Angela Speight -- Director & President

Angela is associate counsel of EPL Oil & Gas, Inc., a publicly traded oil & gas exploration and production company with offices in Houston and New Orleans. Prior to joining EPL, Angela was an associate at Stibbs & Co., P.C., a Woodlands-based transactional firm, and she served as Briefing Attorney for Judge Fred Edwards, 9th Judicial District Court in Montgomery County, Texas. Angela attended Baylor University with a major in International Studies and the University Of Texas School Of Law in Austin, Texas. Raised in The Woodlands, she values local business and charitable organizations, volunteering her time to chair Scholarship Committee of the Alden Bridge Village Association, as Class Liaison and Board member of Leadership Montgomery County, and as Team Leader of the Employment Law Update and Board member of the South Montgomery County Woodlands Chamber. Angela is a member of both The Woodlands and Montgomery County Bar Associations.

Amanda Johnston -- Director & Secretary
Ms. Johnston is Corporate Counsel for McJunkin Red Man Corporation. She received her Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Sam Houston State University, her Juris Doctorate degree, magna cum laude, from South Texas College of Law and her LLM in Taxation from the University of Houston.

Ms. Johnston is a member of the The Woodlands Bar Association and the Houston Bar Association.

Eric Thiergood -- Director & Treasurer

Eric R. Thiergood Sr. is an attorney at The Strong Firm. He received his Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law and is licensed to practice law in the State of Texas and in the United States Federal District Court and Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Texas.  Mr. Thiergood's practice at the Strong Firm is focused on mergers and acquisitions; entity formation, management and dissolution; and commercial real estate. Before joining the Strong Firm, Mr. Thiergood clerked for a well-known, Houston law firm where he assisted in several high-profile, energy related cases including Enron, Duke Energy and El Paso Energy. Mr. Thiergood received his bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University, where he also completed masters courses in Counseling before attending law school. Prior to practicing law, Mr. Thiergood worked as a counselor providing services for a number of school districts as well as state and county departments. Having lived in Asturias, Oropesa Del Mar, and Madrid, Spain, He is fluent in Spanish.

Mr. Thiergood served on the Board of Directors for the Montgomery County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce from January 2008 to January 2011 where he held the position of Chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee.  Mr. Thiergood is also a member of the Woodlands Young Lawyers Association, the Montgomery County Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the South Texas College of Law Alumni Association, the Midwestern State University Alumni Association and is a graduate of the Leadership Montgomery County class of 2009.

Jeff Garrett -- Director

Jeff is the Assistant General Counsel - Intellectual Property for Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LP where he has been a member of the legal department since 2002. He received a Bachelors and Masters in Engineering from Texas A&M and a Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Texas and a registered attorney with the United States Patent & Trademark Office.

Jeff is currently a member of the Board of Directors for The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce. He was also the 2011 Pacesetter Chair for the Montgomery County United Way and is a graduate of the Leadership Montgomery County Class of 2005.

Luis Hess -- Director

Luis Hess is an attorney at the Luis F. Hess Law Firm, PLLC. He received his Juris Doctorate from Saint Louis University and is licensed to practice law in the State of Texas and in the United States Federal District Court and Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Texas. Mr. Hess's practice is focused on employment immigration, family immigration; commercial transactional law; and commercial litigation. Before starting his own firm, he worked for a now-retired US Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of Texas, in-house counsel with Sisters of Mercy Healthcare System, the United States Air Force JAG Corps, and as an adjunct professor at Saint Louis University.

Mr. Hess received his Master of Arts from the University of Arizona where he served part-time as a college instructor. He also received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint Louis University.

Having lived in Madrid, Spain, Guadalajara, Mexico, Beijing, China, and Berlin, Germany, he is highly proficient in Spanish and has a passing knowledge of Mandarin Chinese.

Kirby Hopkins -- Director & VP for Social Activities

Kirby Hopkins is a shareholder in the Firm's Houston office. As a member of the Business Litigation Group, Mr. Hopkins practices in the areas of banking, oil and gas, financial services, and appellate law.

Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. Hopkins was a Briefing Attorney for the Thirteenth Court of Appeals in Edinburg, Texas.

