Dallas Hispanic Bar Association

Founded over 50 years ago, the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association (DHBA) represents the interests of over 400 Hispanic attorneys in Dallas. The purpose of the DHBA is to promote the social, economic, educational, and civic advancement of the DFW Metroplex Hispanic community by making the legal system more accessible to the Hispanic community and more responsive to its needs.

As the organization continues to grow, one of the priorities guiding the work of the DHBA in recent years has been a focus on spotlighting members for their commitment to the organization as well as their personal and professional achievements as leading attorneys in Dallas.

This year, the DHBA selected 10 recipients for special recognition as “DHBA Women of Distinction.” “This award recognizes outstanding member-leaders of our DHBA familia who selflessly give to our bar association and community, paving the way for others to succeed,” shares Elsa Manzanares, President of the 2022 Dallas Hispanic Bar Association.

“This year’s recipients represent women who have distinguished themselves within DHBA, in their respective practice areas, and in the community.”

Criteria for this special recognition included a history of active membership and service to the DHBA, community involvement, leadership qualities, high degree of professional achievement, and character. This year’s recipients include a diverse array of lawyers at large law firms, in-house counsel, solo practitioners, non-profit organizations, and members of the judiciary. DHBA recognized the “DHBA Women of Distinction” during its annual black-tie gala event, Noche de Luz, on October 22, 2022 at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Rocío Cristina García Espinoza
Senior Counsel Real Estate,
Rosewood Property Company

Rocío Cristina García Espinoza is Senior Counsel Real Estate for the Rosewood Property Company where she provides primary transactional legal support in the areas of development, leasing, property management, credit facilities, and joint venture agreements for industrial, self-storage, and multi-family properties. Additionally, she helps with ranch-related real estate matters and any real estate and governance issues at the Corporation level. Prior to joining Rosewood, she was an Associate at Perkins Coie LLP and Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP in their respective real estate groups. García is a Past President of the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association, a former Co-Chair of the Equal Access to Justice Campaign, a Board member of the DBA’s Real Property Law Section, and a Trustee of the Dallas Bar Foundation. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Spanish from Mount Holyoke College. She was named a Fulbright scholar and received her master’s degree from Universidad de las Américas Puebla in International Relations with a focus on US-Mexico relations. She received her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law. As a lifelong learner, she decided to pursue her MBA at the SMU Cox School of Business and expects to graduate in 2024. She is the mother to two girls and wife to Alex Espinoza, her biggest cheerleader.

Dania Duncan Moreno
Partner,
Bell Nunnally & Martin LLP

Dania Duncan Moreno focuses her practice in both domestic and cross-border corporate and real estate transactions. She is licensed in Texas and Mexico and has broad experience representing international and U.S companies in the acquisition, disposition, leasing, and development of real estate properties for hospitality, retail, industrial and residential projects throughout TX, Mexico and Latin America. She advises clients in connection with mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and financing transactions in a broad range of industries. She was recognized by Latin Lawyer in 2020 for “Latin Lawyer 250 – Practice Recognition: Real Estate & Tourism.” Duncan Moreno was recently named to the inaugural board of directors for the City of Dallas Economic Development Corporation, a government body approved by the Dallas City Council designed to attract business to the city and develop city-owned properties. She served as Co-Chair of the DHBA Gala Committee in 2022 and was responsible for leading the organization to the highest amount of funds ever raised for its annual fundraising event, Noche de Luz. She is also the co-founder of Our RED, a networking organization for Latina professionals.

Maria “Marifer” Aceves
Judge-Elect of the 192nd Civil District Court in Dallas County

Maria Aceves is the Judge-Elect of the 192nd Civil District Court. Prior to winning her election, Aceves was an award-winning Dallas civil litigation attorney focusing on personal injury matters representing injured individuals and their families. She also handled many guardian ad litem appointments representing minor children’s interests in civil cases. Prior to starting her own firm, Aceves did civil defense work for several years at a prominent firm and worked at a boutique catastrophic injury firm. She also interned for a civil district ­court judge in Dallas County and was awarded the Distinguished Intern Award. Aceves was previously selected as one of D Magazine’s Best Lawyers under 40 for 2022. She was also named numerous times to the prestigious Super Lawyers Texas Rising Stars List (2019-2022), and selected to the Top 40 Under 40 List by the National Trial Lawyers numerous years, among other awards. Aceves grew up in North Texas and is a graduate of SMU Dedman School of Law and Southern Methodist University. She is an active member of the Mac Taylor Inn of Court, the Dallas Bar Association, the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, the Dallas Trial Lawyers Association, and the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association. Aceves also previously served as the board secretary for Avance North Texas, a non-profit organization creating pathways to economic mobility for predominantly Latino families through two-generation programming that ensures school readiness for young children and opportunities for parents to build social and economic capital.

