April 6, 2015

Don’t Forget to Vote in Austin Bar/AYLA Elections, Beginning April 13

The Austin Bar and the Austin Young Lawyers Association will launch elections on Monday, April 13.

Candidates were announced in April. The new board, along with incoming President Judge Eric Shepperd, will take office on July 1, 2015. Current Board Secretary, Leslie Dippel, is running unopposed for President-Elect, and current Treasurer, Amy Welborn, is running unopposed for Secretary. Adam Schramek is running unopposed for Treasurer.

The following candidates are vying for two-year positions:

Amanda Arriaga
While working as the Chief Administrative Officer of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Arriaga has been very active in the Austin Bar and the Austin Young Lawyers Association. She is currently wrapping up her tenure as President of AYLA and has served on the Executive Committee of the Austin Bar Association for more than 18 months.

Leslie Boykin
Boykin is a criminal law attorney with the Law Office of Leslie J. Boykin, where she handles cases ranging from traffic offenses to misdemeanors and felonies. She has been very involved in AYLA, serving on the Board of Directors from 2013-2015, and as Chair of the Retro Vegas Fundraiser Party Committee and the Reentry Committee.

Laura Merritt
Merritt is a partner in the employment law, litigation, and business-immigration firm of Boulette Golden & Marin. She is a former AYLA President and has been in numerous leadership roles within the Austin Bar and AYLA since 1998. Merritt has been recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer since 2009. The Austin Business Journal awarded her the “Profiles in Power” award in 2006, which recognizes women business leaders.

Jana Ortega
Ortega practices criminal law within her own firm. In the past, she has served as Chair of Hispanic Issues of the State Bar of Texas, and Chair of the Hispanic Bar Association of Austin’s Charitable Foundation. She is also a past chair of the board of directors of Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. Ortega is a current member of the Austin Bar Association Board of Directors and the Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas.

Amanda Taylor
Taylor is a former President of the Travis County Women Lawyers Association. She practices civil-appeals law with Martens, Todd, Leonard, Taylor & Ahlrich. Taylor was named a Texas Super Lawyer in Civil Appeals in 2014 and a Texas Rising Star in Civil Appeals from 2012-2014. She also served as the TCWLA Liaison on the Austin Bar Board from 2011-2013.

Kennon Wooten
A partner with Scott Douglass & McConnico, Wooten is also a former President of AYLA and former Rules Attorney for the Supreme Court of Texas. She served on the Executive Committee of the Austin Bar for two years and is currently serving as an Austin Bar Board member. She also serves as Vice-Chair of the State Bar Court Rules Committee, as a Board member for Texas Legal Services Center, and as an Editorial Board member for The Advocate. She was named a Texas Rising Star in 2008, 2009, 2013, and 2014.


The following candidates are running for the AYLA Board of Directors.  The new Board will take office on July 1, 2015, along with Chari Kelly, who will serve as AYLA’s president.


Katie Fillmore: Fillmore practices litigation at Bowman & Brooke and has served on AYLA’s Board for the past four years as Treasurer (2014–Present), Secretary (2013–2014), and Director (2011–2013). Fillmore is AYLA’s CLE Chair and past Pro Bono Chair. She created an AYLA project which won 1st place awards from TYLA and the American Bar Association. Fillmore is a graduate of the State Bar’s Leadership Class and Austin’s City Works Academy.


Mary-Ellen King: King has practiced insurance litigation nationally for over 13 years. She is an active member of the Austin Bar — current AYLA Board Member, 2013 Leadership Academy, 2014 Holiday Baskets Co-Chair, 2012 AYLA Outstanding Young Lawyer, Judicial Reception Co-Chair (2010-14), 2012–13 Mentor, and Past-President of the Solo Small Firm Section. She also spends countless hours volunteering for numerous AYLA and other community service projects. She serves as president of a charitable foundation.



Austin Kaplan: Kaplan is an attorney at Kaplan Law Firm where he represents employees in workplace disputes. He has served as an AYLA Director since 2013, and was the recipient of the 2013–2014 Outstanding Director Award for his work boosting AYLA’s membership and increasing outreach. Kaplan also serves as Chairperson of the City of Austin’s Ethics Review Commission, and last year helped to raise over $93,000 for the Austin Children’s Shelter.



