Attorney Intel is pleased to announce The Top 50 Attorneys of Austin for 2023. In Austin, lawyers play a vital role in the legal landscape of the city. With a population of over 950,000 people, there is a steady demand for legal services, specifically in the corporate sector making it an ideal place for both national and international businesses.
Austin's vibrant tech scene has led to an increased demand for attorneys with experience in emerging industries such as fintech, cryptocurrency, and artificial intelligence. These attorneys leverage their skills not only in facilitating transactions but also in mitigating risks and offering strategic counsel tailored to each client's unique circumstances. In essence, corporate lawyers in Austin combine their deep understanding of law with industry-specific insights to drive business growth while safeguarding against potential legal challenges.
Recognized among this year's awardees is Emily Lichtenheld, a prominent corporate partner operating out of the Austin office for Kirkland & Ellis LLP, renowned globally as one of the top-ranking law firms. Her expertise lies in facilitating merger and acquisition transactions for both public and private enterprises. Next in the spotlight is Andy Pettit from Perkins Coie. As a Partner, he brings immense expertise in drafting and prosecuting both domestic and international patent applications. He also excels at conducting disclosure meetings and analyzing portfolios as part of due diligence for corporate transactions.
Ultimately, specializing in estate and business planning, taxation, and estate and trust administration for high-net-worth individuals, executives, and business owners, Jordan Ware serves as the Attorney of Winstead PC which is a renowned Texas-based law firm with national practices that cater to clients throughout the country.
We are pleased to present the esteemed list of the Top 50 Attorneys in Austin for the year 2023. Their remarkable contributions have not only shaped the legal industry but have also set new benchmarks for excellence.
1. Michael Sinodis
Corporate Counsel, Flex
Michael Sinodis is the Corporate Counsel of Flex. He first joined the company in 2022. Flex is the manufacturing partner of choice that helps a diverse customer base design and build products that improve the world. Through the collective strength of a global workforce across 30 countries and responsible, sustainable operations, Flex delivers technology innovation, supply chain, and manufacturing solutions to diverse industries and end markets.
Previously, Sinodis was a Legal Counsel at TD SYNNEX. Sinodis earned a JD from Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and an undergraduate degree in political science and business administration from the University of San Diego.
2. Ted Schweinfurth
Partner, Baker McKenzie
Ted Schweinfurth is a Partner of Baker McKenzie. Baker McKenzie brings insight and foresight to clients across more than 70 global offices. Their team of 13,000 people, including over 6,500 lawyers, works alongside their clients to drive growth that is both sustainable and inclusive. The global business community is more interconnected than ever before. Opportunities and risks spill across different markets, sectors and areas of law, so a connected perspective is essential in delivering business objectives while mitigating risk. Their integrated client solutions provide seamless advice, underpinned by deep practice and sector expertise, as well as first-rate local market knowledge. Schweinfurth has 35 years of experience. He began his career in 1988.
Before joining Baker McKenzie, Schweinfurth was a founder at Readers 2 Leaders and, before that, a staff attorney at the Securities & Exchange Commission. Earlier in his career, he worked with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP as an associate. Schweinfurth graduated from The University of Texas School of Law with a JD and from The University of Texas at Austin with an undergraduate degree.
3. Katie Dyk
Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright US
Katie Van Dyk began her professional career 11 years ago. Today, she is the Partner of Norton Rose Fulbright US, provides a full scope of legal services to the world’s preeminent corporations and financial institutions. The global law firm has more than 3,000 lawyers advising clients across more than 50 locations worldwide, including London, Houston, New York, Toronto, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Sydney, and Johannesburg, covering Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Africa, and the Middle East. Dyk advises clients in a broad range of transactional and development matters covering all asset classes, including: acquisitions and dispositions of assets for development and investment; real estate finance (including debt and equity); project finance; leasing and hospitality; condominiums and community governance; and land use and entitlements.
Dyk first got her start in 2012 as an associate at McLean & Howard, LLP. From there, she went on to Greenberg Traurig, LLP, before eventually rising to CEO at Bidlily f/k/a RushEase, her most recent position prior to joining Norton Rose Fulbright US. Dyk graduated from Tulane University Law School with a JD and from The University of Texas at Austin with an undergraduate degree in finance and Spanish.
4. Blake Meyer
Corporate Counsel, Amazon Web Services
Blake Meyer is the Corporate Counsel of Amazon Web Services. He first joined the company in 2018. Amazon Web Services (AWS) began exposing key infrastructure services to businesses in the form of web services, now widely known as cloud computing. The ultimate benefit of cloud computing and AWS, is the ability to leverage a new business model and turn capital infrastructure expenses into variable costs. Businesses no longer need to plan and procure servers and other IT resources weeks or months in advance. Using AWS, businesses can take advantage of Amazon's expertise and economies of scale to access resources when their business needs them, delivering results faster and at a lower cost.
Previously, Meyer was an associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. Meyer earned a JD from Stanford Law School and an undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin.
5. Mollie Duckworth
Partner, Latham & Watkins
Mollie Duckworth is the Partner of Latham & Watkins, delivers innovative solutions to complex legal and business challenges around the world. From a global platform, their lawyers advise clients on market-shaping transactions, high-stakes litigation and trials, and sophisticated regulatory matters. Latham is one of the world’s largest providers of pro bono services, steadfastly supports initiatives designed to advance diversity within the firm and the legal profession, and is committed to exploring and promoting environmental sustainability.
Duckworth brings more than 15 years of industry experience handling a wide variety of corporate and securities matters, with a particular focus on representing public companies throughout their lifecycle. Regularly advises both public and private companies in connection with M&A transactions and represents issuers and investment banks in public offerings and private placements of equity and debt securities. Also advises corporations and MLPs with respect to complex transactional matters, including compliance with federal securities laws, corporate governance, and day-to-day corporate counseling.
Before joining Latham & Watkins, Duckworth was a corporate partner at Baker Botts and, before that, a recruiter at Trilogy. Duckworth graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a JD and from The University of Texas at Austin with an undergraduate degree.