Mr. Hopkins has been named one of Houston's Top Lawyers in Appellate Law by H Texas magazine (2008 and 2009), a Texas Super Lawyers Rising Star by Texas Monthly (2007), and an American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division – Scholar (2007 – 2008). Additionally, he has served as Board of Directors Liaison – Texas Young Lawyers Association (2008 – 2010), Legislative Fellow – Children at Risk, Public Policy & Law Center (2008 – 2009), Houston Young Lawyers Association – Leadership Academy (2005) and Director (2006 – 2008), Fellow – Houston Young Lawyers Foundation Steering Committee, Book Award Chair, Applicant Interviewer – Vanderbilt Alumni Association, Houston Chapter (2005 – present), Trustee – Louisiana School for Math, Science and Arts Foundation (2007 – 2009, 2010 – 2012), Life Member – Texas Exes, Member – Texas Association of Bank Counsel, Member – Scribes (The American Society of Legal Writers), Member – Houston, Montgomery County, Hidalgo County, and American Bar Associations.

Mr. Hopkins receive his J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law in 2001, and his B.A. (with honors) from Vanderbilt University in 1998.

Richard Judge -- Director

Mr. Judge is an attorney with The Ward Law Firm, based in The Woodlands, Texas.  Mr. Judge attended South Texas College of Law, where he was a member of Phi Delta Phi International Honors Fraternity. He received his undergraduate business degree from the University of Texas.

Mr. Judge’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation in state and federal courts. He is licensed to practice in the State of Texas; United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit; and United States District Court, Southern, Eastern, Western and Northern Districts.

Mr. Judge is also a member of the Texas State Bar Construction Law Section, Texas Young Lawyers Association, Harris County Bar Association, Montgomery County Bar Association, Texas Exes, Longhorn Foundation, South Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, and Woodlands United Methodist Church. Mr. Judge was raised in Conroe, Texas and makes his home in The Woodlands, Texas with his wife, Alison, and their two sons.

Karla LaFitte -- Director & VP for Membership

Karla LaFitte is an Associate Attorney at Martin & Stilwell, LLP. She received her Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Texas A&M University and her Juris Doctorate degree from South Texas College of Law. In addition to the Woodlands Bar Association she is a member of the Montgomery County Bar Association, the Houston Bar Association, and the Texas Bar Association, as well as the South Montgomery County Woodlands Chamber of Commerce, and the Woodlands Rotary Club. Ms. LaFitte’s practice focuses on estate planning, probate and animal law and she is a member of the Leadership Montgomery County 2012 class.

Judge Claudia Laird -- Director

Judge Claudia Laird attended Texas A&M University where she studied abroad in Germany and graduated with a BA in International Studies. She continued on to University of Houston where she completed a joint Masters in Business Administration and Doctor in Jurisprudence while working full time in the oil and gas industry. She has practiced in private practice as general counsel and operations manager in the insurance industry and as a criminal and civil litigator in Conroe. Before becoming judge of the County Court at Law Number Two in January of 2011 she was Chief Prosecutor in the civil/white collar crime division of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.

Rachel LeMay -- Director

Rachel has extensive experience with all aspects of complex business litigation issues in the areas of general business, employment law, construction law, real estate, oil and gas, and intellectual property matters throughout Texas. She is a member of the Houston Bar Association, the Woodlands Bar Association, the Montgomery County Bar Association, the Texas Young Lawyers Association, and the Texas Women Lawyers, which she served as President in 2012-2013. Rachel received her BA from Ouachita Baptist University in 2001 and her J.D. from Baylor University School of Law in 2005.

Perry McConnell -- Director & VP/Website

Perry McConnell has a solo law practice in the areas of intellectual property law and civil & criminal appeals. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in physics at Rice University, and his J.D. at the University of Houston Law Center, where he was a member of the 1992 State Championship moot court team and was named to The Order of Barristers. Perry later served as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center, teaching pre-trial, trial, and appellate procedure, and coaching numerous moot court teams, including the national championship teams at the Pace University Environmental Law Moot Court Competition in 1996 and the Saul Lefkowitz Trademark Law Competition in 1997.

Perry's practice includes writing and prosecuting patent applications, as well as other areas of intellectual property law, including trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. In 2011, he was named by H Texas magazine as one of Houston's top intellectual property lawyers.

On the appellate side, Perry has won reversals in cases involving damages awards from tens of thousands to over a million dollars, and has successfully prevented a man who was accused of a felony but convicted only of a misdemeanor from serving an eight-year felony sentence in state prison.

