Shelby O’Brien is a partner at Enoch Kever PLLC where her practice focuses on civil litigation and appeals. Before joining Enoch Kever, Shelby served as a staff attorney 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.
Jennifer Hopgood is an assistant county attorney at the Travis County Attorney’s Office in the Land Use Division. She also worked at the Texas Attorney General’s Office as an assistant attorney general in public financing and Medicaid fraud litigation and served as a staff attorney for the Honorable Bob Pemberton at the Third Court of Appeals. Prior to her legal career, Jennifer 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 as the Editor-in-Chief of the Austin Bar’s monthly magazine Austin Lawyer.
Immediate Past President and TCWLF Liason
Sarah Glaser is an employment lawyer, providing proactive and cost-effective representation to employers. In addition to preventative counseling and conducting workplace investigations, Sarah is a litigator who represents employers in courts and in front of administrative agencies. She also enjoys assisting executives in negotiating employment agreements.
Her son Oliver, daughter Ada, two dogs, and husband fill most of her time outside the office, but she still finds a way to get outside and enjoy the Greenbelt and the rest of Austin’s parks and trails.
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 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 fiduciary litigation, including defending attorneys against legal malpractice claims.
April practices in federal and state courts throughout Texas and the Fifth Circuit 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.
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 be unable to keep up if you attempt to engage her in football banter. She grew up in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.
April enjoys her family, horse, and dog. She also used to read a fair bit, before the law came along.
Treasurer and Assistant Secretary
Jennifer Ward is Principal Attorney at Law Office of Jennifer D. Ward in Austin, Texas. Her practice focuses on employment law and general counsel services for individuals, small businesses, and non-profits. She handles a range of legal issues from business formation to workplace disputes. She is licensed to practice in the State of Texas, the State of California, the U.S. Western District of Texas, the U.S. Southern District of Texas, the U.S. Eastern District of California, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. She also represents clients in administrative proceedings.
Jennifer graduated from University of California, Davis School at Law with a Certificate in Public Interest Law. She participated in Moot Court and Appellate Advocacy, served as Research Assistant to Professor Lisa Pruitt, and was active in numerous organizations. Prior to attending law school, Jennifer pursued a career in the Arts with the goal of becoming a music professor. She graduated cum laude from Rice University with a double major in piano performance and music history. She earned a Master’s of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in piano performance. She also founded a piano studio, working as an independent music teacher for a number of years.
Jennifer continues to enjoy the Arts. She spends time cooking, traveling, or exploring Austin whenever she can. Jennifer is looking forward to giving back to the legal community through her work with TCWLA.
Mary Byars is an associate at Scott, Douglass & McConnico LLP where she represents both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of complex commercial litigation, with an emphasis on oil and gas disputes, pharmaceutical defense, and appellate matters. Mary received a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 2015 and a Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, from Smith College in 2010. Before going to law school, Mary did Teach for America in Houston, where she taught fourth grade reading for two years. Mary grew up in Austin and enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and two dogs.
Ashley Carr is an Associate at DLA Piper and represents healthcare, life science, pharmaceutical, medical device, and technology companies in a variety of litigation matters, including complex commercial litigation and product liability cases. She also regularly counsels clients on a wide range of issues, including risk management and state and federal regulatory matters. Beyond the healthcare space, Ashley’s practice spans several areas, including general business litigation, securities litigation, insurance, and arbitration matters. She has a successful track record representing clients in the financial services, technology, energy, real estate and insurance industries.
In addition to serving on the Board of the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association, Ashley is a co-founder of The Greenfield Project, a non-profit organization that conducts legal and regulatory analyses to develop and promote policy initiatives that support sustainable, humane agricultural practices. Ashley also maintains an active pro bono practice. She has served as pro bono counsel for the Animal Legal Defense Fund and for several individual clients in family law, criminal, and immigration matters. Ashley is a recipient of the Judge Thomas Gibbs Gee award for outstanding pro bono service.
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.
Caroline Hall is the Client Advocacy Manager at DISCO. She serves as an evangelist for DISCO’s products and services and works closely with clients to ensure that they achieve the highest levels of success and delight with their technology investments. After practicing construction litigation at a boutique firm, Hall took her frustration with the inefficiencies and bad technology common in the legal field and came to DISCO to focus on developing better products and services to improve the practice of law. She received her J.D from Baylor Law School in 2013 and her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2011. Caroline is obsessed with her dog, Murphy, and is expecting her first human baby, Ross, in October.
Megan Honey Johnson has been the Staff Attorney for Judge Tim Sulak in the 353rd District Court since October 2012. Prior to public service, she practiced litigation and intellectual property law for seven years at Jackson Walker, LLP, representing clients in cases of all types of litigation including large, complex litigation and small contract or property disputes, and in various trademark and copyright matters. She attended undergraduate at Southwestern University and law school at Wake Forest University.
Megan serves on the Austin Bar Association Board of Directors, the Austin Bar Association Bench Bar Committee, and as an Austin Bar Association mentor. She is also member of the Civil Litigation Section and Austin Young Lawyers Association (AYLA) and is a graduate of the Austin Bar Association/AYLA 2017 Leadership Academy Class. Megan is a Barrister in the Barbara Jordan Inn of Court, a member of the League of Women Voters Austin Area, and a member of Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association (MAMAs).
