Our team is located in Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, El Paso, Waco, Denton, Tyler & Lubbock.
Alan serves as City Attorney or Special Counsel to cities across Texas. He graduated from Texas Tech University with his Bachelor of Arts in English, Master of Public Administration, and Doctor of Jurisprudence. Alan served as a staff attorney for the Texas Municipal League. He has Merit Certification in Municipal Law from the Texas City Attorneys Association and is a TCAA Board Member. Alan is a Board Member for the International Municipal Lawyers Association, an IMLA Local Government Fellow, and received IMLA’s Glick Award in 2017 (for Outstanding Local Government Lawyer in Private Practice). He was named Outstanding Government Lawyer for 2018 by the State Bar of Texas (Government Law Section). September 2018, Alan was named an Honorary Member of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). He authors the TEXAS MUNICIPAL LAW &PROCEDURE MANUAL (6th Ed.).
Dottie advises city councils, city officials, boards and commissions and prepares legal documents in all areas of municipal law with a primary concentration in Land Use, Utility Franchise Fee, Gas Well Development and Legislation. She graduated from South Texas College of Law with a Doctor of Jurisprudence and Arizona State University with a Masters in Education. She was a registered lobbyist as Assistant General Counsel for the Texas Municipal League from 1994 to 2000, primarily responsible for drafting and passing legislation. Dottie has been a Board Member of the Texas City Attorneys Association since 2009. She has also served as faculty chair, panel moderator and speaker for the UT Land Use Conference. She has served as City Attorney or Assistant City Attorney for Midland, Garland, Denton, Galveston, and Highland Village.
Herb has over 30 years experience in the field of local government law. He has served as city attorney or assistant city attorney for a number of municipalities including: Angleton, Dallas, Denton, Galveston and Temple. He received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas. Herb has also served as the first General Counsel for the El Paso Water Utilities Board. Herb’s municipal law experience includes administrative law, alternative dispute resolution, election law, employment law, environmental law, zoning & development law, public utility law and prosecution of municipal court matters.
Gary offices out of Tyler, Texas. Gary served the City of Tyler as City Attorney for 28 years and later served as Attorney of Counsel from 2013 to 2014. His legal duties included ensuring compliance with the Texas Open Meetings Act and preparing and/or reviewing ordinances, resolutions, and contracts. He received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas Law School and received his Bachelor of Arts in History from McMurry University. Gary’s experience also involved working on the budget, grant, bond elections, franchise review/audits for all utilities, and other financial projects. He supervised litigation in federal and state courts using either in-house attorneys or outside counsel. Gary served on the Texas Municipal League Board of Directors from 2002 to 2006.
Marianne has over 30 years’ experience in the fields of municipal and government law. She served as city attorney and assistant city attorney for a number of municipalities including Georgetown, College Station, and Springfield, Missouri. She received her Doctor of Jurisprudence from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and her Bachelor’s in Mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin. Marianne’s municipal law experience includes real estate, estate planning and probate, land development, economic development, finance, contract drafting, planning, zoning, environmental law, conflict resolution, and litigation in state and federal court. Marianne has served on the International Municipal Lawyers Association Board of Directors from 2010 to 2016 and the Missouri Municipal Attorneys Association Board of Directors from 2013 to present.
Pete is an experienced civil and criminal litigator in federal and state courts. For the past eight years, he has supervised other litigators and maintained a docket of high-stakes cases as an Executive Assistant City Attorney and Chief of General Litigation for the City of Dallas. Pete often speaks with and assists lawyers on diverse litigation-related subjects such as police and firefighter pension system disputes, civil litigation procedure, evidence, pretrial discovery including electronic discovery, bankruptcy, criminal investigations, and paper terrorism. He received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from Columbia University Law School in New York City and his Bachelor of Arts in American History at Columbia College. Pete also served as a Navy officer and attorney in the U.S. Navy JAG Corps from 1974 to 1981. Pete is chair of the International Municipal Lawyers Association Technology Law Section and lectures nationwide on technology law issues, including the use of technology in legal practice.
Over the course of his 32-year career in government and private law practice John has defended public and private sector clients in the negotiation and oversight of civil judicial, civil administrative and criminal enforcement actions under most state and Federal environmental and natural resource laws. John has assisted clients in formulating and implementing communication strategies with communities that are affected by environmental issues, in developing permit and compliance oversight strategies, and in effectively challenging state environmental permitting actions that negatively impact local governments and their citizens. John also provides training programs to municipal and private sector clients in all aspects of environmental, health and safety regulatory compliance. John received his BA in Classics and Renaissance Studies at the Johns Hopkins University and his law degree at the University of Maryland School of Law.
Melissa is a highly skilled litigator with more than twenty years of practice advising and litigating on behalf of local governmental entities. During the most recent twelve years of her career, she served as Chief of the Code Compliance Litigation Section of the Dallas City Attorney’s Office. In that capacity, Melissa maintained her own docket of cases and led a team of attorneys in efforts to gain compliance through negotiation and litigation in matters related to damaged and deteriorated structures; criminal nuisance properties; building codes; land use and zoning; environmental; the licensing and operation of bars, dance halls, and sexually oriented businesses; fair housing; access for persons with disabilities; transportation-for-hire; emergency and non-consent towing; and ambulance services.
