(512) 553-9390 | Serving all of Central Texas
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Austin Kaplan is the Founder and Managing Attorney at Kaplan Law Firm.
Austin is an employment law and civil rights attorney and litigator serving clients in Austin, Texas and surrounding communities. Austin represents individuals in a wide range of employment and civil rights matters, including claims for breach of employment contract, breach of noncompete agreements, discrimination, overtime violations, wage and hour violations, whistleblower retaliation, FMLA violations, and marriage equality matters. Austin spends most of his days litigating cases for the Firm’s clients in state and federal court.
Austin defends people who are sued for misappropriation of trade secrets, violations of non-competes (non-competition, non-solicitation, or no-hire agreements), and other contract matters by their former employers, or by other entities.
Austin regularly provides advice to employees about their employment rights, what their options are at work, and how to negotiate a fair severance.
Matthew “Maff” Caponi has been an associate attorney at Kaplan Law Firm since August 2019.
Maff’s practice has focused on pursuing justice for workers on a wide range of employment issues, including workplace discrimination, wage and overtime violations, and whistleblower retaliation. At Kaplan Law Firm, Maff has tried two employment cases to jury verdict, including a jury verdict and damage award in his client’s favor in federal court for FMLA interference.
In addition, Maff has litigated police abuse cases, reviewed and negotiated severance agreements, advised and defended employees on alleged violations of non-compete or non-solicitation clauses, successfully represented clients at mediations, and successfully tried a breach of contract case remotely via Zoom in small claims court during the pandemic, obtaining a judgment in his client’s favor.
As a law student at his hometown University of Texas School of Law, he focused on public interest work, completing internships with the Equal Justice Center, Refugee Services of Texas, and Save Our Springs Alliance. As a student attorney with the University of Texas’s Civil Rights Clinic, Maff worked with a small team that won a habeas corpus case in federal court for a detained asylum seeker, securing the client’s release after nearly a year in detention. Maff is passionate about enforcing employee and civil rights in Texas and practical about obtaining the best result for his clients.
Andrew joined Kaplan Law Firm in the summer of 2020 after finishing his second year of law school at the University of Texas School of Law. Andrew previously worked for the Texas Attorney General, the Equal Justice Center, and Texas Advocacy Project. Andrew also worked for nonprofits all over the East Coast, a tech company in Wisconsin, and as a paralegal in New York City. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 2013 with a major in Public Policy and a minor in Spanish. Having graduated law school, he is excited to work in the labor and employment field on the side of employees.
Ryan O. Estes is an attorney at Kaplan Law Firm.
Ryan has practiced employment and civil rights law exclusively since 2013 and devoted his practice to advocating for employee rights. Ryan has represented clients harmed by workplace discrimination, retaliation, unpaid wages/overtime, and contractual disputes.
Ryan has handled all aspects of litigation, including drafting complaints, arguing motions in court, questioning high-level executives at depositions, and cross-examining witnesses before a jury. Ryan’s favorite experiences as an attorney have been the multiple times the jury has found in his client’s favor after difficult trials.
Ryan has also successfully negotiated numerous settlements on behalf of his clients, including severance agreements and in mediations.
American Constitution Society
Austin Bar Association Labor and Employment Section
Texas Employment Lawyers Association
National Employment Lawyers Association
Super Lawyers Rising Star, 2017-2020
State Bar of Texas
State Bar of Illinois (inactive)
Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
The John Marshall Law School – Juris Doctor
The University of Michigan – Bachelor of Arts with Honors in English Language and Literature
Trenton is an associate attorney with Kaplan Law Firm.
After receiving his undergraduate degree with honors from the University of Texas at Austin, Trenton graduated cum laude from Texas Tech University School of Law in 2017, where he also placed on the Pro Bono Honor Roll. He returned to Austin shortly thereafter, where he’s dedicated his professional career to fighting on behalf of aggrieved employees throughout the State of Texas.
Trenton has years of experience, in both the public and private sector, handling a wide range of employment cases—including unlawful discrimination, retaliation, unpaid wage and overtime claims, noncompete and severance agreement disputes, unemployment insurance claims, and much more. He’s helped clients navigate all stages of their cases, from the initial consultation all the way to trial.
Sylvia joined the Kaplan Law Firm in 2023 as Director of Client Services.
Sylvia has over 35-years of experience in both the public and private sector with a specialty certification in civil litigation and appellate work. Sylvia worked in local government for over ten years. In recent years, Sylvia worked primarily on whistleblower and fraud cases, suing on behalf of taxpayers to recoup money defrauded from the government. Sylvia also has over 20-years of office administration experience and is focused on developing and improving processes for the Firm to more efficiently and effectively serve its clients.
Sylvia is a native Austinite who loves her community and believes in paying it forward. Sylvia supports local non-profits and community projects by volunteering on committees and fundraising. Some of her favorite organizations are HAAM (Health Alliance for Austin Musicians) and Family Eldercare, where she helps collect fans for the elderly.
Sylvia comes from a family of musicians with a strong heritage. Sylvia’s grandfather was a mariachi, her father a “Tejano” orchestra band leader, her husband a touring trumpet player in a Tejano band, and her son a touring professional rock drummer, just to name a few. Sylvia even did a little performing herself. It would be no surprise to see her at a concert or festival supporting local musicians.
