Mfon Etukeren, Esq.

Title: Supervisor

Company: BPM, LLP

Location: Houston, TX

Education: LLM in Taxation, Northwestern University School of Law, 2014;

JD, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, 2013;

BS in Global Business, Arizona State University, 2007

Career History: Supervisor, BPM, LLP, 2021-Present;

Associate, The Banks Law Firm, 2020-2021;

International Tax Senior, Deloitte, 2018-2020;

Advisor to Chairman, Legal Counsel, Akwa Iborn State Government of Nigeria, 2015-2018;

International Tax Senior, KPMG US, 2014-2015;

Mfon Etukeren, Supervisor at BPM, LLP, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of tax law.

Ms. Etukeren became interested in the field of law as a means to help others. She set out on her path at Arizona State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in global business in 2007. Following this, she received a JD from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in 2013, and an LLM in taxation from Northwestern University School of Law in 2014. Combining these academic achievements with her drive, Ms. Etukeren currently serves as a supervisor for BPM, LLP.

Prior to this position, Ms. Etukeren garnered skills and experience as an associate with The Banks Law Firm (2020 – 2021), as an international tax senior with Deloitte (2018 – 2020), as an advisor to the chairman, and legal counsel, with the Awka Iborn State Government of Nigeria (2015 – 2018), and as an international tax senior with KPMG US (2014 – 2015). Though still early in her career, the highlight that stands out the most thus far has been the process improvement that she made in a previous job. She streamlined the process of her specialty area that freed up staff time. It went from having to spend fifty hours on a project to spending only twenty, without sacrificing the quality of work.

In addition to her work, Ms. Etukeren is passionate about her civic engagements, including her service on the Board of Directors and Editorial Board of the National Diversity Council, as a Director of Philanthropy for African Youth and Young Adults (AYAYA), and as a Co-Founder of the African Transformation Centers Foundation. Ms. Etukeren maintains professional affiliation with the American Bar Association, the Texas Bar Association, the Houston Bar Association, the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators, and the Energy Bar Association.

Looking toward the future, Ms. Etukeren endeavors to grow in her role and impact more people with the work she is doing, whether it is the foreign investment field, working in Africa, or doing tax law. She wants to have the opportunity to work with disadvantaged communities and different types of financial literacy as it is important to her.

Xenia Solano-Rigby, Esq.

Title: Attorney

Company: Abogados Centro Legal

Location: Hoover, AL

Education: LL.M., Mississippi College School of Law, Jackson, MS, (2014–2015); LL.B., Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, Dominican Republic, (2008–2012)

Career History: Associate Attorney, Abogados Centro Legal, Abogados Centro Legal, Birmingham, AL, (2021–Present); Paralegal, Workers Compensation, Liakas Law, P.C., (2019-2021); Paralegal, Workers Compensation, Law Offices of Joseph A. Romano, P.C., Bronx, NY, (2017-2019); Paralegal, Sam Brand Law Group, PLLC, Raymond, MS, (2016-2017); Paralegal, Mixon Carroll & Frazier, PLC, Columbia, LA, (2015-2016); Paralegal, Oficina Marranzini, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, (2010-2013)

Xenia Solano-Rigby, Attorney at Abogados Centro Legal, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of workers’ compensation law.

Ms. Solano-Rigby has been with her current firm since 2021 and on a daily basis, her responsibilities include working with her clients to ensure their legal proceedings are favorably met. Prior to joining Abogados Centro Legal, she utilized her skills and experience as a paralegal in workers compensation at Liakis Law, P.C., the Law Office of Joseph A. Romano, the Sam Brand Law Group, PLLC, Mixon Carroll & Frazier, PLC, and with Oficinia Marranzini in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She was inspired to go into legal practice after spending time with her grandmother in the Dominican Republic.

In her academic pursuits, Ms. Solano-Rigby first earned an LLB from Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra in the Dominican Republic in 2012. She continued her studies stateside, receiving an LLM from the Mississippi College School of Law in 2015. Ms. Solano-Rigby also received a Certificate in International Law and Legal Studies from New York University in 2014. She attributes her success to her willingness and desire to help other people especially those who are in need. In addition to providing quality legal services for her clients, she maintains professional affiliation with The Mississippi Hispanic Association and the American Association for Justice.

