Malika Herring is Senior Litigation Counsel at BP America Inc. and has worked in the legal department since 2008. With over a decade of in-house litigation experience, Malika has managed hundreds of lawsuits involving personal injury and commercial disputes, both upstream and downstream across an average of 20 states. She also provides advice and counsel to internal BP clients regarding litigation risks and contractual agreements. In addition, Malika serves as the Americas Regional Chair for Diversity & Inclusion in the legal department and heads BP’s service of process (SOP) team which liaisons with BP’s registered agents and receives and distributes all US service for BP. Malika is also a member of BP’s External Counsel Management Committee (XCMC), which is the team that selects and evaluates outside counsel for the company.
Before joining BP, Malika was Assistant General Counsel in Litigation at a Fortune 10 company where she managed over four hundred lawsuits across the country. Malika began her legal career as a litigator in private practice specializing in commercial disputes, employment, toxic tort, product/premises liability, and environmental law for several years in Houston, Texas.
Aparna Dave is Senior Counsel in the Houston office of Wells Fargo. She supports the company’s Enterprise Marketing division, and her clients rely on her substantial experience in a wide range of advertising law matters. The division covers brand, social media, sponsorships, marketing promotions and campaigns and related contract matters. Her practice focuses on advising clients on legal issues ranging from trademark, copyright, sweepstakes and contests, privacy and publicity rights, false advertising and deceptive practices and developing policies and procedures in these areas. She has also helped her clients develop social media strategies and policies and establish and maintain a strong presence on blogs and other social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Aparna conducts ongoing client training on social media and intellectual property matters. She is recognized by her colleagues as a leading attorney in social media issues and is regularly asked to speak on a variety of subjects at the intersection of social media and the law. Aparna previously provided legal support to Wells Fargo’s home equity marketing and customer management teams, advising on various marketing, servicing and consumer protection issues. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Aparna worked as an associate with McGlinchey Stafford in Houston practicing civil defense litigation. Aparna is a 2002 graduate of South Texas College of Law in Houston and enjoys traveling, watching football and running.
Leslie Cleaver is Senior Counsel for the Houston Astros and Crane Capital Group, Inc. As Senior Counsel, Leslie manages all legal matters related to the team and its minor league affiliates, employee relations, vendors and contractors, and community partners. Her responsibilities extend from handling major deals and acquisitions to overseeing litigation. Prior to joining the Astros, Leslie was Interim General Counsel for Ignite Restaurant Group, Inc., where she oversaw the full range of legal affairs related to corporate governance, corporate transactions, litigation management, employee relations, and risk and crisis management. Leslie also worked as a corporate associate at three international law firms in New York and Houston. Leslie received her law degree from Cornell Law School in 2010 and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in 2007.
Lisa Hearn represents clients in mergers and acquisitions; joint ventures; corporate finance matters, including capital markets and loan financing; and issues related to U.S. securities law. Lisa has consistently worked on some of the most sophisticated, complex and high-profile corporate and finance matters in the firm. Through this work, she has deep experience in areas critical to the firm’s international corporate practice.
Lisa’s work has included representations in the energy and telecommunications sectors, including matters for clients in North America, the CIS, Africa and Asia.
Robin S. Fredrickson, a partner in the Houston office, represents exploration and production companies, midstream companies, and private equity clients in mergers and acquisitions, corporate, and oil and gas transactions. In particular, Ms. Fredrickson’s practice focuses on:
Ms. Fredrickson also has experience in secured and unsecured financing transactions in the energy sector, including volumetric production payments and other innovative structures used in the oil and gas industry. Ms. Fredrickson has been recognized in the following publications:
Ms. Fredrickson is a member of the Women’s Energy Network, the Oil, Gas, and Mineral Law Section of the Texas and Houston Bar Associations.
Susan L. Bickley has over 30 years of civil trial and appellate experience in employment litigation for private and public employers, litigation involving commercial and business disputes, trade secret litigation, and the defense of claims against professionals. She represents a diverse range of clients including publicly held corporations, smaller companies, and start-ups, as well as public entities and their officials.
In addition, Susan taught “Trial Advocacy” as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center from 2006 to 2010.
While in law school, she was a research editor for the Houston Law Review, and selected for membership in the Order of the Coif. At the University of Texas at Austin, she was selected for membership in Phi Beta Kappa, and designated a College Scholar based on academic achievement.
In 2010 and 2011, Susan received the President’s Award from the Houston Bar Association. Active in the community, she is a member of the Board of Directors of the UH Law Foundation, the Houston Bar Foundation, and the John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science. She previously served on the State Bar Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct Committee and the State Bar Annual Meeting Committee.
Susan holds a number of leadership positions within Blank Rome. In addition to leading the labor & employment practice in Houston, she serves on Blank Rome’s Executive Committee, Chair Nominating Committee, Pro Bono Committee, Compensation Committee, Recruiting Committee, and Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and is the current Office Chair for Blank Rome’s Houston Office. She previously served as a member of the Firm’s Strategic Plan Committee and Strategic Plan Implementation Committee, the Firm’s Nominating Committee, and is a past Chair of the Blank Rome Women’s Forum.