6. Casey Marchbanks
Senior Counsel, Tesla
Casey Marchbanks began his professional career 10 years ago. Today, he is the Senior Counsel of Tesla. They make electric vehicles that are not just great EVs, but the best cars, period. They also produce and install infinitely scalable clean energy generation and storage products that help their customers further decrease their environmental impact. When it comes to achieving their goals, they pride themselves on accomplishing what others deem impossible. Their mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. With global temperatures rising, the faster they free themselves from fossil fuel reliance and achieve a zero-emission future, the better.
Marchbanks first got her start in 2013 as an associate at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP. From there, she went on to Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, before eventually rising to senior counsel at Live Nation Entertainment, her most recent position prior to joining Tesla. Marchbanks graduated from SMU Dedman School of Law with a JD and from Rice University with an undergraduate degree in history and political science.
7. Kelly Barreto
Senior Counsel, Abbott
Kelly Barreto is the Senior Counsel of Abbott. She first joined the company in 2015. Abbott is a global healthcare leader that helps people live more fully at all stages of life. Their portfolio of life-changing technologies spans the spectrum of healthcare, with leading businesses and products in diagnostics, medical devices, nutritional and branded generic medicines. Their 115,000 colleagues serve people in more than 160 countries. Abbott is an Illinois-based healthcare company that develops and markets medical devices in fields such as neuroscience and diabetes.
Previously, Barreto was an attorney at Jackson Walker LLP. Barreto earned a JD from The University of Texas at Austin and an undergraduate degree in management science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
8. Brook Bulcha
Commercial Counsel, DoorDash
Brook Bulcha is the Commercial Counsel of DoorDash, a California-based food delivery platform that allows users to order food from local restaurants. Their mission is to empower and grow local economies. When consumers get their goods, local merchants get business, and Dashers get paid. Their mission to empower local economies shapes how their team members move quickly and always learn and reiterate to support merchants, Dashers and the communities they serve. They are a technology and logistics company that started with door-to-door delivery. Bulcha has 9 years of experience. He began his career in 2014.
Before joining DoorDash, Bulcha was a legal counsel at Cirrus Logic and, before that, a manager of contracts and compliance at Meta. Earlier in his career, he worked with Dell Technologies as a commercial contract advisor. Bulcha graduated from William & Mary Law School with a JD and from Northwestern University with an undergraduate degree in political science and international studies with a concentration in Africa.
9. Emily Lichtenheld
Partner, Kirkland & Ellis
Emily Lichtenheld is a Corporate Partner in the Austin office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, one of the world’s leading law firms, they serve a broad range of clients with market-leading practices in private equity, M&A, and other complex corporate transactions; investment fund formation and alternative asset management; restructurings; high-stakes commercial and intellectual property litigation; and government, regulatory, and internal investigations. With 6,500 employees (including approximately 3,500 lawyers) operating from offices in 19 cities across the United States, Europe, and Asia, we are one of the largest law firms in the world and a top financial performer.
Her practice focuses on public and private company merger and acquisition transactions, including private equity investments, complex cross-border transactions, joint ventures, and strategic alliances. Lichtenheld first got her start in 2015 as an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. Lichtenheld graduated from Harvard Law School with a JD and from The University of Texas at Dallas with an undergraduate degree in economics.
10. Sarah Sauceda
Corporate Counsel, AMD
Sarah Sauceda is the Corporate Counsel of AMD. She first joined the company in 2021. They care deeply about transforming lives with AMD technology to enrich their industry, their communities, and the world. Their mission is to build great products that accelerate next-generation computing experiences—the building blocks for the data center, artificial intelligence, PCs, gaming, and embedded. Underpinning their mission is the AMD culture. They push the limits of innovation to solve the world's most important challenges. They strive for execution excellence while being direct, humble, collaborative, and inclusive of diverse perspectives.
Previously, Sauceda was a legal counsel at GLG and, before that, an associate general counsel at the Texas Bankers Association. Sauceda earned a JD from Baylor University and an undergraduate degree from Lamar University.
11. Mysha Lubke
Senior Counsel, VMware
Mysha Lubke is the Senior Counsel of VMware, a leading provider of multi-cloud services for all apps, enabling digital innovation with enterprise control. At the heart of everything they do lies the responsibility and the opportunity to build a sustainable, equitable, and more secure future for all. Since their founding in 1998, their employees and partners have been behind the tech innovations transforming entire industries. Today, they continue to cultivate a culture of innovation where curiosity meets execution. Lubke has 17 years of experience. She began her career in 2006.
Before joining VMware, Lubke was a senior attorney at Baker Botts LLP. Lubke graduated from The University of Texas School of Law with a JD and from The University of Texas at Austin with an undergraduate degree in French.
12. Ted Gilman
Senior Attorney, Technology & Transactions Counsel, USAA
Ted Gilman began his professional career 25 years ago. Today, he is the Senior Attorney in Technology and Transactions Counsel of USAA. Their mission is to stand with their members and be there for them and their families by facilitating their financial security. It starts with offering a range of highly competitive products, exceptional service, and trusted advice. But to be the military community's provider of choice also takes dedicated team members who share their core values of service, loyalty, honesty, and integrity.
Gilman first got his start in 1998 as an associate at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. From there, he went on to Andrews Kurth LLP, before eventually rising to general counsel at Factom, his most recent position prior to joining USAA. Gilman graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a JD and from The University of Texas at Austin with an undergraduate degree in finance.
13. Ian Shelton
Partner, Eversheds Sutherland
Ian Shelton is a Partner of Eversheds Sutherland. He first joined the company in 2019 as counsel. As a global top 10 law practice, Eversheds Sutherland provides legal services to a global client base ranging from small and mid-sized businesses to the largest multinationals, acting for 77 of the Fortune 100, 68 of the FTSE 100, and 129 of the Fortune 200. With more than 3,000 lawyers, Eversheds Sutherland operates in over 70 offices in more than 30 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States.
