Danielle Ahlrich is a partner at Martens, Todd, Leonard & Ahlrich. She represents clients in state tax controversies with the Texas Comptroller, primarily concerning sales tax and franchise tax. Danielle assists clients with audits, challenging assessments, and seeking refunds of overpaid tax before the Comptroller of Public Accounts, the State Office of Administrative Hearings, state district court, and the courts of appeal.
Danielle obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas and her law degree from Baylor Law School. Danielle enjoys Pilates, trying new restaurants, and exploring Austin with her family.
Tracy McCreight is a litigation partner at Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, PC. Her primary practices are construction litigation and complex business litigation, on both sides of the docket.
She is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law (with honors) and has a B.A. from the University of Maryland at College Park. Tracy has an 11-year old son and a 2-year old daughter.
Immediate Past President
Cristina Nahidi is a trial attorney specializing in personal injury defense, business, and construction defect litigation with Wright & Greenhill, P.C. Her personal injury defense practice is focused on defending companies and individuals in cases related to workplace premise liability, wrongful death, as well as motor vehicle accident and catastrophic industrial accidents. Her business practice is focused on a variety of “business divorce” type cases, ranging from investor disputes to breaches of contract, fiduciary duties, as well as employment disputes regarding non-compete agreements, discrimination and wrongful termination. Her construction defect litigation practice is focused on defending general contractors and subcontractors in commercial construction defect cases, as well as representing homeowners in residential construction defect cases. Cristina graduated with honors from The University of Texas at Austin School of Law, and magna cum laude from The University of Pennsylvania.
April Lucas is a civil litigation partner at McGinnis, Lochridge, & Kilgore, LLP. She has practiced at McGinnis Lochridge since 2005, after working as briefing attorney to Justice David Puryear at the Third Court of Appeals in Austin, Texas. April’s civil litigation practice is broad and varied. It includes commercial, contract, and business disputes, trust and family disputes and probate suits, oil and gas, and occasional personal injury or wrongful death matters. A large portion of her practice is dedicated to defending attorneys against legal malpractice claims.
April practices in federal and state courts throughout Texas and often handles clients’ disputes through arbitration and mediation. She also enjoys appellate work and has handled briefing, argument, emergency motions, and mandamus matters in a variety of appellate courts. She has also worked on matters before the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
As a member and the Secretary of Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association, April has had the opportunity to meet and network with an amazing and inspiring group of female attorneys and their supporters. She is also a member of the Austin Bar Association, its litigation and appellate sections, the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society, and the American Constitution Society, and has worked with Habitat for Humanity Legal Build.
April is a 2004 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, a member of the Order of the Coif, and a proud member of the fighting Texas Aggie Class of 2001. Although a devoted Aggie (and former resident of Lechner, Keathley, Hart, and Santa Chiara), she fails to follow collegiate sports closely and will not realize she is being mocked if you attempt to engage her in football banter. She grew up in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.
April enjoys spending time with her family and eating Mexican food (or both) and has an immoderate affection for her hairy dogs and dusty horses. She also used to read a fair bit, before the law came along.
Lea Brigtsen is a civil litigation associate at Hunton & Williams LLP. Lea has practiced at Hunton since 2009, after working as an associate at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer Feld LLP in Austin, Texas. Lea’s commercial litigation practice includes contract cases, business disputes, and environmental cases.
Lea also consistently takes on a number of pro bono cases a year to assist those who would otherwise have to represent themselves in the confusing world of law. Lea’s pro bono cases vary greatly, from cases dealing with obtaining asylum to assisting with an individual in defending an eviction from a trailer park. Around Hunton’s Austin office, Lea is known as a specialist in trailer park and towing cases. All the sexy areas of law.
As a board member of Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association, Lea has met so many extraordinary women and has really enjoyed broadening her circle of friends and colleagues. She is also a member of Austin Young Lawyers’ Association and the Austin Bar Association. Through AYLA and the Austin Bar, Lea served as a member of the Leadership Academy Class of 2013.