Rishi Varma serves as General Counsel and oversees Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s legal department globally. Rishi and his team handle, among other things, HPE’s corporate governance, strategic acquisitions, divestitures and investments, litigation, intellectual property, commercial contracting, sales and supply chain issues, securities law compliance and disclosure, treasury and financing transactions, and certain other corporate transactions and restructurings, bankruptcy, credit and collections matters and employee compensation and retiree benefits. From 2013 – 2017, Rishi served as Deputy General Counsel overseeing HPE’s corporate, securities and M&A practice.
Before joining Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Rishi served as general counsel for two different publicly traded companies from 2005 to 2013 – TPC Group, Inc., a petrochemical company, and Trico Marine Services, Inc., a global subsea service provider. During his time at Trico, Rishi also served in additional management roles including chief operating officer and president. Prior to these companies, Rishi served as securities counsel and director of investor relations for EGL, Inc., a publicly traded global freight forwarder (2002 – 2005), and as a business associate in the New York office of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, LP (1998 - 2002).
He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the Georgetown University Law Center and also graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. Rishi and his wife, Michelle, have three children.
Michelle I. Taylor is an Associate General Counsel in the Office of the Air Force General Counsel in San Antonio, Texas, advising and providing legal support to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment & Energy (SAF/IE) and the Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC). Her primary responsibilities includes drafting and negotiating transactional documents, including Enhanced Use Lease Agreements (EUL), reviews closing and title documents, advising Air Force clients on active duty real estate matters, energy and disposal projects.
Michelle has successfully closed three major projects that brought significant value to the Air Force’s mission.
Michelle came to the Air Force from the private sector where she worked as an Assistant Vice President, Southwest Regional Underwriting Counsel at Fidelity National Title Company. Michelle is a public speaker and enjoys engaging in legal “Hot” topics dialogue.
Jillian Elizabeth Charles practices in the area of Compliance & Competition Law at Eaton, a power management company. In this role, she advises senior executives on successful strategies for managing legal and business risk related to corruption, bribery and other high-impact legal issues confronting multi-national companies. She represents Eaton before domestic and international government agencies and conducts internal investigations related to violation of law and policy. Jillian’s practice also covers the full range of competition law, including strategic counseling and merger and acquisitions. Jillian leads the global risk management team within the Law Department.
She joined Eaton in April 2014 from the United States Department of Justice in Washington DC, where she held a number of roles, most recently as an attorney advisor in the Legal Policy Section of the Antitrust Division. Over the years, Jillian has held various positions of increasing responsibility both in private practice and in-house in the areas of U.S. and international competition law, international trade, and compliance.
Jillian is a sought-after speaker in the areas of antitrust, compliance (FCPA/UKBA, Trade Sanctions), Enterprise Risk Management, leadership, and inclusion & diversity. She was recently named to the select list of top competition law corporate counsels by Global Competition Review.
Jillian sits on Eaton’s Executive Women’s Council and the Advisory Board of iConnect, Eaton’s African-American Employee Engagement Group.
Jillian holds a law degree from Cornell Law School (Ithaca, New York) and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Williams College (Williamstown, Massachusetts), where she received a Ford-Mellon Fellowship.
She serves on the Board of Trustees for her alma mater, Williams College, and has for many years served as a fundraiser for the college. She is an admissions agent for Williams College and has in the recent past served as an administrator for a key endowed gift bequeathed to the school. Jillian is a member of the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, where she sits on both the Governance Committee and Development Committee.
Jillian resides with her family in Shaker Heights, Ohio, where they enjoy hiking in the national parks, shopping at local farmer markets, and doing jigsaw puzzles on cold winter nights.
Emily Harbison is a Partner in Baker McKenzie's Houston office where she practices mainly in the area of labor and employment law. Ms. Harbison represents management in all aspects of labor and employment law, including employment litigation, counseling and traditional labor law. She has significant experience defending employers in matters involving employment discrimination, including claims under Title VII of The Civil Rights Act, the FMLA, ADEA, ADA and the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act. She regularly advises clients regarding federal contract/OFCCP compliance, pay equity, ERISA, international executive mobility, wrongful discharge, leave and accommodation, wage and hour, as well as on a variety of other issues under state and federal laws governing the employment relationship. Ms. Harbison also advises company management regarding independent contractor matters, exemption status under the FLSA, covenants not to compete, employment agreements, and employee handbooks and policies. Ms. Harbison also has experience representing clients in traditional labor matters under the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act.
Laura De Santos is a partner in the Houston and Austin offices of Gordon & Rees. She has extensive experience representing corporate clients in state and federal courts in Texas and throughout the United States. In addition, her experience encompasses all forms of alternative dispute resolution, including mediations and arbitrations.