Sylvia is married to husband, Santiago “Jimmy” Vela, Jr. Together, they enjoy all things outdoors—travelling, fishing, and gardening. They have two grown children, Santiago III and Sonia Rita, and the family dog, Millie.
Christie joined the Kaplan Law Firm in 2017. Christie brings more than 24 years of experience working as a paralegal and legal assistant, handling complex litigation matters, including civil litigation, medical malpractice, personal injury, and products liability. Christie first fell in love with the legal profession while working for the County Attorney’s office.
Christie’s extensive litigation experience and proficiency guide her in her role as the Firm’s Senior Litigation Paralegal and is responsible for managing the Firm’s litigation docket. During her tenure at the Kaplan Law Firm, Christie sat as third chair during three federal trials and one state trial. Christie also helped represent clients during TWC hearings, as well as two TWC appeal hearings, winning all four hearings. Christie provides invaluable assistance ranging from employment discrimination, civil rights matters, and other types of injustice to all the attorneys at the Kaplan Law Firm.
Christie has experience in many areas of law and has effectively worked with different justice departments but is most passionate about Plaintiff’s civil litigation and fighting for people’s rights. Christie volunteered during two local political campaigns and fought alongside attorneys to stop the passing of the Tort Reform Act of 2003. Christie served as Vice President of the North Texas Legal Association for two terms and treasurer for one term. During her time as Vice President of the North Texas Legal Association, she helped rebuild the Center for Battered Women and organized the annual teddy bear drive for displaced children.
Christie has built strong relationships with the clients she serves and the people she works with. Christie continues to work diligently to fight for justice.
Brent joined Kaplan Law Firm in February 2023. Brent brings with him a variety of work and life experiences that Kaplan Law is excited to utilize in his work as a pre-litigation Paralegal.
Brent has a background in Film and Theatre Arts and is a graduate of Saint Edward’s University in Austin, TX. As an actor, Brent has worked with major motion picture, television, and video game design studios, from A24, Netflix, NBC, CBS, Universal and Rockstar Games Studios. Brent is also a long-standing member of the Screen Actors Guild, The Actors’ Equity Association, and a former member of IUPAT, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.
Brent is a committed advocate of social justice, civil rights, and worker’s rights. He has picketed, marched, and rallied with fellow IUPAT members in NYC for fair wages and health care. Brent has marched to the State Capitol in Burlington, VT on behalf of disabled individuals for state funding and more inclusive programming in schools. As an actor he performed at the United Nation’s General Assembly honoring the survivors of human trafficking.
After living in New York City for over 13 years Brent returned to Austin and received his Paralegal certification through the University of Texas Law School. He is proud to be a member of the Kaplan Law Firm.
John joined Kaplan Law Firm in July of 2020. Born and raised in Austin, John brings more than 10 years of experience supporting clients as a legal assistant and trial preparation specialist. Before working for Kalpan Law Firm he clerked with Spivey & Grigg LLP and the Law Office of Craig Barker. You can expect John to be passionate about your rights and support you in securing the justice you deserve.
Meera graduated from the University of Texas in May of 2022 with degrees in Government and Sociology. She has worked with various community organizations in Austin, where she discovered her interest in pursuing social justice work. She is passionate about using the law to bring redress and support to those whose needs are often neglected in Texas.
Tanner Scheef is a third-year law student at Baylor Law School and a Jaworski Scholar for Outstanding Undergraduate Advocacy. Tanner will graduate in April 2023 and sit for the Bar Examination in July 2023. She is set to graduate with honors, as well as with distinctions in Public Interest and Litigation.
Having done mock trial since the age of 14, Tanner has always been passionate about advocacy. At Baylor Law, Tanner won “Outstanding Advocate” at four national mock trial competitions and was one of two finalists in Baylor Law’s “Mad Dog” Competition. As an undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin, Tanner graduated with a degree in Government and captained the University of Texas Mock Trial Team.
Tanner’s passion for public interest also extends to helping victims in civil and criminal cases. She is the Co-Founder and former President of Baylor Law HEAL (Help, Educate, Advocate, and Learn). HEAL is an organization designed to help victims of domestic and sexual abuse, educate lawyers on how to interact with victims, advocate for changes in the legal field to protect victims, and encourage future attorneys to learn not only from professors, but from victims themselves. She is also a student member of the National LGBT+ Bar Association and is a founding member of Baylor Law’s LGBT+ Law Student Association. She is passionate about advocating for and representing the underrepresented.
Baylor Law, J.D. Candidate | Class of 2023
UT Austin, B.A. | Class of 2020
Esmeralda Barrera is a current first-generation college student at The University of Texas at Austin who is pursuing an English major with a Business minor. Esmeralda, who was born and raised in South Houston, was inspired to pursue a career in law through the experience she gained working for small law firms and courthouses back home. She is passionate about advocating and aiding vulnerable people in legal situations they may find themselves in.
Kirsten Padilla joined Kaplan Law Firm as an intern in January of 2023. As an undergraduate student at The University of Texas at Austin, Kirsten will graduate in Spring 2024 with a degree in English, a minor in Philosophy of Law, and a certificate in Ethics and Leadership: Law, Politics, and Government. At UT Austin, Kirsten holds leadership positions in Minority Women Pursuing Law, where she serves as Director of Professional Development, and in Texas Darlins, where she serves as President.