With more than a decade of experience, Ian Shelton has an active commercial disputes practice with a focus on class action defense, complex commercial litigation, and appeals. Prior to joining Eversheds Sutherland, Ian worked as an attorney for Los Angeles-based Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP. After law school, he worked as a law clerk for Judge Xavier Rodriguez in the Western District of Texas and for Judge Harold R. DeMoss Jr. in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Shelton earned a JD from The University of Texas School of Law and an undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin.
14. Christopher Graff
Partner, K&L Gates
Christopher Graff is the Partner of K&L Gates, a fully integrated global law firm with lawyers located across five continents. The firm represents leading multinational corporations, growth and middle-market companies, capital markets participants, and entrepreneurs in every major industry group as well as public sector entities, educational institutions, philanthropic organizations, and individuals. Graff is an internationally recognized intellectual property lawyer, whose practice focuses on brand management and protection, trademarks, domain names, social media, and copyrights. For more than two decades, Graff has helped protect some of the world’s leading brands in multiple jurisdictions around the world. He has been repeatedly recognized for his work counseling clients on brand expansion, international protection, and worldwide enforcement strategies.
Before joining K&L Gates, Graff was a partner at Pirkey Barber PLLC and, before that, a principal at Trop, Pruner & Hu, PC. Earlier in his career he worked with Gardere & Wynne as an associate. Graff graduated from The University of Texas School of Law with a JD and from The University of Texas at Austin with an undergraduate degree in engineering route to business.
15. Anita Valliani
Senior Counsel, Global Compliance & Ethics, Mastercard
Anita Valliani began her professional career in 2013. Today, she is the Senior Counsel in Global Compliance and Ethics of Mastercard, a global technology company in the payments industry. Their mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere, by making transactions safe, simple, smart, and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships, and passion, their innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments, and businesses realize their greatest potential.
Valliani first got her start in 2010 as an investigative attorney and office of inspector general at the U.S. Department of Commerce. From there, she went on to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. Valliani graduated from the George Washington University Law School with a JD and from Cornell University with an undergraduate degree in history and government.
16. Jonna Hamilton
Senior Counsel, Nationwide
Jonna Hamilton is the Senior Counsel of Nationwide. She first joined the company in 2000 as a government relations director. Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States. Nationwide is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor's. An industry leader in driving customer-focused innovation. Nationwide provides a full range of insurance and financial services products, including auto, business, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; excess and surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle, and boat insurance.
Previously, Hamilton was a legislative counsel and reg. public affairs director at Liberty Mutual Insurance and, before that, an associate at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Hamilton earned a JD from The University of Texas School of Law and an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Iowa.
17. Dane McKaughan
Partner, Holland & Knight
Dane McKaughan is a Partner of Holland & Knight, a global law firm with nearly 2,000 lawyers and other professionals in 34 offices throughout the world. Holland & Knight provides representation in litigation, business, real estate, and governmental law. McKaughan primarily focuses on litigation matters involving regulated entities, including electric utilities, gas utilities and pipelines, and transmission providers. McKaughan has extensive experience representing clients before state regulators, such as the Public Utility Commission of Texas and Railroad Commission of Texas. In addition, McKaughan is Board Certified in Administrative Law by the State Bar of Texas and acts as appellate counsel in administrative appeals from agency orders. He has served as lead counsel in more than 40 natural gas utility ratemaking proceedings, including full rate cases, cost of service adjustment (COSA) proceedings and Gas Reliability Infrastructure Program (GRIP) proceedings.
Before joining Holland & Knight, McKaughan was a partner at Parsley Coffin Renner. Earlier in his career, he worked with the Third Court of Appeals of Texas as a briefing attorney. McKaughan graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a JD and from Austin College with an undergraduate degree in philosophy and communications.
18. Edward Rogan
Partner, Reed Smith
Edward is a Partner in Reed Smith's Energy and Natural Resources Group. Reed Smith is a dynamic international law firm dedicated to helping clients move their businesses forward. With an inclusive culture and innovative mindset, they deliver smarter, more creative legal services that drive better outcomes for their clients. Their deep industry knowledge, long-standing relationships, and collaborative structure make them the go-to partner for complex disputes, transactions, and regulatory matters. Now celebrating more than 140 years of service, their firm spans 31 offices with 3,000 people, including 1,700 lawyers.
His practice includes domestic and international infrastructure project transactions, with primary emphasis on the representation of developers, contractors, equipment manufacturers, and operators involved in energy projects. His experience includes the preparation and negotiation of site acquisition agreements; engineering, procurement, and construction agreements; subcontracting agreements; equipment supply, installation, and commissioning agreements; operation and maintenance agreements; interconnection agreements; power purchase agreements; and related project contracts.
Rogan first got his start in 1996 as an associate at Nixon Peabody. From there, he went on to Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner LLP as a partner. Rogan graduated from the University of San Diego with a JD and from the University at Albany, SUNY with an undergraduate degree in business administration and management.
19. Alex Levine
General Counsel and Chief Regulatory Officer, Dapper Labs
Alex Levine is the General Counsel and Chief Regulatory Officer of Dapper Labs. He first joined the company in 2021. Dapper Labs, the company behind CryptoKitties, NBA Top Shot, NFL All Day, UFC Strike and the Flow blockchain, uses blockchain technology to bring NFTs and new forms of digital engagement to fans around the world, paving the way to a more open and inclusive digital world starting with games and entertainment.
Levine is an experienced executive leader and FinTech, blockchain, cryptocurrency, digital asset/securities, decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible token (NFT), investment, and fund attorney/counsel with exceptional analytic ability and expertise in federal securities/derivatives regulations and compliance / legal requirements for entities governed by the SEC, CFTC, FINRA, and Federal Reserve including virtual/digital currency startups; registered investment advisers (RIA); alternative trading systems (ATS); hedge funds; private equity/venture capital funds; investment companies; mutual funds; commodity pools; asset managers; and broker-dealers.
Previously, Levine was a chief legal officer at Tokensoft Inc. and, before that, a chief regulatory officer and head of legal at TrustToken. Earlier in his career, he worked with Kirkland & Ellis LLP as an associate attorney. Levine earned a JD from Stanford Law School and an undergraduate degree in economics and politics from Oberlin College.