Ms. De Santos concentrates her practice on employment law litigation, product liability, and commercial Litigation. She represents employers on matters involving discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment, and retaliation brought under Title VII, FMLA, ADA, and various state employment statutes. She also regularly counsels employers on personnel policies, harassment investigations, wage and hour issues and represents employers before administrative agencies, including the TWC, EEOC, and DOL.
Ms. De Santos has also represented pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers and has tried numerous cases of serious injury to verdict. She has handled numerous matters involving consumer products that include lamps, ladders, over-the-counter medications, and paint products, as well as insecticide and pesticide products. She has also been involved in automotive cases on allegations of faulty repairs or maintenance claims. She has been involved in all aspects of tort litigation management and handling, including discovery, document management, settlement evaluation and negotiation, and expert witness development. She has participated in the briefing and presentation of dispositive motions and appeals, including a number that have had important impact on the issues of removal jurisdiction, federal preemption, and the reliability of expert opinion.
Ms. De Santos’s experience also includes assisting clients with media relations. She is fluent in Spanish and is a member of the Employment Law Group and Drug and Medical Device group at Gordon & Rees.
Brooke Geren McNabb has served as lead lawyer in numerous commercial and personal injury matters and has first-chaired multiple trials resulting in favorable jury and bench verdicts. She represents plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal courts in a variety of complex commercial litigation matters, including breach of contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and other tort claims. She also represents defendants in wrongful death and serious personal injury cases. Ms. McNabb's practice has focused on big-stakes commercial cases for energy companies and complex disputes in the real estate sector.
Ms. McNabb received her law degree with honors from The University of Texas School of Law in 2004, where she was an Associate Editor on the Texas Law Review, Order of the Coif, and a member of the mock trial team. She graduated with honors from the Plan II Honors Program at The University of Texas at Austin in 2000, served as President of the Orange Jackets, the oldest women's honorary service organization at The University of Texas, and was Phi Beta Kappa and a member of Mortar Board.
Ms. McNabb serves as the General Counsel for Communities in Schools Houston and also represents Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council. She is a Trustee of the Houston Association of Women Attorneys Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing scholarships and fellowships to outstanding women law students at Houston's law schools, and a past president of the Houston Association of Women Attorneys, an organization devoted to promoting women and the interests of women in Houston's legal community.
Pilar Hastings-Smith is counsel for FlexSteel Pipeline Technologies. Her primary focus is on drafting and negotiating master agreements, but also serves as a generalist in support of the management team’s ongoing projects. Pilar had the honor of serving as a judicial clerk in the US District Court in the Southern District of Texas from 2016-2017. Pilar graduated from Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston.
Natara is the General Counsel of Gemini Midstream. Prior to joining Gemini in early 2019, she was the Assistant General Counsel of Oasis Petroleum and worked in the Legal Department at Oasis for seven years from 2012 managing a diverse workload of transactional and other legal matters. From 2007 to 2012, she was an associate in the Energy Transactions & Project Finance group at the law firm of Vinson & Elkins where she represented Fortune 500 energy and oil and gas companies in matters involving upstream and midstream transactions, strategic investments and corporate and project financing and development. Natara began her career at Norton Rose Fulbright as an associate in the Corporate Department in 2005.
Natara currently serves on the Tahirih Justice Center Advisory Committee and has also provided pro bono representation for the organization and for other various matters throughout her career. She has a JD from Duke University School of Law, and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in International Business and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from Stetson University.
Vynessa M. Nemunaitis is an associate in Weil’s Banking & Finance practice and is based in Dallas. She assists primarily on finance transactions, including acquisition financing, investment grade lending, leveraged lending and debt restructuring transactions.
Ms. Nemunaitis has been recognized as a "Rising Star" in Banking by Texas Super Lawyers* 2018-2019. She was also selected by the Business Council for the Arts for its prestigious 2018-19 Leadership Arts Institute.
Ms. Nemunaitis has been honored by the North Texas Business Council for the Arts, for being one of 40 graduates of its 30th Anniversary Leadership Arts Institute class, a program to develop the next generation of business leaders for the arts in North Texas. She was also recognized by the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program as the 2010 Outstanding New Pro Bono Lawyer. Ms. Nemunaitis is an active member of the Dallas Area Young Lawyers and the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association.
Ms. Nemunaitis received her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School and her B.A. from the University of Texas.
Dawn Holiday is an experienced litigator and trial attorney representing clients in civil disputes. Dawn regularly counsels clients on minimizing the risks of costly litigation and develops tailored strategies to obtain prompt dispute resolution. While Dawn excels in the courtroom, she understands that trial is not always the most effective way to resolve an issue for her clients, and uses her extensive negotiation experience to settle cases in an appropriate and cost-effective manner when necessary. Dawn handles a variety of multi-party lawsuits, including employment litigation, commercial litigation, personal injury, professional liability, workers’ compensation, complex civil litigation, and general liability defense.
