The Advocates


Board of Advocates


2014-2015 The Advocates | Executive Board


Executive Chair: Pierce Cox

Pierce Cox is the 2014-2015 Executive Chair of The Advocates and also competes on UHLC’s interscholastic Moot Court and Mock Trial teams.  In 2014 Pierce and teammates Grant Buchanan and Katie James Ray competed in the International Trademark Association Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Tournament where the team won National Best Brief and also took First Place Team in the Southwest Region.  Pierce is the current Competitions Chair for the UHLC Moot Court Board.  Pierce also serves as an Articles Editor for Board 38 of the Houston Journal of International Law, and his comment on international energy will be published in the forthcoming volume.  Prior to attending law school Pierce worked as a consumer protection investigator and an e-discovery technician at the Office of the Attorney General of Texas.  You can connect with Pierce on LinkedIn at

Vice Chair of Public Relations: Megan Roper

Megan Roper serves as the Vice Chair of Public Relations for the Advocates for the 2014-2015 school year. Megan's job as Vice Chair of Public Relations consists of coordinating the 1L membership drive, and other internal events at UHLC. She also serves as the Recent Developments Editor of the Journal of Consumer and Commercial Law and is active with the Ambassador program and the Student Bar Association. Megan is involved in the University of Houston's Alternative Dispute Resolution Team and has participated in mediation and negotiation competitions. Megan also worked as a Research Assistant for Professor Darren Bush where she focused on antitrust matters. Currently, Megan is interning with Bailey Peavy Bailey, PLLC, where she focuses on asbestos litigation. Prior to law school, Megan graduated from Texas A&M University receiving a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in History.

Vice Chair of Finance: Stephen Risley

Stephen is currently serving as Vice Chair of Finance. He was born and raised in Houston. He graduated from Rhodes College with a BA in International Studies and German. Stephen is active in the Moot Court team and the International Law Society. He is interested in Appellate law and plans to focus on litigation after he graduates. In his free time he enjoys watching soccer and is a supporter of Liverpool FC.

 Membership: Armin Salek

Armin Salek serves as the Membership Director for the Advocates for the 2014-2015 school year. Armin also serves as the Vice President of the American Civil Liberties Union chapter at the University of Houston Law Center, and is a part of the Law Center’s moot court team. After working for Lone Star Legal Aid the summer after his 1L year, Armin decided to set his sights on a career in public interest law, and public policy. Armin’s undergraduate education earned him two degrees from the University of Texas at Austin in Government and Sociology. He looks forward to reaching out to the student body and raising awareness of this great organization!

Special Events Chair: Ricco Garcia

Ricco is currently serving on the Advocates Executive board as the Special Events Chair. He is originally from Mission, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Government. He then accepted a fellowship with the Mexican American Legislative Caucus to work as a legislative aid with the Texas House of Representative during the 83rd legislature. Ricco also has experience working at the United States House of Representatives and has worked on various political campaigns. Ricco spent his 1L summer interning for the 13th Court of Appeals in Edinburg, TX, and is currently working part time at both the Texas Consumer Complaint Center and with Hinojosa Law. Ricco is the President of the American Constitution Society, and is currently on the Journal of Consumer and Commercial Law. In his free time Ricco enjoys reading, taking long outdoor runs, and barbecuing with friends and family. 

External Affairs Chair: Grace Murphy

Grace Murphy serves as the External Affairs Chair of the Advocates for the 2014-2015 school year. She also serves as the Vice President of Internal Affairs for the Association of Women in Law. Grace is involved in the University of Houston’s Mock Trial Team. Grace also works as a Research Assistant for Professor David Kwok where she focuses on criminal law matters. Currently, Grace is interning with the Harris County DA’s Office. Prior to law school, Grace graduated from the University of Texas receiving a B.A. in English and a minor in Spanish.

Fundraising Chair: Michael Ghutzman

Michael Ghutzman graduated from Texas A&M University with an undergraduate degree in economics and master’s degree in public service and administration. Prior to coming to law school, Michael conducted research on homeland security issues as a consultant for the Congressional Research Service before transitioning into the private sector to serve as the Director of Sales for a Houston transportation company. Currently, Michael is employed with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and plans to pursue a career in criminal litigation. In his spare time, Michael enjoys spending time training his dog Marvin and watching college football.

John Black Director: Davut Atik

Davut was born in Turkey and grew up in Houston. After an involved undergraduate life at UT, most notably founding and running Turkic Cultures Student Association, Davut started law school at UHLC in the same vein. Serving as an SBA section representative during his 1L year, Davut took charge of the SBA Treasury as a 2L, while also serving as a Student Presenter on the Honor Council and as an Advocates Associate Board Member. Davut looks forward to another year of involvement at UHLC as the John Black Competition Chair for the Advocates and Vice Chair of the Moot Court Executive Board.