Jorge Padilla: Padilla is a partner with the law firm of Jackson Walker where he practices commercial litigation. For the past two years he served as an AYLA Director and helped organize the MLK Day of Service volunteer event for the Austin Bar Association and AYLA. He also serves as Secretary for the Young Men’s Business League and Austin Sunshine Camps, which provides summer camps and after-school STEM programs for disadvantaged youth.


Nadia Ramkissoon: Ramkissoon is defense counsel for Farmers Insurance. She has served as a Director for AYLA for the past year. She was co-chair for the AYLA Runway for Justice Fashion show, and has been involved in the Bar and Grill performance, Holiday Baskets, Reindeer Games, Retro-Vegas, and the Women’s Resource Fair. Outside of AYLA she donates her time the University of Texas School of Law’s Trial Advocacy Program.



Sandy Bayne: Bayne graduated from AYLA’s 2013 leadership class. She recently served as Co-Chair of AYLA’s Judicial Reception and was on the Runway for Justice Committee. She provides pro bono assistance to Spanish speaking clients through VLS, as well as with American Gateways, representing political asylum applicants. Baynes is currently of-counsel with Giles Aseron. Before that, she worked as in-house counsel at Seton. In her free time, she keeps busy with her three children, Lucian, Leila and Lawson.


Nicole M. Conger: Conger is excited about the growing future of Austin and the opportunity to develop as a new leader of AYLA. Being a part of the Austin Bar’s Leadership Academy Class broadened her networking and practical skills endlessly. She envisions an array of lifelong relationships through AYLA, and is confident in her ability to take on any role. As an advocate, her goal is to inspire others through encouragement, motivation, compassion, and empathy.


Franklin Hopkins: Hopkins desires an AYLA Director position after completing the 2013 Leadership Academy, working on the 2013–2015 Volunteer Days, and serving on the 2014 Retro-Vegas Party Committee. Hopkins works at Riggs & Ray, where he focuses on medical-license defense. He is a Major in the Army JAG Corps Reserve as a defense attorney. He was a prosecutor at Fort Hood and Fort Sam Houston, including a year in Baghdad, Iraq.


Tom Jacob: Jacob helps military and veterans bring personal-injury lawsuits againstthe government with Whitehurst, Harkness, Brees, Cheng, Alsaffar, & Higginbotham. He serves as a Co-Chair of AYLA-Austin Bar Judicial Program, is a member of the Calv ert Inn of Court, and is a moc k-trial coach at UT. Previously, he clerked at the Fifth Circuit, andwhile in law school was Editor-in-Chief of the Baylor Law Review.

David King: King joined Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody in 2013 after a F ifth Circuit clerkship. He is an active AYLA member — contributing to the AYLA Judicial Reception, Teen Court, and the Austin Bar’s Publications, Website and Social Media Committee. King also volunteers for VLS and Texas C-BAR, and, in law school, committed out-of-class time to representing indigent defendants.


Michael McGovern: McGovern graduated from Georgetown Law in 2012 and dedicates his pr actice to business law, corporate-and-securities law, and commercial real estate at a local Austin firm. He is actively engaged in giving back to the community and is a lecturer and volunteer for a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of local entrepreneurs, businesses, and organizations. During his downtime, Mike enjoys spending time outdoors with friends and family, and his dog, George McGo vern.


Jessica Palvino: Palvino has practiced law at McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore since graduating from Baylor Law School in 2005. She is currently a partner and has a broad litigation practice with a focus on products liability, personal injury, and business disputes. Outside of work, Palvino serves on the Thinkery Board of Directors and spends most of her free time playing with her 4-year-old twins.


Andrea Rose: Rose is an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Austin. A current member of the AYLA Board, she is the Chair of the Community Service Committee, planning opportunities for AYLA members to give back to the Austin community. Rose is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Anti-Defamation League, a volunteer with Austin Partners in Education, and a teacher at Congregation Beth Israel’s religious school.


Voting will begin on Monday, April 13, by electronic ballot. Members of AYLA and the Austin Bar will receive an email ballot from Ballot Box.  Please set your spam filter to allow emails from AustinBar@BAllotBoxOnline.com.

If you prefer to vote in person, you may do so at the Austin Bar office Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. at 816 Congress Ave., Suite 700.  Voting will end at the conclusion of the annual meeting on April 30.