March 18, 2016

41 Austin Attorneys, Paralegals Inducted by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization

On March 10, the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS) inducted 206 attorneys and 25 paralegals into Board Certification, 41 of whom are from the Austin area.

The induction ceremony was hosted at the Frank Erwin Center with more than 450 attorneys, paralegals, and family members from across the state in attendance as well as Supreme Court of Texas Justices and partnering organizations. Gary McNeil, who will retire this year, moderated his final induction ceremony as Executive Director, while attorney James E. Byrom was named this year’s Tom Garner Award honoree.

“Board Certification is more important than ever because of the rise of online advertising,” said McNeil. “With Board Certification, attorneys and paralegals can differentiate themselves as tested and certified specialists in specific areas of law.”

TBLS commemorated McNeil’s 30-year tenure, during which he helped to navigate, adapt and  propel TBLS  through significant changes within the legal profession.  He increased the organization’s specialty areas to 22  with the addition of Construction Law, and grew the number of Texas Board Certified attorneys to 7,300. “I really do feel like I am a person with many blessings,” said McNeil during the ceremony. ”It has been such an honor and privilege to work with so many wonderful people. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

Byrom, Board Certified since 1990 in Civil Trial Law and Personal Injury Law, was honored during the event with the Tom Garner Award. TBLS gives this recognition each year to a volunteer who has contributed outstanding work to the specialization program.

There are more than 95,000 attorneys licensed to practice in Texas and only around 7,300 who are Board Certified, as certification is a voluntary program. Board Certified attorneys must be licensed for at least five years, devote a required percentage of practice to a specialty area for at least three years, attend continuing education seminars, be evaluated by fellow lawyers and judges and pass a six-hour written examination. To remain certified, attorneys must apply for recertification every five years.

For paralegals, Board Certification is also a voluntary program with certifications in seven specific areas of law. Board Certified paralegals must satisfy experience requirements, attend continuing education seminars, and pass a four-hour written examination.  To remain certified, paralegals must apply for recertification every five years.

To learn more about Board Certification, visit

TBLS is authorized by the Supreme Court of Texas and certifies attorneys in 22 specific areas of law and paralegals in seven specific areas. It is one of the largest legal Board Certification programs in the country and works to ensure that the citizens of Texas receive the highest quality legal services.

Austin Attorneys:

  • Marshall F. Enquist, Administrative Law
  • Virginia S. Fields, Administrative Law
  • Michael Dane McKaughan, Administrative Law
  • Kelly Catherine Canavan, Civil Appellate
  • Laura Lee Prather, Civil Appellate
  • Amanda Garrett Taylor, Civil Appellate
  • Kevin James Terrazas, Civil Appellate
  • Alexander Dale Metcalf, Civil Trial
  • Daniel Patrick Myrick, Commercial Real Estate Law
  • Jennifer S. Freel, Criminal Appellate
  • Melissa Lee Hargis, Criminal Appellate
  • Amber Vazquez Bode, Criminal Law
  • Brian Clarke Erskine, Criminal Law
  • Russell Edward Booth, Estate Planning and Probate Law
  • Leslie Jean Bollier, Family Law
  • Patricia Lynne Brown, Family Law
  • Ivan Matthew Friedman, Family Law
  • Christopher Paul Harris, Family Law
  • William Henry, Family Law
  • Steven Neil Walden, Family Law
  • Mark D. Chouteau, Health
  • Joseph Vincent Geraci, Family
  • Christina Marie Boston Cote, Immigration and Nationality
  • Julie Renee Sparks, Immigration and Nationality
  • Tanya D Dement, Labor and Employment
  • Steven Hewitt Garrett, Labor and Employment
  • Jessica Lynn Kirker, Labor and Employment
  • Justin Glen Manchester, Labor and Employment
  • Kerry Vincent O’Brien, Labor and Employment
  • Michael Wilson Stoker, Labor and Employment
  • Christopher Champion Wike, Labor and Employment
  • Eleanor Anne Bryant, Oil, Gas and Mineral
  • Steven Harvey Lord, Jr., Oil, Gas and Mineral
  • Lannie Todd Kelly, Personal Injury Trial
  • Jennifer Ann Hopens, Workers’ Compensation
  • Lance E. Mullins, Workers’ Compensation

Austin Paralegals:

  • Stephanie R. Sterling, Civil Trial
  • Nataliya Anderson, Family
  • Amy Dougay, Family
  • Rebecca Mcdonald, Family
  • Janine Kathleen Smalley, Family