Latinx Leaders

Legal Powerhouse

Attorney Jessica Rodriguez-Wahlquist handles some of Houston's toughest personal-injury cases.

Attorney Jessica Rodriguez-Wahlquist handles some of Houston’s toughest cases at Sorrels Law, a personal-injury law firm. The Mexican-born powerhouse was raised in Space City, where she ascended to her role as a top injury attorney. She cites her humble beginnings and a desire to be a champion for her community as her motivation to handle the emotionally taxing moments of her profession. 

“I think I had the same upbringing as most gay little girls, playing with science kits and robotics,” Rodriguez-Wahlquist recalls. “I didn’t think I was going to be a lawyer.” However, the summers she spent alongside her mother, who cleaned houses and had a successful lawyer as a client, sparked her interest. “I saw his awards and all the charities he worked for, and I wanted to learn more about what he did.”

A serious car accident in 2010 showed Rodriguez-Wahlquist the real power that the American justice system carried. “I was T-boned by a car at Deerbrook Mall, and my mother’s boss represented me in my case,” she says. “I realized I liked what he was doing, and I knew I wanted to help the millions of people like me out there.” 

The proud immigrant obtained a business degree before graduating from Chicago’s DePaul University College of Law on a scholarship in 2018. “I interned for senators. I also worked for Mayor Annise Parker in 2013 as a Fellow. She is still an inspiration to me as a powerful example of another gay woman doing amazing things. I quickly realized I would be really good at law, and it was what I was passionate about.”

Rodriguez-Wahlquist works day and night for her clients, including victims of the recent Downtown Aquarium shooting. The families she represents have often experienced unfathomable loss, and have children in need of financial support. 

Her work-life balance is supported by her partner of three years. “I work with my amazing colleagues, and at home I have my wife who is incredibly supportive. I try to leave everything from the office at the door. I work a lot and get home very late, but the few hours I spend at home with my wife eating dinner, I make sure it’s meaningful.”

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This article appears in the September 2021 edition of OutSmart magazine.


Zach McKenzie

Zachary McKenzie is a marketing professional and freelance writer in Houston, TX. He received his bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Austin in 2014 and has lived in Houston since. Zachary is a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters and enjoys spending his free time with friends, exploring the richness and diversity of Houston.
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