Abogados Centro Legal

Samuel Garza-Gonzalez

Title: Trial Attorney

Company: Andrew J. Gelbach, PC

Location: Warrensburg, MO

Education: JD, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Cum Laude (2016); Undergraduate Studies, University of Central Missouri

Career History: Trial Attorney, Andrew J. Gelbach, PC (2016-Present)

Samuel Garza-Gonzalez, Trial Attorney Andrew J. Gelbach, PC, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of personal injury law.

Mr. Garza-Gonzalez became involved in his profession due to his stepfather, who represented him after he was the victim of a shooting. He got to see firsthand what law was about as a client and decided to pursue the field. In this respect, he earned a JD from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, cum laude , in 2016. Furthermore, he attended the University of Central Missouri for undergraduate studies. Also in 2016, Mr. Garza-Gonzalez joined his stepfather’s firm, Andrew J. Gelbach, PC as a trial attorney.

Some highlights in Mr. Garza-Gonzalez’s career include the success he has in appellate courts. Furthermore, he argued in front of the Missouri Supreme Court, in the Western District Court of Appeals before he was 30 years old, which is something that is not common. Mr. Garza-Gonzalez attributes his success to the work ethic instilled in him at a young age. He grew up on a farm and learned what it is like to do manual labor and get his hands dirty, and progressed into working in his stepfather’s office.

Throughout his endeavors, Mr. Garza-Gonzalez is fueled by his saying, “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” He looks forward to continuing to help his clients and being involved with his philanthropic endeavors. He donates to the Bishop Sullivan organization which helps provide resources for homeless people in Kansas City. Furthermore, he has donated $50,000 to the University of Central Missouri to build a trial courtroom on campus. He maintains professional affiliation with Urban Lawyer Research, the American Bar Association, the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, the American Justice Association, and the Engagement Committee of the UCM Alumni Association Board of Directors.

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Tina X. Xu, Esq.

Title: Attorney

Company: Coombe Curry Rich & Jarvis

Location: Denver, CO

Education: JD, University of Denver-Sturm College of Law, 2018;

BA in Political Science-International Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, 2012

Career History: Associate Attorney, Coombe Curry Rich & Jarvis, Denver, Colorado, 2020-Present;

Associate Attorney, Anderson Barkley, LLC, Denver, Colorado, 2016-2020;

Judicial Law Clerk Intern, Colorado Court of Appeals, Denver, Colorado, 1/2017-6/2017;

Judicial Law Clerk Intern, Colorado Office of Administrative Courts, 8/2016-12/2016;

Office Manager Executive Assistant, Triangle Insights Group, LLC, Releigh-Durham, North Carolina Area, 2015-2016;

Fixed Income Pricing Valuation Assistant, Capital Group American Funds, 2012-2014;

Family Law Clinic-JusticeCorps Intern, Los Angeles Superior Court, Greater Los Angeles Area, 2011-2012

Tina Xu, Attorney at Coombe Curry Rich & Jarvis, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of family law, employment discrimination (plaintiff’s side), construction law and personal injury law.

As a first-generation immigrant, Ms. Xu grew up watching her parents work hard to provide a better life for their family. Inspired by their efforts, and combined with her aptitude for writing, philosophy, and literature, she pursued the field of law. In this endeavor, she first earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and international studies at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2012. She then continued to earn a JD from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law in 2018. While matriculating in her studies, Ms. Xu served as a court report editor at the University of Denver Water Law Review at the Sturm College of Law and as a student ambassador at the institution.

In 2020, Ms. Xu joined Coombe Curry Rich & Jarvis as an associate attorney. She previously garnered experience as an associate attorney at Anderson Barkley, LLC from 2016 to 2020. Prior to that, she worked as a judicial law clerk intern for the Colorado Court of Appeals and the Colorado Office of Administrative Courts. She served as an office manager executive assistant for Triangle Insights Group, LLC from 2015 to 2016, as a fixed income pricing valuation assistant for Capital Group American Funds, from 2012 to 2014, and as a family law clinic-Justicecorps intern for the Los Angeles Superior Court, from 2011 to 2012.