In her practice as a trial and appellate lawyer, Dawn has first-chair jury trial experience, and has represented parties in arbitration proceedings, mediations and appeals across the State of Texas.
Clients appreciate Dawn’s understanding of the impact litigation plays on their business strategy, and she makes every effort to advise clients on minimizing the risks of costly and stressful litigation before and during the process.
DeAndrea Washington focuses her practice on a variety of labor employment litigation matters. She provides preventive counsel and litigates employment disputes on behalf of public and private employers in federal and state courts, arbitration, and before administrative agencies, such as the Texas Workforce Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the United States Department of Labor. DeAndrea handles litigation matters at the pre-trial, trial, and appellate levels. She represents management in employment discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, noncompetition, and wage and hour disputes. Her litigation practice also includes breach of contract litigation.
With a client-driven approach to practicing law, DeAndrea has successfully advised and resolved matters on behalf of employers of all sizes across a wide range of industries. She prides herself on helping clients identify and defuse potential lawsuits before they are filed. She also has experience representing public and private schools, charter schools, public and private universities, and governmental entities. With extensive trial and oral advocacy experience, DeAndrea has tried jury trials to verdict, arbitrated claims resulting in favorable awards, and has successfully defended judgments for clients on appeal in state and federal court.
While attending law school, DeAndrea served as a judicial intern for the Honorable Nancy F. Atlas — a United States District Judge for the Southern District of Texas. She also interned for the First Court of Appeals of Texas.
Mia Gardner is Corporate Counsel of Cardtronics USA, Inc., the world's largest non-bank ATM operator. Ms. Gardner earned her J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center in 2002, and prior to that, a B.A. in Communications and International Relations from Trinity University. She is admitted to the State Bar of Texas. She began her career as a prosecutor for the State of Texas prosecuting complex felonies, including crimes against children. Following that, she leveraged her trial skills into insurance defense at a boutique maritime law firm. She made the jump in-house as a Senior Contracts Specialist focusing on reviewing, revising, negotiating, and managing contracts and risk and insurance management. As she progresses in her career she continues to add to her skillset. Her work at Cardtronics now includes employment matters, commercial real estate matters, and commercial contracts. Mia is also a certified mediator, a licensed real estate agent, and has taught paralegal certification classes at a local community college.
Jenny is Divisional Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Weingarten Realty. Her responsibilities include managing a team of associates in the Litigation Division and the Records Division of the Legal Department. The Litigation Division manages bankruptcy, collection, defense and dispossessory matters.
Jenny joined Weingarten Realty as Associate Counsel in June 2001 to lead the Litigation Division of the Legal Department which handled bankruptcy, collection and defense matters. In 2008, Jenny’s area of responsibility expanded to include the management of dispossessory files and construction contracts preparation. Jenny was promoted to Divisional Vice President/Associate General Counsel in March 2009. In April 2013, the Records Division also began reporting to Jenny.
Before Jenny joined Weingarten Realty, she practiced litigation/bankruptcy law in Houston, Texas with Sheinfield, Maley & Kay, P.C.
Jenny received her Bachelors of Arts degree from Rice University in 1989 and earned her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Texas School of Law in 1993.
Jenny is admitted to the State Bar of Texas.
Greta Ravitsky is a Partner in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the Houston office of Epstein Becker Green.
Greta has significant experience representing and counseling employers in a variety of labor and employment matters arising under federal and state laws, including Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and Section 1981. With a strong focus on human capital development, retention and legal risk exposure management, Greta provides well-tailored advice on all facets of the employment relationship, from pre-employment considerations and hiring to terminations and post-employment restrictions, including background checks and drug testing, restrictive covenants, leaves of absences, religious and disability accommodations, wage and hour compliance, and workplace investigations. Her broad industry experience includes financial services and private equity, food and beverage, oil and gas, healthcare, and retail, among others.
Greta earned her B.A. in Political Sciences from Columbia University, and J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City. She is admitted to practice law in Texas and New York.
Since moving to Houston in 2006, Greta has been actively engaged in a number of professional and community organizations, including the Houston Bar Association, Association of Attorney-Mediators, and the Anti-Defamation League. Greta is an active member of the Columbia Alumni Association, and has served on the Board of Trustees of Congregation Emanu El in Houston since 2014.
Greta balances her legal practice and professional and community involvement, with raising her two wonderful (and strong-willed) daughters, who are 9 and 11.
Mary joined the Firm in 2005, and is a Shareholder in the Houston office. She has more than 36 years of experience in the environmental arena, focusing on environmental litigation, enforcement, remediation, compliance, counseling, transactional and permitting matters.
She regularly represents clients in administrative and civil enforcement cases before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). Many of Mary’s clients recognize that her strong working relationships with each of these agencies allows complicated processes to move forward more quickly.
