Directors & Officers

Kirby Hopkins

Director & President

Kirby Hopkins is a shareholder in the Firm's Houston office. As a member of the Business Litigation Group, Mr. Hopkins practices in the areas of banking, oil and gas, financial services, and appellate law.

Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. Hopkins was a Briefing Attorney for the Thirteenth Court of Appeals in Edinburg, Texas.

Mr. Hopkins has been named one of Houston's Top Lawyers in Appellate Law by H Texas magazine (2008 and 2009), a Texas Super Lawyers Rising Star by Texas Monthly (2007), and an American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division – Scholar (2007 – 2008). Additionally, he has served as Board of Directors Liaison – Texas Young Lawyers Association (2008 – 2010), Legislative Fellow – Children at Risk, Public Policy & Law Center (2008 – 2009), Houston Young Lawyers Association – Leadership Academy (2005) and Director (2006 – 2008), Fellow – Houston Young Lawyers Foundation Steering Committee, Book Award Chair, Applicant Interviewer – Vanderbilt Alumni Association, Houston Chapter (2005 – present), Trustee – Louisiana School for Math, Science and Arts Foundation (2007 – 2009, 2010 – 2012), Life Member – Texas Exes, Member – Texas Association of Bank Counsel, Member – Scribes (The American Society of Legal Writers), Member – Houston, Montgomery County, Hidalgo County, and American Bar Associations.

Mr. Hopkins receive his J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law in 2001, and his B.A. (with honors) from Vanderbilt University in 1998.

Nhi Le

Director & Secretary

Nhi Le is an associate at Cooper Hart Leggiero & Whitehead, where she represents veterans and blue collar workers who suffer from mesothelioma or lung cancer due to asbestos exposure. As a daughter of Vietnamese refugees, Nhi understands the struggles of working class families. Her tireless advocacy has helped her clients recover millions of dollars in settlements. Prior to joining Cooper Hart, Nhi served as a staff attorney for the Asylum and Human Trafficking Clinic at South Texas College of Law. There, she represented victims of violent sexual crimes, human trafficking, and political and religious persecution, as well as unaccompanied children.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Nhi is very active in the community. She volunteers her free time to the Montgomery County Law Line, a valuable service to county citizens seeking legal assistance. She speaks to high school seniors about the importance of jury duty. Alongside renowned immigration attorney Gordon Quan, she has also offered legal advice to listeners who call in to KPFT 90.1 FM Houston Pacifica's Coming to America segment as a guest speaker. Her pro bono work has assisted low-income Vietnamese families with estate planning and students with successfully filing for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Nhi earned her J.D. from South Texas College of Law, her B.A. in Economics from Baylor University, and is licensed to practice law in Texas. She serves as the secretary for The Woodlands Bar Association and is a member of the Executive Women’s Alliance, the Texas Young Lawyer's Association, and the College of the State Bar of Texas, an honorary society of lawyers who make an extraordinary commitment to professional education. Nhi is fluent in Vietnamese.

R. Lee Wilson

Director & Treasurer

Brian Albert


Brian Albert is an Associate Attorney at The Strong Firm P.C. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance from American University and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Houston Law Center. Brian's practice focuses on corporate and business law transactions, commercial real estate, trademarks, and oil, gas, and energy transactions.

Brian is also a member of the American Bar Association, The Woodlands Bar Association, the Texas Young Lawyers Association, The Woodlands Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Network, and Leadership Montgomery County Class of 2016.

Joe Centrich

Director & Co-VP for Social Activities

Pattie Chapman

Director & Co-VP for Community Affairs

Patricia (Pattie) is the principal of the Law Offices of Patricia G. Chapman. Prior to forming her firm in 2008, Pattie was an attorney with a large international law firm in downtown Houston, representing governmental entities (city, county and state governments) and Fortune 500 companies in mass tort litigation and employment matters . Pattie’s practice in the Woodlands is a mixture of employment law, commercial litigation, business-related probate matters (operating and closing companies upon the death of the owner), oil and gas, energy law and general corporate law.

Pattie received her JD from the University of Houston School of Law and her LLM in Environmental Law and Natural Resources from Northwest College of Law in Portland, Oregon. She is licensed in Texas and in Oregon; Pattie is also a member of the Texas Bar Foundation and the Houston Bar Foundation, as well as a member of the Woodlands Bar Association, Montgomery County Bar Association, the Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce and a proud member of the Leadership Montgomery Class of 2013. Besides her other responsibilities, Ms. Chapman serves on the Board of Women of Wine Charities, a 501(c)(3) corporation, whose activities benefit the Houston Area Women’s Center.

Steve Dickerson


Steven L. Dickerson is a graduate of Harvard Law School (1987) and served as editor-in-chief of the Harvard Environmental Law Review. He received his B.A. in Political Science, magna cum laude, from Millsaps College in 1984.