Bertha has over 30 years experience in a broad range of municipal and local government law. Most recently, she served as Senior Assistant City Attorney with the City of El Paso. During her 8 year tenure, she provided legal assistance in real estate, tax and budget, financial services, procurement (both for goods and services and construction), employee benefits and risk management, information technology, utility regulation, including telecommunications, as well as general municipal law matters such as public information and open meeting laws. Bertha received her Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law and graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts.
Elaine has over 26 years of experience in municipal law, including public safety, code enforcement, elections, ethics, employment, collective bargaining and drafting home-rule charter amendments. Elaine served as a senior assistant city attorney for the City of El Paso. She received her Bachelor or Arts and Doctor of Jurisprudence in Nebraska, attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, College of Law and was admitted to the Texas State Bar in 1989. In addition to making numerous presentations and publishing articles on a variety of municipal law topics during her career, Elaine was the 2012 recipient of the Galen Sparks Award for outstanding assistant city attorney from a large Texas city.
Ignacio has over 34 years of legal experience. Prior to joining the Firm, Ignacio served the City of McAllen for 12 years, seven years of his tenure was as the Deputy City Attorney. Ignacio received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Princeton University and Doctor of Jurisprudence from Rutgers Law School. Ignacio worked closely with the Health, Code Enforcement, and Transit staff and Department Heads to enforce Environmental, Health, Sexually Oriented Business, Sign, Vehicles for Hire, and other ordinances. Ignacio’s specialties include: Economic Development Agreements, Municipal Ordinances, Planning & Zoning, and Transactional Documents.
Linda represents cities of varying sizes in the Central Texas/Waco area for the firm. Linda has over 21 years of municipal law experience. She served the City of Big Spring as City Attorney for eight years and also served the Cities of San Angelo and Waco as Assistant City Attorney. During that time, she gained extensive experience working with an array of diverse municipalities—focusing on matters involving open government, personnel issues, civil litigation, land use and economic development. She served as Trial Attorney for the City of San Angelo from 1995 to 2006 handling all aspects of defense litigation, appeals and civil enforcement of city ordinances. As the City of Waco liaison with the National Park Service, her efforts helped lead to the designation of the Waco Mammoth Site as a National Monument. Linda is a lifelong Texas resident and a graduate of the University of North Texas and Southern Methodist University School of Law.
Alan has served as City Attorney or Assistant City Attorney for New Braunfels, Grand Prairie, Plano, Arlington, North Richland Hills, Galveston, Garland, Hurst, Bedford, Westlake, Argyle, and Marshall Creek, representing the Cities in all aspects of municipal law. Alan has also been special counsel for Irving and White Settlement. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from the University of Texas at Austin and a juris doctor in law from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio. Alan has represented municipalities and special districts in open meetings, public information, ethics, conflicts, annexation, land use planning, request for proposals/bids, grants, contracts, eminent domain, employment, utilities, purchasing, engineering/public works, open records, emergency management, municipal court, environmental issues, council of government, legislative drafting and agendas, ordinances, economic development, civil service, and litigation.
Prior to joining the BLF team, Donna worked as an Assistant Criminal District Attorney in the Lubbock County DA’s Civil Division for 15 years. She earned her Doctor of Jurisprudence from Texas Tech University School of Law, where she was the Managing Editor of the Texas Tech Journal of Administrative Law. Her experience as a government attorney included open records and open meetings, employment law, nuisance laws, trial work, and serving as the prosecutor on a drug court team. Additionally, Donna has personal insight regarding City Councils, having served as an elected Alderman for the City of Ransom Canyon from 2005-2015.
Alessandra is the firm’s expert on Small Cell Nodes and municipal tree preservation regulations. She helps the team by: conducting legal research and reviewing current law, drafting memoranda and pleadings, drafting ordinances and resolutions, responding to public records requests, handling assignments involving land use, water and other municipal issues. She is one of our top prosecutors and helps handle Code Enforcement cases. Alessandra received her undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin and her Doctor of Jurisprudence from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.
For 20 years, Chris served as a night prosecutor for the City of El Paso. Previously, he served in a seven-year position as the city’s Assistant City Prosecutor. During this time, Chris also worked as a professor teaching social studies for the El Paso and Socorro School Districts. Chris received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas School of Law in Austin and his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas in El Paso. While working for the City of El Paso, Chris performed trial work, responded to motions, answered appeals, conducted training for Code Enforcement Officers, and worked directly with environmental services, the fire department, and general code enforcement.
Erin is an accomplished legal writer and advocate with experience in municipal and appellate court. She focuses predominately on prosecutorial services for the firm’s clients. Erin earned her Doctor of Jurisprudence from St. Mary’s University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Texas. In law school, she served as Editor in Chief of the St. Mary’s Law Journal. Erin later served as briefing attorney to the Honorable Sandee Bryan Marion. She also clerked for Judge W. Royal Furgeson with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Prior to joining our team, Erin gained experience in prosecution, City Attorney work, and litigation with the firm Denton, Navarro, Rocha, Bernal, Hyde & Zech, P.C.
