CLEAT lawyers are a world apart from the lawyers in the phone book or the lawyers from the late night television commercials. CLEAT attorneys specialize in working only for Texas law enforcement personnel. There are former police officers, a retired judge, former law professors, former district attorneys and a former TCLEOSE commissioner who are standing by 24/7 to look after our member’s best interest. Whether you’ve been involved in a shooting, a critical incident involving a custodial death or just facing a disciplinary hearing, you will find no greater advocate than a CLEAT attorney.
CLEAT was the first and only law enforcement organization in Texas to hire attorneys full time to work exclusively for our members. When our members need help, we don’t want them to go to the back of the line waiting for an attorney to bail out a crack dealer or finish up a divorce case. We know you need us now or you wouldn’t have called. Our attorneys personally go to the site of shootings, when they occur and represent our members when they need us—not the next day or whenever they can get around to it.
Our attorneys are highly educated, trained and experienced in every aspect of the law. From representing officers in arbitrations, court proceedings, all the way to the Supreme Court or just designing a free will for your family—nobody does more for Texas officers than CLEAT.
The founders of CLEAT wanted lawyers working just for Texas officers and that has been the extraordinary model of success for more than 40 years.
Michael Rickman, Director of Legal Division/General Counsel
Mike Rickman served as an officer in the Mesquite Police Department for nearly a decade before going to Texas Tech University Law School where he graduated in 1993. Mike met and married Mesquite Officer Gay Rickman, who is now retired. They have two sons.
Robert has been an attorney in the San Antonio office since 2005. He received a BA in History at the University of New York, Stony Brook, and his law degree from Brooklyn Law School. In 1983, Robert joined the U.S. Army and was a military police officer. In 1985, he joined the Army National Guard and served for 15 years.
Karl Brehm, Staff Attorney
Karl is a San Antonio native who joined CLEAT in December 2007. Karl attended East Central High School in San Antonio and Texas Lutheran University in Seguin before going to law school at St. Mary’s University.
Morris Munoz, Staff Attorney
Morris returned to CLEAT in September 2014 after spending more than a decade in private practice specializing in labor and employment law. During that time, he also served as Detention Monitor and Intergovernmental Administrator for the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, which has given him valuable insight on how jails are managed and operated. He also has experience in collective bargaining for public sector employees. Morris works out of the San Antonio office and serves members across South Texas as he did during his first tour with CLEAT in 2001 and 2002. He earned his J.D. from South Texas College of Law.
Terry Boone, Staff Attorney
Terry joined CLEAT in 2015 with over 30 years trial experience, specializing in Employment Law cases, with over a decade of unbroken success.
Jim Jopling, Staff Attorney
Jim joined CLEAT in 2008. He is originally from Fort Worth. Jim completed his undergraduate studies at UT Austin in 1986. He was a buyer at Lockheed Fort Worth Company before going to law school, and graduated from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 1996.
Alyssa Perez, Staff Attorney
Alyssa was born and raised in El Paso, Texas and joined CLEAT in 2012. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and her law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law. Alyssa practiced criminal law in both the District Attorney’s Office and the Public Defender’s Office in El Paso County since 2008. It was through this experience that she gained a deep appreciation for law enforcement and their dedication to public safety.
Celeste Robertson, Staff Attorney
Celeste came to CLEAT after spending many years practicing fiduciary litigation, as well as handling probate and estate planning. She is also a mediator. Celeste graduated from the University of Houston Law Center in 1994. She has three children.
Paul Barnes, Staff Attorney
Paul earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. While in school, Paul volunteered at a few student-run nonprofit organizations. His drive to help others led him to South Texas College of Law in Houston. After receiving his Juris Doctorate in May of 2015, he passed the Texas State Bar and earned his law license in November of 2015. Before joining the CLEAT legal team in January of 2017, he spent his first year as an attorney getting a wide range of legal experience while trying to build his own practice. Paul was born and raised in Houston, Texas.J.R. Ramirez, Staff Attorney
J.R. Ramirez has over fifteen years of experience in law enforcement, working with the City of McAllen and Mission Police Department. JR found an interest and love for union work and was an executive board member of the local police union for thirteen years of his law enforcement career. JR also block walked and help put civil service on the ballot and did the same for binding arbitration. He began as a patrol officer and then became a detective. As a property crime detective for the City of McAllen, he focused on credit card fraud and financial crime cases, working alongside the Secret Service. His career led him to pursue a major in Criminal Justice and received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Texas-Pan American in 2009. He immediately continued his education and earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration in 2011 from the University of Texas-Pan American.
Inspired by his younger brother and family, he went on to receive his Juris Doctorate in December 2015
Carol Gustin, Staff Attorney
Carol Gustin has practiced criminal law in both the Hunt County District Attorney’s Office and as a criminal defense attorney for the past 16 years. She is a former member and past President of the Board of Directors for the Northeast Texas Crisis Center and Children’s Advocacy Center. Carol was also a member of the Multi-Disciplinary Team and Sexual Assault Response Team for the Northeast Texas Crisis Center and Children’s Advocacy Center where she worked closely with Law Enforcement Agencies, Child Protective Services, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners and Crisis Center Advocates in evaluating cases and ensuring that evidence was preserved for prosecution. Carol is married to Ivan Gustin, who is a retired City of Greenville Police Officer. Together they have a son and a daughter and four grandchildren.
Arianna Smith, Staff Attorney
Arianna Smith, with a passion for legislation and politics, joins CLEAT on September 1, 2016. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Spanish from the University of North Texas and Juris Doctor from the University of Baylor School of Law. She is also licensed to practice law under the State Bar of Texas.
Houston Tower, Staff Attorney
Joyce Lopez, Legal Services Coordinator
Joyce Lopez is one of the longest serving members of the CLEAT Staff. She attended San Antonio College for her legal studies and obtained extensive legal experience before coming to work for CLEAT. She has over 25 years in serving CLEAT members in San Antonio and across South Texas.
Carol Whitfield, Wills Program Coordinator
Carol has been with CLEAT since 1994 and is now a Certified Estate Planner assigned to the Legal Services Division as Wills Program Coordinator. In addition, Carol was recently assigned to become the CLEAT Retiree Association Coordinator, assisting the newly formed board with marketing and recruiting for the CRA. Prior to serving the legal division, Carol obtained both Life & Health and Property & Casualty insurance licenses and managed the CLEAT Benefit Plan, servicing the participating locals.
Mayra Marquez, Legal Assistant
Mayra comes to us from the District Attorney’s office in El Paso where she was an Administrator for two County Courts.
There she kept track of misdemeanor case files. Mayra holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice.
Jeanette Chamberlain, Legal Assistant
Jeanette was born and raised in San Antonio. In 2014, she moved to Houston with her husband Joseph and their two daughters. Prior to working for CLEAT, she worked for Whataburger Home Office as an Administrator.
Sonya Manor, Legal Assistant
Sonya came to CLEAT in November 2014 after working for the Travis Central Appraisal District for eight years. She was born and raised in Austin.