UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Kristina Pierre-Louis, a Penn State Law in University Park class of 2014 graduate, was named in the Top 40 Under 40 Black Lawyers in Texas by the National Black Lawyers (NBL). Pierre-Louis is a Haynes and Boone, LLP associate and works in commercial litigation in the Dallas office. Haynes and Boone, LLP has 18 offices around the world.
“My initial thoughts were, ‘Wow, 2022 has been an extremely blessed year for me!’ I got my dream job at Haynes Boone and now this incredible honor. If you would have told me back in 2014 that I’d be an associate at a prestigious international law firm and recognized as a top Black attorney, I would not have believed you,” said Pierre-Louis.
The National Black Lawyers is an association of the top African-American lawyers in the United States. This invitation-only association connects legal experts in the different areas of law for professional development and networking. To curate their 40 under 40 list, leading lawyers, members of the NBL, and executive committee members nominate honorees. Then, the honorees are reviewed through multiple phases until the final selections are made.
“The success of our alumni is a testament to the hard work and commitment they put into their legal education. Kristina is a shining example of this. We’re proud to see our Penn State Law alumni go into the world and make a difference,” said Victor Romero, interim dean of Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs, Maureen B. Cavanaugh distinguished faculty scholar, and professor of law.
Pierre-Louis talked about how her time at Penn State Law prepared her for her career. “Penn State’s curriculum was rigorous, which was extremely stress inducing at times. Learning how to persevere through the stress of law school has been so beneficial in my legal profession. Even during some of my most demanding seasons, I pushed through and got the job done,” she said.
She added that it is possible to go to law school far away from where a law student may want to practice and succeed. “I would agree with the sentiment that its often easier to practice in the city where your law school is located. However, making it clear to firms that you have a sincere reason for wanting to relocate, i.e., family, can make the location of your law school less relevant. Additionally, taking a variety of classes at Penn State Law, including those specific to the Texas Bar Exam topics, was extremely helpful in passing the Bar Exam on my first attempt,” said Pierre-Louis.
Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, associate dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar, clinical professor of law and director of the Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic said, “It is a privilege to celebrate and witness the legal excellence of our law school alumni. It is also occasion to reflect on the importance of representation and retention in law and crucial role law schools and the legal profession play in supporting the professional development of Black women attorneys.”
Looking back at her career, Pierre-Louis recounted her journey from where she began post-graduation and how she followed her passion that led her to her current position at Haynes and Boone, LLP. “My legal career thus far has been anything but boring – I started out in a small regional firm practicing family and personal injury law and soon realized it was not for me. Thereafter, I transitioned to working for the Dallas City Attorney’s Office, which sparked my interest in litigation. I left the Dallas City Attorney’s Office to pursue more traditional litigation associate roles and now I’m an associate at Haynes Boone. I am so thankful for my career, past and present, and I pray my future continues in this upward trajectory. All of that to say, I am just excited to see where I go next,” said Pierre-Louis.