Board of Directors: 2019-2020 Membership Year
President: LaMonica Orr-Love
LaMonica Orr-Love is an attorney and consultant at The Love Law Group and Consulting Services, PLLC. She provides top-notch legal services and business development to start-ups, entrepreneurs, and small/medium sized businesses. Previously, LaMonica worked as a corporate attorney and business management consultant for Fortune 500 companies, representing those companies in corporate restructuring transactions. She takes pride in providing the quality of service and the level of representation one would expect from a large firm, but with the accessibility and individualized attention of a small firm. LaMonica challenges her clients to think outside of the box. She consistently delivers successful results ahead of time and under budget.
LaMonica is a native Houstonian. She is a graduate of the United Way of Greater Houston Project Blueprint Leadership Development Program and continues to serve as a member of Young Leaders, the Bi-Annual Community Reinvestment and THRIVE. She is also a graduate of the Houston Young Lawyers Association Leadership Academy. LaMonica also serves on the Host Committee for the “Polichic’ Political Engagement Training for Women.
President Elect: Patrice Childress
Patrice Childress is legal counsel at Exxon Mobil Corporation. Prior to joining Exxon, Patrice was a partner at renowned litigation firm, Beck Redden LLP. Along with being asked to serve on the AWA Board of Directors, one of Patrice’s most outstanding professional achievements was this past year when she was named to Houston’s Top 50 Women in Law, by the National Diversity Council. She has also been recognized as a “Rising Star” in Civil Litigation – Defense, by Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers – Texas (2016-2017).
Patrice regularly lends her time and talents to active service on behalf of organizations and causes that are important to her in the Houston community, including St. Anne’s Catholic Church where her children attend school. She recently completed terms on the Board of Directors of the Texas Young Lawyers Association and the Interface-Samaritan Counseling Centers, Inc.
Immediate Past President: Julia Cook
Julia Cook is a Partner in the litigation section of Schlanger, Silver, Barg & Paine, L.L.P. (“SSBP”) and serves on the firm’s administrative committee. Ms. Cook has represented plaintiffs and defendants in commercial litigation matters in state and federal court for over thirty years. Her practice includes contract, partnership, construction, real estate, banking, employment, and other business litigation, as well as representation of creditors in bankruptcy court. She is licensed to practice in Texas as well as before the Southern, Northern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Ms. Cook began her legal career in 1982 as in-house counsel at Exxon Company, U.S.A. and moved to SSBP in 1986.
Ms. Cook is a Sustaining Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. She has served on the Board of Trustees of the AWA Foundation as both Trustee and Treasurer (2015-2018). She previously served as Treasurer (2014-2015), Vice President of Membership (2015-2016), and President-Elect (2017-2018) of the AWA. She served as a member of the 2010 and 2012 AWA Judicial Screening Committee and as Chair of the AWA 2014 Judicial Screening Committee.
Secretary: Brenda DeRouen
Brenda DeRouen is the managing attorney at DeRouen Law Firm, PLLC. She provides premier legal representation to clients in high conflict matters involving criminal defense and family law litigation. Brenda takes pride in her community and has a passion for criminal justice reform and the advancement of women. Prior to starting her own firm Brenda worked for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the Texas Legislature as a policy advisor for the Honorable Senator John Whitmire (who is chair of the Texas Criminal Justice Committee). There she contributed and developed initiatives related to major criminal justice reforms including the Micheal Morton Act and juvenile truancy laws.
She is the founder of two non-profit organizations: Project 4-Way an organization that provides scholarships and resources to underprivileged youth residing in rural areas; and @WomenofLaw: a social media platform designed to inspire, empower, and propel women forward in the legal field. She is frequently invited to speak on panels related to her work in the legal profession and has been featured on several news/radio stations to offer legal analysis and advice.
Brenda is a proud double HBCU graduate. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Prairie View A&M University and her law degree from the historical Thurgood Marshall School of Law.
Treasurer: Kelly Turner
Kelly Turner is a partner at Jones Day where she advises clients in complex capital markets transactions as well as day-to-day disclosure obligations and corporate governance matters. Her experience advising a diverse range of companies and financial institutions spans a variety of public and private transactions, including 144A offerings, public high yield and investment-grade debt offerings, equity offerings, tender offers, exchange offers, debt restructurings, corporate reorganizations, and M&A transactions. Kelly also regularly advises public companies and other organizations on SEC reporting requirements, corporate governance matters, and stock exchange rules and regulations. Kelly is a member of the Texas Bar Association and the Georgia Bar Association. She joined Jones Day’s Dallas Office in 2007 and worked in the Atlanta Office from 2010 until transferring to the Houston Office in 2012.
