Premium-Only Content: Kathleen Bertolatus offers advice for outside counsel and shares why she believes pro bono work helps make lawyers better.
Seven weeks ago, a 15-year-old West African who had never been in an airplane before and who speaks very little English walked through the international arrival terminal at Bush International Airport with three bags containing everything he owned. The teen’s mother, her body stricken with cancer and worn from years of being beaten by male relatives in her homeland, raced to hug her son after nearly four years and 6,000 miles of separation.
The reunion was the result of four long years of legal work by Phillips 66 Senior Counsel Kathleen Bertolatus, who represented the mother in a series of immigration proceedings that resulted in the mother obtaining asylum and being reunited with her teenaged daughter after both faced forced female genital mutilation by their family and certain death if they didn’t comply. That was in 2019. On March 30 of this year, the great pro bono legal work of Bertolatus allowed mother, son and daughter to be together and to be safe.
Premium-Only Content: Cynthia Martinez discusses the biggest challenges facing renewable energy today and identifies life and career mentors.
Total Energies’ Cynthia Redwine Martinez Has ‘Solar-Coaster Street Cred’ in Leading the Energy Transition
During the past two years, TotalEnergies assistant general counsel Cynthia Redwine Martinez has become one of the leading renewable energy law experts in the U.S. But it didn’t happen overnight. And it didn’t happen by accident. The path she took started a couple decades ago as the daughter of a glass-ceiling-smashing, highly respected Houston lawyer who became the first general counsel for Rice University. Fast-forward more than a decade later. Her reputation in the world of renewable and solar energy law is nearly unmatched. From the fourth quarter of 2019 to the end of 2021, Martinez has been a lead lawyer in nearly a dozen major clean energy acquisitions and joint ventures involving offshore wind operations and solar projects.
Premium-Only Content: Ashley Hill reveals her pet peeves regrading outside counsel and makes a case for being hopeful about the future of diversity in the legal profession.
BHP asked its senior in-house counsel Ashley Hill to help lead the global energy and minerals giant’s efforts to diversify its ranks in two historically male-dominated industries: mining and oil and gas. The evidence five years later shows it could not have made a better selection. As BHP’s top employment lawyer in the Americas, Hill was part of a thorough review of the company’s recruiting, hiring, compensation and retention practices. She was instrumental in implementing a gender pay gap review that resulted in an increase in female salaries of more than $4 million.
Citing these significant successes, the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Houston Chapter and The Texas Lawbook have named Hill as one of the two finalists for the 2022 Houston Corporate Counsel Award for Achievement in Diversity and Inclusion.
Premium-Only Content: Diane Greene describes her most life impacting experience and identifies what she looks for in hiring outside counsel.
Diane Greene and her legal team at GSFSGroup faced a monumental task: Develop and complete a transformational partnership agreement regarding vehicle product services that required the approval of 23 state regulatory authorities and 15 consumer finance lenders — all in less than three months. And that was before the other side’s GC left in the middle of the deal.
The agreement, the largest and most important in the history of GSFSGroup, added $165 million to its revenue stream and grew its product volume 28 percent. Greene and her team are finalists for the 2022 Houston Corporate Counsel Award for Transaction of the Year.
Premium-Only Content: Bo Shi shares insights for outside counsel and empathizes with those 5 p.m. Friday requests.
Bo Shi had a crazy 2021. He started the year as a lawyer at Vinson & Elkins representing trading platform TradeZero Holding in a $556 million SPAC merger. Independence Energy hired Shi as GC in October where he spent three intense months in the company’s $5.7 billion M&A deal with Contango Oil & Gas.
Nine weeks later, the transaction closed, a publicly traded company called Crescent Energy was created and Shi was named its GC. But there were no holiday breaks. Instead, he handled a $200 million securities offering and engineered an $815 million acquisition. The result: Shi is a finalist for the 2022 Houston Corporate Counsel Award for Rookie of the Year.