Laura previously worked at the Texas Municipal League as Assistant General Counsel. While at TML, she participated in over 100 speaking engagements on various legal topics and continues to be a featured speaker at legal conferences. She has authored amicus curiae briefs for the courts on numerous subjects including billboard regulation, reserved powers doctrine, civil service, elections, unions, takings, open meetings, public official liability, land use, and annexation. Laura received her undergraduate degree from the University of Oklahoma and earned her Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas.
Erin brings significant environmental law experience to the firm, practicing before the Public Utility Commission, Texas Water Development Board and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Previously she served as a registered lobbyist and the Director of Legal and Legislative Services for the Texas Rural Water Association, assisting small city and rural water system members. She served for eleven years at the TCEQ where she represented the executive director in contested cases regarding water utility, water right and air regulatory matters. Erin received her Doctor of Jurisprudence from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 2004 and a Bachelor of Architecture in 1996 from the University of Houston.
Will primarily serves the firm’s clients in the North Texas and Waco areas. He earned his B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and his J.D. from the SMU Dedman School of Law. As a chief counsel student attorney with the SMU Civil Clinic and the Judge Elmo B. Hunter Center for Victims of Violence Against Women, Will represented clients in several different legal matters while still in law school. Prior to entering private practice, Will held internships with Dallas County Criminal Court № 8 and the Grand Prairie Prosecutor’s Office. He is a native of North Texas.
Eileen is an experienced legal writer and presenter who previously served as an Assistant City Attorney with the City of Dallas. She earned her Doctor of Jurisprudence from the SMU Dedman School of Law, where she served as the Editor in Chief of the SMU Law Review, and she earned a Bachelor of Music from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. Eileen also served as a law clerk to then Chief Judge A. Joe Fish with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, and she taught ethics and public procurement law as an Assistant Professor at the UNC School of Government.
Debbie retired with over 25 years of experience in local government as city administrator, certified city secretary, and municipal court administrator. Debbie has served as President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer of the TMCA Salt Grass Chapter (Houston-Galveston region) and received the clerk of the year award from the Salt Grass Chapter. She earned her Bachelor Degree in Public Administration from Stephen F. Austin State University.
Sherry retired with almost 25 years of experience in local government as a board certified Tax Assessor Collector, state and international certified city secretary (TRMC,MMC), and certified professional in human resources (PHR). Sherry has served as President, Vice President, and Treasurer in the TMCA Capital Chapter. She has also served on the Texas Municipal Clerks Association board of directors as Trustee, Treasurer, Vice President, President-elect, and President, She received the clerk of the year award from the Capital Chapter and was also honored as the state clerk of the year.
Robyn has several years of planning experience throughout the state. Prior to joining the Firm, Robyn worked for rapidly growing cities, including Georgetown, Celina, and Marshall. Working in these developing communities, she followed the entire development process from start to finish, which included drafting development agreements, special financing districts, annexation, zoning, platting, and site development plans. Additionally, Robyn also has experience managing Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for entitlement cities, as well as writing code amendments and Comprehensive Planning. She is proficient in ArcGIS mapping software. Robyn received her Master of Public Administration from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, and her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from East Texas Baptist University.
Hilda is a contributing author and editor of the Texas Court Clerks Association’s Municipal Court Clerks Procedures and Reference Guide and the Texas Municipal Courts Financial Management Handbook. Hilda earned the prestigious designation of Fellow from the Institute of Court Management (ICM) in May 2013. She is one of six Municipal Court Fellows in the State. Hilda has also received the following honors and rewards: Texas Court Clerks Association (TCCA) Board of Directors Award, 2013; ICM Certified Court Executive, 2012; and ICM Certified Court Manager, 2010. Prior to joining the Firm, Hilda was the Municipal Court Administrator for the City of Bryan, Texas for 28 years.
Rusty’s 42 years of experience allow him to provide objective, expert guidance on law enforcement policies, procedures, and operations. As Police Chief of the City of Bee Cave for six years, Rusty managed the remodel of the police department, saving over $200,000 in estimated costs. He is a graduate of Southwest University with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Master of Science in Security Administration. Previously he worked for the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) as the Director of Public Safety for 12 years where he managed the organization’s safety response for several major floods—resulting in over 100 lives saved. Earlier in his career, Rusty served in police roles for the cities of Teague, Clute, and Sweeny.
Amber has been the Firm’s Spanish Translator since 2004. She has over 17 years of experience in translation work for documents including Ballots, Bond Election Notices, Brochures, Election Orders, Election Agenda Items, and Election Notices. She received a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Houston. Her services include translating documents and forms from Spanish to English as well as from English to Spanish. Amber’s skills are a major attribute to the Firm and to our clients. Additionally, she follows the grammatical rules set forth by the Royal Spanish Academy, the institution responsible for overseeing the Spanish language. She is a member of the Texas Foreign Language Association and American Association of Teachers of Spanish Portuguese.