Natalie Gonzales, Carina Antweil and Natasha Khan – whether acting as a mentor, Houston Hiring Partner or partnering with technology incubators like the Ion – continue to push the boundaries to achieving more.
They make the Houston office a powerhouse destination for lawyers across practices and industries who will find opportunities and support at every stage of their career.
Partner Natalie Gonzales grew up in a small town about 10 minutes from the U.S.-Mexico border, where her parents, who worked as migrant farm workers in their teens, sacrificed their education to support their family.
“Higher education was a privilege I did not take lightly, and getting to this point in my career – even though I realize it is only the beginning and I have a long way to go – is a milestone worth celebrating,” she said.
Natalie earned her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, a degree she hoped would open the door to a number of different careers. This helped set the stage for Natalie to go to law school and become an intellectual property lawyer.
Today Natalie practices in all areas of intellectual property law, including patent and trade secret litigation, IP and technology transactions, and portfolio management.
Natalie also co-leads the firm’s Houston partnerships with accelerator networks like the Ion, where Baker Botts is a founding partner, helping emerging companies with IP and transactional matters.
Supporting emerging companies, particularly at the intersection of energy and technology, is an important strategy for the firm. Building on our long-standing relationship with Rice University and the Rice Alliance, Baker Botts recently signed on as a founding supporter of the Rice Alliance Clean Energy Accelerator as well.
“I am honored to be co-leading our partnerships with these incredible institutions,” Natalie said. “With our experience and expertise in energy, energy tech, high-tech, and life sciences, Baker Botts has the unique technical and legal perspective necessary to help emerging companies bring their innovations to market. I am excited we can bring these strengths to Houston’s vibrant innovation ecosystem by way of our partnerships with the Ion and the Rice accelerator.”
These partnerships can be attributed in part to the people working at Baker Botts, who were the main draw for Natalie choosing the firm over a decade ago, she said.
“I think our collaborative and collegial culture sets us apart. We work well together, we recognize the value of teamwork, and we treat one another with the utmost respect,” Natalie said.
Whether in her personal life or at work, connecting with people motivates her to succeed. Natalie represents diverse clients in a variety of different industries – from large Fortune 100 clients to very early stage emerging companies.
“I truly enjoy my work – I get to help companies and individual inventors and founders protect their IP and develop their IP strategies, sometimes from the ground up,” she said. “The constant innovation and changing technological landscape have kept me coming back for more.”
Partner Carina Antweil said she believes female leadership is “monumentally important.”
“Not only do women bring a humanizing element to the practice of law, but they also mentor other female lawyers in a way that supports them personally and professionally,” she said.
A former woman colleague who was at the firm for decades before becoming a prominent general counsel helped guide Carina in her early career.
“She always emphasized the importance of treating each other with kindness and respect, and exemplifies in my mind what it means to be professional,” Carina said. “She showed me very early on that you can be a woman and not only be a good corporate lawyer, you can be one of the best corporate lawyers.”
Carina’s corporate practice focuses on M&A, particularly in the energy, petrochemicals and residential homebuilding industries; public offerings and private placements of equity and debt securities, including IPO, follow-on and secondary public offerings and 144A offerings; and general corporate matters, including Exchange Act reporting and corporate governance.
In balancing both work and family life, it’s okay to ask for help, she said.
“My former colleague was also such a resource for me when I became a new mother, reminding me that I don’t have to do it all myself and that it doesn’t make you any less of a mother or a lawyer to lean on others,” Carina said. “There is no award for doing it all, only doing things well.”
Carina said the support from Baker Botts has been integral.
“I am extremely lucky to work at a firm that understands the importance of providing new parents – both men and women – with the opportunity to spend a meaningful amount of time at home with their new babies,” she said. “The transition back to work each time for me was smooth, although I can only attribute that to the amazing support system that I have surrounding me, including my husband, my parents, my colleagues and clients, our nanny and our friends.”
Carina said her relationships with the people at Baker Botts are a “differentiating factor” from other law firms.
“I chose Baker Botts, and I continue to choose Baker Botts, because of its people,” Carina said. “There is no door that I’d shy away from knocking on for help. We are a firm made up of kind, genuine and sharp lawyers.”
She added: “I feel an enormous sense of pride when I tell people that I am a partner at Baker Botts. It is truly a special place to practice law.”
Partner Natasha Khan said that one of her favorite aspects of being a corporate lawyer is being part of a team that helps create value for a client’s business.
“We partner with our clients from the very beginning – from evaluating a potential transaction to negotiating the transaction with an eye toward accomplishing the client's goals while protecting their interests, to seeing the deal through to completion,” Natasha said.
“M&A deals can be very meaningful and transformative to a client’s business, and it’s rewarding to work collaboratively with the full team – the client team, our internal teams, and other advisors – and row in the same direction to contribute toward the client achieving their business and strategic goals,” she added.
Natasha focuses on corporate transactions, including M&A, joint ventures, and tax equity financing. She has extensive experience across a broad range of industries, including energy, manufacturing, software, life sciences, and retail.
She is also the Houston Hiring Partner, which she says provided her a tremendous opportunity to build strong relationships with her colleagues early in her tenure, as well as take an active role in the firm’s law student recruiting efforts.
“At my former firm, I had already served in and chaired the associate recruiting committee as an associate and then served on the employment committee when I became a partner,” she said. “I was thrilled to take part of that effort again and was looking forward to learning new things from the recruiting program already in place at Baker Botts and also bringing new ideas and thoughts from my prior experience.”
“What I didn’t realize at the time, and am so grateful for now, is that this role gave me a fantastic opportunity to meet so many of my colleagues early on after my arrival and integrate relatively quickly into the law firm,” Natasha added.
Natasha said it’s a role that keeps her on her toes and “requires constant listening, teamwork, innovation and flexibility, as variables such as generational shifts in the goals and local competition continuously throw new challenges into the recruiting landscape.”
This role also provides Natasha with opportunities to support the firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts, working together with other attorneys across the firm’s offices, as well as the firm’s D&I and recruiting teams, to help develop meaningful and effective strategies to attract and hire diverse groups of summer associates and attorneys.
“Diversity in an organization is critical because it naturally brings about access to different experiences, thoughts and viewpoints, which is highly valuable to a team in the creative and decision-making process,” she said. “The more varied the experiences and backgrounds of people in a team are, the higher the likelihood of developing innovative and “out-of-the-box” ideas and solutions for our clients.”
Natasha added: “Diversity in leadership can have the added benefit of advancing a company's culture. When an organization's employees see themselves represented in leadership, it sends a message that the company values different viewpoints, promotes a sense of belonging, and illustrates that there are opportunities for everybody to move up and succeed within that organization – all of which fosters a productive environment and contributes toward retaining talent.”
ABOUT BAKER BOTTS L.L.P.
Baker Botts is an international law firm whose lawyers practice throughout a network of offices around the globe. Based on our experience and knowledge of our clients' industries, we are recognized as a leading firm in the energy, technology and life sciences sectors. Since 1840, we have provided creative and effective legal solutions for our clients while demonstrating an unrelenting commitment to excellence. For more information, please visit bakerbotts.com.