JoAl relocated to Austin in 2008 after a successful 14-year practice in East Texas. After becoming extremely involved in the Central Texas legal community, she was honored to assume the Senior named partner position with renowned family law trial attorney John Barrett, and rising star family lawyers Kathleen Coble and Amanda Andrae, all of whom are board certified in family law.
JoAl’s expertise has led her to assume numerous leadership positions in notable organizations and initiatives throughout the state and country, and has provided her the opportunity to cultivate her heart for service, both to her clients, her profession and the community. JoAl currently serves as President of the Texas Family Law Foundation, which promotes sound public policy and legislation during the Texas Legislative Session. JoAl testifies frequently before State Senate and House committees on issues of family law, and is considered a valuable resource on family law matters by many lobbyists and Legislators.
Additionally, JoAl is the President-Elect of the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists, current President of the Austin Bar Association Family Law Section, former Council member of the State Bar of Texas Family Law Section from 2001-2011, where she has served on its Legislative Committee since 2001. Prior to that time, JoAl was the youngest ever elected Director to the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors, where she served as Chair of the Legislative Committee, Co-Chair of the Legal Services to the Poor committee, and on the Executive Committee.
Professionalism has always been the core of how JoAl practices law, which manifests itself not only in how she deals with her clients and colleagues, but also in her service to the legal community and public. Appointed by the Texas Supreme Court to the Board of Disciplinary Appeals from 2008-2014, she served as Vice-Chair of the board from 2009-2013, and Chair of the Board from 2013-2014, presiding over many appeals of attorney grievance matters. She currently serves as the Chair of the Professionalism Committee of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a national elite organization of highly skilled, leading practitioners in the area of family law. Only approximately 1,650 family lawyers throughout the United States are accepted as Fellows in the Academy.
Recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer every year since 2004, JoAl is also listed in the 2014-2017 editions of the Best Lawyers in America in the area of Family Law. JoAl holds an AV Rating from Martindale Hubbell, which is the highest lawyer rating for both expertise and ethics.
JoAl has developed a reputation for being a direct, skilled and zealous advocate who also understands the often emotionally charged issues that arise in a family law matter. She is known for being reasonable, articulate, prepared and courteous, while being sensitive to the needs of families to be able to move forward in a positive way in an atmosphere of meaningful co-parenting relationships.
JoAl’s practice focuses on complex custody and property cases, with a particular affinity for third-party custody and interstate jurisdictional matters. JoAl feels strongly that the representation of her clients during these most difficult, emotional times is a calling as much as a profession, and that the tone that is set from the outset of the matter is key to promoting constructive familial relationships throughout the case and beyond.
In her spare time, JoAl is active in St. John’s United Methodist Church, where she sings in the choir and plays in the Jones Memorial Handbell group, as well as serves on the Endowment Fund Committee. JoAl and her husband, Dirk, hold professional level Dive Master certifications, and enjoy tennis and cross-fit training.