 Hippard Novice Director: Cheuck Yee

Cheuck is currently serving as the Hippard Novice Director for the Advocates for the 2014-2015. The Hippard Novice Tournament is an open mock trial tournament for 1Ls and Cheuck is happy to answer any and all questions about Hippard and more! Cheuck graduated with a degree in Kinesiology from UT Austin and went on to get his MEd at UH in Physical Education & Biomechanics. He is also serving as the President of the Asian Law Students Association, and Vice-President External for the Health Law Organization and previously interned at the Harris County District Attorney's Office. Cheuck enjoys lifting weights, reading fantasy novels, and craft beer when he has time away from studying the Law.

 Hippard Open Director: Katie James Ray

Katie James Ray graduated with honors from the University of South Carolina in 2011. While at the law center Katie has competed for both the Moot Court and Mock Trial team. In 2014, Katie and teammates Pierce Cox, Executive Chair of the Board of Advocates, and Grant Buchanan competed in the International Trademark Association Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Tournament where the team won National Best Brief and First Place in the Southwest Region. Katie's work focuses on criminal law and she currently clerks at Zuniga Law Offices here in Houston. In her free time Katie enjoys watching baseball, trying new restaurants with her husband, and traveling with family and friends.

Negotiation/Mediation Director: Chance Marshall

Chance Marshall is proudly serving as the Director of the Mediation and Negotiation Competitions this upcoming year. In addition to his work with the Advocates, Chance is also a former 1L representative for the Student Bar Association as is currently serving as the Internal Vice President. Hailing from the Houston area, Chance earned a BA in Political Science and Psychology from Rice University. Over the past few summers, he has worked at the Lanier Law Firm in their Asbestos Practice Division and in both the Civil Defense and Criminal Defense sections of State Counsel for Offenders. He hopes to pursue a career in litigation.

 Blakely Butler Director: Nathan Inurria

Nathan is currently serving as the Director of the Blakely-Butler Moot Court Competition. He is originally from Houston, Texas. He graduated with a BA in Political Science with a focus in American Politics and Law from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. He has worked in the IP and Litigation departments for Norton Rose Fulbright in both Houston and San Antonio. After graduating from Trinity and before coming to law school Nathan worked for health care organizations garnering a passion for the legal exigencies faced. Last summer Nathan took summer school classes and worked in the health industry. He enjoys cooking, soccer, tennis, and outdoor activities.


2014-2015 The Advocates | Associate Board

Drew Kwartler

Born and raised in Houston Texas, Drew Kwartler graduated from the University of Texas in Austin in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in Sociology and a minor in psychology with a focus on criminal justice. Drew has interned at the Harris County District Attorney's Office for two summers and one semester during the school year. Additionally, Drew was 1L representative to the Association of Future Prosecutors and hopes to continue working there as an Assistant District Attorney after passing the bar. 

Kevin Navetta

Kevin is a 2L at the Law Center and expects to graduate in May 2016. He is a graduate of Princeton University with a degree in Psychology. While at Princeton, Kevin researched and wrote a thesis hypothesizing a new model of working memory capacity. He has a special interest in criminal law. Specifically, Kevin is interested in becoming a prosecutor.  He has interned with the Collin County District Attorney's Office and the Burnet County Attorney's Office. Kevin enjoys reading adventure non-fiction, hiking, and woodworking. 

Ben Wallen

Ben Wallen is originally from Dallas, Texas. He received his undergraduate degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. Ben spent the summer following his 1L year interning at the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas and la Comisión Nacional de Hidrocarburos in Mexico City, Mexico.   He wants to continue to pursue those areas of law he experienced during his internships—bankruptcy law, commercial litigation, and energy law.  In addition to his role as an Associate Board Member for the Advocates, Ben serves as the Treasurer for UHLC’s Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Law Society.  In his off time, Ben enjoys SCUBA, time with family and friends, and watching the Dallas Cowboys.

Matt Halpin

Matt is serving as an At-Large Associate Board member. He was born and raised in Houston. Matt graduated with a degree in Government from The University of Texas at Austin, where he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity. Prior to entering law school, Matt worked as a field director on an Austin City Council campaign, followed by working as a paralegal at a mass tort plaintiff litigation firm in Houston, specializing in Pharmaceutical Injury litigation. Matt looks forward to a career in health law litigation following law school.

Stacy Fisher

Stacy is from Sugar Land, Texas. She graduated in 2013 from Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Sociology. During college, Stacy was President of the Texas A&M mock trial team, involved in various academic honor societies, and a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. Currently, Stacy is the Networking Relations Chairman of the Aggie Law Society, a provisional member of the UHLC Moot court team, and a member of the Houston Journal of International Law, Houston Young Lawyers Association and the Student Bar Association. While in law school, she has interned in the chambers of Chief Bankruptcy Judge Bohm and with a boutique oil and gas firm. Stacy's hobbies include shopping, exercising, and spending time with family and friends.

