Project Summary

Our DWLA leadership class decided to create a podcast that focuses on different topics that we as women entering the legal profession wish we knew about before coming to law school. Each episode tackles a different law profession related topic with a local woman in law from the DFW community. We hope you enjoy this podcast as much as we enjoyed making it.

Why We Chose to do This Podcast

This was a passion project for many of us – a way to democratize, equalize, and break down the gatekeeping for law students and female lawyers. We want to continue the DWLA tradition to lift each other up.  We want to share, inspire, and to inspire the next generation of women in law.

We aim to provide empowering advice that we wish we had received prior to law school. We want to give relevant information for women to enter law school and the legal profession with confidence.

Why Women in Law/Interested in Law Should Listen to the Podcast

We believe that women in law or who are interested in law should listen to this podcast because it provides honest, accurate, and invaluable lessons and stories from women in law.

As a woman, it can be difficult to find resources or a community specifically addressing the challenges we may encounter in law school and in the legal profession.This podcast breaks down some of those barriers by providing access to generational knowledge, and creating connection and community.

Episode 1: Tackling Law School as a First Generation Law Student

In this episode Gladys Marcos and Kemi Raufu sit down with Laura Baez Torres and discuss their experiences as first generation law students. Specifically, the conversation revolves around navigating personal hurdles such as imposter syndrome, establishing your network, and bringing your family along with you on your law school journey.

Laura Báez Torres is the owner and managing attorney of Laura Báez Torres PLLC. Laura is a graduate of SMU Law and has a passion for serving the immigrant community as she is an immigrant from Mexico herself.

Episode 2: Interview Tips: Making a Good Impression in Job Interviews

In this episode, Mirna Rodriguez and Taylor Nkollo meet with Angela Zambrano and discuss her professional and personal experiences navigating job interviews and making connections as a legal professional.

Angela Zambrano co-leads Sidley’s Dallas office and is a premier commercial litigator, having recently been named The American Lawyer’s “Litigator of the Week” based on her complete victory in a $100 million earn out arbitration proceeding, shortlisted as the “Litigator of the Year” by IFLR’s Women in Business Law, and recognized in “Commercial Litigation” by Best Lawyers in America from 2016-2022.Angela co-leads the Firm’s Commercial Litigation and Disputes group and leads the Firm’s Dallas litigation group. The Firm’s Dallas litigation group has received considerable recognition, including being ranked by Chambers USA and previously named Litigation Department of the Year by Texas Lawyer.

Angela is also active in firm leadership and in the Dallas community. She serves as a member of Sidley’s Executive Committee and as a co-leader of Sidley’s women’s initiative. Angela previously served as the President of the Dallas Women Lawyer’s Association. She currently serves on the Executive Board of the Dedman School of Law, having previously served as an adjunct professor teaching pretrial procedure.

Episode 3: Making Her Way to The Bench

In this episode, Jaylon Wesley and Sydney Smalling sit down with Justice Partida-Kipness to discuss her path to the bench, the value of judicial clerkships, and general words of advice for women empowerment in the legal field.

Justice Robbie Partida-Kipness is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants and was born and raised in New Braunfels, Texas. She attended the University of Texas and St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio. Prior to taking the bench, Justice Partida-Kipness spent 21 years championing the rights of individuals involved in personal injury, medical malpractice, and mass tort cases.

In 2018, Justice Partida-Kipness made history by becoming the first Hispanic to ever be elected to the 125-year-old Fifth District Court of Appeals. The Fifth Court of Appeals presides over Dallas, Collin, Hunt, Rockwall and Grayson counties and is the largest appellate court in the State of Texas and handles one of the largest caseloads of any of the intermediate courts of appeal.

Episode 4: Maintaining Perspective: Building Community and Fostering Resilience in Law School

This week’s episode, Maintaining Perspective: Building Community and Fostering Resilience in Law School specifically addresses  mental health in the profession. Emphasizing vulnerability and community-building in the face of mental health challenges, we touch on topics like imposter syndrome, falling short of goals, boundary setting, and pivoting. Terry Bentley Hill speaks on her own experience with mental health in her personal life and professional life. What does being a happy lawyer look like and how we can practice maintaining a healthy relationship with ourselves? Listen to find out!