Ms. Xu maintains professional affiliation with the Colorado Bar Association, the Denver Bar Association, the Colorado Defense Lawyers Association, and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Colorado (APABA). She is a former member of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). Dedicated to helping others, Ms. Xu volunteers and does pro bono work for the Association for Denver Metro Lawyers.

Judith Thomas, Esq.

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Title: Attorney

Company: Paulette Hamilton P.A.

Location: Lake Mary, FL

Education: Master of Laws in Advocacy, Stetson University College of Law (2022); Doctor of Jurisprudence, Stetson University College of Law (2019); Bachelor of Business Administration in finance from The University of North Florida

Career History: Two Internships in Local Government

Judith Thomas, Esq., Attorney at Paulette Hamilton P.A., has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field.

Since 2021, Ms. Thomas has utilized her skills and experience as an attorney with Paulette Hamilton P.A. Inspired by the movie Legally Blonde, she was inspired to pursue the field and help others in a legal setting. She received a JD from the Stetson University College of Law in 2019, and as of 2022, will also hold a Master of Laws in advocacy from the institution. Earlier in her academic career, she received a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance from The University of North Florida. Her main area of focus in law is handling matters pertaining to family law.

Ms. Thomas attributes her success to her family, who have always been supportive of her endeavors. She was mostly raised by her mother and grandparents, including her grandfather, Mo, and grandmother, Judith. Her grandfather Mo was especially financially supportive and put her through school. Through the help of their support and of her own perseverance, she passed the Florida State Bar on her first attempt, which is uncommon. She considers it to be one of the highlights of her career thus far. In addition, she was recognized with a Leadership Award from the Stetson University College of Law.

In addition to her career, Ms. Thomas maintains professional affiliation with the Kappa Alpha Theta Alumnae Association. She is active in her church, enjoys outdoor activities, golf, and European soccer. On a civic level, Ms. Thomas volunteers with United Methodist Women, helping the homeless and children. Looking toward the future, she endeavors to help many of her clients while continuing to grow within her career.

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Michael J. Butz, Esq.

male

Title: Attorney, Owner

Company: Butz Law Firm, PLLC

Location: Waxahachie, TX

Education: JD, The University of North Texas at Dallas College of Law (2017); BS in Environmental Science, Hardin Simmons University (2009)

Career History: Owner, Attorney, Chief Mediator, Butz Law Firm, PLLC, Waxahachie, TX (2020-Present); EHS&S Engineer, Triumph Aerostructures, LLC, Grand Prairie, TX (2018-2019); Regional Regulatory Manager, Univar USA, Inc., Waxahachie, TX (2014-2016); Area EHS&S Manager, Magnablend, Inc., Waxahachie, TX (2012-2014); Safety Environmental Compliance Coordinator, American Eagle Airlines, Abilene, TX (2000-2012)

Michael J. Butz, Attorney and Owner of the Butz Law Firm, PLLC, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of family law, estate planning, wills and trusts and criminal misdemeanor.

Mr. Butz became involved in his profession after observing blue-collar people struggle with attaining proper representation. He decided to go into law and open his own firm in order to serve the people in this group. In addition to family law, estate planning, wills and trusts, and criminal misdemeanor, he also serves his clients in safety and environmental (safety council) and regulatory defense matters. Mr. Butz was inspired to take on these areas after working with American Eagle Airlines. In his academic pursuits, he first earned a Bachelor of Science in environmental science from Hardin Simmons University in 2009 and then continued at the University of North Texas at Dallas College to receive a JD in 2017. He became licensed to practice in Texas in 2020 and soon opened his practice, the Butz Law Firm, PLLC.

Prior to working in the legal field, Mr. Butz explored his interests as an EH&S Engineer at Triumph Aerostructures, LLC, as a regional regulatory manager at Univar USA, Inc. and as an area EHS&S Manager at Magnablend, Inc. He worked at American Eagle Airlines as a safety environmental compliance coordinator from 2000 to 2012. He is a Certified Civil Mediator and a Certified Family Mediator through ADR Services Inc. and has a 30-Hour OSHA Certification. Mr. Butz maintains professional affiliation with the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce, the Dallas Bar Association and the Ellis County Bar Association. In five years, Mr. Butz sees his firm growing to the point where he can have people work for him and create opportunities for them to be able to give them. He wants for people to keep what they earn, more than what people put into the company.

