Texas Lawyer Names Christine LaFollette and Michelle Reed Texas Trailblazers

(Houston and Dallas) – Christine LaFollette, partner in charge of Akin Gump’s Houston office, and Michelle Reed, a Dallas-based co-head of the firm’s cybersecurity, privacy and data protection practice, have been named to Texas Lawyer’s inaugural list of Texas Trailblazers. The publication says those on the list were chosen for having made “significant marks on the practice, policy and technological advancement of their practice.”

Ms. LaFollette’s selection coincides with her being named one of National Law Journal’s Finance, Banking and Capital Markets Trailblazers (click here to learn more). Over a career spanning three and a half decades, Texas Lawyer notes she has become one of the top dealmakers in the Texas energy industry, leading the way for other women in a male-dominated field. “It look a lot of people a lot of time to get used to us having a seat at the table,” she said. The publication reports that in 2015 and 2016 alone, Ms. LaFollette worked on deals totaling $28 billion.

Looking to the future, Ms. LaFollette thinks technological advances and globalization will only add to the historic volatility in the energy industry. “We all have to remain nimble and flexible,” she observed. She also plans to continue leading the way for women lawyers. “I think it’s a fabulous profession for women. It’s having more and more opportunities and doors open up.”

For Ms. Reed, when a client asked her six years ago about his fiduciary duties in managing his corporation’s risk for data security breaches, she saw it as an opportunity to become well versed in this area of the law. It has been “a wild ride,” she explained, with clients that have included several large companies whose data was breached by foreign nationals. Texas Lawyer noted that she also represented CenterPoint Energy on cybersecurity diligence in its $6 billion merger with Vectren Corp. (Click here to learn more.) In addition, she continues to work on securities matters, including a case involving allegations of misrepresentations and omissions of internal controls over financial reporting.

In the future, Ms. Reed said she expects companies to need more and more legal help to navigate the “mosaic” of state privacy and cybersecurity laws, which, she pointed out, are shedding light on how data can be “shared and used and profited from.” She predicts it will take time “and probably a lot of enforcement,” but thinks it will lead to “a new generation of data strategy and data usage.”

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 900 lawyers in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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