Vice President of Communications: Katie Harrington
Katie Harrington is an associate in the Litigation Department at Foley Gardere, where she focuses her practice on energy litigation. She represents clients involved in complex litigation disputes and appellate matters, primarily in the energy, oil and gas, and oilfield services industries. Katie is involved in all aspects of a case, including motion practice, written discovery, depositions, hearings, settlement negotiations, trials, and appeals. She also counsels clients on general business matters, helping them to minimize risk and avoid litigation. Prior to joining Foley Gardere, Katie clerked for Justice Ken Wise on the 14th Court of Appeals. She has also been recognized as a “Rising Star” in Energy & Natural Resources, by Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers – Texas (2019).
In addition to serving as a director on the AWA Board, Katie is also a trustee on the AWA Foundation Board. Katie is actively involved in the Houston Young Lawyers Association and serves as the Co-Chair of the Leadership Academy. Katie is also a member of Mayor Sylvester Turner’s LGBTQ Advisory Board and a member of the National LGBT Bar.
Katie is a native Houstonian. She attended Texas A&M University for her undergraduate degree and South Texas College of Law for law school. She loves trying out new restaurants and has her own food instagram, @bayoucitybites. She is also a fitness junkie and loves doing CrossFit, yoga, and indoor climbing.
Vice President of Membership: Brandi Barron
Brandi Barron is the General Counsel of ValvTechnologies, Inc. Prior to joining ValvTechnologies, Brandi was an associate in the Litigation Department of Foley Gardere.
Board Member at Large: Dalia Castillo-Granados
Dalia Castillo-Granados is the Director of the ABA’s Children’s Immigration Law Academy. She is a 2008 graduate of the University of Houston Law Center. Prior to working at CILA, Dalia was a Senior Attorney at Kids in Need of Defense, a Staff Attorney at Tahirih Justice Center, a Clinical Supervising Attorney at the University of Houston’s Immigration Clinic, and began her public interest career as a Greenberg Traurig, LLP Equal Justice Works Fellow with Catholic Charities’ Cabrini Center in Houston. During law school, Dalia was active in the Immigration Clinic and interned at US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Catholic Charities, and was a Public Interest Law Fellow at Boat People SOS. She was previously the chair of the State Bar of Texas’ Immigration Law Task Force. She is currently an Executive Committee member of the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative, on the Board of Directors for the Houston Association of Women Attorneys, and she is the President of Latino Giving Houston, a giving circle devoted to promoting philanthropy in Houston’s Latino community.
Board Member at Large: Hon. Erica Hughes
The Honorable Erica R. Hughes is committed to bringing diversity and change to Harris County’s criminal justice system through Compassion, Integrity and Justice for all. Born in Dallas, Texas, Erica received her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Prairie View A&M University and her J.D. from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. She joined the United States Army where she serves as a Military Captain and Attorney for the Texas Army National Guard, via the University of Virginia.
Erica has twelve years of experience as a solo practitioner with a specialty in Criminal and Personal Injury law. Upon earning her Texas State Bar license, she joined State Farm Insurance within the Claims Litigation Center while also working as a Fee Attorney for a Title Company in Houston. Erica has a passion for teaching the law which is evident by her eight-year tenure as an Adjunct Professor at San Jacinto College in the Paralegal Department. She also served as the Pre-Law Program Director at Prairie View A&M University. This program created a pipeline to increase the acceptance rate for minority students into the nine Texas ABA Law Schools. She is currently a public official serving as Presiding Judge for Harris County Criminal Court at Law # 3.
Hughes is a sustaining member of the Harris County Democratic Party, and also serves as a member of the State Bar of Texas and Houston Association of Women Attorneys. She serves as a board member for the Association of Women Attorneys Foundation. Since 2010, she’s been a Legal Advisor for San Jacinto Paralegal Student Association. Erica is an active Youth Worship Director within Higher Dimension Church and a member of the Houston Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, an organization dedicated to the betterment of the community.
Board Member at Large: Hon. Tanya Garrison
Judge Garrison was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1997, where she met her husband. After graduation, the Garrisons moved to Houston, where Judge Garrison attended the University of Houston for law school graduating in 2000 with honors in both oral advocacy and academics. During law school, Judge Garrison began working at the law firm of Weycer, Kaplan, Pulaski & Zuber P.C., where she practiced law until being elected as Judge of the 157th in 2018. Prior to taking the bench, Judge Garrison’s law practice consisted of entirely civil litigation with an emphasis on appellate law. She is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and a proud member of the American Board of Trial Advocates.
Judge Garrison is active in the legal profession and the community. In 2008, she was President of the Houston Young Lawyers Association, and in 2011 was selected as the Woodrow B. Seals Outstanding Young Lawyer. Judge Garrison has served on the board of various pro bono organizations providing legal services to lower income Houstonians. But probably her best test of patience and organization was serving as the Cookie Mom for 4 years for her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop.
