Leslie A. Werner, Attorney & Owner
Leslie is the owner of The Werner Law Group. After obtaining her MBA from the University of Detroit, Leslie relocated to Texas with a hometown friend, in search of the American dream. Acting on her long-held desire to become a lawyer, Leslie enrolled in the University of Houston’s Law Center and obtained her law degree in 1984. A few years later, Leslie became board certified in civil appellate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She is admitted to practice in the Southern and Western Districts of Texas, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, and the United States Supreme Court.
Leslie started her legal career as a paralegal with Anders Kurth in Houston and she went on to become a research attorney for the 1st Court of Appeals and a staff attorney for Justice Nelda Rodriguez at the 13th Court of Appeals. While at the 1st Court of Appeals, Leslie had the opportunity to work directly with Justice Michol O’Connor, Chief Justice Frank Evans and his successor, Chief Justice Alice Oliver-Parrott.
Leslie fiercely opposes cases in which she feels justice has not been served. Leslie represents individuals in all areas of family law (child custody, adoptions, divorce, and more), wills and probate, real estate, as well as chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcies. Being a small business owner, Leslie always welcomes clients who are small business owners themselves, who may need legal representation obtaining licensure or litigating disputes.
Leslie takes a child-first approach to helping families in transitions. As a mother of two and having been through a divorce herself, Leslie knows the emotional importance of balancing the needs of children with the desire to receive a fair property settlement. As a certified mediator, Leslie values productive compromise and understands what it takes to resolve difficult conflicts.
Leslie is passionate about the education of the youth, both academically and culturally. As an adjunct professor, she has taught Business Law at The University of the Incarnate Word, and in the Paralegal Program for The University of Houston Victoria. In the last 30 years, she has hosted 42 foreign exchange students, exposing her children to cultures from around the world, and the students to the foreign American culture.
During her free time, Leslie enjoys quilting, bowling, and strategizing with her husband and business manager, Michael Hughes.
Charles C. Ferguson, II, Senior Attorney
Charles is a graduate of Louisiana State University and uniquely holds the degrees of both Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Civil Law (B.C.L.). He started his career in Dallas and has litigated and won family law cases against some of Texas’s most brilliant legal minds in the DFW area. Charles has been practicing law since 2004.
Charles joined The Werner Law Group in 2020 and has quickly become an asset to the firm and our clients. With his proven track record in the big city, he has shown himself as a force to be reckoned as an attorney in The Golden Crescent Region.
While most attorneys need to research options when met with uncommon family law circumstances, Charles can usually provide advice based on having already been met with the scenario. It is uncanny how quickly his mind works; often spouting off case law at the drop of a hat. As an expert strategist, he works his cases with broad strokes, allowing little actions to drop long strings of dominos.
Around the office, Charles only takes breaks to walk around and make sure our staff has a few laughs every day. Otherwise, he’s hyper focused on his computer screen and going through about 100 post-it notes a day.
In Charles’s free time he enjoys keeping up with new Supreme Court laws, going to the beach with his wife and son, and talking about the new mods to his Jeep that we don’t understand. I guess it’s a Jeep thing?
If you’ve ever met a child prodigy, you know the awestruck feeling when you see them perform. Cole Eckhoff is not just a legal prodigy, but he’s a world class pianist (just take a look at his fingers!) and an accomplished academist. Cole graduated summa cum laude from Texas A&M in Economics where he was President of Model United Nations. After undergrad, he earned his law degree from Cornell Law School in Ithaca, New York where he was a student writer for the Journal of Law and Public Policy and a member of the Cornell Uncontested Divorce Project.
Cole offices next to Leslie where he dives into case law daily to assist her in writing iron clad appellate briefs and demand letters, as well as researching unique ways to crush our opponents in complex civil litigation cases. When Cole isn’t assisting on Leslie’s cases, he’s handling his own caseload of family law, business litigation, real estate, and probate cases; all the while, catching accolades when his work is reviewed by an attorney with 35 years of experience.
