Party Talk Contributors

Joe R. Anderson is a founding partner at Burns Anderson Jury & Brenner, L.L.P. His primary focus is on workers’ compensation insurance defense. He is board certified in Workers’ Compensation Law and is a frequent speaker to carriers, DWC, Office of Injured Employee Counsel, and various industry groups.
Stephen C. Bolline is an associate with Griffith Nixon Davison, P.C. in Dallas, Texas. He practices construction litigation and primarily represents commercial general contractors. Stephen Bolline graduated Baylor Law and also has a master’s degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University.
Rebekah Steely Brooker practices at Passman & Jones in Dallas and focuses on estate planning and administration, probate matters, trust and asset protection planning. She is experienced administering trusts and estates of decedents and counseling clients on estate planning, charitable planning, and estate and trust management.
John Browning is a partner in the Dallas, Texas, office of LBBS, where he handles civil litigation in state and federal courts. He is the author of the book The Lawyer’s Guide to Social Networking: Understanding Social Media’s Impact on the Law as well as two forthcoming books on social media and the law.
William J. Chriss, former dean of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics, represents property owners and injury victims in large insurance and liability lawsuits and appeals. He graduated from Harvard Law School, also holds graduate degrees in theology and political science, and is board certified in Civil Trial Law and Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Dr. Claude E. Cooke, owner of Cooke Law Firm, is widely considered to be one of the nation’s leading experts on the subject of hydraulic fracturing and its role in energy production. He represents clients in the oil and gas and other industries in patent and technology-related matters, including technical litigation as both an attorney and an expert witness.
David Courreges is a partner at Hay Compere PLLC, where he leads the governmental and legislative affairs division and practices in the areas of administrative law, association law, and mediation. He is president-elect of the Austin Young Lawyers Association and the former vice president of the Texas Young Lawyers Association.
Aaron Dorfner is a shareholder of Cotton, Bledsoe, Tighe & Dawson, P.C., in Midland, Texas. He works in the firm’s litigation section. He frequently litigates disputes over oil and gas matters, real property, and contracts in state and federal courts.
Yolanda Eisenstein is an animal law attorney in Dallas. She is an adjunct professor in animal law at the SMU Dedman School of Law, former chair of the State Bar of Texas Animal Law Section, and chair-elect of the ABA Animal Law Committee. Yolanda is the author of Careers in Animal Law, published by the ABA.
Manuel Escobar is an attorney with McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore, LLP and has a wide-ranging transactional practice, including corporate formation, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, intellectual property licensing, and securities. Manuel holds a bachelor’s degree from Rice University and a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.
Catherine Evans has been a prosecutor with the Harris County DA’s Office since 2001. Catherine ran the Vehicular Crimes Section for over two years, where she worked with area law enforcement to improve their fatality crash investigations and obtained a lengthy prison sentence for a drunk driver who killed a police officer.
Lacy Durham is a tax manager at Deloitte Tax LLP in Dallas, Texas. She is an attorney/accountant and is a member of the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group. She is particularly versed in qualified plans, health and welfare arrangements, and fringe benefit issues including regulatory compliance, risk management, and document drafting.
Leigh N. Ganchan is a shareholder at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. and is certified in Immigration and Nationality law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She was one of the founding officers of the State Bar of Texas Immigration and Nationality Law Section and currently serves as the chair for the section.
Katrina Grider is a management side (defense) labor and employment attorney in Cypress, Texas, with 28 years of legal experience. Katrina is board certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, frequently has been recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer, and is an active CLE speaker and author of several articles and books on labor and employment law litigation and practice.
Terry W. Hammond, J.D., N.C.G., is the manager of Terry W. Hammond & Associates, PLLC, located in El Paso, Texas. Mr. Hammond is the former executive director of the National Guardianship Association and has focused his practice on guardianship and mental health law since 1993.
Wallis Hampton practices in the Houston office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. A former chair of the Antitrust and Business Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas, he concentrates on securities litigation, complex business disputes, and internal investigations. He is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law.
Kendall Kelly Hayden is a member of Cozen O’Connor, P.C. in Dallas, Texas, where she focuses her practice on transportation and hospitality law. She represents various types of ground transportation companies and drivers, including tractor-trailers, bus companies, taxi companies, limousine services, and armored vehicles. She frequently defends resorts, clubs, hotels, motels, restaurants, and bars within and outside of litigation.
