Bell Nunnally Partner Gwen I. Walraven has been selected to the 2020 “Fellows Program” class for the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) – an organization comprised of more than 320 corporate chief legal officers and law firm managing partners dedicated to building a more open and diverse legal profession. In addition, Bell Nunnally attorneys Keith B. French, Jr. and Troy “T.J.” Hales were selected to the LCLD’s 2020 “Pathfinder Program.”
“Support of the LCLD is a crucial component to our firmwide diversity and inclusion initiative. This program’s commitment to addressing and tackling longstanding access, equality and industry advancement concerns is both laudable and a true success story,” said Chris Trowbridge, managing partner of Bell Nunnally. “We’re pleased that Gwen, Keith and T.J. will be part of this year’s program, further expanding the firm’s involvement.”
Walraven is Bell Nunnally’s fifth attorney “Fellow.” French and Hales are the firm’s seventh and eighth attorneys selected for the “Pathfinders” program, following Katie R. Beaird and Sang Eun “Jennice” Lee in 2019.
The LCLD “Fellows Program” members are mid-career professionals who have been nominated by their company or law firm’s executive members in recognition of strong past performance and leadership. The “Fellow” year focuses on relationship-building, in-person training, peer-group projects and extensive contact with the LCLD’s leadership. The “Fellows Program” has trained more than 1,600 mid-career attorneys since 2011.
The LCLD “Pathfinder Program” members are early career attorneys, also nominated by their company or organization, who have three-to-five years of practice experience. The initiative aims to arm its set of diverse, high-potential professionals with practical tools for developing and leveraging internal professional networks. The “Pathfinder Program” focuses on relationship building, foundational leadership instruction and career development activities.
Walraven is a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property, Creditors’ Rights and Litigation practices. Her trial practice concentrates on the representation of businesses and individuals in business disputes involving claims such as breach of contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference and intellectual property claims – including domain name disputes filed with the UDRP through ICANN and patent infringement lawsuits. Walraven also represents corporate creditors in the collection of defaulted loans, foreclosure of secured properties and perfection of lien claims, as well as lawsuits based on promissory notes, guarantees and unpaid accounts. A three-time “Texas Rising Star,” as featured in Texas Monthly, Walraven is a graduate of Baylor Law School (J.D., 2004) and Stephens College (B.S., cum laude, 1996).
French is a member of Bell Nunnally’s Litigation and White Collar Criminal and Regulatory Defense practices. A former Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Mississippi, he is a civil litigation attorney with experience leveraging research, writing and analytical abilities to effectively defend and represent clients before state and federal courts. French is experienced with a wide variety of civil cases, managing matters from inception through resolution, developing case and trial strategies, preparing discovery, taking and defending depositions, drafting dispositive motions and appellate briefs and negotiating settlements. He also has criminal trial experience. A past lecturer at the University of Mississippi School of Law, French is co-founder of Progress MS, a non-profit organization that hosts leadership development programs for youth. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law (J.D., 2013) and Tougaloo College (B.A., summa cum laude, 2010).
Hales is a member of the firm’s Litigation and Labor, Employment and Benefits practices. He advises and represents employers in all areas of labor and employment law, including matters involving discrimination and harassment, as well as compliance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). He also serves as a member of the board of directors for the Dallas LGBT Bar Association, and is a graduate of Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law (J.D., cum laude, 2016) and Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business (B.B.A., with distinction, 2013).