Profession: Partner, Jones Walker LLP
Hometown: Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
Family: Married to Dylan C. Alge
Years with company: 16
Raedtha Vasquez is equally passionate about her volunteer efforts in the areas of education, mentoring and diversity as she is about her work as a real estate and finance attorney at Jones Walker. She is among the first Hispanic female partners in the firm’s 80-year history, and has been recognized since 2014 as a “Rising Star” in the area of real estate in Louisiana Super Lawyers.
Born in Puerto Rico, Vasquez spent several years in Baton Rouge as a child while her father worked on his doctorate degree at LSU. The family moved back to Puerto Rico, but Vasquez visited Baton Rouge during the summers for camps and she knew she wanted to return here for college.
“I felt in some way I had grown up here,” she says, “and LSU gave me a great scholarship.”
Vasquez also knew she wanted to become a lawyer. Her parents said she argued with them about everything, including why she should make her bed in the morning. Vasquez credits her parents—Edith Cruz and Ramon Vasquez—with instilling in her a strong work ethic and a love of education.
After earning her bachelor’s degree in English from LSU, she decided to take a gap year to teach at Progress Elementary. Although she loved teaching, it did not take away her desire to go to law school.
Vasquez graduated from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at LSU in 2002, and after working as an attorney at Jones Walker for six years, she was promoted to partner.
At Jones Walker, one of Vasquez’s most notable accomplishments was serving as underwriters’ counsel for the $294 million bond sale for the restoration of the Louisiana Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. The deal was awarded 2005 Deal of the Year in the Southeast Region by The Bond Buyer.
“It was hard to convince investors that tourism would come back and that we could pay off the bonds,” Vasquez says. “That’s probably my proudest accomplishment.”
At work, Vasquez leads the Baton Rouge office’s recruiting program, where law students work at the firm for six weeks during the summer.
“I love it because it involves a fair amount of mentoring, and it involves interacting with the law schools, LSU and Southern. We make sure diversity is an aspect of the classes we are recruiting,” she says.
She adds, “for me, making sure women and ethnic minorities, Latinas, African-Americans, have people they can look at and say, ‘she did it and I can do it,’ I think it’s important to have that. It makes everything you do so much better when you have diverse opinions, diverse ideas.”
In the community, Vasquez currently serves as the board chair of Friends of Louisiana Public Broadcasting. She also currently serves on the board of directors for the Knock Knock Children’s Museum and LSU’s National Diversity Advisory Board. She is a past board member of Adult Literacy Advocates of Greater Baton Rouge.
Vasquez is a graduate of the Baton Rouge Area Leadership Program, the Council for a Better Louisiana’s Leadership Louisiana, and Business Report’s Executive Leadership Academy. In 2010, Vasquez was recognized as a Forty Under 40 honoree by Business Report.
2002: Obtains law degree from LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center
2006: Serves as underwriters’ counsel for the $294 million bond sale for the restoration of the Louisiana Superdome, which was awarded Deal of the Year in the Southeast Region by The Bond Buyer
2009: Is promoted to partner, becoming one of the first Hispanic female partners at Jones Walker LLP
2010: Works with Knock, Knock Children’s Museum and BREC to draft the Cooperative Endeavor Agreement, providing a path forward for the museum to open its doors to the community
2018: Is named a “Women Worth Watching” in the Profiles in Diversity Journal
First leadership experience
I learned how to lead by delegating responsibilities as the “lead prosecutor” of a team of students that was doing a mock trial of Hitler in middle school. We had to come together to work as a team.
Who inspired you
My parents instilled in me their work ethic and the value of a great education. Like Hamilton, their advice was “get your education, don’t forget from whence you came.”
Best advice received
Your reputation is the most powerful leverage you have in business and in life—start with establishing a solid one from the beginning!