Kelli Jones is a senior attorney with ConocoPhillips’ in-house Legal Department in Houston, Texas. She manages upstream litigation and arbitrations on behalf of the company. Prior to joining ConocoPhillips, Kelli spent four years in-house with Continental Airlines, Inc., where she handled a variety of commercial aviation litigation on behalf of the airline. Before going in-house, Kelli was a senior associate with the law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski.
Gene Major is the Attorney Compliance Division Director for the State Bar of Texas and assists with the functions and appointments of the standing committees for the bar.
Michael P. Maslanka litigates and tries employment law cases across Texas. He shares his knowledge through his Work Matters blog, his books, and his monthly “Work Matters” column for In-House Texas. He uses his practical knowledge to help clients simplify their issues and to be a cost-effective partner to them. He opened the Dallas office of Constangy Brooks & Smith, LLP in January 2011.
Mandi L. Matlock is a managing attorney at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc., where she focuses on consumer rights and federal tax litigation. She is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law.
Rick McElvaney, clinical associate professor at the University of Houston Law Center (UHLC), received a B.S. from Penn State and a J.D. from UHLC. He practiced as a legal aid attorney for 20 years, is a prior chair of the State Bar of Texas Consumer and Commercial Law Section, and was named Professor of the Year at UHLC by the Order of the Barons in 2009.
Brian McGiverin is an attorney at the Texas Civil Rights Project. He also serves on the boards of the Poverty Law Section, the Austin Tenants’ Council, the Texas Housing Justice League, and the Austin Lawyers Guild.
Audrey Moorehead, M.B.A., J.D., 2012 co-chair of Sections and 2011 chair of the African-American Lawyers Section for the State Bar of Texas, has her own Dallas law office and practices in the areas of probate, criminal defense, and family law. Ms. Moorehead is a frequent speaker for The Justice James A. Baker Guide to the Basics of Law Practice, presented by the Texas Center for Legal Ethics.
Jana Ortega is a criminal defense attorney in Austin. She began her career in criminal law seven years ago, regularly trekking down to the Travis County Jail in the wee hours to post personal bonds. Jana is a graduate of St. Mary’s Law School, Class of 2003, and is the immediate past chair of the Hispanic Issues Section of the State Bar.
Kellie Pai has more than six years of experience working on immigration matters. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, an advisory member in the State Bar of Texas Laws Relating to Immigration and Nationality Committee, and a co-chair of the Asian American Bar Association Solo & Small Firm Committee.
Bennie M. Ramirez is an attorney and program director for the Client-Attorney Assistance Program (CAAP) with the State Bar of Texas. CAAP is a statewide confidential dispute resolution program of the State Bar of Texas. Its objective is to assist the public in resolving concerns, disputes, or misunderstandings with Texas lawyers and to facilitate and improve communications between clients and their lawyers.
Shivali Sharma is a permanent staff attorney for the Texas Sixth Court of Appeals in Texarkana. She co-chairs the TYLA Law Related Education and Member Services and Outreach committees and vice-chaired the State Moot Court, Online Member Service, Community Education/Consumer Affairs, and Local Affiliates committees. She received her J.D. from Baylor.
Grant Scheiner is principal of Scheiner Law Group, P.C. in Houston. He is board certified in Criminal Law and former chair of the Computer and Technology Section of the State Bar of Texas.
John Shaw is currently the president of the Fort Worth–Tarrant County Young Lawyers Association as well as a director of the Texas Young Lawyers Association. He has spent the first five years of his legal career as a legal services attorney with Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas in Fort Worth.
John Sirman is legal counsel for the State Bar of Texas and technology editor of the Texas Bar Journal. He previously served as Web manager and strategic planning director for the State Bar. John serves on the board of directors of Austin Free-Net, a nonprofit that provides technology access and training to underserved communities in Central Texas.
Jonathan E. Smaby is the executive director of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics in Austin. He previously practiced law in Dallas and served as managing shareholder of Roberts & Smaby. He is a frequent speaker and writer, and he writes and edits On the Merits, the Center’s blog.
Cindy Smiley has 30 years of wide-ranging experience in environmental law. In 2012, she formed the Smiley Law Firm in Austin. Cindy is recognized by The Best Lawyers in America for environmental law and water law, and she is the immediate past chair of the Environmental & Natural Resources Law Section of the State Bar of Texas.
Barrett Thomas is an assistant district attorney in the 32nd Judicial District. He also runs a family and municipal law practice in Sweetwater, Texas. Mr. Thomas is originally from Waco and holds degrees from Hardin-Simmons University (B.B.S. ’01), Tarleton State University (M.C.J. ’03), and Texas Tech University School of Law (J.D. ’08).