Mary also represents potentially responsible parties and landowners in environmental lawsuits including bankruptcy matters, toxic tort, property claims and suits brought under various environmental acts including Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Oil Pollution Act (OPA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Clean Air Act (CAA) and comparable state statutes. Mary is board certified in business bankruptcy and regularly assists her environmental clients in asserting claims in bankruptcy proceedings, and represents several large Environmental Bankruptcy Trusts set up by Debtors, the EPA and Department of Justice to ensure that extremely contaminated properties are remediated.
In addition, she assists and advises clients on environmental issues in real estate related transactions, corporate acquisitions and mergers, insurance claims as well as regulatory compliance, supervision of environmental compliance audits and the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) plans.
Mary’s clients appreciate that no matter how complex a situation may be, she has the ability to immediately clarify and narrow the primary deal issues so they can be adequately resolved. This, in turn, enables her to quickly address the more minor stumbling blocks in a given case. Throughout her career, Mary has developed subject matter expertise and unparalleled experience that allow her to effectively and efficiently represent major clients in their environmental affairs.
Emily Leitch has represented clients in multibillion dollar transactions. She counsels clients on day-to-day disclosure obligations and corporate governance matters. Emily regularly works with clients across various industries on equity offerings, debt offerings, and complex mergers and acquisition transactions. She also counsels public companies on corporate governance issues and compliance with reporting obligations under U.S. federal securities laws and stock exchange rules. In 2017, Emily was selected by Law360 as one of the top five lawyers in the nation under the age of 40 in the area of capital markets. Prior to her legal career, Emily was an investment banker.
Emily received her law degree from The University of Texas School of Law in 2006 and received a B.A. from the University of Virginia in 2001.
Emily is a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and a member of the General Counsel Forum, Houston Board, Special Events Committee (co-chair); the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), TriCities Chapter, Advisory Board; the State Bar of Texas; and the Houston Bar Association.
Nelsy Gomez Lipford currently serves as Senior Counsel for ConocoPhillips Company, handling the Company’s employment litigation and providing day-to-day advice and counsel regarding all aspects of employment law. She also assists with eDiscovery matters.
Nelsy has been practicing law since 2006. She began her legal practice in Houston, Texas at a boutique immigration, labor and employment law firm focusing primarily on family and business immigration matters. In 2008, Nelsy joined Epstein Becker Green Wickliff & Hall’s Labor and Employment practice group. There, Nelsy defended many employers, including Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies, in a wide array of labor and employment matters. In 2011, Nelsy joined Cozen O’Connor, PC where she was promoted to Member in 2013. During her time at Cozen, she served on the Diversity Committee and the Women’s Initiative. She continued her practice as outside counsel until transitioning to Direct Energy as in-house counsel in 2016 and ConocoPhillips in 2018.
Throughout her legal career, Nelsy, a Dominican American, has remained active in the Hispanic legal community of Houston, Texas. After joining the Hispanic Bar Association of Houston (“HisBA”) Board of Directors in 2007, Nelsy held numerous officer positions for HisBA and served as HisBA’s President in 2013-2014. Nelsy remains an active member of HisBA’s Board of Directors. She is also a member of the Houston Bar Association and the United Way’s Young Leaders. Nelsy also serves on the Board of Directors for Family Houston.
Nelsy, a native of Salem, Massachusetts, obtained her undergraduate degree in Economics from Tufts University and earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Miami School of Law. She is licensed to practice law in Texas and Florida.
Yurima Falcon-Grace is a civil and common law licensed transactional attorney and corporate adviser with over 18 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. She is currently in charge of the contractual processes in the Americas for Atlantic Trading & Marketing, Inc. (ATMI), the trading arm of the French company Total, the fourth largest oil and gas major. Yurima provides expert advice to ATMI, Total Trading & Marketing Canada, and Total Atlantic Trading Mexico, among other Total’s affiliates, on a variety of legal matters undertaking a broad range of corporate transactional work and pre-litigation claims. Yurima has worked for CITGO, Itochu Corporation, and PDVSA, among other companies, on multiple cross-border projects, covering the whole oil and gas spectrum, general corporate matters, and defining country-entering strategies. Yurima holds an LL.M degree in Energy Law from the University of Houston Law Center, a Juris Doctor degree from UGMA, and two specialized degrees in International Economic Law and International Business from Universidad Central de Venezuela and Universidad Metropolitana, respectively. Yurima is fluent in Spanish and English with working knowledge of French and Portuguese and she is active in several international law and international energy organizations.
Dubraska Jaramillo is an international attorney with over 12 years of experience, licensed to practice law in Venezuela as well as in Texas and New York. Dubraska graduated from the Universidad de Zulia (Venezuela) with a bachelor’s in law in 2006, and in 2011 obtained an LL.M. degree in Global Energy, International Transactions and Environmental from the University of Texas at Austin.