Butz Law Firm, PLLC

Hoil Lee

male

Title: Attorney

Company: Lee Law

Location: Southfield, MI

Education: JD, Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School

Career History: Attorney, Lee Law, 2020-Present;

Associate, Law Firm, 2018-2020;

Accounting, Samsung Electronics

Hoil Lee, Attorney at Lee Law, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of business law, real estate investment, transactions, employment law and criminal law.

Mr. Lee became involved in his profession after working with finance for Samsung Electronics and handling contracts. His undergraduate degree was in accounting and he felt he could bring these skills into the field of law. After earning a JD from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School at Western Michigan University, he worked for two years at a private firm before establishing his own firm in 2020. He built a large client base with many Korean immigrants and Korean Americans due to his Korean background.

Though still early in his legal practice, Mr. Le considers the top highlight in his career thus far has been closing a couple of multimillion commercial real estate investments with each being five million in commercial real estate with one in East Michigan and another in West Michigan in 2020. He was also able to close a bunch of business transactions like restaurants, cafes, laundromats, and more. Mr. Lee attributes his success to financial stability, broadening his knowledge, experience, and helping others succeed. The success of his clients is his success as well and he finds building great relationships with them as a rewarding experience. His staff shares the same philosophy as he does and have the same core values.

In his daily responsibilities, Mr. Lee attends court, handles cases on the buying and selling of businesses, disputes with landlord-tenant matters, negotiating lease agreements and other business contracts and visiting with clients. In addition, he holds meetings with realtors, opposing councils, reviews purchase agreements, conducts financial due diligence, physical due diligence, legal due diligence, and closing of transactions. Looking toward the future, Mr. Lee wants to grow his practice to have ten attorneys with each attorney having their own specialties like immigration, business, estate claims, and tax departments. He wants to form a full-service litigation firm as well as consultation services. He wants to diversify the business sectors, which will more efficiently help the clients.

Marco Branco

male

Title: Assistant Prosecutor

Company: Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office

Location: New Brunswick, NJ

Education: JD, Maurice A. Deane School of Law, Hofstra Law School, (2019); BA, Justice Studies, Justice Systems, International Justice, International Law, Legal Studies, (3.6 GPA), Montclair State University, (2016)

Career History: Assistant Prosecutor, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, (2020-Present); Municipal Prosecutor, Assistant Prosecutor, Township of Woodbridge, (2020); Associate, James P. Nolan & Associates, LLC, (2020); Judicial Law Clerk, Superior Court of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ, (2019-2020); Legal Intern, Kevin Schmitt & Associates P.C., Garden City, NY, (2018-2019); Summer Legal Intern, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Newark, NJ, (2018); Summer Legal Intern, Office of the Public Defender, NJ, (2017); Student Intern, Office of the Public Defender, NJ, (2016); Financial Center Client Services Representative, Bank of America, Perth Amboy, NJ, (2015-2016); Sales Specialist, Best Buy, Woodbridge, NJ, (2011-2015)

Marco Branco, Assistant Prosecutor at the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of criminal defense law.

Mr. Branco interest in law was piqued at an early age when his mother explained to him what an attorney did while he was watching a legal proceeding on television in elementary school. As the child of immigrants who came to the United States from Portugal, he knew he wanted to pursue a line of work that would be meaningful. He first earned a Bachelor of Arts in justice studies, justice systems, international justice, international law and legal studies from Montclair State University before receiving a JD from the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University in 2019. Mr. Branco currently provides his skills and expertise as an assistant prosecutor with the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

Prior to this role, Mr. Branco garnered experience as a municipal prosecutor and assistant prosecutor for the Township of Woodbridge, as an associate for James P. Nolan & Associates and as a judicial law clerk for the Superior Court of New Jersey. He has held legal internships with Kevin Schmitt & Associates P.C., the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and with the Office of the Public Defender in NJ. To date, Mr. Branco is most proud of clerking for the Honorable Thomas J. Buck, J.S.C. Looking toward the future, he endeavors to polish his skills so that he can be one of the strongest litigators in the profession.