Terry Bentley Hill is a criminal defense attorney in Dallas. She has built a robust defense practice representing clients who have mental health issues or substance use disorders that result in criminal charges. Her advocacy often results in dismissals or no-bills for her clients. Bentley Hill is equally passionate about attorney wellness. She is Chair of the Texas Lawyers Assistance Program for the State Bar of Texas and was Chair of the Dallas Bar Association Peer Assistance Committee for four years. Earning recognition for her efforts, Bentley Hill was awarded the 2021 Terry Lee Grantham Memorial Award by the Texas Bar Foundation and in 2011 a Presidential Citation from the State Bar of Texas. Bentley Hill is a prolific speaker and writer who has made hundreds of presentations across the country. She earned a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Texas in Austin and a JD from – what is now – Texas A&M University School of Law.

Episode 5: Working in the Field

Working in the Field: Providing Unique Perspectives on Different Paths of Success, emphasizes that there is no one way to practice law. We sat down with Krisi Kastl and walked down memory to illuminate her path to success with all its ups and downs.

Kristina N. “Krisi” Kastl is the founder of Kastl Law, P.C., a plaintiff’s personal injury firm she started with the primary goal of making a difference in the lives of her clients. In particular, Kastl has been noted for her accomplishments in the courtroom, including over 75 trials that have gone to jury verdict, and has been a long-time advocate for other women in the legal profession. Kastl is the 10th female President of the DBA since its founding in 1873.

Kastl previously served as the President of the Dallas Women Lawyers Association in 2011, the President of the Texas Women Lawyers from 2018-2019, and the Chair of the American Association for Justice Women Trial Lawyers Caucus from 2018-2019. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Dallas Trial Lawyers Association, the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, and the DBA. She continues to serve as an advisory board member for the Dallas Women Lawyers Association and the Texas Women Lawyers.

Since graduating from the University of Texas – El Paso in 1995 and Texas Tech University School of Law in 1999, Kastl has been constantly active in Bar groups and associations, including but not limited to the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Dallas Trial Lawyers Association, the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, the Dallas Women Lawyers Association, as well the DBA, the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association, The J.L. Turner Legal Association, and The Dallas Asian American Bar Association.

Episode 6: Building a Legal Brand: Who You Are Inside and Outside the Courtroom

Building a Legal Brand: Who You Are Inside and Outside the Courtroom illuminates how to not only build a legal brand but to live it through your work and community involvement. Brie Miller and Julia St. John sit down with Meagan Martin Powers as she shares her journey after law school, the mentors that guided her, the important lessons she learned along the way, the values she invested in, and how she became the founding and managing attorney of the all-female law firm Martin Powers & Counsel, PLLC.

Meagan Martin Powers is the founder and managing attorney of the all-female law firm Martin Powers & Counsel, PLLC. Before attending Harvard Law School, Meagan contemplated a career in public accounting. She holds two degrees in accounting and passed the CPA exam on her first attempt. With her background, Meagan has a particular interest in cases involving fraudulent transfers, forensic accounting issues, and financial-based fraud claims. She’s an experienced litigator representing businesses and individuals in commercial litigation and bankruptcy matters, as well serves as a small business advisor and external general counsel for various companies.

Meagan is a member of the Junior League of Dallas, the Dallas Bar Association, the Dallas Women Lawyers Association, Attorneys Serving the Community and past president of the Harvard Law School Texas Club. Since 2019, Meagan has been annually named one of D Magazine’s Best Lawyers in Dallas.

2022 Leadership Class

About Us & the On the Record Podcast

Though we come from different schools, states, and backgrounds, one things unites the 2022 DWLA Leadership Class beyond our status as law students. We are all first-generation law students. This was a passion project for many of us – a way to democratize, equalize, and break down the gatekeeping for information for law students and female lawyers on how to interview, how to build a brand, how to network, and overall how to thrive in this profession.. We want to continue the DWLA tradition to lift each other up and hope this podcast instills confidence and educates its listeners..

Our DWLA leadership class created this project as a resource for young and aspiring lawyers covering different topics that we as women entering the legal profession wish we knew about before coming to law school. Each episode seeks guidance on a relevant topic from an inspiring female lawyer in the DFW area. We were honored and privileged to meet and learn from judges, professors, litigators, dealmakers, and change makers right here in our own community. This podcast is not only about education and community but about lifting up and standing on the shoulders of the great women defining this profession today. 

