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.
Danielle Ahlrich is a partner at Martens, Todd, Leonard, Taylor & 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, and in state district court.
Danielle obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas and her law degree from Baylor Law School. Danielle enjoys trying new restaurants and exploring Austin with her family.
Immediate Past President / ABA Liaison
Lessie Gilstrap is a trial attorney with more than fifteen years of experience in commercial litigation. She concentrates her practice on representing clients in state and federal court and in arbitration. Her practice is varied and includes breach of contract and other business disputes, breach of fiduciary duty litigation, product liability, and employment law matters.
Lessie brings a big-picture approach to resolving commercial disputes for her clients. Whether representing an individual, a small business, a national or international company, Lessie offers her clients a creative perspective to crafting legal strategies, focusing on her client’s end goal and the most effective and efficient way to achieve it.
Lessie received her B.A. from Yale University and her J.D. magna cum laude from the University of Houston Law Center. In addition to her volunteer work for TCWLA, Lessie serves as the Vice-Chair of the Travis County Child Welfare Board.
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. She has handles cases dealing with obtaining asylum to an 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.
Tracy McCreight is a litigation partner at Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, PC. She focuses on construction litigation, complex business litigation, and employment matters. Tracy also provides pro-bono legal services to victims of domestic violence through Volunteer Legal Services of Texas. She is graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and has a 10-year old son.
Stephanie Perkins is an Employment attorney at Jackson Lewis PC, where she represents companies in negotiating and drafting employment contracts and policies, conducting internal investigations, and defending management in litigation in state and federal courts. Stephanie also represents companies in government agency charges and investigations, wage and hour matters, and arbitrations. She is a member of the Austin Bar Association Labor & Employment Law Section, and serves with various community non-profit organizations. Stephanie received her JD with honors from The University of Texas at Austin, and was honored with membership in the Order of the Coif. While at law school, she served as Editor-in-Chief of The Review of Litigation. Stephanie received her B.A. magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. When not practicing law, Stephanie enjoys reading, traveling, watching football, shoe-shopping, and trying to keep up with her warrior princess daughter.
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.
Adrienne Redinger is a partner at Davis & Wright, P.C., practicing civil litigation, with focus in insurance litigation, construction litigation, personal injury, and professional liability law. She attended The University of Texas at Austin for her undergraduate studies, earning a B.S. in Communication Studies and minor in Business. Adrienne is a fourth generation Austinite and third generation Longhorn. She enjoys attending Stronghorn Fitness sweat sessions and UT sporting events, ushering for ZACH Theatre, and spending time with her adorable nephew, Brooks. She also enjoys her volunteer work with the Junior League of Austin. This is Adrienne’s fourth year on the TCWLA Board of Directors.
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.
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 dailyemployment 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 Lloyd Gosselink’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.
Ashley received her Juris Doctor from The American University, Washington College of Law, and her B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, where she majored in psychology. In law school, Ashley was a member of the American University International Law Review and Legislation and Policy Brief. She also worked as a legal intern for the The Honorable Anna Blackburne-Rigsby of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
As Co-Publicity Chair, Ashley manages all aspects of TCWLA’s social media pages, and is also responsible for photographing TCWLA events. When not in the office or participating in TCWLA activities, you can find Ashley enjoying Austin’s live music scene, cheering on her Texas Longhorns, or volunteering with the Girl Scouts of Central Texas or Junior League of Austin.
Mentoring Program Co-Chair
Sherine Elizabeth Thomas is the Director of Litigation at the Travis
County’s Attorney’s. Sherine litigates and oversees the litigation of cases filed against Travis County, its elected official and employees in state and federal court at both the trial court and the appellate levels. In her appellate practice, Sherine has presented oral argument to various state and federal courts 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.
She is special instructor for The University of Texas Law School’s Trial Advocacy Program and has been a speaker at the Texas District and County Attorney’s Association Conferences. She is on the board of several community organizations, 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.
Color of Justice Committee Chair
Beeral Amin Gupta is currently a Stay-at-home Mom to two beautiful boys. While she is taking a break from actively practicing law, she is proud to continue her involvement in TCWLA and is grateful for the opportunity to remain connected to a wonderful group of women in the law. Before starting a family, Beeral advocated for domestic violence survivors through a position at SafePlace and later started Amin Law Office, a solo firm with a primary focus on family law issues: divorce, child custody, child support, protective orders and adoption. Beeral received a Bachelors in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin and returned to her hometown of Houston to attend South Texas College of Law. While at South Texas, she litigated for the Harris County Attorney’s Office in the Child Protective Division. During her spare time, Beeral enjoys practicing yoga, reading and eating her way through South Austin.
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.
Elizabeth Beyer practices Family Law, Real Estate, and Probate at The Fowler Law Firm. Her undergraduate degree is from U.T. Austin and her law degree is from St. Mary’s University where she served on the editorial board of the St. Mary’s Law Journal. She is a regular speaker at continuing legal education events and in 2014 received the President’s Award from the Travis County Women Lawyer’s Association. She is the proud mother of two boys, and enjoys running, hiking, and gardening, except in August.
Stephanie Allen is a Trust Officer and Assistant Vice President with Frost Wealth Advisors of Austin at Frost Bank. Prior to joining Frost, Stephanie practiced law in the areas of estate planning and probate.
ABA & Diversity Bar Liaison
Elizabeth Fitzgerald practices Administrative and Heath Law for the Department of State Health Services, the public health branch of the Texas health enterprise. She has extensive governmental experience having server in the Judge Advocate Corps of the United States Air Force for six and a half years. While serving in the Air Force, Elizabeth worked on a wide variety of legal issues, including criminal prosecutions, fiscal law, ethics and compliance as well as family and administrative law. Elizabeth left active duty in 2014 and attended the University of Texas school of law for an LL.M in International Law.