Having graduated from law school in 2020, Cole’s fresh exposure to new technology for law firms and expert advice from law professors has been a unique and valuable asset to the lawyers and support staff at The Werner Law Group. The suggestions he makes from research and experience often come from out-of-the-box thinking, late nights at the office running different scenarios through his head, and a profound understanding of caselaw.
During Cole’s free time, he enjoys birdwatching, playing the piano, and trying to keep the plants in his office alive. Cole can be reached by text or phone call seven days a week at 361-717-7507.
Mary Brown, Senior Paraprofessional
If you’ve had the opportunity to speak with Mary Brown, you know what a blessing she is to our firm. Mary is Leslie’s right-hand person in the firm’s statewide probate, estate planning and elder law practice. Mary has worked in law firms and real estate companies for over 35 years. Leslie often refers to Mary as her “sister from a different mister” and, once our clients interact with both, they understand why.
Whether Mary is going back and forth conferring with Leslie on potential legal solutions or taking deep dives into the estates or property code, Mary’s energetic zeal and tireless work ethic keep our probate and estate planning departments running like a well-oiled machine.
A fifth generation Texan, Mary’s heart is deep in Texas, but she is an avid traveler and is happiest when planning her next trip. She has traveled to 49 of the 50 states (Alaska is on the “go to” list) and has visited 28 national parks, often camping with her husband. This year Mary traveled to Nashville, Philadelphia, Honolulu, Santa Fe, Salt Lake City, Kalispell, Red Lodge, Cody, Denver, Amarillo, New York City, Prague, and Berlin. Mary enjoys “retail therapy” and laughs that her shoe closet attests to the healing power of shopping.
Jim Hoffman, C.P.A.
James (Jim) Hoffman is a native Texan who spent his childhood in San Antonio. He is a graduate of the University of Texas, class of 1970, and has been in Victoria since 1979.
Having been a Certified Public Accountant for fifty years, Jim is uniquely qualified to understand the options and potential long-term outcomes our bankruptcy clients are concerned about. He is well-versed in the financial language of bankruptcy creditors when it matters most. He’s passionate about not only securing realistic, manageable payments for clients going through a bankruptcy, but also educating our bankruptcy clients in ways to move forward with their finances in a constructive manner so that they can prevent financial turmoil in the future.
In financial divorces concerning vast amounts of property, missing money, or business income, Jim is oftentimes used as a consultant in our client’s family law case. Equally, having been in business himself for years he plays an active role in the strategy behind our business litigation cases and business formations.
During Jim’s free time, he’s Mr. Available to his children and grandchildren with household projects or helping them fix issues with their vehicles. We’ve even heard he’s hosted a tea party or two with his granddaughter. However, his very favorite pastime is ragging on his children and grandchildren for going to Texas A&M.\
Michael Hughes, Business Manager
Michael Hughes is a multiprenuer who had his first business selling cups of ice water for 25 cents on a hot playground in second grade. Michael established his career by creating strategic partnerships between businesses, their customers, and other businesses. He has formed a business network with entrepreneurs and civic organizations in Dallas, Austin, Baton Rouge, Birmingham, and Portland, OR.
Michael moved to Victoria in the Spring of 2019 and is excited to build relationships with business owners and clients of The Werner Law Group. Michael particularly enjoys meeting with our business clients, discussing their goals, and hearing their stories of both adversity and success.
Michael doesn’t really have free time, but when he’s not at the firm, he’s managing his other businesses, keeping his network alive, or running household errands so Leslie can have some fabric therapy.
Marianela “Maria” Velasquez, Paraprofessional – Immigration Department
Maria Velasquez was introduced to our firm by a former client. We will be forever grateful for this introduction. Maria moved to Victoria after having been a practicing attorney in Venezuela for over 20 years. Before moving to the United States, Marianela studied U.S. Immigration for years before moving here and doing her immigration on her own. She is now a green card holding resident and on a direct path towards citizenship.