J.T. Reinert

J.T. Reinert is an Associate Board Member for the 2014-15 school year. J.T. spent this past summer working for the Honorable Al Bennett in the 61st District Civil Court for Harris County. J.T. is also involved with the Student Bar Association and the Moot Court Team. Before law school, J.T. spent six years working in the mortgage industry as a financial analyst after receiving a B.B.A. in Finance and Accounting from Texas Christian University in 2007.

Nicholas Morales

Nicholas Morales is currently serving on the Advocates Associates Board.  He is a 2L at the University of Houston Law Center.  He is also serving as the Vice President for the Energy and Environmental Law Society.  This past summer Nicholas interned at the Harris County District Attorneys Office, Environmental Crimes Division.  Nicholas graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a B.S. in Biology and a M.S. in Environmental Science.  Nicholas enjoys sports, traveling, trying new restaurants, and socializing with friends.

Leah Buenik

Leah Buenik grew up in the sweetest place in Texas, Sugar Land. After graduating from high school, she attended The University of Texas at Austin where she was a member of the UT All-Girl Cheerleading Squad and the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. While in college, Leah worked for the National Cheerleaders Association. With this organization, she was selected to perform in the Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade. Leah graduated from UT in May of 2013 with a BS in Advertising and then began law school at the University of Houston Law Center this past fall. Last summer, Leah interned at the Federal Courthouse Downtown with Judge Frances H. Stacy. Leah also interned for the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. At UHLC, Leah is involved with SBA, the International Law Society, HYLA, and the Advocates.

Emily Banse

Emily Banse is from San Antonio, TX, proud home of the world champion San Antonio Spurs. Emily graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Liberal Arts Honors. She spent time in Austin volunteering at the Center for Child Protection, an organization designed to provide support to children in the middle of broken domestic situations and trials, as well as working as a teacher in a local daycare center. During her 1L summer, Emily interned at the Federal Courthouse for Bankruptcy Judge Marvin Isgur and Magistrate Judge Nancy Johnson. 

Kyle Seabolt

Kyle currently serves on the Advocates Associate Board. Originally from Conroe, Texas, Kyle graduated from Texas A&M University earning a BBA in Accounting, along with a minor in Sports Management. Kyle is currently the President of the Aggie Law Society and is also a member of the Blakely Advocacy Institute’s Moot Court Team. Kyle enjoys watching sports, golfing, following Texas A&M athletics, and spending time with friends and family.

Carolyn McCormick

Carolyn McCormick is serving as a general member of the Advocates Board for the second year. She is originally from Katy, Texas and graduated with honors from Trinity University with a degree in history. Carolyn also serves as the Publications Editor for the Houston Journal of International Law. Carolyn is focusing on oil and gas law and spent the summer clerking for the Williams Pipeline Companies. She enjoys spending time with her family, especially her golden retriever, Annie Oakley.

Orlando Mercado

Orlando Mercado was born and raised in Mission, Texas. He attended the University of Texas at Austin where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Government. Prior to attending law school, Orlando interned as a legal assistant for the Honorable Leticia Hinojosa in Hidalgo County District. Orlando is currently working as a law clerk for Judge Hinojosa where it has been a privilege to learn under her. Orlando dreams to one day be a great judge like his mentor, Judge Hinojosa. Orlando’s favorite hobby is sports. He loves the teamwork and friendship that sports promotes, along with the competition. Orlando hopes to bring this teamwork to his role as an associate board member for the Advocates.

Leigh Ann Ressler

Born and raised in Houston Texas, Leigh Ann Ressler graduated from the University of Texas in Austin in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in History and a minor in Anthropology. During her undergraduate career, Leigh Ann was a member of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority and the University of Texas Sustainable Food Committee. Leigh Ann has interned at the 334th Civil District Court for the summer of 2013, the 1st Court of Appeals of Texas in the spring of 2014, and for the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division in the summer of 2014. At UHLC, Leigh Ann is involved with the Journal of Consumer and Commercial Law, SBA, the Peer Mentor Program, Lawhorns, and the Advocates.

Sydney Nguyen

Sydney is serving as a 1L representative for Section A for the Advocates and the Student Bar Association. As a native Houstonian, she received her B.S. in Political Science and B.A. in Spanish from the University of Houston. Sydney loves the city, its diversity and its food. She likes to try out new things such as going sky diving. Her favorite hobbies include playing sports, especially volleyball and tennis. Prior to law school, Sydney traveled to Spain for a summer and now wants to travel the world!

Mark Gonzalez

Mark Gonzalez is a 1L Representative from Section C. Originally from El Paso, Texas, Mark spent the last four years in California where he received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University in Political Science. During the second half of his undergraduate career, Mark was the program and research assistant at Stanford Law School’s public interest department. He also worked on the staff of Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce at the National Labor Relations Board in the summer of 2013. Mark competed in high school and collegiate mock trial tournaments, and he continues his passion for trial advocacy as a member of UHLC’s Mock Trial team.