I grew up in south Texas in the town of Laredo. Both my parents were college professors. I can go back and look at my eighth-grade yearbook and under career choices, it actually says corporate attorney for me. During the summers in a small town like Laredo—there were barely 100,000 people then—your options were not as diverse as they are now. I would go and sit in district court or federal court and watch the attorneys that were litigating those cases. I ended up grasping an admiration for their work.
I consider my heritage a strength for me, because the world is not one where uniformity is a desire for anybody. I think there is an understanding of where you came from. As in many cultures, family and faith are at the center. From birth up until I was three years of age, I did not know a word of English. And these are college professors with graduate degrees who teach and work in the English world. But they made it a point to make certain my older sister and I knew how to read, write, and speak in Spanish. Not because that was the language of the future, but when you ask what my heritage means to me, there is a sense of pride with my culture and also a sense of accomplishment to work in an environment that is cross-cultural. That is an asset that employers and future clients consider an advantage.
I did a couple of stints in Washington, DC. I served as an intern in the office of Frank Tejada, and I learned a lot watching him. Second, I was working with the Clinton/Gore reelection campaign in ’96. I learned a lot and got to see how the operation ran. Then I got into law school.
In 2001 I finished law school and clerked for a federal judge and then worked for the Texas Tech University system and was asked to open up their Washington, DC office. I did that for about four years, securing federal dollars for their research projects, enhancing relationships with members of congress, and ended up joining Senator Hutchison’s office.
There comes a point when you grow up and you realize that you can either want to be home or you can stay and make a career in Washington, DC. I chose to come home. There were various law firms I considered but V&E provided me with the best tools to enhance my career practice. I picked Houston because it’s the biggest and the best.
As for my future, I have a road map of where I want to be as an individual. I want to make certain that businesses have an environment to grow and are not hampered by government. I like to look at problems and find a solution. If its immigration policy, making sure we are getting things right so you are not hampering growth. I focus a lot on the public policy aspect of clients and how I can best address their problems or needs.