While in Venezuela, Maria was a contract attorney. She specialized in writing contracts that helped large corporations eliminate landmines. This same approach is taken when she works with immigration clients whose actions will be scrutinized by USCIS for the foreseeable future. She insists on making sure the clients are aware of anything that could cause their immigration case to go awry. With this, she minces no words, and this is why we love her.
Shortly after Maria came on board with The Werner Law Group, we sent her to El Paso to shadow Immigration Super Lawyer Felipe Millan for 3 months. While in El Paso, she worked alongside Felipe prepping clients for USCIS interviews, attending court hearings, visiting immigrant inmates at the jail, and sitting with Felipe during client consultations. Felipe Millan has been licensed since 1992 and has been Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2002. Felipe and his team of immigration lawyers and paralegals continue to be a resource to Avery and Maria as The Werner Law Group grows its immigration presence in South Texas.
Maria Velasquez is dedicated to working with our immigration attorney Avery Krushall to educate immigrants in South Texas on the various avenues they can take towards citizenship or residency. Maria wants immigrants in our area to have the same fair shot she did of staying in the United States; she works days, nights, and weekends to make this happen.
Maria is bilingual and often assists in other areas of our practice when a Spanish translator is needed. Maria can be reached by phone call or text, seven days a week, at 361-885-2883.
Meagan Resendez, Paralegal
Meagan is passionate about the work The Werner Law Group does to help children grow up in a better, safer environment. Her noticeable empathy is evident in all our child custody cases.
As any paralegal should be, Meagan is highly organized and is able to keep deadlines and court dates from being missed in the dozen or so courts in which Leslie regularly practices.
Tiffany Blanton, Paralegal & Billing Clerk
Tiffany Blanton originally was introduced to The Werner Law Group as a family member of a client. Tiffany came to every client meeting and was the conduit of communication between the client and our staff. Leslie was highly impressed with the work Tiffany did to make sure Leslie was prepared to win in court, so she offered her a job.
Tiffany’s accounting background helps keep our billing systems accurate and organized. She’s not afraid to push our attorneys to get time keeping records back to her in a timely manner, so clients can be invoiced regularly.
Tiffany often burns the midnight oil coming in on the weekends to help Leslie or Charles strategize for upcoming cases. It is not uncommon to see her sitting Indian style on the floor with a client’s file spread out in a ten-foot circle at 8pm. Her dedication and attention to detail has helped support Charles and Leslie in some landmark wins in the short period of time she has been with us.
During her free time, she enjoys shopping in one of the big cities, going on road trips with her husband and children, and hocking Scentsy to everyone she meets.
Fun fact: Tiffany and her family have been to all 48 of the contiguous United States together.
Brandy Baugh, Bankruptcy Assistant
Brandy Baugh (or BrandyWHY as we call her) joined The Werner Law Group in 2021 after having worked in legal departments with other companies and municipalities for the last twenty years. Brandy is a graduate of Edna High School and her family has deep roots in this region going back four generations.
Brandy has become Jim’s right-hand person, making sure bankruptcies get cleaned up, organized, and filed within a week of a client bringing us their financials. She works diligently with our clients to make sure they understand what we need and when.
Brandy’s free time is spent going out on the water with her children and husband and loving on her cute grandson Karter. She’s a documentary fanatic, often taking the lunch hour to watch one in awe while spilling juice from her bites of salted watermelon.
Sheri Hoffman, Client Liaison
Sheri Hoffman moved to Victoria with her husband, Jim, forty years ago. She has been directly involved in business with her husband and other attorneys for over thirty years. Sheri recognizes that clear and direct communication is key to client satisfaction and retention. Sheri prides herself in providing excellent customer service to every individual who interacts with our firm.
Sheri makes a special effort to keep our clients pleased and is consistently working behind the scenes making sure The Werner Law Group runs and operates smoothly. She is everyone’s mother, and her dedicated and comforting nature benefits our staff and clients daily.
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Defending Victoria and All Surrounding Counties.
Victoria, Lavaca, Dewitt, Calhoun, Goliad, Refugio, and Jackson County