Athena Ponce



University of Texas – Pan American, BA 2001
Magna Cum Laude, With Honors

University of Texas School of Law, JD 2012
Texas Law Review Board Member

Practice Areas

Administrative Law
Appellate Law
Commercial Litigation
Governmental Relations
Real Estate & Construction

Licensed Since


Athena Ponce joined the firm in 2012, after working for many years in the state legislature.  She handles matters involving commercial litigation, business transactions, employment law, construction and real estate, administrative law, and appellate law, while also assisting pro bono clients.  A member of the Texas Law Review, she brings an unmatched level of diligence and persistence to each project, fully committing her skills for each client. 

Before law school, Athena worked for Texas State Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa for almost a decade, gaining firsthand experience in working with all levels of state and local government as a policy analyst. She worked on criminal justice, education, and state appropriations policies including public school finance reform in 2005, groundbreaking juvenile justice reform in 2007, and Sunset bills reorganizing public safety agencies. She also worked with Senator Hinojosa, Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst, and The American Heart Association in passing life-saving legislation that placed automated external defibrillators in schools all over Texas.

A lifelong Texan, Athena earned her B.A. in Philosophy from The University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg in 2001 and graduated from The University of Texas School of Law in 2012. While at UT Law, Athena was the Research Editor for the Texas Law Review, served as a law clerk for Slack & Davis in Austin, and was a research assistant to several law professors.

Quarterfinalist, Hutcheson Moot Court Competition 2010

Margaret Cooper Scholarship presented by the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association, 2012

“Hildy’s Cutback Award” awarded by the faculty of The University of Texas School of Law for “capturing the imagination and respect of the law faculty,” 2012

Award from the Disability Policy Consortium, in Recognition of Zealous Advocacy for Texans with Disabilities, 2009

Most Dedicated Staffer, presented by the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, 2009

“Adelante Award”, presented by the ACLU, 2009

Texas Department of Public Safety Certificate of Appreciation for work on DPS’s Sunset bill as a Policy Analyst during the 81st Session, 2009

Co-Author: Time for a Change: An Analysis of the Substantial Evidence Rule in the Context of Contested Licensee Hearings and the Case for Amending TEX. GOV’T CODE § 2001.174, Texas Tech Administrative Law Journal, Summer 2014

Texas State Budget

Senate Bill 1, 81st Session – Lead Senate staffer for Article V, Public Safety

House Bill 1, 80th Session – Article V, Public Safety

Public Education Finance

House Bill 1, 79th Third Called Session – Public school finance, property tax relief, public school accountability and programs.

Agency Sunset Review

House Bill 3689, 81st Session – Sunset review legislation for the Texas Youth Commission and the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission and the Office of the Independent Ombudsman for the Texas Youth Commission.

DPS Sunset Bill, House Bill 2730, 81st Session – Relating to the continuation and functions of the Department of Public Safety of the State of Texas and the Texas Private Security Board.

Public Safety

DPS Sunset Bill, House Bill 2730, 81st Session – Relating to the continuation and functions of the Department of Public Safety of the State of Texas and the Texas Private Security Board.

House Bill 2236, 81st Session – Requires courts to consider the impact on children who are victims of assault, sexual assault, or who have cases that involve family violence, when courts consider defendants’ requests for case continuances.

Public Education Health and Safety

Senate Bill 7, 80th Session – Requiring the availability of automated external defibrillators at school campuses and athletic events and instruction and training for their use in emergencies.

House Bill 121, 80th Session – Requires schools to enact dating violence policies that improve awareness of dating violence on campuses and establishes safety planning, enforcement of protective orders, training for school personnel, and counseling for affected students.

Higher Education

Senate Bill 1443, 81st Session – Relating to the academic costs charged to resident undergraduate students by general academic teaching institutions, to student financial assistance funded by tuition set-asides, and to certain reports regarding certain costs of those institutions.

Criminal Justice and Juvenile Justice

Senate Bill 103, 80th Session – Reforming the Texas Youth Commission to improve rehabilitation of youth, prevent abuse and crime in juvenile facilities, and improve public transparency of the agency’s operations.

Senate Bill 839, 81st Session – Ending life without parole for juvenile offenders in Texas.

Senate Bill 1681, 81st Session – Requiring evidence showing the corroboration of statements against interest made in correctional facilities before a defendant may be convicted based on testimony alleging such statements.