We believe that women in law or who are interested in law should listen to this podcast because it provides honest, accurate, and invaluable lessons and stories from women in law.

As a woman, it can be difficult to find resources or a community specifically addressing the challenges we may encounter in law school and in the legal profession. This podcast breaks down some of those barriers by providing access to generational knowledge  and creating connection and community. We hope you enjoy this podcast as much as we enjoyed making it!

Kiara Berry
3E – UNT Dallas College of Law (Evening Student)

I am undecided but thinking Trusts and Estates Law. My undergraduate degree is in Trust & Wealth Management. For the last seven years, I have been working for Fidelity Investments with our Financial Advisors. It seems only right to continue on that path although I am open to other interests that may pop up in the next couple years.

Samina Haneef
2L – SMU Dedman School of Law

I would really love to work in-house one day!

Taylor Nkollo
3L – SMU Dedman School of Law

I plan to pursue a career in civil rights or personal injury litigation. Prior to law school, I had the privilege of working for Congressman John Lewis on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. While working for him, I gained a passion of giving a voice to the voiceless and representing underrepresented communities.

Gladys Marcos
3L – SMU Dedman School of Law

My goal in becoming an attorney is to serve the community that raised me: the immigrant community. My family story has yielded this deep commitment to the community and my professional work as a law student has only solidified that passion.

Mirna Rodriguez
2L- Texas A&M University School of Law

Growing up alongside the Texas-Mexico border, my hometown was a world created and inhabited by immigrants, and, as a result, I learned to translate legal documents and advocate for others from an early age. I entered law school because I wanted to help individuals and businesses through their immigration processes. Our country’s immigration system is complex and ever-changing, and I would like to support businesses, individuals, and their families to navigate their personal and professional lives in this country.

Sydney Smalling
2L – SMU Dedman School of Law

I plan to pursue a career in civil litigation and aspire to be a trial lawyer one day. My undergraduate degree is in Journalism, and I have always loved writing, thus I felt that a career researching and writing would serve me well. Additionally, my experience interning for federal judges has solidified my desire to be in the courtroom pursuing justice on behalf of my clients.

Maya Madden
2L – Texas A&M Law School

I want to work in criminal justice reform. We often see the criminal justice system interacting with communities in a harmful and disruptive way. Women are one of the fastest growing incarcerated populations. As a woman of color, I want to be a passionate and empathetic advocate for my clients.. With my passion for educational policy, I want to explore and advocate for the disruption of the school to prison pipeline (STOPP) to ensure that all communities can have the same access to our education system. I have seen first-hand the type of doors that education can open, and I want to help facilitate that transformative change.

Julia St. John
2L – University of Oklahoma College of Law

Oh gosh, way too many things. I want to be general council for a sports team or a fortune 500 company. I want to start a non-profit. I want to create positive public policy changes that actually work. I want to start my own clothing line. Most importantly, I want to give back to the community that has made me into the woman I am today. What order will I do all of those things and how? I have no idea, but I am excited to see what doors my law degree opens for me and where I end up.

Brie Miller
2L – University of Oklahoma College of Law

I hope my long—I have no intentions of ever retiring— career in law is defined by both innovation and impact. Short term, my goal is to return to Dallas and gain experience in intellectual property, energy, and complex commercial matters either in a clerkship or at a firm. Long term, I’m interested in the emerging area of Legal Operations and hope to serve in such a role at firm where I have the opportunity to refine processes, leverage data and technology to better serve the community and clients, and define the legal industry for the 21st century. In the long long term, I’d love to enter academia and be a professor in the area of technology and law—inspiring and challenging future generations to leverage technology to propel the profession forward and into the future.

Natalie Gullo

Something in trial practice! My first year in law school, I did moot court and fell in love with oral advocacy and the creative problem solving involved. I am leaning towards prosecution, but still figuring out the specifics.

Jaylon Wesley

With my law degree, I plan to pursue a career in litigation. I want to advocate for clients that have suffered harm, whether they are entities or people. Beyond the practice of law, I plan to use the knowledge I amass though law school and my law career to educate and empower members of my community.

Kemi Raufu

I want to work in corporate law with my law degree doing mostly transactional work, and then set up my own firm before I am 35. I also would love to do some pro-bono work on the side, providing people of color from disadvantaged communities with legal representation in America.