Mr. Dickerson currently serves as Assistant Chief Attorney in the Production Law group for Exxon Mobil Corporation. His current portfolio includes responsibility for various international production operations, corporate reserves, and global transparency initiatives. Immediately prior to this position, Mr. Dickerson served as General Counsel for ExxonMobil Qatar Inc. and was located in Doha, Qatar. He has also worked in a variety of other positions supporting Exxon Mobil Corporation’s upstream businesses. Prior to joining Exxon Mobil Corporation, Mr. Dickerson was an equity partner in the specialty practice group of the Dallas, Texas office of Strasburger & Price, L.L.P. (1988-1999). His practice at Strasburger included partnership and joint venture agreements, environmental law, appellate and complex litigation.

Mr. Dickerson served as the law clerk to Judge E. Grady Jolly, U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals from 1987 – 1988. He was admitted to practice in Texas in 1989 and the District of Columbia in 1990. He has also been admitted to practice before several federal district courts and the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Dickerson is a former chairperson for the International Law Section of the Houston Bar Association and is a frequent speaker in the area of international transactions.

Jeff Garrett


Jeff is the Assistant General Counsel - Intellectual Property for Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LP where he has been a member of the legal department since 2002. He received a Bachelors and Masters in Engineering from Texas A&M and a Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Texas and a registered attorney with the United States Patent & Trademark Office.

Jeff is currently a member of the Board of Directors for The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce. He was also the 2011 Pacesetter Chair for the Montgomery County United Way and is a graduate of the Leadership Montgomery County Class of 2005.

Luis Hess

Director & Co-VP for Social Activities

Luis Hess is an attorney at the Luis F. Hess Law Firm, PLLC. He received his Juris Doctorate from Saint Louis University and is licensed to practice law in the State of Texas and in the United States Federal District Court and Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Texas. Mr. Hess's practice is focused on employment immigration, family immigration; commercial transactional law; and commercial litigation. Before starting his own firm, he worked for a now-retired US Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of Texas, in-house counsel with Sisters of Mercy Healthcare System, the United States Air Force JAG Corps, and as an adjunct professor at Saint Louis University.

Mr. Hess received his Master of Arts from the University of Arizona where he served part-time as a college instructor. He also received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint Louis University.

Having lived in Madrid, Spain, Guadalajara, Mexico, Beijing, China, and Berlin, Germany, he is highly proficient in Spanish and has a passing knowledge of Mandarin Chinese.

Kelly Johnson


Karla LaFitte

Director & VP for Membership

Karla LaFitte is an Associate Attorney at Martin & Stilwell, LLP. She received her Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Texas A&M University and her Juris Doctorate degree from South Texas College of Law. In addition to the Woodlands Bar Association she is a member of the Montgomery County Bar Association, the Houston Bar Association, and the Texas Bar Association, as well as the South Montgomery County Woodlands Chamber of Commerce, and the Woodlands Rotary Club. Ms. LaFitte’s practice focuses on estate planning, probate and animal law and she is a member of the Leadership Montgomery County 2012 class.

Perry McConnell

Director & VP/Website

Perry McConnell has a solo law practice in the areas of intellectual property law and civil & criminal appeals. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in physics at Rice University, and his J.D. at the University of Houston Law Center, where he was a member of the 1992 State Championship moot court team and was named to The Order of Barristers. Perry later served as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center, teaching pre-trial, trial, and appellate procedure, and coaching numerous moot court teams, including the national championship teams at the Pace University Environmental Law Moot Court Competition in 1996 and the Saul Lefkowitz Trademark Law Competition in 1997.

Perry's practice includes writing and prosecuting patent applications, as well as other areas of intellectual property law, including trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. In 2011, he was named by H Texas magazine as one of Houston's top intellectual property lawyers.

On the appellate side, Perry has won reversals in cases involving damages awards from tens of thousands to over a million dollars, and has successfully prevented a man who was accused of a felony but convicted only of a misdemeanor from serving an eight-year felony sentence in state prison.

Perry has previously served as scorekeeper and webmaster for the Timberline Youth Soccer Association, is past President of Chapter 302 of the Experimental Aircraft Association, and served on both the airport rules committee and the marketing committee at Lone Star Executive Airport.

Matthew Mussalli

Director & Co-VP for Community Affairs

Mr. Mussalli is a top rated (AV) by Martindale-Hubbell civil litigator who handles cases in Texas and beyond. He is a Partner of The Law Office of Matthew J. Mussalli, P.C. He has been practicing law for 16 years and has been a resident of The Woodlands since 1998. He is licensed to practice law in Texas, New York and in a variety of federal courts in different states. He also represents parties in domestic as well as international arbitration proceedings. He began his legal career in New York City in 1995 as an associate with a large insurance defense firm. While in New York, his practice areas included defending companies and professionals in medical malpractice, products liability, toxic tort, construction, premises and automobile liability cases. In 1998, he relocated to The Woodlands, Texas and has since expanded his areas of practice to include complex commercial and business, construction, serious personal injury and probate and estate litigation matters.