Dubraska started her career as a transactional and corporate lawyer for private law firms in Maracaibo, Venezuela and in - house for various oil & gas companies in Houston, prior to joining Chevron’s Downstream & Chemicals Law Group in 2019. Dubraska has substantive transactional and corporate experience in various countries in Latin America & Mexico.
Mrs. Cunningham Nauls joined Direct Energy in March 2019 and is the managing Lead Counsel of the Wholesale Legal team for the North America Business unit. Deonne's practice includes energy matters, including but not specifically limited to, commercial transactions, marketing, regulatory and compliance, project development and facility operations, real estate, land and corporate governance. Deonne has significant experience in drafting and negotiating of commercial agreements related to project development and facility operations; analyzing of federal and state regulations and orders related to the interstate and intrastate storage and transportation of natural gas and electricity; drafting of applications and other documents related to the authorization of new or expanded service to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), developing processes and procedures for facility and company operations; experience with corporate governance matters, commodities trading transactions involving industry standard agreements (NAESB, EEI and ISDA), origination transactions and other complex energy transactions, and long-term power purchase and sale transactions; substantive knowledge of natural gas gathering, processing and transportation agreements; and FERC matters and regulations relating to cost-base and market-base authorization for natural gas pipeline infrastructures. With her almost 15 years of experience, Deonne continues to provide assistance in compliance and developing training programs for the certain personnel relating to regulatory and compliance issues with the FERC, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Department of Energy (DOE), other state regulatory agencies, and public utilities associated with oil and gas pipeline, storage, and transportation transactions.
Kelly is a Partner at Fragomen’s Houston office, where she represents clients across a variety of industries, including the international energy sector, manufacturing, information technology, finance and shipping. She guides corporations in the development and implementation of strategic immigration policies and advises U.S. and international clients on immigration issues related to corporate restructuring including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and start-ups. Kelly has a broad range of experience in all areas of employment immigration, including nonimmigrant and immigrant visas, labor certifications, and family-based cases and citizenship.
Kelly has in-depth experience working within Houston’s international energy sector, primarily focusing on large volume corporate immigration, including management of both U.S. immigration and global migration. She has more than 20 years of experience counseling clients in U.S. Outer Continental Shelf compliance, particularly focusing on assisting international corporations in vessel exemptions, specialist work authorizations and crew member exemptions.
Hillary Holmes is a partner in the Houston office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, co-chair of the firmwide Capital Markets Practice and a member of the firm's Energy and Infrastructure, Securities Regulation and Corporate Governance, and Mergers and Acquisitions practice groups. Ms. Holmes counsels public companies, private companies, MLPs and investment banks in all forms of capital raising transactions, including IPOs, registered offerings of debt and equity securities, private placements of debt and equity securities, and spin-offs. She regularly advises private and public companies in securities regulation and governance matters. She also frequently serves as an advisor to boards of directors, conflicts committees, and financial advisors in complex transactions involving MLPs and energy companies.
Ms. Holmes has been recognized as one of the top young capital markets lawyers in the U.S. and is ranked by Chambers USA: Texas Capital Markets: Debt & Equity and Chambers USA: Energy and Oil and Gas (Transactional), which sources noted she is “very talented,” “remarkably dedicated,” and “incredibly knowledgeable.” Peers attest that “she is a phenomenal lawyer who has good judgment, is very engaged, and clients love her.” She has been consistently recognized by The Legal 500 U.S. and was the 2017 recipient of the Premier Women in Law Award by the Houston Chapter of the Association of Women Attorneys and the sole 2015 recipient of the Houston Bar Association's Outstanding Young Lawyers Award. Ms. Holmes frequently writes, speaks and is quoted on matters relating to the oil and gas industry, capital markets, joint ventures and M&A.
Ms. Holmes is active in professional organizations in Houston, including as a member of the Board of Directors of Houston Volunteer Lawyers; a Houston Bar Association Ambassador; a member of the Campaign for the Homeless Committee, Continuing Legal Education Committee, and Lawyers for Literacy Committee of the Houston Bar Association; former co-chair of the Houston Young Lawyers Association's Nonprofit-Law Committee; a Life Fellow and co-chair of the Nominating Committee of the Houston Bar Foundation; and a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. Ms. Holmes also previously served the State Bar of Texas as co-vice-chair of the Women in the Profession Committee and a member of the Committee to Select Minority Directors. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the local nonprofit organization Harrison’s Heroes and a community volunteer through the Junior League of Houston and St. Luke’s Church. Ms. Holmes has been recognized as a women business leader in Houston by the Houston Business Journal in 2018 and the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce in 2017.
Jessica Mason is a labor and employment attorney who represents employers and executives in their labor and employment litigation pre-trial, trial and appellate matters around the United States and before administrative agencies, including the Texas Workforce Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Department of Labor.
Jessica has particular experience in the area of unfair competition and the protection of trade secrets. She regularly represents clients in the courtroom in matters relating to non-competition agreements and theft of trade secrets, including frequently defending and prosecuting applications for emergency relief. Jessica’s experience in this area allows her to provide advice to employers at all stages of these disputes.
