Texas Lawyer Profiles Chris LaFollette as a “Distinguished Leader” and Alison Chen as a “Lawyer on the Rise” for 2017 Professional Excellence Awards

(Houston) – As part of its 2017 Professional Excellence Awards, Texas Lawyer has named Akin Gump Houston partner in charge Christine “Chris” LaFollette a Distinguished Leader, and tax partner Alison Chen a Lawyer on the Rise.

The awards recognize “lawyers who have made their mark on the legal profession in the Lone Star State…The bottom line: They are all impact players in the Texas legal community.” An awards ceremony in the recipients’ honor will be held on September 6 in Dallas.

The Distinguished Leader category, according to the publication, “recognizes lawyers who have achieved impressive results and demonstrated clear leadership skills in their profession… prominent and respected members of the legal community who distinguish themselves from the pack.”

In her profile, Ms. LaFollette noted as her proudest achievement “the opportunity to become a team member and partner with my clients,” which has given her the “chance to work with the management, board of directors and legal teams of some of the finest public companies.” She notes that it is “very rewarding to work collaboratively with a company not only to solve problems, but also to build a better enterprise that supports our economy and individuals with a vital life resource.”

In discussing what makes a leader, she said, “I believe a successful leader has to be authentic and earn trust. One cannot successfully dictate others to follow, but has to lead by example. That means listening and working hard side by side with others. I think we have a responsibility not only to make a difference in our professions, but to give back to our community.” She also noted the wide range of organizations to which she volunteers time, including as a founding director of the National Association of Corporate Directors Texas TriCities Chapter and of the Advisory Council for Tahirih Justice Center and as a founding member of the Center for Women in Law at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Lawyers on the Rise category, notes Texas Lawyer, “honors Texas' most promising lawyers under the age of 40. These lawyers have wielded influence and are excelling in their practice areas in the Lone Star State.”

In her profile, Ms. Chen’s focus on tax planning for energy companies, with a concentration on master limited partnerships, is noted, as well as the energy clients with which she’s worked on more than 40 Texas-based energy transactions since 2015 listed, along with nonenergy giants such as 7-Eleven and JPMorgan Chase, all totaling a transaction value of more than $22 billion.

She notes as her favorite thing about being in the legal industry as “the opportunity to work among top talents both inside and outside the firm and spanning across various business sectors. I am a better lawyer today because those opportunities allowed me to learn to think like my clients and communicate complicated tax rules and risks in a way that makes sense to businesspeople.”

Ms. LaFollette was recently honored as a 2017 Energy Trailblazer by The National Law Journal (learn more here), as one of 2016’s top Texas dealmakers by Texas Lawbook (learn more here), as a Who’s Who in Energy honoree by Houston Business Journal and as one of the top women in energy law by Texas Lawyer (learn more here).

Ms. Chen was recently named to Turnarounds & Workouts’ Top Bankruptcy Tax Specialists list (learn more here) and to Houston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list (learn more here).

Founded in 1945, 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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