Judge Paula Rosales
Dallas County Court-at-Law No. 4

Judge Paula Rosales has been an advocate for access to justice and for community empowerment for more than 20 years. Currently the presiding judge of Dallas County Court at Law No. 4, she hears a variety of civil legal disputes originating in her court; she is also an appellate judge over legal matters appealed from Dallas County’s Justice of the Peace precincts. Judge Rosales began her judicial career as a City of Dallas Municipal Court Judge and Community Court Judge. In that position, she implemented innovative court programs to ensure that justice was accessible to all citizens, regardless of income. Before serving on the bench, Judge Rosales was a Dallas County Assistant District Attorney and, while in private practice, represented injured families in medical malpractice and work injury cases. She also served as a Human Rights Advisor for the U.S. State Department under President Obama, providing technical assistance and training to prosecutors and law enforcement prosecuting crimes against human rights advocates. Of Guatemalan origin, Judge Rosales was raised by two lawyers and human rights advocates who instilled in her a passion for justice. She spent her formative years in Montréal, Québec, Canada and Guatemala City. When she was 18, she immigrated to the United States through the Legal Permanent Resident Program. A graduate of French International High School Jules Verne in Guatemala City, Southern Methodist University, and Texas Wesleyan School of Law (now Texas A&M Law School), Judge Rosales is fluent in English, Spanish, and French.

Angela M. Lopez
Shareholder, Cowles & Thompson, PC

Angela M. Lopez, Cowles Thompson Shareholder and Section Head of the Immigration Practice. Lopez has practiced Immigration Law exclusively since 2002 and has developed a large national practice representing foreign nationals and their employers in obtaining temporary employment nonimmigrant visas and permanent residence. In particular, she has represented numerous healthcare organizations and medical professionals. She has also represented individuals and their families in obtaining legal permanent residence, successfully overcoming the challenging US immigration system, and keeping families united. Lopez began her career in 1989 as a Deputy District Attorney and Town Solicitor in Colombia, South America. In 1993, she worked with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a Family Service Officer. In 1997, she co-founded “Mediation Works,” a mediation center and dispute resolution service. In 1998, Angela relocated to Texas and completed her Masters in International and Comparative Law (LLM) at SMU in Dallas. During and after her Masters, she worked in the International Legal Department of Alcon Laboratories, assisting Alcon affiliates globally on a range of issues related to international business transactions. Lopez is a past-Chair of the Dallas Bar Association Immigration Section during which time she helped launch the Immigration Excellence Awards. She is a frequent speaker and is a member of the Richardson Chamber of Commerce. She developed a regular webinar series at Cowles Thompson that educates her audience on legal updates. Recent honors for Immigration Law include Best Lawyers in America and Best Lawyers in Dallas; and Texas Diversity Council’s Top 50 Women Lawyers in Dallas.

Justice Robbie Partida-Kipness
Fifth District Court of Appeals – Dallas

Justice Robbie Partida-Kipness is a second-generation Mexican American. On November 6th, 2018, she made history by being the first Hispanic elected to serve on the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas, Texas which has jurisdiction over Dallas, Collin, Grayson, Hunt, Kaufmann, and Rockwall counties. The court was 125 years old when she joined the court. Justice Partida-Kipness was born and raised in New Braunfels, Texas. She attended the Universities of Texas in Austin and San Antonio and received her law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 1998. After graduating from law school, Justice Partida-Kipness moved to Dallas to begin her legal career as a civil litigator. In 2020, Justice Partida-Kipness was appointed to serve on the Supreme Court of Texas Children’s Commission. She continues to serve on the Children’s Commission and currently serves on the Commission’s Training Committee. She has continued to serve on the American Bar Association’s Appellate Judges Education Institute’s Education planning committee since 2020 and is an active member of the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association and currently serves on the board for Texas Latinx Judges. Justice Partida-Kipness has a deep passion for mentoring law students and young lawyers and she remains committed to uplifting and supporting other women. She is married to her law school classmate, Jason Kipness, and they are proud parents of one son and four cats. The three of them enjoy spending time cheering on The University of Texas Longhorns in all sports.

