Texas Career Conference – 2016



Friday, March 4, 2016
Jackson Walker LLP, 1401 McKinney Street, #1900, Houston, TX 77010





8:30 am                               Breakfast & Registration
9 am – 12 pm                     Super Summer
1:30 pm – 5:00 pm           Career Management
6 pm – 8 pm                       Diversity Reception & Scholarship Fundraiser

Super Summer 

This seminar helps law students and summer associates prepare for and excel at their summer clerkships. Topics include:

  • Operations and economics of law firms and organizations
  • How summer programs work, including the evaluation process
  • How to excel in your assignments and practical tools on how to exceed expectations
  • How to maximize the opportunities presented in firm social events

Career Management

Learning to proactively plan and take responsibility for managing your career is crucial to succeeding as an attorney in any sector. Topics include:

  • Creating a career development plan, including identifying and building on your strengths
  • Effective methods and habits for developing your brand internally
  • Becoming a leader within your firm, the legal profession, and your community
  • Client expectations and introduction to business development
  • Developing the mindset and skills to find fulfillment in the legal profession

Diversity Reception & Scholarship Fundraiser

Celebrate diversity and support our scholarship programs for law students and new graduates.  Join us for appetizers, drinks, a chance to win raffle prizes, and to hear our inspiring diversity speakers.  Admission is complimentary for all Conference attendees.  (See below for buying tickets to the diversity reception only.)




Tuition – $ 600 (includes evening reception)
Early-bird registration (before February 1, 2016) – $ 450
Register for the Conference here.  Click here for scholarship info.

Diversity Reception

Admission to the is complimentary for all conference attendees.  If you are only interested in attending the evening Diversity Reception, you may buy your ticket HERE.



NM-croppedNiki Moore, PracticePro 

Niki Moore is the founder and CEO of PracticePro, and a lecturer at U.C. Berkeley School of Law. At PracticePro, she leads all aspects of the organization including product development, strategic partnerships, operations, and publications. Niki teaches transition-to-practice skills to law students and attorneys and speaks at law schools across the country. She also consults with law firms to strengthen training and diversity programs, including helping diverse and first-generation associates to succeed as attorneys. Niki developed a skills course The Junior Attorney for Berkeley Law in 2011, which she has been co-teaching since.

Prior to founding PracticePro, she was an attorney for over six years at the global firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP. She focused her practice on intellectual property litigation and trade sanctions compliance. Niki has extensive experience representing companies and individuals in federal and state courts, and in all stages of litigation including trial. She was recognized by the Silicon Valley Business Journal as one of the top “40 under 40″ professionals.

Niki is also the founder and former president of the Northern California Chapter of the Iranian American Bar Association. She received her B.S. in Biology, summa cum laude, from Texas Southern University, and J.D. from Berkeley Law.




Chevazz Brown 2Chevazz Brown, Jackson Walker

Chevazz Brown is a partner at Jackson Walker where he focuses his litigation practice on a wide range of areas, including contract disputes, negligence, oil and gas disputes, real estate disputes, employment disputes, government and regulatory investigations, and disputes involving professional and amateur athletes. Prior to joining Jackson Walker, Mr. Brown had the distinct honor of serving as law clerk to the Honorable Kenneth M. Hoyt of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.

Mr. Brown is co-chair of the Houston Bar Association Minority Opportunities in the Legal Profession Committee, and has previously served as co-chair for the HBA’s Juvenile Consequences Partnership Committee and Communities in Schools Committee. He is also the Trustee and Treasurer for the Houston Young Lawyers Foundation and a member of the Board of Councilors for the Texas Civil Rights Project. In 2015, Mr. Brown was named a “Rising Star” by Thompson Reuters Super Lawyers.

Mr. Brown received his B.A. from the University of Georgia and his M.P.A. from The University of Texas at San Antonio. He received his J.D. from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law, where he graduated summa cum laude as class Valedictorian.

Julie CantissJulie Countiss, Harris County Attorney’s Office

Julie Countiss serves as an Assistant County Attorney in Harris County. As a member of the litigation group, Julie represents Harris County in a wide variety of matters in federal and state court. Julie is a 1993 graduate of SMU and a 2002 graduate of the University of Houston Law Center. Prior to attending law school, Julie taught public school in the South Bronx, NYC as a Teach for America Corps member. She moved to Houston in 1995 and continued teaching at Alief Hastings High School until she decided to pursue her law degree.