20. Margaret Sampson
Partner, McDermott Will & Emery
Margaret Sampson is the Partner of McDermott Will & Emery, partners with leaders around the world to fuel missions, knock down barriers, and shape markets. With 20+ locations globally, their team works seamlessly across practices, industries, and geographies to deliver highly effective and often unexpected solutions that propel success. More than 1,400 lawyers strong, they bring their personal passion and legal prowess to bear in every matter for their clients and the people they serve. Sampson has 23 years of experience. She began her career in 2000.
Before joining McDermott Will & Emery, Sampson was a partner at Baker Botts LLP and, before that, a partner at Vinson and Elkins. Sampson graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a JD and from The University of Texas at Austin with an undergraduate degree in biology.
21. Andy Pettit
Partner, Perkins Coie
Andy Pettit began his professional career 15 years ago. Today, he is the Partner of Perkins Coie, a leading international law firm that is known for providing high value, strategic solutions and extraordinary client service on matters vital to their clients' success. With more than 1,200 attorneys in offices across the United States and Asia, they provide a full array of corporate, commercial litigation, intellectual property, and regulatory legal advice to a broad range of clients, including many of the world's most innovative companies and industry leaders as well as public and not-for-profit organizations. Pettit practices in all areas of intellectual property with an emphasis on patent and trademark procurement, strategic analysis, including infringement analysis, enforcement analysis and portfolio valuation, and counseling. Andy has experience in drafting and prosecuting domestic and international patent applications, conducting disclosure meetings, and analyzing portfolios as due diligence for corporate transactions.
Pettit was a co-founder and co-owner at SmartStance, his most recent position prior to joining Perkins Coie LLP. Pettit graduated from the University of Washington with a JD and an MS in electrical engineering and from Duke University with an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering.
22. Milam Newby
Managing Partner - Austin, Vinson and Elkins
Milam Newby is the Managing Partner of the Austin office at Vinson and Elkins, where he advises on and leads transactions in an array of industries, including technology, financial services, manufacturing, life sciences, chemicals, transportation, and energy. Newby is also Head of the firm’s Technology practice.
Over the last decade, Newby has developed a particular emphasis on representing investors and startups in private financing transactions. He advises venture capital firms and private equity funds of all sizes, from small, nascent funds to large investment pools managed by preeminent firms. Newby also guides emerging companies from early stage financing to lucrative exits through mergers and acquisitions or public offerings. His other transactional experience includes management buyouts, debt financing, joint ventures, and strategic alliances, among other business transactional matters.
In addition to his transactional work, Newby advises clients such as Fortune 500 companies on day-to-day matters related to organization, capital structure, stock incentives, governance, litigation risk management, securities law compliance, and disclosure. He also enjoys the challenges of structuring unique transactions, such as helping the University of Texas forge a partnership with ESPN to create a new television station. Newby earned a JD from The University of Texas School of Law and an undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin.
23. Marcy Darsey
General Counsel, Schoox
Marcy Darsey is the General Counsel of Schoox, a Texas-based learning management platform that offers talent development, content curation, social collaboration, and related solutions for businesses. Schoox is workplace learning software with a people-first twist. People aren’t cogs, and Schoox was designed for how humans actually learn. They keep learners curious by letting you deliver more kinds of content wherever they are, from the front line to the corporate office. Darsey has 18 years of experience. She began her career in 2005.
Before joining Schoox, Darsey was a director and corporate counsel at Lifesize and, before that, an associate general counsel at Lone Star Circle of Care, FQHC. Earlier in her career he worked with Vinson & Elkins, LLP as an attorney. Darsey graduated from the University of Houston Law Center with a JD and from Vanderbilt University with an undergraduate degree in communication studies and business administration.
24. Bert Greene
Managing Partner, Duane Morris
Bert Greene is a Managing Partner of Duane Morris in the Austin office. Duane Morris LLP, a law firm with more than 900 attorneys in offices across the United States and internationally, is asked by a broad array of clients to provide innovative solutions to today's legal and business challenges. Greene's practice is focused on the enforcement and procurement of intellectual property rights, with a primary emphasis on patent litigation. His patent litigation clients have included large and small technology companies, energy and chemical companies, and retailers in cases involving a diverse array of technologies. Greene also has experience with handling patent validity trials (IPRs/CBMs) before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He also has experience with patent prosecution, opinion work, and portfolio management, primarily in the chemical engineering, chemistry, and mechanical fields.
Greene is a 2004 graduate, with honors, of the University of Texas School of Law, where he was managing editor of the Texas Intellectual Property Law Journal, and earned a B.S., with highest honors, in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He served as judicial intern for the Hon. Sam Sparks of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.
25. Darrell Windham
Managing Partner, Dickinson Wright PLLC
Darrell Windham is the Managing Partner of Dickinson Wright PLLC in Austin office and has more than forty years of experience representing publicly traded and privately held companies, private equity funds, early stage companies and investors in complex mergers and acquisitions (M&A), strategic joint ventures, capital markets, public and private offerings, and other domestic and global business transactions. Dickinson Wright is a growing, full-service firm of experienced, creative, diverse and dedicated legal professionals. Their attorneys are respected by their peers, honored by industry endorsements, and recognized through significant appointments to bar associations and the judiciary system.
Windham has served as the lead outside lawyer for a large number of businesses in multiple deals across industries, including artificial intelligence and analytics, semiconductors, software and technology, medical device, consumer goods and services, entertainment, sports and media, real estate development, equity and other financing, and venture capital industries to form new businesses, raise private equity and debt, and acquire, sell, and enhance businesses and property. Windham also advises clients on structuring and funding entities for sponsors and investors involved in commercial real estate development. Windham brings the insight and experience of being a key advisor to clients in hundreds of deals from beginning to end and the after effects. Windham has also served as a director, executive officer and an investor in many publicly held companies, and private businesses. Windham graduated from The University of Texas School of Law with a JD in law and from The University of Texas at Austin with an undergraduate degree in accounting.
