The Women of WCB: What Inspires Them
In honor of Women’s History Month, Wright Close & Barger celebrates the women of the firm, their leadership, and their many accomplishments. Read their comments below to learn more about what inspires these accomplished women.
Through self-motivation and inspiration from my loving and supportive parents throughout my childhood and adulthood – particularly my mother who taught me the value of being a strong and independent woman – I knew I could achieve and overcome just about every obstacle I encountered.
I’m fortunate to have been able to lean on my supporters at critical times, like in 2008 when I was leaving my position with former Fourteenth Court of Appeals Chief Justice Kem Frost, who has been very influential in my career. I was a single mother searching for the right place for me and my five-year-old daughter. I am blessed to have landed in a place where I have had several male colleagues support my career and give me opportunities to push myself to be a better lawyer and role model. I am deeply proud of the many years of work that led to my partnership at WCB and resulted in lifetime friendships and professional relationships. I look forward to continuing my path mentoring and guiding other young women to achieve their goals in their lives and careers, including that of my own daughter, Mia, and two stepdaughters, Jordan and Max.
Thinking back to the decades when I began practicing law (and of women and mentors), an old, ill-conceived slogan springs to mind: ‘You’ve come a long way baby!’ (If you know, you know.) Back then few of us women in the Monday docket calls had female mentors—if by mentor you mean an experienced advisor. Back then, we took our advice whenever and wherever we could find it: from our peers (some female) or the partners we worked under (exclusively male)—and as a (relatively) young female judge it was the same. I am so proud and grateful to see how far we’ve come. At WCB, mentors abound: male and female, young and old. I count many lawyers in the firm as my mentors in the truest sense of the word. I am proud to be a part of such an august group of practitioners, and I hope my peers in the firm, as well as the younger lawyers, see me as a mentor. After all, that’s really what we’re here for, isn’t it?
I’m blessed to be a lawyer and a mother. In truth, to be successful at both, it takes a little bit of grit and a lot of hard work and grace. I have set ambitious personal and professional goals throughout my life and learned that my goals do not care whether I am tired or overwhelmed. Thankfully, I have a close group of friends and mentors who always rally around me for support and provide needed advice. A combination of self-motivation and mentors has helped me accomplish my goals and excel in the practice of law. I believe that one woman’s success can help another woman’s success. I have been fortunate to succeed as a lawyer because of the successes of female judges and lawyers who have mentored me, and I hope to do the same for other women.
Quite simply, being an attorney means I am fulfilling my wildest dreams, as well as those of the women in my family who came before me. I am the first, and only, lawyer in my immediate family. It is a profound privilege to help others while doing meaningful, challenging work and being part of the American civil justice tradition. I marvel at the fact that my own daughter has never known a world without female judges, lawyers, CEOs, and civic leaders as role models.
As the daughter of educators and an immigrant father from Bolivia, I learned from my parents the importance of hard work, dedication, and inner strength. But being a woman in the legal profession is in and of itself still a challenge. Without strong female mentors, role models, and leaders both inside and outside of WCB, my understanding of what female lawyers can achieve and accomplish would be very different. We can be respected jurists, successful litigators, equity partners at firms big and small, board-certified practitioners, fierce advocates for younger lawyers, trusted advisors, and should we choose, devoted wives and moms at the same time. It is not easy, but I know I stand on the broad, sturdy shoulders of female lawyers who have come before me and paved the way. I hope to make them proud and impress upon my daughter the lessons I have learned from these great women: there is no ceiling.
Speak softly and carry a big stick.’ Gone are the days when a woman had to shout to be heard as a lawyer. Having practiced law for almost 35 years, my mentors have been amazing men and women who opened the door for me, literally and figuratively, to a world in which few women had previously traveled. My mentors listened to my soft voice and guided my use of the big stick that comes with a law degree, and I am forever grateful to them. The door is now open wide, and it is with great pride that I see so many talented women pouring through it.
I am both humbled and privileged to be an attorney. My journey was non-linear, riddled with some failure, and laden with grief. I fumbled through community college and struggled with finding my purpose in undergrad. But as I sat in that undergraduate library with my younger brother Graham and read my first law school acceptance letter, it clicked. With each semester of law school, my mentor network grew and unsurprisingly so did my confidence. Graham passed away in November of 2019 and was not able to witness me finish what we started together in that library—his sister, Emily, becoming an attorney. But when I was sworn into the State Bar of Texas on November 8, 2021, four days after his birthday, I knew he knew. He knew all along. My mentors knew all along. And now I know too, that I can do anything. As I begin my new journey as an attorney, it’s now my responsibility and privilege to uplift, celebrate, and encourage others with dreams and stories like mine, just as my WCB colleagues do for me, likely without even realizing it.
Practicing as an appellate attorney was my dream in law school. But at WCB, I get to live that dream every day. And while being an attorney can be difficult, especially as a woman, I have always had the support and mentorship of the many amazing attorneys in our office. I have never doubted for one second that they want me to succeed and that they will be cheering for me as I continue to grow throughout my career. I am so grateful for the women attorneys who have come before me, and I hope to be a source of support and mentorship to those attorneys who come after me just as the attorneys at WCB have been for me.
I’m not a female attorney. I’m an attorney. And a female. My “war stories” aren’t about being a great woman—they’re about being a great advocate. I want to be the best lawyer in the courtroom. Period. Gender is not part of the equation.
My strength comes from the Lord, my husband, the men and women who build me up every day at WCB, and many others. As a wife, mother, former Houston Police Officer, and PTSD survivor, I am proud to be an attorney here among such a diverse team. On nightshift patrol, I was but one soldier—yet with the push of a button, my calvary would come charging. The same is true now, only here my teammates are armed with sharp intellect, unparalleled perseverance, and a keyboard. See also: https://www.stress.org/living-with-ptsd-my-story-of-survival-falling-down-the-well-and-finding-hope.