2007 LEGAL DEPT. EMPLOYEE AWARDS
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2007 Edward A. Cazares Award Winner
Rashaad Vance Gambrell -- Each year the Legal Department awards an attorney with five years experience or less the Edward A. Cazares Award for excellence in professionalism and municipal law. The Legal Department is proud to announce that the winner for 2007 is Rashaad Vance Gambrell.
Rashaad is recognized for his work on the Parade Ordinance, where he frequently was challenged with balancing politics, community interest and complex legal issues.
Rashaad graduated from Baylor University, B.A. in 1998, and from the New England School of Law (with honors), J.D. 2001. He was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2003. Prior to joining the City of Houston Legal Department, Mr. Gambrell was an Assistant Attorney General for the Attorney General's Office, Child Support Division in San Antonio, Texas. He joined the City of Houston Legal Department in September of 2004, and is currently practicing as an Assistant City Attorney in the General Counsel Division.
2007 Outstanding Attorney Award Winner
Hope E. Hammill-Reh -- Each year the Legal Department awards an attorney the Outstanding Attorney Award for performance above and beyond. The Legal Department is proud to announce that the winner for 2007 is Hope Hammill-Reh.
Hope E. Hammill-Reh is recognized for her unfailingly professionalism in representing the City. She is direct with clients and opponents alike, but with tact and diplomacy. Ms. Hammill-Reh is a good strategist, and coupled with her strong research skills, is always prepared and ready to step up to any challenge to the City of Houston. She also chairs the Department's electronic discovery and record-keeping committee.
Hope E. Hammill-Reh graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, B.A. in 1979, and from South Texas College of Law, J.D. in 1987. She was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1987, to the U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of Texas in 1990, and to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in 1990. Prior to joining the City of Houston Legal Department, She was an Examining Attorney for the U.S. Trademark Office in Crystal City, Virginia; an Assistant Harris County Attorney in the Federal Trial Division; and practiced family law with Charles J. Michael, P.C. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Ms. Hammill-Reh was a residential real estate appraiser in Houston and the surrounding areas. Hope joined the City of Houston Legal Department in 1995 and is currently practicing as a Senior Assistant City Attorney in the Business Litigation Division.
2007 Outstanding Paralegal Award Winner
Nerissa Jewitt -- Each year the Legal Department awards a paralegal the Outstanding Paralegal Award for performance above and beyond. The Legal Department is proud to announce that the winner for 2007 is Nerissa Jewitt.
Nerissa Jewett is recognized for her ability to problem solve and use resources and time efficiently; as well as for her efforts in working with Sr. Assistant City Attorney Gary Wood on bond matters, and for her assistance with the review of financial disclosure documents. Ms. Jewett serves as Secretary to the Ethics Committee, and serves as the General Counsel representative to the Department's Paralegal Committee. Given her even temperament, and willingness to go the extra mile, Ms. Jewett is recognized as a leader among her peers.
Nerissa Jewett graduated from the University of Houston-Downtown, B.S. in Criminal Justice, 1999 and received her paralegal certification at the Center for Advanced Legal Studies in 2002. She joined the City of Houston Legal Department in 2002 and is currently a Paralegal in the General Counsel Division.
2007 Outstanding Staff Member Award Winner
Evelyn Gilleland -- Each year the Legal Department awards a staff member the Outstanding Staff Member Award for performance above and beyond. The Legal Department is proud to announce that the winner for 2007 is Evelyn Gilleland.
Evelyn Gilleland is recognized for her excellent skills and cooperative spirit. She distinguished herself with unprecedented work production and professionalism during the long Katrina housing project; and underwrote and helped organized one of the United Way fund raisers. She is always willing to help. Ms. Gilleland serves as the Webmaster for the Department.
Evelyn joined the City of Houston Legal Department in 1998. Prior to joining the City of Houston Legal Department, she worked as an Office Manager for MHMRA Clinics and as Assistant to the Director of Radiology at Diagnostic Clinic. She is also a published Graphic Artist. Evelyn is currently working as a Legal Word Processor in the Labor Division.
City of Houston Legal Department employees were featured in the Extra Milers Magazine, a publication put out by the City of Houston to highlight City employees who go the extra mile in performing their duties. Below is the featured article:
Jacqueline Laguizamon - Legal
Jacqueline Laguizamon was handling litigation between the city and the estate of Ben Taub. The property was not being maintained and the overgrowth impacted Deanna Johnson’s next-door lawn. Johnson complained to neighborhood protection, but that division was stymied by the ongoing litigation. Although not happy with the delay, Johnson was happy with Leguizamon who kept her informed about each step in the litigation. “I’m highly appreciative of Ms. Leguizamon’s effort,” Johnson said.
Michael Cropper - Legal
Kudos to Michael Cropper for helping the Copeland Intermediate School students in Huffman with their first mock trial. "He was great," wrote Kelley Hoffman and her students.
Mark Muellerweiss - Legal
"I practice much more appellate than trial law, but I know when a courtroom is well managed," wrote Gael Plauche. "No. 3 was such a courtroom. My client and I were treated fairly and courteously."