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.
Caitlin Boehne is an attorney at Kaplan Law Firm.
Caitlin has been on the vanguard of the struggle for justice in Texas for twelve years, spending the past ten years litigating impact employment claims. As a Senior Managing Attorney, Caitlin has litigated dozens of employment claims for hundreds of workers in state and federal court. In the process of recovering over $1 million in unpaid wages and damages from unscrupulous employers, Caitlin has developed an expertise in handling individual, multi-plaintiff, and complex class action claims, on issues ranging from wage theft, to workplace sexual harassment, race discrimination, disability discrimination, labor trafficking, and more. Caitlin has argued and won dispositive motions, cross-examined witnesses at trial, and successfully resolved numerous cases in mediation and arbitration, including on behalf of monolingual Spanish-speakers. In 2023, Caitlin won a trial in federal court seeking unpaid wages and overtime for four construction workers. In 2024, Caitlin resolved a class action labor trafficking claim on behalf of 23 Filipino guestworkers for $730,000.
Prior to litigation, Caitlin was the Director and Co-Director of the Equal Justice Center’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration legal services program. In law school, Caitlin held clerkships at Human Rights Watch in New York, and at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania.
Member, Texas Employment Lawyers Association
Member, National Employment Lawyers Association
Advisory Board Member, Texas Law Alumni Mentoring Program
Former Co-Chair, State Bar of Texas Legal Access Division – Employment Law Task Force
CLE Presenter: “Workplace Accommodations: The New Frontier.” State Bar of Texas Advanced Employment Law Course, Jan. 2024.
CLE Presenter: “Employment Law Update 2022,” with Adam Sencenbaugh. Austin Bar Association’s Labor & Employment Section Seminar, May 2022.
CLE Presenter: “Employee Entitlement to Leave Under Federal Law.” State Bar of Texas Employment Law 101 Seminar, Apr. 2022.
New York University – Bachelor of Arts in Politics with Honors, cum laude
The University of Texas School of Law – Juris Doctor, Rapoport Center for Human Rights Fellow
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Tanner Scheef is an Associate Attorney at Kaplan Law Firm.
After receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, she received the Leon Jaworski Scholarship for Outstanding Advocacy to Baylor Law. Tanner graduated with honors from Baylor Law on the Public Interest Track with a Special Distinction in Litigation.
Tanner has a passion for advocacy, having competed in the courtroom since the age of 14 and having won “Outstanding Advocate” at four national mock trial competitions at Baylor Law. After returning to Austin, Tanner began coaching her undergraduate mock trial team, allowing her to give back to the next generation of trial lawyers.
Tanner’s passion for public interest extends to helping victims of abuse in civil and criminal cases. She was the Co-Founder of Baylor Law H.E.A.L. (Help, Educate, Advocate, Learn), training law students on how to best represent victims. Tanner extends this passion to her work at Kaplan Law Firm, helping victims in the employment context.
Member, Texas State Bar Labor & Employment Law Section
Member, Texas State Bar Civil Liberties & Civil Rights Section
Member, Texas Employment Lawyers Association
Member, National Employment Lawyers Association
Member, National LGBTQ+ Bar Association
National Police Accountability Project
Baylor University School of Law – Juris Doctor, Cum Laude
The University of Texas at Austin – Bachelor of Arts, Government
Sylvia joined the Kaplan Law Firm in early 2023 as the Firm’s first Director of Client Services. As the Firm’s Director, Sylvia works closely with clients and staff to oversee the Firm’s processes, manage relationships with clients, and develop long term relationships with its clients and staff. Sylvia brings over 20-years of office administration experience with a focus on developing and improving processes for the Firm to efficiently and effectively serve its clients and staff.
In addition to her support of the Firm, Sylvia has 40-years of experience in a support role in the public and private sector with a specialty certification in civil litigation and appellate work. Sylvia also brings twenty years of senior paralegal experience working on whistleblower and fraud cases, suing on behalf of the government and taxpayers to recoup money defrauded from the federal government. Because of Sylvia’s experience with whistleblower cases, she was invited to serve as one of the founding members of the Taxpayers Against Fraud’s (TAF) newly established Paralegal Division. Sylvia is excited for the opportunity to share her experience with her peers and mentor those pursuing a strong legal support role.
Sylvia is a native Austinite who loves her community and believes in paying it forward. Sylvia supports several local non-profits and community projects by volunteering on committees and fundraising. Some of her favorite organizations are HAAM (Health Alliance for Austin Musicians), Family Eldercare, where she helps collect fans for the elderly, and Interfaith Action of Austin to support diversity, inclusiveness, and fairness in the community.
Sylvia has a strong heritage of Tejano music and comes from a family of musicians, including a grandfather who was a mariachi, her father the leader of a “Tejano” orchestra band, her husband a touring trumpet player in a Tejano band, and her son a touring professional rock drummer. Sylvia even did a little performing herself.
Sylvia is married to husband, Santiago “Jimmy” Vela, Jr. Together, they enjoy all things outdoors—travelling, fishing, music, and gardening. They have two grown children, Santiago III and Sonia Rita, and the family dog, Millie.
Founding Member, Taxpayers Against Fraud, 2023
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 and a minor in Arabic. Throughout her time at UT, she bridged her passion for research and advocacy, using qualitative methods to understand systemic issues affecting marginalized communities. She served as a research assistant for the Institute of Urban Policy Research and Analysis for two years and has presented on topics such as social movement organizing, protest accessibility, and the impacts of surveillance on BIPOC activists. Having engaged in speech and debate since the age of 14, Meera represented the UT Speech Team at state and national tournaments, competing in prepared and extemporaneous event categories.
Meera has also worked with various community organizations in Austin, such as the Refugee Student Mentorship Program, Seedling, MOVE Texas, and Casa Marianella. She is passionate about using the law to provide redress to those whose rights are often ignored and violated. She is currently applying to law school in hopes of continuing this type of work in the long term.
Meera joined the Kaplan team in December of 2022.
Madeline Zschiesche graduated from the University of Washington in 2021 with degrees in Political Economics and Law, Societies, & Justice. While living in Seattle Madeline was a legal assistant for a pro bono clinic that assisted tenants facing eviction. This position inspired her to pursue a career where she could work directly with clients and use the law to help others.
After graduation Madeline moved to Málaga, Spain to be an English teacher for two years. Upon completion of her teaching program she has returned to her hometown of Austin, Texas, and is excited to join the team at Kaplan Law Firm.
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.