Ruby Bitzer

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Title: Attorney

Company: Attorneys Real Estate Group

Location: Roseville, CA

Education: JD, McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific (2020); BSBA, California State University, East Bay (2016); AS in Business Administration, Butte Community College (2014)

Career History: Associate Attorney, Attorneys Real Estate Group (2019-Present); Law Clerk, Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP (2016-2019); Legal Secretary, Law Offices of Melissa A. Atteberry (2011-2016)

Ruby Bitzer, Attorney at the Attorneys Real Estate Group, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of law.

Ms. Bitzer became involved in her profession because she really wanted to be able to use her career as a platform for change. Out of all the career options she assessed, she surmised that lawyers could single-handedly make a difference in history. She was inspired by the likes of such legal heavyweights as Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Thurgood Marshall. In this respect, she first earned an Associate of Science in business administration from Butte Community College in 2014 and followed it with a BSBA from California State University in 2016. In 2020, Ms. Bitzer earned a JD from the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific.

In recognition of her outstanding work as a student, Ms. Bitzer received an Order of the Coif from the McGeorge School of Law at University of the Pacific in 2020. She is also the recipient of three Witkin Awards in Wills and Trusts from the institution. To date, she considers her greatest achievement to be passing the bar exam on her first try while working full time. She began working with her current firm, the Attorneys Real Estate Group in 2019, and currently holds the position of associate attorney. Prior to this, she garnered experience as a law clerk for Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP from 2016 to 2019, and as a legal secretary for the Law Offices of Melissa A. Atteberry from 2011 to 2016.

Ms. Bitzer attributes her success to her unyielding work ethic, independence in finding her own answers and knowing the value of hard work. She remains diligent with her clients and assures the client’s focus first while serving them to the best of her ability. Having grown up in foster care, Ms. Bitzer understands the difficult challenges people face in life and how she can help them overcome their obstacles. Looking toward the future, Ms. Bitzer wants to be a partner or open her own firm, and serve a larger clientele base such as business owners and helping them with their investments or growing their business. She is also looking forward to starting a family.

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Cherrell Chinah Watson, Paralegal/Founder

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Title: Paralegal/Founder

Company: Affordable Legal Help Now LLC

Location: Temple Terrace, FL

Education:  BA, Business Administration, Keller University, expected completion May 2022

AA, Paralegal Studies, Center for Advanced Legal Studies, 2019

Career History: Paralegal/Founder, Affordable Legal Help Now LLC, 2015-present

Cherrell Watson, Paralegal and Founder of Affordable Legal Help Now LLC, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of legal document preparation and notarization.

Ms. Watson became involved in her profession because she had to assist one of her family members in a legal matter that involved a timeshare and child support. It was a difficult and expensive process that resulted in mainly ongoing lawyer fees. At the time, Ms. Watson had been working in mortgages and was preparing to open her own mortgage company, but felt through this experience she needed to redirect her skills and resources to help people in need with their legal matters. She was also inspired by her grandfather who told her that she should help the family by starting a family business before he passed away.

In the late 2010s, Ms. Watson opened her first office and began providing her services in legal document preparation and notarization. With expansion, she was able to begin the process of new staff. She is supported in this background with an Associate of Arts in paralegal studies that she earned from the Center for Advanced Legal Studies. In addition, she is currently earning a Bachelor of Arts in business administration from Keller University, with expected completion in May 2022.

In order to provide the best legal preparation services, Ms. Watson maintains affiliation with the National Paralegal Association, the Florida Process Servers Association and the Tampa Business Club. She has received such accolades as the Archie Magazine Award, Author of the Year in 2019, recognition from the Florida Sentinel Bulletin and recommendation in alignability, as well as being ranked number one in paralegal services.

Looking toward the future, Ms. Watson endeavors to become an attorney. She still wants to offer her services to those who cannot afford an attorney and she wants to change the way of thinking for a lot of attorneys. She hopes to speak publicly and mentor others.

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