Lea is a proud University of Texas graduate where she went for her undergrad, masters, and law school. Burnt orange through and through. Lea also enjoys serving as an advisor to the University of Texas’ Chi Omega sorority. During her free time, Lea loves running Town Lake (aka Lady Bird Lake) with her dog, hanging with her husband, and eating at all the amazing local restaurants that have made Austin so special.
Adriana Reyes’s practice is focused on advising foreign investors on cross-border corporate legal matters, with emphasis on mergers & acquisitions, private equity, general corporate and commercial contracts. Her clients include corporations and individuals located in the United States, Mexico and other Latin American countries. She also provides pro-bono legal services to victims of domestic violence through Volunteer Legal Services of Texas. Adriana is licensed in Texas and Mexico and holds an LL.M. degree from The University of Texas School of Law. During her spare time, Adriana enjoys exploring the trails in the Austin area.
Shelby O’Brien is a civil litigation and appellate attorney at Enoch Kever PLLC. Before joining Enoch Kever, Shelby served as mandamus attorney and staff attorney for Justice Eva Guzman at the Texas Supreme Court. In addition to serving on the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association Board of Directors, Shelby serves on the Austin Bar Association Civil Appellate Section’s Governing Council and the Austin Court of Appeals Pro Bono Committee. Shelby received her J.D. with Honors from the University of Texas School of Law and a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Maryland. She is board certified in civil appellate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch guides people through the immigration process so they can live and work without fear of deportation. Her firm, Lincoln-Goldfinch Law, is located in Hyde Park. She earned both her undergraduate degree and J.D. at the University of Texas. Ms. Lincoln-Goldfinch was the recipient of an Equal Justice Works Fellowship, sponsored by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in 2008. Her project served immigrant women and families detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In 2010, Ms. Lincoln-Goldfinch received the Contribution to Minority Community Award from the Travis County Women’s Lawyers Association. She is fluent in Spanish and is proud mama to daughter Nora.
Kacy Dudley is a family law practitioner specializing in high conflict cases. She graduated cum laude from the University of Houston in 2006 with degrees in English and Psychology, and holds her J.D. from St. Mary’s School of Law. Kacy is a proud native Austinite, and is married to her partner of 15 years, Trey Dudley. They have three children.
Ashley Thomas is an employment law attorney at Lloyd Gosselink Rochelle & Townsend, P.C.
Ashley’s practice focuses on providing practical advice and assistance to employers on daily employment matters such as interviewing, hiring, firing, disciplining, training, investigating, and drafting and implementing workplace policies. She also defends employers in courts, before state and federal agencies, and at arbitration and mediation in workplace discrimination, harassment, retaliation claims, wage-and-hour, and other employment-related claims. In addition to being a member of the firm’s Employment Law Practice Group, she is also a member of the firm’s Litigation Practice Group, where she represents clients in all aspects of litigation.
In law school, Ashley was a member of the American University International Law Review and the Legislation and Policy Brief. She also worked as a legal intern for The Honorable Anna Blackburne-Rigsby of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and in the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to joining Lloyd Gosselink, Ashley worked as a key staff member in the Texas House of Representatives during the 80th, 81st, and 83rd legislative sessions.
When not in the office, you can find Ashley enjoying Austin’s live music scene, cheering on her Texas Longhorns, or volunteering with Meals on Wheels.
Sarah Glaser assists employers in Texas and across the country with proactive and cost-effective representation. In addition to providing preventative counseling and conducting workplace investigations, Sarah is a litigator who represents employers in the retail, healthcare, and entertainment industries in courts and in front of administrative agencies. She also enjoys assisting executives in negotiating employment agreements. Welter Law Firm, where she is an Associate, is uniquely poised to provide practical and cost-effective representation nationwide.