When not at work, Judge Garrison loves to spend time with her kids, friends, and husband, often times helping on her husband’s champion BBQ cook-off team. She is a proud fan of the Houston Texans and always loyal to the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Board Member at Large: Charlotte MacVane
Charlotte MacVane is General Counsel and CLO of Array Technologies, Inc., a utility-scale solar company in the Oaktree Capital portfolio. She specializes in counseling businesses undergoing rapid transformations, like start-ups, companies partnering with significant equity investments, or entities undergoing high-velocity growth. Significant areas of expertise include international commercial expansions, proactive IP protection strategies, complex negotiation and contracting, risk management, and litigation. Her role also typically involves strategic M&A, on both the acquisition and sell sides, and post-acquisition integration. She has served as General Counsel for companies in the semiconductor, software, and energy sectors.
Ms. MacVane is a seventh-generation Texan, and got her law degree from Boston University. She’s licensed to practice in Massachusetts, California, and Texas.
Board Member at Large: Ashlee McFarlane
Ashlee McFarlane is an experienced trial lawyer and former federal prosecutor who has led complex government investigations. She is currently a Partner at Gerger, Khalil, & Hennessy LLP, a boutique white-collar firm in Houston, Texas, where she defends individuals and companies in grand jury and regulatory investigations as well as criminal and civil proceedings involving allegations of health care fraud, money laundering, tax fraud, kickbacks, securities fraud, opioid diversion, and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations.
Ashlee served as Trial Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice, Fraud Section from 2013-2015 before being promoted to Assistant Chief in 2015. At the time of her promotion, she was the youngest person to have held the role. Among other responsibilities, she led the Health Care Fraud Strike Force—supervising seven prosecutors and overseeing complex fraud cases in Texas from 2015‑2018. In that position, and as a trial attorney before it, she led and supervised dozens of investigations and prosecutions of white-collar crime across the country and tried numerous federal jury trials involving hundreds of millions of dollars of fraud claims. For two consecutive years, Ashlee led the planning for the National Health Care Fraud Training Conference for hundreds of agents and prosecutors in Washington, D.C. and often trained new and experienced prosecutors on investigating health care fraud cases.
Ashlee’s work at DOJ garnered several accolades including the Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General’s Award for Integrity; HHS Inspector General’s Award for Excellence; IRS Criminal Investigation’s Recognition for Outstanding Support; and the Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service. Ashlee serves on the boards of several legal and social organizations, including the Federal Bar Association for the Southern District of Texas and the Association of Women Attorneys, and serves on the Planning Committee for the Leadership Institute for Women of Color Attorneys. She is committed to pro bono service and devotes hundreds of hours annually to serving her pro bono clients.
Board Member at Large: Krystal Studavent
Krystal N. Studavent, Esq. is Regional Director of Business Development for Bliss Lawyers, a majority women-owned flexible legal staffing company that places lawyers and paralegals in high-end temporary, temp-to-perm, and direct hire engagements with Fortune 500 corporate clients and law firms. In her role with Bliss, Krystal was responsible for rolling out Bliss in the Southwest region. She leads business development strategy, builds relationships with legal leaders, and consults them on ways to reimagine and reconfigure their legal talent model, scale, and innovate their business strategy by integrating high-performing secondees/contract lawyers. Krystal co-leads Bliss’ diversity and inclusion initiative, focused on adding more women and lawyers of color to their talent network, partnering with diverse law schools, non-profits, and affinity networks to host professional development and networking events, and educating attorneys on how to create a secondment portfolio.
Krystal is trained as a commercial transactional attorney, having practiced for seven years in various roles, including being the former General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Business Affairs for Music World Entertainment, an entertainment conglomerate and record label home to Beyoncé and Solange, where she served on the Executive Leadership team and led a broad range of strategic commercial transactions, joint ventures, licensing and endorsement deals, and corporate initiatives. Krystal also worked in a strategic business development role for Am Law 100 global law firm, Norton Rose Fulbright, leading U.S. business development for the Firm’s global Risk Advisory practice and serving as a U.S. team leader for the Firm’s global cross-selling initiative. With Krystal’s unique and multifaceted career experience, she is a valued and trusted strategic adviser to executive leadership, senior management, law firms, and corporate clients in various industries.
Krystal recently launched a branding initiative where she is working with female lawyers of color in Dallas, Houston, New York, and Washington D.C. to develop their personal brand. She regularly speaks and writes on legal business trends, work-life integration, diversity and inclusion, and self-care. She is on the leadership committee for the State Bar of Texas – African-American Lawyers Section and most recently was a co-chair for American Heart Association’s young professional leadership board.
Krystal obtained her Juris Doctor degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice/Minor in English from Texas Southern University, where she excelled academically and was named to the Dean’s List. She is licensed to practice in Texas and continues to advise entrepreneurs and non-profits on select business and IP matters.