The firm of Nechman, Simoneaux & Frye recently added two new associates, a lesbian and a straight woman, who bring expertise that the firm did not previously have.
Lee Jeronimo, 60, and Veena Krishnan, 30, have joined transgender attorney Phyllis Randolph Frye and gay attorneys John Nechman and Jerry Simoneaux in the firm that offices at 3400 Montrose Blvd.
John Nechman said the new additions have widened the diversity within the firm.
“We’ve got gay men, we’ve got a straight person, a transgender person,” Frye said. “And we have different races and ethnicities. It’s a good group.”
Nechman noted that his mother is Asian and that Krishnan is of Indian descent.
“We wanted a firm that reflects Houston,” he said. “We don’t want a firm that looks like a cookie-cutter group.”
Jeronimo, a lesbian, recently left private practice to join Nechman, Simoneaux and Frye, although she will continue her work with the Southeast Legal Clinic on a part-time basis.
“It just came as a natural progression, and knowing these fellows and working with them in the community is a culmination of my life desires,” Jeronimo said.
Krishnan is a straight attorney who worked as a public defender in Rochester, Minn., where she moved shortly after graduating from the University of Texas Law School in 2000.
Growing up in Fort Worth, she said, she had positive relationships with gay and lesbian friends, so she was intrigued when she read an ad in a law journal for an associate attorney to join the Nechman firm.
“It appealed to me immediately, because my background is in the public sector, and it’s important to me that my work reflects my ideology,” she said. “Work takes up so much of your life that you need to be committed to what you’re doing, and when it’s backed by your ideology, I think it’s a terrific match.”
Krishnan’s concentration is in the area of criminal cases, and Jeronimo brings experience in family law, employment issues and bankruptcy to the firm. Combined with the firm’s expertise in estate and probate planning, immigration law and transgender cases, Nechman said, the mix increases the kinds of cases the firm can handle.
“Not only can we do the work we’ve done before, but now we have added to the variety of cases we can help the Houston community with,” Nechman said.
In her work with family law, Jeronimo said she finds the courts are not accustomed to dealing with cases in which long-term couples that have collectively built a business or significant assets decide to separate.
Since same-sex couplings are not recognized as marriages by the law, the issues can become convoluted. Jeronimo said attorneys who have experience in same-sex separations are more valuable because of the lack of widespread legal precedent.