Her son Oliver, two dogs, and husband fill most of her time spent outside the office, but she still finds a way to get outside and enjoy the Greenbelt and the rest of Austin’s beautiful parks and trails.
Kara Hayenga focuses her practice on numerous aspects of commercial real estate transactions, including acquisitions, dispositions, financing, leasing/subleasing, development of real estate and general real estate matters at DuBois, Bryant & Campbell, LLP. She has prior experience as in-house counsel for a leading Texas real estate trade association and a multinational engineering firm focusing on public-private transportation projects. She is a member of the Austin Bar Association Real Estate Section and volunteers with several non-profit organizations. Kara is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Law in Gainesville, Florida, and enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants and going on hikes with her husband and their two dogs.
Mentoring Program Co-Chair
Sherine Elizabeth Thomas is the Executive Assistant County Attorney at the Travis County’s Attorney’s Office. Although Sherine litigates cases filed against and on behalf of Travis County, its elected officials and employees in state and federal court at both the trial court and the appellate levels, she also oversees or coordinates with all six civil divisions of the County Attorney’s Office. She assists in developing and managing policy and the budget for the office. In her appellate practice, Sherine has presented oral argument to various state and federal courts of appeals, including the Supreme Court of Texas and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Her practice areas have included employment law, civil rights, personal injury and condemnation, elections, and land use. She has handled cases as both Plaintiff and Defendants
When Hamilton Pool was polluted by developers, Sherine took the lead for Travis County in negotiating a collective settlement totaling $3.5 million dollars with almost $2.1 dollars going to Travis County. Not only is this the highest settlement amount received by Travis County for an environmental case of this kind, this settlement allowed for an unprecedented cleanup of the creek and Hamilton Pool. Most recently, Sherine was recognized as the 2016 Civil Practitioner of the Year by the Texas District and County Attorney’s Association and with Government Services Award by Travis County Women Lawyers Association.
She is special instructor for The University of Texas Law School’s Trial Advocacy Program. She is on the board of several professional organizations and community non-profits, with an emphasis on women’s issues.
Mentoring Program Co-Chair
Emily Morris assists individuals and small to medium sized business owners with their transactional and real estate needs. Her work includes entity formation, contracts negotiation, acquisitions, employment issues, intellectual property issues, commercial leases, and the purchase or sale of real property. She has assisted businesses in many different industries, including oil & gas, healthcare, manufacturing, real estate, and professional services. Emily draws on her background in marketing and business administration when guiding business clients through the legal process in order to help achieve their company vision. In addition to being licensed to practice law by the State of Texas, Emily received FINRA Series 6 and 65 licenses in 2015 and 2013, respectively.
Emily received a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Louisiana State University and Juris Doctor from Tulane University before returning home to Texas. She also spent a semester studying international corporate law at the University of Copenhagen in Copenhagen, Denmark, during her final year of law school. During her free time, Emily enjoys singing soprano with Chorus Austin, watching football and baseball, and exploring Austin’s green spaces and live music scene with her husband Andy.
Stephanie Allen is a Trust Officer and Assistant Vice President with Frost Wealth Advisors of Austin at Frost Bank, providing fiduciary and investment services to wide range of customers. The work is so varied, she still doesn’t have an elevator speech for it. Prior to joining Frost, Stephanie practiced law in the areas of estate planning and probate. Stephanie received her J.D. from Regent Law, an L.L.M. in Taxation from the University of Alabama, and a Bachelor of Science from Southwestern Assembly of God University, where her studies were concentrated in vocal and sacred music (her husband of 13 years might have been her music theory professor, but he was a very young professor). She enjoys cooking, traveling, doing almost anything creative, and most of all spending time with her hubby and two “intentional mutts”, Mozart (a toy schnoodle) and Gretchen (a toy shih-poo).
