Jenny is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, Texas. While in law school, Jenny served on the Texas International Law Journal and served as a student mentor through UT Law’s mentor program. Prior to law school, Jenny attended both the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas at San Antonio, graduating from the latter magna cum laude with a B.A. in Criminal Justice.
Before joining Vela Wood, Jenny practiced employment, commercial, and product liability litigation at what was then Austin’s largest law firm.
In addition to leading the Firm’s employment law practice, Jenny also leads the Firm’s internal non-profit initiative, Vela Wood Forward (VW FWD). VW FWD’s mission is to provide financial resources and volunteer hours to organizations and causes that support justice and equal rights for marginalized communities and to educate and provide opportunities for our employees to become agents of social change.
To date, Jenny has effected the donation of $150,000+ in financial resources, and countless hours of mentor and volunteer services to organizations supporting Black Americans and marginalized communities; such as: Huston-Tillotson University, Paul Quinn College, Austin Justice Coalition, Austin Area Urban League, Notley, Youth Revive, El Paso Young Black Leaders, African American Youth Harvest Foundation, Seedling Mentor Program, 3 Day Startup, Black Ambition Prize, Black Professional Alliance, Texas Access to Justice, and the Salvation Army. Furthermore, through VW FWD, Jenny created an LSAT Test Prep Scholarship for Black aspiring law students through a partnership with Kaplan Test Prep. This program aims to address the lack of Black lawyers in the United States by providing free LSAT prep courses to aspiring Black attorneys.
Outside of Vela Wood, Jenny has served on numerous boards of directors in her community such as Citizen Generation, the Texas Diversity Council of Central Texas Advisory Board, the Capital Area Aids Legal Project, and Treefolks. Jenny has also served as a judge in Notley’s Philanthropitch Austin competition which is a program that rallies together nonprofit organizations, corporations, foundations and business leaders to support out-of-the-box solutions to some of the Austin communities’ toughest problems.
Born in Germany to two New Orleans natives and raised in San Antonio, Jenny now maintains a permanent residence in Austin. Although she calls Austin home, she can often be found traveling the world and working remotely. To date, Jenny has traveled to 58 countries and territories and even co-founded a boutique travel company, Gossamer Travel. She is an avid yogi and obtained her 200-hour registered yoga teacher certification in early 2016.
- Human Resource and Employment Law Matters
- Advising on, creating, and streamlining employment hiring and onboarding processes and systems
- Advising on and drafting employment documents, contracts and handbooks
- Advising on worker classifications
- Advising on executive compensation, employee wages and benefits, overtime, and leave laws
- Advising on and drafting documentation for discipline and termination
- Advising on and preparing documentation for reductions in force and individual employee lay-offs
- Advising on disability issues and reasonable accommodations
- Advising on the enforceability of and drafting restrictive covenants such as non-competes, non-solicits, non-disparagement, and non-disclosures
- Advising on employment terms and drafting employment agreements for founders and c-suite employees in M&A transactions
- Risk Prevention Strategies
- Creating and implementing preventative policies
- Performing reviews and audits of employee handbooks and other employment documentation
- Performing employment risk and liability analysis related to potential acquisitions in M&A transactions
- Representation in Administrative Proceedings
- Responding to wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Texas Workforce Commission
- Responding to and advising on wage and hour disputes and audits with the U.S. Department of Labor and Texas Workforce Commission
- Jenny may or may not be the reason Jimmy Kimmel stopped taping a live show in Austin during SXSW.
- Is a 200-hour registered yoga teacher.
- Has “boarded” on snow, sand, water, and concrete.
- Has traveled to 58 countries and territories.
- University of Texas School of Law, J.D.
- University of Texas at San Antonio, B.A., Criminal Justice, Magna Cum Laude, Dean’s List