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Attorney Emma Brockway Juggles Career, Engagement, and Community Involvement

Native Houstonian is gearing up to have one of the biggest years in her life.

Emma Brockway (Photo courtesy University of Houston Law Center)

Attorney Emma Brockway has some big irons in the fire. She just started working at a new firm, she is engaged, and she is looking to buy her first house with her soon-to-be wife. Somehow she still manages to find time to give back to the community.

Brockway recently moved to the law firm of Fisher Phillips where she represents employers in all areas of labor and employment law. Her primary focus is on employment litigation. Brockway graduated from the University of Houston Law Center in 2021. She decided to remain in Houston after graduating. Houston is, of course, a familiar place to Brockway who grew up in Northwest Houston and League City.

“I interned at an employment law firm in college,” says Brockway. “During that time, I became fascinated with the law and how it works and evolves over time. I also discovered that I liked helping clients identify their needs and strategizing ways to solve their problems. I feel like I’ve always been an advocate, whether for a client at work or a cause that I’m passionate about.”

Brockway connects with a multitude of identities. She has cultivated a life that, at age 27, most others take decades to develop. This is reflected in the places and people she focuses on outside of work.

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Prism Foundation,” she says. “Prism is a nonprofit that provides scholarships and grants to students and organizations in the API LGBTQ [Asian & Pacific Islander LGBTQIA+] community. We have two Prism Foundation board members in Houston—Ahri Yoon and me. Prism has done more for me, as it relates to my API identity, than anything or anyone. As an adoptee, I honestly didn’t feel very connected to the API community when I was younger. Prism has brought me closer to the API community and my Chinese heritage by connecting me with other Prism board members, who are now some of my dearest friends. Through Prism, I’ve also learned more about customs, traditions, and food within various API communities. I’ve also been able to engage with our incredible grant and scholarship recipients, who are doing critical work across the country for the API community.”

Brockway considers the Montrose Center’s LGBTQ+ Youth Prom to be one of the annual highlights of her year. She said she recognizes that not every person is able to come out at the age she did nor have the support that she received from a very special person, her aunt Michelle.

“My aunt Michelle is my greatest LGBTQ role model. She has always been out and proud,” Brockway confides. “When I came out to her and the rest of my family, I knew she would help me combat the difficulties that come with being gay, especially homophobia. And she did. Michelle’s courage and resilience have always inspired me, and she helped me come to terms with the reality that not everyone would accept me. She also repeatedly reminded me that that was their loss, not mine. It’s been over a decade since I came out to her and requested her guidance, but she still provides me unconditional support every day. I wouldn’t be the out-and-proud, unapologetic person I am today if it wasn’t for her.” says Brockway.

This is perhaps why it is so important for Brockway to be completely out at work, in the community, and in giving back.

“If one wants to be and is able to be out, I think they should be. Visibility and representation are very important.” – Emma Brockway

“If one wants to be and is able to be out, I think they should be. Visibility and representation are very important. It’s important to have LGBTQ visibility representation in media, in every occupation or industry, and of course, in leadership roles. Visibility and representation can also be life-changing for LGBTQ folks who are afraid to come out.”

With all that she has on her plate, it is a wonder that she has time for a personal life. Brockway and her fiancee, Valerie Chacon, have been together for three and a half years. They have two cats named Oso and Fig, and they plan to get married next year. Until then the couple can be found at some of their favorite places in town. As a native Houstonian, Brockway knows about the great food that her city has to offer. Some of her go-to restaurants are Izakaya Wa, Be More Pacific, Ostia, Mo’ Better Brews, and Korny Vibes, just to name a few.

Brockway is gearing up to have one of the biggest years in her life, likely to be followed by many more big years. In the meantime, she and Valerie are hoping to buy their first house in addition to getting married. Professionally, she’s hoping to exceed her billable hours requirement at her new law firm, take more depositions, and have a successful tenure as Co-Chair of the Texas Freedom Network Board of Directors. Oh yes, she also has time for the Texas Freedom Network as well. Brockway must be superhuman or have more hours in the day than anyone else. Either way, we are lucky she’s here.




Ryan Leach

Ryan Leach is a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine. Follow him on Medium at
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