26. Jaime Bulnes
Jaime Bulnes is the Attorney of Intel, a California-based multinational company that designs and manufactures products such as microprocessors, motherboards, and storage devices for PCs and smartphones. Bulnes has 25 years of experience. He began his career in 1998.
Bulnes was previously an Associate in the Austin office of Fish & Richardson. His practice emphasized patent litigation and patent prosecution. Mr. Bulnes was also a Summer Associate with the firm. He is also a former Legal Intern in the Patent and Licensing Group for Intel Corporation, and a Patent Application Consultant for Silicon Quest, Inc. Mr. Bulnes has technical experience as a former Device Engineer for Sony Semiconductor of America, as well as a Test Engineer in the BiCMOS Division of Sony Semiconductor. Bulnes graduated from The University of Texas School of Law with a JD and from The University of Texas at Austin with an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering.
27. Jordan Ware
Attorney, Winstead PC
Jordan Ware began her professional career 18 years ago. Today, she is the Attorney of Winstead PC, a leading Texas-based law firm with national practices serving clients across the country. They focus on exceeding their clients' expectations by providing innovative solutions to their business and legal opportunities and challenges. They work as a trusted counsel to public and private companies, governments, individuals, universities, and public institutions. Jordan concentrates her practice on estate and business planning, taxation and estate and trust administration for high-net-worth individuals, executives and business owners. She provides guidance primarily in the areas of estate and gift tax planning, business succession planning, charitable planning, general tax and corporate planning and estate and trust administration. Jordan is a frequent speaker at estate planning and tax seminars around the country.
Ware first got her start in 2005 as an attorney at Williams Mullen. From there, she went on to Bryan Cave LLP as attorney. Ware graduated from The University of Texas School of Law with a JD and from The University of Texas at Austin with an undergraduate degree in plan II, business foundations and Spanish.
28. Katherine Bell-Moss
Partner, Bowman and Brooke
Katherine Bell-Moss is the Partner of Bowman and Brooke. She first joined the company in 2022. Bowman and Brooke LLP is a nationally recognized trial firm with one of the largest product liability practices in the country. The firm's approximately 150 attorneys, with more than 25 first-chair trial lawyers, defend a variety of corporate clients, including many Global 500 and internationally-based companies, in widely publicized catastrophic injury and wrongful death matters, and in other complex litigation throughout all 50 states. Bell-Moss is a seasoned litigator with over 30 years of experience, including more than 25 trials. In her diverse practice, Katherine has represented every size of company in product liability matters, with a dual focus on life sciences and motor vehicles. Her career has encompassed defense of individual and mass tort cases from inception through final appeals, in federal and state courts from coast to coast.
Previously, Bell-Moss was a partner at Ballard Simmons & Campbell LLP and before that an attorney at Clark, Thomas & Winters. Earlier in her career he worked with Huth, Farmer & Scudi as an attorney. Bell-Moss earned a JD from California Western School of Law and an undergraduate degree in international business and marketing from The University of Texas at Austin.
29. Sam Turner
Attorney, Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson
Sam Turner is the Attorney of Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, a national law firm with a practice dedicated to the collection of delinquent accounts receivable for government agencies. For over 47 years, Linebarger has been providing customized collection programs for its public sector clientele. Their services allow their clients to spend more of their time and limited resources on providing the core services their constituents expect while avoiding unnecessary tax increases and cuts to essential public services. Turner has 16 years of experience. He began his career in 2007.
Before joining Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, Turner was a managing partner at Escobar & Associates. Earlier in his career, he worked with Turner Law Office, PLLC as a partner. Turner graduated from Texas Tech University School of Law with a JD and from The University of Texas at Austin with an undergraduate degree in history.
30. Luke Thomas
Attorney, Gunderson Dettmer
Luke Thomas began his professional career 14 years ago. Today, he is the Attorney of Gunderson Dettmer, preeminent international law firm with an exclusive focus on the innovation economy. They serve market-leading venture capital and growth equity investors and pioneering private companies through inception, growth and maturity, as well as the groundbreaking public companies that result from the global venture capital ecosystem. Thomas specializes in representing emerging and high-growth companies and investors on a broad range of transactional matters. In his role as a corporate lawyer, he provides strategic, practical advice at all stages of a company’s life cycle, from initial formation, venture capital financings and during a company’s ultimate sale or public offering. Thomas has substantial experience representing both buyers and sellers in M&A transactions involving strategic and private equity acquirers.
Thomas first got his start in 2009 as an assistant VP at Austin Trust Company. From there, he went on to Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, before eventually rising to attorney at Vinson & Elkins, his most recent position prior to joining Gunderson Dettmer. Thomas graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a JD and from Texas Tech University with an undergraduate degree in finance.
31. Darrell Cockcroft
Partner, Thompson Coe Cousins & Irons
Darrell Cockcroft is the Partner of Thompson Coe Cousins & Irons. He first joined the company in 2001. Since its inception in 1951, Thompson Coe has dedicated itself to being recognized as a national authority on insurance defense and sophisticated coverage issues. Thompson Coe's experience in this highly regulated, cost-conscious industry has enabled the firm to bring a level of discipline and efficiency to its clients that translates into tangible value. Today, Thompson Coe provides this value to its clients through a spectrum of legal services spanning multiple industries. Clients choose Thompson Coe because the firm provides a total, integrated solution to their legal needs. Cockcroft is a civil trial lawyer with a general sometimes offbeat practice and a broad scope of experience, representing clients ranging from the most profitable company in the world to an individual homeowner whose dog bit someone.
Previously, Cockcroft was an associate at Bellinger & DeWolf and, before that, a legal assistant at McGuireWoods LLP. Cockcroft earned a JD from The University of Texas at Austin and an undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond.
32. Kristen Hudson
Attorney, Dickinson Wright PLLC
Kristen Hudson is the Attorney of Dickinson Wright PLLC, a growing, full-service firm of experienced, creative, diverse, and dedicated legal professionals. Their attorneys are respected by their peers, honored by industry endorsements, and recognized through significant appointments to bar associations and the judiciary system. Hudson has 26 years of experience. She began her career in 1997. Hudson represents businesses and business people in complex commercial litigation and product liability cases in state and federal courts in Texas, Illinois, and across the country. Most recently, in early 2022, Kristen was part of a trial team that received a defense verdict in a four-week jury trial in Illinois involving significant eight-figure liability for alleged benzene exposure in the printing industry.
