Texas Border Business
Today, the McAllen City Commission oversaw the swearing in ceremony of Isaac Tawil and Lauren Renee Sepulveda, newly appointed City Attorney and Municipal Court Judge, respectively, for the City of McAllen. Both were appointed by the McAllen City Commission following the retirement of Kevin Pagan and Katie Henley, who previously held those positions. According to the charter of the City of McAllen, these positions are appointed by the McAllen City Commission.
Isaac Tawil, sworn in by McAllen Mayor Jim Darling, has been with the City of McAllen as an Assistant City Attorney since 2012, serving as the litigation section chief. Tawil was a member of the in-house legal team for various projects, including legal issues related to the McAllen Performing Arts Center, the McAllen International Airport and other development projects, as well as serving as general counsel to other McAllen city departments. When the City of McAllen decided to self-insure, Tawil took a leading role in the development of a self-insurance program, including in-house defense and litigation for the City Attorney’s Office. Since the implementation of the City of McAllen Self-Insurance and Risk Management Claims Program in 2015, he was the lawyer in charge of claims management, lead counsel on all litigation filed by or against the City of McAllen and was tasked with the general oversight of the program’s employees and budget. During his tenure, he has successfully defended contested liability claims, resulting in millions of dollars saved in insurance premiums and claims paid.
Prior to working with the City of McAllen, Tawil worked at Garcia, Quintanilla and Palacios, where he handled commercial disputes, family law matters, personal injury for both plaintiffs and defendants, earning his certification as both a general and family law specialized mediator. While at the law firm, he was hired to represent notable celebrities and public officials.
In his first position as an attorney at the law office of Tom Wilkins, Tawil’s legal work included commercial litigation, complex business transactions and various development cases.
Tawil received his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Texas in Austin. Tawil, is married and has three children.
“I am humbled and honored to be appointed McAllen City Attorney,” said Tawil. “I will work diligently to defend the City of McAllen’s interests and look forward to McAllen’s continued success.”
Lauren Sepulveda, sworn in by 449th District Court Judge Renee Rodriguez Betancourt, was with the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office since 2013, where she handled misdemeanor and felony file preparation; sentence negotiation; motion preparation; brief writing and contested motion practice, among others. Additionally, she prosecuted misdemeanor and felony criminal trials, including capital and aggravated felonies, serving as lead prosecution for several McAllen PD cases, including the La Plaza Mall robbery cases and the murder prosecution of Jose Manuel Hernandez. She also served as the chief trial chair of the 430th District Court and as the prosecutor for two specialty court programs: the HOPE Program and Veteran’s Treatment Court.
Before that, Sepulveda was with the Hidalgo County Public Defender’s Office, where she handled indigent criminal defense, both misdemeanor and felony, for trial.
She has been actively involved in professional organizations, most recently with the State Bar of Texas Criminal Justice Section as their Continuing Legal Education Committee Chair and the Texas Young Lawyers Association as their Secretary and District 13 Director. Sepulveda has also held various positions with the Texas District & County Attorneys Association; the Hidalgo County Young Lawyers Association. She was awarded the Rising Advocate in Government Law Award from the Government Law Section of the State Bar of Texas in 2017 and was named Prosecutor of the Year in 2016 by the Rio Grande Valley chapter of Family & Friends of Murdered Children, a victim’s advocacy group and local nonprofit. Locally, she has participated in the McAllen Police Department’s Citizens’ Police Academy, the RGV United Neighbors in Defense Against Displacement Coalition and the Children’s Bereavement Center of the Rio Grande.
Sepulveda earned her doctorate of juris prudence from Baylor Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, with a minor in Sociology from Texas A&M University.
“I am excited to serve my community as a municipal court judge, to help residents understand and follow the municipal laws of our city,” said Sepulveda. “It is a position that requires knowledge of the law and compassion for others, in order to properly seek justice and help bring violators into compliance. My goal as a municipal judge is to make sure McAllen Municipal Court serves its citizens, remains transparent and accessible and interacts with local citizens through community justice programs.