I am the granddaughter of a South Texan cotton picker. I am a native Texan who was born in Dallas, Texas. I was raised in a large extended family because my mother is one of eleven children. I thought the issues that my family faced were the same across the board for everyone. I was naïve about the economic disparities that my community faced. The household my mother created was something out of a fairy tale movie. I was unaware of the struggles my mother faced while raising me, but her perseverance and faith got us through. I was the hope for my mother and family to carry the torch by at least finishing high school. I was taught to not settle for good enough and instead strive for my personal best. I push forward with the same mental toughness, ingenuity, and strength that has been the essence of the women in my family for generations. I was raised to work hard, be tenacious, have integrity, and treat people with the same kindness and grace you would expect.
“You must help those who can’t help themselves.” These are the words that resonate the most with me from conversations with my grandmother and mother. As a child, I did not know any lawyers or doctors, and there were only a handful of people I knew that had the opportunity to attend college. My earliest memories of advocacy are when we would have people over helping them with paperwork, translating, personal issues of some kind, or helping them find a job. I knew I wanted to grow up to be the kind of person that could be in a position to help people like my family. These words and life lessons shaped me and led me to where I am today.
My path to becoming a lawyer is very different from most of my colleagues and mentors. I started college right out of high school but took time off to work for my uncle in Chicago, IL. At 20, I managed a cable contracting business and was responsible for daily operations, payroll, and growing that market. Here, I learned the value of relentless hard work, the importance of relationships, and how to make everything harmonize when running a business. Even though the money was great, I felt something was missing, and I was unfulfilled.
I decided to return to Texas. I began working in corporate America and worked my way up the ladder while going to school full-time. After a downsize in my organization, I was left without a job and still searching for inspiration for my future. I began working for a law firm that was fresh, and the attorneys were young. They were idealistic, filled with activist energy, and wanted to change the world, one case at a time. I began helping them with cases and assisting with client intake interviews. I will never forget the day our former client, Mr. Gomez, changed my life. Mr. Gomez came into the office and explained that over the last three years, he had paid over $20,000 in a rent to own property and was now on the verge of losing everything because of back taxes. After further investigation, it became clear that Mr. Gomez was not the only victim and that this practice was a business model for a local con artist that preyed on immigrants and the uneducated. We were able to get a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to keep the alleged property owner from selling the property. On that day, standing in Texas summer sun, adrenaline pumping, and waiting to serve that TRO, I knew what I wanted to do. Helping people who were taken advantage of was that missing piece of the puzzle. We helped Mr. Gomez keep his property, and he was given a small sense of justice and dignity. I knew from that moment I had to help people, those in underserved communities, those who had no voice in the legal world, and those who did not know their rights.
Today, I am very fortunate and honored to be an attorney for Dean Omar Branham + Shirley. Jessica, Trey, Amin, and Lisa, the firm partners, encompass qualities possessed by some of the world’s great leaders. They lead by example and teach us how to be the best “Davids” in what are truly David versus Goliath cases. When Trey took a chance by hiring me, despite my limited legal experience, I felt lucky. I was brought in as the sole paralegal for our practice in 2013. Two years later, Dean Omar and Branham was formed, and our firm was off to the races. I have worked here my entire legal career and have been a part of our Intake Department since 2016. This firm has allowed me to grow, develop, and experience the law up close in ways most people in our profession, simply don’t get. I have seen our small office grow into a firm that is a force to be reckoned with. We work hard for all our clients. We stand up to the big corporations and hold them accountable to the people they have harmed. Asbestos litigation is complex and requires relentless advocacy. We fight for our clients with passion, knowledge, and conviction. As I seek justice and legal equality for all, I gladly continue the fight of my ancestors, our clients, and future generations.