Before joining Dickinson Wright PLLC, Hudson was a counsel at The Benson Firm PLLC and, before that, a principal and general counsel at Chuhak & Tecson, P.C.. Earlier in her career he worked with Topsail High School as a French teacher. Hudson graduated from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law with a JD and from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with an undergraduate degree in French education.
33. Maris Chambers
Attorney, Spencer Fane
Maris Chambers is the Attorney of Spencer Fane, a law firm where your business leaders work with their business leaders. They provide an unconventional approach to legal services geared toward protecting and advancing business and personal interests. Their clients are certain that their interests are their priority because they work with leaders – leaders who work decisively, execute with purpose, and understand the importance of flawless timing. Chambers focuses her practice on water and wastewater utility service interests, including certificates of convenience and necessity, water rights, water supply, and water quality. She assists municipalities, utilities, landowners, and water districts with permitting, compliance, and enforcement before courts and state agencies, specifically with experience with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Texas Public Utility Commission, and the State Office of Administrative Hearings.
Prior to entering private practice, Maris served as a legal intern with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, conducting research and drafting memoranda involving questions about the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the RESTORE Act, among other things. This notable experience allows her to understand all sides of relevant issues for her clients and often informs an ability to provide insight to clients on the legal tactics regulatory bodies employ. Maris completed her undergraduate degree in environmental studies at Southern Methodist University and earned her Juris Doctor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law.
34. Stacie Bennett
Partner, Balch & Bingham
Stacie Bennett is a Partner of Balch & Bingham. She first joined the company in 2022. Balch & Bingham is a corporate law firm recognized nationally for its genuine dedication to its clients, forward-thinking approach, and ability to anticipate what is on the horizon. Named one of America's top trusted corporate law firms by Forbes, Balch & Bingham includes more than 200 attorneys throughout the Southeast, Texas, and Washington, D.C., who are known for leveraging collaboration, creativity and practicality to solve complex legal challenges. Bennett focuses her practice on the electric energy market. She counsels and represents clients in matters before administrative agencies, legislative bodies, and in state and federal court. Stacie has experience counseling utilities and competitive market participants in all types of regulatory proceedings, including ratemaking, certificates of convenience and necessity (CCNs), sale, transfer, merger approvals (STMs), and rulemaking.
Previously, Stacie represented one of the world’s largest utility companies, advising on regulatory, political, and legal matters. Stacie also served as the Policy Advisor in the office of Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, providing counsel on electric, oil and gas, and eminent domain policy issues. Bennett earned a JD from Seton Hall University School of Law and an undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin.
35. Kelly Burris
Partner, Cordell & Cordell
Kelly Burris is the Partner of Cordell & Cordell. They are a community of talented legal professionals who prioritize growth and success in all their life roles. Together they assure their clients the quality of representation they would expect for themselves.
Cordell & Cordell was co-founded in 1990 by Joseph E. Cordell and his wife, Yvonne, as a general practice firm with a focus on men’s divorce and family law. Cordell noticed about 98% of the firm’s clients were men, and the need for a level playing field in divorce courts sparked the idea of Cordell & Cordell. Burris has 16 years of experience. She began her career in 2007.
Burris has settled and litigated complex custody cases and property cases involving multi-million-dollar estates. She has also successfully litigated child custody relocation cases. Burris said those experiences allow her to inform her clients of the best possible options and do what is right for them in each case. Burris graduated from Texas Tech University School of Law with a JD and from The University of Texas at Austin with an undergraduate degree.
36. Amanda Taylor
Attorney, Butler Snow
Amanda Taylor began her professional career 19 years ago. Today, she is the Attorney of Butler Snow. Butler Snow's practice areas include the full range of business law and litigation services. Butler Snow is a team of talented legal professionals who share a commitment to serve clients – from Fortune 1000 firms to emerging-technology start-ups. Surveys by respected national consultants consistently rank Butler Snow among the best nationwide in client service – in anticipating needs, in a commitment to help, in providing value, and in client satisfaction. Taylor represents clients in trial and appellate courts throughout Texas and in other jurisdictions. She has a broad range of experience handling complex issues in contract, fraud, insurance, tax, real property, employment, consumer, products, and trusts and estates disputes.
Taylor first got her start in 2004 as a staff attorney at the Third Court of Appeals. From there, she went on to Hohmann Taube & Summers, before eventually rising to of counsel at Beck Redden LLP, her most recent position prior to joining Butler Snow. Taylor graduated from Baylor University School of Law with a JD and from Vanderbilt University with an undergraduate degree in political science and sociology.
37. Richard Nace
General Counsel, Tavistock
Richard Nace is the General Counsel of Tavistock. He first joined the company in 2015. Tavistock Restaurant Collection is a privately held company operating iconic and unique dining concepts across the United States. Since its founding, TRC has been recognized for its creativity and dedication to excellence in food, drink, service, and atmosphere with each and every dining experience. TRC strives to consistently create innovative hospitality experiences that enrich the lives of its guests, its teams, and the communities they serve.
Previously, Nace was a general counsel at Freebirds World Burrito. Nace earned a JD from the University of San Francisco School of Law and an undergraduate degree in international relations and affairs and Latin American studies from The George Washington University.
38. Matt Kelley
Partner and Trial Attorney, Howry Breen & Herman, LLP
Matt Austin Kelley is a Partner and Trial Attorney at Howry Breen & Herman. Over the past 25 years, our Austin trial and personal injury attorneys have collected over 250 million dollars in verdicts and settlements with 50 of more than one million dollars each. Clients from all over the country call us in times of need and we deliver time and again. Their award-winning Austin based lawyers are among the best in the business.