Perry has previously served as scorekeeper and webmaster for the Timberline Youth Soccer Association, is past President of Chapter 302 of the Experimental Aircraft Association, and served on both the airport rules committee and the marketing committee at Lone Star Executive Airport.

Matthew Mussalli -- Director & VP for Community Affairs

Mr. Mussalli is a top rated (AV) by Martindale-Hubbell civil litigator who handles cases in Texas and beyond. He is a Partner of The Law Office of Matthew J. Mussalli, P.C. He has been practicing law for 16 years and has been a resident of The Woodlands since 1998. He is licensed to practice law in Texas, New York and in a variety of federal courts in different states. He also represents parties in domestic as well as international arbitration proceedings. He began his legal career in New York City in 1995 as an associate with a large insurance defense firm. While in New York, his practice areas included defending companies and professionals in medical malpractice, products liability, toxic tort, construction, premises and automobile liability cases. In 1998, he relocated to The Woodlands, Texas and has since expanded his areas of practice to include complex commercial and business, construction, serious personal injury and probate and estate litigation matters.

Jerry Porter -- Director & Co-VP for Continuing Legal Education

Jerry Porter represents clients in the areas of family law and general civil litigation. He is board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Consumer and Commercial Law. He is an experienced litigator with extensive jury trial and arbitration experience.

His primary focus is on family law and it includes property settlement, modification and enforcement of child support and conservatorship, with a special emphasis and training in collaborative family law.

Jerry is a member of the American Bar Association, The Texas State Bar, the College of the State Bar of Texas, The Woodlands Bar Association, the Montgomery County Bar Association, The Woodlands Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Conroe Chamber of Commerce and the International Association of Collaborative Professionals. He is a founding member of the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas.

Jimmie Price -- Director

For over thirty-five years, Jimmie Price has practiced family law and criminal defense in Montgomery and surrounding counties. He earned his J.D. from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1979. His practice expertise includes successful negotiation and litigation of complex divorce cases involving contested property division and child custody issues, as well as representation of the accused in major felony crimes and serious offenses.

Jimmie is board certified in both Family Law (1986) and Criminal Law (1987) by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has also been selected as a Texas Super Lawyer by Texas Monthly Magazine in the practice area of family law and has received this prestigious honor each year since 2003. He has also been recognized as a Top Lawyer by H Texas Magazine each year since.

Jimmie met his wife and law partner, Gina A. Price, when they were just five years old. They have been married for over thirty five years and have two beautiful daughters.

Jimmie is active in state and national organizations established to further the practice of law, is a past-president of the Montgomery County Bar Association and currently serving as a Director of the Woodlands Bar Association.

Melissa Proctor -- Director & VP for Scholarships

Melissa Proctor is the briefing attorney for the 9th Judicial District Court, Montgomery County, Texas. She received her Juris Doctorate from The University of Texas School of Law in 2002. While in law school, she was a 3-year recipient of a merit-based Endowed Presidential Scholarship and an Officer of the Board of Advocates. Ms. Proctor earned her bachelor's degree with honors in Business-Marketing from The University of Texas at Austin in 1998.

Prior to joining the 9th District Court, Ms. Proctor was in private practice as an associate attorney with The Strong Firm, P.C. Her practice in The Woodlands, Texas focused primarily on transactional matters including contract reviews, commercial real estate, energy matters, and entity formation. Ms. Proctor is licensed by the State Bar of Texas, the State Bar of Colorado, and the United States District Court - District of Colorado. Ms. Proctor’s Colorado practice was based in civil litigation with a primary focus on insurance defense and workers’ compensation defense.

Melissa serves on the Board of Directors of The Woodlands Bar Association and previously served as its Vice President of Membership. She is also currently serving as Secretary to The Woodlands Young Lawyers Association, and is a graduate of the 2008 class of Leadership Montgomery County. She is also a member of the Houston Area Alumni Chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma, LMC Alumni, and Montgomery County Friends of the Library.

Jennifer Wherry -- Director & Co-VP for Continuing Legal Education

Jennifer Wherry is the owner of Jennifer Wherry, P.C., a family law practice, with a primary focus in Collaborative Law and Mediation in Montgomery County and Harris County, Texas. She is a licensed attorney in the State of Texas, a certified mediator, and a member of the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas. She is a graduate of the University of Houston Law Center and Baylor University, magna cum laude. She is a native Texan, wife and mother of three boys.

Copyright 2012 The Woodlands Bar Association
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software