Eleven AZA Lawyers Make the 2021 Texas Rising Stars List  
March 23, 2021

HOUSTON – AZA is proud to announce that 11 of the firm’s trial lawyers have earned recognition on the 2021 Texas Rising Stars list, which honors the state’s leading young attorneys. 

For the fifth straight year, AZA partner Sammy Ford IV was named a “Top 100 Texas Up & Coming” lawyer for his business litigation skills. He has made the Rising Stars list every year since 2013. 

Also making the list this year are partner Taylor Freeman and associates  Weining Bai, Nathan Campbell, Edward GoolsbyShahmeer HalepotaFoster JohnsonJason McManisKyle Poelker, Paul Turkevich and Patrick Yarborough. 

Mr. Bai and Mr. McManis were selected for their intellectual property law expertise and Mr. Halepota was honored for his defense work in civil litigation. All other honorees were chosen for their business litigation work. Messrs. Bai, Campbell, Goolsby, Halepota, Poelker and Turkevich are first-time honorees. 

Texas Rising Stars, published by Thomson Reuters’ legal division, is an exclusive listing of the state’s top lawyers who are age 40 or younger or who have been in practice no more than 10 years. 

Our young lawyers are super-achievers, doing their best for our clients. It’s no surprise that so many made the list this year,” said John Zavitsanos, an AZA co-founding partner. 

Mr. Ford, who was promoted to partner last year, averages more than two trials per year. He represents companies and individuals in complex commercial litigation, securities cases, consumer class actions and catastrophic personal injury cases. He is board certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. 

Mr. Freeman recently made partner at AZA and has been on the Rising Stars list since 2018. He focuses on complex commercial litigation including breach of contract, energy, tort, intellectual property and construction disputes. 

Mr. Bai, who has degrees in physics-engineering and economics, focuses on intellectual property litigation and commercial litigation. He also made the 2021 “Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch” list for both commercial litigation and IP litigation. 

Mr. Campbell is an experienced trial lawyer also named to the “Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch” list for commercial litigation. He has handled a wide variety of business lawsuits.  

Mr. Goolsby handles complex commercial litigation. In just the last year, he participated in a trial and three evidentiary hearings in state and federal courts and secured a summary judgment for a restaurant client in a high-profile Houston dispute. 

Mr. Halepota is a commercial litigator whose clients have included multinational corporations. He has experience in state and federal trials and in mediation and international arbitration.  

Mr. Johnson has represented a variety of Fortune 100 companies in contract disputes, oil and gas matters, intellectual property litigation, and large-scale consumer and securities class actions. He has been a Rising Stars honoree since 2018. 

Mr. McManis excels at presenting complex and often very technical issues to state and federal courts. He has helped secure large patent infringement jury verdicts as well as defense verdicts in business disputes involving fiduciary duty claims. 

A seasoned lawyer, Mr. Poelker is a former assistant attorney general who handles all types of complex commercial litigation. He has experience in multimillion-dollar insurance disputes and has litigated consumer protection and antitrust actions. His clients also include healthcare companies.  

Mr. Turkevich has experience representing businesses and individuals in trade secrets, breach of contract, employment, environmental and defamation cases. He represents defendants and plaintiffs in all stages of litigation and appeals. Before law school he was an investigator for a public defender’s office.  

Mr. Yarborough has won several jury trials, prevailed in a high-stakes academic grievance hearing, and successfully argued innumerable motions in state and federal court. He was also recently named to the “Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch” list for commercial litigation. 

The complete Texas Rising Stars list can be found in Texas Monthly and the 2021 Texas Rising Stars edition of Super Lawyers magazine, and online at 

AZA, or Ahmad, Zavitsanos & Mensing is a Houston-based law firm that is home to true courtroom lawyers with a formidable track record in complex commercial litigation, including energy, healthcare, intellectual property, and business dispute cases. AZA is recognized by Chambers USA 2020 among the best in Texas commercial law; by U.S. News – Best Lawyers’ Best Law Firms as one of the country’s best commercial litigation firms for nine years running; was named 2019 Litigation Department of the Year by Texas Lawyer; and was previously dubbed by Law360 a Texas Powerhouse law firm. National corporate counsel named AZA one of the country’s best in client service among law firms serving the Fortune 500. 



1221 McKinney St, Suite 2500, Houston, TX 77010 | (713) 655-1101
© 2024  Ahmad, Zavitsanos & Mensing All rights reserved.

Site by Androvett

1221 McKinney St, Suite 2500
Houston, TX 77010
(713) 655-1101

© 2024 All rights reserved.


Send this to friend