Prior to joining the firm, Kelley represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of state and federal litigation, including civil, administrative, and criminal matters. In just four years of practice, Kelley has represented license holders in professional liability disputes as well as other Texas lawyers in disciplinary proceedings before the State Bar Grievance Committee. He has successfully represented property owners and contractors in construction defect litigation. He has also represented employers in non-subscriber cases and individuals in large loss subrogation litigation. He has tried several defense cases to verdict—including for Fortune 500 companies—has secured multiple summary judgments and dismissals, and conducted numerous Daubert hearings in state courts across Texas with successful results. Kelley has conducted more than 100 depositions and managed a docket of more than 75 active litigation cases at one time. Kelley holds his law degree from Texas Tech University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. Kelley obtained his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University where he earned his B.A. in Philosophy.
39. Ashlee Ligarde
Ashlee Ligarde is the Partner of Constangy. Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete offers a wider lens on workplace law. They have counseled employers exclusively since 1946. With offices in 22 states, they are one of the largest labor and employment law practices in the U.S., with a growing Cybersecurity & Data Privacy practice group to match.
In her 20 years of practicing law, Ligarde always comes back to something her Civil Procedure professor said during her first year of law school: “Every civil case, no matter how complex, is just people trying to work out the differences between them.” It is a seemingly obvious principle, but one that is easy to forget when sifting through a mountain of documents or crafting a technical argument about an expert witness. Ligarde graduated from Emory University School of Law with a JD and from University of Virginia with an undergraduate degree.
40. Christine Ryan
Christine Ryan is the Partner of Nossaman. She first joined the company in 1996. Nossaman LLP is a national law firm with attorneys and policy advisors located in nine offices throughout the United States. They focus on distinct areas of law and policy, as well as in specific industries, ranging from transportation, healthcare and financial services to real estate development, water and employment. Their clients include multinational corporations, public agencies, private businesses, trade associations, non-profits, and individuals. Ryan guides public agencies through the process of structuring, developing, financing and operating large, complex and high-profile infrastructure projects, as well as smaller projects delivered through alternative methods – in Texas and around the nation.
A 25-year veteran of the Firm, Ryan develops strategies for project development during the procurement process; drafts and negotiates public-private partnership (P3) agreements, design-build contracts and procurement documents; and advises clients regarding insurance, innovative financing and privatization issues. Her practice also includes contract administration, claims management and dispute resolution. Ryan earned a JD from USC Gould School of Law and an undergraduate degree from UCLA.
41. Joanne Bal
General Counsel and Head of ESG, Vital Farms
Joanne Bal is the General Counsel and Head of ESG of Vital Farms, a Certified B Corporation, offers a range of ethically produced pasture-raised foods nationwide. Started on a single farm in Austin, Texas, in 2007, Vital Farms is the leading U.S. brand of pasture-raised eggs and butter by retail dollar sales. Vital Farms' ethics are exemplified by its focus on the humane treatment of farm animals and sustainable farming practices. Vital Farms also prioritizes the long-term benefits of each of its stakeholders, including farmers and suppliers, customers and consumers, communities and the environment, and crew members and stockholders. Bal has 29 years of experience. She began her career in 1994.
Before joining Vital Farms, Bal was a VP and chief counsel, levi strauss americas at Levi Strauss & Co. and before that a managing director of legal services and segment general counsel at Applied Materials. Earlier in her career, she worked with Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP (Dentons) as an associate attorney. Bal graduated from the University of Chicago Law School with a JD and from the University of California, Berkeley with an undergraduate degree in political economy and business.
42. Ranelle Meroney
Partner, Hawkins Parnell & Young
Ranelle Meroney is a partner in the Austin office of Hawkins Parnell & Young LLP, a national defense litigation firm that has represented many of the largest and most well-known companies in high-risk litigation and business disputes. The 250-strong litigation team works with clients to develop winning defense strategies and, if necessary, try cases to verdict in all 50 states.
Meroney is focusing primarily on the defense of personal injury, property damage, employment, construction and defamation cases, with a special emphasis on premises liability matters. As a trial lawyer for more than 35 years, she has tried over 100 first-chair jury trials across the state of Texas. Previously, Meroney was an attorney and of counsel at Chamberlain McHaney. Meroney graduated from The University of Texas School of Law with a JD and from the University of Colorado Boulder with an undergraduate degree in economics.
43. Craig Tanner
Partner, Rimon Law
Craig Tanner is the Partner of Rimon Law. He first joined the company in 2021. Rimon is a highly selective entrepreneurial firm that combines the dynamic client service, teamwork, and agility of a high-end boutique law firm with the deep multidisciplinary experience of a large global firm. Their clients consistently receive exceptional representation across twelve countries and five continents, from their all-star team of corporate, litigation, tax, intellectual property, entertainment, and private client attorneys. He has over 20 years of experience in representing multinational companies with executive compensation, equity compensation, employment, and data privacy matters.
Previously, Tanner was a partner at Reed Smith LLP and, before that, a partner at DLA Piper. Earlier in his career he worked with Baker & McKenzie as an associate. Tanner earned a JD from the University of San Francisco and an undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado Boulder.
44. Suzanne Mullen
General Counsel, MKS2
Suzanne Mullen is the General Counsel of MKS2. Founded in 2008, MKS2 Technologies has helped Federal government customers design, implement and sustain mission-focused IT solutions focusing on cyber security support, enterprise application development, and instructional design and training. MKS2 is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) headquartered in Austin, Texas, with regional offices in Colorado Springs, CO, Monterey, CA, Portland, ME, and Washington, D.C. Their full-time staff works on Federal services contracts in 49 states, DC, and PR to provide mission-critical support to the Department of Veterans Affairs, The U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy. Mullen has 19 years of experience. She began her career in 2004.
Mullen is an experienced General Counsel with a demonstrated history in the technology, real estate and transportation industries. Skilled in complex transactions, franchise, intellectual property, compliance and regulations, employment law, corporate matters and mergers & acquisitions.Before joining MKS2, Mullen was an AGC at Restore Hyper Wellness and before that a senior associate general counsel at Keller Williams Realty, Inc.. Earlier in her career, he worked with US Department of Transportation (DOT) as an attorney advisor and federal motor carrier safety administration. Mullen graduated from Southern Methodist University with a JD and from Miami University with an undergraduate degree in political science and government.