Julie began her legal career representing plaintiffs in personal injury litigation. Most recently Julie managed the Houston office of a civil defense firm where she represented oilfield services companies and trucking companies.  Ms. Countiss is a member of the Houston Bar Association, the Association of District and County Attorneys and the Association of Women Attorneys. She is a board member of Texas Women and Children’s Advocacy Services and pro bono attorney for Kids in Need of Defense.



Mitchell's head shotMitchell Katine, Katine & Nechman

Mitchell Katine is a founding partner with the law firm of Katine & Nechman L.L.P. After 20 years, including 11 as partner, at Williams, Birnberg & Andersen, L.L.P., he decided to start his own practice, concentrating in the areas of disability, real estate, homeowner associations, probate, insurance disputes, and employment matters, especially related to HIV/AIDS and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues.

Mr. Katine is perhaps best known as having served as local counsel for John Lawrence and Tyron Garner in the landmark United States Supreme Court case of Lawrence v. Texas, in which the Supreme Court overruled the case of Bowers v. Hardwick and overturned all sodomy statutes in the country. Since the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis, Mr. Katine has been a leader in the battle to help those with HIV/AIDS. He has helped create numerous GLBT legal organizations in Houston and Texas, and he regularly appears on local and national television and radio programs where issues such as same-sex marriage, gay and lesbian adoption, HIV/AIDS, and civil rights are discussed and debated.

Mr. Katine is consistently ranked as one of Houston’s top lawyers in real estate by H Texas Magazine and was selected in 2005 as one of forty Outstanding Civil Rights Leaders by the Houston Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He has also received the John Walzel Political Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign, the State Bar of Texas’s Frank J. Scurlock Award and Judge Norman Black Award, a Community Service Award for Outstanding Citizenship Award from ABC Channel 13, the Advocacy Award from the Bar Association for Human Rights of Greater Houston, and the Humanitarian Award from the Houston Conference on AIDS in America. Mr. Katine has been named a Texas Monthly Magazine “Super Lawyer” 4 years in a row.

Mr. Katine received his J.D., summa cum laude, from South Texas College of Law. He is also a graduate of the University of South Florida in Tampa, where he received a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and public relations.


L. Renee LoweR. Renee Lowe, Harris County Attorney’s Office

R. Renée Lowe is an Assistant County Attorney with Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan’s Office. Renée has been a licensed practicing attorney for over 16 years. Currently, a health care attorney representing the fourth largest public hospital system in the country, Renée provides legal advice and guidance on a full range of intellectual property matters and healthcare operational, transactional, litigation, compliance, and regulatory matters.

Before joining the Harris County Attorney’s Office, Renée enjoyed success as a litigation attorney for the City of Houston defending the City and its employees in personal injury, wrongful death, and civil rights actions. A native of Louisiana, Renée attended the University of Louisiana at Monroe where she received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business and Accounting. After her first year of college, Renée joined the U.S. Air Force Reserves where she received an Honorable Discharge at the rank of Staff Sergeant after serving six years.

Renée’s professional career also includes a position as Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center where she teaches health law courses. Renée is also a member of the Houston Bar Association, American Bar Association, American Health Lawyers Association, Licensing Executives Society, and Houston Intellectual Property Law Association and serves on various committees within those organizations.

Renée received her Juris Doctor from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. She also has two Masters of Laws degrees – Health Law, Intellectual Property and Information Law – from the University of Houston Law Center.  When not working, Renée enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, photography, and watching her son, Justin, perform in plays and talent shows at his high school.


Yasser MadrizYasser Madriz, Haynes and Boone

Yasser Madriz is a partner in the Business Litigation Section at Haynes and Boone, LLP. He concentrates his practice in complex high-stakes commercial litigation, covering a range of commercial issues, including business organization and complex transaction-based disputes, franchise-related controversies, energy litigation (oil, gas and power), contract disputes, and insurance and re-insurance coverage claims. Mr. Madriz has utilized his Latin American roots and fluency in Spanish to effectively represent Latin American clients in international and cross-border disputes.

Mr. Madriz is very active in the Houston legal community, including membership in the Houston Bar Association, Texas Young Lawyers Association, and the Houston Young Lawyers Association. His involvement with United Way earned him the designation of United Way Young Leader, and he was selected as a Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellow in 2012.  Mr. Madriz was also selected for inclusion in Texas Super Lawyers – Rising Stars Edition, Thomson Reuters, from 2009-2012.