Carolina Rivera
Supervising Attorney, Immigration Legal Services,
Catholic Charities Dallas

Carolina Rivera is a social justice advocate, immigration rights defender, and proud Puerto Rican. She is the Supervising Attorney at Catholic Charities Dallas, where she manages a team dedicated to representing low-income individuals in immigration matters. She also represents individuals in removal proceedings and operates the pro bono attorney referral program for detained individuals in need. Rivera received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Puerto Rico, and her Juris Doctorate from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. Before her role as Supervising Attorney, Rivera was the staff attorney for the Legal Orientation Program and would provide pro se assistance to detained individuals in Alvarado, Texas. She is an officer for the Immigration Law Section of the Dallas Bar Association, and she routinely provides presentations on issues affecting immigrants. Rivera is passionate about immigration law and providing caring advocacy to families in need of immigration representation, especially those that are in vulnerable positions.

Justice Dennise Garcia
Fifth District Court of Appeals – Dallas

Justice Dennise Garcia has been a Texas judge for over 16 years. At the time of her election to 5th District Court of Appeals, she had presided over thousands of trials as Judge of the 303rd District Court. Over her judicial career, she was selected by her colleagues to be Presiding Judge of all Dallas County Family District Courts for two terms. She is double board certified in Family law and Child Welfare law. Justice Garcia currently serves on the Texas Supreme Court Family Law Advisory group for pandemic issues, the State Bar Committee on Disciplinary Rules and Referenda, and the State Bar Pattern Jury Charge Family/Probate committee. She participates in several legal organizations such as the Annette Stewart Inn of Court, the Texas Bar College, and the Dallas Bar Association. She previously served on the Bench Book Committee for the Texas Center for the Judiciary, and the Texas Advanced Family Law Course planning committee for the State Bar. Justice Garcia has also taught Family Law and Texas Matrimonial Property at SMU. She has been recognized as an Outstanding Jurist by the Texas Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and was previously named Best Judge by The Dallas Observer. She has twice been awarded the Merrill Hartman Judicial Pro Bono Service Award. Prior to taking the bench, Justice Garcia worked in private practice for 10 years. A Dallas native, she graduated from Irving’s Nimitz High School, SMU, and SMU Dedman School of Law.

Isabela Amie Garcia
Founding Attorney and CEO
Garcia-Windsor, P.C., Family Law

Isabela Amie Garcia, a first-generation Latina lawyer and relentless advocate for her clients, credits her competitive drive from playing professional tennis for Mexico, the mentorship of family law icons, and overcoming numerous personal obstacles as reasons for her success. After hanging up her racket, she went to law school at SMU, eventually narrowing her focus to family law after her own divorce. “I wanted to use my experience to help others,” she says. “You set your opponent up and wait for the put-away or the winner shot in cross-examination.” The road to becoming a lawyer was challenging for Garcia after having significant education gaps in Mexico and the U.S. and eventually graduating high school with a GED diploma. “Being mentally tough works well in this field, as does tenacity,” she says. “I never gave up and am proud of our work.”

Ashley Aten
Shareholder Real Estate,
Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Ashley Aten advises clients on diverse and complex real estate transactions, focusing on commercial real estate development, ownership, acquisitions, dispositions, financing, and leasing. She counsels landowners, investors, developers, public companies, operators, equity partners, and retailers on matters involving retail, multifamily, office, and industrial properties, both in Texas and throughout the United States. Aten provides developers with practical and efficient strategies at every stage of the development process, from title and survey review and plat review through negotiations with local governments and utility companies, land-use agreements, and construction and consulting agreements. Working with both landlords and tenants, Aten counsels clients on structuring, preparing, and negotiating leases. She has wide-ranging experience with office ground leases, space leases, and subleases, as well as retail locations, shopping centers, and industrial properties. In addition, she interacts with and assists developers, real estate industry professionals, and equity partners in structuring, negotiating, and forming limited liability companies, limited partnerships, joint ventures, and corporations with an interest in owning and investing in real estate assets.

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