier, Class of

Partner of Foster LLP

Avalyn Langemeier was honored in Who's Who Legal 2018 as a leading corporate immigration attorney. Avalyn is Partner at Foster LLP and assists employers, including companies, universities, and hospitals, as well as physicians, nurses, researchers and professors, executives, teachers and other professionals in obtaining work visas and permanent residence.

Charles C Foster, Class of

Chairman of Foster LLP

Charles C. Foster was honored in Who's Who Legal 2018 as a leading corporate immigration attorney. Foster is Chairman of Foster LLP, Honorary Consul-General, Kingdom of Thailand (Houston) and Vice Dean of the City's Consular Corps.

Megan Gray, Class of

Megan Gray has resigned from the Federal Trade Commission to join DuckDuckGo as its General Counsel and Policy Advocate. She will be based in Washington, DC. DuckDuckGo is an online search engine that protects users' privacy.