Mr. Madriz graduated with honors from McMaster University and received his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.

CR 1Carlotta Ramirez, Museum of Fine Arts Houston

Carlotta Ramirez is an attorney and administrator at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, specializing in legal compliance as well as the formulation and implementation of museum policy.  Working in an area where the law and museum administration intersect, Ms. Ramirez has had the opportunity to work with other attorneys, professional artists, museum curators, archivists and registrars on an assortment of legal projects.  Her daily work at the museum spans a variety of legal practice areas, including contracts, intellectual property, trusts and estates, and tax, to name a few.  As a licensed attorney in her 15th year of practice (the last 8 with The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston), Ms. Ramirez also runs a legal internship program at the museum, which provides local law students the opportunity to learn various aspects of art law in an institutional setting.


Alex Roberts Alex Roberts, Beck Redden

Alex Roberts is a partner at the Houston office of Beck Redden where he represents clients in complex commercial litigation, business disputes, employment, trade secret, products liability, personal injury, and professional liability matters. Before joining the firm, he served as a law clerk to Judge Lee H. Rosenthal of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Mr. Roberts is actively involved in the Houston legal community, and maintains a strong commitment to pro bono legal work, receiving the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Houston Law Center in 2006. He is a member of the Houston Bar Association, the Houston Young Lawyers Association, a Director on the Houston Law Review Board of Directors, and a Texas Bar Foundation Fellow. Mr. Roberts was recognized by Benchmark Litigation as a 2016 “Future Star,” and by the Thomas Reuters Super Lawyers as a “Rising Star” in General Litigation from 2012-2015.

Mr. Roberts graduated from The University of Houston, summa cum laude, with his B.A. in Philosophy, and received his law degree from The University of Houston Law Center, graduating magna cum laude.


Bruce RuzinskyBruce Ruzinsky, Jackson Walker

Bruce J. Ruzinsky is a partner at Jackson Walker LLP where he chairs the firm’s bankruptcy section, heads the Houston office litigation section, and chairs the firm’s diversity committee.  He focuses his practice primarily on representing financial institutions, corporations, and other business entities in workout/restructure efforts, chapter bankruptcy proceedings, and litigation. Mr. Ruzinsky has approximately 30 years experience in representing high profile creditors, creditors’ committees, trustees, debtors, landlords, and/or asset purchasers in various industries and business environments, including energy, real estate, shipping, manufacturing, transportation, retail, entertainment, wholesale produce, heath care, and personal services.  As the chair of Jackson Walker’s diversity committee, Mr. Ruzinsky has played an instrumental role in the firm’s strong commitment to diversity, exemplified by the prestigious 2014 Thomas L. Sager Award for the South Region from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. The award is presented each year to law firms that have demonstrated

As the chair of Jackson Walker’s diversity committee, Mr. Ruzinsky has played an instrumental role in the firm’s strong commitment to diversity, exemplified by the prestigious 2014 Thomas L. Sager Award for the South Region from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. The award is presented each year to law firms that have demonstrated sustained commitment to improve the hiring, retention, and promotion of minority attorneys.

Eunice SongEunice Song, Gardere Wynne Sewell 

Eunice Song is a partner at Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP. Ms. Song handles corporate and transactional matters with a focus on the energy industry. She has expertise in handling large and complex deals, including numerous multibillion dollar onshore and offshore transactions covering the Gulf of Mexico, Permian Basin, Eagleford, Marcellus and Bakken shale plays. Ms. Song’s energy experience includes numerous stock and asset acquisitions and divestitures involving high-profile, multinational upstream and midstream clients, as well as middle market clients, sole proprietors and startup companies in the oilfield services industry. Beyond her energy background, Ms. Song also has expertise in handling merger and acquisition transactions, corporate governance and securities matters for a wide range of clients, including those in the engineering, consulting, manufacturing, transportation, services and entertainment industries.

Ms. Song is an active member of the Texas legal community, including the Association for Corporate Growth, Young Professionals in Finance, and the Houston Bar Association. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Asian American Bar Association.

Ms. Song graduated cum laude from Rice University and received her law degree from Washington University School of Law, where she was an Associate Editor on the Global Studies Law Review.

