Victoria Lazar, a self-described deal junkie, has been involved in some of the biggest M&A transactions in Texas history, including General Electric’s $7.4 billion acquisition of Baker Hughes. She guided industrial aviation giant Bristow Group out of bankruptcy. And she is now the chief legal officer at TechnipFMC, an oil and gas services provider with more than $13 billion in annual revenue.
HP Inc. senior counsel Bradley Hartz and a team of trial and appellate lawyers at Beck Redden fought a Taiwanese CD ROM maker over antitrust allegations for years and secured a $438 million victory in 2020.
Mary Isensee, trained as an oil and gas lawyer by Big Law, has become one of the most respected in-house counsel in the world of artificial intelligence-based technology in only a couple years.
The Association of Corporate Counsel’s Houston Chapter and The Texas Lawbook is pleased to announce the final three categories for the 2021 Houston Corporate Counsel Awards and the recipients for each of those honors.
The winner of the 2021 Houston Corporate Counsel Award for Rookie of the Year goes to PROS Inc. technology counsel Mary Isensee.
The winner of the 2021 Houston Business Litigation of the Year Award is HP Inc. senior counsel Bradley Hartz and his outside legal lawyers at Beck Redden. The Business Litigation award is one of three awards – M&A Deal of the Year and Creative Partnership – that honors both in-house counsel and their outside legal teams.
And the 2021 Houston Corporate Counsel Award for Lifetime Achievement goes to Victoria Lazar.
The Texas Lawbook is publishing in-depth profiles of each of the finalists over the next two months.
The Houston Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel and The Texas Lawbook usually announce the Houston Corporate Counsel Award finalists and honor the winners in the spring of each year, but this year’s awards event was delayed and rescheduled to Jan. 13 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The awards event will take place at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Houston.
ACC Houston and The Lawbook received more than 80 nominations for the 14 categories. We employed a team of in-house counsel and outside lawyers to review the nominations and select those that were worthy of being honored.
“It has been the distinct pleasure of ACC Houston to partner with Texas Lawbook on this very important recognition of the Houston area’s finest in-house counsel,” said Exxon Mobil senior counsel Joseph Yao, who is president-elect of the ACC Houston Chapter. “I was surprised by the number of nominees, impressed by the quality of the Finalists and amazed by their accomplishments in a year that was so challenging for all of us.”
The net income generated by the Houston Corporate Counsel Awards goes to two incredibly important causes: ACC Houston’s public school outreach program called Street Law and The Texas Lawbook’s funding of a full-time lawyer/journalist to write about pro bono, public service, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession in Texas.
Here is a complete list of the finalists for each category:
The three finalists for the 2021 Houston Corporate Counsel Award for Achievement in Diversity and Inclusion are:
Carolyn Benton Aiman, general counsel at Sempra Energy;
Cydonii Fairfax, general counsel at Houston METRO Transit; and
Christallyn Williams, senior counsel at MilliporeSigma.
The sole finalist – and thus the recipient – for Achievement in Pro Bono and Public Service CenterPoint General Counsel Monica Karuturi and Jason Ryan, senior vice president of regulatory services and governmental affairs at Houston-based CenterPoint.
“The three finalists for the diversity honor, Carolyn, Cydoni and Christallyn, and Monica and Jason at CenterPoint are prime examples of the good that corporate in-house counsel can achieve,” said Exxon Mobil senior counsel Joseph Yao, who is president-elect of the ACC Houston Chapter. “All of these finalists for the 2021 Houston Corporate Counsel Awards deserve to be honored and to have their stories told.”
ACC Houston and The Lawbook previously announced the finalists for several award categories. This is a list of those finalists.
There are two finalists for General Counsel of the Year for a Small Legal Department (1-5 lawyers) are:
David Rassin of SAExploration; and
Sarah Hurt of Jefferson Energy.
There are two finalists for General Counsel of the Year for a Midsized Legal Department (6-20 lawyers) and they are:
Charlotte Rasche of Prosperity Bank
Matt Zmigrosky of Diamondback Energy
The two finalists for Senior Counsel of the Year of a Large Legal Department (21 lawyers or more) are:
Chevron Corporation Managing Counsel Siva Barnwell Adams; and
Exxon Mobil Senior Counsel Tom Sikora.
The sole finalist – and thus the recipient – of the Houston Senior Counsel of the Year for Midsized Legal Department (6-20 lawyers) is Enterprise Products Assistant General Counsel Charlie San Miguel.
In the category of Houston Senior Counsel of the Year Award for a Small Legal Department (five lawyers or fewer), the winner is former Southern Company Assistant General Counsel Kathryn McCoy, who is now an assistant GC at Williams Company.
The finalists for the 2021 Houston Corporate Counsel Award for Transaction of the Year are:
LyondellBasell Associate General Counsel Andy Gratz; and
EP Energy General Counsel Jace Locke.
The Texas Lawbook’s partnership with the Houston Chapter of ACC, which is now four years old, is an important part of The Lawbook’s mission to cover business lawyers and business legal trends in Texas, according to Lawbook publisher Brooks Igo.
“Our partnership with ACC Houston is a critical element in The Lawbook’s goal of providing insight into the practice of corporate law in Texas,” Igo said. “ACC Houston has more than 1,000 corporate in-house counsel as members, and it is the influential voice for business lawyers who work in-house in South Texas.
“The Lawbook team relies heavily on advice and support from the members and leaders of ACC Houston and its sister organization, the DFW Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, for helping us to identify the lawyers and issues we should be covering,” Igo said.
Publisher’s Note: For more information about the Houston Corporate Counsel Awards, including sponsorship or ticket purchases, please contact Brooks Igo at email@example.com.