Jessica has an active docket of wage and hour litigation as well as significant experience in managing complaints and litigation relating to discrimination and harassment, including claims made under Title VII and state law. She also advises employers and handles claims relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and Family and Medical Leave Act, as well as employment policies, EEO compliance, hiring and termination decisions, executive agreements and separations, a wide range of personnel issues, and other workplace issues. In addition, Jessica also has the understanding to advise clients on compliance with premises accessibility under the ADA, including website accessibility for the blind.
Furthermore, Jessica regularly teams with employers to provide guidance and training relative to preventative measures that reduce litigation and complaints and limit liability.
Veronica Foley serves as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Precision Drilling Corporation (“Precision”). Precision is a leading North American drilling company listed in the New York and the Toronto stock. It provides onshore drilling and completion and production services globally to exploration and production companies in the oil and natural gas industry. Veronica serves as an instrumental member to the executive management team and spends most of her time advising the Board of Directors, the Chief Executive Officer and other members of the executive team. She is responsible for implementing strategic business growth initiatives, helping build strong board relations, and overseeing all aspects of corporate governance, legal and compliance functions.
Veronica holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and French from Baylor University, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from South Texas College of Law. She serves on the boards of various educational and professional institutions, including the Houston Bar Foundation – the charitable arm of the Houston Bar and of Girls Inc. of Greater Houston, where she currently acts as Vice-Chair.
Julie Mayo is an energy transactions partner in Norton Rose Fulbright's Houston office and leader of the Firm’s US oil and gas practice. Her practice focuses on oil, natural gas and electric power projects, particularly natural gas and LNG. Julie represents clients on all aspects of project development and mergers and acquisitions. Her project development experience encompasses all aspects of the project: from construction to commercial contracts and consortium structuring to transportation. She has been recognized by a number of publications, including Chambers USA, Chambers Global, and Legal 500. In 2019, Julie was named “Best in energy, natural resources and mining” by Euromoney at the LMG Americas Women in Business awards and also received the inaugural Power Play Vanguard Award for her leadership in creating a supportive environment for men and women in the LNG industry. Julie is a Leader in the Center for Women in Law, which is the foremost educational institution devoted to the success of the entire spectrum of women in law. She received her BA and MPH from Emory University and her JD from the University of Texas School of Law.
Cassandra Mott serves on Thompson & Knight’s eight-person Management Committee and is the Partner-in-Charge of Business Development in the Firm’s Houston office. She represents banks, non-bank lenders and borrowers in a variety of commercial transactions, with a particular focus on leveraged buyout financings related to acquisitions and recapitalizations. According to Chambers USA by Chambers and Partners, she is an “exceptional practitioner with great business sense.” Cassandra is active in both professional and charitable organizations, including the Association for Corporate Growth, the Houston Food Bank and the Greater Houston Partnership's Executive Women's Partnership.
Vera de Gyarfas is a partner in Mayer Brown's Houston office and a member of the Oil & Gas industry group. She focuses her practice on transactions involving energy projects in Latin America and Africa. Vera represents companies in upstream exploration and production, liquefied natural gas and other natural gas projects under all types of host government agreements, including production sharing agreements, concessions/licenses, and operating services agreements. She also advises companies with respect to power projects, generation, transmission and distribution facilities, and advises petrochemical companies in developing specialized plants. Vera has particular experience in LNG and negotiates and drafts investment agreements for host governments and other parties, analyzes existing regulations and government negotiations, and completes agreements for LNG sales and purchases, gas supply, and terminal usage, among others.
Vera was recognized as a 2016 Women in Energy Honoree by Texas Lawyer, she is ranked in the Legal 500 2018 Powerlist as an expert in Mexico's energy sector and is ranked in Chambers Global 2018 for Energy and Natural Resources as an expert in the US for Venezuela. She was also recommended in Legal 500 Latin America 2018, and listed as a leading practitioner in the International Who’s Who of Oil and Gas Lawyers 2018. Vera is fluent in Spanish, English and Portuguese and is a frequent author and speaker on energy topics.
Anita Kerin has served as the Assistant General Counsel for Nine Energy Service, Inc. since she joined the company in April 2018. In this capacity, not only is she responsible for managing all of Nine’s general corporate, commercial and litigation matters, but also provides a broad range of legal advice to senior management in areas such as corporate governance, intellectual property, real estate, compliance and contract negotiation. Prior to joining Nine, Ms. Kerin was a litigation partner at the law firm Strasburger & Price, LLP where handled a variety of complex commercial disputes, product liability and personal injury matters with an emphasis on catastrophic injury defense. Ms. Kerin has had extensive trial experience having taken several cases to verdict in both Texas and Louisiana.
Ms. Kerin graduated from Texas A&M University in 2001 with a BBA in Marketing and Management Information Systems and received her JD from the University of Houston Law Center in 2001.