Craig StoneCraig Stone, Phillips 66 Company

Craig Stone is Senior Counsel, Intellectual Property at Phillips 66 Company.  He counsels a wide range of business units across the company, including, Corporate Communications, Information Technology, HR, Procurement, Lubricants, Technology and Global Marketing.

Mr. Stone is currently the chair of the Trademarks Committee for the IP Law Section of the State Bar of Texas and has been practicing in the area of intellectual property for more than 10 years. His practice focuses on all aspects of trademark law and other related areas of intellectual property, licensing, enforcement, social media, software development, data protection and patent litigation. In 2015, the Phillips 66 legal brand team was named North America Team of the Year by World Trademark Review.

The Houston Business Journal named Craig 2015 ‘Up and Comer’ of the Year for its Best Corporate Counsel Awards and a “40 Under 40” award recipient in 2014 recognizing him as a top professional in the Houston business community. Managing Intellectual Property named Mr. Stone a 2015 Corporate IP Star.

Mr. Stone’s community service work has focused on youth literacy, career mentoring and pro bono work for the arts and cultural communities.  He is a graduate of University of Texas at Austin and Baylor University School of Law.

Phyllis YoungPhyllis Young, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Phyllis Young is a partner in the Houston office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP. A member of the global energy and transactions practice group, Ms. Young focuses her practice on domestic and international corporate transactions with an emphasis in the energy industry. She has extensive experience in finance (including financial restructuring), mergers and acquisitions and private equity. She has also provided general counsel to clients in the refinery, oilfield services and drilling industries.

As a member of the Houston office diversity and hiring committees, Ms. Young has been involved in a number of programs such as the Houston Bar Association’s (HBA) Minority Opportunities in the Legal Profession Committee, which offers first year law students clerkships at area law firms, corporate legal departments and nonprofits. She also served as chair of the HBA Adopt-a-School Committee, working to improve education for minority students by tutoring them in math and reading. Ms. Young was given the HBA’s President’s Award for her committee service and commitment to diversity.  Ms. Young also serves as the pro bono committee chairperson for the Houston office.

Ms. Young is also a member of the Houston Young Lawyers Association, the State Bar of Texas, and is a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation.  She is the immediate past chair of the Corporate Counsel section of the Houston Bar Association.

Ms. Young received her Bachelors in Business Administration from the University of Texas with high honors. She is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law.


Diversity Reception Keynote Speaker

16542241566_f59620beef_oTravis Torrence, Vice President – Legal Jiffy Lube

Travis Torrence is Vice President – Legal of Jiffy Lube International, Inc., a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Shell Oil Company, where he also serves as Senior Legal Counsel. Prior to joining Shell, Travis was a senior associate at Fulbright & Jaworski LLP (now known as Norton Rose Fulbright), where he chaired the Houston office’s Recruiting Committee and served as a founding member of the firm’s Diversity Advisory Council. Before working at Fulbright, Travis served as a law clerk for the Honorable Edward C. Prado of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Travis has been honored by Texas SuperLawyers as a Rising Star in the area of Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights and the Houston Business Journal as a finalist in its Best Corporate Counsel Awards. Travis currently serves on the board of directors of the State Bar of Texas (representing District 4), AIDS Foundation Houston, and as President-Elect of the board of directors of Bo’s Place. He is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for Tulane University’s School of Liberal Arts and is currently the President of The Arthur L. Moller/David B. Foltz, Jr. American Inn of Court. He also serves as Co-Chair of the Texas Minority Counsel Program and the Houston Bar Association’s Campaign for the Homeless Committee. He is an inaugural member of the HBA’s Ambassador Program and has chaired the Minority Opportunities in the Legal Profession Committee, for which he was honored with the HBA’s President’s Award.

Travis is the reigning male champion of Dancing With The Houston Stars and has been featured, along with several NFL players (including JJ Watt and Kareem Jackson) and local leaders, as a “celebrity model” for fashion shows during galas to benefit programs conducted by Bo’s Place. Travis has also chaired numerous philanthropic events, including the World AIDS Day Luncheon in Houston. Travis previously worked as an on-air personality for B-97 FM; New Orleans’ #1 Hit Music Station.

Travis graduated from Yale Law School in 2005 and received his undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, in Communication and Political Science from Tulane University.


Thanks to our scholarship sponsors!

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