Megan enjoys hanging with her husband, Jeff, her three children, and all of their animals. She also loves cooking, travelling to new places, and exploring all that Austin has to offer.
Melissa Lorber is a founding partner on Enoch Kever PLLC, where her practice focuses on representing businesses in litigation at both the trial and appellate levels, in state and federal courts. She regularly represents clients before the Texas Supreme Court, the Texas Courts of Appeals, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and she has handled appellate matters before the United States Supreme Court. Melissa is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She earned her J.D. with Honors from the University of Texas School of Law (2001), an M.B.A. in Strategic Management from the University of Houston–Victoria (2019), and B.A. in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Arizona (1996).
In addition to serving on the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association Board of Directors, Melissa serves as Immediate Past Chair of the Austin Bar Association Civil Appellate Section and as a member of the Calvert Inn of Court. She has been a volunteer advocate for CASA of Travis County for more than 15 years and also serves on the Grants Leadership Team for Impact Austin, a women’s collective giving organization. Melissa has a son who is a junior at the University of North Texas, a daughter who is a freshman at the University of Texas, and a daughter who is a sixth grader at Kealing Middle School.
Liz has guided hundreds of families through the estate planning process, serving as their trusted advisor to bring peace of mind to their lives. As a wife, mother, and business owner, she understands how overwhelming an estate plan can feel. As an attorney, she knows just how important it is to have that plan in place. Liz is Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She practices exclusively in the areas of estate planning, special needs planning, and estate administration. She received her Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, in Psychology and Religion with a concentration in Human Rights from Barnard College of Columbia University and her J.D. with honors from The University of Texas School of Law. Liz and her family enjoy going on walks around their Northwest Austin neighborhood, traveling around the world, spending time with friends and family, and watching sports, including the Texas Longhorns, Iowa Hawkeyes, and Chicago Cubs.
Neha Paymaster is an associate attorney at Eccles & McIntosh PC. Her practice is focused on Estate Planning, Probate, Trusts and Guardianship. As an associate, Neha assists in drafting Wills, Trusts, Disability Documents, Premarital Agreements and Family Settlement Agreements. She aids clients through the probate process and helps them navigate their role as the personal representative of an estate. Neha works with clients to determine when a guardianship is necessary and how to fulfill the duties of a guardian of the estate or person. She also serves as an Attorney ad Litem on Heirship and Guardianship cases in Travis County.
Neha obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and her JD from Baylor Law School. She serves on board of the Estate Planning & Probate Section of the Austin Bar Association and is a committee member of the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association Mentor/Mentee Program. Neha is a member of the Junior League of Austin and enjoys traveling to see family, exploring new places, cooking, crafting, reading and spending time with her husband and handsome German Shepherd, Koda.
Mentoring Program Co-Chair
Sherine Elizabeth Thomas is the Executive 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 and coordinates with all six civil litigation and transactional 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.
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
Jane Atwood is a former Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the Attorney General of Texas where she represented various state agencies in state and federal court litigation for over 20 years. In that role she managed the enforcement section of the Environmental Protection Division.
Jane obtained her law degree for the University of Texas School of Law and has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University. She is currently enjoying a sabbatical from her law practice and acting as chief transportation officer for her her 13-year-old daughter.
Kimberly Kauffman practices employment law at Thompson Coe. Kim represents clients from a variety of industries both in litigation and in matters before administrative agencies. She also assists clients with drafting handbooks and agreements and helps clients navigate employee-related issues. Kim previously served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the Attorney General of Texas in the Law Enforcement Defense Division, where she represented state employees in litigation matters involving civil rights.
In her free time, Kim enjoys exploring Austin with her husband and their dog Milo.
Emily Franco practices estate planning and probate law at McGinnis Lochridge. 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.
In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for TCWLA, Emily also serves on the Board for the Estate Planning Council of Central Texas and volunteers as a mentor with Seedling Mentor Program. Prior to her career as an attorney, Emily was a middle school English teacher in the Rio Grande Valley.
Bar Outreach Liaison
Licensed in 2001, Mary Ann Espiritu has been a criminal defense attorney for the last 14 years and is currently a partner at Roadman & Espiritu, Attorneys at Law. She was previously a sole practitioner at The Law Office of Mary Ann Espiritu for 10 years and an associate attorney at Chris Dorbandt & Associates, PLLC for 4 years. Prior to entering criminal defense work, Mary Ann was a staff attorney at the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Mary Ann received her B.A. in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin and her J.D. from the University of Toledo College of Law. Mary Ann is very active in community and political causes, specifically those that involve marginalized communities as well as the recovery community.
Community Outreach Chair and AYLA Liason
Emily Morris assists individuals and business owners with their corporate and real estate legal needs. Her work includes entity formation and re-structuring, contracts negotiation, intellectual property issues, commercial leases, and the purchase or sale of real property. She has advised businesses in many different industries, including technology, retail, manufacturing, real estate, and professional services. Emily draws on her background in marketing and business administration when guiding 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.
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.