In her spare time, Ms. Kerin enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys, traveling, eating good food and cheering on the Houston Astros.
Kyle Lewis is Senior Counsel on the Safety & Insurance Legal team at Uber Technologies, Inc. He oversees a team of in-house attorneys who work closely with outside counsel to defend the company in Northeast U.S. claims litigation matters, which present a host of novel and first-impression legal issues. Before joining Uber, Kyle was an Associate at an insurance defense law firm in Chicago where he defended a range of corporate defendants in a variety of tort liability litigation. He received his B.A. in International Studies and Communications from Saint Louis University, and his J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. He is a Member in Good Standing of the Illinois State Bar.
In his free time, Kyle enjoys exploring Chicago with his wife or taking weekend trips to mountain towns to go hiking.
Brianne W. Richardson is a trial lawyer who focuses primarily on appellate practice and oil/gas litigation. She has represented litigants in the Texas Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and various appellate courts across the state of Texas. Brianne is extensively involved in the pre-trial stages of cases for complex motion practice and at trial. She also supervises and manages all discovery for certain clients in order to provide consistency and cost efficiency across multiple cases.
Brianne has worked with clients in a wide variety of industries including oil and gas, petrochemical, manufacturing and distributing, commercial construction, insurance, property owners’ associations, property managers and owners, and other business owners. She has advised on cases involving a broad range of claims, including breach of contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duties, negligence, employment disputes, corporate formation disputes, premises liability, products liability, insurance coverage issues, defamation, invasion of privacy, legal malpractice, and guardianship disputes.
In the legal community, Brianne is a member of the American Bar Association Appellate Advocacy Committee of Tort Trial & Insurance, the Houston Bar Association, the Texas Young Lawyers Association, the Texas Association of Defense Counsel and the Defense Research Institute. She is also an active in the Texas Bar Association’s Appellate, Oil & Gas, and Construction Sections, and is a member of the Women’s Energy Network
Lisa Houssiere is a Principal in McKool Smith's Houston office. Her practice focuses on representing clients in U.S. and international litigation, arbitration, and government and internal investigations.
Lisa has represented international and domestic companies as both plaintiffs and defendants in complex energy, antitrust, and intellectual property matters. Her litigation and arbitration cases have involved a wide range of disputes arising in the U.S., Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Venezuela. As a result, Lisa has developed an in-depth understanding of the political, social, and economic climate in Latin America and regularly counsels clients in that region.
Lisa has been recognized among Lawdragon’s 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers and as a Rising Star for Business Litigation by Thomson Reuters. In addition, the National Diversity Council has recognized Lisa as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers and as one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Oil and Gas. She has also been recognized as one of the Top 10 Transformational Women Leaders by IndustryWired.
Tenley Krueger is Senior IP Counsel supporting chemical and software technologies at Halliburton. She joined Halliburton in 2016 and has extensive experience in all aspects of intellectual property law and portfolio management. Ms. Krueger also has diverse institutional experience working for large companies, such as Total Petrochemicals. Additionally, she has worked with U.S. based law firms and foreign organizations, the latter during her time in Malaysia. Ms. Krueger also serves as an Adjunct Professor, supervising the Patent Clinic at South Texas College of Law and is a licensed mediator and Guardian ad Litem for Child Advocates of Fort Bend.
Ms. Krueger earned her J.D. from Tulane University and her B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Petroleum Refining from the Colorado School of Mines.
Pam Rea is a member of the Law & Regulations team for Allstate Insurance. In her position as Counsel, Pam litigates claims for damages under commercial and automobile policies representing the company’s insureds. She also provides other legal services to the organization. She embraces Allstate’s focus on diversity and team building by seeking out opportunities to work with colleagues who want to sharpen their own skills, while also learning from these talented team members.
Prior to joining Allstate, Pam had her own law firm for more than a decade representing clients involved in business and contractual disputes, copyright infringement and trademark disputes; the misappropriation of proprietary data and trade secret theft; unfair competition and other commercial litigation. She also handled labor and employment matters, including restrictive covenants and workplace discrimination claims, risk prevention training, policy guidance, external investigations of allegations, and representation of employers before the EEOC or other governmental entities and through the litigation or arbitration process.
Beyond litigation, Pam Rea is experienced in handling cases at the appellate levels and has tried cases before arbitration panels and in administrative law matters.
Pam was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in May 1995 and has practiced throughout the State of Texas. She is also admitted to practice before the federal U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Northern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas.
Past firm affiliations include Delgado, Acosta, Braden & Jones LLP, and Beirne, Maynard & Parsons LLP. An honors graduate of the University of St. Thomas and South Texas College of Law, Pam is also a graduate of Leadership Houston Class XXIV and a member of the Texas Bar College.
Matthew Butts is the Vice President of Business Development and Strategy at EDF Energy Services. He received his bachelor degree from the Oklahoma State University.