Emily Franco practices estate planning and probate law at The Blum Firm. She advises families, professionals, and businesses in the areas of asset protection, estate and tax planning, business planning, estate administration and probate. Emily received her J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law, and earned a B.A. in psychology cum laude from Rice University.
Bar Outreach Liaison
Jeana Patel is a Director of Legal Recruitment at Special Counsel. Originally from California, Jeana is licensed in both California and Texas and practiced primarily family law and business litigation in both Southern California and Austin before joining Special Counsel as a legal recruiter. She recruits and places candidates to fill temporary, temporary to hire, and direct hire attorneys, paralegals, and other legal professional positions for a variety of law firms and corporate clients in the Greater Austin area. Jeana also frequently works with law firms and corporations to ensure their staffing, recruiting, and employment needs are met.
Jeana obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego and her JD from California Western School of Law. Jeana is also a member of the Austin Young Lawyers Association and the Austin Bar Association, and served as a member of the AYLA 2017 Leadership Academy Class. In addition to serving on the Travis County Women Lawyer’s Association Board of Directors, Jeana also serves on the South Asian Bar Association Board of Directors. In her free time Jeana enjoys traveling and trying new restaurants around Austin.
Sue Ayers is a partner in the trial department of Jackson Walker L.L.P. During the first several years of her law practice, Sue developed broad trial and appellate experience in state and federal courts in cases involving personal injury, wrongful death, toxic tort, and free speech, and represented the court-appointed Receiver in one of the largest Ponzi scheme cases ever filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. As part of Jackson Walker’s eminent domain practice group, Sue has developed expertise in land acquisition, including the negotiation of easements and crossing agreements, the purchase of property in fee simple, and condemnation. Sue assisted with all aspects of the acquisition of right-of-way for an electric transmission line project selected as one of the Top 10 Infrastructure Projects in the nation in 2013 by the International Right of Way Association.
Before law school, Sue was a high school English teacher for nine years. As an attorney, her community service has included membership on the Walnut Creek Elementary Campus Advisory Council and the Development Council for A Community for Education (“ACE”). Sue is a Fellow and a Board Member of the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Foundation and is beginning her first year as Secretary of the Board.
Community Outreach Chair
Jennifer Hopgood is an assistant attorney general in the Financial Litigation and Charitable Trusts Division of the Office of the Attorney General of Texas. She represents the State of Texas in litigation, including bond validation matters, and various agencies including the Department of Insurance and the Comptroller of Public Accounts in insurance and financial litigation. Jennifer also served as a staff attorney for the Honorable Bob Pemberton at the Third Court of Appeals. Prior to her legal career, she taught for eleven years in the Eanes school district, primarily teaching sixth grade English.
Jennifer received her B.A. in Japanese studies from the University of California, Berkeley and her J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center. She also serves on the board of the Austin Bar Association’s Administrative Law Section as a CLE co-chair.
As the Community Outreach Chair, Jennifer promotes the involvement of TCWLA in various community events including the Color of Justice program and the Women’s Resource Fair. The Color of Justice program was started ten years ago by the Honorable Orlinda Naranjo. Each April, minority middle and high school students attend a half-day program where judges and area attorneys share their personal experiences and advise the students about preparing for college and graduate school. The Women’s Resource Fair, held annually in late spring, is a comprehensive all-day program that provides a variety of free resources, including legal assistance, medical care and mental health services, job skills and educational counseling, social services, financial counseling, haircuts, a clothing closet, childcare, and breakfast and lunch.
Amie Rodnick graduated from UT law and has been licensed since 1979. She has been in private practice since 1984, specializing in using alternative dispute resolution techniques in her family law practice, such as mediation and collaborative law. She is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, a Distinguished Credentialed Mediator by the TMCA and a senior fellow in the Texas College of Collaborative Law. She has served on the TCWLA Scholarship Fund since its inception in 1983 and currently serves as president. She is a former chair of the Family law Section of the Austin Bar Association and currently serves on several local and national nonprofit boards.