45. William Kerr
Partner, Kelly Hart & Hallman
William Kerr is a Partner of Kelly Hart & Hallman. For over 40 years, Kelly Hart & Hallman has provided some of the country's most innovative and successful businesses, individuals and governmental entities with a full array of legal services. In those same 40 years, Kelly Hart has grown from five attorneys to over 150 practicing in more than twenty substantive areas of the law. Kerr, Jr. has more than three decades of experience in commercial transactions, with particular emphasis on acquisitions, financings and divestitures of oil and gas related concerns.
Kerr is a graduate of Washington and Lee University, where he received his bachelor of arts degree, cum laude, in 1979, as well as of the University of Texas School of Law, where he received his juris doctor, with honors, in 1981. Mr. Kerr is a fourth generation Texas lawyer and practiced for many years in Midland, Texas prior to joining the Austin office of this firm in 2005. His business practice includes extensive international experience in North America, South America, and Europe. Bill represents clients ranging from individual investors to mid-size independents to major corporations. Bill is a past president of The Trail Foundation in Austin.
46. Gabriela Monahan
Partner, Munck Wilson Mandala
Gabriela Monahan is a Partner of Munck Wilson Mandala, a technology-focused law firm with offices in Dallas, Austin, Houston, Waco, Marshall, Texas; Los Angeles, California,; South Florida, and Orlando. The firm offers full-service counsel in the areas of intellectual property litigation, complex commercial litigation, intellectual property portfolio development, corporate transactions and securities, and employment law. Munck Wilson Mandala represents clients from start-ups to Fortune 50 companies. Munck Wilson Mandala is a technology-focused law firm with offices in Dallas, Austin, Houston, Waco, Marshall, Texas; Los Angeles, California; South Florida, and Orlando.
Monahan graduated as the salutatorian from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and clerked for the Honorable James Zagel at the U.S. District Court, N.D. of Illinois, for two years. She was a partner at Kirkland and Ellis’s Chicago office, focusing on complex commercial litigation, class actions, and international arbitrations before the American Arbitration Association and International Chamber of Commerce. She then joined Grant Thornton in Chicago as their managing director and special counsel on risk and public policy. During her tenure at Kirkland, she worked in-house with the Latin American legal director at the Colgate-Palmolive Company in New York, developing and presenting global strategies to the US general counsel and Latin American legal directors. She also worked in-house at Accenture as part of a team of lawyers, handling litigation matters globally. Monahan was the lead liaison for Latin American matters and the government operating group. Monahan was born in Argentina and is a native Spanish speaker. She earned her J.D., magna cum laude from Loyola University Chicago law school where she was editor of the Loyola University Chicago Law Journal. Prior to law school, she received her B.A. magna cum laude in business administration from Baylor University. Monahan is a member of the Illinois State Bar.
47. Patrick Maroney
General Counsel, Zilliant
Patrick Maroney is the General Counsel of Zilliant, powers intelligent commerce for B2B companies by connecting their commercial strategies with effective execution. Their industry-leading price optimization and management and sales guidance software enables profitable growth by transforming the way their customers use data to price and sell in traditional and digital channels. Zilliant’s data science, cloud-native software and passion for customer success delivers the highest ROI, fastest time to value and highest customer satisfaction.
Maroney oversees Zilliant’s global Legal operations, including commercial and corporate transactions, intellectual property management, governance, compliance, data privacy, and disputes. Before joining Zilliant, Patrick served as General Counsel of Moxie Software, Inc. He previously was a corporate securities attorney with DLA Piper. Maroney graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School with a JD and from the University of Florida with an undergraduate degree in political science and government.
48. Burnie Burner
Partner, Mitchell Williams Selig Gates & Woodyard
Burnie Burner began his professional career 23 years ago. Today, he is the Partner of Mitchell Williams Selig Gates & Woodyard, a full service corporate law firm that provides strategic counsel to clients in all matters of business transactions, litigation, regulated business and insurance regulatory matters. Established in 1954, Mitchell Williams currently employs more than 90 attorneys in Little Rock, Rogers and Jonesboro, Arkansas, and Austin, Texas.
Burner brings unique experience and perspective to the representation of insurance companies, investors, agents and alternative risk arrangements in Texas and throughout the country. His practice includes advising clients in the acquisition of companies and blocks of business, holding company issues, licensing, product and policy development, regulatory compliance, examinations and investigations. Burner graduated from The University of Texas School of Law with a JD and from the University of Texas at Austin with an undergraduate degree in business administration.
49. Ryan Chargois
Ryan Chargois is a Partner and Global Section Lead at Foster LLP in the Austin office. Foster is a leading global immigration law firm dedicated to helping employers and individuals obtain nonimmigrant and immigrant work visas and permanent resident options worldwide. With the most board-certified attorneys in immigration and nationality law in Texas, we guarantee top-tier knowledge and expertise, a client-centered approach to service excellence, and tech-led solutions to strategically manage today's growing need for international talent.
Prior to joining the firm and receiving his law degree, Ryan studied abroad in France. Recognized as a Thought Leader in Corporation Immigration by Who’s Who Legal, his practice is primarily focused on securing work authorizations and work permits around the globe. A graduate of The University of Texas School of Law, Ryan received his L.L.M. from the University of Paris I: Panthéon-Sorbonne, and his undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin.
50. Scot Hughes
General Counsel, Sparrow
Scot Hughes is the General Counsel of Sparrow. Founded in 2017, Sparrow is at the forefront of one of the fastest growing housing segments in the nation focused on Active Adult 55+ communities. Sparrow's mission is to create thriving communities that feel like home. Through thoughtful design, state of the art construction and highly engaged management, they help their community members build meaningful connections and lead vibrant lives. Sparrow is based in Austin, Texas with communities across the US. Hughes has 10 years of experience. He began his career in 2013.
Before joining Sparrow, Hughes was an EVP of corporate counsel and secretary at Amherst Holdings LLC. Hughes graduated from SMU Dedman School of Law with a JD and from The University of Texas at Austin with an undergraduate degree in history.