Jerry Porter

Director & Co-VP for Continuing Legal Education

Jerry Porter represents clients in the areas of family law and general civil litigation. He is board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Consumer and Commercial Law. He is an experienced litigator with extensive jury trial and arbitration experience.

His primary focus is on family law and it includes property settlement, modification and enforcement of child support and conservatorship, with a special emphasis and training in collaborative family law.

Jerry is a member of the American Bar Association, The Texas State Bar, the College of the State Bar of Texas, The Woodlands Bar Association, the Montgomery County Bar Association, The Woodlands Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Conroe Chamber of Commerce and the International Association of Collaborative Professionals. He is a founding member of the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas.

Jimmie Price


For over thirty-five years, Jimmie Price has practiced family law and criminal defense in Montgomery and surrounding counties. He earned his J.D. from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1979. His practice expertise includes successful negotiation and litigation of complex divorce cases involving contested property division and child custody issues, as well as representation of the accused in major felony crimes and serious offenses.

Jimmie is board certified in both Family Law (1986) and Criminal Law (1987) by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has also been selected as a Texas Super Lawyer by Texas Monthly Magazine in the practice area of family law and has received this prestigious honor each year since 2003. He has also been recognized as a Top Lawyer by H Texas Magazine each year since.

Jimmie met his wife and law partner, Gina A. Price, when they were just five years old. They have been married for over thirty five years and have two beautiful daughters.

Jimmie is active in state and national organizations established to further the practice of law, is a past-president of the Montgomery County Bar Association and currently serving as a Director of the Woodlands Bar Association.

Edmund Robb


Judge Jennifer Robin


Rene Rogers


Rene S. Rogers has been a licensed attorney for 31 years. She is a native Houstonian and a graduate of the University of Houston and the University of Houston College of Law. She has been a resident of The Woodlands for 23 years. Rene began practicing law in 1984 and in 1992 became a partner in a downtown Houston law firm. During her more than 30 years of practice, Rene has handled a wide variety of cases, including banking, products liability, oil field, medical malpractice, breach of contract, Deceptive Trade Practices, real estate, and personal injury.

In 2013, Rene joined her husband, Mark Wham in his litigation practice. Rene has handled hundreds of cases and has extensive first chair jury trial experience on both sides of the docket in both commercial and personal injury cases.

Rene is well regarded by her peers. She is rated AV-Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell's Attorney Peer Rating review and has been selected for the Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers. The AV-Preeminent rating is the highest possible rating as to both Legal Ability and Ethical Standards.

Rene is on the board of directors for the Woodlands Bar Association and is a member of the Executive Women’s Alliance and the Houston Bar Association.

Rene and Mark have two sons, Michael who is a graduate of the University of Texas and a software engineer, and Ryan who is graduating from the University of Texas in December of 2015 and plans to attend law school.

Courtney Bryan Sheaffer

Director & Co-VP for Continuing Legal Education

Courtney Sheaffer is an Associate Attorney at Stibbs & Co., P.C. She received her Bachelor of Science, magna cum laude, in Finance from Louisiana State University and her Juris Doctorate from Louisiana State University Law Center. She is licensed to practice law in the State of Texas, the State of Louisiana, and the United States Federal District Court, Southern District of Texas. Courtney’s practice is focused on general commercial litigation, employment law and corporate transactional matters. Prior to joining the firm, Courtney served as a Briefing Attorney & Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable Michael Pitman and the Honorable Frances Pitman, 1st Judicial District Court of Louisiana as well as serving as an Associate Attorney at the Law Offices of Jennifer Wherry in The Woodlands, TX.

In addition to The Woodlands Bar Association, Courtney is a member of the State Bar of Texas, The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce-Young Professionals Network, the Junior League of Houston, the Women’s Executive Alliance of The Woodlands, the Montgomery County Bar Association, the LSU Alumni Association of the Greater Houston Area and is a Graduate of Leadership Montgomery County Class of 2014.

Kelli Smith


Kelli D. Smith is an Associate Attorney at Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC, whose practice focuses on oil and gas law. She received her J.D. from the University of Houston, Masters in Journalism from the University of Maryland and B.A. (magna cum laude) from Howard University.

In addition to her role on the Board of Directors of The Woodlands Bar Association, Kelli serves as the Secretary for the newly formed Energy Resources Section of the local bar.

Duncan Strickland